Nuclear Meltdown: Finally the Truth Comes Out
Dr. Robert D. CranePosted Mar 19, 2011 •Permalink • Printer-Friendly Version
Nuclear Meltdown: Finally the Truth Comes Out
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
The Qur’an reminds us that bad is often accompanied by good (ma al usry yusra), Surah al Inshirah, 94:5, usually translated as “Verily, with every difficulty there is relief”. The breakthrough accomplishment of the nuclear crisis in Japan of 2011 is the final exposure of the ridiculous attempt to classify and suppress knowledge about the possibility and commercial value of reprocessing nuclear waste.
It is urgent that Congress immediately hold hearings on why this knowledge has been suppressed for so long. Four countries have been reprocessing their valuable waste for years, though with technology inferior to what has been on the shelf in America for decades.
In 1974, this technology was well-known though classified. I decided to leave the U.S. State Department in order instead to become Executive Vice President of the new American Indian National Bank, so that the Native American nations could leverage the resources on their lands to help augment or even phase out oil and coal as a source of power and phase in the vastly more efficient and cheaper new industry of processing nuclear waste.
Unfortunately the “seven-sister” oil companies, who were behind the AINB in order to steal the billions of dollars of Indian Trust Funds and to support their grip on Native American coal and oil resources, blocked this with the bogus argument that if the world knew about nuclear reprocessing, this would vastly acclerate the proliferation of nuclear weapons. This is still the only argument against shifting from expensive oil and coal to cheap alternative energy readily available in American stockpiles of nuclear “waste”.
Finally the truth has come out that the major challenge posed by the Fukishima Daiichi nuclear power complex, the largest in the world, is not a meltdown of the reactors but of the nuclear waste that has been stored inside the reactor buildings for forty years in the “spent fuel rods”, which are by no means spent and contain cesion and strontium with long shelf lives.
Of the six reactors in Fukishima, Number 4 alone has 1,479 spent fuel rod assemblies, each containing 64 rods, and each 13-foot rod containing about six pounds of uranium pellets, including 548 relatively new rods that were removed only four months ago for scheduled maintenance of the reactor and are easily capable of recriticality, which means that the uranium in the fuel rods could resume the fission that previously took place inside the reactor. The total “spent” fuel rod assemblies in the 39-foot-deep “pools” contain four times as much radioactive material as the reactor cores themselves.
Although the media has said not a word about this aspect of the crisis in Japan, the internet from the very beginning has explained that the real crisis is not a meltdown of reactors in the world’s largest nuclear power complex, but the meltdown of nuclear waste that has been accumulating for forty years right next to the reactors.
The details are given in the article released on March 17th, 2001, by Keith Bradsher and Hiroko Tabuchi, entitled “Greater Danger Lies in Spent Fuel Than in Reactors”. It appears that the Japanese have been planning for many years to start reprocessing these fuel rods by extracting the uranium and plutonium for use in new rapid breeder reactors, but construction delays in the multi-billion dollar reprocessing facilities have postponed completion until next year.
Five years ago last month, President Bush planned to declassify the information about a new era in energy independence, with emphasis on making use of the nuclear waste that could power America, together with our basically inexhaustible resources of natural gas (not in shale), essentially forever. This saga is explained in my strategic analysis below, entitled “The World’s Most Important Announcement of 2006”, posted on February 1, 2006, in http://www.theamericanmuslim.org.
This new opening for American prosperity and freedom should be accompanied by opening a new frontier of justice embodied in the Capital Homestead Act of 2012 (see http://www.cesj.org), whereby our central bank, the Fed, provides funds, without increasing the U.S. debt, annually and directly to every American citizen’s Capital Homestead account to invest through the regular commercial banking system in real productive assets, including cheap nuclear energy, so that the dividends will augment every person’s wages in a non-inflationary way sufficient to pay for their own retirement, all but extraordinary medical expenses, and unlimited education for themselves and their children.
Unfortunately, five years ago the interests of those opposed to cheap nuclear energy prevailed again. Now we need some immediate Congressional hearings to investigate why. The Japanese crisis caused initially by a 9.0 earthquake and by a tsunami in places 100 feet high has blown the lid off the secretive American dependence on foreign oil. Our answer to the opponents of nuclear power should be “never again”.
The World’s Most Important Announcement of 2006
by Dr. Robert D. Crane
Almost thirty years ago, scientists proved that nuclear waste could be eliminated by turning it into nuclear fuel, but this was top, top secret, so for years we have had an absolutely stupid concern about nuclear waste. This in turn has forced reliance on oil as a fuel, since other still more advanced technologies are not yet cost efficient.
According to an article “Nuclear Energy Plant Would Use Spent Fuel” by Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer, in the January 26th issue of The Washington Post ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/25/AR2006012502229.html?nav=rss_politics ), the Bush Administration, in one of the few things it has ever done to promote peace and justice, has decided to declassify the existence of a solution to U.S. reliance on foreign oil. What this means for our Middle East policy I don’t know. It could mean that we soon will no longer need any friends in the Muslim world. It also could accelerate the gap between the haves and the have-nots by giving the American economy a huge boost in global competitiveness, because the drive apparently soon will start to design the reprocessing technology so that only America can use it.
Alternatively, if we can lock the process, then we might be able to negotiate with Iran to permit Iranian development of nuclear energy with the waste products shipped to the United States. This might provide a good excuse not to bomb Iran. But, will the Iranians buy it? One should always permit the other bargaining party a chance to back down gracefully. But how graceful would this be? And we could become the major customer for both Saudi and Iranian petro-chemical products, or at least might not even bother to compete. There is room for some heavy bargaining, with the future of world civilization at stake.
The catch, not mentioned in the article, is that the Iranians have developed nuclear technology similar to that in France, and the French can use this technology. America should have converted to this technology forty years ago, instead of building plants that must be huge and vulnerable and dangerous. This, of course, might increase the incentive to bomb Iran now while it still might make a difference. Others might say that popularizing this technology, which could be useful for making nuclear warheads and realistically cannot be locked into a U.S. monopoly, would force us to accept the unlimited proliferation of nuclear bombs, so there would be no point in trying to stop it.
The fact that this scientific and technological breakthrough of thirty years and more ago is now even being discussed shows that the arguments pro and con seem to have at last come down in favor of turning nuclear waste into useful energy. Since America is the biggest polluter in the world, we could become the least polluting of all the industrialized countries, so we could then afford to support the Kyoto Protocol.
Of course, another equally epic-making breakthrough would be for the U.S. government to help oil companies exploit the natural gas underneath the oil fields of Texas, which oil geologists have known for thirty years could fuel the American economy for more than a thousand years. It has been too expensive to extract from 30 to 40 thousand feet deep, but a little research could make it competitive with oil. Of course, it could never compete with nuclear energy once the capital investment is made to convert America to nuclear energy, as the French did long ago and as the U.S. government apparently has decided to facilitate by using advanced technology that we hope to horde for ourselves. I’ve wondered for decades why Texas deep gas was a no-no for polite discussion. My guess is that its utility depended on the prior question of whether we needed any energy sources other than nuclear. Also, good-bye such simple technologies as wind-turbines (marginal anyway), beaming energy down from giant quarter-trillion-dollar photo-voltaic arrays in outer space (could be used as a weapon and too vulnerable to attack).
What does all this mean? One possibility is offered by a bold initiative suggested at the website, http://www.americanrevolutionaryparty.us As a life-long global forecaster, it seems to me that we are at a global tipping point triggered by recent events in Iraq, Iran, and Palestine. The opportunities to pursue peace and freedom through revolutionary justice based on the wisdom of America’s traditionalist founders have never been greater.
The danger of spent-fuel rods and the Yucca Mountain project http://blogs.reuters.com/gregg-easterbrook/2011/03/18/the-danger-of-spent-fuel-rods-and-the-yucca-mountain-project/
Japan crisis renews U.S. nuclear fuel storage debate http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_nukesafety19.23a65aa.html
Spent nuclear fuel comes under scrutiny http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-0320-spent-fuel-20110319,0,5809639.story
Spent Trojan nuclear plant fuel still at Rainier http://www.seattlepi.com/local/6420ap_or_trojan_nuke_fuel.html