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ATTN: Pembroke BS

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I'm not sure if Peter already sent you an email, but the cites for our aff were put up on the internet, they're on the wiki.debatecoaches.org website.

 

Edit: tomtom told me our cites aren't actually up, so back to my original query, did Peter send them to you?

Edited by Brad Bolman

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I'm not sure if Peter already sent you an email, but the cites for our aff were put up on the internet, they're on the wiki.debatecoaches.org website.

 

Edit: tomtom told me our cites aren't actually up, so back to my original query, did Peter send them to you?

 

that he did. and i'd love to give you our cites as soon as we debate for the first time, haha.

 

we've been having some logistical trouble in the lou... we'll be out and about soon enough, though.

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Oh my god yall. Look around the interwebs.

 

http://wiki.debatecoaches.org/index.php?title=Pembroke_Hill_%28MO%29_-_Brad_Bolman_%26_Lewis_Sharp#GHTMRs_Affirmative

 

Edit: I realized those cites disappeared.

 

1AC – INHERENCY

 

Observation 1: Inherency

 

1. Status Quo incentives fail

Charles D. Ferguson and Sharon Squassoni, 6/5/7, why nuclear power isn’t the great green hope, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3896 [bolman]

When U.S. President George W. Bush speaks of using technology to fix climate problems, he often focuses on nuclear energy. Last month he said that if we’re “truly interested in cleaning up the environment, or interested in renewable sources of energy, the best way to do so is through safe nuclear power.” While Bush is talking up nuclear energy, China and India are racing ahead to build dozens of new plants. Even many environmentalists, concerned about emissions from coal-fired power plants, have begun holding their noses and are coming out in reluctant support of a technology they once reviled. But their original instincts were right: Nuclear energy is not the silver-bullet solution to save us or the environment. Today, nuclear energy produces 16 percent of the world’s electricity, compared with coal, which produces 39 percent and hydropower, which produces 19 percent. In the United States, the good news is that the nuclear industry has maintained its 20 percent share of the electricity market by increasing the power rating of many of its 104 nuclear power reactors while decreasing the time required for shutdown for refueling and maintenance. But during the past 30 years, reactor construction stagnated in the United States because of large uncertainties in capital costs as well as red tape and legal challenges in obtaining a license to operate a reactor. Although legislative changes in 1992 and more recently in 2005 have tried to streamline the licensing process and create incentives to entice investors, the industry has not had an order for a new nuclear power plant since 1978, and that order was subsequently canceled. The last completed U.S. reactor was Watts Bar 1, which was ordered in 1970 and began operations in 1996. Although many U.S. reactors have received operating-license renewals for an additional 20 years of life, by 2030 the reactor fleet will be in serious disrepair if no further reactors are built. The United States hopes to build upward of 30 reactors in the next couple of decades. However, because the incentives in the 2005 legislation are limited, only a handful of new reactors will probably be built, but not many more than that..

 

 

 

1AC – PLAN

 

Plan: The United States federal government should offer businesses in the United States substantial positive financial incentives and a combined licensing process for nuclear power plants that use Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactors

 

1AC – WARMING

 

Advantage 1: God Is Huggin’ Us Closer

 

1. Warming is occurring now – new IPCC models, which are the most comprehensive studies done, show it is caused by humans.

United Nations Environment Programme – 2007 Evidence of Human-caused Global Warming "Unequivocal", says IPCC,2/2 http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=499&ArticleID=5506 [barber]

Paris, 2 February 2007 – The first major global assessment of climate change science in six years has concluded that changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps show unequivocally that the world is warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that major advances in climate modelling and the collection and analysis of data now give scientists "very high confidence" (at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct) in their understanding of how human activities are causing the world to warm. This level of confidence is much greater than what could be achieved in 2001 when the IPCC issued its last major report. Today's report, the first of four volumes to be released this year by the IPCC, also confirms that the marked increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) since 1750 is the result of human activities. An even greater degree of warming would likely have occurred if emissions of pollution particles and other aerosols had not offset some of the impact of greenhouse gases, mainly by reflecting sunlight back out to space. Three years in the making, the report is based on a thorough review of the most-up-to-date, peer-reviewed scientific literature available worldwide. It describes an accelerating transition to a warmer world marked by more extreme temperatures including heat waves, new wind patterns, worsening drought in some regions, heavier precipitation in others, melting glaciers and Arctic ice and rising global average sea levels. For the first time, the report provides evidence that the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland are slowly losing mass and contributing to sea level rise. "This report by the IPCC represents the most rigorous and comprehensive assessment possible of the current state of climate science and has considerably narrowed the uncertainties of the 2001 report," said Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). "Progress in observations and measurements of the weather and climate are keys to improved climate research, with National Meteorological and Hydrological Services playing a crucial role."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1AC – WARMING

 

2. Nuclear energy is the only viable carbon and greenhouse gas free approach to base-load electricity production.

Joe F. Colvin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Nuclear Energy Institute. 1-7-2004, [science Direct].

NEI and the nuclear industry also have concentrated on making the environmental case for nuclear energy. The environmental value of nuclear energy is now widely acknowledged among U.S. policymakers and a growing portion of the public. The clean air value of nuclear energy is starting to be explicitly recognized in environmental policy as well. In the spring of 2003, the state of New Hampshire modified the rules of the state’s nitrogen oxides (NOX) allowance allocation. Incremental nuclear energy now can qualify for NOX allowances from a set-aside pool previously reserved solely for renewable and energy efficiency projects. After all, nuclear power reduces air emissions the same way wind turbines do—by avoiding emissions from fossil-fired generators. In 2004, the U.S. government is changing its voluntary carbon emissions reporting program. The changes may include instituting a market based, transferable credit program. Nuclear energy is responsible for the largest share of carbon reduction in the current Department of Energy greenhouse gas reduction registry—accounting for over 40 percent of the emission reductions reported—and the industry is working to ensure that those reductions are recognized in any emissions credit program that is developed., 6 A growing number of state governments are considering a mandatory approach to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. There were even three bills introduced in Congress last year that included mandatory cuts to emitted GHG. NEI and the industry are working with both the federal and state governments to emphasize that avoided emissions are as good as emissions reduced, and that nuclear energy should be recognized for its contribution to cleaner air. The value of nuclear energy to our future environmental health is undeniable. A recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University—co-chaired by two former under secretaries of the U.S. Department of Energy, John Deutch and Ernest Moniz—concluded that “… the nuclear option should be retained, precisely because it is an important carbon-free source of power that can potentially make a significant contribution to future electricity supply.”, 7

 

3. Global Warming causes oscillations destroying the world as we know it.

Lester W. Milbrath, professor at Buffalo Sate University, December 1998, Special issue 9, Electronic Green Journal, http://egj.lib.uidaho.edu/index.php/egj/article/view/2717/2675 [bolman]

Even more importantly, the emission of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, and chlorofluorocarbons are beginning to change the way the biosphere works. Scientists estimate that the earth will warm three to nine degrees Fahrenheit in the next seven decades, perhaps sooner. That will be sufficient to change climate patterns. We cannot be sure that the climate will change gradually and then settle down into a new pattern. It may oscillate unpredictably and bring unexpected catastrophe. Climate change and loss of the ozone layer will injure ecosystems all over the planet and reduce their productivity at the very time all those new humans will be looking for sustenance. Equally devastating, climate instability will destroy the confidence people need in order to invest. Entrepreneurs would have little confidence that their business could get supplies or that their goods would have a market. Investors would fear that their stocks, bonds and loans would become worthless. If the climate begins to oscillate, we will become victims of our own thrust for economic success. Be forewarned, climate change means economic catastrophe.

 

 

1AC – WARMING

 

4. CO2 in oceans kills Phytoplankton, which is key to oxygen having massive impacts on the eco system leading to extinction.

UPI, by Rosalie Westenskow UPI correspondent, 6-6-08, Acidic oceans may tangle food chain, UPI journal online, http://www.upi.com/Energy_Resources/2008/06/06/Acidic_oceans_may_tangle_food_chain/UPI-84651212763771/print/ [bolman]

Increased carbon levels in ocean water could have devastating impacts on marine life, scientists testified Thursday at a congressional hearing. Although most of the concern about carbon emissions has focused on the atmosphere and resulting temperature changes, accumulation of carbon dioxide in the ocean also could have disturbing outcomes, experts said at the hearing, which examined legislation that would create a program to study how the ocean responds to increased carbon levels. Ocean surface waters quickly absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so as carbon concentrations rise in the skies, they also skyrocket in the watery depths that cover almost 70 percent of the planet. As carbon dioxide increases in oceans, the acidity of the water also rises, and this change could affect a wide variety of organisms, said Scott Doney, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a non-profit research institute based in Woods Hole, Mass. "Greater acidity slows the growth or even dissolves ocean plant and animal shells built from calcium carbonate," Doney told representatives in the House Committee on Energy and the Environment. "Acidification thus threatens a wide range of marine organisms, from microscopic plankton and shellfish to massive coral reefs." If small organisms, like phytoplankton, are knocked out by acidity, the ripples would be far-reaching, said David Adamec, head of ocean sciences at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "If the amount of phytoplankton is reduced, you reduce the amount of photosynthesis going on in the ocean," Adamec told United Press International. "Those little guys are responsible for half of the oxygen you're breathing right now." A hit to microscopic organisms can also bring down a whole food chain. For instance, several years ago, an El Nino event wiped out the phytoplankton near the Galapagos Islands. That year, juvenile bird and seal populations almost disappeared. If ocean acidity stunted phytoplankton populations like the El Nino did that year, a similar result would occur -- but it would last for much longer than one year, potentially leading to extinction for some species, Adamec said.

 

 

1AC – PROLIFERATION

 

Advantage 2: Start loving the bomb

 

1. GT-MHRs are uniquely suited to dispose of plutonium and prevent diversion and proliferation

Malcolm P. La Bar, registered Professional Mechanical Engineer as well as a Professional Nuclear Engineer in the State of California. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Nuclear Society and Walter A. Simon, 97, Uranium Institute 22nd Annual International Symposium, “The Modular Helium Reactor for the Twenty-First Century”, http://www.world-nuclear.org/sym/1997/labar.htm

The GT-MHR also provides important benefits for the destruction of plutonium, either weapons grade plutonium (WPu) or reactor grade plutonium (RPu). Effective Plutonium Destruction For the disposition of weapons grade plutonium (WPu), the GT-MHR provides the capability to consume more than 90% of the initially charged plutonium-239 and more than 65% of the initially charged total plutonium in a single pass through the reactor. The performance of plutonium coated particles to burnup levels of 750 000 MWd/t has been demonstrated by irradiation tests in the Dragon and Peach Bottom 1 gas-cooled reactors. As shown in Figure 12, this level of plutonium destruction is well beyond that achieved by other WPu disposition alternatives. By achieving this high level of plutonium destruction, the GT-MHR extracts a substantially higher portion of the useful energy content from the material than other reactor options without reprocessing and recycling. Because the plutonium-fuelled GT-MHR uses no fertile fuel material, all fissions in the core are plutonium fissions, and no new plutonium is produced by the operation of the reactor. Comparable results would apply to the use of reactor grade plutonium. Diversion/Proliferation Resistance The GT-MHR is particularly well suited for international deployment for plutonium disposition. Both the fresh fuel and the spent fuel discharged from the GT-MHR have higher resistance to diversion and proliferation than other reactor options for plutonium disposition. The plutonium content of the fresh fuel is very diluted within the fuel element graphite. In addition to having the self-protecting characteristics of other spent fuel (high radiation fields and spent fuel mass and volume), the amount of plutonium per GT-MHR spent fuel element is very low and there is neither a developed process nor capability anywhere in the world for separating the residual plutonium from GT-MHR spent fuel. Furthermore, the discharged plutonium isotopic mixture is severely degraded (well beyond LWR spent fuel) making it particularly unattractive for use in weapons. In contrast, one weapons grade mixed oxide (MOX) fuelled PWR spent fuel assembly contains sufficient plutonium to fabricate more than one nuclear device.

 

 

1AC – PROLIFERATION

 

2. The plan is necessary to create U.S. nuclear leadership, which is key to stopping proliferation.

M. R. Buckner and T. L. Sanders, AStrong U.S. Nuclear Enterprise Enhances Global Nuclear Proliferation Management, 2001 http://sti.srs.gov/fulltext/ms2001080/ms2001080.html

Although several positive steps (8) have been initiated in the last couple of years by the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), Science and Technology (e.g., the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI) and the Nuclear Engineering Education Research Programs (NEER)) and additional programs (9) proposed by the Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee (NERAC), the funding levels are currently small in comparison to the need. A recent CSIS report (10) highlights this concern. This study was performed by a Senior Policy Panel and five Task Forces made up of a broad cross-section of international participants with a wide range of experience and understanding of nuclear technology. The study concluded that "U.S. leadership on nonproliferation and safety issues (particularly as they relate to both the government and civilian nuclear energy) is fundamentally linked to the strength of its technical foundation, to the perception of the commitment of the U.S. government to maintaining a nuclear power option for the future, and to the policy positions taken by the United States." The report goes on to point out that " the essential technical foundations of its leadership in nuclear nonproliferation and safety" have been allowed "to atrophy and has greatly decreased its participation in international cooperation on nuclear energy and the fuel cycle." The speakers and panelists echoed many of these same conclusions at the 2000 ANS Meeting in San Diego in June, 2000 in two special sessions on "The Impact of Nonproliferation Measures on the Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle" sponsored by SCNN. (11) It was stated that even though it may sound like a contradiction, a thriving, healthy nuclear industry helps to combat proliferation. Several speakers emphasized this point by stating that if we (the U.S.) don’t stay in the game (nuclear), we’re going to have increasing problems making our points in the international forum, and more importantly having the points be given any weight. The demise of the U.S. nuclear industry was described as a "brain drain" because of the loss of young talent coming out of our universities to fill the manpower gap that is being created in the nuclear industry by the retirement of many of scientists and engineers who have built the business over the last fifty years. Several of the speakers emphasized the need for a strong civilian program as a prerequisite to leadership on nonproliferation issues. Based on this body of concern, the SCNN strongly recommends that the U.S. government and industry take steps now to meet these enormous challenges and opportunities as we make the transition to the next nuclear era. Specifically, the SCNN endorses the following recommendations from the CSIS report (10): "The time has come for an unambiguous U.S. policy supporting the preservation of the Nation’s existing nuclear power capability, the preservation of that investment by extending the licenses of present plants, and the option to expand that capability to meet future power needs." In addition to the domestic energy advantages, SCNN believes that support of such a policy is a fundamental prerequisite for US leadership in managing global proliferation risks. "The need to deploy advanced systems, which can dramatically expand nuclear fuel supply by transmutation, has been delayed from the early to the middle decades of the coming century. Thus there is time to address the safety, environmental, and proliferation control issues of the commercial, high-conversion nuclear fuel cycles well before deployment. U.S. Policy should be amended to state that long-term energy needs, air pollution, and global warming considerations require the prudent development of high-conversion nuclear fuel systems, and the US will cooperate with other nuclear power countries in their development. U.S cooperation is contingent upon a serious program to establish international standards to ensure that diversion to nuclear weapons will not result from commercial deployment". "The primary implementing action of such an amended policy would be the initiation of strong international collaboration. A key early task of such collaboration is to develop an international consensus on an adequate level of proliferation resistance for the deployment of commercial, high-fuel conversion reactors and fuel cycle systems, both from the technical and institutional standpoint. There is time to engage in R&D on promising recycle and once-through advanced high conversion systems. In addition, SCNN recommends that: Funding for nuclear R&D should be substantially increased and focused on the critical safety, nonproliferation, waste management, and cost issues that have constrained nuclear power's growth to date; Within that R&D portfolio, specific steps should be taken to reinvigorate the nation's nuclear engineering departments and attract new students to the field (including a new generation of proliferation and safeguards experts); Steps should be taken to ensure that the United States rebuilds the infrastructure needed for an effective nuclear technology R&D program and for effective management of its nuclear materials Further steps should be taken to implement a more risk-informed approach to the development and application of U.S. nonproliferation policy. R&D should be funded to support the development of the methodology as well as innovative, cost effective proliferation-resistant features for advanced nuclear systems as is described in the recent NERAC report (12) A vigorous advanced reactor R&D program should be mounted that provides for the design and preliminary testing of a variety of innovative systems from which one or two can be selected for full scale demonstration and deployment.

 

 

1AC – PROLIFERATION

 

3. Constructive nuclear engagement is key to US non-proliferation efforts

Harold Bengelsdorf, consultant and former director of both key State and Energy Department offices that are concerned with international nuclear and nonproliferation affairs, 2007; "THE U.S. DOMESTIC CIVIL NUCLEAR INFRASTRUCTURE AND U.S. NONPROLIFERATION POLICY", http://www.nuclearcompetitiveness.org/images/COUNCIL_WHITE_PAPER_Final.pdf

These same two principles formed the basis of the NPT. Indeed, the NPT strengthened and expanded the nonproliferation side of the equation in two important respects. While the Atoms for Peace program made international cooperation dependent on certain nonproliferation assurances, these assurances were not comprehensive. No renunciation of nuclear weapons or nuclear explosives in general was required as a condition of export, and no commitment to verify the peaceful character of all nuclear activities was required. The NPT, on the other hand, reflected the conviction that to enjoy the benefits of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, a country's commitments must be complete and comprehensive. Hence, Articles II and III of the NPT obligate non-nuclear weapon states party to the Treaty to forgo the manufacture and acquisition of nuclear weapons and nuclear explosives and to accept safeguards on all their peaceful nuclear activities. In return, Article IV of the Treaty reaffirms the right of all parties to develop and use nuclear energy in conformity with their nonproliferation obligations and binds all parties to facilitate the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials, and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Article IV also requires that parties in a position to do so cooperate in contributing to the further development of the applications of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The years since the initiation of the Atoms for Peace Program have shown the vital connection between the conduct of peaceful international nuclear trade and the fostering of nonproliferation norms and legal commitments. Nuclear trade has enabled some governments -- especially the United States -- to lay the basis for an effective nonproliferation regime. During the 1950s and 1960s, the United States used the influence stemming from its position as a dominant supplier of nuclear technology to forge various elements of today's nonproliferation regime. Indeed there have been two important principles underlying the current approach to nonproliferation. First, there has been a widespread recognition that international nuclear cooperation is unlikely to occur unless it is based on a solid foundation of safeguards, assurances of peaceful use, effective physical protection, and other controls designed to prevent the diversion of civil nuclear programs to explosive purposes. Secondly, an effective nonproliferation regime cannot be based solely on a system of denials, constraints and controls. It must also involve constructive engagement with, and promotion of peaceful nuclear programs in cooperating partner states.

 

 

1AC – PROLIFERATION

 

4. Unchecked prolif leads to extinction

Utgoff 2002 [Victor A., Deputy Director of the Strategy, Forces, and Resources Division of the Institute for Defense Analysis, Survival, “Proliferation, Missile Defence and American Ambitions”, pgs. 87-90]

Further, the large number of states that became capable of building nuclear weapons over the years, but chose not to, can be reasonably well explained by the fact that most were formally allied with either the United States or the Soviet Union. Both these superpowers had strong nuclear forces and put great pressure on their allies not to build nuclear weapons. Since the Cold War, the US has retained all its allies. In addition, NATO has extended its protection to some of the previous allies of the Soviet Union and plans on taking in more. Nuclear proliferation by India and Pakistan, and proliferation programmes by North Korea, Iran and Iraq, all involve states in the opposite situation: all judged that they faced serious military opposition and had little prospect of establishing a reliable supporting alliance with a suitably strong, nuclear-armed state. What would await the world if strong protectors, especially the United States, were [was] no longer seen as willing to protect states from nuclear-backed aggression? At least a few additional states would begin to build their own nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to distant targets, and these initiatives would spur increasing numbers of the world’s capable states to follow suit. Restraint would seem ever less necessary and ever more dangerous. Meanwhile, more states are becoming capable of building nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Many, perhaps most, of the world’s states are becoming sufficiently wealthy, and the technology for building nuclear forces continues to improve and spread. Finally, it seems highly likely that at some point, halting proliferation will come to be seen as a lost cause and the restraints on it will disappear. Once that happens, the transition to a highly proliferated world would probably be very rapid. While some regions might be able to hold the line for a time, the threats posed by wildfire proliferation in most other areas could create pressures that would finally overcome all restraint. Many readers are probably willing to accept that nuclear proliferation is such a grave threat to world peace that every effort should be made to avoid it. However, every effort has not been made in the past, and we are talking about much more substantial efforts now. For new and substantially more burdensome efforts to be made to slow or stop nuclear proliferation, it needs to be established that the highly proliferated nuclear world that would sooner or later evolve without such efforts is not going to be acceptable. And, for many reasons, it is not. First, the dynamics of getting to a highly proliferated world could be very dangerous. Proliferating states will feel great pressures to obtain nuclear weapons and delivery systems before any potential opponent does. Those who succeed in outracing an opponent may consider preemptive nuclear war before the opponent becomes capable of nuclear retaliation. Those who lag behind might try to preempt their opponent’s nuclear programme or defeat the opponent using conventional forces. And those who feel threatened but are incapable of building nuclear weapons may still be able to join in this arms race by building other types of weapons of mass destruction, such as biological weapons. [The article continues…] The war between Iran and Iraq during the 1980s led to the use of chemical weapons on both sides and exchanges of missiles against each other’s cities. And more recently, violence in the Middle East escalated in a few months from rocks and small arms to heavy weapons on one side, and from police actions to air strikes and armoured attacks on the other. Escalation of violence is also basic human nature. Once the violence starts, retaliatory exchanges of violent acts can escalate to levels unimagined by the participants before hand. Intenseand blinding anger is a common response to fear or humiliation or abuse. And such anger can lead us to impose on our opponents whatever levels of violence are readily accessible. In sum, widespread proliferation is likely to lead to an occasional shoot-out with nuclear weapons, and that such shoot-outs will have a substantial probability of escalating to the maximum destruction possible with the weapons at hand. Unless nuclear proliferation is stopped, we are headed toward a world that will mirror the American Wild West of the late 1800s. With most, if not all, nations wearing nuclear 'six-shooters' on their hips, the world may even be a more polite place than it is today, but every once in a while we will all gather on a hill to bury the bodies of dead cities or even whole nations.

 

 

1AC – CHEMICALS

 

Advantage 3: Chem-possible

 

1. Nuclear power solves for the natural gas crisis, by providing base load energy generation. This helps the chemical industry, which relies on natural gas

Mark J. Perry, professor of finance and economics at the University of Michigan, July 29, 2008, Courant.com “Nuclear Power Key To Containing Energy Costs” http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/editorials/hc-perry0729.artjul29,0,5033942.story

If ever there was a question about the need for nuclear power, it has certainly been dispelled now with the rising cost of fossil fuels. The high price of oil, natural gas and coal should be a wake-up call to all regions of the country that the era of boundless use of cheap fossil fuels is over — and that nuclear power will need to play a larger role in supplying electricity to homes, business and industry. Although natural gas is now the fuel of choice in electricity generation, its price has quadrupled in recent years and supplies are extremely tight. Not too long ago, the expectation of rising imports of liquefied natural gas led many to conclude that more abundant gas supplies and greater use of alternative fuels would end the long run of soaring gas costs. But the pause in increased gas costs proved temporary. Natural gas prices are once again rising rapidly — 93 percent since last August. Major industries that require large amounts of gas for space heating and as a feedstock in making consumer products are once again in crisis. So now is the time to point out that one-quarter of the gas supply is wasted on electricity generation. Since 1990, virtually all of the new electric-power capacity in the country has used natural gas, and that has driven up the price of natural gas. Natural gas is a finite and dwindling commodity. North American production has been at a plateau in recent years. Canada has told the United States not to expect additional shipments of natural gas, because it now requires a larger share of its gas reserves to meet its own domestic needs. Another thing: Congress has yet to lift the ban on drilling for oil and natural gas along 85 percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf as well as the Alaskan wilderness. The surge in gas prices is also being fed by increased global competition for LNG. Today, an LNG tanker pulling into port in Japan or Spain can get almost $20 per million BTUs — far higher than the U.S. price. Most Americans probably don't realize the effect all of this is having on some key industries. In the chemical industry, a big natural gas user, more than 118,000 American jobs have been lost since 2000. For U.S. manufacturing overall, about 3 million jobs have been lost in that time due in large part to energy costs. Particularly in the fertilizer and chemical industries, plants are shutting down and reopening abroad to take advantage of lower natural gas prices overseas.

 

 

1AC – CHEMICALS

 

2. High natural gas prices destroy the chemical industry, sending the entire manufacturing industry in a downward spiral that destroys the economy

Paul Bjacek, staff writer, 11/6/06, ICIS chemical business America, “Lost Manufacturing” pg lexis //EM

LOST MANUFACTURING or "de-industrialization" is occurring in the US and other developed countries as semifinished and finished goods manufacturing investment shifts to countries with a cost advantage, such as China.US chemical producers, with a total of over $180 billion in assets on US soil, are painfully aware that the country is seeing downstream industrial development impeded by high costs. They must respond strategically, using innovation and customer collaboration.ANALYSIS RESULTSDomestic demand for manufactured goods will outstrip domestic industrial production over the next 10 years and imports will fill the gap, according to an Accenture Research study for the ACC (American Chemistry Council).According to the study, which quantifies the impact of lost downstream manufacturing (of 17 selected industries) on the future chemical industry, domestic production of finished goods (in aggregate) will still increase over the period, but imports will rise faster.This implies that US manufacturers will lose market share and, therefore, chemical manufacturers will lose the demand for chemicals associated with manufacturing these products. The total chemical sales opportunity losses represent just 2.4% of the expected $8 trillion total manufacturing industry sales opportunity losses (or cumulative net trade losses by 2015) caused by lost manufacturing. The estimated cumulative opportunity losses (based on trade losses) for the chemical sector over 10 years consist of $188bn in chemical sales, including $50bn in sales from the top seven thermoplastic resins $40bn in capital expenditures in chemicals, including $5bn for new thermoplastics capacity $30bn in chemical research and development expenditures $43bn in US government tax revenue from chemical companies $3bn in charitable contributions from chemical companies and 157,000 chemical industry-related jobs. The loss of these chemical industry-related jobs by 2015 is a particularly painful blow to the US economy because nearly 50% of chemical industry employees are "knowledge workers" with university degrees and training, whose principal tasks involve the development or application of specialized knowledge in the workplace. The US industrial economy is interdependent, with chemicals accounting for 5% or more of production costs in at least six other major US industries - textiles, the business of chemistry, plastics and rubber products, semiconductor & electronic components, paper products and nonmetallic mineral products. These industries generate nearly $1.2 trillion in total revenue. Declines in output in any one of these corresponds to declines in chemicals potential demand. However, the volume of chemicals decline depends on the amount of chemicals used in a downstream industry, as well as the projected change in production of that same industry. Taking into account both of these factors, chemicals used in the production of plastics and rubber products, petroleum and coal, food, and textile products will be subject to the largest loss of potential demand. Besides relatively higher labor and regulatory costs in the US, high energy prices are contributing to the decline of US industrial production. High, volatile natural gas costs and unreliable supplies affect electricity costs and, in the case of chemicals, raw material costs as well. Volatility also causes uncertainty in production planning and volume expansion. Energy is the largest input factor for most base chemicals, so reliable, low cost energy supplies are critical to ensuring chemical industry competitiveness.

 

1AC – CHEMICALS

 

3. The chemical industry key to prevent bioterrorism

National Academy of Sciences, “Beyond the Molecular Frontier: Challenges for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering,” 2003, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, page 175, http://darwin.nap.edu/books/0309084776/html/171.html [bB]

To guard against biological attacks, it will be necessary to develop rapid and reliable methods of detection. As the events of 2001 demonstrated, it is not acceptable to culture a sample and wait days to learn if a particular biological agent is present; it must be identified prior to the onset of symptoms. And if the agent is found, we will need new therapies (antivirals, antibiotics) and reliable methods for decontaminating the site of attack. Protection of personnel will also require new vaccines and new approaches for delivering drugs and vaccines. The development of new drugs and vaccines will need to be carried out in full recognition that genetically modified pathogens could be used in an enemy attack. All of this will require concerted research by chemists and chemical engineers in collaboration with other scientists; these studies necessarily will be interdisciplinary. Chemical Chemical warfare agents are extremely toxic and very fast acting. Chemical scientists must develop better understanding of their mechanisms of action, and use this information to devise possible remedies. At present, the logical response to the chemical threat is prevention of exposure. Consequently, sensors and other fast analytical techniques must be developed.

 

4. Bioterror is distinctly worse than nuclear or chemical weapons – lethal pathogens would lead to extinction

John D. Steinbruner senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and holder of the Sydney Stein, Jr. Chair in International Security, Foreign Policy, Winter 1997 “Biological weapons: a plague upon all houses.”

Although human pathogens are often lumped with nuclear explosives and lethal chemicals as potential weapons of mass destruction, there is an obvious, fundamentally important difference: Pathogens are alive, weapons are not. Nuclear and chemical weapons do not reproduce themselves and do not independently engage in adaptive behavior; pathogens do both of these things. That deceptively simple observation has immense implications. The use of a manufactured weapon is a singular event. Most of the damage occurs immediately. The aftereffects, whatever they may be, decay rapidly over time and distance in a reasonably predictable manner. Even before a nuclear warhead is detonated, for instance, it is possible to estimate the extent of the subsequent damage and the likely level of radioactive fallout. Such predictability is an essential component for tactical military planning. The use of a pathogen, by contrast, is an extended process whose scope and timing cannot be precisely controlled. For most potential biological agents, the predominant drawback is that they would not act swiftly or decisively enough to be an effective weapon. But for a few pathogens - ones most likely to have a decisive effect and therefore the ones most likely to be contemplated for deliberately hostile use - the risk runs in the other direction. A lethal pathogen that could efficiently spread from one victim to another would be capable of initiating an intensifying cascade of disease that might ultimately threaten the entire world population. The 1918 influenza epidemic demonstrated the potential for a global contagion of this sort but not necessarily its outer limit.

 

1AC – CHEMICALS

 

5. Finally – chemical industry solves extinction, it’s critical to scientific innovations

Rudy M. Baum, B.A. in chemistry, Duke University, 1975; studied medicine at Georgetown University Medical School, 1976, 1999, Chemical & Engineering News Copyright © 1999 MILLENNIUM SPECIAL REPORT December 6, 1999 Volume 77, Number 49 CENEAR 77 49 pp.46-47 C&EN Washington http://pubs.acs.org/hotartcl/cenear/991206/7749spintro2.html

But people are living a lot longer. That is certainly good news for the individuals who are living longer, but it also poses challenges for health care and social services the world over. The 1998 UN report estimates for the first time the number of octogenarians, nonagenarians, and centenarians living today and projected for 2050. The numbers are startling. In 1998, 66 million people were aged 80 or older, about one of every 100 persons. That number is expected to increase sixfold by 2050 to reach 370 million people, or one in every 24 persons. By 2050, more than 2.2 million people will be 100 years old or older! Here is the fundamental challenge we face: The world's growing and aging population must be fed and clothed and housed and transported in ways that do not perpetuate the environmental devastation wrought by the first waves of industrialization of the 19th and 20th centuries. As we increase our output of goods and services, as we increase our consumption of energy, as we meet the imperative of raising the standard of living for the poorest among us, we must learn to carry out our economic activities sustainably. There are optimists out there, C&EN readers among them, who believe that the history of civilization is a long string of technological triumphs of humans over the limits of nature. In this view, the idea of a "carrying capacity" for Earth—a limit to the number of humans Earth's resources can support—is a fiction because technological advances will continuously obviate previously perceived limits. This view has historical merit. Dire predictions made in the 1960s about the exhaustion of resources ranging from petroleum to chromium to fresh water by the end of the 1980s or 1990s have proven utterly wrong. While I do not count myself as one of the technological pessimists who see technology as a mixed blessing at best and an unmitigated evil at worst, I do not count myself among the technological optimists either. There are environmental challenges of transcendent complexity that I fear may overcome us and our Earth before technological progress can come to our rescue. Global climate change, the accelerating destruction of terrestrial and oceanic habitats, the catastrophic loss of species across the plant and animal kingdoms—these are problems that are not obviously amenable to straightforward technological solutions. But I know this, too: Science and technology have brought us to where we are, and only science and technology, coupled with innovative social and economic thinking, can take us to where we need to be in the coming millennium. Chemists, chemistry, and the chemical industry—what we at C&EN call the chemical enterprise—will play central roles in addressing these challenges. The first section of this Special Report is a series called "Millennial Musings" in which a wide variety of representatives from the chemical enterprise share their thoughts about the future of our science and industry. The five essays that follow explore the contributions the chemical enterprise is making right now to ensure that we will successfully meet the challenges of the 21st century. The essays do not attempt to predict the future. Taken as a whole, they do not pretend to be a comprehensive examination of the efforts of our science and our industry to tackle the challenges I've outlined above. Rather, they paint, in broad brush strokes, a portrait of scientists, engineers, and business managers struggling to make a vital contribution to humanity's future. The first essay, by Senior Editor Marc S. Reisch, is a case study of the chemical industry's ongoing transformation to sustainable production. Although it is not well known to the general public, the chemical industry is at the forefront of corporate efforts to reduce waste from production streams to zero. Industry giants DuPont and Dow Chemical are taking major strides worldwide to manufacture chemicals while minimizing the environmental "footprint" of their facilities. This is an ethic that starts at the top of corporate structure. Indeed, Reisch quotes Dow President and Chief Executive Officer William S. Stavropolous: "We must integrate elements that historically have been seen as at odds with one another: the triple bottom line of sustainability—economic and social and environmental needs." DuPont Chairman and CEO Charles (Chad) O. Holliday envisions a future in which "biological processes use renewable resources as feedstocks, use solar energy to drive growth, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, use low-temperature and low-pressure processes, and produce waste that is less toxic." But sustainability is more than just a philosophy at these two chemical companies. Reisch describes ongoing Dow and DuPont initiatives that are making sustainability a reality at Dow facilities in Michigan and Germany and at DuPont's massive plant site near Richmond, Va. Another manifestation of the chemical industry's evolution is its embrace of life sciences. Genetic engineering is a revolutionary technology. In the 1970s, research advances fundamentally shifted our perception of DNA. While it had always been clear that deoxyribonucleic acid was a chemical, it was not a chemical that could be manipulated like other chemicals—clipped precisely, altered, stitched back together again into a functioning molecule. Recombinant DNA techniques began the transformation of DNA into just such a chemical, and the reverberations of that change are likely to be felt well into the next century. Genetic engineering has entered the fabric of modern science and technology. It is one of the basic tools chemists and biologists use to understand life at the molecular level. It provides new avenues to pharmaceuticals and new approaches to treat disease. It expands enormously agronomists' ability to introduce traits into crops, a capability seized on by numerous chemical companies. There is no doubt that this powerful new tool will play a major role in feeding the world's population in the coming century, but its adoption has hit some bumps in the road. In the second essay, Editor-at-Large Michael Heylin examines how the promise of agricultural biotechnology has gotten tangled up in real public fear of genetic manipulation and corporate control over food. The third essay, by Senior Editor Mairin B. Brennan, looks at chemists embarking on what is perhaps the greatest intellectual quest in the history of science—humans' attempt to understand the detailed chemistry of the human brain, and with it, human consciousness. While this quest is, at one level, basic research at its most pure, it also has enormous practical significance. Brennan focuses on one such practical aspect: the effort to understand neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease that predominantly plague older humans and are likely to become increasingly difficult public health problems among an aging population. Science and technology are always two-edged swords. They bestow the power to create and the power to destroy. In addition to its enormous potential for health and agriculture, genetic engineering conceivably could be used to create horrific biological warfare agents. In the fourth essay of this Millennium Special Report, Senior Correspondent Lois R. Ember examines the challenge of developing methods to counter the threat of such biological weapons. "Science and technology will eventually produce sensors able to detect the presence or release of biological agents, or devices that aid in forecasting, remediating, and ameliorating bioattacks," Ember writes. Finally, Contributing Editor Wil Lepkowski discusses the most mundane, the most marvelous, and the most essential molecule on Earth, H2O. Providing clean water to Earth's population is already difficult—and tragically, not always accomplished. Lepkowski looks in depth at the situation in Bangladesh—where a well-meaning UN program to deliver clean water from wells has poisoned millions with arsenic. Chemists are working to develop better ways to detect arsenic in drinking water at meaningful concentrations and ways to remove it that will work in a poor, developing country. And he explores the evolving water management philosophy, and the science that underpins it, that will be needed to provide adequate water for all its vital uses. In the past two centuries, our science has transformed the world. Chemistry is a wondrous tool that has allowed us to understand the structure of matter and gives us the ability to manipulate that structure to suit our own purposes. It allows us to dissect the molecules of life to see what makes them, and us, tick. It is providing a glimpse into workings of what may be the most complex structure in the universe, the human brain, and with it hints about what constitutes consciousness. In the coming decades, we will use chemistry to delve ever deeper into these mysteries and provide for humanity's basic and not-so-basic needs.

 

1AC – RUSSIA

 

Advantage 4: Mother Russia

 

1. First, GT-MHRs operate under a joint US-Russian agreement to dispose of surplus weapons grade plutonium

Labar 3 M. P. LaBar, Manager, Program Development, General Atomics, 9/5/2003, Status of the GT-MHR for Electricity Production

Currently, the GT-MHR design and development is being carried out in Russia under a joint US-Russia agreement to cooperate on development of systems for the disposition of surplus weapons plutonium. The GT-MHR is of interest for disposition of plutonium because of the potential to achieve high burnup for near complete plutonium destruction and energy recovery. The GT-MHR, initially developed for plutonium disposition, has high commercialization potential because of its high safety, high thermal efficiency, economic competitiveness, high proliferation resistance, low environmental impact and waste management benefits. The GT-MHR designed for plutonium disposition will require a minimum of design changes for commercial deployment. The main design change will be the use of uranium fuel rather than plutonium fuel. No new R&D is required except for the basic design changes related to the use of uranium fuel.

 

2. Stores of plutonium are insecure in Russia leads to nuclear terrorist attack on US

Matthew Bunn John P. Holdren Anthony Wier 2 BELFER CENTER FOR SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS JOHN F. K ENNEDY SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT HARVARD UNIVERSITY “SECURING NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND MATERIALS: SEVEN STEPS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION” may 2002 http://www.nti.org/e_research/securing_nuclear_weapons_and_materials_May2002.pdf.

One route to terrorists’ acquiring a nuclear weapon would be for them to steal one intact from the stockpile of a country possessing such weapons, or to be sold or given one by such a country, or to buy or steal one from another subnational group that had obtained it in one of these ways. Another route to a terrorist bomb is via stealing the needed nuclear- explosive material (either plutonium or highly enriched uranium) – or buying it from someone else who has stolen it – and using this to fabricate a bomb from scratch. With enough nuclear material in hand (ranging from a few kilograms of plutonium for an implosion weapon to a few tens of kilograms of highly enriched uranium for the technically simpler gun-type design), it would likely be within the reach of a sophisticated and well- organized terrorist group to build at least a crude nuclear explosive. If stolen or built abroad, a nuclear bomb might be delivered to the United States, intact or in pieces, by ship or aircraft or truck, or the materials could be smuggled in and the bomb constructed at the site of its intended use. Intercepting a smuggled nuclear weapon or the materials for one at the U.S. border would not be easy. The length of the border, the diversity of means of transport, and the ease of shielding the radiation from plutonium or highly enriched uranium all operate in favor of the terrorists. The huge volume of drugs successfully smuggled into this country provides an alarming reference point. The detonation of such a bomb in a U.S. (or any other) city would be a catastrophe almost beyond imagination. A 10-kiloton nuclear explosion (from a “small” tactical nuclear weapon from an existing arsenal or a well-executed terrorist design) would create a circle of near-total destruction perhaps 2 miles in diameter. Even a 1-kiloton “fizzle” from a badly executed terrorist bomb would have a diameter of destruction nearly half as big. These possibilities have not escaped the notice of terrorists. It is known that Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaida terrorist network have made repeated attempts to buy stolen nuclear material from which to make a nuclear bomb, and that they have also tried to recruit scientists to help them with the task of weapon design and construction. Their being deprived of their sanctuary in Afghanistan will slow them down, but it may not stop them. And Al Qaida is not the only terrorist group that might aspire to nuclear weapons. Are the intact nuclear weapons in the arsenals of countries adequately protected against theft? Each country known to possess nuclear weapons insists that its weapons are secure. But Russia possesses perhaps 20,000 such weapons, and the conditions in that country’s economy and military and intelligence forces – although improving – are not conducive to confidence that none could go astray. Or consider Pakistan, with far fewer nuclear weapons – perhaps a few tens of them – but political circumstances that are far more precarious and a military with reputed links to terrorists. Nearly all U.S. nuclear weapons are fitted with sophisticated “permissive action links” designed to foil unauthorized use, but this is not thought to be true of all Russian nuclear weapons and even less is it likely to be true of Pakistani (or Indian) ones. Nuclear-explosive materials are harder to account for and far more widely dispersed than intact nuclear weapons. Compared to the few to tens of kilograms needed to make a nuclear weapon, there are hundreds of thousands of kilograms of military plutonium and highly enriched uranium spread across the former Soviet Union, much of it dangerously insecure, and smaller but still immense amounts in the other seven nuclear-weapon states. An additional 20,000 kilograms of highly enriched uranium are spread across hundreds of civilian research facilities – some of them destitute – in scores of countries, and a further 200,000 kilograms of separated “civil” plutonium (usable in weapons despite the name) are associated with the nuclear energy programs of a dozen countries.

 

 

1AC – RUSSIA

 

3. A Nuclear terrorist attack escalates to mass extinction via global nuclear war

Mohamed Sid-Ahmed, Al-Ahram Weekly political analyst, 2004

[Al-Ahram Weekly, "Extinction!" 8/26, no. 705, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/705/op5.htm]

What would be the consequences of a nuclear attack by terrorists? Even if it fails, it would further exacerbate the negative features of the new and frightening world in which we are now living. Societies would close in on themselves, police measures would be stepped up at the expense of human rights, tensions between civilisations and religions would rise and ethnic conflicts would proliferate. It would also speed up the arms race and develop the awareness that a different type of world order is imperative if humankind is to survive. But the still more critical scenario is if the attack succeeds. This could lead to a third world war, from which no one will emerge victorious. Unlike a conventional war which ends when one side triumphs over another, this war will be without winners and losers. When nuclear pollution infects the whole planet, we will all be losers.

 

4. And cooperation on nuclear technology leads to US-Russian energy leadership that transforms the world order – ensuring non-prolif and economic prosperity.

Jonathan Pinoli, staff writer, 4/16/2008, “Building better U.S.-Russian relations”, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 64, No. 1, p. 7-8, http://thebulletin.metapress.com/content/e862187704144860/fulltext.pdf [sD]

To improve U.S.-Russian relations, leaders on both sides need to recognize the shared agenda of the two countries and the opportunities that genuine collaboration would present. Building a partnership based on mutual trust and respect will help resolve a range of global security issues. As John Steinbruner argues in “Consensual Security,” on p. 23, cooperating on several issues—nuclear technologies, climate change, biotechnologies, and space security—could lead to a transformation of international relations. In addition to negotiating further reductions in the size of their nuclear weapons stockpiles (both deployed and reserve), Russia and the United States should immediately reduce the launch readiness of their nuclear arsenals. By transforming their nuclear postures toward each other, Russia and the United States might finally move beyond the Cold War strategic template that each claims is distant history but which poisonously lingers, posing unnecessary risks. Russian and U.S. leaders should also build on their 123 nuclear cooperation agreement and begin to lead negotiations for an international nuclear fuel regime that would eliminate the need for countries to develop their own nuclear fuel enrichment and manufacturing facilities. Converting fissionable material from U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons into fuel for civilian nuclear power production could help fill demand. Together with weapons reductions, these joint moves would enhance the credibility of both countries as world leaders. Further agreement on nuclear weapons reductions and nuclear energy cooperation makes sense for other domestic and foreign policy reasons. Russia is eager to complement its roaring oil economy with a revived nuclear energy enterprise and growth in its high-tech sector; the United States has an interest in securing its energy future and keeping markets open across Asia. Both countries want to limit nuclear proliferation as civilian nuclear power becomes more prevalent globally. By leading an international effort to clarify and codify the rules of nuclear development and commerce, Russia and the United States could lay the groundwork for further economic and political partnerships. The more overlap the two countries’ agendas acquire, the more their leaders will be able to articulate to their citizens the benefits of shared action. Russians and Americans often seem trapped by vestigial Cold War concerns, but they crave economic opportunity, and seek to play a leadership role in the international community. It’s up to leaders in both countries to take actions that promote an understanding of how the future security and prosperity of Russia and America are inextricably linked.

 

 

1AC – SOLVENCY

 

Observation III: Solvency

 

1. Cost support and licensing is key to nuclear expansion

Jim Dawson, writer for physics today, May 2005, Nuclear Power Needs Government Incentives, Says Task Force, Physics today, Volume 58, Issue 5, page 28, http://scitation.aip.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_58/iss_5/28_1.shtml [bolman]

Citing economics, climate change, and the projected growth in global energy demand, a US Department of Energy (DOE) task force cochaired by former Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chairman Richard Meserve and former New Hampshire Governor John H. Sununu has recommended that the federal government help revitalize the US nuclear power industry by sharing the up-front costs of the first few of a new generation of nuclear power plants. After citing three decades of increasing efficiency, decreasing operating costs, and solid safety records at the 103 existing US nuclear power plants, the task force noted that "despite this . . . achievement, and the fact that nuclear power generation does not result in greenhouse gas emissions, no new US nuclear power plants have been ordered and subsequently built since 1973." Economic case To restart the nuclear industry, the authors of the report—the nuclear energy task force of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB)—say "there should be government-supported demonstration programs and financial incentives to overcome the uncertainties and economic hurdles that would otherwise prevent the first few new plants from being built." Their key recommendation is a cost-sharing program for "first-of-a-kind engineering" (FOAKE) costs "inherent in building the first facility of a new design." The task force recommended fifty-fifty cost sharing up to a maximum of $200 million in government money "for each of three major competing design types, with the secretary of energy being given discretion to select the types to be supported." While the report does not call the cost-sharing program a government loan to industry, it does say that much of the money could be repaid from the profits of future nuclear power plants built using the designs. Although the report is essentially a document making an economic case for government subsidies to restart the US civilian nuclear power industry, task force member C. Paul Robinson, the former director of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, said the economic arguments "are just becoming very timely in terms of electrical needs. We have looked at all the alternatives and certainly if you believe in the threats of greenhouse gases, then it is important to have something that can produce electricity with good efficiency and cost, and be emission free." Another task force member, physicist Burton Richter, former director of SLAC, said that the FOAKE recommendation for cost sharing came because it "looks very much as if, once you get past the extra costs of a first-of-a-kind plant, then the costs of nuclear power are competitive with coal. That's a surprise to most people. If you can replace coal, you do good for air pollution, the economy, energy supply, and competitiveness." Richter noted that the US, along with the rest of the globe, is "due for a big expansion in electricity demand, and we're better off for environmental and other reasons if we do it with nuclear power instead of coal. Government should lead industry to do the right thing rather than the wrong thing." In addition to urging legislative support and funding for FOAKE, the task force made two other recommendations to help rejuvenate the nuclear power industry: Early site permit and combined construction and operating license demonstration programs jointly funded by DOE and industry. In the past, one of the more significant barriers to new nuclear power plant construction was the two-step licensing process. The NRC issued a construction permit, and only after construction was substantially completed was an operating permit issued. Outside parties had numerous opportunities to intervene and delay or halt a project, which made the process of building a nuclear power plant a risky, high-stakes affair. The NRC has established a streamlined combined licensing procedure that significantly cuts the financial risk of building a nuclear plant, but the procedure has never been tested. The report recommends that DOE share the licensing costs with early applicants so that a real-world model can be developed. A "basket of support programs for the first few reactors of each new supported design to provide efficient financial options." This basket would include secured loan guarantees, tax credits, accelerated depreciation, and other economic incentives from which a nuclear power plant builder could pick and choose. The incentives package could not exceed $250 million in government money for each nuclear reactor.

 

1AC – SOLVENCY

 

2. GT-MHR’s are safe, efficient, environmentally friendly, proliferation resistant, and economically competitive.

Malcolm P. LaBar, Manager, Program Development, General Atomics, 4/2002, The Gas Turbine – Modular Helium Reactor: A Promising Option for Near Term Deployment, http://gt-mhr.ga.com/images/ANS.pdf [bolman]

The GT-MHR design offers several advantageous performance characteristics. These include: Unique Reactor Safety – The GT-MHR is meltdownproof and passively safe. The overall level of safety is achieved through a combination of inherent safety characteristics and design selections consisting of: (1) helium coolant, which is single phase, inert, and has no reactivity effects; (2) graphite core, which provides high heat capacity and slow thermal response, and structural stability at very high temperatures; (3) refractory coated particle fuel, which allows extremely high burnup and retains fission products at temperatures much higher than normal operation; (4) negative temperature coefficient of reactivity, which inherently shuts down the core above normal operating temperatures; and (5) an annular, 600 MWt low power density core in an uninsulated steel reactor vessel surrounded by a reactor cavity cooling system.. High Plant Efficiency - Use of the Brayton Cycle helium gas turbine in the GT-MHR provides electric generating capacity at a net plant efficiency of about 48%, a level that can be obtained by no other nuclear reactor technology. The high plant efficiency reduces power generation costs, thermal discharge to the environment and high level waste generation per unit electricity produced. Superior High Level Waste Form - Coated particle fuel provides a superior spent fuel waste form for both long-term interim storage and permanent geologic disposal. The refractory coatings retain their integrity in a repository environment for hundreds of thousands of years. As such, they provide defense-in-depth to ensure that the spent fuel radionuclides are contained for geologic time frames and do not migrate to the biosphere. Low Environmental Impact - Relative to water reactor plants, the GT-MHR thermal discharge is about 50% less and the actinide production is about 60% less per unit electricity produced. High Proliferation Resistance – The GT-MHR spent fuel has very high proliferation resistance because the quantity of fissile material (plutonium and uranium) per GT-MHR spent fuel element is low, the plutonium isotopic composition is unattractive and there is neither a developed process nor capability anywhere in the world for separating the residual fissionable material from GT-MHR spent fuel. Competitive Electricity Generation Cost – The GTMHR levelized busbar generation cost is evaluated to be less than competing water reactor and gas-fired combined cycle plants. The GT-MHR retains the low production cost, high capacity factor and long lifetime advantages of nuclear power. But, the GT-MHR can be deployed in relatively small increments (286 MWe) in relatively short construction times to minimize cost-at-risk and time-at-risk prior to generation of revenue. The GT-MHR technology is currently being developed in Russia as part of the joint US/RF program for disposition of weapons plutonium. A program has been implemented for commercial deployment of the GT-MHR using uranium fuel. Commercial deployment of the first GT-MHR module can be done by about 2010. The commercial effort is strongly supported by nearly every U.S. utility that has an expressed interest in building new nuclear plants in the future.

 

1AC – SOLVENCY

 

3. MHRs can re-use spent fuels from multiple types of reactors

(D. Baldwina et al M. Campbellb, C. Ellisb, M. Richardsb and A. Shenoyb 3/4/8 “MHR design, technology, and applications” Energy Conversion and Management Volume 49, Issue 7 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V2P-4S027WS-1&_user=4257664&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000022698&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=4257664&md5=1ec5b87c15d9306fecb601d64afc5c61)

The second aspect of the fuel cycle has to do with spent fuel and the need to move away from the policy of once-through and repository disposal. The politics and delays of Yucca Mountain, coupled with the increased capacity required by an increased use on nuclear power, only dramatized this point. Fortunately, the flexibility of the MHR with regard to fuel form introduces an attractive resolution to this issue. It can burn a large fraction of a fuel load comprised of spent fuel from either an LWR or another MHR, even though its neutron spectrum is thermal. Three gas reactor characteristics contribute to this rather surprising conclusion. First, the combination of graphite moderator and helium coolant preclude void reactivity transients and permit 100% transuranic loading. Second, there is good neutron utilization, or high probability of TRU destruction. Finally, the TRISO fuel form is robust under high fluence, permitting the fuel to “cook” to high burn-up. The result is that with one recycle through an MHR core, some 90–95% of the spent fuel TRU will be destroyed, depending on the actinide. At this point the “dregs” can either be placed in a repository (with not, vert, similar10× decrease in required repository capacity) or destroyed in an advanced burner reactor (of which many fewer will be required compared to the direct destruction of the original spent fuel). Whichever choice is made, the MHR can play an important role in this issue that is so critical to a resurgence in nuclear power.

Edited by Brad Bolman

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