The Peaceful Atom: The Awesome Power of Nuclear Energy
The sun and the wind—certain gifts of God and nature—have been “weaponized” as solar and wind “farms” and turned against humanity, God’s highest creation on earth. The loaded term, “renewables,” is used to the same end. In this article we concentrate on the importance of nuclear energy, not on the modern-day solar and wind energy hoax. However, solar and wind energy, financed by the highest levels of the oligarchy’s financial houses and banks, is a weapon of choice to destroy sane, reasonable modes of energy production and collapse the power grids of the advanced sector nations. The United States, as the leading republic and continental in scope, is the target in particular.
So, it is high time to wake up our fellow citizens to the glories of nuclear science and nuclear energy! Strong words, but the great work of our scientists have been hidden away, their contributions blackened, and our citizens denied an efficient knowledge of the world around them. We must make straight the highway: we require reliable power, and an abundance of it, to power the replenishment of our nation, as a scientific, industrial, and manufacturing superpower, and fulfill our necessary role in the world and in space beyond.
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” — Genesis 1:28
It was the United States and our close allies who ultimately tapped the power of the atom more than 75 years ago. That was based on the work of great scientists such as Lise Meitner, Albert Einstein, William Draper Harkins, and many, many more. E = mc2 became at least as well known and discussed as CO2 today, and for much more rational and optimistic reasons. Einstein’s perhaps greatest equation, E = mc2, is a metaphor that speaks to the beauty and majestic power of the natural world. E = mc2 means, “energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” Because the speed of light is an enormous factor, even a small amount of mass can be transformed into huge amounts of energy, under the right conditions. Said another way, matter has an inherent, enormous amount of energy to it, and mass can be converted (under the right conditions) to pure energy. Likewise, energy can be converted to create mass.
Here we turn to nuclear energy, as expressing mankind taking dominion over nature. This is not a physics paper, but we welcome your interest in exploring these matters further.
See Part II: Why the Oligarchy Hates the Atom—Nuclear Energy and Science
Why Nuclear Energy Now?
First of all, the cost. This has been coming up frequently on LaRouche PAC zoom calls and in conversations among activists. “Isn’t nuclear energy more costly?” goes the question. The short answer is: “No, the opposite.” To fully demonstrate this, we use the tools of the science of physical economy to make clear what otherwise is obscured. We also thereby escape the realm of fake news and junk science. As the great scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin pithily wrote, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Just as “Russia-gate,” “Ukraine-gate,” Covid-19, and mail-in voting were “weaponized” in the coup efforts targeting President Trump, Americans have been misled. We are learning some lessons the hard way. More profoundly, recent generations of citizens have been denied a knowledge of real science and scientific method. As well, so many employed (or formerly employed) Americans currently do not do productive, physical work (i.e., making physical changes on nature) in the workplace. However, because of the actual science of nuclear energy, and because he himself is a builder, Donald Trump as President forcefully acted to promote nuclear energy development once again. That was very, very important.
So, the reader may ask, why then is there such opposition to, or fear of, nuclear science and the development of nuclear energy?
First, because our neighbors have become labile, fragile. They just don’t know much science. In a Walmart economy, they have been conditioned to think only of today and the day after, of survival and short-term needs. This has been induced since the 1950s, with the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s then marching through our institutions. The digitalized society is virtual, and more-and-more people think they live in it. There is, after all, apparently no limit to the number of people who can copy a Linux kernel, because it’s free, open-source information. “Can’t things just be free?”
With President Trump’s presidency and the 2020 presidential campaign and aftermath, our citizenry have woken up. Clearly, we must act now to defend our nation and secure the future. Like all significant investments in that future, the development of nuclear power comes down to a major investment, upfront. This goes to a principle of life itself: We commit to it. Why should anyone expect that a major investment in a new infrastructure platform that will last more than two generations, will come without committing resources and sweat?
Malthusians have waged psywar against the public with childish prattle for decades. Including the idea that solar energy is “free.” Here the international badge of the anti-nuclear power movement. (English language version) Wikipedia
We make sacrifices, and “invest” a great deal of love in our children, and we are the better for it. We make a lifetime commitment to our spouses, and the love is returned. A skilled worker dedicates a lifetime to mastering knowledge, and knows his or her self-worth. Scientists commit a lifetime to extraordinary research without assurance of that eureka! moment. This is something that human beings do.
The main economic threats to nuclear energy development are 1) predatory financing combined with 2) deregulated markets; 3) the disastrous and growing impact of massively subsidized and intermittent “green” power generation; and 4) the criminal Malthusian and otherwise-insane attacks on the minds of our citizens, specifically on a thoughtful scientific outlook. Together, these weapons are being used by Malthusian oligarchs to attempt to kill the growth of, and ultimately roll back, U.S. electricity production and consumption per capita. These are the forces that have to be overturned by a modern-day producers’ alliance. Let us take these threats, as they apply to our vital energy supply, one by one, at least summarily.
Predatory Finance and Subsidies
Capital costs account for more than 60% of the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of a nuclear power plant. Therefore, interest charges and the length of the construction period are important variables for determining the overall cost of capital for any power plant. In other words, the interest on capital for construction becomes an important element of the total capital cost. For a five-year construction period, a 2004 University of Chicago study showed that at that time the interest payments during construction can be as much as 30% of the overall expenditure. This increases to 40% if applied to a seven-year construction schedule, demonstrating the importance of completing the plant on time. Where investors add a risk premium to the interest charges applied to nuclear plants, the impact of financing costs are substantial.
City of London and Wall Street financing guaranteed the “high cost” of nuclear. Indeed, deregulated energy markets guaranteed an “interest rate penalty” on nuclear power plants, even before the oligarchy’s current “Great Reset” of the World Economic Forum. Right now, states are attempting to fight back, with legislation being introduced in 2021 to cut off ties to banks, asset managers, and similar ilk who penalize coal, natural gas, and nuclear. These bills are being introduced in state legislatures across the “Red” states, our producer states.
It has been the British Empire’s City of London and Wall Street, along with their intertwined foundations, that have subsidized solar and wind. The modern system of energy subsidies began with the oil hoaxes of the 1970s and creation of the Department of Energy in 1977, under the Trilateral Commission’s candidate, Jimmy Carter. The intent has been to kill science and scientific advance. President Trump worked to overcome this sabotage of our national security.
According to one important study, for every 39 cents the oil-and-gas industry received in federal taxpayer subsidies from 2010 to 2019, the wind industry received $18.86, or 48 times as much, and the solar industry received $82.46, or 211 times as much. Noteworthy is the fact that wind and solar also have received nearly half of their subsidies from direct expenditures—money up-front. That is critical because of the relatively high capital cost of wind and solar “farms,” versus coal and natural gas.
Nuclear energy and coal received their backing via (a shrinking amount of) research and development (R&D) funds, to create clean coal and to further advance nuclear science. Not by accident, it should be noted that actual R&D expenditures are the third and smallest category of federal energy subsidies, constituting under $20 billion over the entire period since 2010. In the criminally insane oligarchy’s deliberately Hobbesian, cut-throat marketplace (see below), this has not been enough to ensure profitability and survival.
From 2010 to 2019 subsidies for solar, wind, oil and gas, and coal have been $34 billion, $37 billion, $25 billion, and $13 billion, respectively. Nuclear has received about $15 billion. Oil and natural gas have received their subsidies from old-fashioned tax breaks. (Source: Texas Public Policy Foundation)
Simultaneously, Wall Street and the City of London have been driving up the costs of energy through the promotion of deregulated energy markets (see below) and government subsidies to solar and wind. For example, it has been the Wall Street-based Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDC)—“working to safeguard the earth”—that has since 1970 provided the green movement with high-powered, well-heeled legal representation, to the effect of halting nuclear projects and driving up the costs of building completely safe, reliable nuclear energy power plants. Their current Chair Emeritus is Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr., Chief Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School and Senior Counsel, Cravath, Swaine and Moore, LLP. The NRDC now also touts Hollywood pedigrees, with trustees including Alan F. Horn, Co-Chairman of Walt Disney Studios, along with Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Redford, and such. As well, Lazard Ltd. (formerly Lazard Frères, and Houses of Lazard) is among the biggest promoters of renewable energy. It is the world’s largest independent investment bank, with principal executive offices in New York City, Paris, and London, and offices in 40 cities across 25 countries. Solar and wind are the most affordable sources of electricity, period, according to the most recent Levelized Cost of Energy comparison, released by Lazard.
Deregulation: Getting Nothing for Free
Deregulated markets have hornswoggled people for decades, since first implemented against interstate trucking, airlines, and railroads by the Jimmy Carter administration. Carter also killed nuclear fuel recycling, which would have been a solution to the so-called nuclear waste issue. Today, half the U.S. cost of nuclear fuel is in management of the fuel and waste, and yet nuclear fuel is still the cheapest. (More on this below.)
Energy deregulation accelerated in 1992 when Congress mandated that utility transmission systems be open to “equal access” by all producers. (As if this was a matter of the electrons’ civil rights.) This broadly allowed utilities to buy power from any other producer in the nation, and to use the transmission system to “wheel” that electricity through the interconnected grid system. Already, these first steps—using the electricity system to encourage the use of “alternative energy” sources while allowing the utilities to use the transmission system to “save money” by using other company’s cheaper power—increasingly crippled the ability of the U.S. power grid to ensure that there was universal access to adequate supplies of electricity, and increasingly crippled the reliability of our nationally integrated electric grid system.
The result: the economic justification for any capital investment has been decreasing while the actual need increases due to the aging of our existing plants. The International Energy Agency has pointed out that at the turn of the century, one-third of investment in electricity flowed into deregulated markets exposed to wholesale price uncertainty, while two-thirds went into regulated markets where there was some assurance of return on capital. To underline the disastrous effects, by 2014 only 10% of investment was directed into deregulated markets. There was no longer expectation of a return on investment.
Financing is a very significant cost element, not only in the interest during construction, but also in the return on capital during the operating phase of the plant. As a consequence, of the 250 nuclear reactors ordered in the United States from 1953 to 2008, almost half were never completed, being either canceled or abandoned, even after significant investments were made. They were detonated, through a combination of green fascist assault, Wall Street–funded lawsuits, and rising financing costs.
However, the escalation of nuclear capital costs in some countries—ironically more apparent than real given the lack of new reactor construction—is being met with falling construction costs elsewhere. Combining reiterative improvement methods and mass production along with new designs, and holding the Malthusians at bay, the cost of nuclear power construction is beginning to be driven down.
Wind and Solar Investments: Predatory by Nature
As part of the weaponization of “renewables,” wind and solar “externalize” their costs. That is, the costs are not so much in the energy provided by the wind farms, but in what is not provided. It is a shell game. The impact on a regional or national energy grid is a major part of the “invisible” real costs. The result is that value is subtracted, not added, to our entire economy.
A critical aspect of powering an entire electric energy grid is the “system cost” of making the supply from any-and-all sources meet actual demand for electricity being made upon the grid. The system cost is minimal with “dispatchable” (base load) sources such as nuclear. It is dependable. But it becomes a big factor with intermittent “renewables” whose output depends on when the wind blows and the sun shines.
If the share of such renewables increases above a nominal proportion of the total then system costs escalate significantly and readily exceed the actual generation cost from those sources. This is modeled in a 2019 OECD Nuclear Energy Agency study and very evident in Germany, and is an important consideration beyond the LCOE (leveling cost) in comparing sources….
Another, related issue is that wind and solar power generation are often much more widely distributed and require a very different and extensive power grid. We are seeing the consequences, such as in the “Texas Windmill Massacre” of this February. According to a Texas Public Policy Foundation study, by 2029 Texans will have spent $2.5 billion through their electricity bills subsidizing wind and solar farms through local property tax abatements and $14 billion building the “Competitive Renewable Energy Zone” transmission lines. That is not all. The real costs are more clearly approximated in February’s Texas blackout, with the resulting deaths, misery, and bankruptcies.
In California, it has also been pointed out that, given the deployment of these “renewables,” electricity prices between 2011 and 2018 rose seven time more (28%) than they did in the rest of the country (5%). California also has to import a lot of energy from out of state.
An even clearer picture can be gleaned from Germany, where popular revolts against this insanity began no later than 2018. Before the year 2000, when Germany embarked on its large-scale and expensive Energiewende (energy transition), that country’s residential electricity prices were low and declining, bottoming at less than €0.14/kWh ($0.13/kWh, using the prevailing exchange rate) in 2000. By 2015, Germany’s combined solar and wind capacity of nearly 84 gigawatts had surpassed the total installed in fossil-fuel plants, and by March 2019 more than 20% of all electricity came from the new renewables. Over that 18-year period (2000 to 2018) electricity prices more than doubled, to €0.31/kWh, impacting families, industries, and farms. The EU’s largest economy thus has the continent’s highest electricity prices, followed by heavily wind-dependent Denmark, at €0.3/kWh. https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/policy/electricity-its-wonderfully-affordable-but-its-no-longer-getting-any-cheaper
As a consequence of depending on solar and wind, you can see in the chart below the escalating cost of energy across most of Europe.
It is also clear that Germany cannot handle much more of this for other reasons. This past winter, Germans froze as solar panels snowed over and wind turbines shut down. At other times, its electricity grid operators have had to cut off electricity from “industrial” wind farms on windy, low- demand days, to avoid blow-outs in the German power grid. (The same has happened in California, paying neighboring states to take the state’s excess solar electricity.) Elsewhere, the price of electricity on such days just drops to zero, or the wind farm pays the grid operator to take the electricity.
As a consequence of solar and wind electrical power being highly unstable, they require near 100% backup from other sources of electricity that are able to immediately ramp-up and ramp-down power generation to offset the variability of solar and wind power. This enormously increases the cost of the backup power compared to base load power. Or an enormous, unproven battery capacity is required, to store hundreds and thousands of megawatts of power, at a significant, additional cost.
Other Factors Involving Renewables
There are other factors to be aware of when the “renewables” salesman comes calling.
Capacity Factor: There is the actual amount of “installed capacity” required to actually produce a given amount of “renewable” energy. For example, the installed capacity of 100 MWs of gas-fired power plants produces many times the electricity energy (MWh) of the same 100 MW of solar or wind power resources. How is that? Fossil plants can and do operate with capacity factors of 80%-90%, and nuclear is even higher. Solar and wind power plants’ average “capacity factors” are about 20%-25%, primarily because wind and solar energy is not available all the time. This means, to produce the same amount of power as generated by a fossil power plant, we need 4-5 times the “installed capacity” of wind or solar capacity to mean what it says on the label.
Even in 2021, battery costs are “in an earlier phase of development and costs will depend on the deployment of electric vehicles and consumer electronics,” according to one source. However, going to electric cars would add a conservative 25% to demand for electricity from the grid. Catch 22. Both photovoltaic and battery costs could also become a big factor.
Initial Capital Costs: Solar and wind capacity does not get built for free. Wind and solar farms actually require a huge upfront capital outlay relative to even natural gas. Building a combined-cycle gas-fired power plant costs around $1,000/kW whereas solar and storage could cost in the range of $1,500/kW to $2,000/kW and a wind power plant could cost up to $4,000/kW. The operational cost of solar and wind plants is, however, much lower compared to gas and this makes total Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) for renewables comparable or even lower than gas. For the time being, the future of wind in the United States is safeguarded by the federal production tax credit.
Lifespan and Disposal: Keep in mind that these wind and solar power plants will also only last half the lifetime, or less, that of a modern nuclear power plant (50 to 60 years), so they will have to be built and disposed of 2-3 times, to equal the lifespan of a nuclear plant—25 to 30 years is a typical expected operating life for a combined-cycle natural gas plant.
For example, a modern wind turbine will generally last for 20 years. There are approximately 8,000 components that go into each modern wind turbine. While 99% of the turbine’s parts can be re-sold and recycled, the majority of turbine blades are a challenge, so much so that they end up just being buried in giant “graveyard of blades” landfills. With some as long as a football field, big rigs can carry only one at a time. The Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm windmills (or wind turbines) are each 262 feet high and the tower of each has a diameter of 14 feet. A wind turbine’s blades can be longer than a Boeing 747 wing, so at the end of their lifespan they cannot just be hauled away. First, you need to saw through lissome fiberglass with a diamond-encrusted industrial saw, to thereby create three pieces small enough to be hauled off by a tractor-trailer.
Solar Panels: The industry standard lifespan is about 25 to 30 years, and that means that some panels installed in the current boom aren’t long for this world. These are glass and metal photovoltaic modules that soon will start adding up to millions in number. Solar panels are complicated and expensive to recycle, because they are made of many materials, some hazardous, and assembled with adhesives and sealants that are difficult to break up. A nuclear power plant produces 1 gigawatt of energy or more. To produce the equivalent requires approximately 412 giant utility-scale wind turbines, that will then have to be disposed of, again and again. Or it takes 3.125 million photovoltaic (PV) panels, based on a representative silicon model panel size of 320 Watts. (There are approximately 7.2 million photovoltaic panels that make up Egypt’s gigantic Benban Solar Park, which will produce 1.8 gigawatts of power. The $4 billion project has a projected lifespan of just 25 years.
Recycling and disposal costs for storage batteries are another factor in real costs. Attempts are underway to build massive battery assemblies and store megawatts of wind- or solar-generated electricity to compensate for downtime. Battery recycling therefore becomes a big (but little talked about) factor. These costs, on top of rising costs for lithium and other inputs for battery production, are important but beyond the scope of this article. There is also the “Concentrated Solar Power industry,” which relies on thermal storage of energy in water rather than batteries, but is now underpriced by photovoltaics. These all are a real-world “infinite regression” away from the higher energy-flux densities required to drive mankind’s development on earth and in space.
The Oligarchy’s Insane Malthusian Drive
After the death of Franklin Roosevelt and the resurgence of the British imperial design, Malthus reared his ugly head in a new disguise. In 1945, as the first director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Sir Julian Huxley dropped the discredited term of “eugenics”—then rightfully associated with the Nazis’ concentration camps—and substituted the terminology of “conservation” and “environmentalism.” Britain’s Prince Philip, the Queen’s Consort, and the Netherlands’ Prince Bernhard, an ex-Nazi, proceeded to then organize a royal green movement to preserve resources and wildlife for the empire, and to remove what they still considered to be an odious excess number of human beings. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was founded in 1948.
In 1970, Prince Bernhard established the “1001 Club,” an exclusive grouping with a $10,000 initiation fee, to establish and grow the financial endowment of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had founded in 1961, along with Julian Huxley and Godfrey Anderson Rockefeller, Sr. Prince Philip himself led the World Wildlife Foundation until 1996.
Behind the IUCN and the WWF, and their public relations appeal of Panda bears and such, is the hatred of proliferating human beings. If one thinks this is far-fetched, read some of Prince Philip’s own statements. Prince Philip told People magazine in 1981:
“Human population growth is probably the single most serious long-term threat to survival. We’re in for a major disaster if it isn’t curbed—not just for the natural world, but for the human world. The more people there are, the more resources they’ll consume, the more pollution they’ll create, the more fighting they will do. We have no option. If it isn’t controlled voluntarily, it will be controlled involuntarily by an increase in disease, starvation, and war.” — People magazine, December 21, 1981
Our nation must have the capability to mobilize the resources necessary to meet any and all demands that may be placed on our electricity generation and distribution system. It must be a given. Reliable, abundant electric power is a prerequisite for economic health and national security. Hundreds of gigawatts nuclear power, in addition to coal- and gas-fired electrical plants, are required to rebuild U.S. industry and manufacturing, and to simultaneously rebuild many of our cities, communities, healthcare systems, and schools. Thousands of gigawatts are needed for mankind. Go nuclear! We cannot afford to be fooled again.