SftP ers,
I'd like to respond, first of all to Carroll. I think it's overly pessimistic to assume our opinions carry absolutely no weight, just because we are under capitalism. In the case of nuclear power in the US, in fact we and many allies have fought them to a standstill. There are reasons that for many years no new nuclear plant came on line in the US. One important reason was the work of the Government Accountability Project (not at all the same as the Government Accountability OFFICE) in Washington,in the 80's,  in which my own advice added a  very tiny bit. What they proved with the aid of numerous lawsuits and whistleblowers was that regardless of regulations, the nuclear industry simply was incapable of preventing construction mistakes that could be deadly. 

The problem is that does nothing to stop global warming. Coal fired plants and others continue unabated. Conceivably, at some point, the dangers of nuclear might be less. It's a very complicated calculus. Still the best short term solution probably don't involve the construction of anything like conventional nuclear, compared with doable conservation measures and increasingly cheap solar power. The NY Times recently had an article suggesting that roof-top solar already undercuts centralized solar. Possibly, this is partly due to government incentives for the former, but they are being phased out, and still centralized solar, like nuclear plants seem to be an unsafe bet for capitalists. 

There may be additional kinds of energy production including some unusual forms of nuclear energy. In particular, fusion has usually meant hydrogen-deuterium fusion, but other fusion reactions involving mid-periodic-table elements are also feasible in principle, even though the energy per fusion is far, far smaller. In some cases, the threshold energies can also be far smaller than in the hydrogen case. An Italian whose name I can't recall claims to have demonstrated this with  energy-producing  reactors the size of refrigerators utilizing nickel that supposedly produce no radioactivity. My very cursory analysis suggests the possibility can't be ruled out. In this case, the inventor's capitalistic hopes of wealth may delay any large-scale adoption of the idea, but if there is something to it, the notion will probably arrive in the  public domain eventually. 



On Feb 23, 2014, at 6:59 PM, Steve Nadel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Thanks for the info.  I appreciate your effort to get the best technical information from UCS, I agree we are in a better position to put this into a broader political context.  For now, I would appreciate some feedback from people on a few further points (mostly technical / safety related).