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Page added on July 26, 2013

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Can Nuclear Energy Save Detroit?

Nuclear Detroit

In 1966, the Fermi I nuclear power plant, the only liquid metal cooled breeder reactor that provided commercial electricity in the United States, suffered a partial melt when an internal reactor component moved and partially blocked coolant flow.

Fermi I was repaired by 1970 and restored to operating status for a couple of years, but its performance was not good. As a one of a kind reactor, its costs were not competitive, so it was decommissioned in 1972. (In 1972, power companies could buy oil for $2 per barrel.) The partial melting of the reactor, which was located about 30 miles from Detroit, became the subject of a popular antinuclear book by John Fuller, published by Reader’s Digest titled We Almost Lost Detroit.

On Thursday, July 18, 2013, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, saddled with $18 billion worth of obligations with few ways of raising the funds required to pay them. The once great industrial city has suffered from several decades worth of massive exodus of both people and businesses; its population is about half of what it was 20 years ago. It is literally withering away.

On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, American Atomics, a company that almost no one has ever heard of, issued a press release offering to come to Detroit and help the city rebuild its former prosperity.

American Atomics is presenting a plan to community leaders in Detroit, Michigan, offering to locate the company’s new factory and other operations in that economically strapped city. The plan, claimed to generate between 500,000 and 1 million new jobs in Detroit over the next 10 years, includes building the world’s largest factory, as well as guaranteeing to supply Detroit with electricity at a flat rate of 2¢ per kilowatt-hour for both businesses and residences, beginning in 5 years.

Full details about the somewhat audacious plan are available at An Offer To The City Of Detroit. Interestingly enough, the technology that the company plans to develop into mass produced small nuclear power plants uses liquid metal cooling, something that has not been used in commercial nuclear plants in the United States since Fermi 1. (It has been used in a number of prototype and test reactors including the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) and the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR)).

I’ll have more about this later, but I’d like to leave you with a music video with a haunting refrain – “We almost lost Detroit – this time“. I’m sure there are at least some Atomic Insights readers who remember what the city was like when it was a booming manufacturing powerhouse. Perhaps the audacious American Atomics plan will help it recover.

atomic insights



14 Comments on "Can Nuclear Energy Save Detroit?"

  1. BillT on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 1:43 pm 

    Promise them anything …

    Another techie dream …

    In 10 years Detroit will be deserted along with a lot of other cities in the world. And these grandiose ideas will be dead with them.

  2. Kenz300 on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 2:47 pm 

    Ask the people of Fukishima how much they like nuclear power….. The disaster at Fukishima continues today with no end in sight.

    Nuclear’s swan SONGS | SmartPlanet

    http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/take/nuclears-swan-songs/843?tag=nl.e660&s_cid=e660&ttag=e660&ftag=

  3. TIKIMAN on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 3:47 pm 

    A nuclear bomb would save Detroit.

    Clear out the dcum of humanity.

  4. noobtube on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 4:06 pm 

    I think the scum of humanity are the ones who call others the scum of humanity.

  5. Plantagenet on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 4:21 pm 

    The Detroit City Council is more interested in passing resolutions attacking George Zimmerman than it is in attracting businesses to Detroit to provide jobs for its citizens.

    There isn’t a prayer that Detroit will invite the American Atomics Corporation to build their factory in Detroit.

  6. noobtube on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 4:34 pm 

    And the racists are more interested in attacking black people than actually fixing any problems in Detroit.

  7. GregT on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 5:09 pm 

    Detroit is only a precursor of things to come. Industrial society is beginning to power down.

    Governments and Corporations are a big part of the problem, not the solution.

  8. Norm on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 9:15 pm 

    Wow. The Atomic Ghetto. That’s such a catchy phrase, I don’t know if its a business plan, or a rock band.

  9. noobtube on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 10:19 pm 

    Or maybe it is the reality that the racist trash have created for the world.

  10. GregT on Fri, 26th Jul 2013 11:58 pm 

    It has long been a Zionist strategy to pit different races and religions against one other. Divide and conquer.

    It would appear that their plan is still working.

  11. Ricardo on Sat, 27th Jul 2013 1:55 am 

    The same story with black people, yo can’t take a monkey out of the jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of the monkey.

  12. Ricardo on Sat, 27th Jul 2013 1:57 am 

    Correction: you can take a monkey out of the jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of the monkey.

  13. DC on Sat, 27th Jul 2013 2:14 am 

    LoL! Seriously?

    Too funny….

    Q/The plan, claimed to generate between 500,000 and 1 million new jobs in Detroit over the next 10 years, includes building the world’s largest factory, as well as guaranteeing to supply Detroit with electricity at a flat rate of 2¢ per kilowatt-hour for both businesses and residences, beginning in 5 years.

    Its way to early for April fools day. 2 cents a Kw/h ROFL!

  14. Terrance Stuart on Sat, 27th Jul 2013 11:54 am 

    Contrary to some views, we will continue to get more urbanized. There is no energy crisis. Recent developments in nanotechnology make solar very effective. Nuclear power will outlast our species. Oil is made everyday in the interior of the earth and with proper education of females around the earth we see a slow down in population growth in the those countries here implemented.

    Bring in 50k of Chinese into Detroit—people who work for a living you will have another Vancouver in the Midwest in 15 years. We have had a persistent problem with governance in this country and it shows in Detroit. We have a lazy problem in this country, which includes intellectually and physically challenged people that have college and university degrees but cannot synthesize thoughts and find work and effort to be beneath them—that is our energy crisis — hopefully we are at Peak Indolence.

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