By Staffan A. Qvist, et al.

A number of analyses, meta-analyses, and assessments, including those performed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the International Energy Agency, have concluded that deployment of a diverse portfolio of clean energy technologies makes a transition to a low-carbon-emission energy system both more feasible and costly than other pathways. In contrast, Jacobson et al. MZ, Delucchi MA, Cameron MA, Frew BA (2015) Proc Acad Sci USA 112(49):15060–15065] argue that it is feasible provide “low-cost solutions to the grid reliability problem with penetration of WWS [wind, water and solar power] across energy sectors in the continental United States between 2050 2055”, with only electricity and hydrogen as energy carriers. In this paper, we evaluate that study and find significant shortcomings in the analysis. In particular, we point out that this work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions. Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

Mid-October’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis included the premier of a new pro-nuclear documentary entitled The New Fire. The movie focuses on the rise of reactor startups, particularly Transatomic and Oklo, illustrating how young inventor/entrepreneurs are striving to bring advanced nuclear power designs to market. The director, David Schumacher, hopes to not only educate and inspire his audiences to learn more about nuclear power, but to expose young people to the possibilities and excitement of a career in science or engineering.

Heartland Film Festival 2017Several of the people who appear in the documentary were invited to attend the premier, and to participate in the Q&A sessions that followed the movie’s screenings. SCGI president Tom Blees appears at various points in the documentary, and joined David and several others in Indianapolis, engaging the audiences after the showings. Both were sold out, and after the limited Q&A time was filled the conversations continued in the theater lobbies afterwards, and even the next day when film festival-goers recognized Tom and wanted to engage in conversations about nuclear power issues.

A recent article in Engineering News argued that wind and solar could provide the bulk of South Africa’s power at the least cost. Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz argued that building 22 GW of wind and solar capacity and 8 GW of “backup” (in the form of coal and/or gas) was the sensible solution to supplying a reliable 8 GW of electrical power to South Africa. Apparently his argument is that the amount of money saved on fuel will outweigh the cost of such extreme overbuilding.

Having seen actual results of such folly based on computer modelling and other types of simulations, one can be forgiven for being skeptical of such claims.

Epidemiology Without Biology: False Paradigms, Unfounded Assumptions, and Specious Statistics in Radiation Science.

Long accepted but inaccurate claims about the danger of low level radiation are crippling us. These fears fuel needless evacuations, inspire avoidance of life-saving medical procedures, and promote fear of nuclear energy.

Our understanding of radiation is based on circular reasoning of sterile error-prone statistics rather than on our knowledge of biology and chemistry. These studies have deadly consequences.

To avoid investigating nuclear energy, attention is often focused on the so-called ‘‘re-newable’’ sources, wind and solar. We adopt the fear from nuclear opponents and wind-and-solar proponents, inspired by the incorrect Linear, No Threshold (LNT) paradigm.

This exceptional paper examines the shortcomings of LNT and includes comments from qualified detractors and the author's reactions. It is a "Must Read".