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Nuclear Reactors

A remarkable discovery has emerged in astrophysics: key properties of the universe have just the right values to make life possible. Most scientists prefer to explain away this uniqueness, insisting that a number of unseen universes must therefore exist, each randomly different. Astrophysicist Bernard Haisch joined George Knapp in the first half of the show to propose the alternative—that the special properties of our universe reflect an underlying intelligent consciousness.

In the second half of the program, veteran journalist Chris Taylor talked about how the Star Wars franchise has conquered our culture with a sense of lightness and exuberance, while remaining serious enough to influence politics, and spread a spirituality that appeals to religious groups and atheists alike.

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Nuclear Reactors

Show Archive
Date: Saturday - December 18, 2004
Host: Art Bell
Guests: Dr. Charles Till, Whitley Strieber, Anne Strieber

Nuclear physicist Dr. Charles Till, who spent nearly 20 years at Argonne National Laboratory working on the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR), discussed the history and current state of nuclear reactors, as well as reasons for the cancellation of his IFR program.

Till said most of the world's nuclear reactors are based on the American "light" water (ordinary water) reactor, though Canada has constructed "heavy" water reactors to generate electricity. A major difference between these two types of reactors, explains Till, is American reactors require enriched uranium (U-235) to run, while Canadian reactors are fueled by natural uranium only.

Till also explained that nuclear reactors are not fuel efficient, using only a small fraction (less than 1%) of the mined uranium for fission and discarding the rest in spent fuel rods. He said the goal of his work on the IFR was, in part, to solve the enormous fuel inefficiency of nuclear reactors. According to Till, this new reactor used a process that allowed the fuel to be recycled. Unfortunately, the potential benefits of the IFR may never be realized since the research program was shut down in 1994 do to presidential budget cuts, he said.

Anne Strieber's NDE

During Saturday's first hour, Whitley Strieber thanked Coast listeners for their prayers during his wife's recent health crisis, and introduced Anne Strieber, who shared her near death experience and the lessons she learned from it. Anne believes she visited the world of the dead, where a voice said to her, "You can keep going if you want." According to Anne, her beloved (and deceased) cat Coe was there and helped guide her back to the living.