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IAEA Forms Nuclear Fuel Bank

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-withdrawals dept.

Government 224

Kemeno writes "The International Atomic Energy Agency voted on Friday to form a nuclear fuel bank to help developing countries acquire nuclear fuel without having to enrich uranium themselves. Warren Buffet contributed 50 million dollars to a pool of 150 million with contributions from many different countries. The goal of the program is to provide countries with a source of low-grade enriched uranium suitable for fueling reactors but not for creating nuclear weapons."

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224 comments

This is truly fantasic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34441978)

Besides, what could possibly go wrong?

give a man a fish (-1, Troll)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34441986)

and you keep him reliant on you for life.

Remember, only the white man is civilised enough to play with dangerous toys.

Re:give a man a fish (4, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442058)

So from your sarcastic comment, you believe that it's a good idea for, say, the Somali warlords to have nuclear weapons? Fascinating.

Re:give a man a fish (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442068)

You're a retard.

Re:give a man a fish (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442078)

No I think he is saying "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for life."
I don't think any current nuclear powered countries would appreciate their fuel supplies controlled and rationed by a central body.

If this is the best way, lead by example and have your fuel supplies controlled by a third party.

Oh.. you don't want to do that? National security issues? I thought so.
It is pretty hard to eat your own dog food.

Re:give a man a fish (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442082)

I got that part. It was the "only the white man..." part that seemed a little, well, stupid. Of course racist, too, but it was against caucasians so it's OK.

Re:give a man a fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442124)

Then why didn't you say that?
Talking about Somali warlords having nuclear weapons is not the same as calling someone a racist.
I call bullshit.

Re:give a man a fish (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442350)

"No I think he is saying "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for life."

Actually, if you teach a man to fish, he will waste untold hours drinking beer and loafing.
Careful analysis has shown this to be true. I fish.

Re:give a man a fish (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442126)

Not mean too much

Buy World Of Warcraft (WOW) Gold [buy-worldo...t-gold.com]

Re:give a man a fish (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442394)

When US warlords have nuclear weapons and they are the only one on the earth which have used it twice, why not others?

US has started/participated perhaps more than 50 wars in recent history. It is definitely not a responsible country.

Re:give a man a fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442218)

Remember, only the white man is civilised enough to play with dangerous toys.

Honestly, yes. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. The rich countries have a lot to lose, so we should be in control of weapons this powerful.

Asimov's Foundation (2)

ensignyu (417022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442364)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientism_(Foundation) [wikipedia.org]

The Foundation presents nuclear (atomic) power as a religion, allowing their uncivilized neighbors access to the technology without understanding how it worked. Maintenance is done through ritual and ceremonies.

The original story was published in 1942.

Well sure (4, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442384)

So long as the Chinese are now white.

And the Indians.

Of course those are just the two major non "white man" countries with nuclear weapons. Other countries have nuclear power, but not weapons. Brazil and Taiwan to name two.

The thing is it would be nice to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of crazies and unstable countries. Nuclear weapons aren't dangerous, and even can help prevent war, but only when they are in the hands of people who are loathe to use them. So long as they act as nothing but deterrents, they are fine. Not saying we might not be better off without them, but when they play only a deterrence role there's no problem.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, is something good for everyone. Modern reactors are very safe. It is a good way to cheaply supply a lot of energy, and a society needs energy to improve quality of life. Poor countries face many challenges, but energy is one of them and nuclear energy could really help out.

This creates a problem though. If they can turn the energy tools in to weapons, well then you can end up having nuclear arms in the hands of people who would use them out of spite, ignorance, etc. If you don't believe that have a look at the Vice Travel Guide to Liberia. We are talking about places where soldiers sacrificed children and ate their hearts.

Thus you can see while getting them nuclear power would be nice, countries want to make sure they don't get nuclear weapons with it.

I don't particularly mind the US or China having nuclear weapons. I really can't see either ever using them capriciously. I would mind Liberia or Congo having them because all it takes is whatever warlord gets them having an attack of the crazies and a lot of people are going to die.

Re:Well sure (1, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442476)

'Modern reactors are very safe. '

Insurance companies don't believe that for some reason.

Re:Well sure (4, Insightful)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442486)

'Modern reactors are very safe. '

Insurance companies don't believe that for some reason.

Well, yes. They can make more money that way.

Re:Well sure (4, Interesting)

craklyn (1533019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442536)

According to the World Nuclear Association [world-nuclear.org] :

All nuclear reactors, at least in the west, are insured. Not only so, they are a sought-after risk because of their high engineering and operational standards. Beyond the cover for individual plants there are national and international pooling arrangements for comprehensive cover.

Perhaps the World Nuclear Association has some bias or they're refering to something different than you are. It's hard to evaluate that since you don't include a source, though.

Re:Well sure (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442538)

Insurance companies don't believe that for some reason.

It's not what they believe. It's what they don't know and the size of the don't knows. Some of them are physical (like the infamous "meltdown") and some of them are political (like being liable to pay out to a zillion people for a radiation leak that couldn't hurt one person).

Re:Well sure (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442510)

Of course those are just the two major non "white man" countries with nuclear weapons. Other countries have nuclear power, but not weapons. Brazil and Taiwan to name two.

And Brazil had a nuclear weapons program and gave it up. Then there's Pakistan, decidedly non white... and North Korea too.
 
So the OP is decidedly ignorant of the nuclear geography of the world, or just ignorant period.

Re:Well sure (2)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442568)

Nuclear weapons aren't dangerous, and even can help prevent war, but only when they are in the hands of people who are loathe to use them. So long as they act as nothing but deterrents, they are fine. Not saying we might not be better off without them, but when they play only a deterrence role there's no problem.

They're harmless as long as they're just lying around, sure. But there has to be a system in place for their use, wouldn't be much of a deterrent otherwise. And those systems cannot be perfect, there will be and have been grave errors of judgement, occasions where a nuclear strike was way too likely for anybody's comfort level. Things happen, people make errors, and wielding that much destructive force the probability for errors needs to be zero. And it isn't.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, is something good for everyone. Modern reactors are very safe. It is a good way to cheaply supply a lot of energy, and a society needs energy to improve quality of life.

Nuclear energy is not cheap. A large part of its costs are paid for by taxes and don't directly show up on the power bill, so it appears cheap. It puts a large burden on a nation's economy, lots of money that could be better spent on researching viable alternatives imho.
Also, the current "solution" of nuclear waste disposal has a price tag of infinity, as the disposal sites have to be monitored and maintained for an infinite amount of time.

The security concerns for nuclear weapons also apply to nuclear plants, making the reactors, no matter how safe, not safe enough. The cost of something going wrong cannot be overestimated.

Re:Well sure (2)

DrKnark (1536431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442654)

This creates a problem though. If they can turn the energy tools in to weapons, well then you can end up having nuclear arms in the hands of people who would use them out of spite, ignorance, etc

These countries will be subject to stringent control through the IAEA safeguards program. Which means this: any hint of an enrichment facility being constructed, and the country is completely cut off from any outside help, be it nuclear physics education or uranium trading etc.

An enrichment facility capable of producing anything remotely usable for weapons is a hell of a lot harder to build than a facility used for creating nuclear fuel. The whole point of this is to keep these countries from building enrichment facilities at all.

Re:give a man a fish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442482)

Do you really want people like THIS to have nukes?
http://www.cracked.com/article_18850_7-modern-dictators-way-crazier-than-you-thought-possible.html

Re:give a man a fish (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442550)

Do you know who Warren Buffet is or anything about him...?

Re:give a man a fish (3, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442604)

Not that old saw again. This program would allow countries to run nuclear power plants without having to develop a hugely expensive supporting industry. The same way African countries currently import cars rather than having to develop a car industry from scratch. It's just another way of bootstrapping the economy.

IKEA forms nuclear fuel bank (2)

faulteh (1869228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34441992)

This has to be the best addition to the IKEA catalog yet! Grab my tape measure, allen key and let's go shopping!

Re:IKEA forms nuclear fuel bank (4, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442034)

I dunno, I think their last addition [posterous.com] to the catalog was still better.

Neat-o. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34441996)

Any new power plants being planned in your country?

Mitigate Proliferation risk? (2)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442000)

Can you poison the fuel used in the rods so that it can't be used in weapons at all without starting the enrichment process over from the beginning? I understand that you need 70-90% U-235 for a weapon and only about 3% to run a reactor. But 3% enriched fuel is a better starting point for making a weapon than raw ore, is it not?

Re:Mitigate Proliferation risk? (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442036)

3% enriched fuel is a better starting point for making a weapon than raw ore

If you have uranium mines in own country and want to start clandestine manufacture of nuclear weapons, buying nuclear fuel is not better starting point. If you buy nuclear fuel, you show that you have nuclear technology, but you still don't have weapons that enforce MAD or make you nuclear weapon club member. Purchased nuclear fuel is still controlled by nuclear club.

Re:Mitigate Proliferation risk? (1)

Riddler Sensei (979333) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442040)

But I suppose the idea behind this is that if you are building enriching facilities WHILE receiving fuel from this bank, that's suspicious. As opposed to the situation of, "Oh well, they have facilities but they say it's just for fuel but let's get a UN committee to herp a derp a didalee derp....in case it's for weapons".

Re:Mitigate Proliferation risk? (1)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442042)

There's no need to worry about proliferation... Now excuse me...

Come Mr. Bigglesworth

*places pinky to mouth*

Re:Mitigate Proliferation risk? (2)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442090)

Why worry about proliferation? Isn't an armed society supposed to be a polite society? Or does that not extend to nation states, especially nation states apart from the US?

prerequisites (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442152)

government solidly in control

government elected by people

people lack severe ethnic/religion/language/race bias

not about to get blitzkreiged by a neighbor

Re:prerequisites (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442178)

So, the question remains. You oppose giving unstable states weapons of war - do you oppose giving unstable persons handguns? The logic is the same.

Re:Mitigate Proliferation risk? (0)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442260)

Or does that not extend to nation states, especially nation states apart from the US?

Individuals are polite because they are rational: they know that there is only one of them, that they can die, and stockpiling weapons is just a big money sink after a while, as it is not as if they can use them to get more money. The State has a... different view of things. It views weapons as an investment, because when there is no more money, it can, being sovereign, use it to take the money of others (until it is domestically exhausted and the rest of the world is fed up with it's belligerency). Also, if it starts a fight, there is usually no shortage of ants to march into the fire. This makes the surrounding nations worry about The States increasing ambition for power, so they have to start spending, lest they be the ones who fall to The State's new weapons first, especially if they have some strategic resource. Which means... arms race, fuck yeah! What is really nice is when The State can set up a military-industrial complex to maximize the amount of weapons made before the money is exhausted.
tl;dr: More bombs means more arrogance.

Re:Mitigate Proliferation risk? (3, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442278)

Excuse me a second, just pissed myself laughing. Individuals are rational? Seriously?

Re:Mitigate Proliferation risk? (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442368)

Yes, individuals are rational. Groups where every member can't read every other member is where reason and coherency start to break down (usually).

Re:Mitigate Proliferation risk? (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442046)

I think you mean fuel dispersion. The 'fuel' is all going to be U-235.

Re:Mitigate Proliferation risk? (4, Informative)

geogob (569250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442066)

If you don't have enrichment capabilities, whether you start at 3% or at 0.1% is pretty much irrelevant. And assuming you could have those enrichment capabilities, using enough 3% enriched material to reach the 70-90% you state for a usable amount of weapon-grate material will required a huge quantity of low-grade fuel. This fuel quantity, most likely way above the consumption of your power plants, will raise red flags before you can do anything with it. Also, I bet someone will notice that not spent fuel rods come out of your reactors...

The risk of someone in a 3rd world county of using this fuel in an enrichment process is ridiculously low. I would be more worried about the possibility to see this fuel disappear due to corruption or lack of proper security and see it end up in dirty bombs.

Enrichment for weapon grade fuel production is way overrated and is more a modern political lever than a real threat.

the risk is high (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442156)

Once you have reactor grade fuel, you can create plutonium. That only requires an easy chemical separation, so you won't be needing centrifuges.

Re:the risk is high (1)

Iskender (1040286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442578)

Once you have reactor grade fuel, you can create plutonium. That only requires an easy chemical separation, so you won't be needing centrifuges.

I don't know if this is the case, but I'll assume it's true. Luckily plutonium is tricky: there are several isotopes in it all the time, and no one separates them. Some of the isotopes want to do things that stop the runaway nuclear reaction.

So uranium is ridiculously hard to enrich and plutonium is ridiculously hard to explode. We're very lucky this happens to be the case. North Korea's first nuclear test is widely regarded to have fizzled because they couldn't handle plutonium properly, for instance. It's doable (I seem to remember NK getting it right the second time) but it requires lots of money, which North Korea for instance only has because the rulers only concentrate on their own power.

Excellent (3, Interesting)

Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442006)

1. get clean energy to people in the developing world.
2. getting rid of people who oppose nuclear power in the developed world.
2. build nuclear plants.
3. synthesising gasoline and diesel fuel [aaenvironment.com] with nuclear power.
4. no more CO2!!! profit!

Notice: no ?????? mark step.

Re:Excellent (1)

LordOfLead (1121501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442120)

?????? should be step 0. Nuclear power isn't clean energy, wind, water and solar power are.

Re:Excellent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442132)

ROTFL, your REALLY think that?

Pity all of them have non-trivial environmental impacts (negative, of course).

But hey, dont let reality get in the way of your religion.

Re:Excellent (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442188)

Water might have huge environmental impacts - but wind and solar?

Alright you need a ton of energy to make a photovoltaic cell - but you still get a net energy profit, and its not like we're running low on Silicon or anything...

Still better than radioactive waste...

Re:Excellent (4, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442242)

Radioactive waste is a false argument. Breeder reactors would allow you to use up radioactive "waste" until it reached a point where it could be safely landfilled. Politics is the issue, not technology is the issue with regards to this in the US.

Re:Excellent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442192)

ROTFL, your REALLY think that?

Pity all of them have non-trivial environmental impacts (negative, of course).

But hey, dont let reality get in the way of your religion.

Even though it gets tiring, the best way to help these people out is education.

Wind Power: Used as less than 2% of our current energy. Creates noise pollution. Kills wildlife. Not reliable in certain world locations. Other than that, "green" (note the quotation marks)
Water Power: Used as about 8% of our current energy. Requires rerouting nature's streams, and in some cases local life (both wild and not). Given plenty of water and gravity, "green".
Solar Power: Used as less than 2% of our current energy. Needs a bunch of nasty stuff like arsenic, chromium, lead to make the panels. Given increases in technology and panel recycling, "green"
Nuclear Power: Used at about 20% of our current energy. Requires nuclear material. High energy to waste ratio. Given good waste storage practices, "green".

When it comes down to it, Water and Nuclear are the top two "green" power sources there. Wind and Solar suck pretty hard. Water and Nuclear technology is here right now. Both are mature, both are proven, both can reduce our supposed greenhouse gas problem.

Wind and solar take up too much space and are still infant technologies. Both have issues with storing energy in off-hour periods. Nuclear plants can nuke 24/7, and the tides will drive hydroelectric dams 24/7.

It's pretty much a no-brainer.

Re:Excellent (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442672)

Wind Power: [...]

It's not like mining coal or uranium or creating a water plant's reservoir doesn't kill wildlife. Or that any other form of powerplant doesn't create noise pollution. Sure they don't work everywhere, but that's hardly an argument not to use them where they do.

Water Power: Used as about 8% of our current energy. Requires rerouting nature's streams, and in some cases local life (both wild and not). Given plenty of water and gravity, "green".

The reservoir created when building those dams produce a huge amount of methane, producing more greenhouse gas per MW than modern coal plants. Not green.

Solar Power: Used as less than 2% of our current energy. Needs a bunch of nasty stuff like arsenic, chromium, lead to make the panels. Given increases in technology and panel recycling, "green"

In it's current state, correct. Maybe some further research and development makes it more viable, one can't really tell. There aren't many alternatives though, yet.

Nuclear Power: Used at about 20% of our current energy. Requires nuclear material. High energy to waste ratio. Given good waste storage practices, "green".

Nuclear power is extremely expensive, if you count its impact on the national economy, the infinite cost of storing dangerous waste infinitely, and especially the cost when something does go wrong - which has a probability of non-zero. Huge amounts of money that could be invested in truly sustainable power sources.

It is not a no-brainer. Tidal power plants might work, but I wouldn't exactly call it proven. Traditional river water power plants have the above mentioned drawbacks. Nuclear too.

Re:Excellent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442176)

Water, in traditional hydroelectric dams, is much more damaging to the environment than nuclear. At least, if you care about fish. Solar has fabrication and location issues. Wind has location issues.

Nuclear is the only universal source that has very low impact on the environment that produces a tremendous amount of energy. You can stick electrodes in a potato and run a clock, but that doesn't make it work on a large scale. Nuclear works large scale, and fills the gap for the immediate future.

Hilarity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442200)

Water is clean? I guess if you don't count the destruction of ecosystems due to the need to divert and dam(n) rivers.

Wind? Solar? If you're splitting hairs and calling nuclear unclean, then I'm going to split hairs right back: Come up with a magical process, especially for solar, that doesn't involve horrible chemicals and the pollution they cause, did you? Nice. Where do I send my check to invest?

Re:Excellent (5, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442234)

Nuclear energy is the cleanest *base load power source* currently in existence. The wind doesn't always blow, the sun isn't always shining, and the alternatives are constant hydro (which doesn't lend itself to be put anywhere you want) and coal (which emits more radiation every year than nuclear power plants due to the uranium deposits in the coal that is burned, not to mention the massive amount of CO2 per ton of coal burned). People like you are the problem.

Re:Excellent (1)

LordOfLead (1121501) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442448)

Nuclear waste is the problem. Sorry, but there is no I'll-make-all-the-radioactive-waste-magically-vanish pixie that will do that for us.

Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_geological_repository [wikipedia.org]

Re:Excellent (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442614)

If it's so clean, why doesn't the US or any other country have any non-temporary place to stock and guard the ashes for the next 184000 years?

This is a bad idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442088)

Used correctly nuclear power is a clean energy source. The problem is used correctly nuclear power is not a cheap energy source. As nuclear power plants cut corners they find creative ways to ruin the environment. To me it seems like the developing world would be those most likely to cut corners to save cost, and ignore the health of themselves and the environment.

Irrational Environmental Regulations (4, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442494)

The problem is used correctly nuclear power is not a cheap energy source. As nuclear power plants cut corners they find creative ways to ruin the environment

The problem is that the cost of nuclear power is inflated by the regulations that the anti-nuclear lobby imposed upon everybody as a very effective form of sabotaging the nuclear power industry.

Different from all other power systems, you cannot find examples of how the nuclear power plants have ruined the environment by "cutting corners". What they are doing is storing nuclear waste "temporarily" but in a highly secure way at the power station plants, instead of moving them to the non-existent "permanent" waste storage facilities.

The reason why permanent storage facilities do not exist is only because politicians have never agreed on where those facilities should be located and how they would be constructed. each time some proposal comes up it's immediately shot down by the anti-nuclear lobby.

The anti-nuclear lobby is financed by the taxes we, the citizens, pay. There are NGOs all over the world that get tax-exempt status because they are officially "pro-environment" organizations. Perhaps Wikileaks should tell us how much those NGO directors get in salaries (or do you remotely believe that everybody who works for those organizations is a volunteer?)

Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442110)

God forbid additional nations develop nuclear weapons: more countries would need to be taken seriously.

We may even need to increase the permanent members of the security council.
(That is how you acquire membership, isn't it?)

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442134)

It's not about "needing to be taken seriously". The problem is that we know that nuclear war would royally fuck up the entire planet and kill most people - so countries that are batshit crazy (like Iran) that can't be trusted not to just start nuking every one who they don't like don't start a nuclear war and kill the entire human race.

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (2, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442160)

And how exactly would a country like Iran "kill the entire human race"? At best, they'd get one bomb on target and be pounded into dust afterwards. The real point is - one single bomb would protect them from the USA bringing them "freedom". Can't have that, can we? Thought you are about "promoting liberty", by your sig? Doesn't that extend to Iran running its own nuclear program? Ah, I get it, it is "liberty for the privileged to shit on everyone else". Nothing to see there, just another libtard. Move along.

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (0, Flamebait)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442170)

Not when Iran has openly said that they'd use nuclear weapons to start a war (they launch a nuke, the US, China, Russia, etc launch nukes to retaliate, etc). Freedom comes with responsibility. Iran has admitted to being irresponsible. You don't have the freedom to kill others for shits and giggles.

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442190)

When again as Iran started a war? How many wars have the US started for purely geopolitical reasons? How many batshit crazy dictatorships have the US propped up, because they were "their bastards"? Don't get me wrong, in my opinion, no one should have nuclear arms, but if you start selectively banning nations from it, you gotta have some kind of standard. And by none of mine, the US would qualify.

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442224)

You're not going to get the countries that have them to give them up - however, the ones that do have them have shown to be responsible enough not to start a nuclear war. You won't get an argument from me about the US getting into lots of pointless wars, but the wars that the US gets into aren't "lets eradicate a country / race / religion off the map" - which is very different from the type of wars these third world dictatorships talk about waging if they get nuclear weapons.

I'd be just fine with them having nuclear weapons as a deterrent if they showed themselves to be responsible enough not to START a nuclear war (retaliation is another story).

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442230)

Guess we can agree on that then. Sorry for going all out in the first post - I am in a particularly cranky mood today :P

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (2)

wmac (1107843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442410)

You want to prove your point by using lies. When Iran openly said that?

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (1, Flamebait)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442246)

So if Iran is batshit crazy, how do you call a country that is so goddamn retarded to have used 2 on big cities?

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442450)

It was during a war you idiot. And the japs were attacking us, why should have our American soldiers died while beach heading japan, when it was safer for OUR people to just glass them? The duty of a nation to protect its own people must be before its duties to protect the people of other nations. You don't like it in our country, the United States of America, then you can GTFO, no one is going to miss you.

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442602)

It for the holy war you idiot. And the infidels were attacking us, why should have out Islamist soldiers died while beach heading Isreal, when it was safer for OUR people to just glass them? The duty of a nation to protect its own people must be before its duties to protect the people of other nation. You don't like it in our contry, the Islamic Republic of Iran, then you can GTFO, no one is going to miss you.

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (2)

wmac (1107843) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442406)

Whose more crazy?

a) a country which has never attacked any other country in recent history i.e. 200 years.

b) a country which has started/participated in almost 50 wars, has done coup in at least 10 countries and has used 2 atomic bombs?

Re:Nuclear weapons == influence on world stage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442622)

While i agree that B is sick and should not be trusted with any weapons. A is no longer peaceful and should not be trusted with weapons since 1979, thank to B's intervention.

Uh wait... (0, Troll)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442154)

So instead of supporting that poor countries get stuff like photovoltaics - which are modular, can be upgraded and are pretty much portable and 'place anywhere' (and clean!) - we're encouraging them to use something that involves transporting radioactive materials to what is essentially a very expensive environment-ruining nuclear-timebomb which they will need to pay for, build enough power infrastructure - roads for getting the enriched uranium in, and places to dump the very dangerous waste.

They should just give them free photovoltaics - you can just set a mini-plant in any of the villages, and you don't need expensive infrastructure either - nor a backup-plan when shoddy maintenance causes a meltdown.

What are these people smoking?

Re:Uh wait... (4, Insightful)

quokkaZ (1780340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442258)

What are you smoking?

Many developing countries have grids where the lights go out on a regular basis because of a the lack of baseload generation capacity. They are in desperate need of baseload (coal, nuclear, gas or hydro) to stabilize their grids and meet demand. You cannot do this with PV - period. Nuclear is the least environmentally damaging option and the lowest cost low emission technology.

Notably Vietnam and Bangladesh have recently signed agreements with Russia to build two VVER nuclear power plants in each country. Vietnam looks to be about to conclude a contract with Japan for two more reactors.

Re:Uh wait... (4, Interesting)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442322)

While PV won't provide baseload, solar thermal can and will - particularly in tropical/subtropical regions with highly predictable sunshine.

Re:Uh wait... (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442362)

And what do you do during the evening, night, and early morning when there's no or too little sunlight? Oh, right, you burn natural gas [blogspot.com] . I suppose that's not the worst outcome in the world. I suppose it's better to burn natural gas part of the time, than to burn coal all of the time.

I suppose you could also supplement solar with wind - sun doesn't shine at night, but the wind often blows, so you might be able, with the combination, to get enough power, but it will be expensive power with current technology. Nuclear, even though the plants are expensive (but getting cheaper, at least outside the U.S. and Europe), just provides *so much* power that when you break it down to a per-unit-energy basis, it's actually the least-expensive alternative. [bravenewclimate.com]

Re:Uh wait... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442378)

Molten salt solarthermal has enough storage capacity for night load, if it gets close, supplement with pumped storage, if it gets even closer, yes, supplement with natural gas. What the hell is it with this rabid ideological opposition to solar? Do you think it is somehow unamerican or something?

Re:Uh wait... (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442412)

I'm not radily ideologically opposed to solar power. I just think that *right now*, the economics of it currently don't make sense. Also, Solar generally needs very large land-use (although, I think I've seen somewhere that you can do things like graze livestock on land with solar panels (or mirrors in the case of solar thermal), if you raise the panels/mirrors up high enough. People like to make the claim that nuclear is 'too expensive', but on a per-unit basis, the figures I've seen show solar to be 2-3x more expensive than nuclear.

Re:Uh wait... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442442)

Yeah, that might very well be. But keep in mind that at the moment you are comparing a decades-old nuclear technology to a quite experimental solar one. Just comparing the costs 1:1 is not a realistic picture. I am not saying that you can provide all our electricity needs by solar, but I think it should be part of the mix. Especially with projects like Desertec coming up. Nuclear is just another part of the mix - I am not opposing that. All these discussions, however, seem to end up in a nuclear vs. solar standoff, which is, frankly, bullshit.

Re:Uh wait... (4, Insightful)

quokkaZ (1780340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442382)

Solar thermal may be cheaper than PV but is still a lot more expensive than nuclear. The Arithmetic adds up to Nuclear [bravenewclimate.com]

I'm not aware that there is any solar thermal plant in existence that has anything like the 90% capacity factor of nuclear. Andasol 1 and 2 in Spain as I understand it have 7 hours of storage. The most likely scenario for solar thermal is that it is backed up by gas in the immediate future.

Re:Uh wait... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442398)

Don't get me wrong - I am not exactly arguing against nuclear here. We will need a mix of sources anyway. I am just wondering, why there is this hate against solar.

On the topic of Andasol - Andasol 1 is the first large scale salt storage system now - I'd consider that still experimental. And there is growth potential in my opinion. No doubt that with the current implemented tech, you need gas backup, but that is not a fundamental point against the technology.

Re:Uh wait... (4, Informative)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442330)

Nice to see the fine slashdot tradition of making bold, unsupported statements, declared as absolute truth, is still alive and well.

"to what is essentially a very expensive environment-ruining nuclear-timebomb"

Oh, really? Please, do, provide some actual *science and engineering* based source for this assertion. Before you trot out the old "Chernobyl", do note that *nobody*, except *nobody* is building any plants that are similar to the Chernobyl design, and that modern designs have multiple layers of safety in their designs that Chernobyl lacked. If Nuclear Reactors are so dangerous, so environment ruining, such ticking timebombs, how come in 60 years of nuclear plant operation, Chernobyl is the *one and only* accident which released any significant radioactive material into the environment? Modern plant designs are very safe, and even in the very unlikely event of a meltdown accident, are extremely unlikely to release any significant radioactivity into the environment.

Unlike you, I'll provide a source for my assertions: Ted Rockwell's Nuclear Facts Report [learningaboutenergy.com] . Now, that report is very long, but it's also well supported with bibliography references to many sources, including peer-reviewed studies by professional engineers and scientists.

You might bring up Three Mile Island, or Davis-Besse. Three Mile Island was unfortunate, but was only a disaster for the investors who payed for it. It got worse than it should have, but even in that situation, only a very small amount of slightly radioactive (very slightly) steam was released from the plant, but no other radioactive materials or radiation was released. TMI had an actual meltdown, and it wasn't an environmental or public safety disaster.

In the meantime, the nuclear plants being built now have been built with better safety designs than older generation II plants - a TMI type incident, although we can't call it completely impossible, is much more unlikely than it was with the TMI design. The Nuclear Industry has spent many Billions of dollars on R&D to design new, safer plants, and shepherd those new designs through strict regulatory oversight bodies like the NRC to get them approved.

I truly don't believe those new power plants are at all "environment-ruining nuclear-timebombs".

About the waste - the truth is, we should be recycling the spent fuel. The only proper, responsible final 'disposal' for spent nuclear fuel is to seperate out the short lived 'true waste' products from the rest of the fuel, and keep re-using the fuel until it's all converted to short lived waste. We *have* the technology to turn our current nuclear waste, which is radioactive for 100,000+ years into short-lived waste which essentially becomes non-radioactive after about 200 years - I think we *can* safely store the waste for 200 years, but I've never heard anyone who thought we could really store it for 100k+ years.

Sometime, try googling for "Integral Fast Reactor" - it's a fascinating read.

Finally, on your comment, "They should just give them free photovoltaics - you can just set a mini-plant in any of the villages". Really, do you really think a few PV panels in a village is going to provide enough power? For what? Each household can run one or two LED or CFL lights? What if that village needs power for running a water treatment plant, or a desalination plant? What if they want to have businesses and small industry which need enough power to run machinery, commercial refrigeration units, etc? What if the villagers want heat, hot water, and electric stoves in their homes, instead of burning wood or coal for those needs? You think a few PV panels in town and on the roof will provide enough power for all that? What about the big cities? Even the most undeveloped countries usually have at least a Capital city, if not a few others? What about future growth? That small village, as it gets access to clean water and power, might start to develop businesses. As the businesses grow, they may attract more residents and more businesses, and those villages will need energy for their development. Every country has some industry, and most countries, particularly developing nations, want to increase their domestic industry to support their own economies and improve their standard of living.

To get enough solar power to really power a developing country takes more than just a 'mini-plant' in each village. It takes very large solar 'farms', plus storage capacity (because solar power is very intermittent, you need to be able to generate a LOT more power than you need during peak sunshine periods, and then efficiently store that power for use later when the sun isn't shining).

Right now, Solar PV is the most expensive energy source there is. If you really want to give energy plants to small villages, you'd get more bang for your buck with Wind, or even Solar-Thermal plants. Solar PV, right now, is just really lousy/expensive technology (I hope it improves a lot over the coming years, but *right now*, it's not even close to cost competitive with other energy sources).

Re:Uh wait... (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442372)

I truly don't believe those new power plants are at all "environment-ruining nuclear-timebombs".

I'm as big a proponent of IFR technology as anyone, but it is head-in-the-sand thinking to expect that waste from this program is going to be recycled any better than we've done for the last 30 years. Practically nobody is doing it today, ain't no way third world countries are going to be the ones that start doing it even half right.

Re:Uh wait... (2)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442404)

Err, perhaps I wasn't clear. I agree that Fast Reactor technology is going to start in more developed places - China and India, I believe, already have plans to build some, here in the U.S. GE-Hitachi recently announced they have reached an agreement with the DoE to build a prototype PRISM plant (PRISM is the commercialized version of IFR, from what I understand).

When I made the statement, "I truly don't believe those new power plants are at all 'environment-ruining nuclear-timebombs'", I wasn't referring to IFR or other "Gen IV" reactors - I was talking about the Gen III plants being proposed for these small developing nations - things like the ABWR, EBWR, AP-1xxx, EPR, etc.

Re:Uh wait... (1)

DrKnark (1536431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442664)

Not to mention that since these countries will be using fuel from an international pool, there is no reason why that fuel can't be used in Gen IV reactors located in other countries. Sweden for example has sent some "spent" fuel to France for use in the Phenix reactors (I forget which one of the two).

If Mr. Buffet really wants to change the world... (4, Interesting)

SteveMurphy (890510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442168)

...and leave a legacy that will improve life in smaller countries, he should champion the development of cheap, abundant, safe nuclear power in the form of the Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) [youtube.com] . Thorium is far more abundant than Uranium and the plants are potentially much smaller and cheaper.

Most horrible (1)

Kim0 (106623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442172)

If they are not able to enrich uranium themselves, then they are certainly not able to take care of the spent fuel, which is much harder.

The idea of renting out whole self contained reactors is better, because they can be returned intact.

Re:Most horrible (2)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442196)

You got a spare 200 kiloton CONTAINED reactor to rent?

If I were a country (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442198)

If I were a country in this current world I wouldn't want to depend on this pool of fuel. Other groups would have too much power over me, I'd rather be independent. Maybe if this was a Star Trek type world, with people being good at heart things would be different.

http://www.jordaner.com (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442238)

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Nuclear waepons (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442240)

So the only country that was filthy and retarded enough to use not one, but even two... is telling others that they can't have those same weapons? Sjee, I wonder why.

Re:Nuclear waepons (2)

quokkaZ (1780340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442344)

For a perspective on the role of nuclear weapons in US foreign policy see here: Empire and Nuclear Weapons [fpif.org]

In addition to using nuclear weapons, the US has also threatened to use nuclear weapons on more occasions than all other nations combined.

Re:Nuclear waepons (1)

astar (203020) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442590)

A basic reason nuke plants put out a lot of radioactive waste is the the rational solution of reprocessing the waste is very actively discouraged. Even the development of the tech has been discouraged. And the reason is fear of nuclear proliferation because most of the current fuel cycles produce plutonium. Hmm, this issue is also why we do not have a lot of breeder reactors and people complain there is not enough fuel to support nuclear energy. It happens that now a lot of countries existentially need nuclear energy and countries like India are actively developing "novel" fuel cycles, some of which provide new avenues to do nuke weapons.

A bit of history is relevant. When I was a kid, the national policy was to have in the US over a thousand nuclear power plants ... by what is now yesterday. This is say a trillion watts output. I would wish we had the trillion watts... yesterday. Instead, the world is in a big time malthusian terminal crisis unnecessarily and as a result of policy decision like not building nuclear power plants. Now if you are a sovereign nation and as all would agree have the sovereign right under established international law to build nuclear power plants and domestic fuel capabilities, do you really *want* to forgo a domestic fuel capability? This is over and beyond the general defects of not developing in-nation tech capability on *any* tech. Colonial American was not supposed to have any tech either. Do you really *want* to say nations cannot develop tech? I cannot think of a tech that is *legally* prohibited. You might say "biological warfare" or "poison gas weapons" in addition to "nuclear weapons", but you are really not paying attention to the details.

"Sjee, I wonder why." (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442392)

Perhaps, it's because, the more nations get nuclear weapons, the more likely that an incident will happen which escalates into the end of the world? Everyone on Earth should be worried about nuclear proliferation, not just the U.S. I don't want to debate whether the U.S. was right or wrong to use nuclear weapons to end WWII, because as a rule, I generally like to not take responsibility for the decisions of past generations, or to re-fight old wars. But, as a practical note, I will say this - when only one country, which only used nuclear weapons in a very bad situation, there was no chance for M.A.D. of pretty much all life on Earth. We live in a different world today. Potentially, anyone like N. Korea or Iran could start the war which truly ends all wars (along with 99% of life on the planet).

As for the U.S., we've been reducing our stockpiles. Many of us would love to see a nuclear-weapons free world, but from a practical standpoint, that's probably not going to happen. I would, at least, like to see as little additional weapons being built as possible.

Finally, if someone has to have nuclear weapons, I'd rather see them in the hands of countries which seem like they are run by people who are rational *enough* that they probably won't try to start the nuclear world war (yea, sometimes politics in the U.S. can be a bit irrational, but I don't think *anyone* in the U.S. really wants to see us use nuclear weapons ever again if we don't absolutely have to). I truly worry that Iran with Nuclear Weapons will use them (or at least the threat of them) aggressively instead of defensively - e.g. invade their neighbors and threaten nuclear reprisal if any allies try to come to the defensive aid of the neighboring State.

end of the world? (1)

astar (203020) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442634)

As best I can tell, given the 99% kill everything figure, you are assuming a nuclear war would extinct homo sap sap? I think not. I figure there are some astronomical stuff that can do us, but doing ourselves? Not quite yet.

End of the world stuff is popular with some now and I think the rhetoric should be avoided.. But for most people, say a 2 billion to 6 billion die off (over the next couple centuries) will *look* like the end of the world. But this is more a lack of tech then too much tech, or some sort of nuclear spasm. Hah, people say that when you are dying, it looks like the end of the world. :-) I suppose "saving the world" from the great unwashed dictatorships or whatever is sort of a popular idea, but I am not sure that "the world" is the sort of thing that you "save". But I could buy off on saving Western Civilization. :-)

Borat (1, Insightful)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442280)

Hello Nuclear Fuel Bank? My name Borat. I want make withdrawal, benefit my nation Tajikistan.

Paywall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442324)

Here are a couple of alternatives to the paywall story:

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9JSK4HO0.htm

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2010-12/04/c_13634288.htm

http://www.google.com/search?q=iaea+nuclear+bank

The comments might be different if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442370)

You watched the movie "Countdown to zero".

kthxbye

IKEA Forms Nuclear Fuel Bank (1)

shanec (130923) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442374)

Did anyone else read this as "IKEA Forms Nuclear Fuel Bank?"

My first thought was, "Man, those stores really do have everything!"

Good for consumer bad for banks (1, Funny)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442422)

When there is deflation, this is good for the consumer as he or she gets more product per dollar. When there is inflation the opposite is true.

Since we know nuclear fuel has a half-life, the currency these banks base their loans upon is deflating... While this is a bad thing for the bank, with a well supported backing this can only be good for the consumer!

A deflating currency is a great investment, even if only in the short term. And regardless of the demand, it naturally will deflate!

Half-life economics, brilliant!

Fuel cost (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442596)

TFA implies that nuclear fuel costs ~ $2 million/ton. And that 80 tons is needed 'to refuel one reactor'. Both seem awfully high to me. I always thought a reactor contained a few tons of Uranium at most.

CANDU (1)

Kaeso (1275972) | more than 3 years ago | (#34442630)

If they opted for heavy water reactor types like the CANDU then they wouldn't need to enrich uranium in the first place. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CANDU [wikipedia.org]

Dependency continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442644)

Trade dependency of oil to dependency or uranium.
Everyone needs energy.

"So you don't allow our $POLITICALLY_MOTIVATED_GOAL. OK, no uranium for you then."

Stuxnet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34442646)

Suddenly the reasons for the stuxnet worm become clear... Money.

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