MoJo Nukes Convo: Jonas Siegel Highlights


Jonas%20Siegel%20head%20shot.jpgJonas Siegel is editor of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a media organization that focuses on the intersection of science and security, and has covered nuclear weapons and energy issues for the past five years.

Although Siegel is in awe of nuclear’s amazing energy-generating power—”a pound of uranium 235 has more than 2 million times the energy content of a pound of coal,” he says—he acknowledges that so far the industry has been hindered by safety issues. The industry must address the risk of nuclear proliferation and waste storage if it’s to become a part of our future mix of energy-providers, Siegel says.

Check out some of Siegel’s other views, below, as expressed in last week’s Blue Marble expert-reader conversation:

“One of the most vexing aspects of the current system is that it allows … the same uranium enrichment facilities that enrich fuel for power production can also enrich uranium for nuclear weapons. The plants that reprocess spent fuel after it is taken out of a reactor can be used to make additional fuel—or plutonium for nuclear weapons.”

“Just because there are attendant proliferation risks with developing nuclear energy in some countries doesn’t mean that the same risks exist everywhere. Each type of reactor has its own waste, proliferation, and safety challenges—and its own advantages.”

“Why should the United States be allowed to enrich uranium and reprocess spent fuel, while it is asking other countries, for example Iran, to suspend its uranium enrichment activities?”

“I don’t think that thieves will try to steal spent fuel from U.S. reactors, for the many reasons outlined above. The security record of existing plants, however, is not stellar.”

Our readers had plenty of questions, and comments, for Siegel. Their highlights are below:

“If the usual civilian-style reactor is unsafe, why can’t we use reactors similar to the ones being built for the U.S. Navy? The Navy has operated nuclear-powered vessels for over 50 years without a single reactor accident. Why can’t we build similar land-based reactors?”—Bleeding-Heart Liberal

“Do you see any chance of an internationally administered nuclear fuel bank coming into existence? Such an organization would be the owner and responsible party for nuclear fuels and would lend them to consumer countries for energy production only.” —Douglas Price

“Certain rogue countries, including Iran and North Korea, have and are pursuing nuclear weaponry. Bad guys will be bad guys regardless of international pressure. Their political decisions should not be the basis for others pursuing a rational energy policy.”—Barry Wallace

Read the full conversation here.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.