James Conca, Geochemist: We used to think about Peak Oil like this – the reserves are finite, we know where they are and how long they will last, and we will start running out soon. But with recent technological innovations, we keep finding new oil deposits that are now recoverable and a peak won’t happen for a century or more.
James Conca, Geochemist: Today’s energy markets are characterized by low natural gas prices, heavily subsidized renewable generation and low growth in electricity demand. American vendors also compete in the international markets for the deployment of Small Modular Reactors, SMRs, and other advanced nuclear reactor designs. Unfortunately, most countries like Russia and China directly subsidize their nation’s nuclear technologies in order to penetrate global markets.
Clinton Crackel, Emergency Management Specialist, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Co-Founder Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition: The Fischer-Tropsch process was developed in Germany in 1925 as means to convert coal into synthetic fuel for use in motorized vehicles. In 2012, Princeton University published an article stating researchers found the United States could eliminate the need for crude oil by substituting it with synthetic fuels. At least we could eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. This could put our coal miners back to work doing what they do best, without relocation. Environmental controls could be put in place. The burdens of having our military in some endless wars around the world could be reduced.
Eric Jelinski, Nuclear/Chemical/Mechanical Engineer: From the beginning of use of commercial nuclear power in the 1960s, scientists and engineers knew that the long term future of nuclear power depended on recycling of uranium spent fuel. Anti-nuclear organizations managed to get several U.S. presidents to stop development of advanced nuclear power technologies that can use recycled spent nuclear fuel efficiently. France, Japan, Russia, and the U.S. worked on developing recycling technologies practically from the beginning. France, Russia, China, Korea are going ahead with developing spent nuclear fuel technology. They will be well rewarded. Those who bend to anti-nuclear organizations will be held back at significant price.
James Conca, Geochemist: Yucca Mountain has always been political, from its initial choice to its recent death. The problem this time is that most of our high-level nuclear waste is no longer high-level. And most scientists agree we shouldn’t dispose of spent nuclear fuel until we reuse it in our new reactors that are designed to burn it. Besides, the highly-fractured, variably saturated, dual-porosity volcanic tuff at Yucca Mountain with highly oxidizing groundwater, was the wrong rock to begin with, causing the cost to skyrocket and the technical hurdles to keep mounting. Anti-nuclear activists have used Yucca Mt. to oppose the new generation of nuclear power plants by saying we have no place to put the waste. Unfortunately, everyone has focused on the political and legal aspects without understanding the science. And we know what happens when Human Law runs into Natural Law – Natural Law wins every time.