IFRs use virtually all
of the energy content in the Uranium or Thorium fuel whereas a
traditional light water reactor uses less than 1% of that energy
content. This means that breeder reactors can power the energy needs of
the planet for over a billion years.
This reactor is cooled by liquid
and fueled by a metallic alloy of
plutonium. The fuel is contained in steel cladding with liquid
sodium filling in the space between the fuel and the cladding.
Most world energy experts, including US Secretary of Energy
Steven Chu, believe that
renewables are not sufficient to meet the
world's energy requirements, even in the US, and that nuclear
must be part of the mix. The mix, continued use of highly polluted
coal because of coal owner money. In a major
DOE study in 2002, the IFR was judged to be the best nuclear
Breeder reactors (such as the IFR) in principle could use almost
all of the energy in
thorium, thus potentially decreasing fuel requirements by nearly
two orders of magnitude. This in turn could dampen concern about
fuel supply or energy used in
Breeder reactors can “burn” some components (actinides:
reactor-grade plutonium and
minor actinides) of nuclear waste, which could turn a nuclear
liability into an asset. Another major waste component,
fission products, would stabilize at a lower level of
long-lived fission products in a few centuries, rather than tens
of thousands of years. The fact that
4th generation reactors are being designed to use the waste from
3rd generation plants could change the nuclear story
fundamentally – potentially making the combination of 3rd and 4th
generation plants a more attractive energy option than 3rd
generation by itself would have been, both from the perspective of
waste management and long-term energy security.
In traditional water-cooled reactors the core must be maintained at a
high pressure to keep the water liquid at high temperatures. In
contrast, since the IFR is a
liquid metal cooled reactor, the core could operate at close to
ambient pressure, dramatically reducing the danger of a
loss of coolant accident. The entire reactor core,
heat exchangers and primary cooling pumps are immersed in a pool of
liquid sodium, making a loss of primary coolant extremely unlikely. The
coolant loops are designed to allow for cooling through natural
convection, meaning that in the case of a power loss or unexpected
reactor shutdown, the heat from the reactor core would be sufficient to
keep the coolant circulating even if the primary cooling pumps were to
The IFR also utilizes a
passively safe fuel configuration. The fuel and
cladding are designed such that when they expand due to increased
temperatures, more neutrons would be able to escape the core, thus
reducing the rate of the fission chain reaction. At sufficiently high
temperatures, this effect would stop the reactor even without external
action from operators or safety systems. This was demonstrated in a
series of safety tests on the prototype.
Liquid sodium presents safety problems because it ignites
spontaneously on contact with air and can cause explosions on contact
with water. To reduce the risk of explosions following a leak of water
from the steam turbines, the IFR design (as with other
sodium-cooled fast reactors) includes an intermediate liquid-metal
coolant loop between the reactor and the steam turbines. The purpose of
this loop is to ensure that any explosion following accidental mixing of
sodium and turbine water would be limited to the secondary heat
exchanger and not pose a risk to the reactor itself.
According to IFR inventor Charles Till, no radioactivity will be
released under any plausible circumstance. A wide range of unexpected
events that would cause destructive and hazardous failures in other
reactor systems would not damage the IFR.
The goals of the IFR project were to increase the efficiency of
uranium usage by
breeding plutonium and eliminating the need for
transuranic isotopes ever to leave the site. The reactor was an
unmoderated design running on
fast neutrons, designed to allow any transuranic isotope to be
consumed (and in some cases used as fuel).
Compared to current light-water reactors with a once-through fuel
cycle that induces fission (and derives energy) from less than 1% of the
uranium found in nature, a breeder reactor like the IFR has a very
efficient (99.5% of uranium undergoes fission) fuel cycle.
The basic scheme used electrolytic separation to remove transuranics and
actinides from the wastes and concentrate them. These concentrated fuels
were then reformed, on site, into new fuel elements.
The available fuel metals were never separated from the plutonium,
and therefore there was no direct way to use the fuel metals in nuclear
weapons. Also, plutonium never had to leave the site, and thus was far
less open to unauthorized diversion.
The result is that within 200 years, such wastes are no more
radioactive than the ores of natural radioactive elements.
Comparisons to light-water reactors
Buildup of heavy actinides in
present thermal reactors,
which cannot fission actinide nuclides that have an even
number of neutrons.
Fast reactors can fission all
IFR BURNS ALL
IFR-style reactors produce
much less waste than LWR-style reactors, and can even consume other
waste as fuel.
The primary argument for
pursuing IFR-style technology today is that it provides the best
solution to the existing nuclear waste problem because breeder reactors
can be fueled from the waste products of existing reactors as well as
from the plutonium used in weapons.
Depleted uranium (DU) waste
can also be used as fuel in IFR reactors.
The waste products of IFR
reactors either have a short halflife, which means that it quickly
"burns out" and ends up relatively safe, or a long halflife, which means
that they are unlikely to emit a significant amount of protons except
from very large quantities. The volume of highly-radioactive waste is 5%
or 1/20th the volume as compared to a light water plant of the same
high level waste from
reprocessing is highly radioactive for only 400 years instead of 10,000
The two forms of
waste produced from IFR, a noble metal form and a ceramic form, contain
no plutonium or other actinides. The radioactivity of the waste decays
to levels similar to the original ore in about 200 years.
The on-site reprocessing of fuel means that the volume of nuclear
waste leaving the plant is tiny compared to LWR spent fuel.
In fact, in the U.S. most spent LWR fuel has remained in storage at the
reactor site instead of being transported for reprocessing or placement
geological repository. The smaller volumes of
high level waste from reprocessing could stay at reactor sites for
some time, but are intensely radioactive from
medium-lived fission products and need to be stored securely.
Repository capacity is constrained not by volume but by heat generation,
and heat generation from medium-lived fission products is about the same
per unit power from any kind of fission reactor, limiting early
"Others counter that actinide removal would offer few if any
significant advantages for disposal in a
geologic repository because some of the
of greatest concern in scenarios such as
leaching actually have longer half-lives than the radioactive
actinides. The concern about a waste cannot end after hundreds of years
even if all the actinides are removed when the remaining waste contains
radioactive fission products such as
cesium-135 with the halflives between 213,000 and 15.7 million
IFRs use virtually
all of the energy content in the uranium fuel whereas a traditional
light water reactor uses less than 1% of that energy content. This means
that breeder reactors can power the energy needs of the planet for over
a billion years. 
IFRs and LWRs both emit no CO2 during operation, although
construction and fuel processing may require small CO2
The IFR fuel cycle's reprocessing by
pyroprocessing (in this case,
electrorefining) does not need to produce pure plutonium free of
fission product radioactivity as the
process is designed to do. The purpose of reprocessing in the IFR fuel
cycle is simply to reduce the level of those fission products that are
neutron poisons; even those need not be completely removed. The
electrorefined spent fuel is highly radioactive, but because new fuel
need not be precisely fabricated like LWR fuel pellets but can simply be
cast, remote fabrication can be used, reducing exposure to workers.
Like any fast reactor, by changing the material used in the blankets,
the IFR can be operated over a spectrum from breeder to self-sufficient
to burner. In breeder mode (using
blankets) it will produce more fissile material than it consumes. This
is useful for providing fissile material for starting up other plants.
Using steel reflectors instead of U-238 blankets, the reactor operates
in pure burner mode and is not a net creator of fissile material; on
balance it will consume fissile and fertile material and, assuming
loss-free reprocessing, output no
actinides but only
fission products and
activation products. Amount of fissile material needed could be a
limiting factor to very widespread deployment of fast reactors, if
stocks of surplus weapons plutonium and LWR spent fuel plutonium are not
sufficient. To maximize the rate at which fast reactors can be deployed,
they can be operated in maximum breeding mode.
current cost of
enriched uranium is low compared to the expected cost of large-scale
pyroprocessing and electrorefining equipment and the cost of building a
secondary coolant loop, the higher fuel costs of a
thermal reactor over the expected operating lifetime of the plant
are offset by increased
capital cost. (Currently in the United States, utilities pay a flat
rate of 1/10 of a cent per kilowatt hour for disposal of high level
radioactive waste. If this charge were based on the longevity of the
waste, closed fuel cycles might become more financially competitive.)
Reprocessing nuclear fuel using pyroprocessing and electrorefining
has not yet been demonstrated on a commercial scale, so investing in a
large IFR-style plant may be a higher
financial risk than a conventional
light water reactor.
The IFR uses metal alloy fuel (uranium/plutonium/zirconium) which is
a good conductor of heat, unlike the LWR's (and even some fast breeder
uranium oxide which is a poor conductor of heat and reaches high
temperatures at the center of fuel pellets. The IFR also has a smaller
volume of fuel, since the fissile material is diluted with fertile
material by a ratio of 5 or less, compared to about 30 for LWR fuel. The
IFR core requires more heat removal per core volume during operation
than the LWR core; but on the other hand, after a shutdown, there is far
less trapped heat that is still diffusing out and needs to be removed.
However, decay heat generation from short-lived fission products and
actinides is comparable in both cases, starting at a high level and
decreasing with time elapsed after shutdown.
Self-regulation of the IFR's power level depends mainly on thermal
expansion of the fuel which allows more neutrons to escape, damping the
chain reaction. LWRs have less effect from thermal expansion of fuel
(since much of the core is the
neutron moderator) but have strong
negative feedback from
Doppler broadening (which acts on thermal and epithermal neutrons,
not fast neutrons) and negative
void coefficient from boiling of the water moderator/coolant; the
less dense steam returns fewer and less-thermalized neutrons to the
fuel, which are more likely to be captured by U-238 than induce
IFRs are able to withstand both a loss of flow without
SCRAM and loss of heat sink without SCRAM. In addition to
passive shutdown of the reactor, the convection current generated in the
primary coolant system will prevent fuel damage (core meltdown). These
capabilities were demonstrated in the
The ultimate point is that no radioactivity will be released under any
circumstance. According to IFR inventor Charles Till, under even very,
very unlikely circumstances which would lead to a mess in other
reactors, it would not even incur damage.
The flammability of sodium is a risk to operators. Sodium burns
easily in air, and will ignite spontaneously on contact with water. The
use of an intermediate coolant loop between the reactor and the turbines
minimizes the risk of a sodium fire in the reactor core.
Under neutron bombardment, sodium-24 is produced. This is highly
radioactive, emitting an energetic
ray of 2.7
MeV followed by a beta decay to form magnesium-24. Half life is only
15 hours, so this isotope is not a long-term hazard - indeed it has
medical applications. Nevertheless, the presence of sodium-24 further
necessitates the use of the intermediate coolant loop between the
reactor and the turbines.
IFRs and LWRs both produce plutonium, which can be used for weapons
production, but the IFR fuel cycle has some design features that make
proliferation more difficult. Unlike
reprocessing, the IFR's electrolytic reprocessing, at least of
spent fuel itself, need not separate out pure plutonium. The
plutonium also stays at the reactor site and can be consumed by the same
or other reactors. While it is possible to extract the plutonium,
international monitoring of a closed system is claimed to be much easier
than one that has external reprocessing.
Proliferation risks are not eliminated. "The plutonium from ALMR
recycled fuel would have an isotopic composition similar to that
obtained from other
spent nuclear fuel sources. Whereas this might make it less than
ideal for weapons production, it would still be adequate for
unsophisticated nuclear bomb designs. In fact the U.S. government
detonated a nuclear device in 1962 using low-grade plutonium typical
of that produced by civilian powerplants."
"If, instead of processing spent fuel, the ALMR system were used to
fertile (breeding) material in the electrorefiner, the resulting
plutonium would be a superior material, with a nearly ideal isotope
composition for nuclear weapons manufacture"
design and construction
A commercial version of the IFR,
can be built in a factory and transported to the site. This modular
design (311 MWe modules) reduces costs and allows nuclear plants of
various sizes (311 MWe and any integer multiple) to be economically
Cost assessments taking account of the complete life cycle show that
fast reactors could be no more expensive than the most widely used
reactors in the world – water-moderated water-cooled reactors.
Argonne previously had a branch campus named "Argonne West" in
that is now part of the
Idaho National Laboratory. In the past, at the branch campus,
physicists from Argonne had built what was known as the
Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR II). In the mean time,
physicists at Argonne had designed the IFR concept, and it was decided
that the EBR II would be converted to an IFR. Charles Till, a Canadian
physicist from Argonne, was the head of the IFR project, and Yoon Chang
was the deputy head. Till was positioned in Idaho, while Chang was in
IFR opponents also presented a report
by the DOE's Office of Nuclear Safety regarding a former Argonne
employee's allegations that Argonne had retaliated against him for
raising concerns about safety, as well as about the quality of research
done on the IFR program. The report received international attention,
with a notable difference in the coverage it received from major
scientific publications. The British journal Nature entitled its
article "Report backs whistleblower", and also noted conflicts of
interest on the part of a DOE panel that assessed IFR research..
In contrast, the article that appeared in Science was entitled
"Was Argonne Whistleblower Really Blowing Smoke?".
Remarkably, that article did not disclose that the Director of Argonne
National Laboratories, Alan Schriesheim, was a member of the Board of
Directors of Science's parent organization, the American
Association for the Advancement of Science.
In 2001, as part of the Generation IV roadmap, the DOE tasked a 242
person team of scientists from DOE, UC Berkeley, MIT, Stanford, ANL,
LLNL, Toshiba, Westinghouse, Duke, EPRI, and other institutions to
evaluate 19 of the best reactor designs on 27 different criteria. The
IFR ranked #1 in their study which was released April 9, 2002.
At present there are no Integral Fast Reactors in commercial
of investigation into allegations of retaliation for raising
safety and quality of work issues regarding Argonne National
Laboratory's Integral Fast Reactor Project, Report Number
DOE/NS-0005P, 1991 Dec 01 OSTI Identifier OSTI ID: 6030509,
backs whistleblower, Nature 356, 469 (9 April 1992)
S-PRISM, also called PRISM
(Power Reactor Innovative Small Module), is the name of a
nuclear power plant design by General Electric-Hitachi based
sodium-cooled fast breeder
The design utilizes reactor modules, each having a power
output of 311 MWe, to enable factory fabrication at low
cost. The design is based on the
Integral Fast Reactor. The
Integral Fast Reactor was developed at the West Campus of
Argonne National Laboratory in
Idaho Falls, Idaho and was the
intended successor to the
Experimental Breeder Reactor II.
The Integral Fast Reactor project was shut down by the
U.S. Congress in 1994. The
S-PRISM represents General Electric-Hitachi's
Generation IV reactor solution
to closing the nuclear fuel cycle and is also part of its
Advanced Recycling Center proposition
to U.S. Congress to deal with
I was offline
suite of rooms
at the top of
GE’s Eric Loewen
what he calls a
PRISM reactor —
runs on the
generated by all
PRISM is GE’s
name for an
or IFR, and it’s
a pretty great
amount of fuel
exists for such
be enough to
power the world
for millennia —
no new mining
solve at a
problem of what
to do with the
vast amounts of
which are being
they fail they
don’t melt down.
And they can
units and of
block of two
as the coal
use, and the
all you’d be
build a new
most of the
thus be kept
able to talk
And best of all
that they could
at just 5 cents
per KwH — which
means that you
don’t need to
all to make
So what’s the
in the US will
take many years
approve such a
needed, too —
allowing the use
of nuclear waste
as a fuel. But
that’s needed is
It’s unclear the
degree to which
the US energy
if he puts the
weight of the
and trying to
make it a
reality, then a
lot of private
into the area.
And it might be
“Generation IV” PRISM reactor technology
Nuclear Fuel Recycling
Technology Leadership Earns GE Engineer Prestigious Honor from
American Nuclear Society
WILMINGTON, N.C.—June 16, 2009—GE Hitachi Nuclear
Energy (GEH) announced today that the American Nuclear
Society (ANS) has honored engineer Charles Boardman with the
prestigious Cisler Medal for his decades of leadership in
the development of GEH’s “Generation IV” PRISM reactor
The PRISM reactor
is a cornerstone of GEH’s proposed Advanced Recycling Center
(ARC) for recycling spent fuel from nuclear power plants.
The technology offers a timely solution to one of the
industry’s most significant public policy and environmental
challenges, turning spent nuclear fuel into an asset.
Boardman’s commitment to the development of advanced nuclear
reactor and fuel recycling technology could provide
significant benefits for the United States for many decades
to come,” said ANS President William E. Burchill. “Recycling
would address one of the challenges raised by the resurgence
of nuclear energy, retrieving large amounts of energy from
used fuel and greatly reducing radioactive waste.”
The ANS awarded
Boardman the Walker Lee Cisler Medal today during the
organization’s annual conference in Atlanta, Ga. The ANS is
a not-for-profit, international scientific and educational
organization covering nuclear science and technology. The
Cisler Medal recognizes leadership in the field of “fast
reactor” technology and its potential applications for power
recycling center is being evaluated by the U.S. Department
of Energy and Congress as the government determines the
country’s long-term strategy for spent nuclear fuel.
nuclear fuel is safely stored in special pools or in dry
casks installed at nuclear power plant sites, a practice
adopted by the U.S. government. Approximately 95% of the
material in spent nuclear fuel from light water reactors is
considered untapped energy that could be used to generate
electricity in different kinds of nuclear reactors.
ARC system would permit much of this spent fuel to be
recycled in the PRISM reactor to generate additional
electricity for consumers. As a result, utilities also would
be able to reduce the amount of spent fuel that needs to be
retired from GE in 2001, worked on GE’s advanced nuclear
energy technology programs and led the development of GE’s
fast-breeder reactor concept. During his tenure, he served
as manager of systems and plant engineering for the
PRISM/Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor (ALMR) and S-PRISM plant
During a career
that began in 1964, he contributed to the conception and
implementation of evolutionary passive safety features
integrated into GEH’s current Generation III ABWR and
Generation III+ ESBWR reactor designs—even as he also looked
to the development of Generation IV reactor technology.
retirement, Boardman continued working with numerous
government and nuclear energy organizations to help
spearhead the continued research and development of the
PRISM and other Generation IV reactor concepts.
The PRISM, which
would use liquid sodium as the primary coolant instead of
water, is designed to potentially increase the fuel use of
nuclear power plants 20-fold.
“We are proud
that the ANS has selected Charles Boardman for the Cisler
Medal in recognition of the contributions he has made to the
field of advanced nuclear reactor technology,” said Jack
Fuller, GEH’s President and CEO. “Charles Boardman has
contributed to GE’s legacy of championing crucial energy
research as the world seeks environmentally sound, baseload
sources of energy in the years to come.”
has led to additional study of the potential for
dual-purpose plants for both nuclear energy and
desalination, along with ABWR design developments,
gas-cooled reactors and overall plant-optimization studies.
The resident of
Saratoga, Calif., holds 13 patents related to the design of
containments, decay heat removal, power generation and
sodium-heated generators. Boardman has written a vast array
of technical papers and has been a frequent expert speaker
on advanced nuclear energy topics.
John Sackett, a
former director with the Argonne National Laboratory, worked
closely with Boardman in the development of GE’s ALMR and
subsequent S-PRISM designs.
clearly the key individual in translating information from
the R&D community into practical application…,” Sackett
wrote in support of Boardman’s award nomination. “The PRISM
design … is a safe, economically competitive system which
will be important to the nation as we move forward.”
Hitachi Nuclear Energy
Wilmington, N.C., GEH is a world-leading provider of
advanced reactors and nuclear services. Established in June
2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by GE and
Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry. The nuclear
alliance executes a single, strategic vision to create a
broader portfolio of solutions, expanding its capabilities
for new reactor and service opportunities. The alliance
offers customers around the world the technological
leadership required to effectively enhance reactor
performance, power output and safety.
explodes on exposure the water or air. It is an accident
waiting to happen.
something can go wrong, it will!!" - Murphey's Law
NOT GLOBAL WARMING
INSTEAD, GLOBAL POLLUTION!!
future the Big Lie (A concept created by Goebbels) is that of Global Warming
THIS IS A target set
up, to be shot down - The Strawman type of Argument - To confuse and disillusion -
The Real Problem
is that of Global Pollution
The real Problem
is that of POWER!!
A lie designed to
confuse and allow a mix of fuels to create power and to keep Coal and
Petroleum as highly polluting power sources in the so-called mix whereas
their pollution properties should stop them dead!!
A Lie designed
to move people in the direction of carbon dioxide-less yet and
highly expensive (Who owns the uranium mines? Who owns the nuclear
technology?) nuclear power which with IFR breeder reactors can provide 260 Terawatts per year (currently 13 Terawatts)
for 100,000 years of electrical power.
system will be that powerful countries will process the nuclear fuel thus
removing atomic bombs from the menu of most countries, and thus supply
electrical power and its technology for the whole world. It is planned that
Nuclear power will supply 50% of the electricity of Europe by 2030.
is the motive and the whole world held to ransom by the Uranium and
technology and nuclear processing owners.
can see that the future of this world is to become one, integrated with one
President, so we can see that evolution demands that electricity is provided
by Sun Power.
Because of the Power and Control which oil and Nuclear power
provides, the research and development of Sun Power has been very delayed -
lossless transmission of electrical power
from desert to the cities has also been cracked.
Photo-voltaic cells look promising
when efficiency and mass production nano-technology
have been cracked together with cheap 50KW house batteries.
Planning on the pure DC transmission scheme for Chinaaposs future power transmission
from the West to the East
Ying Huang; Zheng Xu
Power Engineering Society General Meeting, 2004. IEEE
Volume , Issue , 10-10 June 2004 Page(s):1459 - 1463 Vol.2
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/PES.2004.1373110 Summary:In the year after 2015, China's national power grid
interconnection will have been completed. Most likely, there will be four
synchronous power systems, that is, big East China power grids, central
China power grids, South China power grids and Northwest China power grids.
For the long distance (more than 1000 km) bulk power (more than 50 GW)
transmission from the West to the East, if the pure DC transmission scheme
is adopted, there will be more and more HVDC links feeding power to
different points in the same synchronous AC network. An important issue
arising in such a situation is the influence of the multiinfeed HVDC links
on the security of the AC systems. This paper analyzes the transient
stability of each system under various AC and DC disturbances. The recovery
characteristics of the multiinfeed HVDC links are also investigated. The
results show that pure DC power transmission from the West to the East of
China is technically feasible
YEARS OF ELECTRICITY WITH THE FUEL WE HAVE NOW
THE NUCLEAR WASTE OF EVERY OTHER NUCLEAR PLANT – NO RESIDUE!!
MIDDLE EAST INTERVENTION
HEARD ABOUT IT!!
"In the decade from
1984 to 1994, scientists at Argonne National Laboratory developed an
advanced technology that promised safe nuclear power unlimited by fuel
supplies, with a waste product sharply reduced both in radioactive lifetime
and amount. The program, called the IFR, was cancelled suddenly in 1994,
before the technology could be perfected in every detail. Its story is not
widely known, nor are its implications widely appreciated. It is a story
well worth telling, and this series of articles does precisely that."
--- excerpt from
Plentiful Energy and the IFR story by Charles Till
IFR story is a story of
how the US government paid billions to our National Laboratories to engineer
a solution to the energy and climate crisis (before it became a crisis), the
A nuclear power plant
design invented at Argonne National Lab 24 years ago has none of the
drawbacks of conventional nuclear plants
To control climate
change, we must get rid of virtually all carbon emissions from coal. To do
that, we need a way to generate power for a cost less than coal, that can
generate power reliably 24x7, and that can be constructed virtually
anywhere. Solar and wind don't meet the need; that is why even
environmentally progressive countries such as Germany are still building
coal plants. But we have a technology that can displace coal, but it is not
well known. It was a billion dollar government research project...over 10
years at our top government national laboratory for energy (Argonne National
Laboratory)...the largest energy research project in our history. Our
government had finally done something truly visionary and great! But the
project was quashed by President Clinton in 1994 because Clinton said it was
unneeded and the scientists who worked on it were ordered to remain silent.
One of our country's leading experts on global warming, Jim Hansen, recently
re-discovered the IFR. Those who have been briefed on the IFR believe it is
an essential technology we must develop to combat climate change and should
be restarted immediately. This led to Hansen including restarting 4th
generation nuclear power as one of his 5 top priorities for President Obama
(see the bottom of page 7 in Hansen's
Tell Barack Obama the Truth -- The Whole Truth).
The DOE tried to
restart it under GNEP, but Congress has zeroed the funding for GNEP (not for
reasons relating to the IFR which nobody in Congress knows anything about).
Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
California Lt. Governor
John Garamendi flew in the top IFR scientists and convened a meeting of
experts in the field including one Nobel prize winner (Burton Richter,
former Director of SLAC). Garamendi came away impressed and convinced that
this is something we must do and is working to take the next steps in
Until now, I have been
pretty agnostic about nuclear power. In fact, in May 2006, I wrote an op-ed
for the San Jose Mercury News on why we shouldn't pursue nuclear power as a
solution for global warming which
infuriated the pro-nuclear people.
After reading Hansen's
newsletter (where I first learned about the IFR) and doing months of
research on the IFR listening to arguments on both sides, I've changed my
opinion. And some really smart friends of mine have read the stuff below,
done their research, and their minds have changed as well. In fact, I don't
know anyone with an open mind who has met with the scientists who worked on
the project who hasn't come away impressed. Even the harshest critics of the
IFR admit that that they might be wrong.
I first heard about the
IFR on August 4, 2008, in
an email I received from James Hansen who is one of our nation's top
climate experts. The email summarized his recent trip overseas to meet with
The two most important
things that Hansen tells foreign heads of state are (from page 5):
Annual CO2 emissions, and thus percent reduction
of annual emissions, is not an appropriate metric for controlling
climate change. Instead, we must limit the total fossil fuel CO2
Phase-out of coal emissions is the sine qua non
for climate stabilization.
In other words, if we
don't get rid of coal plants all over the planet, we're completely hosed.
The sooner we do that, the better. Getting rid of every single coal plant is
the single most important thing we can do to slow down global warming. If we
cannot do that, then nothing else matters. We are basically re-arranging
deck chairs on the Titanic. We will go down with the ship.
Displacing coal plants
is hard because they are really cheap (since the utilities are not assessed
of their pollution), they can be built anywhere where water is available
(all thermal power plants, fossil or nuclear, have to be able to get rid of
excess heat), and because they provide power 24x7. That's why
every week to 10 days, another coal-fired power plant opens somewhere in
China that is big enough to serve all the households in Dallas or San
Getting rid of them is
hard. Even with all the awareness about the harm of coal plants to the
environment in the US, we have been unsuccessful in displacing them. Today,
we still get
49% of our electric power from coal plants. If we can't displace coal
plants in the US, how can we expect other countries, like China, to displace
their coal plants?
Fundamentally, to get
rid of coal plants and have any hope at all on controlling climate change,
you must to come up with a power plant capable of 24x7 operation that can be
built anywhere that is just as cheap (or cheaper) to build and operate as a
coal plant. If you had that, then you'd have an economic incentive for
people to make the environmentally responsible choice. There would be no
reason to build coal plants anymore.
So if the US developed
a way to generate electric power that had no CO2 emissions, was as cheap as
coal, and provided 24x7 power, and could be built anywhere, and didn't
require a lot of land to build, and was very safe, and didn't increase the
risk from terrorism then that would be a great thing. It would mean that
China would have an economic incentive to build these plants rather than
We don't have that now.
Concentrated solar plants can only be economically built in certain
locations. Same for wind power. And both are intermittent sources (although
if you have enough wind power over enough area in the right corridor, it can
be pretty reliable).
Such an invention
would, quite literally, save the planet from destruction. It would be the
"holy grail" in the fight against global warming. It would arguably be the
most important invention in history.
So you'd think that if
such an invention existed, everyone would know about it, wouldn't you?
Well, would you believe
that our top energy scientists invented a technology that does all those
things and more! These plants can also get rid of the waste from existing
nuclear power plants! And unlike nuclear plants where there is only a finite
amount of nuclear material available (I think about 100 years), these plants
make their own fuel so they will last 100,000 years. Remember Einstein's
famous E=mc2? The point is that if you do it right, a little bit
of matter can make a lot of energy.
The Integral Fast
Reactor (IFR) is a fourth generation nuclear design that provides a clean,
inexhaustible source of power, cheap, with virtually no waste, inherently
safe (if you remove the cooling, it shuts down rather than melts down), and
the added benefit that it consumes the nuclear waste from other nuclear
plants that we can’t figure out how to get rid of.
It can be fueled entirely with material recovered
from today's used nuclear fuel.
It consumes virtually all the long-lived
radioactive isotopes that worry people who are concerned about the
"nuclear waste problem," reducing the needed isolation time to less than
It could provide all the energy needed for
centuries (perhaps as many as 50,000 years), feeding only on the uranium
that has already been mined
It uses uranium resources with 100 to 300 times
the efficiency of today's reactors.
It does not require enrichment of uranium.
It has less proliferation potential than the
reprocessing method now used in several countries.
It's 24x7 baseline power
It can be built anywhere there is water
The power is very inexpensive (some estimates are
as low as 2 cents/kWh to produce)
Safe from melt down because if something goes
wrong, the reactor naturally shuts down rather than blows up
And, of course, it emits no greenhouse gases.
What's wrong with that?
Absolutely nothing...that is if you look at the facts and the science rather
than the words.
Sadly, most people when
they hear "nuclear reactor" or "breeder reactor" react negatively. "Not in
my backyard," they say. But that's because of second generation nuclear
technology. When people say "no nuclear," they really are referring to
"second generation nuclear." Everything about the IFR and fourth generation
technology is completely different. The words with negative connotations are
no longer negative. Yet we have this bad habit of remembering the bad
associations. We have to overcome that. For example, one scientist told me,
"Breeding, however, is a dirty word these days, so the GNEP emphasis is on
burning the transuranics, instead of using them to assure an
expanding source of clean energy into the indefinite future." So, in other
words, we are doing stupid things because "breeding" is a dirty word.
"Breeding" for the IFR is the nuclear equivalent of "recycling and
re-using." That's a good thing, not a bad thing. And the safe word,
"burning," is actually a bad thing. So the connotations are actually
We actually gave a
group of our smartest scientists funding for 10 years and left them alone to
come up with something brilliant so that it could be completed before we
actually needed to deploy it. Talk about visionary, long-term thinking! Of
course today things are different. Today, Congress is completely
shortsighted. After gas is at $4/gallon, they say we need to drill for more
oil. Well if that is the solution, how come we didn't do that 10 years ago
so we wouldn't have a crisis?
So here, in a rare
instance of long term strategic investment and vision, our government did
something really amazing in funding this project. And the scientists
returned that trust by delivering on their promises. And then our government
thanks them by pulling the plug on the project just before it was completed.
When Bill Clinton
cancelled the funding in 1994, he said in his State of the Union speech that
he did it because the project was unnecessary, not because it didn't meet
any of its objectives. In his speech, he said, "We will terminate
unnecessary programs in advanced reactor development."
He never asked the
National Academy of Sciences to look into whether this project was
unnecessary. Why not? Shouldn't you do a little objective research before
you pull the plug on the biggest energy research project in history?
Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) technology is arguably the single most important
thing we can do to stop global warming. If it isn't the single most
important thing, it's awfully close to the top.
So if this is so great,
how come everyone isn't all over this technology?
Because nobody knew
How can that be?
Because the DOE ordered
the scientists working on the project not to talk about it.
Why would the
government do that?
Why do you think the
government would pour billions of dollars into the biggest energy research
project in history and then not just cancel it, but do their best to bury
it? The researchers at Argonne developed a safe and economical source of
unlimited clean energy. Between that and the other renewable power
technologies we wouldn't need oil, coal, gas or uranium mining/drilling
anymore. We're talking about putting the most powerful corporations on the
planet out of business. Not out of malice or spite, but simply because they
won't be needed anymore and because what they're doing to the planet is
Some people think that
the fossil fuel lobbyists could tell you why our government ordered the
scientists not to talk about it. It's similar to the gag order (and edits to
manuscripts and reports including IPCC reports) that the administration
likes to put on scientists who try to talk about global warming. Jim Hansen
can tell you a few stories about that since he's experienced it first hand.
In fact, Hansen himself
just found out about the IFR recently. Hansen is very informed. So if he
didn't know about it, it's probably not well known. And that's what I found
when I asked around.
this article that just appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Bill
Gates is investing in a project at Intellectual Ventures to "create a new
type of nuclear reactor that would use fuels other than enriched uranium --
including spent fuel from existing reactors." The article quoted Myhrvold as
saying " The idea is to create a nuclear reactor that is simpler and cheaper
than current reactors, and generates clean power without waste or
Well that's exactly
what the IFR did. They knew about the IFR. It would be great if he could
help it succeed or has ideas on how to make it even better.
GE has created a
commercial plant design called the S-PRISM. GE is ready and willing to build
a plant (a) to demonstrate the technical feasibility of a commercial-scale
operation, and (b) to narrow the existing uncertainty in the final cost.
They are not proposing, yet, to plunge into mass production of S-PRISMs. We
can start building a reactor vessel for around $50 million.
"I assure my colleagues
someday our Nation will regret and reverse this shortsighted decision. But
complete or not, the concept and the work done to prove it remain genius and
a great contribution to the world."
"Through his work on
the Integral Fast Reactor program, Dr. Till demonstrated that his technical
solutions out paced the ability of the political process to appreciate
couldn't have said that better. And Senator Kempthorne, who also isn't
exactly known for his advocacy of science, is still waiting for his
colleagues in Congress to regret and reverse their decision.
The good news is that
DOE is trying to restart IFR with the GNEP (Global Nuclear Energy
Partnership) initiative. The
GNEP, if it is allowed to proceed, will involve a commercial
demonstration that will establish the degree of economic competitiveness of
the recycling process. General Electric thinks they can build an
economically viable system and they already have a complete commercial
design completed (S-PRISM).
Once again Congress
shows how easily they seem to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The
same Congress that brought you the Iraq war is now making sure that the best
solution to the global warming never sees the light of day.
Hansen was blunt in his
most recent trip report when he wrote “we should not have bailed out of
research on fast reactors.” Yet here we are doing it again. When are our
politicians going to start listening to our scientists who are trying to
solve the global warming problem?
Are there any other
promising technologies that have no emissions and the potential to displace
coal plants and can be sited anywhere? I don't know of any other than this.
But we should be
looking at the ideas that are on the table now and funding the most
promising 5 ideas with stable long-term funding (e.g., 10 years or more)
that isn't subject to the capriciousness of Congress. That way, we'll have
solutions available when we desperately need them instead of the normal
short sighted approach we take which is to react to a crisis rather than
take preventative steps. An energy crisis should never have occurred in the
US. We should have been making huge investments in renewable research 10 to
20 years ago.
In this case we got
lucky and did make the investment in electric power generation and the
technology is available today when we need it. What a miracle.
Now we need another
miracle: we need our government to restart the research at Argonne, we need
the NRC to accelerate the approval of the plant designs, and we need to
allow utilities to start building these plants. GE is ready and willing to
build a demonstration plant.
California has a ban on
new nuclear plants until the waste problem is solved. But building the IFR
solves the waste problem. So I hope California will be a leader in
incentivizing our utilities to start building these plants here. If
California needs to change the law to do that, it should.
For around $50M, we can
build a reactor vessel to expedite certification and licensing by the NRC.
That's a small price to pay to prove we have a silver bullet to solve the
global warming problem. This is too good an opportunity to pass up.
From a risk management
point of view, you certainly want to cultivate and develop at least a small
portfolio of silver bullets, i.e., "silver buckshot." After spending a lot
of time talking to the people who built this technology, it's clear to me
that the IFR deserves a place in that portfolio. The research at Argonne
should be restarted now and someone should ask GE to build one; either a big
utility or Congress should give DOE the money so they can have GE build a
pilot S-PRISM test plant.
We are running out of
time. If we do not start using breeder reactors, such as the IFR, this
century, then it appears we will reach "peak nuclear" this century. If we
use 4th generation breeder reactors such as the IFR (whose only disadvantage
seems to be perception), we can extend the usable life of our nuclear
resources to 1,000 years or more (see
GamePlan, p. 126) with the IFR folks estimating over 50,000 years.
Also, it's not
something we can decide to do later. If our objective is to get to 20%
nuclear in our energy mix, that means we must build one 3GW plant per week
for the next 25 years (see
GamePlan, p. 149)!
So unless we are
absolutely 100% sure we don't need nuclear, we should start very soon, or
that option will be lost forever.
Mary Nichols, the
highly respected chair of California's Air Resources Board has been
convinced for years, and has said publicly, that nuclear would be needed and
would make a comeback but only with breeder technology. While she has not
yet been briefed in the IFR, she wants to learn more about it and a meeting
has been set up.
A number of people who
have read the above had additional insightful questions, such as "how do you
respond to the disadvantages listed on the wikipedia page on the IFR?" or
"if this is so good, why doesn't GE have a customer for the S-PRISM?" or
"how do you address the proliferation problem?" Those questions, and more,
are answered here:
The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) project: Q&A.
Here are some more
Nuclear provides 70% of the carbon free electric
power in the US even though we haven't started building a new nuclear
plant in 30 years!
With the used fuel plus depleted uranium that's on
hand, we can power the world for centuries before having to mine new
uranium. With fast reactors and eventual mining, uranium is
There's much more energy in the depleted uranium
on hand than there is in the coal still in the ground.
Your typical coal plant emits well over 100 times
more radioactive materials than a nuclear plant! See p. 89 of Blees'
book for figures that will astound you.
Some 24,000 people die prematurely in the US from
the effects of soot from coal plants (see p. 99). Annual health care
costs due to soot, per year: $167 billion dollars (see p. 100)!
Even if you add the 56 deaths from Chernobyl, far
more people have been injured or killed from hydropower, oil, and gas
(see p.99 of Blees' book).
With the investment of (nuclear) energy, carbon
can be extracted from CO2 and hydrogen from water, to make synthetic
liquid fuel. No coal involved -- unless the CO2 comes from existing
coal-fired plants. Simplest, perhaps, is to make methanol (CH3OH): 2CO2
+ 4H2O + energy -> 2CH3OH + 3O2. It is truly carbon-neutral, since the
CO2 emitted when the fuel is burned is only equal to what was used in
the first place. This would make use of the existing distribution
infrastructure while a better system (batteries or boron, perhaps)
evolves. While this has been known for several years, very few people
seem to know about it. See
We read about coal plant discharges all the time.
The last time we heard about a nuclear discharge in the US was TMI. For
On December 22,
one billion gallons of coal ash sludge and
contaminated water, the waste product of coal-fired power plants of
the Tennessee Valley Authority, broke through a containment area
into the rivers of Kingston, Tennessee.
Last week a coal
train operated by National Coal Corporation over turned spilling approximately 1100 tons of coal
next to the New River in Scott County, Tennessee. Eight rail cars,
which typically hold 120 tons of coal, were involved.
And now another
spill occurred in Alabama at the Tennessee Valley Authority Widows
Creek coal-fired plant, releasing up to 10,000 gallons of
Nuclear operates without government subsidies
is building a micro reactor that is 100 times smaller than a typical
nuclear plant, at 6 feet by 20 feet. It produces 200 kilowatts of energy
at about 5 cents per kilowatt hour — cheaper than coal-fired power in
most places in the U.S. The Japanese company will begin marketing the
reactors in the United States and Europe in 2009.
There is a LOT of
misinformation that is unfortunately being spread by seemingly credible
sources. For example, here are some items to consider in response to an
article that recently appeared in Scientific American:
-- The plutonium at
WIPP is only "deadly" after a few thousand years if you go down there and
live in close contact with it with it -- and maybe not even then.
The problems with fast reactors have been non-fundamental.
-- The Monju reactor was undamaged by the fire, and has been kept shut down
for political reasons. I think it has been given the go-ahead to start up.
-- The EBR-II fast reactor worked flawlessly for many years.
-- The Phenix fast reactor in France has been on-line for decades.
-- The Superphenix reactor was shut down for political reasons, after it
finally had its problems behind it and was working well.
-- The Russian BN-600 has been working well for decades
-- As you well know, the IFR technology has not yet been implemented. so
Lyman's claim that "it never worked" is nonsense.
-- The fast-reactor waste would consist of 1 ton of fission products per
GWe-year. True, "thousands of tons" if there were thousands of reactors.
Easily dealt with -- harmless in less than 500 years (unlike coal waste).
Comments on the IFR
from one of Australia's top climatologists
It's not just noted
climatologist Jim Hansen and noted British environmental author
Mark Lynas who think that IFRs are critical to solving the climate
crisis. Below are some comments I received from
Barry Brook, of Australia's top climatologists.
This list of posts also
include what will eventually be a 6-part review series of the book by Tom
for the Planet, which, within its 400 pages,
describes IFR and some related technologies (boron-powered vehicles
and plasma burners for waste recycling) that
together circumscribe the most practical and innovate energy and
sustainability solution I have yet encountered. It also looks
carefully at how to achieve the energy revolution required on an
international scale. It is, in my opinion, the
most important book ever written on energy and climate solutions.
The other thing the
critics lack is a viable alternative, but they really never focus on this.
They'll talk about terrorism or proliferation risks or all the reasons why
the IFR isn't a perfect solution. That's not the point. The point about
climate change is we have to displace coal at a minimum. If not the IFR,
then what? The critics never talk about that.
I wrote to Brook:
this is so infuriating
since IFRs are FAR FAR better than existing nuclear plants and existing
nuclear plants have an INCREDIBLE safety record....far safer than any other
power source. Obama's new Secretary of Energy Steve Chu points out that
existing nuke plants produce 70% of the GHG-free power in America....it is
even more amazing when you consider the fact that we haven't started
building a new nuclear plant for 30 years!
He wrote back (emphasis
infuriating, I agree, because environmental groups seem to be willing to
sacrifice great opportunities to fix fundamental problems, completely,
because of historical (and even then, mostly ill founded) biases, ideologies
and misinformation. My primary goal is about fixing the climate change
I was utterly depressed when I worked through the numbers on renewables and
found they didn’t stack up. But did I push that aside and pretend it was the
solution anyway? No
way! I got angry and felt without hope (until I
found out about IFR). But I didn’t lie to
myself or others in the interim (I just implied there was little hope, when
pushed…). That form of disingenuous debating is what must be stamped out
here, and that is why rebuttals of ‘propaganda’ pieces like that from FoE
(the most strident anties in Australia who helped kill discussion on the Gen
III issue here a few years back) MUST be pursued.
III+ like the ESBWR are incredibly safe. IFRs just do it even better (good
old physical laws). Anyway, I’ll get off my podium now.
the FOE piece, they wrote:
ignoring the fact that 70-80+% of greenhouse emissions arise from sectors
other than electricity generation - so Kirsch's claim that IFR's could be
the "holy grail in the fight against global warming" is stupid.
importantly, that pew page also says: 68 percent of India’s CO2 emissions
are from coal
Yikes. The point is that if you can't get rid of coal, we're screwed.
To which he
wrote is at best grossly disingenuous. You need to solve the electricity
carbon problem to fix the vehicular fuels problem, space heating and
embedded energy in building and manufactured goods, and Tom has a solution
for MSW [municipal solid waste] also. About half of agricultural emissions
can also be solved if you have a zero-carbon energy source. Then you just
need to worry about the ruminant methane and carbon from deforestation. But
the bottom line is, if you fix electricity, every else will fall into place.
pointed out to him that when I ask the IFR critics in the US for their plan
for how they propose to stop China and India from using coal, they don't
have an answer and admit nuclear is the way to go. He asked the same
question of the critics in Australia. Here's what he wrote:
I had a similar set of arguments with an anti-nuclear campaigner
for the Australian Conservation Foundation recently – he started hammering
me about proliferation risks, and so I asked him what his plan was for
replacing the 484 GW of coal-fired power stations already installed in
China, and the further 200 or so plants in the planning or construction
pipeline. Like your critic, he had no answer.
Similarly a strong collection of climate action groups recently
protested at the Australian Parliament House and came up with a manifesto on
actions required to produce a zero-carbon Australia. But one of their ‘non
negotiables’ was a ban on all nuclear power. So I pointed out to them that
they’re obviously not 100% committed to solving the climate problem fully
after all [this was their ambit claim] – at least if it conflicts with other
entrenched ideologies [as an alternative example, I’m not a vegetarian, but
for scientific reasons I will no longer choose to eat beef or sheep if I
have the option because of the climate-forcing effect of ruminant methane].
There is a critique of IFR here: I plan to post a response on my
blog, since the author Jim Green linked to it from a comment. Let me know if
you have anything specific to say in response to it and I’ll add it to the
rejoinder I’m about to write [with acknowledgement).
Anyway, please do keep me in the loop – I’ve vitally interested
in pushing this forward and am getting traction. My full list of articles on
IFR is here:
Comments on Mark
Lynas's website in debate between Greenpeace and Blees
Mark Lynas read Blees
book, checked out the facts, and found out conventional "wisdom" about
advanced nuclear was wrong. So he came out in favor of the IFR. He was
quickly denounced by his peers (see
Mark Lynas: the green heretic persecuted for his nuclear conversion). He
offered Greenpeace a chance to respond on the
Mark Lynas blog, and also published Blees' rebuttal to the Greenpeace
comments. Here are some of the reader comments from Blees' rebuttal (since
at that point readers could evaluate both sides):
Regardless of what
Greenpeace states on environmental grounds, they are not independent and not
objective. They have no reason to want nuclear power in any form even if
they want to resolve AGW issues.
Thank you Tom for your
article and also to Mark for posting it for us. A clear, concise and
informative article which for me would seem to illustrate sensibly that
nuclear power is not only viable in every way but also relatively safe.
Additionally of course as Tom says we should explore and invest in
renewables. What a great position it would be to not need nuclear power in
the future, although like many I think we will need it. I will leave those
better qualified to argue the science here but Tom’s points are well made. I
await Greenpeace’s response again with baited breath!
An eloquent and
in-depth rebuttal, Mr. Blees. If only all solutions were as rock solid as
Thank you Tom for you
rebuttal. Nuclear is here for the foreseeable future and in some places
growing. There are also no guarantees that renewables can replace fossil
fuels within the uncertain timeframe, even with the desired demand side
reduction. On this basis alone I’m convinced that it would be logical to
invest in testing S-PRISM. It sounds a little too good to be true and may
well be just another pipe dream. But again that’s an argument for getting
the testing done.
We seemed to be stuck
in old school debate as usual; Mark Lynas and/or Tom Blees presents an
optimistic picture, while Greenpeace presents the negative one. It kind of
makes it difficult to take either side seriously. Most of us readers aren’t
educated enough to know which bit we should be throwing our pinch of salt
In the meantime,
nuclear is becoming smaller and more affordable
You can justify the investment on just the waste problem alone, but the IFR
is far more important. Calculations from a number of respected sources
indicates that renewables are insufficient to solve our energy problems.
That leaves nuclear. Even NRDC admits that. But the best nuclear by far is
the IFR because existing nuclear is not sustainable (we'll run out of fuel
unless we use breeder reactors like the IFR) and has higher costs and risks
than IFRs. The IFR is simply a better nuclear design that is currently our
best option as we move forward.
References on why
renewables are insufficient to solve the climate crisis
Energy Secretary Chu,
the President of MIT, and the renewable experts at the most recent Aspen
Institute Energy Forum all agree that it is not responsible to believe that
you can solve the climate crisis without nuclear. Here are a few more
MINING giant Rio Tinto has urged Kevin Rudd to immediately begin work on a
regulatory regime allowing use of nuclear energy in Australia, arguing the
viability of energy alternatives has been dramatically overstated. The
company has advised the government to consider "every option" for power
generation because its pledges on reducing carbon emissions and using
renewable energy will expose industry and consumers to huge increases in
their power bills. And it says that overly optimistic assumptions on the
viability of alternatives such as wind and geothermal power, as well as
so-called clean coal technologies, have created a "false optimism" which the
government must challenge by commissioning new research. Some regions of
Australia will not be located near good renewable energy resources or
sufficient geological storage formations for CCS," the submission says. In
these circumstances nuclear energy may provide the optimum clear, reliable
and affordable energy option."
http://www.withouthotair.com is particular good. David MacKay examines
five plans for the UK to move a pure renewable society. The conclusion is
that renewables are not sufficient: "Any plan that doesn’t make heavy use of
nuclear power or “clean coal” has to make up the energy balance using
renewable power bought in from other countries."
Japan: In particular,
here's a description of Japan's quandry with respect to renewables:
Here's a statement from Japan's Federation of Electric Power (FEPC)
companies on why renewables, while desirable, are not sufficient:
Alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power are also attractive
options in that they are clean and inexhaustible. And while their use will
no doubt grow over the years, such resources remain hamstrung by a variety
of drawbacks, from their susceptibility to the vagaries of weather and poor
energy conversion rates to inferior cost efficiency. Continuous efforts will
be made in research and development in order to utilize such alternative
energy sources. However, until the technological hurdles obstructing them -
and there are many - are overcome, nuclear power remains among the most
viable means of power generation.
Cost of Nuclear Power: The IFR cost is estimated by GE to be about
$1,500 per kW. The first two ABWR's were commissioned in Japan in 1996 and
1997. These took just over 3 years to construct and were completed on
budget. Their construction costs were around $2000 per KW.
The Chinese Nuclear Power Industry has won contracts to build new plants of
their own design at capital costs
reported to be $1500 per KW and $1300 per KW at sites in South-East and
North-East China. If completed on budget these facilities will be formidable
competitors to the Western Nuclear Power Industry. If the AP1000 lives up to
its promises of $1000 per KW construction cost and 3 year construction time,
it will provide cheaper electricity than any other Fossil Fuel based
generating facility, including Australian Coal power, even with no
Here it is: Cost of 2 x
Chinese CPR-1000 nuclear reactors cited as US$3.8 billion - that's $1,760/KW
if they come in on budget: http://tr.im/uPNR . Contrast that with the
$8-10,000 often cited for building these in the USA. S
However, until there is
competitive bidding on these reactors, it is admitted hard to assess the
In California, PG&E
says that nuclear is the second cheapest power (the lowest cost is hydro but
hydro isn't scalable).
Diablo Canyon cost $5.52B according to the New York Times for 2.2GW of
power. They need $1B every 20 years. The plant will probably last 60 years.
So over 60 years, that's $7.5B invested to generate 2.2GW*24*365*60 GW of
power which is less than 1 cent per kWh (.89 cents actually). But some of
that power is wasted because it can't be used. And the capacity factor of
one reactor is >101% and the other is 88.2%. So that increases the cost per
kWh. And Diablo was very expensive due to the protestors and a costly
engineering (mirror image) mistake. Even with all that, you can see the
power is VERY VERY cheap.
Today, modular reactors
are much less expensive than Diablo Canyon. Using multiple small reactors at
a site allows you to shut down a reactor if needed and still deliver plenty
of power. They are also cheaper to produce (since they are produced in a
factory like cars) and more reliable since these are mass manufactured
rather than 1 off designs.
power is undergoing a renaissance. There are 45 so-called generation III
reactors under construction, including 12 in China, and another 388 are
planned or proposed.
One of the biggest
problems with the American reactor program and why it stalled in the '70s
and '80s, Three Mile Island notwithstanding, was that the costs were
escalating. When it cost $300 million to build a reactor in 1972 and it cost
$6 billion in the early '80s, something has gone terribly wrong. Part of
that was the legal suits that extended the reactor certification time over
to a period of decades. So part of it was the anti-nuclear movement that did
that, but also a part of it was each design was different. So everything was
built anew, new features were tried out, every design needed a special
certificate to actually be built and then another certificate to be run. So
the whole system ultimately was set up to fail and things became more and
If you can have a
system where you have a standardized design with components that are built
to a particular specification, if you can have components that are built in
a factory and shipped to site rather than everything needed to be
constructed on site, if you have modules where they're smaller such as they
can be put on a rail car or on a large truck and taken to site and the many
of these units put together to constitute a plant, then you can start to see
that there's huge benefits in terms of efficiency, the fact that you don't
need a standardized certificate for each and every new reactor, that there
are economic benefits in building multiple units at a given factory. The
places where this is happening is China and India right now. So although
these have often been blamed as some of the worst carbon polluters,
ultimately and ironically they could be the nations that lead us out of the
carbon economy and into a low carbon economy based on nuclear power.
AP-1000's made in China are expected to cost only around $1,000 per kW (see
AP-1000 Reactor being built in China - current summary and possible problems)..
From New Life for
by ALVIN M. WEINBERG
Making a significant contribution to CO2 control would require a roughly
10-fold increase in the world's nuclear capacity. If nuclear reactors
receive normal maintenance, they will "never" wear out, and this will
profoundly affect the economic performance of the reactors. Time annihilates
capital costs. The economic Achilles' heel of nuclear energy has been its
high capital cost. In this respect, nuclear energy resembles renewable
energy sources such as wind turbines, hydroelectric facilities, and
photovoltaic cells, which have high capital costs but low operating
expenses. If a reactor lasts beyond its amortization time, the burden of
debt falls drastically. Indeed, according to one estimate, fully amortized
nuclear reactors with total electricity production costs (operation and
maintenance, fuel, and capital costs) below 2 cents per kilowatt hour are
Electricity that inexpensive would make it
economically feasible to power operations such as seawater desalinization,
fulfilling a dream that was common in the early days of nuclear power.
What's been reported in
Green Car Congress is misleading. Progress Energy Florida plans to build two
nuclear units at their Levy County site. In the process of getting approval
of the Florida Public Utility Commission, they submitted estimated project
cost, which was very, very conservative -- I don't recall the numbers but
they assumed high cost of money, high inflation rate, etc. And probably they
doubled the capital costs that vendors were talking about. They wanted set
the upper bounds so that they don't have come back to the PUC for revised
cost estimates once the project was approved. As long as they carry out the
project within the approved budget, they don't have to revisit the issue.
The Green Car Congress assumed, based on the Florida numbers, $9448/kW which
leads to 20 cents/kwhr at 14.57% fixed charge rate and O&M cost (including 2
cents/kwhr fuel cycle cost) of 8 cents/kwhr. The capital cost is probably a
factor of 4 or so high and also the same for O&M. Today's total generating
cost is less than 2 cents/kwhr and the fuel cycle cost is 0.55 cents/kwhr.
Progrss Energy Florida has
not signed a construction contract yet, so we don't know what the project
cost will be. In fact, all 16 utilities who filed NRC license applications
for 26 reactors have not signed contracts yet. Maybe the only exception
might be NRG who is building ABWR in Texas. The capital costs for the next
series of LWRs remain illusive. The estimate of $1000/kW for AP-1000 is
probably too optimistic (with initial cost of $3500/kW in the U.S. About 60%
of the reactors built in the last two decades or so probably is in the
Southeast Asia. Typical costs there have been $2000-2500/kWe with
construction period of less than four years. It behooves me why we cannot do
the same in this country. Different labor rates or commodities costs do not
explain it. I am concerned with the experience of the new Olkiluoto plant in
Finland based on AREVA's 1600 MWe EPR. The project was to be completed this
year, but the original fixed price cost has escalated by 50% with 3.5 years
delay. I hope this is not a sign that will be repeated here again.
Steve, I wouldn't take
that Florida price at face value. After all, there was the $26B figure
coming out of Ontario recently (AECL and AREVA both came up with similar
bids), and it took a bit of digging for me to find out what was behind that
'blowout'. Turns out the LCOE was a mere 5c/kWh: http://wp.me/piCIJ-qx
I disagree with Ralph from NRDC in his confidence that regulatory ratcheting
is a thing of the past (RR was, in my reading of history, the primary thing
that killed NP construction in the US) -- there is nothing enshrined in law
to guarantee that, which is one thing that makes the utilities nervous, I
Yoon et al: Similar
experience here in Ontario. The RFP asked the vendor to assume 100% of the
risk with massive contingencies, full risk coverage for the whole life of
the plant, etc., etc. I was surprised that the AECL and AREVA bids came in
as low as they did.
Ontario government behaved as if they were making every attempt to create an
unbearable contract price. The anti-nukes were (and are) very happy.
Bottom line: Keep a
close watch on the AP-1000 and ESBWR. In less than 4 years the first AP1000s
should be coming on line in China. Additionally, the Chinese themselves have
learned extensively from both S. Korea and Japan that have bought in
reactors ahead of schedule and under or at budget. So it’s not entirely new
territory we’re talking about.
Nuclear cost vs. solar
To compare with solar,
for $50K, you can buy a solar rooftop system that has 8MWh annual output. So
if you assume the annual output is actually completely steady 24x7, then
that is producing an average of 913watts. So you spent $54,000 for a
continuous KW of energy production capacity. So rooftop solar is 36 times
more expensive than nuclear per watt installed (assuming nuclear at $1,500
per kW which is the GE IFR estimate which is below the $2,000 actual cost
for the first two ABWRs in japan).
If the solar system
works the same for 25 years, the cost per kwh of the power is
$50,000/200,000= .25 per kwh. That's assuming no cost of capital for the
$50K investment! So if you are an energy hog and you are getting hit paying
44 cents for a lot of your power, then solar panels actually can make sense.
But in general, there are much more efficient ways to get the power than
rooftop solar (see
There was a study of
real costs PV systems done in the UK that found results very similar to
my calculation. They looked at a number of systems and the cheapest was
slightly more than 20 pence per kWh assuming a 25 lifetime. That's 33
cents/kWh which is not far from my number. They also looked at the payback
time compared to grid power and found that the most efficient installation
would have to run for at least 45 years to make it a better deal than grid
power. And the worst installation would have to run for 296 years before it
would be a better deal than grid power. It short, all of the systems are a
dumb investment; you never get your money back.
So it's actually 86 times cheaper to install nuclear capacity (not quite as
much since you have to pay people to run your nuclear plant). Also, the
nuclear capacity works 24x7. To utilize that 913W you would have to have a
large, expensive and relatively short-lived (perhaps 10 years) battery to
store energy when produced in excess, and to deliver power on demand when
the sun isn't shining. So the system cost will be substantially higher than
the figure I calculated. Or, you can use the grid for that storage/backup
purpose -- but if everyone did that, well, it just wouldn't work, for
obvious reasons, so grid backup cannot be part of a large-scale PV energy
By looking at the limit
position, the paper highlights the very high costs imposed by mandating and
subsidising solar power. The minimum power output, not the peak or average,
is the main factor governing solar power’s economic viability. The
capital cost would be 25 times more than nuclear power. The least-cost solar
option would require 400 times more land area and emit 20 times more CO2
than nuclear power.
Conclusions: PV solar power is uneconomic. Government
mandates and subsidies hide the true cost of renewable energy but these
additional costs must be carried by others
If you live next door
to a nuclear reactor, there are a number of radiological studies done on a
hypothetical person called Fencepost Man who's supposed to have his house on
the fencepost on the boundary of a nuclear power site. He would get
approximately one millirem of radiation more than the general public, and
that might sound like a lot but in fact the general public gets over 300
millirems of radiation each year just from natural sources. So essentially
there's no difference between living next door to a nuclear power plant and
living in most other places in the world. And indeed, if you live on top of
a granite intrusion you'd get about twice that. So people tend to be a bit
irrational about radiation and we need to have a bit of an education
campaign about that too.
Nuclear is one of the lowest risk forms of energy on a kWh basis
In the entire 50 year history of commercial nuclear in the United States, it
is estimated that one person might have died. That was due to radiation
release in the Three Mile Island accident (more below).
Modern reactors are
designed on the principle of being inherently safe, and what that means is
they have a number of design principles that are based on the laws of
physics. So in order for them to melt down or explode there would have to be
an extraordinary set of circumstances where you would have multiple systems
failing, and in the new reactors that are being proposed, even more than
that, you would have to have the laws of physics being violated, which of
course is not particularly likely.
Design safety of modern
day reactors are orders of magnitude better than original nuclear plants.
A Reactor Safety Study
(RSS) was conducted in 1975 by Norman Rasmussen of MIT under NRC
sponsorship. This probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) study was also known
as the Rasmussen report and WASH-1400. The RSS estimated that at the time
(mid 70s) a reactor meltdown may be expected about once every 20,000 years
of reactor operation; that is, if there were 100 reactors, there would be a
meltdown once in 200 years. Three Mile Island (TMI) was NOT a full meltdown
-- only partial, and it was still a watershed regarding changing safety
systems and training (and the fateful regulatory ratcheting, but that's
another story). There have been 400 water-moderated commercial reactors
running for 30 years. That's 12,000 reactor years, with one partial meltdown
(so far) -- entirely consistent with the prediction of an average of one
meltdown every 20,000 years. And nobody was hurt. (Chernobyl doesn't count
-- not water-moderated & not analyzed.)
The authors of the two
principal reports on the Three Mile Island accident1, 2 agree
that even if there had been a complete meltdown in that reactor, there very
probably would have been essentially no harm to human health and no
environmental damage. I know of no technical reports that have claimed
otherwise. Moreover, all scientific studies agree that in the great majority
of meltdown accidents there would be no detectable effects on human health,
immediately or in later years. According to the government estimate, a
meltdown would have to occur every week or so somewhere in the United States
before nuclear power would be as dangerous as coal burning.
A thorough risk
assessment was done on the GE-Hitachi ESBWR and found that a Three Mile
Island style meltdown accident could occur once every 29 million reactor
years. As you can see, a PRA puts the ESBWR about 3 orders of magnitude
safer than the Gen II designs of the 1960s (and these have all been improved
with later modifications).
Today's LWRs (i.e.,
those currently being built) incorporate safety features that are far beyond
our current reactors (most of which were built 30 years ago) by orders of
magnitude. Newer fourth generation reactors are even better since they rely
on passive safety guaranteed by the laws of physics. They tested this to
prove it would work: they disabled all the safety systems on the EBR-II
reactor and all the alarms went off, but the reactor just shut down on its
own with no release of radiation.
Chernobyl was a special
type of reactor built by the Russians to breed plutonium for bombs, so it
had a graphite core and it meant that if you had problems in the reactor
where the water flow would stop, it would actually run out of control. No
American reactor can actually do that. And Chernobyl also lacked a
containment building, which was another problem because when it started a
graphite fire all of the radioactive material was dispersed into the air,
another disaster. That also can't happen in an American reactor. The
Chernobyl nuclear reactor design would never have been approved in the US
for a civilian power plant. Chernobyl was a RBMK type power plant. There are
only a handful of these in the US and all of them are
used for military purposes. There are no civilian RBMK power plants in the
US generating commercial electricity. RBMK are considered unsafe for
civilian use by the US Government. Only socialists use technology like that
in populated areas. Current [obsolete]
technology US Commercial Nuclear Power Plants are mostly Pressurized Water
Reactors. TMI was one of these. Boiling Water Reactors comprise the rest.
These water reactors cannot have the kind of accident
Chernobyl had. It is not physically possible.
Secondly, the operators
allowed the scientists to experiment on the reactor and disable many of the
safety systems. That's why it's important for the US to take a lead in
having other countries adopt our designs rather than build their own. If we
bury our head in the sand and pretend nuclear will go away, we are making a
huge mistake. We should be taking a leadership role in reactor design and
operator training, worldwide.
As far as Three Mile
Island, the reactor was damaged but nobody was killed or injured from the
radiation. Three Mile Island was a lesson where there was poor training of
staff and a failed system for notifying the staff of actually what was
happening. And so they made mistakes such as opening valves when they should
have been shutting them and letting water in when they shouldn't have. But
Three Mile Island didn't hurt anyone. There were no fatalities, there was no
radioactivity of any note released into the environment. So even in that
worst-case scenario for an American reactor there were essentially no
problems. But of course the reactor was destroyed, it cost millions of
dollars, and it set back the American nuclear program by decades really
because of the effect on public opinion. That's gradually changed. The
accident resulted in improved operator training and the creation of more
safety systems. According to the Report of the President's Commission on The
Accident At Three Mile Island (the
Kemeny Commission Report): "Just how serious was the accident? Based on
our investigation of the health effects of the accident, we conclude that in
spite of serious damage to the plant, most of the radiation was contained
and the actual release will have a negligible effect on the physical health
of individuals. The major health effect of the accident was found to be
mental stress.... It is entirely possible that not a single extra cancer
death will result. And for all our estimates, it is practically certain that
the additional number of cancer deaths will be less than 10."
Based on residential
proximity and travel into and out of a 5-mile area during the 10 days after
the accident, scientists estimated maximum and likely whole-body gamma
exposures for each individual. The estimated average likely and maximum
gamma doses were 0.09 mSv or 9 mrem and 0.25 mSv or 25 mrem, respectively.
The range of likely gamma exposure was estimated to be 1-170 mrem. The
average annual effective dose from natural background radiation in the
United StatesUnited States
is estimated to be approximately 3 mSv (300 mrem) [Committee on the
Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR
BEIR Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiations V) 1990]. These
exposures were therefore considered minimal.
In conclusion, the
mortality surveillance of this cohort, with a total of almost 20 years of
follow-up, provides no consistent evidence that radioactivity released
during the TMI accident (estimated maximum and likely gamma exposure) has
had a significant impact on the mortality experience of this cohort through
A court-ordered study
finds no "convincing evidence" of inceased cancer risk among people exposed
to radiation from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant.
The findings are
"consistent with all the medical and scientific evidence we have so far,"
says physicist Jacob I. Fabrikant of the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California,
Berkeley is a public research university located in Berkeley, California,
United States. Commonly referred to as UC Berkeley, Berkeley and Cal , who
served on the staff of the 1979 presidential commission that investigated
the accident. That panel concluded that the amount of radiation released
during the mishap was a fraction of the region's normal annual background
radiation from cosmic and geologic sources, and it predicted a maximum of
one excess cancer death from the accident.
To compare the
historical safety record of civilian nuclear energy with the historical
record of other forms of electrical generation, Ball, Roberts, and Simpson,
IAEA, and the Paul Scherrer Institut found in separate studies that
during the period from
1992, there were just 39 on-the-job deaths of nuclear power plant
workers, while during the same time period, there were 6,400 on-the-job
coal power plant workers, 1,200 on-the-job deaths of
natural gas power plant workers and members of the general public caused
natural gas power plants, and 4,000 deaths of members of the general
public caused by
hydroelectric power plants.
coal power plants are estimated to kill 24,000 Americans per year, due
to lung disease
as well as causing 40,000 heart attacks per year
in the United States. According to esteemed journal
Scientific American, the average
coal power plant emits more than 100 times as much radiation per year
than a comparatively sized nuclear power plant does, in the form of
toxic coal waste known as
Current Gen III LWRs
ARE inherently safe – the AP1000, for instance, uses a range of systems
based on the laws of physics (in addition to engineered interventions), such
as gravity-induced convention in the containment dome and emergency cooling
takes that are forced by pressurised nitrogen and reliant on heat-based
recirculation – that’s why it’s called the “Advanced Passive 1000”. It’s
just the IFR does it more efficiently thanks to the properties of liquid
metal coolants and metal fuels.
here's a reference from
wikipedia page on nuclear_power: Overall, nuclear power produces far less waste
material than fossil-fuel based power plants. Coal-burning plants are
particularly noted for producing large amounts of toxic and mildly
radioactive ash due to concentrating naturally occurring metals and
radioactive material from the coal. Contrary to popular belief, coal power
actually results in more radioactive waste being released into the
environment than nuclear power. The population effective dose equivalent
from radiation from coal plants is 100 times as much as nuclear plants.
The waste of LWR is
actually incredibly safe compared to other energy technologies – about
5000 times safer than coal, for instance, based on a standard Loss of
Life Expectancy (LLE) risk assessment (NOT counting climate-related damage).
This is a great read:
But of course if you
only have to deal with fission products and can recycle and use all the TRUs
(which is true when using an IFR), the story is even better!
The nuclear industry in
the United States has maintained one of the best industrial safety records
in the world with respect to all kinds of accidents. For 2008, the industry
hit a new low of 0.13 industrial accidents per 200,000 worker-hours.
This is improved over 0.24 in 2005, which was still a factor of 14.6 less
than the 3.5 number for all manufacturing industries.
Private industry has an accident rate of 1.3 per 200,000 worker hours.
Some anti-nuke people
say nobody will insure nuclear plants. Here's the response from Rod Adams:
All nuclear plants in the US carry a required $300 million in private
insurance and sign up to be part of a group insurance policy where all of
the members are the owners of all of the other reactors in the country. If
there is a claim against a nuclear facility that exceeds their private
insurance, the members of the group kick in as much as $98 million each for
a total pool of $10 Billion.
The only claims ever paid out in relationship to this
system have been well below the private insurance limit. The pool has never
kicked in and no taxpayer funds have ever been expended.
Compare that to the airline industry and the payouts
that the government had to make back in 2001.
On the carbon front, there is some CO2 emissions during the construction and
as a result of fuel enrichment. The CO2 outputs of a nuclear plant are very,
VERY low on a per kWh basis compared with other sources. It actually beats
out wind and solar! - it is a little worse than hydro, since hydro has no
fuel CO2 emissions over its lifecyle.
http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/09/07/is-our-future-nuclear/ where the
anti nuclear guy says fourth generation breeder reactors produce plutonium.
Heck, every nuclear reactor produces plutonium. But the IFRs consume the
plutonium and the IFR's don't require enrichment. Those are 2 key points. I
particular enjoyed this comment:
It is like saying car
engine factories produce engine blocks and this maximizes the risk of guns.
To work in that
context, there would have to be a single word for any round channel in which
expanding combustion gases propel a slider. He’s counting on the single word
“plutonium” to mean two different things, without his audience knowing that
it means two different things (a fallacy of equivocation).
I doubt Noonan expects
any country or group to get nuclear weapons because it has power reactors.
None ever has. Power reactors, if fed 238-U, make power reactor plutonium.
Much cooler, smaller, simpler, cheaper reactors make weapon-grade plutonium,
as different from the other kind as is a gun barrel from an Ecotec engine
usability of the engine block as a multibarrel cannon represents a very long
way around to a very inferior result, weapon-wise. Using power reactor
plutonium for weapons is similarly believed to be a long way around to an
inferior result, and so has apparently never been tried.
(When the American gas
industry’s Hazel O’Leary was in public office, her government published a
claim to this effect, but acknowledged that the yield of the bomb that was
produced may have been zero, and did not acknowledge that the supposedly
power-reactor-derived plutonium was quite unlike any being made today. More
at Jeremy Whitlock’s “Canadian Nuclear FAQ”.)
The terrorist attack scenario argument
The WWF position paper
on nuclear energy which is included in
Climate Solutions - WWF's Vision for 2050 references a UCS study
Impacts of a Terrorist Attack at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant which
says a properly done terrorist attack could result in 44,000 short term
deaths and eventually kill 518,000 people from cancer. The economic damages
within 100 miles would exceed $1.1 trillion for the 95th percentile case,
and could be as great as $2.1 trillion for the worst case evaluated, based
on Environmental Protection Agency guidance for population relocation and
cleanup. Millions of people would require permanent relocation.
So WWF could have
written a paper saying we shouldn't have buildings and airplanes because
under a worst case scenario, they can combine to cause $2 trillion in damage
and thousands of deaths.
And Greenpeace would
argue that we shouldn't have any chemical plants at all since
15,000 are a ripe target for sabatoge. They argue that a study by the
Army surgeon general, conducted soon after 9/11, found that up to 2.4
million people could be killed or wounded by a terrorist attack on a single
chemical plant. So chemical plants are far more dangerous than our worse
case nuclear attack. Should we now shut down all chemical plants?
The problem with the
WWF scenario is that they never tell you what the likelihood of such an
event happening really is.
Studies have been done
to show that containment buildings would withstand the impact of a fully
fueled jet aircraft. This scenario involves essentially a hollow tube of
aluminium and steel, holding a few hundred thousand litres of gasoline,
colliding with a heavily reinformed concrete dome designed to contain
extreme internal steam pressure. Some relevant comments re: that particular
Indian Point scenario are here:
The $2 trillion figure, even if you accept their assumptions (which are
highly disputable), is the 99.9th percentile. That is, this cost would be
incurred once in every 1,000 plane hits to a reactor like nuclear point. Of
course if you bury an IFR, the risk is virtually zero. This is an example of
disingenous people taking advantage of the general populace's gross
ignorance on the matter of risk and probability.
"It is very difficult
to predict the future of scientific developments, and few would even dare to
make predictions extending beyond the next 50 years. However, based on
everything we know now, one can make a strong case for the thesis that
nuclear fission reactors will be providing a large fraction of our energy
needs for the next million years. If that should come to pass, a history of
energy production written at that remote date may well record that the worst
reactor accident of all time occurred at Chernobyl, USSR, in April of 1986."
...and think this section is useful:
http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter6.html Truly, the
possibilities are limited only by ones imagination, and as the previous WWF
treatment of nuclear emissions showed, the imaginations of those folks runs
way, way into fantasy land.
The Worst Possible Accident
One subject we have
not discussed here is the "worst possible nuclear accident," because there
is no such thing. In any field of endeavor, it is easy to concoct a possible
accident scenario that is worse than anything that has been previously
proposed, although it will be of lower probability. One can imagine a
gasoline spill causing a fire that would wipe out a whole city, killing most
of its inhabitants. It might require a lot of improbable circumstances
combining together, like water lines being frozen to prevent effective fire
fighting, a traffic jam aggravated by street construction or traffic
accidents limiting access to fire fighters, some substandard gas lines which
the heat from the fire caused to leak, a high wind frequently shifting to
spread the fire in all directions, a strong atmospheric temperature
inversion after the whole city has become engulfed in flame to keep the
smoke close to the ground, a lot of bridges and tunnels closed for various
reasons, eliminating escape routes, some errors in advising the public, and
so forth. Each of these situations is improbable, so a combination of many
of them occurring in sequence is highly improbable, but it is certainly not
If anyone thinks
that is the worst possible consequence of a gasoline spill, consider the
possibility of the fire being spread by glowing embers to other cities which
were left without protection because their firefighters were off assisting
the first city; or of a disease epidemic spawned by unsanitary conditions
left by the conflagration spreading over the country; or of communications
foul-ups and misunderstandings caused by the fire leading to an exchange of
nuclear weapon strikes. There is virtually no limit to the damage that is
possible from a gasoline spill. But as the damage envisioned increases, the
number of improbable circumstances required increases, so the probability
for the eventuality becomes smaller and smaller. There is no such thing as
the "worst possible accident," and any consideration of what terrible
accidents are possible without simultaneously considering their low
probability is a ridiculous exercise that can lead to completely deceptive
The same reasoning
applies to nuclear reactor accidents. Situations causing any number of
deaths are possible, but the greater the consequences, the lower is the
probability. The worst accident the RSS considered would cause about 50,000
deaths, with a probability of one occurrence in a billion years of reactor
operation. A person's risk of being a victim of such an accident is 20,000
times less than the risk of being killed by lightning, and 1,000 times less
than the risk of death from an airplane crashing into his or her house.7
once-in-a-billion-year accident is practically the only nuclear reactor
accident ever discussed in the media. When it is discussed, its probability
is hardly ever mentioned, and many people, including Helen Caldicott, who
wrote a book on the subject, imply that it's the consequence of an average
meltdown rather than of 1 out of 100,000 meltdowns. I have frequently been
told that the probability doesn't matter — the very fact that such an
accident is possible makes nuclear power unacceptable. According to that way
of thinking, we have shown that the use of gasoline is not acceptable, and
almost any human activity can similarly be shown to be unacceptable. If
probability didn't matter, we would all die tomorrow from any one of
thousands of dangers we live with constantly.
reprocessing is dangerous even if you use pyroprocessing" argument
According to a report
from a 1999 workshop
at the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory (LLNL), the transuranic elements or
other actinides in spent fuel could be used to build
Examination of various cycles and the opinions
of weapons-design experts lead to the conclusion
that there is no ‘proliferation-proof’ nuclear power
cycle. Explosive Fissionable Material (EFM)
includes most of the actinides and their oxides.168
Dr. Bruce Goodwin of LLNL also maintained
at the workshop that “as nuclear weapons design
and engineering expertise combined with sufficient
technical capability become more common
in the world, it becomes possible to make nuclear
weapons out of an increasing number of technically
challenging explosive fissionable materials.”169
In other words, it is unwarranted to assume that
terrorists could not acquire the ability to build
nuclear weapons with the mixture of plutonium
and other actinides produced by UREX+.
A number of articles
about making bombs from reprocessed material are available at
scroll down to articles published in Physics & Society. The one titled
Purex and Pyro refers to a LLL briefing that makes it clear that
pyroprocessed fuel (Note that UCS concentrates on UREX+) is
essentially useless for bombs.
Here are a few
In his 1993 paper, J.
Carson Mark wrote: “The difficulties of
developing an effective design of the most straightforward type are
not appreciably greater with reactor-grade plutonium than those
that have to be met for the use of weapons-grade plutonium.”
That was based on his calculations, and on his apparent opinion
that the heat problem is trivial. However, to our knowledge no
weapons program, anywhere, ever, has made another attempt to
produce an explosion with reactor-grade plutonium. It is extremely
likely that the 1962 test demonstrated that reactor grade plutonium
is lousy material for making bombs, and that no nation, given the
data from that test, would want to use the stuff.
While the difference in
weapons potential is one of degree rather
than principle, that difference is huge. The point is not that it can’t
be done, but rather that a would-be proliferator has far easier routes
to nuclear weapons.
By the way, it has
sometimes been asserted that the chemically
impure plutonium produced by the pyrometallurgical process could
be used to make a bomb without further separation. This has been
convincingly refuted in an unpublished investigation by Livermore
National Laboratory (1994),which concluded that the transuranic
impurities render the material far too hot (thermally and
radioactively), and with far too many spontaneous neutrons, to
make it at all feasible.
Anyway, it is very much
easier to make a bomb with highly
enriched uranium than with reactor grade plutonium. That route
would surely be taken by any organization that did not have access
to weapons-grade plutonium.
But making a bomb from
highly enriched uranium is very very hard. And you'd still have to purify it
to have any chance of success, and then make a reliable weapon out of it.
And if you know how to do all that, then getting the material is going to be
the least of your problems.
There are two scenarios
here: either you think the terrorists are dumb or they are really smart. If
they are dumb, they'll fail. If they are really smart, they'll know that the
only way to realistically have any chance of making a bomb is to partner
with a country like North Korea which already has the bombs. The scenario
where they steal material, purify it, and build a bomb from scratch is
unrealistic. Even highly organized countries with huge financial and
scientific resources have a tough time making nuclear weapons. The easiest
route for any terrorist is to partner with a rogue state who hates the
United States and has nuclear weapons. The hardest route is to use the
reactor waste product or pyroprocessed output. If you can do it with that,
then eliminating pyroprocessing really isn't going to be much of a hurdle.
In any case, the IFR
certainly isn't going to make a terrorist's task any easier than it is now.
The "nuclear gets huge subsidies" argument
I’d done a similar
number crunch in response to an argument by a commenter
on my website about nuclear power being heavily subsidised. Here is my
reply, and a good follow-on comment by another guy who works for a CA
Many people are concerned that nuclear has received the lion’s share of
government funds. In the US (for which I have figures), Federal DOE energy
subsidies for solar+wind amounted to $0.026/kWh of electricity generated.
Nuclear power received $0.00038/kWh of electricity generated. That is,
‘technosolar’ got 68 times more funds per unit generation than nuclear. Of
course this is only direct subsidy — it does not include tax credits,
subsidies by power companies that must maintain spinning reserve for times
when wind is weak, or subsidies by customers who regularly pay a few cents
per kWh for Green Power. Wind in the US has also received a production
credit (subtracted from taxes, not income) of 1.8 c/kWh.
In the UK, between
1990-2005, total government allocations to renewables R&D
(including research council projects but leaving out fuel cells & embedded
generation) was about £180m while nuclear fission & fusion got about £370m-
more than double.
My numbers quoted for
the US were subsidies for different generation sources
per kWh. Using the 2004 UK electricity figures, non-hydro renewables
produced 13.6 TWh of electricity and nuclear produced 73.7 TWh. Taking these
as average figures over the 1990-2005 period of 16 years, that amounts to
£0.00083/kWh for renewables and £0.000314/kWh for nuclear — so on that
basis, renewables gets 2.6 times more funds than nuclear. This is actually a
little unfair on nuclear, as over the period it has produced a lot more
energy, on average, than non-hydro renewables, which were close to nothing
in 1990 (whereas nuclear was 58 TWh).
Further, the <http://aua.org.au/Content/Lenzenreport.aspx>
new ISA analysis
by Manfred Lenzen backs up the above — it puts subsidies for nuclear power
as lower than any other energy technology, based on the 2007-2009
I guess that would be true if you only counted direct subsidies however you
must acknowledge the indirect subsidies over the 60 or so years that nuclear
power has been around as well as the technology transfer from military
It would be very
difficult to exactly pin down the total amount of money
spent on nuclear however if you prefer the direct DOE figure then go ahead
and quote this one.
Setting aside for a
second the ‘indirect subsidies’ nuclear has received,
the main point is that wind and solar really wouldn’t even run, at all,
without these huge subsidies per kWhr they get. Period. They wouldn’t pay
for the maintenance and staffing on existing plant and material. This isn’t
true due to the massive revenue flow nuclear gets. Nuclear would keep on
going, *everywhere*, basically.
subsidies. Yes, these are “historical” subsidies, 94%
(approx) received *prior* to 1974. In fact, it’s very hard to parse out.
Some were in fact *direct* and not “indirect”. But most it was as a result
of the Navy and Army nuclear program which the civilian side was a spin off.
The first civilian plant at Shippingport was a former Navy nuclear reactor
where they ran a variety fuels — including thorium — for R&D (all the while
pumping out MWs).
But how long does one
‘hold this ‘against’ nuclear? Really. The subsidy was
paid. Now, ever KW of power produced slowly reduces the % of that subsidy to
the overall ‘cost’ of a nuclear KW, doesn’t it? Should we NOT use nuclear
because it had massive subsidies, most of which was for military nuclear
Today, nuclear in my
opinion is important enough TO subsidize. I’m all for
it. It’s a proven carbon mitigator. The subsidies have been more than worth
it. The US gov’t should set aside about 10 billion USD *specifically* to
deploy a variety of Generation IV reactors and get it over with.
From George Stanford:
Our gov't is subsidizing "renewables" to the tune of $30 Billion
(thanks to Jan van Erp for flagging the story). See <
Now let's do a little figgerin'. "This
administration has set a goal of doubling renewable electricity generation
over the next three years," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement."
That can't include hydro, so the "renewable" fraction would go up to 4.8%
(see figure below), adding to the grid 2.4% of its present capacity of
1,000,000 MWe, or 24,000 MWe. But that's nameplate capacity, and actual
capacity is perhaps 30% of that, so the additional real capacity is more
like 7,200 MWe.
Thus the subsidy per kWe of real added capacity would be $30B /
(7,200,000 kWe) = $4k / kWe, or $4B / GWe. That, dear friends, is roughly
the total cost of building a new nuclear plant, according to some estimates
(not the lowest).
It would be legitimate to observe that the $30B includes something for
transmission lines. It also would be legitimate to point out that most of
that new transmission capacity would not be needed if the same new power
came from nuclear plants near regions of high population density, instead of
from the remote areas where the wind blows and the sun shines.
Important: This subsidy is not seed money to bring a new technology up
to economic competitiveness, which would be a proper use of public funds.
It's largely for construction, with known technology -- and it will only
partially cover the construction costs, at that.
Let's not hear any more comments about excessive subsidies for nuclear
The Von Hippel
From Robert Hargraves
(posted to LA Times site):
Hippel's article is partly right but incomplete. Yes, spent fuel can be
safely stored in dry casks for decades; there is no reason to panic. Yes,
France's pioneering reprocessing is not good enough. It separates the
uranium and plutonium, leaving low volume radioactive waste to store, but
leaves France with excess uranium and plutonium. He is wrong about the US
"we don't reprocess, you don't need to either" success. Banning US
reprocessing didn't stop India, China, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa, and
North Korea from making nuclear weapons, and it has not impeded Iran.
France, UK, India, Japan, and Russia reprocess spent fuel. Spent nuclear
fuel still contains 97% of its original potential energy. Technologies such
as the integral fast reactor allow spent fuel to be "deep burned" to
generate electric power. The integral fast reactor can also consume the much
greater, fallow stocks of depleted uranium created by uranium enrichment
plants that manufacture today's US nuclear reactor fuel. Even more energy
can be harvested from more plentiful thorium using the liquid fluoride
thorium reactor. There is enough carbon-free nuclear power for millennia.
Built for under $2000
per kw in china. Can run on broad range of fuel, but doesn't fully transmute
CANDU has a good
neutron economy because heavy water has lower parasitic neutron capture than
light water. That's why they can operate with natural uranium. Which also
means CANDU can be fueled with a lot of alternate fuels -- reconstituted LWR
spent fuel (so-called DUPIC cycle), reprocessed uranium from LWR spent fuel
(U-235 content is still higher than natural uranium), and even plutonium or
TRU containing fuel.
However, CANDU as well
as any other thermal spectrum reactors cannot transmute minor actinides
effectively. They convert actinides to even higher actinides than consuming
them. Some are consumed but the net effect in long term radiological
toxicity is insignificant.
Actinides can be
consumed effectively only in fast reactors.
A request by GE for a
810 determination that the IFR is not sensitive nuclear technology seems to
me to be the next step so discussions can be held with Russia, China, India,
Japan, and South Korea.
What are the easy steps
that Dr. Chu can authorize?
1) Start the NRC
licensing process of PRISM (using the Fuel Cycle R&D funds). This make
progress transparent to all stakeholders.
2) Start the DOE
Project Management requirements to get Congressional funding. (DOE Order
3) With 1 started....
confidence come back to the system. With 2 done you use the 1992 Energy
Policy Act to start PRISM. This puts the government action into doing
appropriations, which seems to be a bit easier than authorization language.
about the IFR
1. Even with LWR, the
EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) is so high that you could
profitably ‘mine’ seawater for U at a decent energy return. So with
conventional (~10 MtU) + phosphates (~30 MtU) we have at least 40 MtU of
mineable U [probably substantially more] and another 4600 MtU in seawater.
Let’s imagine we ran 10,000 GWe of LWR to supply all worldwide energy needs
(including liquid fuel replacement). That’s a 27 fold increase compared to
the output of LWR today. Current 370 GWe needs 65,000 tU/yr (if we weren’t
using weapons Pu also). So 10,000 GWe of LWR would need 1.75 MtU. We have
over 2,500 years of fuel – before we go to Th. Sea water extraction has been
estimated at <$1,000/kg, which is expensive, but still about 100 times
cheaper than coal, per joule. Of course it would be ludicrous to continue to
use LWR beyond the next 50 years or so, but the point is that U is not going
to run out even with a major expansion of LWR over the next few decades, as
IFRs ramp up.
Bottom line: IFRs win
hands down in the sustainability, safety and waste management stakes, and
pyroprocessing trounces PUREX in regards to proliferation resistance. But
LWRs are still a superb clean energy generation technology and a massive
rollout of these, side by side with fast reactors, is (now, after
understanding the issues) fine by me. We need all the extra Pu for initial
IFR loadings that we can get. There is no need to dismiss LWR to win the IFR
argument, in my humble opinion.
Before Al Gore became
VP, he wrote a book Earth in the balance: "Ecology and the Human Spirit." On
page 328, he wrote: “The research and development of alternative approaches
should focus on discovering, first, how to build a passively safe design
(whose safety does not depend upon the constant attention of bleary-eyed
technicians) that eliminates many risks of current reactors, and second,
whether there is a scientifically and politically acceptable means of
disposing of – in fact, isolating, nuclear waste.” So that's exactly what
the IFR provides. So it meets his criteria, but he won't endorse it and will
not explain why he won't.
IFRs can be used to
replace the burners in a coal plant. You cannot do that with a normal LWR
Even if you don't
believe in global warming, you should definitely believe in the Atmospheric
Brown Cloud (ABC). It's coming our way. Nuclear and the IFR is the best way
to stop it.
A kilogram of uranium
contains about as much energy as two million kilograms of coal, and coal is
already a concentrated form of energy. So it's an incredibly concentrated
form of energy if you can harness it to its full advantage.
A short IFR pitch
IFR story is a story of
how the US government paid billions to our National Laboratories to engineer
a solution to the energy and climate crisis (before it became a crisis), the
solution worked, then President Clinton cancelled the project telling the
world in his State of the Union speech that this power was "unnecessary."
Nuclear provides 70% of
our clean energy in the US, even though we haven't built a new reactor in 30
Despite nuclear being
the elephant in the room, the world "nuclear" appears only TWICE in
Waxman-Markey. That is absurd since we have 10 times as much energy just in
the Depleted Uranium waste (which is just sitting there) than we have coal
in the ground.
We are currently not
doing anything to exploit our largest energy resource (which is also one of
our cleanest). This reactor is ready to be built, GE has a design ready to
built, and we are doing NOTHING.
"Nuclear power plants - now safer and cheaper (15 minute audio)
I highly recommend this. Barry Brook traces the history of nuclear power.
Today, about 440 nuclear power reactors are in use, known as Generation 2
reactors. These were designed between 1960 and 1980. Recently, Generation 3
reactors have adopted a standard design, allowing for faster approval. 45
are being built. 350 are planned. Chernobyl was a cheap design. There was no
containment building. Barry Brook describes Chernobyl as an accident waiting
to happen. Newer reactors are orders of magnitude safer than the older
models. Generation 4 is the new excitement. Efficiency is much higher
meaning uranium supplies will last so much longer. They can burn a range of
isotopes of uranium and other elements producing short-lived waste."
Retirement of Dr. Charles Till: this says it all in one page.
"Unfortunately, this program was canceled just 2 short years before the
proof of concept. I assure my colleagues someday our Nation will regret
and reverse this shortsighted decision."
on IFR technology
Tom Blees: Author of
Prescription for the Planet. He is a writer with absolutely no ties
to the nuclear industry or any other interest, financial or otherwise,
in the technologies presented in his plan for a global energy
revolution. He simply wants to solve the world's most intractable
Jasmina Vujic: She's the chairperson of the Dept. of Nuclear
Engineering at U.C. Berkeley, well-versed in the state of reactor design
and current areas of research into commercial nuclear power.
Yoon Chang: Yoon is considered to be the world's leading expert on
IFR technology. He worked with Charles Till for years on the project at
Argonne Labs, and took over as director when Charles retired.
Eric Loewen: Eric is the lead nuclear engineer for
General Electric's Generation IV reactor project. GE has already
proposed to the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) that they be
chosen to build the prototype plant, and they've developed the design
(based largely on the IFR research at Argonne) to take nuclear power to
this new level.
George Stanford: One of the IFR project nuclear
physicists. George has not only a deep understanding of the technology
but a knack for communicating that knowledge.
TAPAS, ONE OF THE YAMAS OF
THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI,
IS THE ACCEPTANCE OF SUFFERING IN ORDER TO EVOLVE, IN ORDER TO HELP ANOTHER
PERSON, IN ORDER TO HELP THE WORLD
BY SWAMI SATCHIDANANDA
SISTER CHANDRIKA: Blessed are
they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of
SWAMIJI: Sufferings. Because without suffering there's no purification. Whoever
is interested in purifying oneself should accept suffering. If it comes, accept
it. Or while trying to relieve others' sufferings, if you face suffering, accept
Thiruvalluvar - One of the Tamil Siddars - gives the example of gold. How is
golden ore purified? How do you get 24 carat gold? By constantly melting it and
relieving it from all unnecessary sediments, mixtures. This is done with a lot
of suffering. The gold undergoes a lot of sufferings. Every time it's heated, it
is raised one more carat.
TAMIL: Sudachudarum Ponnpole.
'The more you heat it, the more it shines.'
Because Alchemically, all the
dross, the unnecessary carbon and other things are burnt out. Like that, the
more you get heated by suffering the more you shine.
Because suffering is like
That's why it's called tapasya.
Tapas means to burn.
In other words you are gently,
or ur-gently, roasted.
Until you become ash. Then
that's called the holy ash. An ash is a holy substance because it's totally
burnt. That's why you have an ash, holy ash, in Christianity, in Hinduism.
Vibhuti, we call it. Vibhuti means burnt ash. It's called vibhuti because it has
all the great qualities of God. Everything that is beautiful, that is supreme,
is vibhuti. And this ash, which is called vibhuti, was dirt. Or to be more
frank, it was dung. But it's no longer dirt. The very same dirt, burnt out
completely, so it's now purified well, is now vibhuti, holy ash.
So suffering is helpful. If you face a little suffering, if you don't enjoy the
way the food is prepared, say, `Ah, here is another way of my purification. God
is trying to purify my tongue through this instrument we call the mother of the
house.' If we forget that, we might feel, 'What is this? Can't you make a little
better food? Can't you give me one more blanket? One a little more soft?'
Why are spiritual seekers
expected to live a simple life? To accept suffering. To see how they can bear
suffering. It's not a comfortable life. That comes afterward. When you have
suffered enough, when you get burnt totally, then you are not trampled.
As long as you are dung, you
get trampled. And thrown into the dung pit.
But when you get burnt, you
become holy ash and you go to the very forehead of the person. You are elevated
to a great height. You are respected. So the benefit comes afterward. But until
you are completely burnt you can't get that. You can't go to that height.
I don't know if you remember a parable that I used to give. The Hindu temples,
you know, are mostly built of granite rock. The sanctum sanctorum – the several
steps you go up, and then the statue, the image you worship. as God – is made
out of granite rock.
One day I was in front of the
altar. There was nobody except me and the Lord through the image.
All of a sudden I heard a
conversation. I became curious and I sharpened my ears to hear that. The
conversation was like this: 'Hi, brother! How come you are getting all the
decorations, all the offerings? Milk and honey are poured over you, you get
decorated with nice jewels, flowers.
Everyone comes and respects
you. And this priest, even while he decorates you, he is stepping on me. Nobody
seems even to look at me. Even if they don't decorate me and respect me, can't
they at least leave me alone instead of trampling on me? How come? Don't you
know we were brothers? We were together, almost twins.'
The other one said, 'Yes, my
brother, I remember that. I can never forget it. We were together. We were one
piece when we were brought from the neighboring rock quarry. But the sculptor
started working and he split that one rock into two because it was too big for a
And he picked you up first and
started shaping you into a beautiful image. You know the sculptor! He started
hitting at you with his iron chisel and hammer.
You became so furious, you
shouted at him, yelled at him, 'How dare you do this? Leave me alone. I don't
want to be hit like this.' And he thought that you are so unhappy, that you are
possessed with a kind of ego or ignorance, so he just left you.
And then he took the other
half and started working on me. I kept quiet. I thought there must be some
reason for it. After all, he is the one who brought me all the way. Let him do
whatever he wants. Of course it was really painful.
Constantly, he rolled me over
and over, he hit me day and night. He was sometimes even sitting on me and
hitting me. But I waited and waited and after several months, all of a sudden,
one day, I saw myself as a beautiful image.
Now he has put me here and he
is doing all the decorations. When he put me here I was a little too high for
him to reach me, so he wanted a stepping stone and he thought to use you at
least for that purpose. So he just placed you in front of me and that is why he
is standing on you and pouring all the milk and honey on me.'
`Oh, I see. Well, if I had known that, I would have accepted all those things;
but I didn't.'
`Well, I'm sorry, but it's too late. Just accept it. Pray for the next birth.
And if somebody is hitting you, even if you don't know why, accept it. Be
patient. Probably one day you will be respected. You'll be honored. You'll have
all the decorations, all the festivities for you. Like me.'
That's what the Deity said. It's a conversation between the Deity and the
stepping stone in front. Hm? So who was right?
SOMEONE: The Deity.
SWAMIJI: How did it become the Deity?
SOMEONE: By letting the sculptor work on him.
SWAMIJI: That's what. Did he work nicely, gently like this? (Swamiji strokes
Sister Chandrika's cheek) `Sweet girl, sweet girl, give her a cake.' Did he do
that? (Swamiji now gives Sister Chandrika a mock blow on the side of the head)
Banging, banging, hm? That's what. Suffering. That's what he means. Didn't the
Lord Jesus say, 'If someone hits you on the left cheek, show him the right one
So, Blessed are the...
SISTER CHANDRIKA: Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
SWAMIJI: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. Well,
it's easy to read this and even to interpret it. But when it comes in our own
life, then we find it hard to swallow. That's why we should 'really be following
it. Be good followers and good swallowers. (laughter)
(At this point, a member of the Ashram family comes up to Swamiji, giving him a
coconut and a hammer with which to break it. This is sometimes done by devotees
of Swamiji on their birthdays.)
SWAMIJI: See, this is a coconut. Do you know why the coconut is broken? The
coconut represents the human mind. As people mostly identify themselves as the
mind and talk in terms of that, they're all more or less like coconuts.
The coconut has three parts.
The upper surface, which is covered with husk. Below the husk, you see the hard
shell. Inside the shell you have that beautiful, white kernel.
The husk represents the
tamasic part of the mind, which is the lazy mind.
The hard shell represents the
rajasic part, the restless, extremely active mind, the egoistic part.
And the beautiful, white
kernel inside represents the sattvic mind, or the tranquil one. That means, when
the tranquil mind goes to one extreme, it becomes restless. And if it goes to
the other extreme, it becomes lazy. So the not only for the birthdays.
In India, normally you take a
coconut to the temple and put it in the hands of the priest. And he cracks it
for you. It signifies that the teacher breaks your ego and brings out the
beautiful you — to be offered to God.
Then the priest returns the
coconut and the tasteful kernel is shared with everybody. That means, once God
sees your purity, accepts you as His own, then he gives you back to be
distributed to everybody. Your life becomes a beautiful and dedicated one,
useful to everybody. That is the symbolic purpose of breaking a coconut.
(Swamiji prepares to strike the coconut.)
May you be free from ego and ignorance which causes the mortality of life, the
mrithyor of life.
Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat
Hari Om Tat Sat. Om Shanthi.
(He cracks the coconut.)
(maha-mrityun-jaya) is one of
the more potent of the ancient Sanskrit mantras. Maha mrityunjaya is a call for
enlightenment and is a practice of purifying the karmas of the soul at a deep
level. It is also said to be quite beneficial for mental, emotional, and
AUM/OM: Guided Meditation on Absolute reality. That which encompasses the three
states of waking, dreaming, deep sleep, represented by AUM, the three levels of
gross, subtle, causal, the three levels of conscious, unconscious, subconscious,
and the three universal processes of coming, being, and going. It is Tamas,
Rajas and Sattvas which when made one, symbolise Illumination. Absolute silence
beyond the three levels is the silence after AUM when we use OM as a guided
meditation, in order to project our energy in order to connect with the center
of the Universe.
Tryambakam: Trya means three. Ambakam means eyes. It means the three eyes of the
Absolute, which are the processes of creation, existence, and dissolution, as
well as the other triads, which are part of AUM. A - The center of the earth -
Kundalini Chakra , U the heart center, M the Ajna Chakra moving into Sahasrara
Chakra. Absolute silence beyond the three levels is the silence after AUM when
we use OM as a guided meditation, in order to project our energy in order to
connect with the center of the Universe. Thus it is a guided meditation to
extend ourselves outwards into the antahkarana, into the Universe, to connect
with external chakras, external sources of power. It is Energy Enhancement. The
three "eyes" means experiencing these three stages and triads at one time, AS
ONE, from the higher, all pervasive vantage point of the Absolute.
Yajamahe: We rejoice in meditation on all of this.
Sugandhim: Means fragrance. Like a spreading fragrance, which permeates the
whole of this planet, whilst we are in contact with that existence of the OM
Antahkarana. It is the Buddhafield of the Illuminated.
Pushtivardhanam: Means that which sustains and nourishes all. Thus, the
fragrance that permeates all flows from God, the sustainer of all beings, while
also the essence of all beings.
Urvarukamiva: Urva means big and powerful. Arukam means disease, like the
spiritual diseases of ignorance and untruth, which are like the death of Wisdom
Bandhanan: Means bound down, as in bound down to the ignorance and untruth.
Mrityor: Means ignorance and untruth.
Mukshiya: Means liberation from the cycles of physical, mental, and spiritual
Maamritat: Means please give me rejuvenating nectar which descends like the wine
of the Sufis, of Carmina Burana, from the center of the Universe, so as to have
THIS IS THE ALCHEMICAL TAVERN OF
WHERE THE WINE - "EVERYBODY
DRINKS IMMODERATELY" -IS THE KUNDALINI
ENERGY OF THE MASTER - SATCHIDANAND
Like the process of
severing the cucumber from the creeping vine of the earth in order to ascend
into the center of the Universe.
Energy Enhancement can lead
you to God or the universal absolute and it promises Nirvana and transformation,
as these things are within you already. Energy Enhancement will not “tell” you
about truth, but will give you the Real Spiritual Experience to provoke and
challenge and excite into awakening to the truth which lies within. This kind of
truth cannot be given as it takes two to Tango and it is the purity and
resolution of the Student which calls forth the Energies of Existence. Yet, it
can felt through personal experiences which take you out of normal states of
awareness – through Initiations and Rites of Passage calling you into new ways
of seeing Self and everything you once believed was real.
Within you lies a doorway to the Infinite. The journey to find that doorway can
be arduous for it takes you into the landscape of your inner being. Are you
willing to Initiate one of the greatest challenges of your life? Are you willing
to change your ideas of who you thought you were in order to discover who you
really are? Say, “Yes”. Leave behind your safety net and discover the knowledge
that is your birthright. Many stand at this doorway, but few dare enter.
Inside you live the Mysteries of the
Universe. Energy Enhancement is a doorway into that Grand Adventure.
1.1. The Ideology of
Work for economic ends has not always been the dominant activity of mankind. It
has only been dominant across the whole of society since the advent of
industrial capitalism, about two hundred years ago. Before capitalism, people in
pre-modern societies, in the Middle Ages and the Ancient World, worked far less
than they do nowadays, as they do in the precapitalist societies that still
exist today. In fact, the difference was such that the first industrialists, in
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, had great difficulty getting their
workforce to do a full day's work, week in week out. The first factory bosses
went bankrupt precisely for this reason.
That is to say that what the British and the Germans call `the work ethic' and
the `work-based society' are recent phenomena.
It is a feature of `work-based societies' that they consider work as at one and
the same time a moral duty, a social obligation and the route to personal
success. The ideology of work assumes that,
- the more each individual works, the better off everyone will be;
- those who work little or not at all are acting against the interests of the
community as a whole and do not deserve to be members of it;
- those who work hard achieve social success and those who do not succeed have
only themselves to blame.
This ideology is still deeply ingrained and hardly a day passes without some
politician, be he Right - or left-wing, urging us to work and insisting that
work is the only way to solve the present crisis. If we are to `beat
unemployment', they add, we must work more, not less.
1.2. The Crisis of the
In actual fact the work ethic has become obsolete. It is no longer true that
producing more means working more, or that producing more will lead to a better
way of life.
The connection between more and better has been broken; our needs for many
products and services are already more than adequately met, and many of our
as-yet- unsatisfied needs will be met not by producing more, but by producing
differently, producing other things, or even producing less. This is especially
true as regards our needs for air, water, space, silence, beauty, time and human
Neither is it true any longer that the more each individual works, the better
off everyone will be. The present crisis has stimulated technological change of
an unprecedented scale and speed: `the micro-chip revolution'. The object and
indeed the effect of this revolution has been to make rapidly increasing savings
in labour, in the industrial, administrative and service sectors. Increasing
production is secured in these sectors by decreasing amounts of labour. As a
result, the social process of production no longer needs everyone to work in it
on a full-time basis. The work ethic ceases to be viable in such a situation and
workbased society is thrown into crisis.
Neo-conservative Ideology of Hard Work
Not everyone is aware of this crisis. Some are aware of it but find it in their
interest to deny its existence. This is true, in particular, of a large number
of `neo-conservatives', bent on upholding the ideology of work in a context in
which paid work is becoming increasingly scarce. They thus encourage people
looking for paid work to enter into increasingly fierce competition with each
other, relying on this competition to bring down the cost of labour (that is,
wages) and allow the `strong' to eliminate the `weak'. They look to this
neoDarwinian process of the `survival of the fittest' to bring about the rebirth
of a dynamic form of capitalism, with all its blemishes removed together with
all or part of its social legislation.
1.4. Working Less so
that Everyone can Work
It is in the common interest of waged workers not to compete with one other, to
organize a united response to their employers and collectively negotiate their
conditions of employment with the latter. This common interest finds its
expression in trade unionism.
In a context in which there is not enough paid full-time work to go round,
abandoning the work ethic becomes a condition of survival for the trade-union
movement. To do so is no betrayal on the movement's part. The liberation from
work and the idea of `working less so everyone can work' were, after all, at the
origin of the struggle of the labour movement.
1.5. Forms of Work
By work we have come to understand a paid activity, performed on behalf of a
third party (the employer), to achieve goals we have not chosen for ourselves
and according to procedures and schedules laid down by the person paying our
wages. There is widespread confusion between `work' and `job' or `employment',
as there is between the `right to work', the `right to a wage' and the `right to
Now, in practice, not all activities constitute work, and neither is all work
paid or done with payment in mind. We have to distinguish between three types of
1.5.1. Work for
This is work done with payment in mind. Here money, that is, commodity exchange,
is the principal goal. One works first of all to `earn a living', and the
satisfaction or pleasure one may possibly derive from such work is a subordinate
consideration. This may be termed -work for economic ends.
1.5.2. Domestic labour
This is work done not with a view to exchange but in order to achieve a result
of which one is, directly, the principal beneficiary. `Reproductive' work, that
is, domestic labour, which guarantees the basic and immediate necessities of
life day after day - preparing food, keeping oneself and one's home clean,
giving birth to children and bringing them up, and so on - is an example of this
kind of work. It was and still is often the case that women are made to do such
work on top of the work they do for economic ends.
Since the domestic community (the nuclear or extended family) is one in which
life is based on sharing everything rather than on an accounting calculation and
commodity exchange, it is only recently that the idea of wages for housework has
arisen. Previously, by contrast, domestic labour was seen as work done by and
for the domestic community as a whole. This attitude, it should be stressed, is
only justifiable if all the members of the domestic community share the tasks
equitably. A number of activists have called for women to be given wages for
housework in the form of a public allowance, in recognition of the social
utility of such work. But this will not lead to the equitable sharing of
household chores and moreover it poses the following problems:
- it transforms domestic labour into work for economic ends, that is, into a
domestic (servant's) job;
- it places domestic labour in the same category as socially useful work,
whereas its aim is - and should be - not social utility but the well-being and
personal fulfilment of the members of the community, which is not at all the
same thing. The confusion between the fulfilment of individuals and their social
utility stems from a totalitarian conception of society in which there is no
place for the uniqueness and singularity of the individual or for the
specificity of the private sphere. By nature this sphere is - and should be -
exempt from social control and the criteria of public utility.
Autonomous activities are activities one performs freely and not from necessity,
as ends in themselves. This includes all activities which are experienced as
fulfilling, enriching, sources of meaning and happiness: artistic,
philosophical, scientific, relational, educational, charitable and mutual-aid
activities, activities of auto-production, and so on. All these activities
require `work' in the sense that they require effort and methodical application
but their meaning lies as much in their performance as in their product:
activities such as these are the substance of life itself. But this always
requires there to be no shortage of time. Indeed, the same activity - bringing
up children, preparing a meal or taking care of our surroundings, for example -
can take the form of a chore in which one is subject to what seem like
oppressive constraints or of a gratifying activity, depending on whether one is
harrassed by lack of time or whether the activity can be performed at leisure,
in co-operation with others and through the voluntary sharing of the tasks
1.6. The End of Utopia
The progressive domination of work for economic ends was only made possible by
the advent of capitalism and the generalization of commodity exchange. We owe to
it in particular the destruction of a great deal of non-commodity services and
exchanges and domestic production in which work for economic ends and the
pleasure of creating something of beauty were inextricably linked. This explains
why the labour movement originally challenged the overriding importance
industrial capitalism attached to waged work and economic ends. However, in
calling for the abolition of wage labour and for the government or self
government of society by freely associated workers in control of the means of
production, the demands of the workers ran directly counter to the developments
that were actually taking place. The movement was utopian in so far as the
possibility of giving substance to its demands had not emerged.
Yet what was utopian in the early nineteenth century has ceased in part to be so
today: the economy and the social process of production require decreasing
quantities of wage labour. The subordination of all other human activities and
goals to waged work, for economic ends is ceasing to be either necessary or
meaningful. Emancipation from economic and commercial rationality is becoming a
possibility, but it can only become reality through actions which also
demonstrate its feasibility. Cultural action and the development of `alternative
activities' take on particular significance in this context. I shall return to
this point below.
CRISIS OF WORK, CRISIS
2.1. Giving Meaning to
the Changes: The Liberation of Time
Trade unionism cannot continue to exist as a movement with a future unless it
expands its mission beyond the defence of the particular interests of waged
workers. In industry, as in the classical tertiary sector, we are witnessing an
increasingly accelerated reduction in the amount of labour required. The German
trade-union movement has estimated that, of the new forms of technology which
will be available by the year 2000, only 5 per cent are currently being put to
use. The reserves of productivity (that is, foreseeable labour savings) in the
industrial and classical tertiary sectors are immense.
The liberation from work for economic ends, through reductions in working hours
and the development of other types of activities, self-regulated and
self-determined by the individuals involved, is the only way to give positive
meaning to the savings in wage labour brought about by the current technological
revolution. The project for a society of liberated time, in which everyone will
be able to work but will work less and less for economic ends, is the possible
meaning of the current historical developments. Such a project is able to give
cohesion and a unifying perspective to the different elements that make up the
social movement since (1) it is a logical extension of the experiences and
struggles of workers in the past; (2) it reaches beyond that experience and
those struggles towards objectives which correspond to the interests of both
workers and non-workers, and is thus able to cement bonds of solidarity and
common political will between them; (3) it corresponds to the aspirations of the
ever-growing proportion of men and women who wish to (re)gain control in and of
their own lives.
2.2. Regaining Control
Over One's Life
Workplace struggles have not lost any of their significance but the labour
movement cannot afford to ignore the fact that other struggles, in other areas,
are becoming increasingly important as far as the future of society and our
regaining control over our own lives is concerned. In particular, the labour
movement's campaign for a reduction in working hours cannot ignore the fact that
the unpaid work done by women in the private sphere can be as hard as the labour
which men and women have to put up with to earn their living. The campaign for a
shortening of working hours must, then, go hand in hand with a new and equitable
distribution of paid work amongst all those who wish to work, and for an
equitable redistribution of the unpaid tasks of the domestic sphere. The
trade-union movement cannot be indifferent to the specific women's movement
campaigns on these questions and it must take these into account when
determining its own c'ourses of action, especially with respect to the
arrangement and self-management of work schedules.
Nor can the trade-union movement be indifferent to people's campaigns against
the invasion of their environment by mega-technological systems which upset or
destroy the environment and subject vast regions and their populations to
unchecked technocratic control, so as to meet logistical or safety requirements.
The right of individuals to sovereign control over their own lives and ways of
cooperating with others suffers no exception. It cannot be gained in the field
of work and work relations at the expense of struggles going on in other fields,
any more than it can be gained in these other fields at the expense of labour
2.3. Towards 50 per
A progressive wide-scale reduction in working hours without loss of income is
the necessary (though not sufficient, as l will go on to explain) condition for
the redistribution of paid work amongst all those who wish to work; and for an
equitable redistribution of the unpaid work in the private sphere. Everyone must
therefore be able to work less so that everyone can lead a better life and earn
their living by working. This is the only way the trend towards an increasingly
deep division of society, the segmentation of the labour market and the
marginalization of a growing percentage of the population can be checked and
According to a study by Wolfgang Lecher, of the WSI (the Institute of Economic
and Social Research of the DGB), the continuation of the present trend would
lead, within the next ten years or so, to the following segmentation of the
- 25 per cent will be
skilled workers with permanent jobs in large firms protected by collective wage
- 25 per cent will be peripheral workers with insecure, unskilled and badly-paid
jobs, whose work schedules vary according to the wishes of their employers and
the fluctuations in the market;
- 50 per cent will be semi-unemployed, unemployed, marginalized workers, doing
occasional or seasonal work and `odd jobs'. Already 51 per cent of the active
population in France aged between 18 and 24 fit into this category (26 per cent
unemployed, 25 per cent doing `odd jobs'); and the percentage is even higher in
Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and (especially) Britain.
2.4. The New Domestic
The Right acknowledges and accepts the direction in which these developments are
going. A new employers' ideology, the so-called ideology of `human resources',
is seeking to integrate the stable core of permanent skilled workers into modern
enterprises which are portrayed as `sites of intellectual and personal
fulfilment', whilst advocating `modest jobs' for a `modest wage' in service
enterprises, particularly `person to person' services, for the rest.
In the United States, which is often taken as a model, of the thirteen to
fifteen million new jobs created in the last ten years, the majority are in the
personal-service sector and are very often insecure, badly paid and offer no
possibilities of achieving professional qualifications or advancement - jobs as
caretakers, nightwatchmen, cleaners, waiters and waitresses, staff in `fast
food' restaurants, nursing assistants, deliverymen/women, street sellers,
shoeshiners, and so on.
These `person-to-person' services are, in reality, the jobs of domestic or
personal servants in their modernized and Socialized guise. A French minister
for social affairs acknowledged this fact when he suggested there should be tax
incentives to encourage people to employ domestic servants.
This shows a striking parallel with the developments which took place during the
last century when the introduction of intensive farming and the mechanization of
the textile industry led to millions of unemployed people going into domestic
service: `personal and domestic servants' represented 14 per cent of the working
population in Britain between 1851 and 1911. It is quite likely that
`person-to-person' services - and this includes jobs in massage and relaxation
salons, therapy groups and psychological counselling bureaux, for example -
today represent more than 14 per cent of the United States' working population.
As in the colonies in the past and many Third World countries today, a growing
mass of people in the industrialized countries has been reduced to fighting each
other for the `privilege' of selling their personal services to those who still
maintain a decent income.
2.5. The Dangers of
As a result of all this, a new dividing line is cutting across class barriers, a
fact commented on by Wolfgang Lecher in the study quoted above:
The opposition between labour and capital is increasingly coming to be overlaid
by an antagonism between workers in permanent, wellprotected jobs on the one
hand and on the other. . The trade unions run the risk of degenerating into a
sort of mutual insurance for the relatively restricted and privileged group of
If they see their sole task as that of defending the interests of those with
stable jobs, the trade unions run the risk of degenerating into a neocorporatist,
conservative force, as has occurred in a number of countries in Latin America.
The task of the trade-union movement, if it wishes to survive and grow as a
movement promoting individual and social liberation, must, therefore, be to
extend its sphere of action beyond the limited defence of workers as workers, in
their workplaces, much more clearly than it has done in the past. Trade unions
will only avoid becoming a sectionalist, neo-corporatist force if the
segmentation of society and the marginalization of a growing percentage of the
population can be prevented. If this is to happen, an ambitious policy for a
continual, programmed reduction in working hours is indispensable. Trade unions
are incapable of implementing such a policy on their own. But through their
campaigns they can ensure that the necessity for such a policy is accepted and,
more importantly, they can adopt it as the objective governing their actions and
their social project. A project for a society in which each can work less so
that all can work better and live more becomes, today, one of the principal
binding elements of social cohesion.
It still remains for us to examine: (1) the extent of the reduction in working
hours that can be envisaged; (2) the cultural changes and cultural tasks which
trade unions will have to tackle as a result; (3) the changes it will bring
about in the life of individual people; (4) how it can be programmed, realized
and made compatible with an improvement in our standard of living.
WORKING LESS SO THAT
ALL CAN WORK
3.1. Towards the 1,000-hour Working Year
The current technological revolution is giving rise to savings in labour, the
extent of which are often underestimated. Productivity in industry has risen
between 5 per cent and 6 per cent per year since 1978; in the economy as a whole
it has risen by between 3 per cent and 4 per cent per year. Production of
commercial goods and services has risen by about 2 per cent per year. In other
words, though the economy keeps growing, the amount of labour it requires
diminishes every year by approximately 2 per cent.
This net saving in labour is set to accelerate between now and the end of the
century, thanks, mainly, to the `improvements that can be predicted in robotics
and information technology. Yet even without any acceleration, the amount of
labour required by the economy will have diminished in the next ten years by
about 22 per cent; in the next fifteen years it will have diminished by about a
The prospects from now until the beginning of the next century are therefore as
follows: either current norms of full-time employment will be maintained and
there will be another 35 per cent of the population unemployed on top of the
current 10 per cent to 20 per cent; or else the number of hours spent in work
for economic ends will be reduced in proportion to foreseeable savings in labour
and the number of hours we work will decrease by between 30 per cent and 40 per
cent - or even by half if everyone is to be guaranteed paid work. Evidently
intermediate solutions can be envisaged, but the optimum solution is obviously
the one which allows everyone to work but work less, work better and receive
their share of the growing socially produced wealth in the form of an increasing
real income. This presupposes a staged, programmed reduction in working hours
from approximately 1,000 hours per year at present to approximately 1,000 hours
per year in fifteen years' time, without any reduction in people's purchasing
power. This calls for a whole series of specific policies, in particular a
social policy which will make purchasing power dependent not on the amount of
working hours put in but on the amount of social wealth produced. We will return
to this later.
3.2. New Values, New
For the first time in modern history, we will be able to stop spending most of
our time and our lives doing paid work. The liberation from work has become, for
the first time, a tangible prospect. However, we must not underestimate the
implications this has for each of us. The campaign for a continual and
substantial reduction in the amount of paid work we do presupposes the latter's
gradually ceasing to be the only - or main - occupation in our lives. It must,
then, cease to be our principal source of identity and social insertion. Values
other than economic values, activities other than the functional, instrumental,
waged activities social apparatuses and institutions compel us to perform, will
have to become predominant in our lives.
The cultural and societal change involved here demands from each of us a change
in attitude which no state, government, political party or trade union can bring
about on our behalf. We shall have to find a meaning in life other than gainful
employment, the work ethic and productivity, and struggles centred on issues
other than those implied in wage relations. The extent of these cultural changes
is such that it would be futile to propose them were it not for the fact that
the changes presently under way are already heading in this direction.
3.2.1. Liberation in
work and liberation from work
Disaffection with waged work has been on the increase over the last twenty years
or so, as shown by surveys conducted periodically by institutes in Germany and
Sweden. Particularly prevalent among young workers, this attitude finds
expression not so much in a lack of interest or a refusal to work hard but
rather in a desire that work should fit into life instead of life having to fit
into or be sacrificed to one's job or career. Workers, particularly young
workers, aspire to (re)gain control of their lives and this increases their
awareness of and openness to movements which have this specific aim.
This desire to liberate oneself from, or vis-a-vis, work should not be seen as
opposed to the traditional union objectives of achieving liberation in work. On
the contrary, past experience has shown that workers become more demanding with
regard to their working conditions and work relations when their work leaves
them time and energy to have a personal life. Conversely, personal
self-development requires that the nature and hours of work should not be
damaging to the workers' physical and psychic faculties. The trade-union
movement must, therefore, keep campaigning on two levels simultaneously, just as
it did in the past: for the `humanization' and enrichment of work and for a
reduction in working hours, without loss of income.
The traditional task of the trade unions is as relevant now as ever. For
although the employers' ideology sets great store by the reskilling and
personalizing ofjobs and the policy of giving workers greater responsibility, in
practice this revaluation of labour only affects a small and privileged elite.
For large sectors of industrial and service workers it entails not only
redundancies, but the deskilling and standardization of numerous previously
skilled jobs and the introduction of a system of constant electronic monitoring
of behaviour and productivity. Instead of being liberating, computerization
often intensifies labour by eliminating `dead time' and forcing an increase in
the pace of work.
Often accompanied by putting workers on short time or the introduction of
flexi-time, this intensification of work masks, as if by design, the fact that
the intensity of human effort is now just a secondary factor of increased
productivity, the main factor being the savings in human labour due to the high
technical performance of the equipment employed. This equipment could be used to
ease the strain and monotony of work, as well as working hours. This fact makes
the arbitrary and oppressive nature of the intensification of labour all the
more acutely felt.
3.2.2. New forms of
work, new responsibilities
In general, labour is tending to become a secondary force of production by
comparison with the power, degree of automation and complexity of the equipment
involved. Jobs in which the notion of individual effort and output still retain
some meaning,in which the quantity or quality of the product depends on the
workers' application to their task and in which their pride in producing
something well-made is still a source of personal and social identity, are
becoming increasingly rare.
In robotized factories and process industries in particular, work consists
essentially in monitoring, (re)programming and, should the occasion arise,
correcting and repairing the functioning of automatic systems. Workers in this
situation are on duty rather than at work. Their work is by nature intermittent.
It is as dematerialized and functional to the system whose smooth running it
ensures as that of `functionaries' or civil servants and, as in the case of the
latter, often requires the worker to respect procedures whose minutest details
have been laid down in advance and which preclude all forms of initiative and
creativity. The control the workers exercise over their `product' and over the
purpose it serves is minimal. Traditional work values and the traditional work
ethic thus seem destined to give way to an ethic of service and, possibly, of
responsibility towards the community, in so far as one's professional
consciousness can now only consist in identifying oneself with the value of the
function one fulfils and no longer with the value of the product of one's labour.
It thus becomes essential to ask ourselves what purpose we serve by the function
we fulfil at `work'. Professional consciousness must therefore extend to include
an examination of the effects technological, economic and commercial decisions
have on society and civilization, and the issues that are at stake. ThiI is
especially necessary in the case of technical and scientific workers, whose
associations and groups have been known publicly to question the moral and
political aims, values and consequences of the programmes they are to implement.
This broadening of professional consciousness, this assumption of a reflexive
and critical perspective on the implications of one's professional activities
can obviously occur in associations and discussion groups, but should also be a
central concern of the trade-union movement. In the absence of such
developments, we run the risk of seeing the emergence of a technocratic caste
which uses its expertise, or allows others to use it, to reinforce the
domination of big business and the state over its citizens.
At a time when the economy has less and less need for everyone to be in
full-time employment, the question of why we work and what our work consists in
doing assumes prime importance. Asking this question is our only way of
protecting ourselves from an ethic of `hard work for its own sake' and
`producing for the sake of producing' which in the end lead towards an
acceptance of the war economy and war itself.
3.2.3. The importance
of non-economic aims and actions
The capitalist economy is no longer able to guarantee everyone a right to
economically useful and remunerated work. Hence the right to work cannot be
guaranteed for everyone unless, first, the number of hours everyone works in the
economy is reduced and, second, the possibilities of working outside the
economy, in tasks not performed for economic ends, are developed and opened up
188.8.131.52. The trade
union in everyday life: cultural tasks.
As has been shown, we cannot all be guaranteed the possibility of working within
the economy unless working hours are reduced to approximately 1,000 hours per
year. Waged work cannot then continue to be the most important element in our
lives. Unless people are to become passive consumers of amusements, who are fed
on and manipulated by a deluge of programmes, messages and media games, they
must be given the possibility of developing interests and autonomous activities,
including productive activities. Their socialization, that is, their insertion
into society and their sense of belonging to a culture, will derive more from
these autonomous activities than from the work an employer or institution
defines for them. (The same remarks would also apply, should society prefer to
have a mass of reasonably well-compensated people out of work rather than reduce
working hours). The labour movement should not forget here that its origins lie
in working-class cultural associations. It will not be able to survive as a
movement unless it takes an interest in people's self-realization outside their
work as well as in it, and helps or participates in the creation of sites and
spaces in which people are able to develop their ability to take responsibility
for their own lives and self-manage their social relations: open universities,
community schools and community centres; service-exchange co-operatives and
mutual-aid groups; cooperative repair and self-production workshops; discussion,
skills-transfer and art and craft groups, and so on.
These are not tasks to be undertaken at some time in the distant future but
objectives which should be given urgent priority now, for two reasons.
- The tendency of large-scale enterprises to sub-contract the maximum amount of
manufacturing and services out to tiny enterprises employing an unstable,
fluctuating workforce, or even people working from home, means it is essential
that trade unions should exist in towns and suburbs and that they should be open
to all who live in them. They must attract this floating workforce and the
population as a whole, independently of their ability to organize waged workers
at their workplaces.
- More than at any other time, the influence of the trade-union movement depends
on its ability to contend with the cultural industry and the entertainment or
leisure moguls, so as to break the monopoly they are aiming to acquire over
consciousness-formation and our conception of future society, life and its
priorities. The trade-union movement's cultural task is really a political one,
if we give `political' its original meaning of an activity relating to the
organization, future and good of the `city'.
184.108.40.206. Trade unionism as one movement among many The trade union movement
should also not ignore the Struggles which have developed in the last fifteen
years or so in areas outside work. These campaigns, which are extremely varied
in nature, are all characterized by the aspiration of individuals and
communities to regain existential sovereignty and the power to determine their
own lives. These campaigns have a common target: the dictatorial rule industry
and the bureaucracy exercise in alliance with professions whose aim it is to
monopolize knowledge in areas as diverse as health, education, energy
requirements, town planning, the model and level of consumption, and so on. In
all these areas, single-issue movements - the `new social movements' - are
attempting to defend our right to self determination from forms of
mega-technology and scientism which lead to the concentration of decision-making
power in the hands of a technocracy whose expertise generally serves to
legitimate the economic and political powers-that-be.
These campaigns of resistance to the professionalization, technocratization and
monetarization of our lives are specific forms of a wider, more fundamental
struggle for emancipation. They contain a radical potential which has
repercussions on workplace struggles and they mould the consciousness of a
growing number of people. It is essential for the trade-union movement to be
receptive to the aspirations contained within these movements and to adopt them
as part of its struggle. It is equally essential that it should see itself as an
integral part of a wider, many-sided movement of individual and social
emancipation. The fact that the trade-union movement is - and will remain - the
best-organized force in this broader movement confers on it a particular
responsibility: on it will largely depend the success or failure of all the
other elements in this social movement. According to whether the trade-union
movement opposes them or whether it seeks a common alliance and a common course
of action with them,these other elements will be part of the left or will break
with it, will engage with it in collective action or will remain minorities
tempted to resort to violence.
The attitude of the trade-union movement towards the other social movements and
their objectives will also determine its own evolution. If it divorces itself
from them, if it refuses to be part of a wider movement, if it sees its mission
as being limited to the defence of waged workers as such, it will inevitably
degenerate into a conservative, neo-corporatist force.
3.3. Working Less,
3.3.1. The field of autonomous activities
A progressive reduction in working time to 1,000 hours or less per year gives
completely new dimensions to disposable time. Non-working time is no longer
necessarily time for the rest, recuperation, amusement and consumption; it no
longer serves to compensate for the strain, constraints and frustrations of
working time. Free time is no longer merely the always insufficient `time left
over' we have to make the most of while we can and which is never long enough
for embarking on a project of any kind.
If the working week were reduced to under twenty-five or thirty hours, we could
fill our disposable time with activities which have no economic objective and
which enrich the life of both individual and group: cultural and aesthetic
activities whose aim is to give and create pleasure and enhance and `cultivate'
our immediate environment; assistance, caring and mutual-aid activities which
create a network of social relations and forms of solidarity throughout the
neighbourhood or locality; the development of friendships and affective
relationships; educational and artistic activities; the repairing and production
of objects and growing food for our own use, `for the pleasure' of making
something ourselves, of preserving things we can cherish and hand down to our
children; service-exchange cooperatives, and so on. In this way it will be
possible for an appreciable proportion of the services currently provided by
professionals, commercial enterprises or public institutions to be provided on a
voluntary basis by individuals themselves, as members of grassroots communities,
according to needs they themselves have defined. I shall return to this later.
These activities, taken as a whole, should not be viewed as an alternative
economic sector which forms part of a 'dual economy'. These activities are
characterized by an absence of economic rationality and have no place in the
economic sphere. The act of performing them, is not the means to achieve an end,
to achieve satisfaction. It produces that satisfaction itself; it is an end in
itself. The time we devote, for example, to music, love, education, exchanging
of ideas, to creative activities, to looking after the sick, is time for living,
and cannot be bought or sold at any price. Extending this time for living and
reducing the amount of time devoted to necessary tasks or work for economic ends
has been one of humanity's constant aims.
3.3.2. From the
self-management of time to the self-management of life
There is no reason why we should make this reduction of the amount of paid work
a reduction in daily or weekly working hours. Computerization and the greater
flexibility of decentralized units of production increase the scope for
individual and/or collective self-management of work schedules. This is already
happening in Quebec, where public employees are able to arrange their monthly
quota of 140 hours as best suits them individually. Factories and administrative
bodies have been reorganized so that employees are no longer obliged to put in a
set number of hours per day, with work stations functioning independently of one
another. Such possibilities for workers themselves to manage their own time
should be mobilized against schemes which introduce flexi-time on the employers'
One thousand hours per year could, for example, be divided into twenty per week,
done in two and a half days, or ten days per month, or twenty-five weeks per
year, or ten months spread out over two years - without any loss of real income
of course (I shall return to this). Working hours could also be defined as the
amount of work performed over a lifetime: for example, a person could do 20,000
to 30,000 hours over a lifetime, which would be completed within the fifty years
of their potential active working life and guarantee them - throughout their
lifetime - the full income which their 1,600 hours per year provides at the
A form of self-management such as this which spans an entire lifetime presents a
number of advantages and has been the subject of much debate in Sweden. By
allowing people to work more or less during certain periods in their lives, this
arrangement allows them to be ahead or behind in the amount of work they have to
do per year; to interrupt their professional activity over a number of months or
years without loss of income in order, for example, to learn a new trade, set up
a business, bring up children, build a house, or undertake an artistic,
scientific, humanitarian or co-operative project.
The possibility of alternating between waged work and autonomous activities, or
doing the two simultaneously, should not be interpreted as a devaluation of
waged work. Personal development through autonomous activities always has
repercussions on one's professional work. It enriches it and makes it more
fruitful. The notion that one must devote oneself and one's time entirely and
exclusively to a single job if one is to succeed or be creative is erroneous.
The creator and the pioneer are generally jacks-of-all-trades with extremely
diverse and changing interests and occupations. Einstein's theory of relativity
came to him during the free time he had while working full-time job in the
patent office in Berne.
In general, innovation and creativity are the result not of continuous, regular
work but of a period of spasmodic effort (for example, twenty hours or more at a
stretch in computer programming; three hundred to five hundred hours a month,
over a period of several months, to set up a business or perfect a new type of
technology or piece of equipment), followed by periods of reading, thinking,
pottering about, travelling and emotional and intellectual interaction.
Continual hard slog does not make work more creative or more efficient; it only
serves the will to power of those who defend the rank and the position of
strength their work affords them. It is rare for pioneers, creators or
high-level researchers to be at work for more than 1,000 hours per year on
average. Experience has shown that two people, sharing a single position of
responsibility (for example, as a dean of a university, a personnel manager, a
legal adviser, a municipal architect or a doctor) and doing two and a half days
each, do the job better more efficiently than one person doing the same job
democratization of areas of competence
A policy for the reduction of working time limited solely to unskilled jobs will
not avoid the division and segmentation of society it is designed precisely to
prevent. All it will do is displace the split. It will give rise on one side to
professional elites who monopolize the positions of responsibility and power and
on the other to a mass of powerless deskilled, peripheral workers on short time.
If the maximum number of people are to have access to creative, responsible,
skilled jobs, then it is just as essential for the amount of working hours to be
reduced here as elsewhere. The current scarcity of jobs such as these can be
explained less by a lack of talents and will to develop a career than by the
fact that creative, responsible, skilled jobs are monopolized by professional
elites intent on defending their corporate and class privileges and powers.
Reducing the amount of time work takes up will enable these jobs to be
`democratized' and allow a larger percentage of the working population to have
access to them, since it will create scope for people to acquire new skills and
to study regardless of age.
4. AN INCOME UNCOUPLED
FROM THE QUANTITY OF LABOUR PERFORMED
When the economy requires a decreasing amount of labour and distributes less and
less in the way of wages for an increasing volume of production, `the purchasing
power of the population and their right to an income can no longer be made to
depend on the amount of labour they supply. The purchasing power distributed
must increase despite the reduction in the amount of labour required. The level
of real income distributed and the quantity of labour supplied must become
independent of each other, otherwise he demand for production will be
insufficient and economic depression will deepen. The key question for all the
industrial nations is not the principle of uncoupling the level a- income from
the amount of labour the economy requires, but the way in which to implement
this dissociation. Three formulas can be envisaged.
The creation of jobs outside the economy proper is often advocated, especially
by the left, on the grounds that `There is no shortage of work, since there is
virtually no limit to the needs we have to satisfy.' The question remains,
however, as to whether these needs will be best satisfied through the waged
labour of people employed to that end. Two categories of inherently non-commercializable
needs can be distinguished.
- The first group relates to the environment on which our quality of life
depends, and includes our need for space, clean air, silence and styles of
architecture and urban planning which make it easy for us to meet and interact.
These needs cannot be expressed on the market in terms of effective individual
`demand' giving rise to a corresponding supply. The resources to which these
needs relate cannot in fact be produced and sold, whatever the price offered for
them. These needs will be satisfied not by working and producing more but by
working and producing differently. To this end, a policy of selective public
incentives and subsidies is required so as to express a collective level of
demand which would make it possible to furnish the corresponding supply
(especially in the case of re-afforestation, pollution control, energy
conservation, urban development or the prevention of illnesses, for example).
This will create a limited number of jobs. But part of the jobs thus created
will be lost elsewhere because the consumption of energy, medical services and
pharmaceutical products will diminish, as will the demand for goods and
services, since jobs created by public demand are financed from public, fiscal
resources drawn from the economy.
- The second category of non-economic needs which cannot be expressed in cash
terms concerns helping and caring activities (for the aged, the disturbed,
children, the sick, and so on). Industrialization has resulted in a shortage of
time and autonomy, and its growth has been based on compensating for this by
turning activities which were traditionally part of the private, family or
community sphere into professional, commercialized ones. This has resulted in
the impoverishment and depersonalization of human relations, the disintegration
of grassroots communities and the standardization and technicization of caring
and helping services - all things which the new social movements' are reacting
against at different levels. We must consequently ask ourselves to what extent
our need for the care and help provided for by these services, whether public or
private, is generated by our lack of time; to what extent, therefore, that need
would not be better met if we increased the time we had available rather than
employing people to take care of our children, ageing parents, mixed-up
adolescents and distressed friends in our stead. A reduction in working hours
without loss of income could allow the repatriation to grassroots communities,
through voluntary cooperation and mutual aid on the level of the neighbourhocd
or block, of a growing number of services which will better satisfy our needs,
and be better adapted to them, if we provide them for ourselves than they are
when professionals are paid to administer them according to norms and procedures
laid down by the state. It is not a question of dismantling the welfare state
but of relieving it, as the amount of work we do for economic ends diminishes,
of certain tasks which, apart from being expensive, also bring the tutelag'e of
the state to bear on the beneficiaries.
4.2. The Liberal Logic
The second formula for uncoupling the level of income from the amount of labour
supplied is the institution of a `social minimum' or `social income'
unconditionally guaranteed to all citizens. This formula has its supporters on
the left as well as on the Right. In general, its objective is to protect an
increasing mass of unemployed people from extreme forms of poverty. In the most
generous variants of this scheme, the social income guaranteed to all citizens
is to be fixed above the poverty line.
The neo-liberal variant, however, fixes the guaranteed social income at or below
subsistence level, with the result that the recipients are practically forced to
earn a top-up income by doing `odd jobs', which will not prevent them receiving
the guaranteed minimum income as long as their earned income does not exceed a
certain amount. In this conception of the scheme, the guaranteed minimum is to
allow the price of labour to change in keeping with the laws of supply and
demand and, if necessary, to fall below subsistence level.
In all of the above cases,the guaranteed social income is essentially an
unemployment allowance adapted to a situation in which a high percentage of the
unemployed have never worked and have little chance of finding a regular paid
job. It amounts to a form of social assistance provided by the state, which
neither stems the tide of unemployment nor arrests the division of society into
a class of active workers in full-time employment on the one hand and a
marginalized mass of the unemployed and semi-employed on the other.
4.3. The Trade-Union
The third formula for making the level of income independent of the amount of
labour supplied is the reduction of working hours without loss of income. This
proposal reconciles the right of everyone to have a paid job and the possibility
for everyone to have a greater degree of existential autonomy and for
individuals to exercise more control over their private, family and community
lives. This proposal is most closely in keeping with the trade-union tradition.
While the demand for a guaranteed social income is a social policy demand
addressed to the state, and one which trade unions can neither carry through by
direct mass action nor implement themselves through workers' control, the demand
for a reduction in the working week to thirty-two, twenty-eight, twenty-four or
twenty hours, without loss of real income, can be campaigned for through
collective action and, more importantly, can create solidarity between workers,
the unemployed and those people - a significant number of whom are women and
young people - who wish their jobs to fit into their personal lives instead of
requiring the sacrifice of the latter.
Contrary to the social income, which is a more or less inadequate compensation
for social and economic exclusion, a reduction in working hours meets three
basic requisites of justice:
- the savings in labour which technological development has created must benefit
- everyone must be able to work less so that everyone can work;
- the decrease in working hours must not entail a decrease in real income, since
more wealth is being created by less labour.
These are not new aims. There is no shortage of collective agreements, and
sectoral or company agreements which have, in the past, made provision for a
progressive reduction in working hours accompanied by guarantees of purchasing
power and a stabilization, if not indeed an increase, in the size of the
What is new is the fact that the technological revolution is now affecting all
fields of activity and bringing about highly differentiated savings in labour.
This will continue over a long period. Trade-union action is indispensable if we
are to achieve reductions in working hours which correspond to the predictable
rise in productivity: indispensable, in particular, if the reductions in working
hours are to lead to employees being able to self-manage their time and not
merely to more flexible-time on the employers' terms. But trade-union activity
is not enough to effect a planned reduction in working hours by stages across
the whole of society. This calls for specific policies which very much concern
the trade-union movement but which cannot be conducted and implemented by it.
These specific policies must focus on four areas: forecasting and programming;
employment; training; and financing.
4.4.1. Productivity contracts
Increases in productivity are neither unpredictable nor unforeseen. Enterprises,
industrial sectors and administrative bodies generally plan investment
programmes spanning several years which are intended to produce predictable
productivity gains. Social control over the technological revolution consists in
translating these productivity forecasts into for example, company, sectoral or
public-service contracts, which can serve as a framework for ongoing
negotiations e necessary adjustments and means of implementation.
Increases in available productivity are obviously not the same in all companies,
sectors and institutions. Social control over the technological revolution
consists in avoiding a situation in which there are redundancies and a surplus
of labour power in some sectors of the economy, while there is plenty of
overtime and a shortage of labour in others.
It thus becomes essential for labour to be transferred from enterprises and
industrial sectors in which there is rapid growth in available productivity to
those where there is little or no growth. Such transfers are the condition for
an approximately equal reduction in working hours for everyone, proportionate to
the average growth in productivity of the economy as a whole, in conditions as
close as possible to full employment. An employment policy which offers
incentives for professional mobility is therefore necessary. This evidently
presupposes the possibility of learning or relearning a trade at any age,
without loss of income.
Current training methods are often inappropriate and not particularly
stimulating. There is an urgent need at all levels of the education system for a
reform which will focus on the individual's ability to learn by her or himself,
on the acquisition of a range of related skills which will enable individuals to
become polyvalent and develop their capacity to carry out a range of
occupations. Schools also need to reverse their priorities: instead of giving
priority to training `human computers' whose memory capacity, abilities of
analysis and calculation and so on, are surpassed and largely made redundant by
electronic computers, they need to give priority to developing irreplaceable
human capabilities such as manual, artistic, emotional, relational and moral
capabilities, and the ability to ask unforeseen questions, to search for a
meaning, to reject non-sense even when it is logically coherent.
4.4.4. Fiscal reform
From the point where it takes only 1,000 hours per year or 20,000 to 30,000
hours per lifetime to create an amount of wealth equal to or greater than the
amount we create at the present time in 1,600 hours per year or 40,000 to 50,000
hours in a working life, we must all be able to obtain a real income equal to or
higher than our current salaries in exchange for a greatly reduced quantity of
work. In practice, this means that in the future we must receive our full
monthly income every month even if we work full-time only one month in every two
or six months in a year or even two years out of four, so as to complete a
personal, family or community project, or experiment with different lifestyles,
just as we now receive our full salaries during paid holidays, training courses,
possibly during periods of sabbatical leave, and so forth.
In contrast to the guaranteed social minimum granted by the state to those
unable to find regular paid work, our regular monthly income will be the normal
remuneration we have earned by performing the normal amount of labour the
economy requires each individual to supply. The fact that the amount of labour
required is so low that work can become intermittent and constitute an activity
amongst a number of others, should not be an obstacle to its being remunerated
by a full monthly income throughout one's life. This income corresponds to the
portion of socially produced wealth to which each individual is entitled by
virtue to their participation in the social process of production. It is,
however, no longer a true salary, since it is not dependent on the amount of
labour supplied (in the month or year) and is not intended to remunerate
individuals as workers. It is therefore practically impossible for this income
to be paid and guaranteed by economic units or enterprises, either in the form
of increases in salary per hour of work or through contributions paid into a
social fund. In both cases, the reduction by half of working hours, without loss
of real income, would raise the hourly cost of labour to double the present
Leaving aside problems of competitiveness, the result would be a prohibitive
rise in the relative price of highly labour-intensive services and forms of
production such as building, agriculture, maintenance and repair work, and
cultural and educational activities. This difficulty could be overcome by
implementing the following solution: enterprises would only pay for the hours of
work completed, on a negotiated wage-scale, which would thus ensure that the
real costs of production were known. The loss of salary resulting from a
reduction in working hours would be compensated from a guarantee fund which
would pay for the working hours saved due to advances in technology, at the rate
set for hours of work actually completed. This guarantee fund would be paid for
out of a tax on automated production, comparable to VAT or the duty on alcohol,
cigarettes, fuel or cars, for example. The rate of taxation of products would
rise as their production costs decreased. The less socially desirable or useful
that production, the higher this tax would be. As these taxes would be
deductible from export costs, competitiveness would not be affected. The real
income individuals receive would be made up of a direct salary and a social
income which, in non-working periods in particular, would itself be sufficient
to guarantee their normal standard of living.
The implementation of a system of political prices, reflecting the choices
society has made, and the creation of a social income indepen ent of the amount
of labour supplied, will in any case become necessary as the cost of bour in
increasingly widespread robotized production is reduced to a negligible amount.
The value of salaries distributed and the price of automated forms of production
can o y be prevented from falling through the floor by a price-and-incomes
policy by means f which society can assert its priorities and give direction and
meaning to the advance of technology. Nevertheless, there is nothing to
guarantee that society will choose the emancipation and autonomy of individuals
as its priority or its intended direction, rather than seeking to dominate and
exert even greater control over them. What direction the present social changes
will take is still an open question; it is today and wil, for the foreseeable
future remain, the central issue in social conflicts and the key question for
I have attempted to identify the meaning history could have, and to show what
humanity and the trade-union movement could derive from the technological
revolution we are witnessing at present. I have tried to indicate the direction
in which we should advance, the policies we should follow if we are to bring
this about. Events could nevertheless take a course which would miss the
possible meaning of the current technological revolution. If this happens, I can
see no other meaning in that revolution: our societies will continue to
disintegrate, to become segmented, to sink into violence, injustice and fear
I see Civil Servants of the highest level crafting the social system of the
future in what has happened since we first saw this advanced robotic and
computerised manufacturing in the 1970's. This future has all been thought out
for us in the words above we can see what has been planned.
According to a study by Wolfgang Lecher, of the WSI (the Institute of Economic
and Social Research of the DGB), the continuation of the present trend would
lead, within the next ten years or so, to the following segmentation of the
- 25 per cent will be skilled workers with permanent jobs in large firms
protected by collective wage agreements;
- 25 per cent will be peripheral workers with insecure, unskilled and badly-paid
jobs, whose work schedules vary according to the wishes of their employers and
the fluctuations in the market;
- 50 per cent will be semi-unemployed, unemployed, marginalized workers, doing
occasional or seasonal work and `odd jobs'. Already 51 per cent of the active
population in France aged between 18 and 24 fit into this category (26 per cent
unemployed, 25 per cent doing `odd jobs'); and the percentage is even higher in
Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and (especially) Britain.
The Bell Shaped IQ curve neccesitates the above break down of the workforce.
Reduction in population will result in a reduction of the High IQ, "prized",
Workers. In the face of a 300 million strong university educated middle class in
India (and 700 millions of incredibly poor lower classes) a reduction in
population will just reduce the number of intelligent people available to the
All organs of Government are at work manipulating expectations and work myth
concepts and war to get the minimum earnings acceptable to the poor.
29 Jul 2010, 10:36PM
This government has cut housing benefit for the long term unemployed because, as
everyone knows, they are lazy workshy feckless bastards.
According to some figures up to 94% of those receiving disability benefits are
being moved on to JSA.
Up to 600,000 public sector workers plus an unkown number of knock-on
redundncies in the private sector are expected. The spending review here in
scotland identified around 50,000 job cuts.
And this government in its fucking wisdom is now removing the compulsory
Can anyone, anyone at all I don't care if they are a Tory or a Lib Dem, can
anyone at all tell me
WHERE ARE THE JOBS GOING TO COME FROM?
Yet I would like to offer a new vision of the future. And it is here that all
humanity and all the Unions can put their weight behind evolution for all
A key is the amount of benefit, unearned wages, which would be acceptable to the
majority out of work. In order to stop revolution and manage the population a
contract must be worked out between the elite and the benefit scroungers. Here
an organisation, like a Union could benefit the majority.
Unearned wages, a basic income, could be given in the face of such a lack of
work accorded by right of being born. Like a Family giving pocket money, housing
and education to its children, so the country could give such patrimony, such a
share in the country company which produces earnings to satisfy the needs of the
poor on a yearly basis.
There is the analysis that because of productivity improvements in manufacturing
that no work should be available. However it simply means that House machines -
fridges, heating, air conditioning, TV are cheaper for everyone and these are
now produced in China.
This largesse can only come through an increase in the Real Physical Economy -
not the gambling Funny Money of Wall Street. This increase can only come through
cheap plentiful energy and investment in infrastructure producing
Cheap food through NAWAPA and the nuclear desalination of water,
fourth generation nuclear electrical energy can be provided, almost free for
5000 years with the uranium already mined. Housing - concrete is priced on the
cost of energy. Free education and entertainment mean a possible good life for
all humanity without the need for "work". Channeling the passion of humanity in
good directions will benefit all humanity.
ENERGY ENHANCEMENT LIFE GAMES
- A Game Worth Playing
THIS ARTICLE IS CONCERNED with games and aims.
It has been stated by Thomas Szasz that what people really need and demand from
life is not wealth, comfort or esteem but games worth playing.1 He who cannot
find a game worth playing is apt to fall prey to accidie, defined by the Fathers
of the Church as one of the Deadly Sins, but now regarded as a symptom of
sickness. Accidie is a paralysis of the will, a failure of the appetite, a
condition of generalized boredom, total disenchantment—"God, oh God, how weary,
stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!" Such a
state of mind, Szasz tells us, is a prelude to what is loosely called "mental
illness," which, though Szasz defines this illness as a myth, nevertheless fills
half the beds in hospitals and makes multitudes of people a burden to themselves
and to society.
Seek, above all, for a game worth playing. Such is the advice of the oracle to
modern man. Having found the game, play it with intensity—play as if your life
and sanity depended on it. ( They do depend on it. ) Follow the example of the
French existentialists and flourish a banner bearing the word "engagement."
Though nothing means anything and all roads are marked "No EXIT," yet seem to
offer a game worth playing, then invent one.2 For it must move as if your
movements had some purpose. If life does not be clear, even to the most clouded
intelligence, that any game is better than no game.
What sort of games does life offer? We can study Stephen Potter for tips on
"gamesmanship." We can ( and should) read Eric Berne on Games People Play.3 If
we have mathematical inclinations we can look into the work of John von Neumann
or Norbert Wiener, who devoted some of their best thinking to the elaboration of
a theory of games.4
From the Hindu scriptures we can learn of the cosmic game, the alternation of
lila and nitya, the Dance of Shiva, in which primordial unity is transformed
into multiplicity through the constant interplay of the three faunas. In the
works of the mystic novelist, Hermann Hesse, we can read of the Magic Theater in
which all life games are possible or of the game of games (Glassperlenspiel) in
which all elements of human experience are brought together in a single
What is a game? An interaction between people involving ulterior motives? Berne
uses the word in this sense in Games People Play. But a game involves more than
this. It is essentially a trial of strength or a trial of wits played within a
matrix which is defined by rules."' Rules are essential. If the rules are not
observed, the game ceases to be a game at all. A meaningful game of chess would
be impossible if one player insisted on treating all pawns as queens.
Life games reflect real life aims. And the games men choose to play indicate not
only their type, but also their level of inner development. Following Thomas
Szasz ( more or less) we can divide life games into object games and meta-games.
Object games can be thought of as games played for the attainment of material
things, primarily money and the objects which money can buy. Meta-games are
played for intangibles such as knowledge or the "salvation of the soul." In our
culture object games predominate. In earlier cultures meta-games predominated.
To the players of meta games, object games have always seemed shallow and
futile, an attitude summarized in the Gospel saying: "What shall it profit a man
if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" To the players of object
games, meta-games seem fuzzy and ill-defined, involving nebulous concepts like
beauty, truth or salvation. The whole human population of the earth can be
divided roughly into two groups, meta-game players and object-game players, the
Prosperos and the Calibans.8 The Ascenders and the Descenders The two have never
understood one another and it is safe to predict that they never will. They are,
psychologically speaking, different species of man and their conflicts
throughout the ages have added greatly to the sum of human misery.
ALL games have an
important and probably
decisive influence on
the destinies of the
players under ordinary
social conditions; but
some offer more
others for lifelong
careers and are more
likely to involve
bystanders. This group
may be conveniently
called Life Games Which
we work on in Energy
Enhancement Level 3. It
"Defaulter," "Kick Me,"
"Now I've Got You, You
Son of a Bitch," "See
What You Made Me Do" and
variants. They merge on
the one side with
marital games, and on
the other with those of
the underworld. All
these games are Implant
Distractions which are a
total waste of time,
only removable by Energy
Their use is promoted by
(Psychopathic Killing as
an advertisement for
people to join the Army)
(Dancing and sweet love
to get you to
enter into the
Householder Game and
create a massive
Population so that a
massive army can be generated) and childish
novels as attention
distracters from the
Life games are a big
subject to do with
purpose, one of the
energies of the Will, of
the Avatar of Synthesis.
What is your purpose,
your mission in this
What is distracting you
from your purpose?
takes place not
when the debt is
when it is
TV, for example,
is not the
who has finally
paid off his
the young man
who moves into
his new home
with his family,
the papers he
has just signed
and which will
bind him for
most of his
After he has
for his children
regarded as a
for whom society
must provide not
comforts but a
This is the life
of Nothing. You
come into this
some money, pay
the bills for
the hospital and
you leave with
As this is
written, a sow
across a desk.
If he is turned
over on his
back, one can
struggle he goes
through to get
on his feet
this interval he
has a "purpose"
in his life.
can almost see
the look of
victory on his
face. Off he
goes, and one
can imagine him
telling his tale
at the next
meeting of sow
bugs, looked up
to by the
generation as an
insect who has
And yet mixed
smugness is a
Now that he has
come out on top,
he will return
in the hope of
might be worth
marking his back
with ink, so as
to recognize him
if he risks it.
animal, the sow
bug. No wonder
he has survived
for millions of
This is the
Position of Eric
Berne which is
true of any game
Master Game of
All games are played according to rules. In man-made games such as poker the
rules are imposed by the laws of probability (odds against a straight are 254 to
1, against a flush, 508 to 1.) or they are dependent on special limitations
(pawns and other pieces in chess each having its own move). In life games, rules
are imposed by natural, economic or social conditions. The player must both
remember the aim and know the rules. Apart from this, the quality of his game
depends on his own innate characteristics.
Great chess masters are born, not made. Great football players are bound to have
certain physical characteristics. The game a man can play is determined by his
type ( of which more later). Ho who tries to play a game for which his type does
not fit him violates his Own essence with consequences that are often
The Low Games
The main types of life
games are shown in Table I.
in Trough is an object
game pure and simple. The aim is to get one's nose in the trough as deeply as
possible, guzzle as much as possible, el¬bow the other hogs aside as forcefully
as possible. A strong Hog in Trough player has all the qualities with which
communist propa¬ganda endows the capitalist, insatiable greed, ruthlessness,
cun¬ning, selfishness. Pure Hog in Trough is not considered entirely respeetahly
iii the contemporary U.S.A. and is generally played today with a certain
moderation that would have seemed sissy to the giants oi the game who savagely
exploited the resources of the continent a century or so ago. Although the 4
trillions of dollars stolen out of the system by the latest 2008 housing bubble
and by the yearly bubbles for 200 years - The rules of the game have become more
complex and the game itself more subtle.
Cock on Dunghill
is played for fame. It is
designed primarily to inflate the false ego and to keep it inflated. Players of
Cock on Dunghill are hungry to be known and talked about. They want, in a word,
to be celebrities, whether or not they have anything worth celebrating. The game
is practically forced upon people in some professions ( actors, politicians),
who are compelled to maintain a "public image" which may have no relationship to
the thing they really are. But the real player of Cock on Dunghill, whose
happiness depends entirely on the frequency with which he (or she) sees his name
in the papers, does not much care about public images. For him any publicity is
better than no publicity. He would rather be well known as a scoundrel than not
known at all.
The Moloch Game
is the deadliest of all games, played for "glory" or for "victory," by various
grades of professional mankillers (trained to regard such killing as creditable
provided those they kill favor a different religion or political system and can
thus be collectively referred to as "the enemy." "They were all bad" - Big Arnie.
These people are created for a purpose and that purpose is the creation of
poverty, low intellect - dumming down, in order to kill off the intellectual
elite every few years - the cull, and control humanity for thousands of years.
Moloch Game is a purely human game. Other mammals, though they fight with
members of their own species, observe a certain decent moderation and rarely
fight to the death.9 But the players of the Moloch Game have no moderation.
Lured on by some glittering dream of glory or power, they kill with boundless
enthusiasm, destroying whole cities, devastating entire countries. The game is
played so passionately and with such abandon that nothing, neither pity,
decency, sympathy or even common sense, is allowed to interfere with the
destructive orgy. As the devotees of the god Moloch sacrificed their children to
the idol, so the players of the Moloch Game sacrifice the lives of thousands of
young males in the name of some glittering abstraction ( formerly "glory," now
more generally "de¬fence") or a silly phrase couched in a dead language: "Dulce
et decorum est pro patria mori." - It is good and beautiful to die for ones
Some of the war poets (World War I vintage) had bitter things to say about this
"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori."
(Wilfred Owen, Poems [New York: The Viking Press, 1931].)
But so great is the power wielded by the players of this game, exerted through
various forms of coercion and blackmail, that the thousands of young men
involved make little protest. They "go to their graves like beds," not daring to
expose the emptiness of the glittering words on which the Moloch Game is based.
These three games, Hog in Trough, Cock on Dunghill and the Moloch Game, are all
more or less pathological activities. The players who "win" win nothing that
they can truly call their own. "Hog in Trough" may emerge twice as rich as
Croesus only to find himself embittered, empty and unhappy, at a loss to know
what to do with the wealth he has amassed.
"Cock on Dunghill"
may make himself so famous
that everyone knows his name only to realize that this fame of his is a mere
shadow and a source of inconvenience.
Players of the Moloch
Game may wade in blood
up to the ears only to find that the victory or glory for which they sacrificed
a million lives are empty words, like richly bedizened whores who lure men to
their destruction. There is a criminal ele¬ment in all these games because, in
every instance, they do harm both to the player and to the society of which he
forms a part. So warped, however, are the standards by which men measure
crimi¬nality that players of these games are more apt to be regarded as "pillars
of society" than dangerous lunatics who should be exiled to remote islands where
they can do no harm to themselves or Others.
Between the higher and the lower games is the neutral game, the Householder
Game, the aim of which is simply to raise a family and provide it with the
necessities of life. One cannot call it either a meta-game or an object game. It
is the basic biological game on which the continuation of the human race
depends. It is also possible to find, in every human society, a certain number
of nonplayers, people who, due to some constitutional defect, are unable to find
any game worth playing, who are, as a result, chronic outsiders, who feel
alienated from society and generally become mentally deranged, tend to become
antisocial and criminal
The High Games
The Meta-Games are rarely played in their pure form but are perverted in order
to maintain dumming down. Money and wealth depend upon human invention to
maintain the increase in human population, interaction, culture, genius and joy
in life. Without this genius, humanity is set in the pattern of poverty seen on
this planet for the last 100,000 years.
The Art Game
is directed toward the expression of an inner awareness defined as beauty. The
awareness is purely subjective. One mans beauty be another man's horror. The
beautiful of one age can seem ugly to another. But bad players of the art game
have no inner awareness all. They are technically proficient and imitate those
who ha yg awareness, conforming to the fashion whatever that fashion may he. The
whole Art Game, as played today, is heavily taintede with commercialism, the
greed of the collector pervades it like a bad smell
It is further complicated by the tendency to show off that afflicts all
contemporary artists, whether they be painters, sculptors, writers or composers.
As all traditional concepts of the beautiful have been abandoned, anything goes,
just so long, as it is new and startling. This makes it almost impossible to
tell whether a work of art corresponds to some inner awareness of the artist or
merely shows that he was trying to be clever 11
The Science Game
is also rarely played in its pure form. Much of it is mere jugglery, a tiresome
ringing of changes on a few basic
themes by investigators who are little more than technicians with higher
The Science Game
has become so complex, so vast
and so expensive that more or less routine enterprises are given preference.
Anything truly original tends to be excluded by that formidable array of
committees that stands between the scientist and the money he needs for
research. He must either tailor his research plans to fit the preconceived ideas
of the committee or find himself without funds. Moreover, in the Science Game as
in the Art Game there is much insincerity and a frenzied quest for status that
sparks endless puerile arguments over priority of publication. The game is
played not so much for knowledge as to bolster the scientist's ego.
To the Art Game and the
Science Game we must add the Religion Game,
a meta-game played for an aim loosely defined as the attainment of salvation.
The Religion Game, as played in the past, had a fairly well-defined set of
rules. It was essentially a game played by paid priests of one sort or another
for their personal benefit. To compel their fellowmen to play the game, the
priests invented various gods, with whom they alone could communicate, whose
wrath they alone could assuage, whose cooperation they alone could enlist. He
who wanted help from the gods or who wished to avert their wrath had to pay the
priests to obtain his ends. The game was further enlivened, and the hold of the
priests on the minds of their victims further strengthened, by the inven¬tion of
two after-death states, a blissful heaven and a terrible hell. To stay out of
the hell and get into the heaven, the player of the Religion Game had to pay the
priests, or his relatives had to pay them after his death. This "pay the priest"
aspect of the Religion Game has caused several cynics to define it as the
world's oldest confidence trick designed to enable certain unscrupulous
individuals to make a profit out of the credulity and suggestibility of their
fellow men by interceding on their behalf with some nebulous god or ensuring
their entry into an equally nebulous heaven. It was this aspect of the Religion
Game that caused Sigmund Freud to ex¬claim, more in sorrow than anger: "The
whole thing is so patently infantile, so incongruous with reality, that for one
whose attitude to y is friendly it is painful to think that the great majority
of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life." 12
A hideous aspect of the Religion Game resulted from the insistence by certain
priests that their brand of god was the only god, that their form of the game
was the only permissible form. So eager were these priests to keep the game
entirely in their own hands that they did not hesitate to persecute, torture or
kill any who happened to wish to play the game by other rules.
This practice was started by the Jews, whose enthusiasm for their one and only
and very jealous father-god justified those slaughterings the accounts of which
constitute so much of the bulk of the Old Testament. As well has how to create
an altar of sacrifice, how big, where to put the holes for the blood to run out
The Policy of the "Long War" is that of economic destruction to keep humanity at
the level of the beast. In Current lexicon, "To bomb them back into the Stone
Age" in order to maintain the control of humanity exerted for thousands of
years. "It is not enough that I succeed, everyone else must fail" - Gengis Khan,
who was paid in Machiavelian manner by the Catholic Popes to attack Islam from
behind. The wars of Napolean and the First and Second World wars to destroy the
economic capacity of Europe. Also Iraq, Iran, Afganistan. The practice was
eagerly adopted by the elite of the so-called Christians, who, not satisfied
with slaughtering Moslems and Jews, turned like rabid dogs on one another in a
series of ghastly religious wars, Protestant versus Catholic. The Moslems, who
borrowed the rules of their Religion Game from Jews and Christians alike, did
not fail to copy the bad habits of both. Believers were exhorted in the Koran to
wage war on the infidel, the slaughter of unbelievers being defined as one sure
way of gaining entry into the Moslem heaven ( a much lusher paradise than the
rather insipid affair offered by their priests to conforming Christians).
It would simplify our account of the games if we could offer the above
description of the Religion Game without further comment. Unfortunately, this is
impossible. Simply to define the Religion Game as the world's oldest con game is
as "patently infantile" ( to borrow Freud's words) as it is to take seriously
the anthropomorphic father-god floating in his bed sheet somewhere in the
stratosphere surrounded by cherubs and seraphs and other improbable species of
celestial fauna (the "gaseous vertebrate" so derided by Ernst Haeckel).
For it must be obvious to any fair-minded observer that there is another element
in the Religion Game besides that of playing on the credulity of believers and
selling them entry permits into a phoney heaven. All the great religions offer
examples of saints and mystics who obviously did not play the game for material
gain, whose indifference to personal comfort, to wealth and to fame was so
complete as to arouse our wonder and admiration. It is equally obvious from the
writings and sayings of these mystics that they were not so naive as to take
seriously either the gaseous vertebrate or heaven with its golden harps or hell
with its ovens. Obviously they played the game by entirely different rules and
for entirely different aims from those of the priestly con men, who sold trips
to heaven for hard cash and insisted on payment in advance (no refund if not
fully satisfied, either).
What game did these mystics play? Within the matrix imposed by their religion,
these players were attempting the most difficult game of all, the Master Game,
the aim of which is the attainment of full consciousness or real awakening. It
was natural for these players to play their game within a religious matrix. The
basic idea underlying all the great religions is that man is asleep, that he
lives amid dreams and delusions, that he cuts himself off from the universal
consciousness (the only meaningful definition of God) to crawl into the narrow
shell of a personal ego. To emerge from this narrow shell, to regain union with
the universal consciousness, to pass from the darkness of the ego-centered
illusion into the light of the non-ego, this was the real aim of the Religion
Game as defined by the great teachers, Jesus, Gautama, Krishna, Mahavira, Lao-tze
and the Platonic Socrates.
Among the Moslems this teaching was promulgated by the Sufis, who praised in
their poems the delights of reunion with the Friend. To all these players, it
was obvious that the Religion Game as played by the paid priests, with its
shabby confidence tricks, promises, threats, persecutions and killings, was
merely a hideous travesty of the real game, a terrible confirmation of the truth
of the statement: "This people praise me with their lips but their hearts are
far from me. . . They have eyes but see not, ears and hear not, neither do they
So little did they understand that, at least within the matrix of the
"Christian" religion, it actually became physically dangerous during several
centuries to try to play the Master Game at all. Serious players found
themselves accused of heresy, imprisoned by the Inquisitors, tortured, burned
alive. It became impossible to play the game openly. To survive at all, one had
to adopt a disguise, pretend that one's real interest was alchemy or magic, both
of which were permitted by the priests, who did not understand the real
significance of either.
Alchemy was particularly safe as its stated aim, the transmutation of base
metals into gold, posed no challenge whatever to the authority of the priests.
Therefore it was behind the mask of alchemy that many players of the Master Game
concealed their real aims, formulating the rules of the game in an elaborate
secret code in which the transmutations of substances within the body were
expressed in terms of mercury, sulfur, salt and other ele¬ments. There were, of
course, numerous alchemists who took the whole science at its face value, who
believed that the Great Work referred to the production of metallic gold, who
impoverished and frequently poisoned themselves in the quest for the great
secret, and incidentally laid the foundations of modern chemistry. But for the
serious alchemist the transmutation involved the formation of the pure spiritual
golden aura - Aurum Non Vulgi - Not Fool's Gold, or the genesis of the
homunculus, both of which symbolized the creation of fully conscious, cosmically
oriented man out of the ego-centered puppet that goes by the name of man but is
really only a pathetic caricature of what man could be. So well did the
alchemists conceal their secrets that it took all the intuitive genius of Carl
Gustav Jung (perhaps the leading authority on the subject) a large part of his
life to unravel this mystery.13
Today no danger is involved in playing or attempting to play the Master Game.
The tyranny of the priests has more or less ended. The Religion Game, though
often as much of a con game as ever, is played without threats of torture and
death. A good deal of the old venom has gone out of the game; in fact, it is
even possible for priests who wear round their necks the label "Catholic" to be
moderately polite to those who wear the once hated label "Protestant." So the
game is now played with a certain amount of restraint not because men have
become more tolerant, but because the whole issue of heaven versus hell,
salvation versus damnation, is no longer taken very seriously. Even the
theologians admit that the old father-god ( Haeckel's "gaseous vertebrate") is
dead as far as anyone above the Jehovah's Witness level is concerned. The fight
today is between rival political systems rather than rival theologies.
But although it is safe to play the Master Game, this has not served to make it
popular. It still remains the most demanding and difficult of games and, in our
society, there are few who play.
Contemporary man, hypnotized by the glitter of his own gadgets, has little
contact with his inner world, concerns himself with outer, not inner space. But
the Master Game is played entirely in the inner world, a vast and complex
territory about which men know very little. The aim of the game is true
awakening, full development of the powers latent in man.
The game can be played only by people whose observations of themselves and
others have led them to a certain conclusion, namely, that man's ordinary state
of consciousness, his so-called waking state, is not the highest level of
consciousness of which he is capable. In fact, this state is so far from real
awakening that it could appropriately be called a form of somnambulism, a
condition of "waking sleep." 14
Once a person has reached this conclusion, he is no longer able to sleep
comfortably. A new appetite develops within him, the hunger for real awakening,
for full consciousness. He realizes that he sees, hears, knows only a tiny
fraction of what he could see, hear and know, that he lives in the poorest,
shabbiest of the rooms in his inner dwelling, but that he could enter other
rooms, beauti¬ful and filled with treasures, the windows of which look out on
eternity and infinity. In these rooms he would transcend his petty personal self
and undergo spiritual rebirth, "the rising from the tomb" which is the theme of
so many myths and the basis of all the mystery religions, including
He who arrives at this conclusion is ready to play the Master Game. But though
he may be ready, he does not necessarily know how to play. He cannot draw upon
instinctive knowledge, for na¬ture has not endowed men with such instincts. She
provides for man's development up to the age of puberty, she endows him with the
instinct to propagate his kind, but after this she leaves him to his own
devices. Far from helping man to develop further into the harmonious and
enlightened being he might become, the blind force of evolution has actually put
obstacles in his way.15
One who would play the Master Game is therefore compelled to seek a teacher, a
skilled player who knows the rules. But where will he find such a teacher? A
materialistic, spiritually impoverished culture can offer no instructions to the
aspirant. The huge, highly specialized training centers that call themselves
universities are obviously lacking in universality. They do not put the emphasis
on expansion of consciousness first and acquisition of specialized knowledge
second. They educate only a small part of man's totality. They cram the
intellectual brain with facts, pay some lip service to the education of the
physical body by encouraging idiotic competitive sports. But true education, in
the sense of expansion of consciousness and the harmonious development of man's
latent powers, they do not offer.
Here it is sufficient to say that the Master Game can never be made easy to
play. It demands all that a man has, all his feelings, all his thoughts, his
entire resources, physical and spiritual. If he tries to play it in a
halfhearted way or tries to get results by unlawful means, he runs the risk of
destroying his own potential. For this reason it is better not to embark on the
game at all than to play it halfheartedly.
The present site offers a synthesis of many methods derived from different
sources, all of which are designed to help the practitioner to emerge from the
darkness of waking sleep into the light of full consciousness. Purely for
convenience, these methods are referred to collectively as Energy Enhancement,
Enhancement because they bring about a higher synthesis, a new level of order
within the psyche. Energy Enhancement is based on the idea that man can create
by his own efforts a new being within himself ( the second birth). As a result,
he can enjoy certain experiences, exercise certain powers, attain certain
insights that are quite inconceivable to man in his once-born state.
Energy Enhancement involves the highest form of creativity of which man is
capable, the creation of a truly inner-directed being out of a helpless
other-directed slave. This creative work involves every aspect of man's
behavior, the instinctive, motor, emotional and intellectual. It involves an
understanding of the chemistry of the body and of the mind. It involves a study
of type and all that pertains to type, the strengths and weaknesses that type
It involves a study of creative activity, arts, crafts, techniques of various
kinds and of the effects these activities produce on levels of consciousness. It
involves a study of events on the large scale and on the small, an awareness of
the processes taking place in human and nonhuman communities that affect the
individual adversely or otherwise. For man cannot be studied apart from his
environment and he who would know himself must also know the world in which he
The theory of Energy Enhancement can be studied in books." The practice is a
different matter. For this a teacher is necessary. One who tries to practice the
method without a teacher almost inevitably encounters certain difficulties which
he cannot surmount. The illusion-creating mechanism in man's psyche does not
cease to operate merely because a man decides to practice Creative Psychology.
In fact, in such a one, it may operate all the more actively. So he may enjoy
all sorts of pseudo-experiences, the result not of an expansion of consciousness
but of the workings of his own imagination. A teacher can help him to sort out
the true from the false, can warn him about the traps that lie in his path.
Furthermore, the solitary practitioner of Energy Enhancement lives today in a
culture that is more or less totally opposed to the aims he has set himself,
that does not recognize the existence of the Master Game, and regards players of
this game as queer or slightly mad.
The player thus confronts
great opposition from the culture in which he lives and must strive with forces
which tend to bring his game to a halt before it has even started. Only by
finding a teacher and becoming part of the group of pupils that that teacher has
collected about him can the player find encouragement and support. Otherwise he
simply forgets his aim, or wanders off down some side road and loses himself.
Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find such teachers and such groups.
They do not advertise, they
operate under disguises. Moreover, there exists an abundance of frauds and fools
who pass themselves off as teachers without having any right to do so. So the
would-be player of the Master Game encounters at the outset one of the most
difficult tests in his career. He must find a teacher who is neither a fool nor
a fraud and convince that teacher that he, the would-be pupil, is worth
teaching. His future development depends largely on the skill with which he
performs this task.20
DON MINIHANES COURSE REPORT - LAST
WEEK OF ENERGY ENHANCEMENT REIKI MASTERY OPTION
"I am now in the last week of the course and I feel like a
totally different person. I have regained myself and have been given from
nothing having no psychic vision at all at the start of the energy enhancement
course, a clarity of psychic
vision that is breathtaking."
"As we practiced on each other we
came very quickly to realise this. I could literally feel the energy moving
inside each chakra as the other person worked within me from several meters away
and when I worked on the other person I could see me projecting energy to them
and could see where the blockages were within their chakras.
I could force the energy from my
centres into their centres and clean their centre bringing the energy full
circle back to me. You could tell the state of their chakras by the amount of
energy returning to your own centre and this was achieved by mind power only.
Before I came here Satchi said he
would teach me to do it in this way and I was sceptical about this claim. I
could never envision me having psychic vision, but I have now, I can now do
astonishingly powerful Reiki sessions on people without going any where near
them and distance healing over any distance is a piece of cake, incredible
"I am totally de-stressed and have expanded in every
way. I feel stronger and fitter and much more mentally agile than I have ever
felt in my life. The fog and confusion of life has gone and I feel that I have
just received the inside information on everything.
I am ready for anything and
am wide awake. I am full of the most incredible energy imaginable and have
Energy Enhancement Reiki
that is so powerful it staggers me. I know a thing or two about Reiki and had a
very strong Reiki connection before I got here, now I have a connection that is
beyond description and I have yet to undergo the second initiation this week and
then the masters. I have opted to take this as an extra and for anyone who is
interested, I believe this is beyond anything you will ever experienced
I am now equipped with life tools and healing tools that one
only dreams of and there is nothing out there in the world that will ever faze
me again. I am absolutely delighted that I decided to come here, because this
experience has changed me, for the good of me and for all those that I will
touch when I leave here. I am so excited and can’t wait to start exploring my
new found talents"
THOMAS BLAIRS REPORT JULY 9TH 2010
I have been to see Satchi & Devi almost once a year since
2005, and I have to say, that I have never been let down. Every time they greet
me at the airport I am received in an atmosphere of great warmth, positivity and
generosity, into which I soon relax and know that it’s safe to be me with all my
“luggage”. In June 2010 I recently went on a 6 week course they were holding in
In the weeks I spent with them it was clear that the
blockages I was removing with their help, were increasing the amount of energy
flowing through me during meditation. I have never been one to naturally take to
meditating, but with these new experiences of Samadhi (sam – with, adhi –
light), it was certainly making it possible for me to sit for much longer
I must concede, that on more than one occasion I started to
object and complain about what we were doing, and the methods employed to
transmute the blockages in my being. Satchi & Devi would patiently wait for me
to see that the person complaining was not the real me, it was not the soul
infused personality that I really am, but rather the voice of the blockages that
did not want to go. There are different types of blockages, and of course, the
easy ones are the first to go, but I was now experiencing some really tough
ones. They can certainly be very cunning these blockages, and its thanks to the
experience and energy of Satchi & Devi that I was able to continue on my way to
overcome some really strong blockages.
My experiences of Samadhi: The first time I experienced
anything other than a calm mind in meditation was actually the very first course
I attended with Satchi & Devi in Spain. The experience of energy surging through
my body was first felt in my 1st and 2nd chakras. It was like having champagne
bubbling away in my lower abdomen. Before I talk about my experience here in
India, I think it would be useful to describe briefly and partly a technique
used to commence the flow of energy and so the entry into Samadhi. It’s to do
with using the mind to visualise chakras above the head and below the base
chakra to infinity. For me, the concept of infinity and trying to imagine this
distance above my head, kind of triggered a bypass switch in my mind, and all of
a sudden my mind was quite literally replaced by a surge of electricity and
light – Samadhi.
"If the Map is Correct, Experiences Follow" - Satchidanand
This time here in India I was experiencing different levels
of Samadhi. During meditation I notice the attainment of a constant flow of
energy through my being which gets more and more intense, and rises further and
further up my body, the higher I go up the chakras above my head to an
inconceivably bright and intense sun. Quite often my breathing slows or even
stops a while at the head of an in-breath as my head feels infused with light.
My body feels like it is being purified, and in fact it is, as light is being
shone through me. I always finish the meditation feeling more positive about my
life and the world around me and a feeling that really everything is ok.
Over and above this, I receive what I would describe as
bolts of light lasting between 2-5 seconds.
During these brief moments, I am no longer a body with
senses or even a sense of weighing or being anything, and am unable to think.
"In the Buddhafield we find we can Move On More Quickly!" -
It’s my experience that the body is like a resistor in an
electronic circuit. The more blockages we have, the greater the resistance to
the light. By removing a significant number of blockages, I have reduced the
resistance of my gross and subtle body, and am now able to sit in Samadhi with
ease. And of course, the more light I can sit in, the more blockages I can
remove - now that’s what I call spiritual progress!
1. Szasz, T. S., The Myth of
Mental Illness (New York: Hoeber-Harper, 1961).
2. "You're free. Choose. That is, invent." Sartre, J. P., Existentialism and
Human Emotions (New York: Philosophical Library, 1957).
3. S. Berne, Eric, Games People Play (London: Deutsch, 1966).
4. Von_ Neumann, J., and Morgenstein, 0., Theory of Games and Economic Behavior
(Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1947); Wiener, Norbert, The Human
Use of Human Beings (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, 1954).
6. -, Magister Ludi (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1957).
7. See section on "matrices and codes" in Koestler, Arthur, The Act of Creation
(London: Hutchinson, 1964).
8. Shakespeare, W., The Tempest. This is the most esoteric of all Shakespeare's
plays. Its central theme work is the alchemical magnum Opus. For a modern
variation on this theme, the reader should consult Fowles, J., The Magus
(London: Jonathan Cape, 1966).
9. Carthy, J. D., and Ebling, F. J., editors, The Natural History of Aggression
(New York: Academic Press, 1965).
10. Some of the war poets (World War I vintage) had bitter things to say about
"If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori." (Wilfred Owen, Poems [New
York: The Viking Press, 1931].)
11. "Creative thought, creative art or creative poetry are all excuses to expose
the world to aberrations born in the sullied minds of the so-called intellectual
elite of the West. The true creative artist never cries his creativeness to the
skies. The true intellectual never claims to be one. It is the unfulfilled, the
unsuccessful, the lazy and the foolish who weld together old bicycles and claim
to be creative. They are sur¬rounded by their kind who shower the rubbish with
praises so that, in their turn, they may be the recipients of praise." (Shiekh
Abdul Muhl in Rafael Lefort's The Teachers of Gurdjieff [London: V. Gollancz,
1966], p. 115).
12. Freud, Sigmund, Civilisation and Its Discontents (Hogarth Press, 1963).
13. Jung's writings on alchemy are at times as obscure as the texts they
interpret. The shortest and most lucid of his commentaries on this subject will
be found in the chapter "The Work" in his Memories, Dreams and Reflections (Routledge
and Collins, 1963)
14. This term, "waking sleep," is one of several technical terms used in the
system of C. Gurdjieff, as intrepreted by P. D. Ouspensky. See Ouspensky's In
Search of the Miraculous (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World).
15. For an account of the possible evolutionary origin of these obstacles, see
Science and Salvation (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1962).
16. An attempt to outlaw use of peyote by members of the Native American Church
was made by the legislature of the State of California but was ruled
unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court.
11. It must be admitted that Patanjali, the great Hindu commentator on yoga,
describes "simples" (ausadhi) along with samadhi (roughly, a state of
meditation) among the means of attaining the siddhis (yogic powers) but ". . .
hemp and similar drugs produced ecstasy and not the yogic samadhi." See Mircea
Eliade's book in note 19. According to the latter authority the use of hemp,
opium or other narcotics that belongs properly to shamanism, and to decadent
shamanism at that.
12. "Verily there are many hard and almost insurmountable obstacles in Yoga, yet
the Yogi should go on with his practice at all hazards; even were his life to
come to the throat." Siva Samhita, translated by Vasu, R.B.S.C. (Lahore, 1888;
reprinted in Allahabad, 1914).
13. Energy Enhancement, a modern synthesis, combines physiology and psychology,
eliminates the artificial barrier created between them by dualistic theories
separating mind and matter. There is no single formulation of the teaching. It
cannot be learned from books, but only by practice under the guidance of a
teacher, P. D. Ouspensky, G. Gurdjieff and others. See Ouspensky's In Search of
the Miraculous, op. cit.; and his A New Model of the Universe (London: Kegan
Paul, 1938); Gurdjieff, G., All and Everything (New York: Harcourt, Brace and
Co., 1958); Gurdjieff, G,, Meetings with Remarkable Men (New York: E. P. Dutton,
1964). References will be made in this book to the "Gurdjieffian System," but
the term is used only for convenience. The studies of Rafael Lefort in The
Teachers of Gurdjieff (London: V. Gollanez, 1966)
Although it must be repeatedly emphasized that little can be learned from books,
reading may be of some value in preparing the student and helping him to define
what he needs to Know. The student, however, should beware of substituting mere
reading for actual practice and guard against losing himself in the jungles of
terminology and the deserts of mere scholasticism. The following books may prove
Bernard, Theos, Hatha Yoga (London: Rider and Co., 1950).
Eliade, Mircea, Yoga: Immortality and Freedom (New York: Pantheon Books, 1958).
Evans-Wentz, W. Y., editor, The Tibetan Book of the Dead (London, Oxford
University Press, 1935).
Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines (London: Oxford University Press, 1935).
Frankl, V. E., Man's Search for Meaning (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1963).
Idries Shah, The Sufis (London: W. H. Allen, 1964).
Jacobs, H., Western Psychotherapy and Hindu Sadhana (London:Allen and Unwin,
James, William, On Vital Reserves: The Energies of Men (New York: Holt, 1939).
The Varieties of Religious Experience (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1929).
Maslow, A. H., Toward a Psychology of Being (New York: Van Nostrand, 1962).
Mishra, R. W., The Textbook of Yoga Psychology (New York: The Julian Press,
Watts, Alan, Psychotherapy East and West (New York: Pantheon Books, 1961).
-, The Way of Zen (New York: Pantheon Books, 1957).
20. Madame Alexandra David-Neel has described in some detail the trials and
tribulations of would-be initiates in Tibet during their search for a teacher.
Admission to the Way is never made easy. Overcoming the obstacles deliberately
put in the path demands heroic efforts on the part of the student. See David-Neel,
Alexandra, Magic and Mystery in Tibet (London: Souvenir Press, 1967), Chapter V.