Rod Adams is a retired commander in the US Navy, as well as the publisher of atomicinsights.com and host of the Atomic Show Podcast. In this episode, Robert talks to Adams about the “magical power source,” which companies and reactor designs he believes have the quickest path to commercial deployment, his experience aboard nuclear submarines, and the seemingly intractable problem of what to do with used nuclear fuel.
Rod Adams is a retired commander in the US Navy, as well as the publisher of atomicinsights.com and host of the Atomic Show Podcast. In this episode, Robert talks to Adams about the “magical power source,” which companies and reactor designs he believes have the quickest path to commercial deployment, his experience aboard nuclear submarines, and the seemingly intractable problem of what to do with used nuclear fuel.
Robert Bryce 0:05
Hi, and welcome to the power hungry podcast. I'm Robert Bryce. I'm the host. And this is a podcast where we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And my guest today is rod Adams. He is the publisher of atomic insights. He is also the host of another podcast, the atomic show podcast. Rod Adams. Welcome. Thanks for being on the show.
Rod Adams 0:25
Thanks for having me, Robert.
Robert Bryce 0:27
So we're going to talk today about I've specifically invited rod because it was long experience in the nuclear industry in the atomic sector. I want to handicap the many different technologies that are out there and that's the focus of our of our going to be the focus of our discussion. But rod as you you've listened, I believe to my podcast, you know, I have guests introduce themselves. So I've already given a little teaser about your background, but if you don't mind, give us a short introduction to your to you assuming you've just walked into the dinner party. And you don't know anyone there. Introduce yourself, please.
Rod Adams 1:02
Sure. My name is rod Adams. I'm a Navy nuke a ring knocker? I've been a podcaster for 20 for 15 years and a blogger for 25.
Robert Bryce 1:13
Sir. Sorry, ring knocker? I have to interrupt what Docker
Rod Adams 1:17
Yeah, I graduated the Naval Academy.
Robert Bryce 1:19
Okay, well seen how I don't know that. That term. So. Okay, all right. Ring knocker doesn't anyone else in podcast land knows that means Naval Academy, then, you know, speak up? Well,
Rod Adams 1:30
it it pretty much means any service Academy because we all graduate with big rings on our fingers. And okay, Gandhi, the reserve officers generally, you know, call us in a derogatory term ring knocker but I proudly wear the term.
Robert Bryce 1:45
Okay. Yeah, I'm sorry. So nuclear Navy veteran or ring knocker? And then I sorry, I interrupted you. No problem
Rod Adams 1:52
continued not a problem of a 25 year blogger and a 15 year podcaster on the topic of atomic energy, like to talk about atomic energy from a political, historical, economic, technological. Me, it's a fascinating topic to me. So I'm ready to roll.
Robert Bryce 2:09
So why is it? Well, I want to get into the handicapping because there are many obstacles to deploying new nuclear both here in the US and around the world. But why are you so passionate about it? What is it that has made it made it this passion of yours for so long?
Rod Adams 2:25
Well, unlike many nuclear advocates, I have no conversion story to tell. I became pro nuclear about the age of eight, when my father came home from work one day and said, Hey, Rod, my company's building some new power plants that don't even have smokestacks. And he knew that I didn't like smokestacks, or well, and, and we've been talking about power plants already, because he was a, a logical engineer for the utility company. And it's one of those kind of 1950s vintage dads who bring work home and talk about it around the dinner table. Uh huh.
Robert Bryce 3:02
And so and you're a former if you don't mind, just a quick history. You You were an engineering officer on the USS von steuben, which is now been retired, but it was an nuclear submarine. Tell me about that.
Rod Adams 3:15
Yes, I was a, I served on two nuclear submarines that ssbn 634, which is a Stonewall Jackson. And then my second tour is engineer was the SSP and 632 uses fond stuben, two of the 41 for freedom boomers, both that s five w reactor plants, and they were essentially identical, small manufactured nuclear reactors built in shipyards in a series production in the 1960s 1961. For one of them in 1962. For the other. Back then we built I think, 40 ships in eight years, all with the same power plant.
Robert Bryce 4:00
Which is remarkable now because we're building when it comes to nuclear plants. And well, I just want to get this other way. So it's generally I refer to as nuclear energy, but your shows you use atomic was there. That's your predilection was there? Well,
Rod Adams 4:15
atomic is sort of a throwback. That's what people called it, when it was first introduced to the world. And the initial, you know, initial energy source was called atomic energy. And that's what all the popular errors of the 1950s the books were talking about atomic energy was called the atomic era. And it seems to have a much better connotation for people because people use atomic and brand names for things like red Hots, that you put in your mouse, or skis for tattoos. Sure, no, people like atomic. It's, it's it's It's a word that doesn't carry the negative connotations of nuclear. And also, with the last name of atoms. I like atomic because there's some alliteration there. As a matter of fact, atoms and atoms sound a level like.
Robert Bryce 5:21
Okay, got it now. It standby just one second. I'm gonna hit pause here. I'm okay, so it will thank you atomic and atoms, atoms and atoms. So let's jump right into it. Because I've had guests on the podcast before to talk about atomic energy, nuclear energy. And some of them were reluctant to handicap the technologies that may emerge as the winners. And you've had long experience in this now decades of experience. And we talked about it over the phone the other day, but if you don't mind I, you know, I had the Carolyn Cochran from oklo. On the show, they they're they're developing a very small reactor. Of course, the ap 1000 is out and being deployed at 1000 megawatts. What reactor technology what what types of reactors in your view are the ones that are likely to to succeed or that what did they call it the research and development valley of death and actually, actually be deployed?
Rod Adams 6:24
Well, I have to be honest, straight. First of all, I'm efficient fan. And so pretty much any reactor that uses fission, I'm interested in like to take a look at and, and believe it has a fundamental advantage over competitive energy sources. Because atomic fission is well known, well understood, and extremely concentrated. As I like to tell people, a fuel pellet, the size of my pinky, contains as much energy as a tonne of coal, and 147 gallons of oil, or 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas. And that's with the current method of using it once through, but Light Water Reactors with low enriched uranium, if we were deficient that entire pellet and multiply all those numbers by 20. Because right now, we only use about 5% of the potential energy and efficiency in a fuel pellet. So you see which one 280 1000s got a lot of strengths, they finally have a complete design, which they didn't have when they started building it. And that's one of the disadvantages that the vogl are one of the sources of the problem that Bogle has had. Was it
Robert Bryce 7:45
just and just to interrupt that we're talking about plant Vogel in Georgia and Vogel in Georgia, which is being developed by Southern Company and that project now is many years over schedule, and many billions of dollars over budget? I don't know how many billions. But yes, it's been it's taken a long time. And well, one last point, ap 1000 is a Westinghouse design,
Rod Adams 8:04
right, ap 1002 Westinghouse design, it was actually the construction started in 2012. It was originally supposed to be completed the first unit in 2017, and the second unit 2018. But there was some real challenges associated with doing it. I've got a whole section on my blog called the ap 1000 Saga. And there's a whole series of things that were wrong. And one of the biggest problems was that the design was certified by the atomic or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But it really wasn't a detailed construction design that was certified. It was, you know, the the design that gets certified by the regulator is more of a concept, not a conceptual design. It's a it's not something to build on. It's sort of like an architectural drawing, if you want to choose from your house, but nobody's actually drawn in where the windows are, where the wires go, where the plumbing is exactly what the measurements are. It's not the final blueprint. It's not a blueprint. It's not something you can build off of. And so when they started building those plants, something like 30 to 40% of the blueprints were complete. And they've had a lot of problems because the design wasn't complete. And it also had some challenges because it was the first nuclear plant that we built, and we started building in the US. Since the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was formed, they had never actually licensed a plant that got built, even though they were split off from the Atomic Energy Commission in 1974. Not a single plant just
Robert Bryce 9:58
so just so easy. than here in Texas. I live in Austin and the city owns part of the South Texas project. You're saying that the design for the South Texas project was approved back in the 70s, before the NRC became became before it became the NRC.
Rod Adams 10:14
It was it was submitted to the Atomic Energy Commission sometime before the NRC became the NRC.
Robert Bryce 10:21
Okay, so I didn't realize that okay,
Rod Adams 10:24
the NRC may have actually finished the job of licensing. There was some license it was it were completed, but they were all submitted before 1973 on reactor designs that then were carried on then. Sure, built for four decades. Yeah, right. And I think that the last NRC license got issued sometime in 1986, maybe. But those licenses were all submitted back at before 73. It took a long time. I mean, the NRC after three mile, and the NRC had a four or five year hiatus where they didn't approve anything. It was trying to figure out what they needed to do. Sure cover from that.
Robert Bryce 11:09
So just to get back to them, so that history is important and relevant. But if so, if you if they were, you know, let's, if you don't mind it, go through them the three, three or four different reactors that you think are the, you know, the handicap them and say, well, the ones that are now being developed, and I, of course want to don't want to ignore the Chinese and the Russians here, because they're still building reactors at a pretty, pretty remarkable clip.
Rod Adams 11:33
Yep, yeah. If I was a utility executive in either Duke, next era, or Southern Company, I would, my next reactor would be an HP 1000. And it would be cited at one of the three plant sites that already have complete construction and operating licenses on the shelf. At tricky point, at William states, Lee, and that cat plant Levy, in Florida, all three of those plants already have approval to start construction, whenever they're ready to pull it off the shelf. And the ap 1000 is a is a big plant that is finally got a complete design. And most importantly, it's got a workforce that is just finished building, we're just about to finish building one. So if you want to hire people that know exactly how to pour basemap, how to erect the shield buildings, how to do all the things you need to do. I would put in a contract very soon before those guys go off and find something else to do with their life.
Robert Bryce 12:50
How likely is that to happen?
Unknown Speaker 12:52
Rod Adams 12:55
I don't know. I mean, I, I listened to a lot of utility executives talk to them a lot. None of them are willing to say they're going to do that. All of them are waiting to see the final operating plants at Vogel and they're close. They're going to be starting up in 2021 to 2022. But they still haven't started yet. There's still a few things left, that the skeptical? Show me executives say, I'm not quite sure that I'm ready to go. And of course, there's still people that believe that it's just as easy to provide the power they need by buying natural gas. And that's getting harder and harder. I mean, some of the places that were planning on burning natural gas in the southeast are finding out now that the pipelines are supposed to deliver it evolved been stopped. So that the pipelines the Atlantic
Robert Bryce 13:50
coast pipeline was just stopped right and that right figured into Dukes plans, but Duke is going ahead with more gas plants in Carolina aren't doing
Rod Adams 13:58
well. Potentially, if they can get gas warm, yeah.
Robert Bryce 14:04
So that you bring up a point there as well. Okay, so that's the ap 1000. And so if we were going to build one, and that's a big plant, and I want to come back to the issue of size, because that matters and about what you know, what, what are the building blocks that make sense in today's marketplace, where it seems like the the size of the generation units is going down? Okay, so you've talked about ap 1000? Give me you know,
Rod Adams 14:30
those are now remember, those three CEOs are all in the southeast us all in a place where there's a big dependence on gas and not a lot of gas supply. There's no we're not in the Marcellus Shale, we're not next to the Permian Basin. So the gas supply here is not as as robust as it is in many places. And it's a place where the population is growing pretty fast, especially in Florida. We're getting 1000 new residents a day down here. So we do we do You're gonna need some power in the near future and a big plant would be okay. So when you say the market, the market really is different depending on where you are there, there isn't a market for large nuclear plants in the northeast, population is fairly stable, they're not very friendly to nuclear, a wouldn't try building a new nuclear plant the Northeast, best I could hope for in the northeast is to keep the few that are there still running. Right. In terms of new plants, I'm excited about some some really innovative technology in small light water reactors, the new scale project is fascinating to me. These are integrated light water reactors that are natural circulation, which means that they don't need electricity to drive cooling pumps, no matter what happens. And they have been able to prove to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that their reactors will not need external sources of electricity or water. No matter what happens, the plants can go through a whole bunch of different things. And they will shut down and keep themselves cool and from releasing fission products indefinitely. So that,
Robert Bryce 16:24
and that's the passive safety. passive safety. Yeah,
Rod Adams 16:28
yep. And so those planets are interesting. And another thing that's really fascinating about new scale is just yesterday, I got a press release. That said, by doing some more detailed analysis and modeling, the new scale company now believes that the reactor that they originally thought was going to be a 50 megawatt reactor, later upgraded to 60 megawatts, is now going to be 77 megawatts without really changing any capital expenditures. sauna,
Robert Bryce 17:00
they've upgraded it before they built it.
Rod Adams 17:02
That's right, and then a cost per kilowatt capacity basis, that drives down the cost.
Robert Bryce 17:08
Sure, though, and those are those so and new scales argument or their their value proposition, the way they're selling that reactor is okay, you don't need 1000 megawatts, you can start with 77. And then add those increments in what is it a 12 pack, that's their one of their does that there, it's been a while since I've looked at
Rod Adams 17:26
12 pack is what they want, what they've been marketing, initially. And the main reason they've been marketing the 12 pack, as their starting point is that they know they really need to have an order book of roughly 40 units, have these modular reactors to really pay for the investment in infrastructure to build them, I see you're gonna have to build the factories and, and get the forgings, and all of the those things to get these modules coming out on a repetitive basis. And that takes an investment. So they needed knew they needed an order book. So they figure if they're selling a 12 at a time, they didn't need to make too many sales.
Robert Bryce 18:09
I see that, at first of a kind is very expensive. But once you start cranking them out, like anything else, that cost per unit goes down.
Rod Adams 18:17
Yeah. And I learned the first of a kind issue in the end the value of serious production firsthand, I spent three years running a small factory. And I'd have people come in and we did some custom injection molding for people as well as our line of products. And they come in with a fancy Newport and it's a a right, how much did it cost to build this? I'd say how many do you want? Right? They say I want one I say, well, that one's gonna cost you $40,000 it's just a small plastic part, is it? Yeah, but I'm gonna make a mold. So, you know, just, it takes time, it takes an investment. And then you got to spread that investment over enough units and the number of units you produce every year really drives down the overhead costs of operating a factory.
Robert Bryce 19:06
Sure. And so you mentioned LCD
Rod Adams 19:07
Robert Bryce 19:09
right. So and the learning curve is important. So you mentioned ap 1000. And that would be a viable option. And we're talking geography here because geography always is written it determines largely fuel right? They're intimately connected hydro works in the Pacific Northwest and a few other places doesn't work in West Texas. So and wind doesn't work in the southeast. And wind doesn't work in the southeast and solar and according to a friend of mine who works in Florida, he says when we get a lot of cloudy days, so it's not ideal for solar either. So a large increment of new nuclear would be would be viable in Florida, then where where do you see the opportunity then for new scale is that I wouldn't economies is it? I know that they have. One of the other things that I think works in new scales favor is they have a location at the Idaho national labs and they have a customer already, right. So they have So a fair amount of momentum behind them with you abs and and which is a utility? Well, I guess it's a collection Utah.
Rod Adams 20:09
Yeah. Utah Association municipal power systems. Yes,
Robert Bryce 20:14
exactly. So they have a location, they have a federal loan guarantee they're in federal federal grant.
Rod Adams 20:20
Right. Right, they're gonna get $1.4 billion over a 10 year period.
Robert Bryce 20:24
Right. So that gives them a lot of momentum. So but and so if, after Idaho, where might the new scale fit in this in this geography and in terms of need for new nuclear?
Rod Adams 20:38
Well, new skill is that the recent press release, also not only upgraded the plant, but it said that they're now offering two more size options, a four unit plant, a six unit plant, a 12 unit plant, and now with a four unit, a 77 megawatts per unit capacity plan. Now you're talking about something that is, what 350 megawatts or so which actually fits rather nicely onto plant sites that currently host old coal facilities. So we're moving away from coal in the US, and a lot of places where we need to replace coal. There aren't any natural gas pipelines, because why would anybody build a natural gas pipeline into a coal country into Indiana or Kentucky, there just aren't there. So I mean, natural gas is readily available in some places, what gas has to be piped, to other places. And if there's no pipelines, that's a really high burden, to get pipelines to go in. It's not just the fact that they don't exist, but citing them as a problem, you got to get permission of every land holder along the way. And there's a big push right now, to stop making major capital investments in gas infrastructure, because, you know, people think it may be stranded if we're trying to move away from carbon emitting fuels. So I think new skills got new scale, the size of that reactor, the roughly 350 megawatts, and we're going to come back to that a little bit later in the handicapping is good size to go and replace decommissioned coal plants, and also to go into places where there's slow growth in the market. And the utility says, Yeah, I'd like to buy a, you know, go to a non emitting power source, but I don't want to buy him 1000 megawatt increments, because that's too lumpy. Right, you know, my growth is a couple hundred megawatts a year. And if I have to build 1000 megawatt plants, that's five years worth of growth, do I wait till I have it already unnecessary? Or do I start and have access for a while? That's
Robert Bryce 23:06
too lumpy? Well, I just want to make a quick comment on that coal location, the coal plants, because I think it's important that that we keep in mind that why that makes it attractive possibility of switching the generation unit is that you have the transmission in place. Yep, that's the other. You know, we've talked about pipelines and the difficulty of siting new pipelines, the exact same thing exists with high voltage transmission, and it might be even worse, inciting high voltage transmission. So, which is I think, one of the key constraints, clear constraints on the development of new renewables,
Rod Adams 23:42
right. And part of the I mean, the new scale reactor also fits into cope sites. Because of this passive safety, it has the boundary. And the evacuation planning area for the new scale plant is struct, basically to the plant boundary, rather than having to plan for evacuations for a 10 mile radius from the plant, which was the the old standard, right? The passive safety allows them to drive that evacuation planning emergency planning zone down to the site boundary,
Robert Bryce 24:19
you know, that's a good thing.
Rod Adams 24:20
It's not just nice, because that's one of the other things that modern, small smaller reactor designs are trying to do is drive the planning zones down to a much smaller area and make it so you can put these plants closer to your customers, which also allows for beneficial use of the, the waste heat that comes off of a steam plant. You know, the seed plants are typically about 33% efficient, which means you're throwing away two thirds of the heat in a low temperature and kind of Low Temp On non usable environment, but if you're close to a load, you're close to a city and you're able to use that heat for district heating or desalination or something like that.
Robert Bryce 25:11
Gotcha. Okay. Okay. So
Rod Adams 25:13
Robert Bryce 25:14
by Westinghouse, then the new scale, I don't know the name of the model, the model name on their, their their reactor
Rod Adams 25:19
gets called the new skill, power module,
Robert Bryce 25:24
new scale power module. And then so give me give me a couple more. And what would Another
Rod Adams 25:29
one is it's a fairly recent but leaked ahead. A entry into this race is the General Electric, General Electric, Hitachi GHBWR x 300. And the x net name stands for 10th generation, which means it's a very refined, and well known technology, and the and the team of gh as a dressed this idea of designed to cost and they know what the competition needs and what they need to do to compete against the market. So they believe they can design a 300 megawatt, passively safe, Boiling Water Reactor using all the things they already know, and all the technologies they already have. And all their infrastructure to build steam plants and all everything they believe they can come to the capital costs around 20 $500 a megawatt 20 $500 per kilowatt of capacity, which when you run the numbers turns out to be a levelized cost number that's very attractive, somewhere, depending on financing, somewhere in the $40 per megawatt range, per megawatt hour,
Robert Bryce 26:49
which is a little higher than wholesale prices in the us right now. But it but it's in the neighborhood of what depending on the state, of course, well,
Rod Adams 26:56
it's higher than the than the wholesale prices you get during the cheap periods. There are times when $40 a megawatt hour is very competitive and very profitable. When power demand is a little bit higher, and the competition is is a little minimal. So they can always produce that power, their their costs are level they don't, they're not vulnerable to fuel price changes, or they can run whether the wind is blowing whether the sun is shining.
Robert Bryce 27:28
So in the boiling water, and when we talked about this before rod you mentioned and my guest today just a reminder, Rod Adams, who's the publisher of atomic insights.com, and the host of the atomic show podcast, and he's on twitter at atomic rod, the boiling water reactor, you mentioned when we were talking the other day, that one of the advantages there is you don't have a pressure system. That is that is and that's one of the other safety attributes are correct
Rod Adams 27:58
boiling water reactor, I mean it about one third of the reactors in the US are boiling water reactors. And General Electric is always favored the boiling water over the pressurized water reactor. And the big difference is it's a much simpler design. Because it doesn't have two separate loops. It doesn't have a primary loop. With a weather the heat goes and goes to a boiler, the separate boiler and then goes to a steam system. The boiler is in a boiling water reactor is the reactor itself. And there is no steam generators. So it simplifies the system reduce the number of components now there is a cost to that. And that means that the steam that flows through it through your steam plant has some radioactive isotopes in it. And so you have to control your whole steam plant as a radioactive control zone and get to fix it in a rate it's add some costs, but there's some benefits and historically, they pretty much come out to be about a wash that cost between boilers and, and Pressurized Water Reactors but with a very experienced constructor, and they're using principles that they have already got licensed from the NRC for a much larger version called the ESB WR is got a design certification but only two customers ever said they wanted one. So General Electric never really set up the process to for selling.
Robert Bryce 29:36
Well, thank you for just a minute it was because one of the things that's interesting, I just started reading this book lights out that came out in July about the history of General Electric. And we mentioned Westinghouse already. It I mean just a quick step back. So Westinghouse is now that name is owned by a Canadian venture capital firm right that Yeah, brilliant field. Brookfield partner Which is a remarkable ending for the name of one of the great, greatest American industrialists. I
Rod Adams 30:05
mean, the the biographies of Westinghouse. He's quite admirable man and a great inventor. Well, you know, Westinghouse, Westinghouse ceased to be an American owned company in about it in somewhere in the 1990s. It was purchased at first by British nuclear fuels Corporation B, and FL. Uh huh. And after about 10 years B NFL sold to Toshiba of Japan, and then Toshiba after went bankrupt, sold the parts to this Canadian investment company, Brookfield partners,
Robert Bryce 30:42
right. So Westinghouse is is a shell of what it was. And General Electric is facing a lot of troubles. I mean, just as a industrial conglomerate and looking at selling off big parts of itself, just to stay solvent. So I just thought I'd interject that because it's,
Rod Adams 31:00
well, what General Electric back in the Jeff Immelt era, was ready to sell off its nuclear division completely. It really wanted to exit nuclear, it was focusing on not only its aircraft engines and its gas turbine division, and it started to produce a lot of gas drilling equipment, gas, well drilling equipment, it makes some of the best drill bits in the world. They also ended up getting really big into the capital markets, because as a big industrial conglomerate, they could borrow at low rates. And I think at one point, more than two thirds of General Electric's revenue came out of their banking, right.
Robert Bryce 31:46
GE Capital arm, right, yeah. And then they they bought part of Baker Hughes and the oilfield services business. And then of course, they bought in Ron wind and went into the wind business. I mean, they they're, it's an enormous company right
Rod Adams 31:57
now, they are consolidating back and they're going back to their power generation routes is one of the things they really want to focus on their gas turbine business. And I think they're, they're really going to pay attention to their nuclear business. General Electric is a partner in one of the advanced reactor demonstration projects, which we can get to next.
Robert Bryce 32:20
So we so just to back up, so we've gone through the GE, the Westinghouse ap 1000. We've talked about new scale and their new scale power module, which is 70 some megawatts, and now we're talking about the 300 megawatt GE Hitachi design, the bw er, x 300. Right. So And what about the smaller versions? What about the other companies, the upstarts that are would be more similar to new scales, vintage, terrestrial oklo, some of the other companies, then who do you handicap those, those companies? For me? Who do you think has factor in that in that field?
Rod Adams 32:58
Yeah, I'm a huge oklo fan. I think that they're an amazing story that really, probably the only true grass, you know, I mean, bootstrap startup in the nuclear field that's making huge progress, started by a couple of engineers who met each other at MIT. And they really developed a very strong affinity for finding a way to build a new nuclear plant that checks a lot of boxes. Carolina, Jake ended up getting married and they run the company together. But they've got a small team, very focused
Robert Bryce 33:42
company, which is 30 some odd people. And yeah,
Rod Adams 33:44
it's in their head counts it up until very recently was in the 20 range. But they they're adding a lot because they have submitted a dummy, this small team put together a license application, a combined license, combined construction operating license, in a brief period of time to test robots to the nrcc already had, you know, got a lot of issues out of the way before they even submitted their application. They were doing this on a on a test basis. Again, bootstrap small team, your license application for their 1.5 megawatt electric, Aurora, power station, powerhouse, beautiful little a frame, you know, it looks very and nuclear to most people, right, but that CLL is a 500 page document. And in comparison, new scales, application for a design certification, which is not even as complete as I mean, it doesn't give you permission to build anything like a C well does. But their application for design certification was 15,000 pages long.
Robert Bryce 34:54
3030 x larger, so
Rod Adams 34:57
huge difference and part It is a chose a very small power output, very stress free plants, the plants under very little stress it, it produces power by heating up and extracting a teat through heat pipes that didn't have a a system that uses supercritical co2 to extract the heat and turn it into electricity. All kinds of reasons why it's very safe, very passive, as a big shield around it. They can probably put it almost anywhere and low operating requirements, maybe remote monitoring. But that's
Robert Bryce 35:45
but that's tiny just to jump in here at one and a half megawatts. I mean, you can buy from Cummins Caterpillar, Detroit Diesel, you can there are a lot of vendors out there. So you're reciprocating engine? Oh, sure. Running diesel that will easily produce a megawatt and a half. So that's very spot,
Rod Adams 36:01
if you take that megawatt and a half diesel, and you put it up in the north of Canada, or, or someplace in a in, in Alaska, you have to deliver fuel to it.
Robert Bryce 36:13
Sure. Or in some Island economy or somewhere else.
Rod Adams 36:17
Yeah, islands not quite as hard. Because if most islands, if they have a port, it's not that hard to put fuel on a ship and take it somewhere. But it does add a lot of costs. If you're shipping small quantities of fuel to Jamaica, Bermuda does add a lot of cost. Sure. But carrying diesel fuel to the far north is a real expense. And, you know, their their minds, there's some really good Natural Resources up there that that need infrastructure to be able to get it out. So that's where they're looking to market it, they'll tell you that they have kind of a damn 1.5 megawatt is that is their Tesla Roadster. Right? Yeah, early adopters, the people that really really want or need power. And this is the best available option for them. They really want it to be clean or emission free, you know, for whatever reason, but that's their, their entry in the market. They're already working on, you know, bigger or better systems. In addition to that,
Robert Bryce 37:24
and a military base would be another option for them as well. Right. Reasonable a reasonable size and and secure location. And also after mentioned Carolyn conference from Tulsa, my hometown, right, so that's the University of Oklahoma. So did my mom. So yeah, but Okay, so oklo the other company that I hear a fair amount about and I'm interrupting here, but is terrestrial energy out of Canada? Molten Salt Reactor of about 40 megawatts What? So
Rod Adams 37:54
now? I think terrestrial energy good. Isn't that
Robert Bryce 37:57
Oh, I'm sorry. Okay, go ahead.
Rod Adams 37:58
Well, I think the terrestrial energy standard is closer to a per module somewhere in the 200 megawatt range, right.
Unknown Speaker 38:07
Fair enough module
Rod Adams 38:08
and then they also want to, they think that a multi unit site would be what is best economics for me. And by the way, multi unit is best even for the ap 1000 sighs it's always cheaper per unit capacity to build 2000 megawatt plants and to build 1000 megawatt plant one place and 1000 megawatt plant another place because you don't get you have a lot of commonalities and learning that happens when you build the second one. Going back to to trestle energy trestle energy's a very well organized company, they've got some really sharp people and they've got a, they're going through the the vendor design review process in Canada to cite their first one at the atomic the ACL or chalk river laboratories.
Unknown Speaker 39:02
And so in Canada, in Canada, right, and they're
Rod Adams 39:06
also taking advantage of the there's been a lot of coordination between particularly the US the UK and Canada, and the regulatory bodies all there, they're all have the desire to try to learn as much from each other as possible and share as much as they can to speed the process of licensing designs that are gonna be built in all three locations.
Robert Bryce 39:35
terrestrial if correct me if I'm wrong here, Rob but they they they located in Canada, they domiciled in Canada because they saw a faster pathway to licensing there than they than they did in the United States.
Rod Adams 39:46
Well, that may be one of the reasons but the Another reason is there. Many other key people are Canadian. Okay, so being being a Canadian company, it's not it's pretty logical for Canada and Brian and and David LeBlanc to want to be domiciled in Canada because that's where they live.
Robert Bryce 40:05
Rod Adams 40:07
So that they do have a US arm as well. I mean, there is a terrestrial energy USA and and, you know, they're they're making progress. Now molten salt has a lot of real attractions for people.
Robert Bryce 40:22
And this is a departure from all the reactors we've talked about so far. So, ap 1000 is lightwater, the bw or reactor. It's a light water reactor, that light water introduced to the light, whatever new scales like water, whereas oklo is, well, I hesitate to even describe it, how do you describe that chemistry,
Rod Adams 40:43
oh, clothes, has some liquid in liquid metal is inside the heat pipes. And that's what the actual driving material inside the heat pipe that moves heat from one place to another is, I believe a potassium alloy. And there's or, or maybe it's sodium, but it's, it's, it may be na k which is sodium potassium, I see. But that's it that's in a tiny little heat pipe and that's what moves the heat. And then you have the supercritical co2 to turn that into as a working fluid in the secondary system. It's it is a metal alloy fuel, which is very similar. I mean, the fuel for the oklo reactor is almost identical to what was used in the E br to the experimental Breeder Reactor number two, which operated at the Idaho National Laboratory for 30 years, and supplied my 2530 megawatts of electricity to the Idaho National Lab from 1964 to 1994. And so it's a very well proven, they have all kinds of operating history. They've they mined a lot of information from the National Labs, and that was again part of the reason or the way that they accelerated their program so much. They're using a fully certified fuel design and fully characterized
Robert Bryce 42:14
fuel for reactor that's already been built, tested and operated right
Rod Adams 42:17
now the molten salt guys have a lot of the minute they have molten salt is fascinating topic. But there's really only been two
Robert Bryce 42:28
reactors ever operated anywhere. And now we're talking about terrestrial we're switching
Rod Adams 42:32
terrestrial and Thor Khan, right are both molten salt and there's another company to UK company called moltex which has an interesting version of of molten salt they call their stable Salt Reactor. And that will be I talk about that because I am focusing on North America today. Sure is it is a complex topic and we don't have time to cover the whole world. moltex is got a North American project in New Brunswick, Canada.
Robert Bryce 43:06
Gotcha. And Thor Khan is an American company looking at a thorium thorium based reactor right.
Rod Adams 43:12
Well, Thor Khan does refer to thorium but they their molten salt reactor is going to is sort of ambivalent to which actinide you use in it, they say that it will eventually be fed with some storium as the after the reactor has been critical for a while, it can be used as a a, a additional fuel, but they know that right now the cheap and easy actinide it's available commercially is uranium and uranium is going to be in their use of low enriched or or medium and rich, you know, high FC low enriched uranium. So right, but Thor Khan, it's an American company, but they plan on building their first units in shipyards perhaps in in South Korea, and then deploying the their units, which are basically a floating plant not propelled but a floating barge it would go and be more into a port probably in Indonesia. So their initial customer base, Indonesia with all of its island has an interesting power demand challenge and and they've been working with Thor Khan for a while. But the Thor Khan reactor has a lot of similarities to the terrestrial energy reactor, I think if you trace their history so there was a time when the two groups work together very closely and they chose some different technology and chose some different paths but there's a lot of similarities in the reactor.
Robert Bryce 45:00
But Khan reactor is substantially bigger, isn't it? 500 megawatts Am I remembering right?
Rod Adams 45:05
It's a first won't be 500 megawatts, but its size to be 1000 megawatts.
Robert Bryce 45:11
And these would be an effectively power ships that would and that would be very similar to well, power ships are common and I've seen myself so I'm in Lebanon, been deployed all over the world, but usually run on on heavy fuel is only
Rod Adams 45:24
one nuclear power ship right now.
Robert Bryce 45:27
Right? That's the one the the rasa demak
Rod Adams 45:28
lump Solon off
Robert Bryce 45:31
right and it's now in Siberian pivec. Right The Ross Adam project, right?
Rod Adams 45:35
Yeah, that's correct.
Robert Bryce 45:36
Hold well, you know about this because they use submarine engines on it right
Rod Adams 45:39
where some icebreaker engines,
Robert Bryce 45:41
three icebreaker engines, so
Rod Adams 45:43
it's it's a it's a skimmer, plant Chartists, well, maybe terminal gamers, right. But no, it's a it's a KL t 40. The it that's not even their newest icebreaker engine is it. That plant was designed maybe a dozen years ago. So they use the k lt 40. They've got a new one called the ri tm 200. And I believe and they're next floating plant will be up upgraded with that, and their new icebreakers are using that. I see. So coming back to North America circuit, there's a molten salt, there's some interesting technologies, there is some some science and engineering that has to be done to prove out the assumptions that are being made and, and there's a lot of work being done on molten salt stuff. They're a little bit longer before their commercial cheers to advanced reactor demonstration projects that were recently awarded as part of the React advanced reactor demonstration program. From the do E. Each of these two projects were given an initial $80 million award for design and engineering and licensing for their first year. It's a private public private partnership. One of them is the x energy, x e 100, which is an 80 megawatt high temperature gas cooled reactor with a pebble bed reactor. And each of those 80 megawatt modules will have its own ranking cycle steam turbine associated with the project that they're building for the DMV cost here is going to be a four unit plant. So it'll have a total of 320 megawatts. And I spoke to the to the guy in charge that project for my podcast, I spoke to him yesterday. And he's pretty certain the day have identified the path that is going to allow them to have their first unit connected to the grid. By 2027, as promised as part of this advanced reactor demonstration program, initially conceived as a five to seven year period, of course, when the government says five to seven years, they really start they start the clock, when they start talking about it. They really shouldn't start the clock until they actually start money flowing. That's my opinion, but the clock is already running. And but x energy has been working on their design since they were formed in 2009. They have a whole bunch of folks that came out of South Africa from the high temperature pebble bed modular reactor project ppm our project and so that they've got a fairly mature design finishing. They're working on the detailed design work. Now they're working on their design application. But they've also chosen a site, which has already been certified as a nuclear power plant site. They're going to Washington, Eastern Washington, to what was initially part of the Washington public power system. build out as you may remember, that is the works project, which was one of the largest bond issue defaults ever. They were trying to build four nuclear power plants at the same time. And some of them got started in abandoned. One of the sites, the W NP one has a lot of infrastructure that was already built. The plant was never built, but the cooling water intakes the pump house a bunch of other stuff was there and the site has already been evaluated by the NRC for a nuclear power plant. So they believe that choosing that site is also going to give them some acceleration in their in their project and they're partnering with energy Northwest Which is the operator of the Columbia generating station out in Washington? Sure. Now these other good,
Robert Bryce 50:08
well, I was just gonna say so now we've gone through now I lost count half a dozen or so different companies different reactor designs. And and all of them well with the exception of the ap 1000. All of them are substantially smaller than the thousand megawatts. But let's talk about the the challenges because this is where when I look at this, and I'm adamantly pro nuclear, we're going to be serious about reducing emissions. We have to have bigger commits of new nuclear come into the marketplace, there's just no, there's no, I mean, the the world's top climate scientists have said this, the International Energy Agency is so deserving. It just stands to reason. I mean, this, this is not a difficult thing to understand. But the US market is hard. And we're gonna not forget the Chinese forget the Russians forget what's going on in India, Turkey, we won't talk about that. We don't have time. But you have a very, if I can just run through the issues. You don't have it you have an electricity market that isn't growing electricity. Electric demand in the US has been flat for 15 years since 2005. You have a very diffused ownership system in the United States, 3000 different electricity providers and 800 900 different cooperatives. You have publicly owned utilities like here in Austin with Austin energy. You have the investor owned utilities like Exelon and nextera. And Duke and and then you have the government power agencies, Bonneville Power Tennessee Valley Authority, I mean, it's a very diffused marketplace. And there's no carbon tax. And, and, and further you have still a lot of and I was gonna say animosity, but it's
Rod Adams 51:45
Robert Bryce 51:46
opposition that would include some of the biggest environmental groups in America including the Sierra Club, and including the Natural Resources Defense Council who worked very hard to close the the last remaining plant or get the plot last remaining plant in California Diablo Canyon closed. So I can I can see a lot of obstacles to getting any new nuclear deployed. Where are the where is the consumer poll? Or where is the buyer poll going to come from to get these units deployed, given this landscape? And if I've missed any of the, you know, the obstacles list them but
Rod Adams 52:22
no, there's there definitely obstacles. And I've been watching this industry, since me carefully watching it since about 1995. And I've seen the nuclear Renaissance, not yet arrived. I do remind people that Oh, by the way, if you look for when the real Renaissance started and do a search, you find that there's about a 50 year period, where people really weren't sure whether the Renaissance was actually in progress or not, yet or not or not. And then it lasted for 300 years after that 50 year period, the start date is still in place. So you know, we've been only in the nuclear Renaissance for 15 or 20 years. So we still got a ways to go before we can say that it's really here. But anyway, and when there's obstacles, but
Robert Bryce 53:16
when I'm saying, well, so I'm going to just follow up on that quickly, because it's when you look back at the history of atomic energy, nuclear energy in the United States, it's clear that the vast majority of these plants, including the ones here in Texas, Comanche, pink, South Texas project, or Indian Point in New York, were built in the 50 6070s. And now India, South Texas project didn't switch until the early 90s. But that was a time period when electric demand was growing and growing pretty rapidly every year reliably. And that's not the case anymore. So well, I just wanted to throw that in as one other parts of the part of this kind of big picture story, because I think, yeah, the Renaissance may take a while. But anyway, so back to my question. I didn't I didn't have you on the podcast for me to talk. All right, but what but what's going to drive this the adoption, who's who are going to be the ones that adopt these? Not in the 10 and 20 megawatt segments, but at the at the hundred megawatt gigawatt scale? Where is this going to go? And why?
Rod Adams 54:21
Well, there are a number of utilities who still have an awful lot of old coal plants. And, yes, the power demand isn't growing very fast. But it's not shrinking, either. Except, I mean, there's some variations with current situations, but the power demand is pretty steady. And there are things that are going to be making it grow maybe a little faster. As time goes on. We're really taking a much bigger look and much bigger emphasis on lifting vehicles for example, something's got to power those vehicles and it's not Going to be the solar powering the vehicles of people want to charge at night when they come home after work, right? solar is not going to do it. So there is there are some other places people are talking about. And you've talked about this on your podcast, you know, there's a lot of pressure to electrify heating, right, and move away from natural gas eating and electrify stoves and ovens to move away from burning natural gas inside your house, right? That power demands got to come from so that new power has to come from somewhere. We're shutting down old nuclear plants and many times we're setting them down for what are claimed to be economic reasons. But in reality, the plants are not making money in certain locations in the grid. Because the certain locations, the grid, have constraints on delivering the power. I mean, nuclear plant costs have not increased nuclear plant costs have actually dropped in the last dozen years, they generate very affordably priced electricity cost roughly in the 25 to $30 a megawatt hour range. But that's not competitive. If you've got a whole bunch of Midwestern windmills, congesting your access to the grid, and indoor lighting
Robert Bryce 56:30
org and or driving the price of wholesale electricity to zero or below zero.
Rod Adams 56:34
Well, once it goes, I mean, it's an it's a spectrum, right? So the, if the price wholesale price of electricity is very low, that's a revenue problem. Even if it's not zero or negative, it's still a problem, because you're not generating enough to pay your average costs. And over the course of the year, having average prices of electricity very low, makes it so that your revenue for some plants is low enough for the owners to say why bother me mean, you can't operate plants for free. You know, you got to pay your salad, you have to pay salaries, but the the management has to say there's some return coming from my shareholder investments. And if they get to the point where they're making no return, they start to say, you know, this is a lot of trouble, a lot of potential liability. You know, why don't we shut down this plant and get rid of this liability. And oh, by the way, when a big Electric Company shuts down a plant, they're doing exactly the same thing that OPEC does when they get together at a at a periodic meeting, and impose a reduction in production to drive up prices. Right, they're doing exactly the same thing. They are reducing an excess supply, which will eventually lead to higher prices,
Robert Bryce 58:01
and tighten for the
Rod Adams 58:02
rest of their units and tighten the market. Well, yeah. I mean, if you're, if you're a company that owns 25, Lourdes generating plants, and they're all selling at low prices, close to a three of the plants. And the prices will go back to a profitable level for all the rest of your facilities.
Robert Bryce 58:23
Sorry. So go ahead, sorry, places
Rod Adams 58:25
where there's a lot of coal, the utilities are under a lot of pressure to clean up their grid, even if we don't have a carbon price. And I personally believe that people who dismiss the idea of a carbon price are being short sighted, there's a lot of support, even from major oil companies for putting a place a predictable price on carbon. And it allows you to do a lot better planning for the future a lot better investment planning, if you know there is a price on carbon. I personally am a believer in that carbon fee and dividend program that the citizens climate lobby James Hansen advocate, but so there may be a carbon price. But even if without a carbon price, there's pressure to reduce carbon. So that's one issue. Some of these coal plants have to be replaced by something. Because they're 5560, sometimes 70 years old and still generating electricity. You know, and some of those older plants
Robert Bryce 59:27
are right. So right, but rather than have them run on natural gas, which is really what's been happening in nearly every instance, that right that production is being replaced by gas fired power plants. You're saying those coal plants should be replaced by nuclear plants. But
Rod Adams 59:40
well, in some cases, they really, I mean, they've been some, there's a lot of market shift from coal to natural gas in places where both of them were reasonably well available in a reasonable distance. But you know, you talk about transmission constraints and pipeline constraints. You In places where there's really heavy coal, and there hasn't been any natural gas, it's hard to replace those coal plants with gas because there isn't any gas available, right? anywhere within the, you know, several hundred miles, I get to Indiana or, or Kentucky or
Robert Bryce 1:00:17
and the climate activists are going to definitely going to fight any new gas pipeline that would allow this
Rod Adams 1:00:22
an opportunity if nukes can get their, their ducks in a row and produce plants that are on time. And within a predictable budget, the nuclear been a well managed nuclear project can come in at a competitive price, and be able to compete against natural gas, particularly in a place where people aren't real sure about what the future natural gas prices are going to be. Sure. So this is an opportunity.
Robert Bryce 1:00:55
So Susan, let me put you on the spot then. So what what reactor what company and where were you mentioned a p 1000s. In the southeast. What other well, give me your best estimate?
Rod Adams 1:01:08
Well, these two demonstration projects we didn't talk about the second one, the second one is called an atrium. reactor, it's a project it's a partnership between terrapower in general, it took Hitachi liquid metal cooled reactor. And the interesting twist on this is an atrium project has a large molten salt buffer between the reactor and the steam plant. And the molten salt buffer is going to allow it to be a much more flexible plant and spool up to have an output of say 500 megawatts for a short period of time, even though the reactors is a steady 320 megawatt electric or 320 megawatt power plant, because it'll be able to store some excess thermal energy. And when the demand for electricity goes up, they can take it out of molten salt, they can also dial back and store more more heat and the electorate in a molten salt. If they're operating in a grid that's got a lot of wind or solar on it, does it? It's designed to be more
Robert Bryce 1:02:18
flexible. And to interrupt terrapower is one of the companies backed by Bill Gates, right, right, based on the Seattle area. And they were I'll just mention it. Because I think this was one of the things that's really interesting, and maybe has been a problem is emerged as a problem. terrapower was working with the Chinese in China, and then with a deterioration in relationship between the US and China, they had to pull back right?
Rod Adams 1:02:40
Well, it's a problem if you're Chinese. But if you're American, and you'd prefer things to be done in the US, maybe it's an opportunity, okay, because they've had to figure out how to do business and how to and that they have, rather than saying it's too hard to get a license in the US. Now they've been forced to figure out it is really not that hard. The the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has changed rather dramatically. Well, rather subtly over the last five years or so. And they're led by,
Robert Bryce 1:03:14
go ahead, go ahead.
Rod Adams 1:03:16
The NRC is led by by Chris Christine vinicky, who has been there now for I think, 12 years, an awful lot of experience. She's a nuclear engineer by training, and just a very quiet but effective administrator. So
Robert Bryce 1:03:37
and that change at the NRC seems to me, given what I've seen in Washington, and there's been bipartisan legislation that's been proposed and sort of it's been passed that there has been more political support on Capitol Hill for this both
Rod Adams 1:03:49
Robert Bryce 1:03:50
from both sides, which has been the critical difference, I think, because for years is a friend of mine told me a long time ago. The problem with nuclear is you need politicians who are pro government and pro nuclear. The problem is the republicans are anti, they're pro nuclear and anti government and the democrats are anti nuclear and pro government. Right. Right. There seems to be a growing Cory Booker is one of them. Lisa Murkowski, you
Rod Adams 1:04:12
know, there's Sheldon Whitehouse, Sheldon
Robert Bryce 1:04:14
Whitehouse, a significant number of people who are saying No, we haven't we're gonna be serious about this American development and American products and you know, American exports, all these things, and this is positive so, so there seems to be that but now, so I'm putting you on the spot. Again, we talked about a lot of different things, a lot of different technologies. And we know that new scale has a home at at at Idaho national labs. And but you think that will be the first reactor then that starts actually feeding juice into the grid, which, which one's going to be the first to really hook up and start pumping out the juice?
Rod Adams 1:04:47
2027 is going to be an interesting year. Because this xc 100 the atrium, and new scale are all saying that that's their year, where they're going to be producing electricity.
Robert Bryce 1:05:01
Rod Adams 1:05:02
in 2027. Now, I believe there's a dark horse in that race, maybe bw rx 300. And an interesting site is the Clinch River site down in the Tennessee Valley Authority area. Clinch River is has got a site license already, TBA got to the early design early, early site license, ESP. Early site permit, that's our ESP for clinch over a couple of years ago. And they have it with a boundary and envelope for a variety of small reactors. The VW f 300 fits right inside the envelope, a new scale reactor fits inside that envelope. You know, these XC one hundreds fit in there, you know, so I think there's going to be something done at Clinch River as well. And again, they're probably going to be at the 2026 2027 timeframe for that. There is.
Robert Bryce 1:06:03
So I just have to interject because I was in I was in Idaho Falls three or four years ago speaking at a nuclear conference, and I saw the new scale guys there. And I said, Okay, blue sky for me, what's the, you know, what's the best, you know, best scenario when you know, Oh, 2024. So I just I had to throw that in there. But I understand why it takes time. And I'm not taking shots at New scale here. Because I look, I wish them all well, but I
Rod Adams 1:06:28
just I think oklo is going to be operating but 25
Robert Bryce 1:06:31
Oh, you do? So Oh, yeah. Okay, so they're gonna jump the queue here. You think
Rod Adams 1:06:35
small reactors pretty easy to build that,
Robert Bryce 1:06:38
and the capital requirements won't be nearly as high?
Rod Adams 1:06:40
Yeah. And and they don't have a they have venture funding. They don't have a very long corporate decision process as to whether they're going to go forward or invest or whatever. And their plan is not going to cost all that much. So I can't remember right. I had the number but I can't I don't have it right now. Right. It's 10s of millions of dollars to build.
Robert Bryce 1:07:05
The first of a kind. Yep, yeah. And they're backed by some of their back there backing comes from an Austin based company or Austin based venture firm, trusted ventures. So this is a guy named Sal and jury's based here in Austin.
Rod Adams 1:07:17
Okay, so that's probably, maybe I'll take this, this opportunity to mention that, besides being a blogger, and a podcaster. I've recently become a venture capitalist. Really? Yeah. I. But two years ago, I joined a organization that is now called nucleation. Capital. And we're going to be investing in advanced reactors and carbon, cheap illustrations, carbon utilization projects.
Robert Bryce 1:07:48
Oh, cool. Okay, and where's that? Where are they based? nucleation capital. Were they based
Rod Adams 1:07:52
in Menlo Park? Uh, huh. Silicon Valley, folks.
Robert Bryce 1:07:56
Gotcha. And they need your they need your experience in this area. I'm a partner. So got it. Cool. So let's talk about then the the
Rod Adams 1:08:07
look of things have happened. That's why I'm doing this.
Robert Bryce 1:08:11
Sure. Well, so let's talk about the existing fleet because you mentioned the operating costs and generate and companies that have generation units looking to close some of them and we've seen Exelon make that announcement. In fact, in Illinois with a couple of their plants, there are
Rod Adams 1:08:27
those that are you and I mentioned, go have mentioned the two I mentioned plants that are in locations where they're got a whole bunch of windmills as their neighbors that whenever the wind starts blowing hard, they fill up the transmission lines. And so they're subject to congestion pricing. Even though they were there first, they have to pay the congestion pricing, which makes those plants on economical over, you know, where they are. They're Biron and drain wood, Brian Dresden or resin groves and environment.
Robert Bryce 1:09:03
I think that's right. Yeah, it's been a couple of months.
Rod Adams 1:09:06
If you look at the map, they're the furthest West plants and they're right in the wind belt. Where there's, you know, you you're in West Texas, so you see the wind most all over the place, but they're all the way up into Illinois. And
Robert Bryce 1:09:19
sure, sure. So should they be getting Zacks? I mean, are you in favor? I mean, my my I say it as kind of a joke, but I mean, I mean it seriously, Exelon is a $35 billion a year company and they're saying, well, we need to make more money on this and it's difficult sale to say we need to have a bake sale for Exelon. I mean, are you or do you think those plants should get additional consideration from ratepayers? And if so, how do you make that argument in a political setting?
Unknown Speaker 1:09:52
Rod Adams 1:09:55
it's hard. I I if you Look on my blog posts you look for the word unfriend. You'll see that I wrote a post quite a while ago. unfriending. Excellent. Haha. I agree with you, it's hard to justify having a bake sale for a big profitable company. I do understand that those units are difficult without having to pay congestion pricing. And my my preference as a taxpayer is that we should save money by stopping paying zero emission or wind energy tax credits, investment tax credits and production tax credits, we should stop giving those even to projects that are building in areas where they're already an oversupply. I mean, I understand the need to decarbonize and understand the importance of building new emission free sources and, and encouraging that. But it doesn't make sense for the carbon production tax credit or the investment tax credit for solar to be the same no matter where you're building. And you're incentivizing people to over produce, even in places where the grid is already congested. And that's what's happened.
Robert Bryce 1:11:21
And the congestion problem. I mean, I was talked to a solar developer here in Austin in February, and he was saying transmissions, our biggest problem, we can't get that we can't get the transmission bill. But and those,
Rod Adams 1:11:33
what did you guys do in Texas when you had too much wind in West Texas?
Robert Bryce 1:11:37
Well, they bill spent $10 billion and raised it and they spent charged it all to the ratepayers to the credit, being paid by ratepayers that because of all that is being paid by ratepayers. So yeah, there's so it
Rod Adams 1:11:52
doesn't make sense to me to incentivize people and then have to pay the people that got damaged by the incentives. I could, it's all coming from the taxpayers and ratepayers.
Robert Bryce 1:12:02
I completely agree. And therein lies one of the problems with the whole zek argument, the zero emission credits that so now to cure the market distortion that's been caused in part by the renewables, we're going to implement another set of subsidies to counteract the subsidies in the first place,
Rod Adams 1:12:19
which is why I'm a carbon tax fan, I think a fee on carbon would is a much more legitimate and economically sound answer to incentivizing or, or discouraging carbon based fuels, well, then, you know, allowing people to say, Well, I can compete, I do have some initial costs to cover, give me some way to make a little extra money. And, you know, avoiding carbon taxes was one way to do it.
Robert Bryce 1:12:54
So is that is that one of the keys then to helping nuclear develop then in the us is that it
Rod Adams 1:13:01
was a carbon if there was a reasonable carbon tax and don't have to be huge, but a reasonable carbon tax of, say, 30 to $40 a tonne would be enough to make it so that that early stage not first of a kind, but early stage in the development, nuclear could compete. Once they build a few of those, then nuclear is going to be gaining some momentum. And, you know, the the, the real way to drive down costs is no mystery. It works in, in flat screen televisions, it works in computers, it works in LED lighting, it works in solar works in wind, and the answer is repetition. Sure, okay. Bill, get some experience, build more, and you really do drive down the cost, right? And, you know, now, eventually, there's going to be a shakeout. In the nuclear business, we talked about a lot of different technologies, they don't have all common features, and there's different supply chains, but some of them, you know, new scale and x 381,000 are using supply chains that already have some momentum and some existence and some, you know, history that there are some other commonalities to the XC 100 is using standard steam plants so that they don't have a huge supply chain issues. But yeah, there's going to be some some some narrowing down, but for right now, you know, there are features of nuclear that make it have the possibility of competing, but you can't do what what Westinghouse did. You can't go to a customer with an incomplete design and have the customer pay all the startup costs and the first of the kind costs, you know, and you know, You make if you have issues on your first plant, and your first plant in 30 years is a gigantic project. And it's no surprise that you have trouble right now, you really do want to play high school football, then college football, didn't get to the pros don't want to jump, no matter how good you think you are.
Robert Bryce 1:15:23
Right. So that these technologies really need to be mature and fully well, fully vetted for that. And and, and I think that's one of the interesting things about the oklo design is that if you can minimize that capital upfront capital costs and that, that that is a that's a big hurdle.
Rod Adams 1:15:42
And Oakland doesn't Oh, close, not interested in selling their reactors?
Robert Bryce 1:15:46
Well, that was one of the other things that was interesting to me. They wanted, they want to design them, build them and operate them, right, which is different from G's not gonna be the operator and the owner, they're gonna sell it somebody else?
Rod Adams 1:15:58
Well, you know, there's a historical reason why GE and Westinghouse went that way. Up until the energy policy after 2005, it was illegal for major vending companies to be power utility companies.
Robert Bryce 1:16:18
Ah, okay. I didn't know that.
Rod Adams 1:16:20
Yeah, it was part of the purple, I can't remember the all the acronyms involved. But if you are a GE or Westinghouse, you couldn't own and operate power generation plants, just like in the media business. There's certain separations, but that was a separation, it was a way to may have
Robert Bryce 1:16:39
been the legacy of the public utility Holding Company Act of 19. Exactly. Right, the breakup of the big utilities. So let me let me move forward in time for a while. And
Rod Adams 1:16:49
owner operators is an interesting model. That's what the Navy's model was, right. We own it, we operate it, we trained our operators, we, we took responsibility for the whole thing. With some, you know, some contractor support. Right, and
Robert Bryce 1:17:02
is that well, you beat me to the punch on one of the questions I had, because the Navy is arguably the best nuclear operator in the world. And, and they've never had any significant accidents that, you know, the Russians have, of course, but But why is that? Why is that? Why is the Navy been so good at this for now? 70 some odd years is that we're in that neighborhood, right?
Rod Adams 1:17:26
Well, January, well, since a Rick over sort of putting things together in 1949. Okay, so the Naval Reactors programs, don't 70 years. Yeah, yeah, that's a long time ago. Um, you know, there's, there's an awful lot of history. There's a book called the rickover effect by Ted Rockwell, which helps explain part of the whole program that Admiral rickover put together, you know, he, he really had some philosophies that were dramatically important for building a highly technical, responsible organization with responsive, clear lines of responsibility, accountability, and an important emphasis on training, selecting people, I mean, even interviewed, every single officer that came into the program. And by the way, that tradition is continued. All the people that are have held the Naval Reactors. Job, the one that rickover held, personally interview every officer that comes into the program. You know, there's there's a very lengthy set of things that the Navy has done right. Now, my personal belief is Emmerich overstating the job way too long. I mean, he didn't get he didn't leave the office voluntarily, even at 82 years old. He had to be pushed out by john layman. And, you know, for some reason, although, by that time, every single person in the program had been selected by him and trained by him. Hmm, he didn't find he couldn't find an animal that he could trust to turn over to. So he wanted to keep holding on.
Robert Bryce 1:19:05
That would be john layman. It was in the Reagan administration, right?
Rod Adams 1:19:08
Yes. Is that right? Yeah. 1983 82 was
Robert Bryce 1:19:11
82 or 83? Yeah.
Rod Adams 1:19:13
Yeah. I was in the second to last class to ever have a real recover interview, although they're still called recover interviews, even though he's not there anymore. As you know, he got passed away in 1986, I think. Right. But uh, but so that program has all kinds of value. And I sometimes anger some of my compatriots in the program, because I keep saying, guys, you know, I understand your importance on national security and all that stuff. But you really could have a much bigger impact if you open your kimono a little bit. And we've got history. They've got material science and operating experience and training manuals and operating manuals and all kinds of stuff. They're just fantastic. caustic materials, but we say that it's all classified. Uh huh. But I can tell you about them. I can't tell you the details, but I can tell you about them. And I really believe that one of the things if the US really wanted to, to start being an important player in nuclear again, one of the things we should do is, you know, with some consideration, there are a few things they should keep secret, but declassify almost everything the Navy, does. They build engines
Robert Bryce 1:20:30
on the nuclear front. Yeah. Then
Rod Adams 1:20:32
the nuclear part that date, right. You know, we convert an awful lot of military jet engines into commercial use, you know, an awful lot. There's an awful lot of transfer between the military and commercial in the jet engine world. Sure. But in the in the nuclear world, there's almost no transfer of detail, detailed information, and certainly no shared. Factories keeps completely separate. The fuels are different. They, you know, and part of that is the companies that supply the Navy. there's not very many of them. They're very comfortable in their very tight world having their very captive captive audience. Yeah.
Robert Bryce 1:21:19
Right. And that's Babcock and Wilcox. Is that right? That's one of the suppliers
Rod Adams 1:21:23
that kills a primary supplier, but BMW supplies all the fuel, right? Either that directly or through nuclear fuel services, right. Yeah.
Robert Bryce 1:21:32
So let me ask you about that as soon as that classified because the Von stuben had you mentioned the S five w reactor, what was the output of that reactor and electric and electric output?
Rod Adams 1:21:43
Um, well, it's a propulsion reactor. So it I could tell you what, it wasn't shaft horsepower. Okay.
Robert Bryce 1:21:52
And, but you can't tell me the megawatts electric because that the classified part of
Rod Adams 1:21:56
it didn't, didn't, didn't have it didn't have a generator. Had steam turbines it drove? Well, it had some generators, it had gobs, we have some electrical power in the system with our hotel, or hotel. Four megawatts with a hotel loads. But the proposal plant was connected to reduction gears and drove a shaft. So it really wasn't. And I probably could go back and reverse calculate or whatever. It was a 15,000 shaft horsepower. Uh huh.
Robert Bryce 1:22:27
Gotcha. Okay. Yeah. Well, I can do the I can do the math. Oh, yeah. And that's okay. But those numbers are still for nuclear, Navy. Guys. Those numbers are still considered classified. In terms.
Rod Adams 1:22:39
Yeah, but there hasn't been an S five w plant operating in a long time. So if somebody's going to come get me, they're going to come get me. Actually, I shouldn't say that. That's that really is probably not true. There are two s five w plants still in operation as training. We call them prototypes. Obviously, they're not they're not prototypical of anything. They're, they're training plants in their more training ships. In the Cooper river in Charleston, South Carolina.
Robert Bryce 1:23:13
Gotcha. Was the Naval Academy gym. I there was one question I want to just jump back to because in terms of this other, these other hurdles to deployment, and then and then I just have a couple more things. And then we'll we'll jump off here. But I remember I didn't include this in my last book. But the there are 14 states, I just looked this up, again, that have restrictions on the construction of new nuclear plants. And six of those I believe, are regulation that prevent new reactors from being built until there's a essentially a federal waste repository. So that's another big hurdle in terms of citing, because then you're going to have to have state legislators involved and either reverse existing regulations were passed new ones. But that's that's a long intro to this question then. So we still don't have the waste repository yet. And we have the waste isolation pilot project in New Mexico that handles radioactive waste, but only from the military. Why couldn't we just put civilian stuff there, too? I mean, why is this? That's one question. And then the second is, why is this problem? Why can't we resolve once and for all this issue of nuclear waste, there still fights over a new, whole text new proposed facility in New Mexico, why can't we solve this problem?
Rod Adams 1:24:29
We have solved it. I mean, we, here's the real answer to the waste issue is that we've been safely storing nuclear waste for 70 years, not a single person anywhere in the world has ever been harmed by exposure to nuclear waste. We know how to store and handle it. We can store it for a long time. And if the container start to deteriorate, well you unload them and put them in a A new container or you repair the container, you do the same thing you do for any other piece of infrastructure you have, you don't just assume that it's gonna last forever, you build it, you monitor it, you inspect it, you repair it if necessary, you move forward. So it's not a problem. And it's not even a big size issue. I mean, the the dry storage casts that are stored on existing operating sites are not a big, big issue in in someplace, you can find the waste storage facilities on the site. They get lost in the in the shuffle. They're pretty small. It's pretty contained. Now, once you get dry storage containers, yeah, yeah, you got a couple of big, some big ugly casks. And it may be a good sized parking lot, which is not a big issue. Right. But the problem is that the US government has declared that it is going to be the final owner of the material. And it forced all the utilities to sign contracts, agreeing that the government did take the final delivery. And this is doing that
Robert Bryce 1:26:15
nuclear waste Policy Act of 1984. Is that right?
Rod Adams 1:26:18
Yeah. And by doing that, and of course, they The only reason the utilities were came to the table was that their previous plan for waste, which was to recycle the material and use it productively. They had already a plant that was almost ready to start running in Barnwell, South Carolina. When the President signed a piece of paper that said no, Jimmy Carter, Jimmy Carter said 1978
Robert Bryce 1:26:49
nuclear, a nuclear Navy guy.
Unknown Speaker 1:26:54
What did I get wrong? He wasn't wasn't a nuclear Navy guy, Jimmy Carter.
Rod Adams 1:27:00
You can look this up very easily in a history book. He left the Navy in October of 1953 and went back to plains Georgia to farm peanuts. His father had passed away in the summer of 1953. The first US nuclear submarine went to sea on July 17 1955.
Robert Bryce 1:27:26
Okay, maybe guy,
Rod Adams 1:27:27
maybe he was a Navy guy. He was a Submariner. And he was selected to be a nuclear Navy guy. He started nuclear power School, which is the very first stage of training. He started that in March of 1953.
Robert Bryce 1:27:44
His father passed away shortly thereafter. Yeah,
Rod Adams 1:27:46
his father passed away in the summertime while he was still at Navy nuclear power school. And now this was a very special program. And he'd been personally interviewed by Mr. rickover, he had made a commitment to the Navy to do this special program. But they let him go. Now, you know, what, I don't know the reason why they let him go. But they did. Now some people say it's because his brother was was incapable of running the family farm after his father died. And Jimmy had to go back and do that, you know, whatever. But he got let out of a program. And I happen to have at one point in my Navy career, was a good friend with a guy whose wife was Rick overs personnel officer. And she knew Jimmy Carter. And you know, they didn't let the door slam on his bottom on his way out. But and of course, Rick over never said anything bad about Carter, because by the time he heard the word, Jimmy Carter again, that he was the president knighted states. Right. And Rick over was still, you know, operating reactors for the Navy. And, hey, if you're forced our Navy guy could pick a fight with the President. Come on. The president wants to say he admires you. Yes, you're right. That's a good thing for your program. Sure.
Robert Bryce 1:29:10
Unknown Speaker 1:29:10
So But anyway,
Robert Bryce 1:29:12
I'm Mitch. Joe.
Rod Adams 1:29:13
Yes. So. So going back, the wastage. Go ahead. Waste issue has been inflated. And there I can show you documents where people who are opposed to nuclear have gotten together and strategized about how to use the waste issue to constrain the industry? Well, I
Robert Bryce 1:29:34
think there's no question about I call it
Rod Adams 1:29:36
the constipation strategy. And it's never going to be solved politically as a minute. Somebody told me that all it takes is one senators to to table anything to do with getting a repository cited. And if that's true, if all you need is one senator, stop it, you're never gonna get an agreement. I think the industry's got to say we have the we have it, guys. We know what to do. The waste is safely stored. You guys need to stop worrying about it. But of course, as long as the industry feels that the government owes them money, because they failed to deliver on a contract, the industry is not going to say, Well, we've got it because they want to get their money.
Robert Bryce 1:30:21
Right. And so, but the problem is that the taxpayers are paying for this many times, right? They paid to build Yucca Mountain. They're paying to just maintain it. I guess, while it's still being, you know, litigated. ad infinitum. Yucca Mountain never got built? Well, okay, they dug a hole anyway. Or they go one
Rod Adams 1:30:38
hole for for science, they never built the repository. Okay.
Robert Bryce 1:30:42
Fair enough. But there were billions spent nevertheless. Oh, absolutely. And And now, the government has had to pay these lawsuits under the nuclear the government's failure under the nuclear waste Policy Act. But anyway, I just, I don't want to spend too much more time on the waste part of it, because, but it's just one of these other sticking points, that's been a sticking point for decades. And with these states, many of them now with these regulations, it it further constrains the places where they might be deployed, and that that are gonna, you know, take more legislative action, they
Rod Adams 1:31:13
certainly aren't going to be the first customers there.
Robert Bryce 1:31:17
Rod Adams 1:31:18
okay. If they if they see their neighbors doing well, because they're accepting nuclear, maybe they'll change their their minds, right.
Robert Bryce 1:31:25
So why do you care so much about this? I mean, you've had a long career in this, but you know, you you've really dedicated your what most of your life to this, why do you care so much about it?
Rod Adams 1:31:39
My wife asked me the same question. Lots. It's hard to say to me, you know, first of all, I have lived inside a sealed submarine, powered by this magical power source, been the fuel on board my submarine weighed approximately the same as what I weigh. But it powered a 9000 ton submarine. at speeds almost unimaginable underwater gave us all the lighting and, and refrigeration and electricity, we need it for whatever games you underplay, or movies wanted to watch, or it made fresh air out of water, by splitting hydrogen and oxygen we made for all the freshwater when needed. And it did this for 14 years, without ever being replaced that same mass of fuel. Now, I know that there are so many problems in the world that could be addressed and mitigated, not necessarily completely eliminated or solved, but made a lot easier. If we recognized that we have this power source, that's a natural part of our Earth environment. You know, uranium is abundant. And thorium is four times as abundant. You know, we've got an inexhaustible supply of this emission free power, the power to do anything you want to do. I mean, if you want to power a super yacht with a nuclear engine, you know, you could go wherever you want, it just be like having a very fast sailboat. But you wouldn't even need to plug into shore power. You know, you will have you know, it's just incredible to me that. And when I finished my engineer, career, or engineer tour, I should say that career, I went to the Naval Academy on shore duty, and I had a lot of free time. And I spent months reading books from we had this huge section of books about nuclear energy, we had a good section of books on the opposition to nuclear energy. And I kept trying to figure out why. Why did people who said they were concerned about clean air and clean water? Why didn't they like this power source? And eventually, I came to the conclusion that an awful lot of the opposition to nuclear was stimulated and funded by people who wanted to sell other kinds of energy. It was a competitive thing. This this magical power source was like having Shaquille O'Neal try to play basketball on the kindergarten court. I mean, think about that. And, and of course, he just dropped the ball into the little baskets that they have on the kindergarten court. Because that's what you know, people go to all kinds of trouble to try to come up with ways to clean up the emissions from From a coal plant doing scrubbers and chemistry and the baghouses, and all kinds of stuff, and yeah, say, clean, I ran with a thing inside my, my, my summary.
Robert Bryce 1:35:13
So well, so just to follow up on that. So you think that the opposition, and even today is still being funded by what I'm completing your thought here I believe is from the hydrocarbon sector from people selling coal, oil and natural gas.
Rod Adams 1:35:28
I call it the hydrocarbon economy interest. I mean, we have
Robert Bryce 1:35:33
so the Sierra Club is doing the bidding of Exxon.
Rod Adams 1:35:37
Either purposely or accidentally, but by the way, the Sierra Club did except no $25 million from a fragger. from Duke Energy, right to go beyond coal. But of course, money is fungible. How do I know what Sierra Club spent the $25 million on? And of course, that was just that's just one little. I call it the little blips that you see, when people are really trying to hide stuff every once a while you get a hint of stuff. Friends of the Earth was a breakaway. When David Brower broke away from the Sierra Club, to form Friends of the Earth, he did it. And he purposely formed an anti nuclear organization, because at that time, the Sierra Club still had a campaign of atoms not dams going on. And he broke away from the Sierra Club to fund this anti nuclear organization. The guy who wrote the first check for $200,000 in 1969, was Robert Anderson, who was the CEO of arco. That's, that's just another little hint. And in many cases, you know, once you stimulate this, and you establish a propaganda, you know, an idea, you don't have to keep funding it, you get the to get the momentum going, and then you stop, you know, people who have lots of money, often figure out ways to get the government to pay for the for their things. But the Rockefeller Foundation funded the first 10 years worth of effort by the National Academy of Sciences to determine what the health effects of low level radiation are. And they found a guy who would adamant that the effect of low level radiation was measurable all the way down to zero. You know, not just slight, but only down to zero. And there was no safe dose. Of course, everybody else, except for this guy, who ended up getting a Nobel Prize and leading the National Academy of Sciences and committee valuation. But yeah, yes,
Robert Bryce 1:37:48
there is a legacy that the Legacy The legacy of the anti nuclear movement comes out of the hydrocarbon sector.
Rod Adams 1:37:55
Well, there was a time, you know, from, it wasn't an organization that is lost in history to most people called the National coal policy commission. And it was a lobby group founded in about 1956. And it was an interesting group, because it was comprised of unions, railroads, coal, mining equipment, companies, and coal mine owners. Now,
Robert Bryce 1:38:27
almost all of them saw the nuclear businesses as an existential threat to us. Well, now that we're here all the time.
Rod Adams 1:38:34
Yeah. And and, you know, I've got a book on the on my shelf that got all this hits. There's times when the coal industry was the only people testifying against nuclear. I mean, it even talks about the coal boys going to commission meetings and and saying, Hey, we got to stop the subsidies. This this price Anderson act is an unfair subsidy, and then you're giving them insurance at below market rates. And you've got to stop this.
Robert Bryce 1:39:04
And we still hear that today,
Rod Adams 1:39:06
you got to stop calling these these a reactor project demonstrations, because they must be commercial because the utilities buying them, you got to stop giving them low cost fueled all this stuff. And, and by the end of the 1970s, you see a little article from the New York Times, like an end of the decade thing, and it talked about how the coal guys had now finally convinced the youth movement to take over against nuclear.
Robert Bryce 1:39:37
And then you add in and then you add in the issue of atomic weapons, nuclear weapons, and you get a very convenient kind of anti nuclear anti war, peace movement that is all conflated into one. Well, not
Rod Adams 1:39:51
well, especially once you figure out what you find out that the guy who was one of the major leaders of the whole atomic atmospheric testing program. The he was a driver of the Atomic Energy Commission's focus for the first eight years on bombs and nothing on power. And he was the guy who pushed for the H bomb. He was also the guy that fired Robert Oppenheimer, And oh, by the way, then he he sabotage the nuclear industry or satis for life by saying that atomic energy will eventually be too cheap to meter. Lewis Stross did all those things. And he was he was a wall street banker, an advisor to the Rockefeller family. Huh? Well, that was also he's called Admiral Strauss. Right?
Robert Bryce 1:40:44
Well, that's history. That's history that I didn't know. And is, is interesting. So, Rod, we've been talking for a while here, and I've taken more of your time than I anticipated. So just two more questions, if you don't mind. So what are you reading? Now? I like to ask this question. You know, I'm, I've got several books that I'm working on and and many that I'm you know, one of them is Meredith Ingrid's new book, I interviewed her recently shooting grid, which is a really interesting book, and I know you helped you you're you and Meredith are friends. Reading a book called The genius of birds. What are you reading what's on your shelf?
Rod Adams 1:41:16
Well, I am reading Daniel Yergin new book, the map. I am, I just finished. Matt Wrigley, his new book on innovation. Let's see, I've I've got a whole bunch of trashy novels that have our I've got this habit of reading books that are set in Florida, South Florida. The keys. I mean, one of my favorite authors is a young guy was was a Travis McGee series of books. I don't know if you're familiar with Travis McGee, but he was a it was a guy who retired to a house both in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And he only worked when he needed to. The books are all his adventures. The times when he took assignments to go do some work. So I've got it. There's a new book that I'm sure it's a book. I'm reading with a guy who lives on a mega yacht because he had so many adventures. He wrote some screenplays it got picked up. So he lives in a mega yacht, but he still works as a volunteer deputy sheriff. He's trip trip trip wild, but like I said, these are just fantasy books of mostly set in in Florida because I'm a Floridian for life. I grew up in southeast Florida, and finally retired to Florida.
Robert Bryce 1:42:42
Carl Hiaasen, isn't he?
Rod Adams 1:42:43
Oh, Carl Hiaasen is one of my favorites. But I've read all his books. I can't say I'm reading him. Now. I've read every book that he's ever written. And I've got a library shelf somewhere. You can see I've got a few shelves here. Yes,
Robert Bryce 1:42:55
I see. Yeah.
Rod Adams 1:42:56
My my granddaughters come into my, my office and say, gramps, have you read all his books? And? Yeah. So to me, one of my most my most dog eared book is Daniel Yergin, surprise. I mean, that's, that is a book that anybody who wants to understand the battle for oil wealth, and power really needs to understand that. That book also helps you understand the importance of controlling the supply demand balance. Because the profits in the oil industry, oil and gas industry are very much tied to whether or not there's just enough supply, or too little supply, or too much supply. And the variations are very small. Sure, because both of those commodities, you know, they can be stored for a little bit, but eventually run out of tanks. Right. And once once the tanks are full, how much is the next barrel of oil worth?
Robert Bryce 1:44:00
Not all that a lot. Exactly. And we're still still going through that today, because they're really in
Rod Adams 1:44:05
demand we've had negative who had negative price, oil. I know. It's very, it's very cool. But I mean, maybe the price of oil.
Unknown Speaker 1:44:13
Yeah. One people paid you to take it.
Unknown Speaker 1:44:17
That's pretty incredible. It's pretty
Robert Bryce 1:44:19
Rod Adams 1:44:20
And of course, natural gas drops that way, in the Permian Basin, on a regular basis.
Robert Bryce 1:44:25
Sure. So last question, then rod, and you've been very kind with your time. So what gives you hope you've been working on these issues for a long time. And I think it could be you could be easily discouraged, because of how long it takes. What keeps you hopeful?
Rod Adams 1:44:44
Well, I'll be honest, I have been discouraged. At times. I've been very discouraged and but right now, there's an incredible momentum. Full of very smart Younger people than me,
Unknown Speaker 1:45:03
Rod Adams 1:45:06
focused on addressing some of the world's thorniest problems, they want to provide fresh water, they want to provide clean electricity, they want to enable and lift people out of poverty by giving them access to real electricity, not the light bulb, but enough electricity, so they can have water pumps, and clean water flowing. And, you know, all of the things that we kind of take for granted, but that enabled people to have the time to do real things, rather than spending their whole days carrying firewood, or going to a well, that, you know, because they don't have pipes, they don't have pumps, and all of those things. I mean, your your movie on electricity, really was a huge, beautiful movie about how important that tower is. And what gives me hope is, I know a whole bunch of people who have a great way to supply that power in ways that won't damage the ecosystem and in fact, will help us reduce human footprints by not paving whole mountain sides, or, or fields or deserts with, with collectors. No, that gives me hope. And it gives me optimism and passion for what's going to happen. And you know, there are people on both sides, all sides because I don't like a bifurcated. I kind of think that sometimes political commentary, commentators were trained by, by sports journalists, whether there's one side winning and one side. But there's interest in all ways and nuclear ticks, so many boxes for people. It's good jobs, it's abundant energy, it's clean air, clean water, it's sustainable. It can power itself, and power growth for itself. You know, I can't find a place where you can power a windmill factory by windmills. You can't power a solar factory with solar. Because you need power. It's
Unknown Speaker 1:47:24
reliable. Yeah. And,
Rod Adams 1:47:25
you know, people say, Well, we can tell a multiplicity, okay, well, if you need a multiplicity, that's expensive. If you need this, and this and this and this, it's expensive. So anyway, that's it gives me hope gives me power. Me, it gives me optimism, it gives me makes it fun to wake up every morning and I and people who follow my Twitter account will know that I wake up early every morning. I'm usually conversing with people from Europe or Australia, because nobody knew essence awake. But at that time, so
Robert Bryce 1:47:56
right. Well, Rob, this has been great fun for me. And I'm really glad to go through him to get your views on, you know, the what the different companies and different reactor designs. I
Rod Adams 1:48:07
apologize any company that I forgot to mention. There are I'm sure there's somebody out there. You forgot?
Robert Bryce 1:48:14
I'm sure there are. Well, my guest has been rod Adams, the publisher of atomic insights.com podcast host as well with the atomic show podcast, which you can access on his website. He's also on Twitter at atomic rod. I follow him you should follow him. He's obviously very passionate about these things. So, Rod, thanks a million for your time. This has been great fun. And to all you out there. This has been the power hungry podcast if you like it, then give us a positive rating on your Apple account or your iTunes account or wherever your your favorite podcast host is. And make sure to tune in for the next issue of the next episode of the power hungry podcast. And until then, I'm Robert rice. Thanks again for tuning in.
Unknown Speaker 1:49:00
All right. Bye bye.