Nuclear Anarchism Part 3: Climbing the Kardashev Scale for Fun and Profit

May 16th, 2014   Submitted by Foo Quuxman

TechEarthIn the previous two articles I have talked about the reasons people bring against private nuclear devices, and how they can (and must) be handled without statist intervention. In this article I am going to talk about why we want these things. First, I highly recommend reading the essay Why Alternative Energy Isn’t, which demolishes a few of the common myths floating around about energy production and distribution, and is useful background material to keep in mind while reading this.

Wealth as a direct correlate of energy

At the foundational level wealth creation involves working against entropy, which requires a net energy input. As evidence, energy production and use has tracked wealth since the industrial revolution, and by the early 20th century the energy production of industrialized countries had eclipsed the total energy production of the world up to that time with corresponding wealth increases. Current energy production and wealth dwarf even that seemingly massive feat. Increased efficiency in the use of that energy is analogous to deflation increasing real purchasing power.

Nuclear power is relevant to this not just because it is an extremely high density energy source, but also because it can completely invert the production and use of certain products, specifically hydrocarbons.

Hydrocarbons are used both as chemical feedstocks (plastics, fertilizer, and a host of others) but also as fuel. With energy and the proper elements, mostly carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, it is possible to synthesize hydrocarbons for both uses. In the case of fuel it makes more sense to think of it as a form of energy storage rather than fuel. This pulls the foundation out from under peak oil theories (as if economics hadn’t already done that) because not only is oil no longer the fuel of civilization, but it can be made to order in whatever quantity desired. The reason that hydrocarbon powered machines would still be used is because of fundamental power to weight ratios (aircraft) and/or minimum size thresholds for a viable power plant (automobile).

Here are a couple examples of peaceful uses of nuclear bombs, leaving out the most obvious one of asteroid deflection:

Mining / Excavation Explosives

Place bomb where you want a hole. Push the detonate button. Create hole. A rather simple process.

 It is complicated by the fact that a ground burst will produce a higher fallout than the same device detonated in the air or in a vacuum, but it has already been demonstrated that this can be done with surprisingly little fallout (the Tagia tests mentioned in the previous article).

It probably would not work, and is somewhat insane even if it does work, but consider a large, active volcano, such as Mt. Saint Helens shortly before it blew up. It may be possible to use a chain of warheads to quickly dig massive canals and dikes to contain the lava flows, and maybe even to tap the side of the magma chamber to direct the eruption in the desired direction. This obviously depends on being able to handle or contain the fallout. Definitely insane, but if it would work it demonstrates the advantages of nuclear explosives.

Orion

The Orion Drive (aka. Nuclear Pulse Propulsion) is in it’s simplest form a spaceship with a nuclear bomb behind it. Detonate the bomb. The ship moves. Surprising as it may be, this is easily survivable with proper design. A bomb is detonated roughly 100 meters behind the ship, roughly once per second, and a large disc (usually of metal, but some designs used plywood I believe) absorbs the force of the blast. If the disc is sprayed with oil it will not erode in the plasma. Then giant shock absorbers spread the momentum pulse out to give a smooth ride.

Orion is important because it is one of the few propulsion technologies that can be built with current technology (actually with 60’s tech), has enormous thrust so it can be used for surface to orbit launch, and decent specific impulse so it doesn’t need to carry as much reaction mass for a given mission. This makes Orion very well suited to being used for an ultra-heavy surface to orbit launch, asteroid interception, a doomsday arkship, and even medium speed (~10% of c) interstellar travel.

It was actually the Orion Drive that forced me to confront the topic of private nuclear bombs. But Orion is not the only type of nuclear rocket. There are many versions of the nuclear thermal rocket concept that completely contain the radionuclides used, or are simply a reactor used as a power source to run a plasma rocket. Orion is simply the most extreme high thrust capable one.

However, those of us who are blessed with the gift of mad science do not require reasons: Orion is an end in itself.

Scale: why it matters, and what it means to reject it

Many of these arguments are tangled up with the scale of a given society, or the relative scale between two societies. Unfortunately most people have a tendency to ignore this. Applied to nuclear weapons this means that people think that they will always be doomsday devices that can only be trusted in the hands of what we all know to be the most trustworthy entity imaginable: The State.

The other effect of ignoring scale is the endless droning of variants of this:

“Nuclear devices are too expensive for individuals to own and maintain”

To anyone who has studied economics this is utterly ridiculous on the face of it. True enough, they probably are too expensive right now, although even that is doubtful. But any increase in wealth levels will reduce the cost in real terms, easily making them affordable. And that does not even take into account any technological advances that make it cheaper to produce them.

The line of reasoning exhibited in the above quote is almost completely ignorant of how wealthy the average person in a first world country is compared not only to the pre-industrial age, but even to a few decades ago. That ignorance leads to further error in assuming that something being expensive now means that it will always and forever be so. Or maybe this is just another example of people thinking that it is better to have one’s head in the sand rather than face a possibly ugly reality.

For an extreme example of scale and why it matters consider a 50kt warhead detonated 250 meters above a medieval village. There is no village afterwards. Contrast that with the same warhead detonated 250 meters away from an O’Neil Cylinder. If constructed from aluminum the bomb will vaporize about 1cm of material from the hull. If constructed from titanium that reduces to about 6mm. Any fragile equipment on the outside of the cylinder on the same side as the warhead will be destroyed as well, but everything else is intact and the people inside are almost certainly unharmed.

The argument will be made that nuclear weapons make mass murder and destruction easy, but all increases in available energy make this easier, for the same reasons that an increase in usable energy allows greater wealth. The overarching effect of increasing scale is to make things that would have been extinction level events into minor annoyances: what can wipe out a small hunter-gatherer tribe will not even be noticed by a modern city, what can wipe that out will not do much damage to a global but planet bound civilization. Planetary annihilation level disasters are survivable by a civilization spread across a solar system, and an interstellar civilization can survive even a supernova.

Understanding scale also provides the counter to another argument:

“If one person has a nuclear weapon they can dictate terms to everyone else because they are so much more powerful.”

The problem here is not that one person has a great deal of energy at their command. It is that they are using it to dominate others. Some may think this to be an argument for distributing energy/wealth equally, but this can only be done with extreme levels of force, utterly destroying the moral pedestal the equalizers thought they were standing on. And then there is the problem of it being theft. Actually following out this logic leads to the crab bucket: anyone who tries to do better is pulled back into egalitarian poverty and conformity.

Aside from those problems let us look at the historical record: people who have developed greater energy sources have almost always developed and used them for peaceful purposes to produce wealth, with the one glaring exception of the atomic bomb, which was developed during a time of war by State-sponsored scientists.

On a practical level the best way to deal with this problem (using the term loosely), is to continue technological development making it possible for everyone to have access to greater amounts of energy. Which is exactly what people naturally do, and have done for the last 200 or so years.

Energy Jumps

Our civilization has gone through an energy jump before. During the 19th century, when coal replaced wood as the dominant energy source, one effect of this was to allow the environment to recover after widespread deforestation. A second energy jump occurred when oil became the dominant energy source.

These jumps have not resulted in an increase of individuals killing each other because it is easier for them to do so. Rather, the increased wealth created opportunities which have allowed people to live who would have died before, and to be able to do what they want while they are alive.

Conclusion

The only way private nuclear devices can be prevented from becoming a reality is to completely halt technological and scientific progress. And for what? So we can feel virtuous that we stopped the evil of nuclear weapons as we die of starvation because we have forced a Malthusian horror on ourselves via a totalitarian State?

All the problems (the real ones that is) that are caused by nuclear power and weapons can be mitigated, often with methods enabled by the very devices that supposedly cause nothing but harm. And this holds for any problem that is capable of being solved, because larger quantities of energy imply more options to deal with problems. It even applies to environmental matters, because it is only the wealthy who have the luxury of choosing what resources they use, and of spending resources to maintain “natural” beauty, or even long term survival.

But in the end it doesn’t really matter what everyone else thinks. Those who reject nuclear technology will be out competed by those who don’t. The ones who use it will inherit the stars. Those who don’t will be left to scratch out an existence on a single rock until something wipes it clean. And nuclear reactors are only one step on the way to power sources like Dyson bubbles, and matter to energy converters based on black hole Hawking radiation.

9 Responses to “Nuclear Anarchism Part 3: Climbing the Kardashev Scale for Fun and Profit”

  1. Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

    I think you misunderstand Peak Oil. Peak Oil is the point at which the production of oil irreversibly declines from its maximum output. You mention that oil can be created. Correct, we can turn biomass into oil. But you don’t mention how. It takes more energy to create oil from biomass than we get out of the oil we’ve created.

    Oil can definitely be seen as a battery. So, we could turn a bunch of nuclear power plants on, use the electricity output to power the tractors and factories necessary to grow the biomass needed to produce the oil. But why? Oil products are extremely polluting when combusted. We’d be better off just using the electricity directly from the nuclear power plants.

    Oil is a battery. It took millions and millions of years for the sun/earth to create and only a couple hundred years to exhaust the supply. We’re not getting that back. Like I said, we can create more, but it takes more energy to create than we’ll get. We have to learn how to live within the energy the sun/earth supply us. Let me give you an analogy.

    Imagine a large underground aquifer. It holds 50 billion gallons of water. (I’m just making up numbers here)

    It took thousands of years for that aquifer to fill up. Above or near the underground aquifer is a river whose annual supply of water to the city is, say, 1 billion gallons of water. Ideally, the city would never grow past the point of consuming 1 billion gallons of water annually. Because that is the amount that is renewable, so to speak. But unfortunately, somebody gets the bright idea to tap the underground aquifer. Now the city can grow and consume 2 billion gallons of water annually. 1 billion is consumed from the river and 1 billion is consumed from the underground aquifer. What’s the result? In 50 years the city will have a demand for 2 billion gallons of water annually, but only have 1 billion gallons available from the river, because the aquifer will have run dry. That’s when societal collapse happens. People will move away or die off, or the city will all learn to live with a lot less water, meaning quality of life goes way down.

    That’s the same situation we’re dealing with in the world today. The population has ballooned to over 7 billion people only because it has been living off of borrowed time, consuming the super concentrated battery that took millions of years to create.

    There’s also only so much uranium to mine before its supply is exhausted as well. We absolutely must learn to live within our means. And our means is the Sun. Period.

    Ideally, people would stop wasting oil by blowing it out their tailpipes and would instead use it to built photovoltaic devices. This way we could continue to turn the Sun’s energy into electricity, which can be used for everything from running our households to transportation. Yep, it means we’d have to live within our means. And it might even mean a mass die-off of the population, just like in the aquifer scenario.

    One of the nice things about PV is that it is very decentralized. I don’t care if there is a nuclear power plant, I don’t like having millions of people dependent on one state-sanctioned energy company. It leads to too much abuse, including rationing. So, what that would mean is giving electricity to people who don’t deserve it, like welfare, and preventing the producers from getting as much as they need.

    But with decentralization, unless men come and physically steal your PV from your home, you can get all the electricity you need/want. This is actually happening in third world nations like Bangladesh. There are no power companies or infrastructure for people to hook up to. Too much corruption. But people are buying their own small PV’s and getting at least some electricity into their homes.

    Right now people think that it takes 20 years or more to get your money back with PV’s vs. just buying from the electric company, but that’s only if the cost of electricity remains the same. Does anybody really think that electric prices will be the same in 20 years as they are now?

    I don’t. I think investing in renewables is the way to go. I can’t force anybody else to do it. I’m not looking for a government plan to convert. I’m just thinking all about myself. I can work towards the goal of investing in solar and wind and choose to opt out of the centralized and polluting nature of power plants and fossil fuels.

  2. Foo QuuxmanNo Gravatar says:

    I think you misunderstand Peak Oil. Peak Oil is the point at which the production of oil irreversibly declines from its maximum output. You mention that oil can be created. Correct, we can turn biomass into oil. But you don’t mention how. It takes more energy to create oil from biomass than we get out of the oil we’ve created.

    If that was all Peak Oil was it would be fine, just some basic economics. But that is not how it is sold, it is sold as “Look how those evil capitalists are going to get that is coming to them for their sins against Nature”, much like AGW.

    The basic method is the Fischer–Tropsch process which needs the inputs of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The usual source of this is coal, of which the US has supply for about 200 years of this. We know that it is possible to run an economy off of the FT process because it has been done before for extended periods in South Africa, and WWI Germany. And that was with an older less efficient process.

    FT can be improved on and there are other reactions, but at minimum it sticks a hard floor under the predictions of those who get their thrills from doomsday scenarios.

    Oil can definitely be seen as a battery. So, we could turn a bunch of nuclear power plants on, use the electricity output to power the tractors and factories necessary to grow the biomass needed to produce the oil. But why? Oil products are extremely polluting when combusted. We’d be better off just using the electricity directly from the nuclear power plants.

    Ding! Actually, I should have made this more clear in the article. If battery tech is able to power cars efficiently (and I think it could be done but don’t know because of all the state subsidies) then bring it on! I actually expect railroads to take a larger chunk of the transportation sector because electric railways are easily switched to nuclear power. Aircraft are a bigger problem, there are serious power to weight ratio problems with battery powered aircraft but we will have to see when we get there.

    [Aquifer example]

    Ah, this is where speculators come in, a speculator can come in and start buying the water now knowing that it will run out in time, the result is that the price is raised in the near term reducing demand. Speculators are the markets way of forcing efficiency over time with respect to resources that vary in supply. They are analogous to what an insurance company does in “forcing” people to pay for the costs of the risks they take.

    That’s the same situation we’re dealing with in the world today. The population has ballooned to over 7 billion people only because it has been living off of borrowed time, consuming the super concentrated battery that took millions of years to create.

    Mhm, our civilization has made this hop before, I don’t put much stock in the overpopulation meme because people have been issuing dire warnings about this since Malthus. Invariably they turn out to be completely ignorant of how things work.

    There’s also only so much uranium to mine before its supply is exhausted as well. We absolutely must learn to live within our means. And our means is the Sun. Period.

    If the human race is stupid enough to not have a major self sustaining presence in this star system by the time the useful fissile materials on this planet have run out then it deserves to go extinct. Fortunately without states to block that expansion that scenario won’t happen, personally I don’t think it can be stopped even with states.

    Ideally, people would stop wasting oil by blowing it out their tailpipes and would instead use it to built photovoltaic devices. This way we could continue to turn the Sun’s energy into electricity, which can be used for everything from running our households to transportation. Yep, it means we’d have to live within our means. And it might even mean a mass die-off of the population, just like in the aquifer scenario.

    Yes, it is stupid that we are using such fantastic chemical feedstocks are fuel when we have better options. As for die-offs, we had better hope it doesn’t happen, actual survival threats will turn states into empires. No matter how bad you think the USA is now it will be dwarfed by an Imperial USA, there will be no “hearts and minds” just raw brutal conquest. The US military is more than capable of curb stomping everyone else if the gloves come off.

    One of the nice things about PV is that it is very decentralized. I don’t care if there is a nuclear power plant, I don’t like having millions of people dependent on one state-sanctioned energy company. It leads to too much abuse, including rationing. So, what that would mean is giving electricity to people who don’t deserve it, like welfare, and preventing the producers from getting as much as they need.

    This has nothing to do with energy choice and everything to do with political problems. There will always be rationing for reasons of scarcity. The only question is whether it will be done by the market or by a state.

    Even with fission reactors there are designs for small automated “nuclear batteries” that can simply be dropped into a hole and plugged in, then replaced a couple decades later. The designs operate at roughly the scale of a small town or large neighborhood, or a single factory.

    But with decentralization, unless men come and physically steal your PV from your home, you can get all the electricity you need/want. This is actually happening in third world nations like Bangladesh. There are no power companies or infrastructure for people to hook up to. Too much corruption. But people are buying their own small PV’s and getting at least some electricity into their homes.

    And more power to them! (pun intended)

    Right now people think that it takes 20 years or more to get your money back with PV’s vs. just buying from the electric company, but that’s only if the cost of electricity remains the same. Does anybody really think that electric prices will be the same in 20 years as they are now?

    The real question here is how much energy is needed to build and deploy a solar panel vs how much it will generate in it’s lifetime. If nuclear gets deployed without the insane deadweight it has had till now solar will be slaughtered.

    I don’t. I think investing in renewables is the way to go. I can’t force anybody else to do it. I’m not looking for a government plan to convert. I’m just thinking all about myself. I can work towards the goal of investing in solar and wind and choose to opt out of the centralized and polluting nature of power plants and fossil fuels.

    The market is more than capable of handling this stuff, which is why states need to be kicked out. They are gumming up the works.

    • Seth KingNo Gravatar says:

      But that is not how it is sold, it is sold as “Look how those evil capitalists are going to get that is coming to them for their sins against Nature”, much like AGW.

      That may be how some people sell it, but I’ve been into Peak Oil since 2001 and I’m as capitalist as it gets. There’s no denying the fact that there is a finite amount of oil in the world and its production will decline at some point, if it hasn’t already. I think a lot of capitalists are afraid to admit that Peak Oil is real because they are afraid they’ll have to actually side with the environmentalists or leftists. I think it’s better to agree on the problem and find a different solution than it is to bury your head in the sand about the problem.

      Aircraft are a bigger problem, there are serious power to weight ratio problems with battery powered aircraft but we will have to see when we get there.

      I suspect that hydrogen fuel cells could easily power planes and launch rockets into space. The only emission is water vapor. It just takes a ton of electricity to create the hydrogen. The only reason this hasn’t happened yet is because the world has turned a blind eye to the fact that jets (and even rockets) are massively polluting. The ground water pollution in areas surrounding airports is enormous, and the air pollution is nothing to scoff at either. When pollution no longer becomes an option, methinks we’ll see hydrogen fuel cells enter the picture.

      Ah, this is where speculators come in, a speculator can come in and start buying the water now knowing that it will run out in time, the result is that the price is raised in the near term reducing demand. Speculators are the markets way of forcing efficiency over time with respect to resources that vary in supply. They are analogous to what an insurance company does in “forcing” people to pay for the costs of the risks they take.

      Well said. Speculators definitely help provide market signals for natural scarcity. As the aquifer slowly gets emptied its price rises, thus incentivizing conservation or living in different areas. Sadly, water is often controlled by state monopoly utilities, one more reason to decentralize things, like having your own well, etc.

      Mhm, our civilization has made this hop before, I don’t put much stock in the overpopulation meme because people have been issuing dire warnings about this since Malthus. Invariably they turn out to be completely ignorant of how things work.

      I believe the planet could sustain 50 billion people easily… under a paradigm of freedom. But under the current statist paradigm, if the oil stops flowing and the whole of humanity is still completely dependent on internal combustion engines and heating oil, etc. we’re fucked.

      This has nothing to do with energy choice and everything to do with political problems.

      I think the two are inseparable. The more centralized the “solution” whether we’re talking about communications, energy, etc. the less control the individual has, and the less control the individual has, the less political freedom they’ll experience. Power tends to corrupt, after all.

      The real question here is how much energy is needed to build and deploy a solar panel vs how much it will generate in it’s lifetime. If nuclear gets deployed without the insane deadweight it has had till now solar will be slaughtered.

      The problem with this line of reasoning is that it requires the state to do the “right thing.” As long as we anarchists are waiting around for the state to do the right thing before we can have independence in our lives, we will continue to do just that… wait. We’ve got to be able to take action without the help of benevolent legislators. Right now I can gain electricity independence. But right now I cannot do anything about what form of energy the state protected utility monopoly uses.

      • Foo QuuxmanNo Gravatar says:

        I believe the planet could sustain 50 billion people easily… under a paradigm of freedom. But under the current statist paradigm, if the oil stops flowing and the whole of humanity is still completely dependent on internal combustion engines and heating oil, etc. we’re fucked.

        Ah, we have been talking past each other then. I am accustomed to hearing the Peak Oil and overpopulation style arguments almost entirely from people who I consider to be the greatest existential threat we have.

        This is actually part of what pushed me towards anarchism, the realization that as long as states exist they can (and have the incentive to) force us onto the Malthusian path. That way lies horror.

        As for pollution we will still have it, but the polluters will have to pay for the right to do so, and the payments will actually go to the people who are being polluted unlike state based systems.

  3. VanmindNo Gravatar says:

    Nukes are too cost-prohibitive to ever become personal devices for purchase. It is the unfortunate Whig theory of history by which people make the mistake of believing that all technological discoveries are signs of unstoppable progress that could never regress “because if that was possible such things wouldn’t have been discovered in the first place — if it’s here now we must find some use for it so mankind can keep moving down the proverbial road toward god-like something or other.”

    Before any production lines could be ramped up to take advantage of economies of scale, there would need to be significant non-State demand for the thing in question. Cheaper alternatives indicate that such demand won’t happen for nukes, not from the mining sector, not from the space travel sector, not from the idle-rich hobbyist sector. Little boy larks aside (i.e. conceivable yet never-gonna-happen retail purchases of nuke toys), it is cost-benefit analysis that determines demand for capital to be used in some manufacturing or R&D process. To that end, nukes are like the Spruce Goose — the super-rich Hughes would never have constructed a single prototype of that monstrosity if the State hadn’t been around as a potential source of ill-gotten wealth transfer (“It can carry up to two Sherman tanks…”). Hell, even the behemoth transport jets of the 21st century exist only because of similar “guarantees” from the State — they are designed with military use in mind, and then the manufacturers attempt to adapt those designs for commercial purposes. As long as ships & trains exist, there just won’t be enough demand for such aircraft from the actual market (current anecdotes don’t count because the planes being defended wouldn’t have been dreamlinered-up in the first place without mega subsidies — there is no James J. Hill of the air transport industry).

    People’s minds tend to be weaker within this dumbed-down nightmare of dialectical dominance, and far too many reach a conclusion in life that bigger is better. Imagine if one of those “I’m a big boy now” Hummers had a TCO in the billions precisely because there wasn’t enough demand to justify ramping up production since close-enough alternatives existed at far lower prices. Nukes aren’t like the early Model A, which thousands of people could afford at their most expensive price so that production could be ramped up to the point where sticker prices came down toward affordability for millions of people (Mises: “Luxury is the roadmaker of progress”). Hell, nukes aren’t even like the Hummer, which has an actual TCO that falls somewhere in the hundreds of thousands. Nukes are something that would never have sufficient demand as a luxury to become any kind of roadmaker.

    Each of those examples or analogies represents a fundamental market process, an observable outcome of microeconomic decisions. Costs that are either increasing or refusing to decrease encourage business managers to seek alternatives, or even to ignore apparent cutting-edge technology if it’s deemed too risky or expensive (both of which are reasonable qualifiers for nuclear anything).

    It’s like the old promise of bubble memory for computers. That, too, could have been great, better than “conventional weapons” of volatile storage (e.g. semiconductors). It never was able to compete, though, with established & cheaper chipsets. Nukes, likewise, will never be able to compete with the likes of TNT. Nukes classify as vaporware, even before anyone starts considering the additional prohibitive cost of retrieving scarce ore supplies (uranium is rarer and more expensive to procure than toluene).

    One could, maybe, compensate some day for all the potentially dangerous side-effects. Why bother, though, when there’s not sufficient upside compared with existing alternatives? Who is that foolish with their wealth, and who would be foolish enough to invest any of their own wealth alongside them? Seriously, people try to avoid lead-based paint, yet somehow they’ll be likely to jump at a chance to purchase radioactive material? Guess again, even the “burn” part of cancer treatments would become a future ancap poet’s lamentation about “the barbaric days of leaches and isotopes.” Hell, for that matter even flouride wouldn’t be in water supplies unless there was some kind of pre-existing Public Private Partnership.

    That lead paint has utilitarian value for some. That flouridated water has utilitarian value for some. That nuclear power has utilitarian value for some. So what? There is sufficient consumer distaste of such things that none of them would have an ancap chance. Perhaps the cheaper things — lead paint and flouridated water — would find a market for themselves, but it likely would be a market whose participants existed somewhat outside the boundaries of reputation-based society. Nuke owners, though, might well get hunted down and killed like any other animal that is considered to exist completely outside reputation-based society. Any plea encouraging “reasonable discourse” likely wouldn’t matter. Enough members of society would act upon the “nuker’s” perceived reputation, possibly to the detriment of their own reputation. When there are no governments, there are only personal reputations.

    All other things being equal, if there had been free markets during the past century there would not today be a single nuclear power plant anywhere on the planet. Not one insurance company would have been willing to underwrite the risk. How about those inevitable promises of really, truly, honestly having made a breakthrough that offers significant reductions to the odds of catastrophic radioactive contamination? Insurance Company #1: “Pass.” Insurance Company #2: “Pass.” And so on.

    Actually, that’s a moot point about empty breakthrough promises because, as stated previously, no one would bother to conduct super-expensive research into “safer” nuclear technology when adequate alternatives are available. It is only so-called guarantees from the State that offer insurance companies a false sense of security about associating themselves with nuclear engineering projects. Limit private liability, then promise that taxpayers will cover any “unlikely” mishaps, and what do you get? You get meltdowns both fissile and economic. Take away the State and what do you get? You get no nuke plants anywhere — likely, you get a lot more Tesla-tech finding demand in the market.

    Even Bill Gates would never dream of paying to maintain & insure a single private nuke year over year, so total demand would be somewhere south of “one, please.” Declining costs would never materialize, because producers would have inadequate incentive to keep the R&D going without access to the State’s extortion racket.

    Bottom line: dream on, comic book readers. Better to sign up for one of those oh-so promising “colonization” trips to Mars (complete with worse odds for survival than early European settlers endured at places like Roanoke).

    • Foo QuuxmanNo Gravatar says:

      Observe ladies and gentlemen, how the fool thinks that he is the only sane person around. Note the tiny imagination, so small in fact that it can barely even comprehend anything larger. See how it pretends to argue economically as it imitates larger minds, yet is unable to actually make a coherent argument.

      Also, fuck mars, why the hell would I claw up a gravity well just so I can dive into another one?

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