Newsbytes: The Energy No-Fly Zone

The world is about to enter a no-fly zone for energy policy, a period where nothing gets off the ground. Here we have a globalized economic system filled with unprecedented energy options, but where all options appear to be politically off-limits. If it comes to that extreme, as seems probable in the short-term wake of the Japanese nuclear meltdown, the battle will be fought with mind-spinning claims and counterclaims, distortions, lies, exaggerations, misrepresentations. At the end of the battle, the most likely winner will be the energy source that is cheapest, works best and offers the lowest risks. It will be hard to beat the fossil fuels we know and trust.-–Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, 17 March 2011

Not only is gas cheap, gas plants themselves are relative bargains. Mr. Hess said a typical nuclear plant takes 10 years and $6-billion to build, while a coal-burner takes thee years and $3-billion. A gas plant?: Two years and $1-billion. There is no denying that shale gas has radically altered the economics of power production virtually overnight. The Japanese disaster is not killing the nuclear industry, gas is, and it’s taking grubby coal down with it. That’s good news. –Eric Reguly, The Globe and Mail, 17 March 2011

Even if someone were to get the approvals to build a new nuclear facility tomorrow, or within the next five years, getting financing will be next to impossible and it’s not like there are many governments with the political will or the chequebooks fat enough to fund these kinds of projects. What can only be termed a Black Swan event in the nuclear power world today is going to prove to be a positive inflection point for the natural-gas industry in the coming months and years. –Deborah Yedlin, Vancouver Sun, 17 March 2011

Anti-nuclear critics may be celebrating the possible death of commercial nuclear power. But as U.K. energy expert Benny Peiser notes this morning, less nuclear power will mean most industrialized countries will increase their dependency on fossil fuels for electricity, not reduce them. This means global warming activists’ goal may be dying a quick death. — Richard Polock, Pajamas Media, 16 March 2011

Obama and the GOP keep pushing nuclear power, but for all their money and rhetoric, their proposals were doomed even before Japan. Robert Bryce on how natural gas killed domestic reactors. The Daily Beast, 14 March 2011

An 8.9 earthquake, a 33-foot tsunami, a series of crises at their battered nuclear plants: The people of Japan have withstood the last week with admirable tenacity. There’s no shortage of lessons the rest of the world can learn from what we’ve been seeing. Here are three of them. – Jesse Walker, Reason Online, 16 March 2011

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40 Responses to Newsbytes: The Energy No-Fly Zone

  1. Steven Mosher says:

    As a big backer of nukes, I have to agree.

  2. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    When people find out that natural gas is, well, naturally produced in the earth’s crust, what will all the old the Green fossils do with their energy? Wave placards telling Gaia to stop?

  3. Mkelley says:

    Our idiot leaders are already dooming us to a high-cost energy future. The smart play would be to maximize usage of the lowest cost alternative, which is low sulfur Western coal in the US. Coal fired plants are not that dirty anymore when properly scrubbed. A guy at work has a son who works in Gillette, Wyoming. The town is admittedly surrounded by coal fields and transmission costs must be low, but Gillette residents pay only 7 cents per kWh: http://www.blackhillspower.com/about.htm Up here in environmentalist infested Montana, we pay over 11 cents per kWh, and Californians pay North of 15 cents: http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html The East coast is even worse. This will look like the good old days when all the high cost, feel good wind generators and solar panels are online with their dramatically higher costs. Our new expensive power will make the greens happy but have a toxic effect on our lives and economy.

  4. H. Hold says:

    What meltdown ?

  5. James Sexton says:

    Perhaps it would help if it is continually pointed out about the safety, (I know, but over all, there have been very few deaths caused by nuclear generators), the efficiency and cost over the long term.

  6. Jay says:

    The current Japanese nuclear disaster is NOT a failure of nuclear power.

    It is a failure of design and diesel back-up generators.
    I heard yesterday (have not been able to confirm) that the Fukushima plant was warned 2 years ago that their site was not safe from a tsunami, but nothing was done.

    If the generators were on top of the plant, above the water level, we would not be having this discussion. Or if there were a back-up generator to the back-up generator that would have not been running when the water hit.

    Japan has almost 100 reactors, and ALL shut down correctly when the quake hit.

    Only in Fukushima, where the tsunami wiped out the generators that we have problems.
    So, the massive quake validated that most plants/sites/designs are very robust in the presence of a very rare severe event.

    Solar and wind cannot provide base load generating, a subtle detail that seems to escape the Obama administration and the greens.
    Reverting to a 19th century life style is not an option.
    -Jay

  7. A C Osborn says:

    Anthony & Mods, I have posted before about this guy in the Phillipines on the Tips & Notes.
    His name is Ismael Aviso and he has “invented/Advanced” the techonolgy for extracting Power from the various transmissions in the atmosphere.
    He has an Electric Car that runs far farther than anyone elses and is now producing what he calls a “Motionless Electric Generator” which powered 100Watt bulb for 4 hours from a 12.8V battery and the battery only lost 0.1V.
    His car was tested by the Phillipines DOE and they confirmed it works.
    This technology seems to fit with your own interest in things Electric.
    Can you look in to it and find out if it is for real?
    I will also inform E M Smith as he also seems to have a great interest in saving money with electrical devices.

  8. A C Osborn says:

    Re my previous post please see
    http://www.panacea-bocaf.org/ismaelaviso.htm

  9. Bob Diaz says:

    It seems that environmentalists are against ALL forms of power. A solar plant east of San Diedo was blocked by environmentalists several years ago because the HV Power Lines would have to be upgraded. Hydroelectric power is discouraged. (If AGW is true, wouldn’t hydro be a safe source of power?)

    I understand that the Sierra Club generates all sorts of lawsuits to block construction of any more coal burning plants.

    What we need is an anti-hypocrite law, that says if you belong to any group that blocks additional electrical power, you are cut off from the grid when the current system is at it’s limits.

  10. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    @Jay says:
    March 17, 2011 at 11:17 am
    The current Japanese nuclear disaster is NOT a failure of nuclear power.
    REPLY

    I beg to differ. You cannot simply separate design and operations from concept, they are one & the same.

    As an environmental consultant for nearly 30 years, the flaws of nuclear fission as an energy source are becoming quite apparent in this episode:

    a) There still remains no good technical solution for dealing with spent fuel…even with perhaps the best fuel cycle in the world, the Japanese succumbed to the temptations of financial pressures & “make do” solutions.

    b) No matter how well we try to engineer these things, we are dealing with some of the most toxic substances known. Anything man can build, nature can undo, it’s all just a matter of statistical probability.

    c) For many years, alternatives to the GE BWR concept have been touted, and many of these would be far less prone to loss of coolant accidents (my own favorite is the Argonne National Labs “Integral Fast Reactor,” see:
    http://www.skirsch.com/politics/globalwarming/ifr.htm
    Too bad Clinton/Gore killed it off….

    I think the entire nuclear energy concept needs to be re-booted and rethought, including ways to neutralize spent nuclear fuel and weapons-grade fissile material (see IFR), replace all of the aging Gen 1 GE BWR (Illinois is covered with ‘em), start cleaning up the fuel rods stored in pools across the USA (Harry Reid, are you listening?) and seriously looking into long-range technologies such as the thorium reactors.

    Meantime, let the natural gas burn. We have plenty, gas plants are easy to build, there are no particulates/mercury/solid waste issues, and this can be done quickly.

  11. Thirsty says:

    The Westinghouse was promised @ $1000/KW in full production with a 3 year construction cycle. [The first unit would be $1400/KW]. If this could be achieved it would be cheaper than natural gas and coal.

    Apparently it is coming in now at $3500/KW. What the hell happened??

    I’ve never seen an explanation in the media.

  12. jorgekafkazar says:

    Our new expensive power will make the greens happy but have a toxic effect on our lives and economy.–Mkelley

    Slight correction: Our new expensive power will make the greens happy and have a toxic effect on our lives and economy, which will make them even happier.

  13. Viv Evans says:

    Well, as if the earthquake, the tsunami, and the continuing problems at the Fukujima reactors weren’t bad enough, the poor Japanese are now having to show us what it means, for a high-tech society, to cope with rolling blackouts (3 hours) for the next six months:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8388279/Japan-earthquake-country-on-brink-of-massive-blackouts.html

    Btw – it is cold, and snowing …

    Regardless of which option is taken, nuclear or natural gas – one thing is certain: if no decisions are being made now, and if the insane ‘renewables’ plans are being pushed, then that is what is waiting for us down the road.
    And it is a very short road, for some countries …

  14. lowercasefred says:

    Regardless of which is cheapest and can be delivered first, there are enormous roadblocks to any source being delivered in sufficient quantities to supply our needs in the years ahead. Oil drilling is being/has been curtailed in areas where there are good prospects, coal is under attack as a raw fuel to say nothing about liquefaction or the transportation problems from the Powder River Basin, and nuclear’s tentative revival has now been skewered.

    Renewables are dreams at this time.

    I will say again, because we cannot solve these problems politically, we are setting ourselves up for a man on a white horse to come and cut the Gordian Knot.

  15. jorgekafkazar says:

    A C Osborn says: “…Ismael Aviso…has “invented/Advanced” the techonolgy for extracting Power from the various transmissions in the atmosphere….Can you look in to it and find out if it is for real?”

    No need. It’s a bunch of robust.

  16. Jay says:

    DR P.H.

    Yes the waste problem must be dealt with. But even Finland seems to be way ahead of the USA.

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/finlands-nuclear-waste-solution/0

    I disagree, if those back-up generators stayed dry, this would have been a non-disaster.
    And the possibility of a tsunami (the plant is next to the ocean !) was not adequately factored into the back-up power contingency plans. So, like most engineering, we learn, and fix failure modes, making things safer as we go.

    Shortly after three mile island 20,000 died in a hydro-electric dam failure.
    Per amount of power generated, nuclear is the safest energy generation method.
    5000 miners die a year digging coal in China.

    The number of deaths and economic costs of NOT having electricity are much greater.

    Yes, gas is a good alternative for now to provide base load power.
    But we had a massive gas pipeline explosion in California last year, so even that is not without risk.

    -Jay

  17. son of mulder says:

    Because of the events in Japan, future nuclear power station designs and builds will be at worse no less safe than they would have been and probably a whole lot safer. Therefore weakens any safety related arguments against future nuclear builds.

  18. Cam_S says:

    Gwynne Dyer has a few comments about the Energy No Fly Zone also.

    Nuclear power debate amid Japan crisis ruled by superstition
    http://www.straight.com/article-382241/vancouver/gwynne-dyer-nuclear-power-debate-amid-japan-crisis-ruled-superstition

  19. polistra says:

    I don’t think this will amount to a turning point.

    The sane countries (France and China) have specifically said they will proceed to develop all forms of energy including nukes. The suicidal countries (all others) were already shutting down all forms of energy including nukes, and will continue to shut down all forms of energy including nukes. Same before and after.

  20. Steve C says:

    Unfortunately, I think politicians generally are so scientifically and technically inept that stupid and ill-founded decisions come quite naturally to them, crisis or no crisis. Let me tell you a story.

    In my capacity as a “responsible adult” (ha!) I got to accompany school parties round a large, coal-fired power station in our area on a number of occasions, starting way back when the UK had a Central Electricity Generating Board – a not unreasonable thing for a place the size of the UK. Back then, we would be shown round by an old fellow in a flat cap, with a few tools sticking out of the top pocket of his brown shop coat. He had obviously spent most of his life there, and not only showed us everything, but answered all the children’s questions, without notes.

    The station, he told us, had been designed specifically to act as a “spine” station, to be run up to full power and left at that level, when everything would be working at its maximum efficiency. The chart recorders (I told you it was a while ago) in the control room backed him up – practically straight lines throughout.

    On later trips, after Margaret Thatcher (a scientist, allegedly) had declared everything publicly owned to be evil and “privatised” the electricity system by breaking it up into a shower of smaller, private companies, we were shown round by a young woman with a clipboard. The answers to some, at least, of the children’s questions were evidently provided by her employers, to judge by the number of times she needed to check the clipboard. And she proudly informed us that, as the price of electricity went up and down during the day, so the amount of power generated by the station would be wound up and down so as to operate at maximum economic efficiency.

    On one occasion, I asked her, when the show was over, how this winding the power up and down could be reconciled with the station’s having been designed and built to be run at a steady load 24/7, and whether the resulting variations in operating conditions resulted in inefficiencies or extra maintenance which needed to be factored into the economic calculations. The poor woman looked completely blank, and I got no answer.

    I’m guessing here, but I suspect that such trivial details wouldn’t even occur to the “politico-economic mind”. Sadly, our electricity is still generated and distributed under these insane conditions, and the price the poor old user – sorry, “customer” – pays depends on which particular “company” s/he chooses to buy it from, although it’s all the same electricity coming down the same wires.

    As an afternote, I’ll add that seeing power being generated at the multi-megawatt level, close up, is a truly awesome experience, from accompanying a whole class and several adults inside one of the generators which was stripped for maintenance, to the weird and wonderful silence of standing inside a cooling tower and experiencing the dark, the tropical heat and 100% humidity with just a circle of sky directly above. The latter, too, is an experience unlikely to be repeated, since “Health and Safety” (who seem to be dedicated to stamping out everything which was ever interesting or fun) decreed that this practice “could” (where have we heard that word before?) result in someone catching legionella, or some other water-borne disease. Not that anybody had, you understand, but they could.

    If they can make a total hash of running a relatively simple coal-fired station, it’s hardly an encouraging thought that they’re making decisions on more complicated stuff. It’s a downright frightening thought that they’re getting most of their advice from greenies who don’t think people should even have any energy.

  21. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    @ Jay says:
    March 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm
    DR P.H.

    Yes the waste problem must be dealt with. But even Finland seems to be way ahead of the USA.

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/nuclear/finlands-nuclear-waste-solution/0

    I disagree, if those back-up generators stayed dry, this would have been a non-disaster.
    And the possibility of a tsunami (the plant is next to the ocean !) was not adequately factored into the back-up power contingency plans. So, like most engineering, we learn, and fix failure modes, making things safer as we go.
    —-
    REPLY:
    Jay, no argument with any of those. However, there were many more faults than simply backup generators, and the forensic engineering reviews will be discussed for years:

    a) Inadequate provisions for emergency reactor cooling – the combination of earthquake, tsunami and mechanical stress led to cracked pipes, hydrogen explosions etc. Backup generators were a piece of the disaster, but far from the most important part.

    b) Far too much onsite storage of spent fuel rods (including MOX rods, which melt at a lower temperature & shed plutonium when they volatilize), with very inadequate storage pool design and coolant storage contingency factors.

    c) Failures of critical sensors and control systems, these have been a factor in other major incidents/accidents and we just don’t seem to learn how important these subsystems are.

    FYI, I stood underneath the core of the Illinois Power BWR in Clinton, IL about 2 weeks before it was fueled, a place that no human is likely to ever stand again. I know quite a bit about containment design, suppression pools etc.

    These old GE Gen I reactors in Japan were worn out and ready to be decommissioned, I think the world should critically assess the inventory of these things and move the process along more quickly.

    If the New Madrid fault in IL/MO decides to act up again, Illinois could be faced with contamination of the most fertile farmland in the world, groundwater and Lake Michigan contamination, and untold billions of dollars of property and life damage. We are just as vulnerable in Illinois as they were in Japan (except for the tsunamis, but we do have tornadoes).

    Also, consider that the Fukushima incident is a big, red flag for the bad guys of the world, showing how easily these systems can be disrupted, particularly fuel storage pools. Who needs RDD (radiation dispersal devices, or “dirty bombs”) when you can do the same thing without bothering to obtain the nuclear material? Just torch it in situ and let the rest take care of itself.

    Study it, fix it, redesign it now.

  22. cedarhill says:

    I agree most or all of the Western nations will go along the lines of this article. The “because” is the West has resources to to dabble in things like windmills in the North Sea. However, it should be equally clear that “the world” simply ain’t gonna put nuke power beside T-Rex anytime in our lifetimes.

    Review this article and note what treaty India is not part of.
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf53.html
    Oh! And note their per capita Kwh consumption is about 20 times less than your consumption. More if you’re Anthony running these great servers. And the US is not even close – think Norway. Think 42 times. Same for Sweden, Iceland, etc.

    Now let’s do a bit of political and economic analysis.

    First, if you’re a Western nuke engineer, your prospects are dim to dimmer so you’ll either go to where the jobs are, are take that CTL test and start trucking natural gas around the country. Most will continue working in the field they’ve chosen. Thus, another brain drain from the West.

    Second, if you’re a non-Western nuke nation or wanna be nuke nation, the usual irrational fear (think CO2) doesn’t work as a limiting factor. For example, it’s very true only rich nations can afford a “clean”, EPA approved, environment. Hunger is a much larger issue for most of the planet than worrying about whether a fuel rod melts. Even if it melts within 40 miles it will decrease their life expectancy by what? A few minutes? For newborns, likely less than a millisecond. Google mortality rates worldwide. Angola’s infant mortality rate is about 200 per thousand.

    Thirdly, if you’re not a resource rich nation, the cost of building a plant is not the biggest cost over it’s useful life. For example, well-head prices (US) of natural gas have increased by 20 times over half (20 years) the useful life a power plant. Factor total lifetime operating cost divided between imported and in-country resources. India has the right approach – use Indian thorium. Oh, and thorium occurs just about everywhere. It’s in just about every mining operation, including rare earth, and just discarded as waste.

    Fourth, there will never be a world wide market that ships electricity around the globe. At least in our lifetimes notwithstanding the good people of Star Trek and Stargate. Even if you take all the batteries in all the Volts, Leafs, Priuses, and that hand-crank emergency radio – together they will power how many homes for how many minutes?

    Fifth, there an incredibly huge demand for electricity generation that is portable, cheaper than a billion dollars, and doesn’t require lead times measured in fractions of a human lifetime. These are the just “turn it on, plugged it in” generators that are self-contained. Nukes are the only ones worth mentioning. They’re starting to call them “micro reactors” or “mini reactors”. Interestingly, several companies, including some in Japan (Toshiba), are in various stages of development. Toshiba has a design in the approval process that is only about 20 by 6 feet and can power small things like apartment buildings. They, of course, are thinking about marketing them in the West, but the third world and the second world would, imho, be larger markets. The market for cheap electriity cannot be overstated. Energy is life itself. Think pumping/filtering water to be clean enough to be drinkable. Think cooking over a stove that doesn’t use dried feces. Think fertilizers. Think about not using a stick to plow. Think about using a truck to move thinks instead of bare feet.

    Sixth is the old saw of how nature abhors a vacuum. The rich Western nations are in the process of bailing out on commercial nukes. Non-Western nations will step in. They will not have the EPA or the NRC to placate. If they target third world and second world nations they won’t even have to deceive the IAEC as Iran has done. Mostly the West will be told to take a hike.

    Seventh, and most likely the most important, is one word: China. ‘Neff said about this one.

    If this is the Black event for the West’s nuclear industries, the world will see an acceleration of nuclear power development and distribution but not from the West. It will be a less safe world. You will see nuke power plants literally parachuted into places where solar, wind, pipelines, gas fired power plants, etc., will never go. And the West will be diminished from loss of huge markets in technology and manufacturing and education along with becoming a backwater in nuclear technology.

    It’s all about supply and demand.

  23. Madman2001 says:

    The New Madrid Fault is hundreds of miles away from the nuclear power plants in northern Illinois. The biggest danger in a big New Madrid quake is the destruction of Memphis.

  24. 1DandyTroll says:

    I think there’s a good chance that the japanese situation with a few of there nuclear reactors might function as a positive feedback for new and approved nuclear plants and reactors instead of progressively extending the life of old plants and reactors.

    Apparently the Fukushima nuclear problems might not have been as bad had they decommissioned the plant instead of extending its life earlier this year.

    Another factor that might be needed to take into account is that a lot of sites in Japan is really so called reclaimed land, i.e. ocean floor. But even if not the question still remains if a nuclear power plant more ‘an 40 years of age is sane to keep around unless it is completely retrofitted to new standards?

    I think there’s an argument to be made that a nuclear plant only be allowed to exist for a limited time before it has to be decommissioned so that new and approved plants can be built.

    The Fukushima power plants has been rocked by earth quakes for 30-40 years, depending on when construction started. That plus weather and the tooth of time, tend not to be the best for structural integrity.

    And if there were a proper age limit to nuclear power plants, they would get cheaper to build much faster since more would need to be built which gives incentives for investments, at the same time also ensuring an ever higher standard with each new generation.

    I can only imagine how much more the safety will improve with the nuclear power plants still to be built in Japan, and how much money that’ll cost (and cost only goes down if the amount of products go up). And since nuclear power isn’t going to go away, no matter how much the panic stricken alarmists wants it to, there’s now an even greater incentive to build new ones and retire the old ones and we ought to be able to recycle even nuclear waste.

  25. A C Osborn says:

    jorgekafkazar says:
    March 17, 2011 at 11:56 am
    Thanks for response.
    And you know this how?

  26. Ian W says:

    Bob Diaz says:
    March 17, 2011 at 11:37 am
    It seems that environmentalists are against ALL forms of power. A solar plant east of San Diedo was blocked by environmentalists several years ago because the HV Power Lines would have to be upgraded. Hydroelectric power is discouraged. (If AGW is true, wouldn’t hydro be a safe source of power?)

    I understand that the Sierra Club generates all sorts of lawsuits to block construction of any more coal burning plants.

    What we need is an anti-hypocrite law, that says if you belong to any group that blocks additional electrical power, you are cut off from the grid when the current system is at it’s limits.

    I completely agree – an Energy Hypocrite law should be brought in immediately – and include Congress, the Senate and the White House. (and all their associated residences and immediate family residences). Its easily technically feasible with the ‘smart meters’ that have been installed.

    If every time there was a blackout or brownout – those in the hypocrite list lost their power first – wherever they were – then it might concentrate their minds a little.

  27. 3x2 says:

    Anti-nuclear critics may be celebrating the possible death of commercial nuclear power. But as U.K. energy expert Benny Peiser notes this morning, less nuclear power will mean most industrialized countries will increase their dependency on fossil fuels for electricity, not reduce them.

    He makes a fair point. I need to keep warm in Winter on 54N. To prevent me from doing so is not not some abstract “green” agenda or “carbon politics” – it is a declaration of war . I will burn “greens” and “HMG reps” before I freeze to death.

    Oliver Cromwell had a point – the “bubble” inhabited by the ruling class has to burst at some point….they just can’t see what is going wrong…

  28. George E. Smith says:

    As I understand it; what has been drying out and heating so that it may melt is NOT a nuclear reactor at all, but a simple water bath with some old fuel rods in it; that is what they have beed air dropping water on to and what caught fire; it is NOT a nuclear reactor; it’s a compost heap that got a bit hot..

    But Obama has made his picks for “Toss the Ball through the Ring.” that passtime of otherwise unemployable tall people; and he will soon be off to Rio to party.

  29. George E. Smith says:

    “”””” 3×2 says:
    March 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm
    ……………………..

    Oliver Cromwell had a point – the “bubble” inhabited by the ruling class has to burst at some point….they just can’t see what is going wrong… “””””

    Speaking of Oliver Cromwell; have you ever seen his old battle axe in the British Museum ? No not her; I mean the axe that he fought with. They say it has only had two new heads, and five new handles since Oliver last used it. Fascinating !

  30. Jay says:

    Dr. P.H.

    I live in Illinois so I know the dangers, especially the rods sitting in pools at Zion.
    Yup, Harry Ried should think about the welfare of the whole country !

    When operating the fuel is in containment, but the pools seem rather vulnerable !

    So, we agree on many things, like starting to build later generation, more inherently safe reactor designs.

    Yes there is danger in any energy generation, though more died in the dam failure than have ever died from a nuclear accidents.

    -Jay

  31. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    Madman2001 says:
    March 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm
    The New Madrid Fault is hundreds of miles away from the nuclear power plants in northern Illinois. The biggest danger in a big New Madrid quake is the destruction of Memphis.
    —–
    REPLY Please see Region 3 listing on the left-hand side of this page:

    http://nuclearstreet.com/

    Let’s see….Braidwood, Byron, LaSalle, Clinton, and Quad Cities reactors all lie within areas of seismic influence from New Madrid and other faults in Illinois (CEUS seismic zone, using NRC designation).

    Major breach-of-containment from these reactors doesn’t really bother me, but I’m not at all amused that our Illinois reactor sites are crapped up with cooling pools filled up with spent reactor fuel rods.

    Thank you, Sen. Reid, for killing Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository. The onsite storage of spent fuel is the achilles heal which would greatly damage the Midwestern US territory and groundwater, and I don’t think these systems are very robust, considering that the nuclear power industry always considered these to be very temporary. This is a huge problem.

    The Feds once made a promise to the US nuclear industry that they would be provided with safe & secure storage for high level wastes, but it hasn’t happened yet, and isn’t likely to anytime soon.

  32. Jantar says:

    Jay says:

    March 17, 2011 at 12:25 pm
    ………..
    Shortly after three mile island 20,000 died in a hydro-electric dam failure. ……..

    I believe you are talking about China’s Banqiao reservoir dam in Henan province. That is supposed to have caused 20,000 deaths when it collapsed. However that collapse occured during an unusual rainfall even. From Wikipedia “The Dam was designed to survive a 1-in-1,000-year flood (300 mm of rainfall per day). In August 1975, however, a 1-in-2,000 year flood occurred, and poured more than a year’s rainfall in 24 hours (new records were set, at 189.5 mm rainfall per hour and 1060 mm per day”. Notes I had on this collapse suggest that around 60 dams of various sizes collapsed during this single event.

    China has the world’s worst record on dam safety, and many of their dams are well below the minimum standards required anywhere else in the world. This event was a combination of poor dam design, and a natural disaster equivilent to an inland tsunami.

  33. jaymam says:

    A tidal power station on the Kaipara Harbour seafloor in New Zealand will produce 200MW. With no CO2 emissions, not that it matters!
    Most power in NZ is hydroelectric. Tidal and wind power when available will save using the water in the hydro dams.

    NZ is unsuitable for nuclear power because of the constant earthquakes, and one nuclear generator would be sufficient for the whole of NZ until it stops working for any reason. So we’d need at least two, and that’s uneconomic. There’s also nowhere to put the waste. Earthquakes, volcanoes, remember?

  34. Charles Higley says:

    “less nuclear power will mean most industrialized countries will increase their dependency on fossil fuels for electricity”

    Of course, this is assuming that a government has any intention of even trying to provide their citizens with reliable energy. The UK certainly has no problem destroying their country, telling the people to just get used to not having regular or reliable electricity any more, in search of crappy and unreliable wind energy. Failing to provide the needs of the people does not bother them at all.

    My guess is that the Smart Grid, UK will allocate electricity as needed: 1) the government buildings, 2) the homes of the government employees, 3) close friends and relatives of government employees, 4) hospitals, fire, and police, and 5) preferred cronies’ businesses. The common people then get what’s left at any given time. The commoners have to realize that they will be at the bottom of the electricity-need list. They can basically write off having electricity and getting a petrol-fired generator permit for the backyard will be virtually impossible.

  35. Myrrh says:

    Until there are enough ‘conscious rebels’ (Orwell), the elite will continue to maintain their bubble, educating those outside the bubble to work to maintain it for the elite.

    Cheap energy for all means competition, and that’s a sin said Rockefeller (establishing a cartel with Rothschild at the Baku wells when the competition between them was driving down prices).

    Cromwell was just another wannabe elitist, sphere of operation irrelevant. The driving force, whatever that is, they might well have in common, the method to achieve success in their spheres they certainly have, brutality one way or another.

    Why is thorium power taking so long to come on line when Westinghouse had one up and running in 1977, efficiently for five years..?

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_new_nukes/all/1#

  36. Peter says:

    Three times in my life I have lived in energy poor societies. There they die young (35 to 45), there are no hospitals, there is not enough food, in one society basic clothing was an issue. People work dawn to dusk for 7 days a week. However, pollution from open fires for heat and for cooking is a problem, a big problem.
    There was an Australian article two years ago about Earth Day. People turned off there lights and lit candles. Everyone missed the point, the candles put out extra CO2, and smoke, while the power stations saw barely a drop in power consumption.
    To me, the celebration of Earth Day is a bit like celebrating genocide.

  37. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    Nuclear energy power plants are far more expensive, and much more hazardous than coal fired power plants, and can be constructed anywhere there are railroads with which to ship the required coal. All of the nasty components of the products of coal combustion are readily removed, at litle cost, and carbon dioxide is the most beneficial to life gases that is. Higher concentration of CO2 would simply mean that more food would be harvested.

    Simple arithmetic falsifies the speculation that CO2 is or could be a “forcing” element in global atmospheric temperatures, climate change, or any other false hoopla..

    Here is the skinny: It is said that that there are 385 parts of CO2 per million in Earth’s atmosphere. I will be generous and pretend that the figure is 400 ppm.

    Divide both values by 10. 40 molecules of CO2 amidst 100,000 moleculles. Must be a mighty molecule indeed, to be feared to such a great extent.

    I will be generous again, and say that 5% of that CO2 is due to the actions of humans. Wow, 5% of 40 is just 2 molecules of CO2 per 100,000 other molecules. No measurable effect whatsoever.

    The small increase in CO2 concentrations of CO2 since about 1950 has increased the yield of corn per acre in Iowa from what was a bumper crop of 90 bushels per acre in 1950 to modern common yields of 145 bushels per acre.

  38. Roger Sowell says:

    Re the high cost of renewable power. In California, very recently, a 5 MW (peak output) solar PV plant was switched on at Porterville (north of Bakersfield). Built by funds from SCE (Southern California Edison) for $18 million, this works out to approximately $12,000 per kW on the long-term average, basis 7-1/2 hours per day (30 percent average of peak power).

  39. John Marshall says:

    I like nuclear, in the right place and a couple of hundred km from a subduction zone is not a good place.
    I like coal as well because the planet is awash with the stuff and much of it is easily obtained by open cast mining.
    I like gas and oil as well.

    All the above produce 24/7/52 electricity regardless of wind or cloud cover.

    The developing world needs this sort of power to enable them to get to the good life. Why should anyone dictate to them that they must stay the way they are to save the planet. Not only is that claim rubbish it is the most hypocritical thing for anyone to claim.

    The planet does not need saving and many peoples need to develop.

  40. Billy Liar says:

    A C Osborn says:
    March 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    The video on your link was totally information free. I could see the dilithium crystals under the hood of the car.

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