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Open mike 16/11/2020

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, November 16th, 2020 - 110 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:

Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

110 comments on “Open mike 16/11/2020 ”

  1. Macro 2

    Trump concedes – sort of 😉

    • Treetop 2.1

      I heard he tweeted Biden won a rigged election.

      I have come to the conclusion that Trump is experimenting on the US population by not having a lockdown.

      The sooner the transition begins to get rid of Trump the sooner a plan to control the pandemic can begin.

      Trump has a short term memory problem is that why he behaves the way he does?

      • Treetop 2.1.1

        He won because the election was rigged is the tweet.

        • Macro

          Yeah I know he hasn't conceded. The video in the tweet above is a series of clips from Trump rants in the past, put together in a way that has him giving a concession speech. Totally fake, and totally funny.

          • Treetop

            When it comes to a concession speech from Trump it is going to be ungracious and vindictive. Then again he may not give a concession speech.

            • Macro

              Then again he may not give a concession speech

              I don't expect him to either. It's a very dangerous game he is playing, and his enablers, the GOP, will have a lot to answer for in the future.

              Meanwhile in Kenya, they are having some fun at the US's expense:

  2. Gyrogearloose 3

    No mention anywhere of thorium fueled nuclear. Conventional uranium reactors are a bad idea. The waste is a bit of a problem


    Vs Thorium molten salt


    I know, only wiki, but is reasonable summary of a complex process for genersl public as a starting place.

    They can run hot enough to provide the process heat for coal to liquid fuels too. There is a lot more cosl than oil. Reserve coal for conversion to liquid fuels, and i read somewhere that the ash from the coal contais sufficient thorium to keep the reactor fueld.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • Pat 3.1

      "There are green energy alternatives. However Krumdieck’s argument is New Zealand already uses the technologies with the best EROI returns for its national electricity generation. There are no better ones on the horizon."

    • RedLogix 3.2

      No mention anywhere of thorium fueled nuclear.

      One of the great shibboleths of the radical green movement. Nuclear fission power is not only the safest known energy source, it's the most reliable and has EROI's in excess of 50. The development and mass adoption of new generation MSR designs (which is happening very rapidly right now) would permanently transform human economies and enable a dramatic expansion of development everywhere.

      Which is why green movement hates them; kind of buggers up their fantasies of everyone living in a de-powered, slowly decaying world of hippie communes and kale farming co-operatives.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 3.2.1

        "The development and mass adoption of new generation MSR designs (which is happening very rapidly right now) would permanently transform human economies and enable a dramatic expansion of development everywhere."

        Something's not quite right about that sentence – if the "mass adoption of new generation MSR designs" "is happening very rapidly right now", then this would will "permanently transform human economies and enable dramatic expansion of development elsewhere" (yadda yadda yadda) on spaceship Earth. That's clearly what 'our' already fouled nest needs – "dramatic expansion and development". Fantastic.

        You chose to characterise the Green movement as a bunch of hateful fantasists, but they most likely believe they’re doing they best they can for the environment and a sustainable future.

        • RedLogix

          Yup, the grammar was a tad mangled.

          Progress on the development side has absolutely taken off in the past four years.

          As for the adoption/rollout phase, I can foresee that getting underway before 2030.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            "I can foresee that getting underway before 2030."

            Hope all your dreams come true.


            [PDF link] http://elizabethmaymp.ca/wp-content/uploads/SMRs-Ministers-ORegan-and-Bains_GreenCaucusNov20201.pdf

            "There’s little reason to consider thorium, molten salt reactors and Gates’ “traveling wave” TerraPower technology when considering the future of energy. We have solutions today. They may be boring and low-tech, but they are cheap, fast to build, reliable, predictable, and have incredibly low negative externalities. By the time any of these technologies actually see the market, they’ll be like the Christian concept of a god in a world of science, with nowhere to stand and nothing to do.

            As a result, CleanTechnica‘s policy will be to continue to ignore them in favor of the actually transformative technologies reshaping our world for the better."


            • Andre

              For land-based energy, I have my doubts that small nuclear is going to happen anytime soon. Not because of technical obstacles or genuine safety issues, but because of blinkered perceptions that will create a regulatory barrier that will cost too much to overcome.

              But if we ever get serious about going zero emission, there's tens or hundreds of thousands of mobile power stations putting out power 24/7 in the range of 5MW to 100MW, that currently burn the nastiest dirtiest leftovers of the petroleum supply chain. That's a duty cycle exactly suited to a small nuclear plant. I refer to shipping, of course.

              So I can easily imagine small nukes will get popularised and achieve economies of scale in shipping applications, then transition to land based uses.

              The question will be whether it's done in a sensible thoughtful fashion in nations where citizen well-being and the environment get at least some consideration. Or whether it gets left to nations that simply DGAF, like Russia, China, India …

              • weka

                What does that have to do with the post?

                • Andre

                  The possible future and obstacles in the way of a significant source of very low emissions energy don't relate to the post? And don't relate to a thread specifically about that particular energy source?

                • RedLogix

                  Maybe something to do with the paras 2 – 6 of the OP?

              • Draco T Bastard

                But if we ever get serious about going zero emission, there's tens or hundreds of thousands of mobile power stations putting out power 24/7 in the range of 5MW to 100MW, that currently burn the nastiest dirtiest leftovers of the petroleum supply chain. That's a duty cycle exactly suited to a small nuclear plant. I refer to shipping, of course.

                Fully support shipping going nuclear.

            • RedLogix

              And to their credit CleanTechnica published in 2012 a rebuttal of that original 2009 article.

              In conclusion, Makhijani and Boyd fail to consider the implications of the liquid-fluoride thorium reactor on all aspects relating to the benefits of thorium as a nuclear fuel. They fail to consider its strong benefits with regards to nuclear proliferation, since no operational nuclear weapon has ever been fabricated from thorium or uranium-233. They fail to consider how LFTR can be used to productively consume nuclear weapons material made excess by the end of the Cold War. They fail to consider the reduction in nuclear waste that would accompany the use of LFTR. They fail entirely to account for the safety features inherent in a LFTR—how low-pressure operation and a chemically-stable fuel form allow the reactor to have a passive safety response to severe accidents. They fail to account for the improvement in cost that would be realized if LFTRs were to efficiently use thorium, reduce the need for mining fossil fuels, and increase the availability of energy.


              I get a daily news feed from CleanTechnica and it's obvious they've hitched their bandwagon to the SWB concept. What they fail to mention is that none of the technology necessary to make this 100% real exists yet, so while progress is good, the full rollout is not happening any sooner than next gen nuclear.

              And that the only places that have seriously embraced SWB, such as Germany, have seen electricity prices (and net CO2) rise dramatically. I'm not particularly interested in throwing stones at solar renewables, they are clearly part of the solution and I've no problem with driving innovation in this field to see where it takes us. Who knows it could be the winner.

              But then this still unsurpassed presentation from the late David McKay explains the limitations very clearly.

              Everyone in the MSR/Thorium field says that the single largest hurdle has been the insane over-regulation of nuclear systems. Instead of requiring proscribed safety outcomes, entities like the NRC detailed specific designs and methods specific to the LWR reactors of the day. That had the effect of dramatically stifling innovation because until investors could see the possibility of the regulators permitted new systems, no-one was willing to put up the cash needed to fully engineer pilot plants.

              Well the good news is that regulators have in very recent years have been shifting on this, and programs are underway right now proving materials and engineering. That's literally dated four days ago.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                FREE Newsletter: Latest nuclear news & technology.”

                "the insane over-regulation of nuclear systems" – a form of madness?

                • RedLogix

                  Yes until about the early 90's nuclear energy was fully competitive on price, but in response largely to Three Mile Island and wildly over exaggerated claims of risk, layers of prescriptive regulation were added on to the industry.

                  Unfortunately while these merely added huge costs, they did nothing to address the limitations of the fundamental reactor designs of the day. Indeed worse still they effectively locked the industry into one possible version of 'how to do a reactor' while shutting out from development any of the other approximately 1000 other possible ways to do it.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    The ‘regulators‘ can make irrational decisions? Doesn't bode well, IMHO.

                    • RedLogix

                      It was the insane over-reaction and fear mongering by the nuttier segments of the green movement (eg Helen Caldicott) that drove much of the political pressure.

                      And the regulators, being ultimately political creatures themselves, had to bow to the directions of their masters.

                      It's widely recognised nowadays that safety regulators of all kinds, are generally much better advised on detailing methods of evaluating hazard, setting the required outcomes and monitoring regimes, rather than proscribing detailed methods that lock an industry into rapidly dating technology.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      @RL (8:51 pm) – Dr Caldicott no doubt holds her beliefs at least as dear as you do yours. According to Wikipedia she was a talented clinician, as well as a real dynamo in the anti-nuclear movement.

                      "The Smithsonian Institution has named Caldicott as one of the most influential women of the 20th century."

                      Would she tolerate the "fear mongering" and "insane over-reaction" labels, do you think, recognising your belittling "nutty segment" pigeonholing for what it is?

                      Great that safety regulators are improving – seems to be working, and they certainly have a lot on their plates. One down…

                      "An interdisciplinary team from MIT has estimated that given the expected growth of nuclear power from 2005–2055, at least four serious nuclear accidents would be expected in that period."

                    • RedLogix

                      I've listened to some of Caldicott's anti nuclear presentations on YT many years back, and it was realising that she was just making shit up that I started to question the standard fear based narrative around nuclear power that I had uncritically swallowed up until then.

                      As it happens I worked for about seven years in the 80's with Kr-85 beta sources used in the paper industry to measure sheet density. So while I cannot claim to be a nuclear engineer, between Physics 101 and some real life experience with radiation sources, Caldicott started triggering my bullshit detector. As it happens I'm not the only one.

                      Once upon a time she had a wide audience, but frankly these days she's widely regarded as an extremist nutter with a radical agenda. The anti-nuclear movement's Lord Monckton if you will.

                    • RedLogix

                      As for that list of incidents, note carefully the death toll given. In all but a handful of the death toll is zero.

                      The big three incidents are Three Mile Island (precisely the accident scenario Alvin Weinberg had warned about a decade earlier), Chernobyl a design that would never have been licensed anywhere outside of the Soviet Union, and Fukushima. The direct death toll between all three is less than 100, the indirect toll less than 10,000. (And I’m being generous here.)

                      And keep in mind I'm explicitly not advocating for any more of these obsolete reactor designs that are essentially refugees from the dawn of the nuclear age back in the 40's.

                      Now compare the hysteria generated over this hazard with this. You read that correctly 10,000 deaths per fucking day.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "Once upon a time she had a wide audience, but frankly these days she's widely regarded as an extremist nutter with a radical agenda. The anti-nuclear movement's Lord Monckton if you will."

                      Your comment oozes belittling antipathy.


                      Helen Caldicott speaks at the conclusion of her symposium “The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction” 3/1/2015 New York Academy of Medicine. Caldicott has been warning of the dangers of nuclear war and nuclear radiation for decades. She is a Gandhi Peace Prize winner. Her website is: http://helencaldicottfoundation.org/

                      "10,000 deaths per fucking day" – not quite that bad, but still awful.

                      Relative Risk Functions for Estimating Excess Mortality Attributable to Outdoor PM2.5 Air Pollution: Evolution and State-of-the-Art

                      So is this. If only it was "over".

                      3 rd 8244
                      4 th 9161
                      5 th 8855
                      6 th 9247
                      7 th 7706
                      8 th 6114
                      9 th 6727
                      10th 9333
                      11th 10161
                      12th 9655
                      13th 9971
                      14th 8820
                      15th 6682

                      Mind you, it's not all bad:

                      COVID-19 lockdowns cause global air pollution declines with implications for public health risk

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Sorry, bogus link pasted above without checking.
                      This works one works. https://www.helencaldicott.com/

                    • RedLogix

                      In the case of Caldicott I'm quite happy to call it as I see it. Far from 'telling the truth' she's been caught out spouting arrant, alarmist nonsense over and over. The two links I provided above are just a small sample, no serious person can be bothered tracking it all down. Hell even I could spot the crap just based on my own rudimentary experience.

                      (As an mildly interesting aside, the same 8 years in the paper industry also taught me the fundamentals of IR absorption, which was the method we used to measure moisture content in lightweight sheets. Oddly enough this same experience meant that climate change skeptics also triggered the same response with their own bullshit science. It's one thing to judge a claim when it's based on a theoretical understanding only, quite another when you've worked with the tools every day for years.)

                      As for the speech you linked to, Caldicott's characterisation of humanity as 'a disease infecting the planet' is a deeply vile, truly hateful, anti-human ideology that I profoundly and vehemently reject. This is what I meant by an "extremist nutter with a radical agenda".

                      Still Gordon McDowell (who has been closely involved in this story for well over a decade and is an exceptionally well informed lay person) did put this video together back on 2014. OK so it's nearly 2 hrs long, but if I can sit through it and learn something, then what's stopping you if you really do care about the future?

                      "10,000 deaths per fucking day" – maybe not quite that bad, but still awful.

                      Yes, even if that figure is too high by a factor of 10 (let me be really generous) it's still massively higher than any harm ever done by nuclear energy. Yet hardly anyone gives a shit. Not one little bit.

                      From this I conclude that the hysteria over the potential harms from nuclear energy are nothing more than an irrational folly. And Caldicott is one of the worst fear-mongering liars of the lot.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      You know, it's funny – I listened to that Caldicott YouTube video and heard an intelligent, warm and caring 76-year old; very human/humane, and she seems to have been highly regarded.

                      Then I reread what you'd written about her, and tbh I couldn't detect those qualities in your comments. Your opinions seemed ott and off.

                      "insane over-reaction and fear mongering by the nuttier segments of the green movement"

                      "she was just making shit up"

                      "Caldicott started triggering my bullshit detector"

                      "she's widely regarded as an extremist nutter with a radical agenda. The anti-nuclear movement's Lord Monckton if you will."

                      "Far from 'telling the truth' she's been caught out spouting arrant, alarmist nonsense over and over."

                      "Hell even I could spot the crap just based on my own rudimentary experience."

                      Caldicott is one of the worst fear-mongering liars of the lot.

                      "Caldicott's characterisation of humanity as 'a disease infecting the planet' is a deeply vile, truly hateful, anti-human ideology that I profoundly and vehemently reject. This is what I meant by an "extremist nutter with a radical agenda"."

                      Can you please provide some evidence that Caldicott characterised humanity as "a disease infecting the planet" – honestly find that hard to believe because it seems so out of character with what little I've learned about her. You wouldn't invent such a vile slur just because you despise Caldicott and all she stands for, would you? But that's how it starts, and pretty soon you're "just making shit up".

                      Comparing Earth as the patient, Caldicott said, the planet is a terminally ill patient infected by nuclear weapons, yet has a chance for survival. "We are all the doctors of this planet and we all have the responsibility to work day and night," she said. [1983]

                      Leadersship for Social Change: Illuminating the Life of Dr. Helen Caldicott

                    • RedLogix

                      Can you please provide some evidence that Caldicott characterised humanity as "a disease infecting the planet" –

                      At exactly 2:41 in your linked video she asks "what is the disease infecting the planet" … and then goes on to clearly finger humanity, men in particular, as that disease.

                      As for her flat out lies, I've already provided the links detailing some of them. If you don't know much about nuclear science then she's very smooth and convincing. Like all true cons, she has the sincerity faked down to perfection.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      OK, so Caldicott said/asked (@2.41 minutes): "So what, what is the disease now infecting the planet? And who is or are responsible?"

                      Well, we've heard a lot about that today and yesterday, and there are many aspects and facets of the pathology which are so obvious to everyone. I [pr], I've never really understood why men kill. When I was a little girl I asked my father "But why do men rape women when they conquer a territory, 'cause the women have had nothing to do with it." I, he didn't know – my father was a wonderful man.

                      Um, I think a lot about nationalism and tribalism and patriotism. I was here, I flew in to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the night before 9/11 happened. I woke up in the morning to see the planes going to the World Trade Towers. I was to give a lecture that night to several thousand students, and as I was walking across the campus to have a swim one woman approached me and she said "Do you believe in Jesus?" And I said "No, I'm an atheist, and I'm a pantheist." And she said, she said "You will go to Hell" – like she psychologically hit me in the face. And I thought 'this is a strange place.'

                      And it turned out that they were very Christian on this campus. So I thought 'what am I going to say to these students tonight?' And they filed in ashen-faced, just white-faced; shocked. And so I got out Luke, and I read to them what Jesus said: "Love thine enemies and do good to those who hate you." And then I hoped and hoped that America would not seek vengeance."

                      What I heard was an expression of (IMHO rational) concern about some aspects of human psychology and behaviour – the idea that Caldicott is characterising humanity as "a disease infecting the planet" just doesn't compute. Maybe we each see/hear what we want to see/hear, or "We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are."

                  • arkie

                    Long-time nuclear waste warning messages are intended to deter human intrusion at nuclear waste repositories in the far future, within or above the order of magnitude of 10,000 years.


                    Due to the timescales involved when handling nuclear waste, designing deep geological repositories like WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant ) is one of the most challenging engineering problems ever faced by our species. But, as it turns out, the main problem has less to do with engineering, and more to do with linguistics: namely, how to design a warning message about the repository that will be intelligible to future generations of humans who might happen across it hundreds of thousands of years from now.


                    • Andre

                      Some of the newest generation design would use this waste as fuel.

                      The old designs that are used in currently operating nukes extract less than 1% of the available energy in the fuel going in. That's wasteful of the fuel, as well as creating the hazardous waste disposal problem. Then what does come out the end that's no longer useful as fuel has much shorter half-lives that its hazardous.



                    • RedLogix

                      It's a common misconception that a very long half life is inherently more dangerous. Actually it's the exact opposite. All other aspects being equal, it's the fissile isotopes with the very short half lives that are more dangerous to be around.

                      But otherwise Andre is right, the problem with the old solid fuel LWR reactors is that in order to protect the mechanical integrity of the fuel rods, they have to be removed when less than 1% of the U-235 is consumed. Which creates an unfortunately large volume of waste, and that's the real problem.

                      Reactors where the fuel is molten simply do not have this problem, and can be designed to consume pretty much any percentage of the fissile material you want, thus dramatically reducing the volume of waste.

                      Better still you have much more opportunity to post-process the fuel when it's in liquid form than when it's solid. This means that not only are you dealing with much smaller volumes, you have more control over exactly what isotopes are in the waste stream.

                      It's still not something to be treated lightly, but the problem is a far more reasonable one.

                    • arkie

                      Regardless of whether you are for or against nuclear power, and no matter what you think of nuclear weapons, the radioactive waste is already here, and we have to deal with it.


                      All these wastes can remain dangerously radioactive for many thousands of years. For that reason, they must be disposed of permanently, experts say. About a dozen countries, including Finland, Switzerland, and other European nations, are planning deep geological repositories for their nuclear waste. In the US, government officials have proposed storing the country’s waste in a repository beneath Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The site lies about 300 m below ground level and 300 m above the water table. But the Yucca Mountain site has gone in and out of favor with changes in the US’s leadership. For now, waste accumulates mainly where it’s generated—at the power plants and processing facilities. Some of it has been sitting in interim storage since the 1940s.

                    • RedLogix


                      Two people with strong engineering backgrounds have outlined that the information you are posting is misleading.

                      The new generation of molten salt reactors being developed will happily munch up this old solid fuel reactor waste as fuel. If you really are worried about this problem, then you should be strongly advocating for a new technology that will solve the problem.

                    • arkie

                      @RL Misleading huh?

                      I'm sure Gerald S. Frankel, Distinguished Professor of Engineering will glad to hear his work isn't needed, we just have to wait for next generation reactors to deal with the tonnes of pre-existing waste.

                      However it's going to require more 'socialism' than you're personally comfortable with:

                      The problem for developers of Generation IV nuclear power plants in western industrialized countries is that it may still be too early in the development process for investors and potential customers to bet significant money on the winners from an increasingly crowded field.

                      If the U.S., UK, France, Japan and and other nations with market economies that have championed the Gen IV designs want to catch up to these kinds of accomplishments in Russia and China, their governments will have to radically reconsider the levels of funding they are willing to commit to achieve these results.

                      Private sector investors can neither support this kind of funding alone nor take on the risks of failure associated with building first of a kind Gen IV reactors. Partnership with national nuclear energy laboratories are crucial and must focus on kicking working prototypes out the door to be further developed with commercial partners.


                    • RedLogix

                      @ arkie

                      However it's going to require more 'socialism' than you're personally comfortable with:

                      Not quite sure how you reach that conclusion. The ORNL MSR-E research reactor that I've frequently referenced was of course a 100% govt funded program. I fully agree it would never have been funded from the private sector.

                      Sadly being a govt funded program, it was also vulnerable to the whims of corrupt and ignorant politicians who pulled the funding because they wanted it to go to another pork barrel exercise elsewhere. (That turned out to be a technical dead end and a monumental waste of money.) So there's that aspect of 'socialism' to consider as well.

                      But virtually all of the recent progress in the field has been govt funded one way or another, and this is all a good thing as far as I'm concerned. The usual pattern is that govts take the risk on developing the early fundamentals, while the private sector is better at optimising the designs, and the mass rollout production phase.

                      Frankel's article on first scan reads very well and is consistent with all the other information I've encountered. Yes there are risks, but he goes into considerable detail on the various approaches currently being pursued. (My personal favourite, the MSR being only one of them.)

                • Draco T Bastard

                  They are, of course, using hyperbole to get across what they want without actually saying it which is the removal of regulations.

                  What's needed is an update of regulations taking into account the knowledge gained on the subject over the last few decades.

                  This applies to all legislation all of the time but industry doesn't like regulation at all which is why we keep hearing the BS about getting rid of the red tape.

              • Draco T Bastard

                And that the only places that have seriously embraced SWB, such as Germany, have seen electricity prices (and net CO2) rise dramatically.

                citation needed that proves causation

                • RedLogix

                  Oh dear.

                  And if you're going to demand a citation, you engage with the data and the argument. You don't get to dismiss it just because you don't like what it says.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    As I say, industry does itself no favours when it presents ideological BS.

                    • RedLogix

                      If you are going to demand a citation you either engage with it's content or accept it.

                      Otherwise don't demand I do your homework for you.

      • JohnSelway 3.2.2

        " Nuclear fission power is not only the safest known energy source, it's the most reliable and has EROI's in excess of 50. The development and mass adoption of new generation MSR designs (which is happening very rapidly right now) would permanently transform human economies and enable a dramatic expansion of development everywhere. "

        ^What he said

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.3

        Nuclear fission power is not only the safest known energy source, it's the most reliable and has EROI's in excess of 50.

        What is the EROI of nuclear power?

        Excited by this, I looked to corroborate the numbers. Looking on Wikipedia, I found these numbers from a study by Murphy and Hall (2010):

        Hmm, that's not so good. Nuclear is listed at "5 to 15" in the data, meaning from 5:1 to 15:1.

        Digging a bit further, I found that the literature is very divided on the EROI of nuclear, listing it at anywhere from 1:1 (i.e., uneconomical at any price) to 90:1 (i.e., the most bountiful energy source in history).

        Wikipedia has a good point on these variable numbers:

        EROEI is calculated by dividing the energy output by the energy input. Measuring total energy output is often easy, especially in the case for an electrical output where some appropriate electricity meter can be used. However, researchers disagree on how to determine energy input accurately and therefore arrive at different numbers for the same source of energy.

        If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

        • RedLogix

          These numbers are from reputable industry experts.

          Basically it depends a bit on the life cycle you allocate to the plant, but they give EROI's of 59 and 70. Much of it goes into the plant construction and decommissioning.

          And MSR's require far less steel and concrete and are much easier to decommission. They have physical footprints maybe less than 10% of the existing LWR designs, which directly correlates to that much less steel and concrete.

          So the EROI I suggested of 50 is way conservative.

          • Draco T Bastard

            And I'm sure that the study quoted was done by reputable scientists who didn't have an industry bias.

            The question of which to believe comes down to the actions of those in industry over the last few decades that have proven such sources to be less than reliable.

            • RedLogix

              Well in that case I reject any and all sources you may care to provide on the grounds that you've selected only the ones that suit your negative argument.

              And which ever way you care to cut it, quoting sources that only relate to an obsolete technology version that I’m NOT advocating for is entirely irrelevant anyway.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Well in that case I reject any and all sources you may care to provide on the grounds that you've selected only the ones that suit your negative argument.

                • You way of mentioning reputable industry experts was your way of dismissing the scientific report that you didn't like
                • You know as well as I do that its impossible to prove a negative
                • And industry really has done itself no favours over the decades as research that it provided to advocate for its position has been proved faulty and biased (just one example)

                quoting sources that only relate to an obsolete technology version that I’m NOT advocating for is entirely irrelevant anyway.

                2010 wasn't all that long ago and its difficult to quote numbers that don't exist.

                To me the big problem of nuclear power is still the waste.

                I still oppose it in NZ as building nuclear power reactors on the Ring of Fire is contra-indicated no matter how safe that they can be built – we have to work on the fact that nature can bypass that safety.

                So, small nuclear reactors powering ships and producing minimal waste.

                • RedLogix

                  Well I've taken something of an interest in this topic for some years now, and over time you get a sense of who is reliable, and world-nuclear org is one of the most sober ones out there. These people are real world engineering association and they aren't in the business of putting up fake information that can be easily discredited.

                  As for the waste problem; well as I said above, if you really are serious about this then you should strongly welcome the new generation of MSR's that can readily use existing waste stockpiles as fuel.

                  As for whether this new generation of reactors should be used in NZ, I'm reasonably agnostic. Like Australia our solar renewable potential is pretty good, and it's quite achieveable for NZ to get to 100% electricity without nuclear.

                  On the other hand it's not helpful to overstate the engineering risks; keep in mind that even in very large earthquakes industrial plant actually performs really well from a structural safety point of view. A massive volcano that consumes the plant might be a possibility, but in that case I think you'd have bigger problems to worry about. Unlike all existing reactors, all the new generation designs are explicitly designed to be 'walk away safe' in all rational scenarios.

                  Most of the problems people are having here is that they're projecting poorly understood mis-information that simply isn't relevant to the technology I'm talking about. It's like worrying about air pollution from an electric car.

  3. greywarshark 4

    Heditere in NZ is an outrage! https://www.rnz.co.nz/programmes/here-we-are/story/2018772391/woman-evicted-with-3-hours-notice-for-being-transgender

    "Final Notice" was the subject line of the email sent to Kristine Ablinger just before 1pm on a Monday afternoon.
    It was from her flatmate who owned a three-bedroom house in Auckland's Birkenhead. Kristine rented a small room with a little balcony and a sliver of a sea view. The room felt perfect – cosy and private. A space of Kristine's own, where she would be safe when she began taking hormones.
    However, there was no greeting in the body of the message from her flatmate.

    "I think you need to know that William told me that you felt that you had found a safe place to transition and I have to say that this is a BIG issue," it began. "So without being offensive … I need to honestly let you know that although I don't have issues with transexual transgender etc, in general, I don't want any part of that in my house [sic]." …

    "I am not your mother and I do not need to be involved in this kind of thing, which is not something I believe in at all", it continued. "I have tried to tolerate it and be supportive because I realise that this is you and who you are. Unfortunately, I don't like it at all. I find it extremely offensive."

    How can this be in NZ – or anywhere? Such short term notice? For not doing anything harmful to the property or the landlord. What is our human rights legislation for but to provide practical backing to us so we can be treated fairly!

    Also what a hypocritical load of BS – "I need to honestly let you know that although I don't have issues with transexual transgender etc, in general, I don't want any part of that in my house [sic]." The point here is that the landlord does have issues with it, and doesn't want to be involved closely with someone going through a sex change in their house. So stating that is their right. And this person has a room only and presumably would share all other facilities. But throwing out this otherwise perfectly okay tenant at the drop of a hat is extreme and there should be a mandatory period of one month notice with no withdrawal of facilities or freedom. That would be showing respect for both parties' views. The landlord should not be allowed to be so arbitrary.

    There is an important point at the bottom of all this. Some thoughts from experience. Don't tell all about yourself on-line, to anybody and everybody and particularly – anyone who has power to deny you something, take something away from you. Don't lie to people, tell them honestly the minimum of what they require, but don't burble your personal life and thoughts. You never know from looking at people and from short conversations with them, what rules their minds, hearts and souls. You will find out eventually by thinking about what they say, and taking note of what they do. The person behind the facade may surprise you; there will be another side to them, propensities which you will define good or bad depending on your own.

    • Treetop 4.1

      I cannot see what the rush was for the owner to ask the flatmate to leave in 3 hours. I was aware that without a contract a flatmate can be asked to leave with next to no notice which is unreasonable. There is a process for an eviction but not for a flatmate without a contract. Even if not disclosing transitioning this could have happened to Kristen.

      People who have fought for the right to not be discriminated against are still being discriminated against and this needs to be looked into.

  4. Herodotus 5

    David Cunliffe slams Auckland Council's $1.4b paper losses as 'incompetent'- Whist PR can spin this as a paper loss – There is also a real term consequence in that council is paying interest costs higher than would be if paying the floating rate – So more rate income is directed to interest than with hind sight would be.

    In treasury depts I have been involved in only a portion of the debt would have such a mechanism attached and there would be varying tenures of time e.g. 1,3,5 year terms


  5. joe90 6

    A thread on monumental stupidity.


  6. Tiger Mountain 7

    “RCEP”-Oh well, there goes any chance of stopping raw log exports to build houses in NZ!

    NZ would be far better off as an independent, non aligned nation, doing mutually advantageous bilateral trade deals.

    But of course we have 5 Eyes standing on our throat, and international finance capital in the form of Australian banks.

    RCEP seems to be opposed by some as it chops the yanks out and may aid China. Well tough, Trump’s US effectively chopped NZ out. Global trade agreements are usually bad news for small and non imperialist countries, so Labour has made another serious blunder (or great move no doubt if you are of the Blairite persuasion).

    • Treetop 7.1

      China not in the RCEP and India did not sign. News at 1pm that Covid found on NZ export of frozen meat to China. Not sure of the source of contact or how trade with China could be affected.

      NZ might get a good trade deal with the UK. I would be wary of trade with the EU as the UK left the EU.

  7. greywarshark 8

    Can we stop this experiment with our society and not monetise parenting any longer? Parenting is derided, with jaundiced views, and the action is in replacing it with farming children, with vague notions of kibbutzes and that they worked well? They began in a different time and a different society which had ties and shared values. Here government tears down values, such as parent-run, whanau-run kindergartens and makes it hard for the parents to continue often with excessive demands for improved conditions appropriate for businesses looking for profit.


    A thousand early childhood teachers have so little confidence in the early learning centres they work in that they wouldn't send their own children there.

    What modern women's dream was – the opportunity to have a career, take time out to bring up their small number of children, and then have a satisfying working life in the community. They would work hard at both jobs, but the parenting was important. It would be nice to have two parents involved in bringing up the family, but single or solo parents would also follow this pattern. What they needed was to keep involved in training, and be able to boost their small income on top of a reasonable benefit, and it would be good if their regular workshops with speakers, and a sort of club so that single parents could get to know each other, and be advised what help was available.

    Instead mothers were allowed to work which was not so accepted mid century, but as time went on and the single parent numbers grew, they were forced out to work, the children left in some sort of care, and the training and skills part was withdrawn. The healthy program was gutted, and now it's a bare bones approach and society shows it in many ways. The good thinkers need to come to the fore and restore the parents to a high priority, winning spot; perhaps the deadheads could regard it as a sport, seeing that is all that some people seem to care about supporting.

    • Treetop 8.1

      Childcare centres have a lot in common with rest homes, it is about the profit and not the care of those in the centre.

      Qualified ECE teachers are underpaid compared to kindergarten teachers. Primary care nurses (GP and rest homes) are underpaid compared to DHB nurses. Rest home workers and some ECE employees are under skilled for the work they do.

      If parents want to own a home they both need to work, not like 20 years ago when homes were affordable.

      • JanM 8.1.1

        So right, Treetop, although there are exceptions (not nearly enough!). As an ece lecturer (recently retired) I have spent time in centres I wouldn't let the hotel cat into, let alonr a child! They have become businesses rather than centres of education under the profit-making private ownership model and we have gone from being an internationally respected ece country with our amazing bi-cultural curriculum and our high standard of teacher training to a shameful embarrassment as quality was able to slide furthet and furthrr down the scale in the interests of profit. Add to that the fact that the choice to work for women became a necessity as the price of living became too much, in most cases, for the single earner to bear and you have a recipe for near disaster!

  8. RedLogix 9

    Oddly enough I'm not particularly interested in banging on about MSR's and nuclear energy at great length here. It's pertinent to the OP, but tangential, and I've been over this ground before.

    The core argument of the OP is focussed on how we might re-order our energy and economic systems to take better account of the both human and planetary health. The default 'greenie' approach to this challenge is 'de-power' and transition to something different. (And some more extreme activists demand 'die-off' as well.)

    This is all well and good, except we should take note that some 85% of the world's population pretty much live like this already. It's a condition generally called 'poverty' and if you ask the people doing it, they mostly would prefer something better.

    Now that 'something better' absolutely does not have to be emulating the inefficiencies of the developed world, and especially not the USA. They have every opportunity to leap frog the developmental stages we went through, and go directly to systems that are truly better than what we are doing at present.

    And that is a much more interesting and challenging question than merely 'de-powering'.

    [TheStandard: A moderator moved this comment to Open Mike as being off topic or irrelevant in the post it was made in. Be more careful in future.]

    • Drowsy M. Kram 9.1

      I understand why 'de-powering' is uninteresting to some, but it will be very challenging.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Not challenging at all … shutting things down is easy peasy. Politically messy though because no-one votes to go backwards.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          My understanding of the 'de-powering' strategy is not the same as yours – it encompasses the very challenging consequences of "shutting things down".

          Who is “we”?

          We should learn from the low-energy societies and experiments within today’s societies, but those good examples don’t offer a program for moving from the current state of most of the planet (high-energy, unsustainable) to where we need to be (low-energy, sustainable). Because no one can imagine what such a program would look like, people are quick to embrace a “technological fundamentalism” that pretends we can continue at high-energy levels through some magical combination of innovation and renewable energy, which are important but cannot keep the contemporary world afloat.
          The “we” is us, Homo sapiens, the primate with the big brain. The first farmers, the first smelters of ore, the first people who tapped fossil fuels to do work in machines—all of them contributed to the mess we are in, but without knowledge of the consequences of their actions. We can say of those early carbon-seekers, “Forgive them, for they know not what they did” (Luke 23:34).

          Today, we know what we do. The question is, can we—all of us—face what lies ahead without diversion and without illusion?"


          Shutters Flailing

          Shutters flailing viral winds
          Mind eye flashing gold
          Designs of maladroit wine boats
          Rocking shipshake harbors
          On my droopy curtains

          Sweet Suzy muse never forgets my address
          Drops off provisions
          Flipping bad luck coins
          Like hot cakes griddle bound
          To the sunrise…

          Leapfrog fantasies
          Kind of blue nights
          Late winter Paris

          Mother earth freaking
          Miracle balm on our last sundown legs

          Used to trip on window pane
          Now it’s tryptophane
          Sleep away this nightmare, nevertheless
          Ship ahoy, mates!


        • RedLogix

          Because no one can imagine what such a program would look like,

          That's because the idea that you can somehow de-power and economy back to pre-industrial levels, and somehow retain all the material benefits of an high energy industrial economy … is pure magical thinking.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            The idea that ‘we‘ could “somehow retain all the material benefits of an high energy industrial economy” is indeed “pure magical thinking” – one would have to be in the grip of a debilitating delusion to assert such a thing.

            "I can foresee that getting underway before 2030."

            2029, 2028? I can hardly wait – "pure magical thinking" you say?

            • RedLogix

              There are a number of different approaches to the engineering and delivery of next gen MSR's. Thorcon have adopted a very straightforward methodology that, barring unforeseen political problems, could easily deliver real machines by 2030.

              Just three years ago the progress we've made even to this moment, seemed highly unlikely.

              Keep in mind the basics of all this were done and dusted back in the 60's. If only fucking Nixon hadn't cancelled the program, the chances are we'd not be having this conversation about climate change at all.

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Magical last sentence – germ of an 'alternative history' sci-fi / fantasy novel.

                In these 'pandemic times', Stewart’s “The Earth Abides” has taken on a new poignancy for me. “He becomes reconciled to the way things have changed.

                • RedLogix

                  The MSR-E program at ORNL was an outstanding technical success for a purely experimental program. It ran for over four years with absolutely no hazardous incidents.


                  The team fully expected to go on to build a 50MW commercial pilot reactor and were deeply shocked when it didn't.

                  There is nothing 'scifi' ; about any of this at all. With their inherently much better safety profile, and much lower construction costs there is every reason to suppose that a successful MSR nuclear power program could have evolved during the 70's and 80's, eventually dominating the electricity generation industry and more. In such a scenario coal would have been on the phase out by 2000 at the latest, and most of the accumulated fossil carbon would never have happened.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    There is nothing ‘scifi’ ; about any of this at all.

                    Was referring to the alternative history ("If only") in your last sentence @ In truth we can never know, but belief is a powerful thing.

    • Phillip ure 9.2

      Good points..and an example of that leap-frogging has already happened..with telephone systems in africa..they went from none to mobile..leap-frogging the poles/lines etc in the developed world..(assenting 'greenie' here…much of what the green-movement does/aspires to…is just pissing about the edges of the actual problems..the examples are legion..)

      • RedLogix 9.2.1

        Let's just assume for the sake of argument that we have cheap, abundant, fossil carbon free energy. I don't care how, let's just go with this pre-supposition. Let's go one step further and go with the idea that effectively unlimited energy would allow us to recycle 95% or more resources, metals, fresh water and so on.

        Now start to think about how the entire world, because this is a problem we solve globally or not at all, would look like if we did this.

        There are two ways this can go, in a model predicated on the ancient 'growth at all costs' driver, motivated primarily by competition and sexual selection, then it's easy to imagine the outcome as something like the current US on steroids. Only everywhere.

        On the other hand as the world develops the population pyramids invert, and we get more older adults everywhere than younger ones. Older people have different priorities as a rule, they're more interested in investing (in the broadest sense of the word) and incomes to sustain them through old age. And we're right on the cusp of making this massive transition right now, in these first few years of this decade.

        And it's a trend that will only become more entrenched as this century progresses. This changes everything. We've never been here before, and none of our economic systems have encountered anything like this. Now we could go all gloomy and doomy over this; but in terms of the problem the OP poses, it's actually a remarkable synchronicity, as societies develop, they generally get older and seek more sustainable lifestyles.

        Here's my big picture; in order to get to the destination we all want, healthy societies in a sustainable balance with a healthy planet, I'm arguing we need to extend the process of human development everywhere as fast as possible. (And this of course is only possible given the pre-suppositions of my first para.)

        So if we really want to do this, how does this look politically?

        • Phillip ure

          I posted a long reply to this comment..it seems to have vanished..is it awaiting moderation..?

    • RedLogix 9.3


      You are falling back into your bad old habits of moderating on the basis of personal animosity.

      • weka 9.3.1

        my animosity today is fairly evenly spread. If people want to have side conversations sparked by my post, I'm completely ok with this. Where they're off topic they belong in Open Mike.

        • Phillip ure

          Have my comments been trashed..?

          • Ad

            Who can tell?

            • Phillip ure

              Get thee to a stand-up open-mike nite ..!..such alonquin roundtable standards of wit must be shared with the world…

              • Phillip ure

                But seriously…as a labour party loyalist..how are you feeling about what the leaders have said so far…and how much transformation do you think we can expect during the rest of this term of government..?..and in what areas in particular..?

    • weka 9.4

      Powerdown isn't de-power (whatever that is). Powerdown is also, specifically, not about inducing society-wide poverty, and it's not about living like the poorest people in the world. I even put references in the post.

      I've got little patience these days for people (not just you) using my posts to run their hobby horse arguments. If you want to ignore the basic premises and purpose of the post, then please use Open Mike.

      • RedLogix 9.4.1

        And just today we ordered a copy of Holmgren's book RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future. A$85 as it happens.

        You constantly misread my intent, and I can only conclude personal malice is the reason.

        Because while everything Susan Krumdieck is talking about is well and good, and truly I'm not throwing rocks at he motivations … we also have to be aware of the limitations she does not address. Most because the lifestyle changes she is talking about are still only possible when they're embedded in a larger industrial society.

        To give a crude example, people will still want to have access to fully modern medical systems. No-one for instance is going to tolerate a return to infant mortality rates that saw fully 50% of children die before the age of five. (And this was a reality in even my own family just four generations prior to myself.)

      • Phillip ure 9.4.2

        @weka..do you consider stopping farming/eating animals…given the size of that global-footprint..(not to mention all the soy etc grown to feed them…fuel to transport around the globe)..do you regard that change as falling within the scope of yr posted topic..?

        • weka

          Powering down would see local food as a priority, and regenag, rather than veganism. No need to feed animals soy, or for a country like NZ to import animal products from places that do.

          • Phillip ure

            So that would mean no exporting..?..and the attendant animal welfare issues are of no import..?

            • weka

              NZ not exporting?

              What animal welfare issues? As you already know I am not against killing animals for meat and that I place a high priority on animal husbandry that lessens suffering (eg basically an end to industrial dairying, and instead growing dairy products ethically and regeneratively for local consumption, as well as export for countries in need).

              • Phillip ure

                'what animal welfare issues'..(!)..seriously..?..and IMHO there is no way animal slavery/killing/eating …with all the horrors inherent..is/can be 'ethical'…no matter how you package the rotting carcass..and no mention of that very large environmental footprint in yr list of things to do..?..I can't see any reason for that..

                • weka

                  Plenty of animals are raised and cared for humanely /shrug. If you can't be bothered being specific there's not much point in talking is there.

                  • Phillip ure

                    I'll pass on doing a primer for you on the animal welfare issues inherent in farming of animals…save to note that the worst things are done to female animals..from the serial-pregnancies.short/brutish life of the farmed/milked cow..to the oscenities of the farrowing crates female pigs are confined in..female chooks etc in harrowing conditions…I would submit that animal slavery is also a feminist issue..

  9. Ad 10

    Greg Presland and David Cunliffe are having a crack at Auckland Council's Treasury locking in debt at far higher rates than the current market… effectively foregoing $1.4 billion of funding that would have been available if they'd put it on shorter contracts and gained from lower rates.


    This will come to a head at the Auckland Council Finance Committee meeting this Thursday.

    Pretty mean if you are one of the hundreds who have been sent packing from Council through shortage of funding.

  10. Phillip ure 11

    So the nation stops @ 4 pm to hear j.ardern going into great detail on what she is doing for the upcoming week..(!)..w.t.f. was that all about..?..I think a lot of us couldn’t care less about what she is doing day by day…we just want her to do what she promised she would do..

    • Tiger Mountain 11.1

      Not going to happen, unless significantly pressured into it. I don’t begrudge anyone feeling grateful for Jacinda and Robbo’s Govt., for a few brief weeks in Level 4 lockdown, putting people before capital. But it is past time to push back. Including recovering some of the billions ladled out to employers whether they needed it or not, and like CHH and Fletchers still stole workers annual leave, and did not pass on the full bailout amounts.

      Which brings me to the 60 NGOs that wrote the PM a letter suggesting benefits be raised. Those organisations, and the people they serve and represent, could perhaps become an extra Parliamentary opposition, an Alliance for community organisation with a focus on action.

      All those new Labour MPs should have their Electorate Offices regularly picketed and visited. No Labour Minister should appear anywhere without placards and a group, large or small, reminding them of what they have not done for the NZ working class and underclass, and what they have done for corporates, SMEs, tin pot small business operators, rentiers, speculators, landlords, and property owning middle classes.

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        Yes the Inquisition must be unrelenting. We are past the comfy chair for recalcitrant Labourites. I think I asked who the old guard would be who would be nicely managing and navigating the Good Ship Lollipop around the reefs of actual breakthrough so no holes get in the hull before the next election. I probably didn't get an answer last time – but a list of the likely suspects would be interesting.

        A litmus test for politicians to find out who is pregnant with valuable ideas that could be delivered before mid-year 2121 and who is sterile would be handy!

    • McFlock 11.2

      I thought the briefing was important because some people wanted to know if they'd be locked down again.

      • Phillip ure 11.2.1

        Did you hear it..?..if so you could not have missed the opening being the contents of her appointment diary for the next week..(!)..and it was well signaled that the press conference was about mask wearing..not about closedown…did you hear it..?

    • solkta 11.3

      OMG! Was i meant to stop? Did i break the law?

      • Phillip ure 11.3.1

        Yes..you will be tested on it in due course..nation must stop and listen to the words of the great leader/incrementalist..

    • observer 11.4

      It's the post-Cabinet press conference and it's been the custom for every PM, for decades. Including her upcoming schedule.

      The nation doesn't "stop at 4 pm". And I note you commented at 4.12 pm, when Hipkins and Ardern were still speaking, which was followed by half an hour of them taking reporters' questions on a range of topics – as usual. And the news was pretty important.

      A reminder: no MPs have been sworn in. Parliament has not started. Next week the government will set out its programme ("speech from the throne").

      Again, standard procedure. Have attention spans diminished so far that we've become sugar-filled kids in the back seat … "are we there yet?".

      • Phillip ure 11.4.1

        Seeing as the 'there's were promised to us before the first term of this government…our impatience @ non-delivery/broken promises can hardly be accused of being premature..and will she deliver in this ‘programme’..?..or will it be yet another exercise in neoliberal incrementalism..?..with a sauce of delayed gratification of any of the measly offers that tattered ideology serves up..

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