Monday, November 12, 2007

Gore on New Nukes: They're Going to "Play a Role" in Solving Climate Crisis

From this article in Fortune:

Toward the end of the meeting at Kleiner's offices with Ausra, the solar thermal company, one of the executives starts to boast that the plants Ausra is building will thrash nuclear, geothermal, clean coal, and photovoltaic solar solutions. Gore cuts in, a mildly alarmed look on his face. "You know, all of these technologies are going to play a role," he says. "I hate to see you assassinate the competition as a key messaging point."

Now, if only he'd express this sentiment publicly and explicitly...


Ashutosh said...

Exactly. One thing I don't like about Gore is that he has not publicly pushed for nuclear energy, for instance in his congressional testimony where he even downplayed its importance.
Something you might find interesting:
Soviet spy at Oak Ridge

Sovietologist said...

Wow, that is interesting- although I think that the article is probably a bit hyperbolic regarding the secrets Koval managed to divulge. I doubt that he sped up the Soviets' first test very much- from what is known about the early years of their nuclear program, the main limiting factors were the limited supply of uranium (mostly mined in occupied eastern Europe), and the difficulty of actually manufacturing the diffusion equipment needed to enrich it. (David Holloway talks about this in Stalin and the Bomb.) While the spies certainly helped, I think they were far less important than they're made out to be in popular imagination.

Ashutosh said...

I agree. The spies' importance is somewhat inflated in the public's imagination. The Rosenbergs passed information from David Greenglass who was after all only a mechanic (although he happened to work on an important part of the bomb). And from what I remember, didn't the paranoid Stalin also ask his people to duplicate much of the work that Fuchs reported just because he wanted to make sure that it was not fabricated by double agents?
I would be very interested in knowing what Koval exactly passed along and how valuable it was. Let's see what historians say about this.

Sovietologist said...

Being "in the business," I'm sad to say it's likely we'll never know. Unless the Russian government decides explicitly to declassify that particular information, we'll be left with nothing but idle speculation. My guess is that Koval didn't divulge much that the Soviets didn't already know, but that the Russian security services are proud of the fact that an actual trained Soviet spy (as opposed to Americans with Communist sympathies) succeeded in penetrating the Manhattan Project so thoroughly without getting caught. It fits with the cultural "spy mania" going on in Russia at the moment.