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Guest: Dr. John Brandenburg; Topics: Potential climate change, shifting to nuclear power as a solution, fission-fusion hybrid power sources. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed back Dr. John Brandenburg for Part 2 of his Space Show Trilogy for early 2016. The focus of tonight's discussion was moving to a nuclear powered energy source to ward off any consequences from the possibility of climate change/global warming and the continued use of fossil fuels. Dr. Brandenburg made it clear that it was extremely difficult to assess the facts and the probability of climate change happening, along with all the disastrous results attributed to it, given the mess with the source data, the politics, corruption, and money involved in the discussion. That said, he believes that the continued use of fossil fuels is a bad thing regardless of climate change and global warming, and it would be better to start the shift to the solution now rather than waiting for a total crisis to hit the country and the world. John's solution is nuclear power and most of our discussion explained why nuclear power and ways to accomplish it safely. He cited many symptoms pointing him to his realization that we need to start the transition to nuclear power. One of the symptoms he talked about was the O2 depletion in the atmosphere, a topic he referenced several times during both segments of our program.
John referenced the French nuclear power system over and over again given about 87% of their power is derived from nuclear power. He talked about modern waste removal processes which involved burning the wastes using Tokamaks referencing a University of Texas - Austin study. In making the case for nuclear power, he talked about the characteristics and limitations of wind and solar energy, plus he addressed the need for energy in the developing world and for the U.S. to continue with economic growth and development which requires enormous amounts of ongoing energy.
In the second segment, we picked up on a question from Bill in Virginia at the end of the previous segment asking about carbon in the atmosphere from the nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere in the early 60's. Bill wanted to know about carbon dispersion from the atmosphere. John spent some time addressing this question, said it was an important one but was not aware of research specifically addressing what Bill was asking. In the context of this question, we talked about C14, C12, and C13.
John From Ft. Worth called to discuss the sustainability of societies. Our caller advocated the need to eventually phase out carbon and fossil fuels. He also brought up the Fukushima accident in Japan and wanted to address nuclear power safety. Dr. Brandenburg again made the cause for using fusion energy to burn up nuclear waste. In response to my question about our not having B/E fusion energy, he said It was not necessary to have B/E fusion to burn up the waste.
Dr. Brandenburg suggested we do our own search for the nuclear topics he was talking about. One search term he suggested was "fission-fusion hybrid." Another search term he wanted us to use was the ":transmutation of nuclear waste by fusion energy." For those of you that follow through on these searches, let us know what you think by posting comments on the blog. Dr. Brandenburg will see your comments and he said he would reply to them.
Julian from Australia sent in a two part email which we discussed. I read his questions on air & Dr. Brandenburg did answer each one. As for the costs of doing nothing, our guest repeated his Florida hurricane stories to illustrate the costs of storms and unpredictable weather as just a fraction of the total costs of damage from possible global warming consequences left unanswered. Calculating the costs on a wide scale which is what Julian wanted is next to impossible with the likelihood of huge errors given the need to estimate and assume costs & other data currently unknown.
Tim sent in a question asking about the type of fusion reactor Dr. Brandenburg would like to see used. After responding to Tim's question, John summarized his comments from tonight's program. He said climate issues have become a wicked mess to borrow a phrase from Dr. Judy Curry on her recent Space Show program. He suggested that there is bad science, bad policy, corruption, abuse of power and money but were some of the consequences of global warming to actually happen, it would be bad. He said there was an energy alternative that we should start transitioning to and that was the use of fission-fusion hybrid nuclear power. By the way, several times during the evening and with at least one caller, I challenged our guest and callers about the policy problems of moving to nuclear, the fear it generates among the public, plus the economics of it as the power would be far more costly than our current use of fossil fuels. Already millions in this country and around the world are having a hard time making ends meet so to escalate their energy costs would be unthinkable with horrific political consequences for those that did it. At one point when John was outlining his action plan and I asked if he intended to collaborate with others in implementing his plan, I urged him to include unbiased (if they can be found) economists and policy makers as these disciplines are vital to making energy decision for our nation as well as for the future and possibly the world if the U.S. is to be a leader by example. Ignoring costs and economic impact plus real policy issues for the pure science and engineering is a nonstarter if you ask me.
Before the segment and program ended, I challenged John to tell us what he intended to do to activate his idea and theories. As it turned out, he does have an implementation plan which he described in detail. It involves writing another book to support his ideas and theories and to lobby the DOD (he has already started doing this) and Congress regarding the need to start the transition process to safe nuclear power using the fission-fusion hybrid model he discussed with us and by handling waste by using fusion to burn up the waste. Before signing off for the night, one final question came in from Ben asking about carbon trading. Don't miss what Dr. Brandenburg had to say about this.
Please post your comments/questions in the comments section of this archived program on The Space Show website. You can reach Dr. Brandenburg through me or his website, http://lifeonmars.pub.