Category Archives: California

Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers #322 – Special Edition – Nuclear Energy to the Rescue

Welcome to the 322nd Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers who are a necessary group of pro-nuclear advocates who recognize the importance of a transition to a more dominant role for nuclear power in our energy mix.

There have been a lot of firsts lately that point in a positive direction for the future of the nuclear industry and therefore the planet. I have made it no secret that Energy Reality supports nuclear energy mainly because it provides the best and perhaps only solution to irreversible tipping points that are forever events.


EnergyRealityProject.com : 1 Post by Rick Maltese

Thanks to the Power of Pickering Nuclear Plant We Replaced Coal

    There are still a number of people who beloeve false things about Pickerng Power Plant. It has to do with reports of minor mishaps being blown out of proportion.

energyrealityproject.com/thanks-to-the-power-of-pickering-nuclear-plant-we-replaced-coal/


Yes Vermont Yankee: 1 post by Meredith Angwin

The New York Clean Energy Standard

    A quick description of attending the New York Public Service Commission meeting in which they voted for the historic Clean Energy Standard which supports both nuclear and renewable power. Links to other posts and to a video.

yesvy.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-new-york-clean-energy-standard.html


Forbes.com: 2 posts by James Conca

Climate Guru Tells California Governor Not To Close Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

    On Thursday, Dr. James Hansen and the leading climate scientists in the world sent a letter to Governor Jerry Brown of California, about how nuclear energy was essential to fight global warming. The letter was prompted by a recent announcement by Pacific Gas & Electric Company to close its well-running, low-carbon, low-cost nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon because of political pressure from the state of California and especially its Lt. Governor. New York addressed this issue just last week when it passed a true Clean Energy Standard that supports both renewables and nuclear. But, strangely, California doesn’t seem impressed by the threat of global warming.

www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/08/14/global-warming-and-nuclear-energy-jim-hansen-and-governor-brown/

Exelon Buys Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant, Setting The Standard for US Carbon Goals

    With New York’s passing of a true Clean Energy Standard this week that supports both renewables and nuclear, Exelon Generation has agreed to assume ownership and operations of Entergy Corporation’s James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Scriba, New York. This will save 7 billion kWhs of carbon-free electricity a year, $500 million for the local economy, 600 high-paying direct jobs and over 1,500 indirect jobs. It should serve as a guide to other states, especially Illinois, that are facing similar conundrums of warped markets closing carbon-free nuclear plants and threatening each state’s carbon goals and local economies.

www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/08/11/exelon-buys-fitzpatrick-nuclear-plant-setting-the-standard-for-us-carbon-goals/


AtomicInsights.com: 1 entry by Rod Adams

New York’s environment progressed one step forward

    Rod Adam’s reports on the apparently successful rally by a coalition of pro-nuclear environmental groups with a special thanks to Environmental Progress rin by President Michael Shellenberger

atomicinsights.com/new-yorks-environment-progressed-one-step-forward/


EnvironmentalProgress.org: 1 entry by Michael Shellenberger

Climate Scientists urge Governor Jerry Brown to let Legislature, not PUC, decide Diablo Canyon’s Fate

    The situation has recently shown more promise for the future of the nuclear industry in the U.S. Michael Shellenberger reports about the steps that would prevent a seriously grave decision from taking place.

www.environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2016/8/11/climate-scientists-urge-gov-jerry-brown-to-let-legislature-not-puc-decide-diablo-canyons-fate


NeutronBytes.com: 1 entry by Dan Yurman

Utah Utility selects Idaho site for Nuscale SMR

    There is a positive news story that a new kind of nuclear plant has been given a green light for a location to a modern Small Modular Reactor. Now it’s a matter of waiting for approval from the NRC that takes 3 or 4 years.

neutronbytes.com/2016/08/12/utah-utility-selects-idaho-site-for-nuscale-smr/

Carnival #315 with reports from March for Environmental Hope



Forbes.com: 2 posts by James Conca

Pro-Nuclear March In San Francisco To Protest Closing Of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

    On June 24th, a coalition of environmental groups will march from San Francisco to Sacramento to protest the potential closing of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which will wipe out most of the progress in clean energy made by the state with wind and solar power. In 2015, all wind energy in California only produced 12 billion kWhs. The two Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors produce 17 billion kWhs every year, and will for the next 20 years if not prematurely closed for political reasons. Unfortunately, PG&E announced today they will close the plant in 2025, devastating the local economy and putting 1,500 people out of work.

www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/06/21/pro-nuclear-march-from-san-francisco-to-sacramento-on-june-24th/

World-Wide Risk From Radiation Very Small

    The Health Physics Society, the scientific society that includes radiation protection scientists, recently put out a revised position statement on Radiation Risk In Perspective. In it, they advise against estimating health risks to people from exposures to ionizing radiation that are anywhere near natural background levels because statistical uncertainties at these low levels are great. In other words, any health effects resulting from radiation levels below 10,000 mrem/yr (100 mSv/yr) are in the noise. It’s why the thousands of cancers and deaths predicted for Chernobyl and Fukushima never appeared, although the fear certainly did.

www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2016/06/24/radiation-poses-little-risk-to-the-world/


ANS Nuclear Cafe: Nick Thompson

Nuclear Energy Today: A Tale of Two Cities

    An overview of the current state of the industry from my perspective, and at the end has a “call to arms” for ANS members, and Young Members in particular, to start actively advocating for solutions.

ansnuclearcafe.org/2016/06/21/nuclear-energy-today-a-tale-of-two-cities/


Yes Vermont Yankee: Meredith Angwin

Diablo Canyon and What To Do About It

    PG&E announced a plan to close Diablo Canyon by 2025, and will not ask the NRC for a license renewal. Well, much can be done before 2025. In this post, Meredith Angwin provides a link for signing a pro-nuclear petition, and another link for donating to the people who are organizing the pro-Diablo march in California. It’s time to take action! With these links, everyone can take action, whether or not they live in California.

yesvy.blogspot.com/2016/06/diablo-canyon-and-what-to-do-about-it.html

Northwest Clean Energy Blog: Meredith Angwin

Shameless in Seattle

    In this post, John Dobken describes a Seattle City Council resolution aimed at restricting the use of nuclear energy for the city. It’s a hands-on post, mostly direct from the council meeting. It includes the Seattle council members speaking scornfully of people in Central Washington (where the plant is located), and the sound of people snickering when a nuclear supporter spoke to the council. Watch the video clips of the pro-nuclear statement and admire the speaker! We must all support clean air nuclear energy–at every opportunity to do so!

northwestcleanenergy.com/2016/05/31/shameless-in-seattle/


Forbes.com by Rod Adams

Breaking! NRDC Announces PG&E has agreed to kill Diablo Canyon


Atomic Insights: Rod Adams

Hopeful Days for Environmental Progress in California

    Rod is in touch with David Walters directly from the march.

atomicinsights.com/hopeful-days-environmental-progress-california/

Backroom Diablo Destruction Deal Will Fail/

    Rod Adams presents an account of why the proposal to shut down California’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant will fail.

atomicinsights.com/backroom-diablo-destruction-deal-will-fail/


ANS NUCLEAR CAFE: Will Davis

PG&E Will Halt Diablo Canyon License Renewal

    In this opinion piece at ANS Nuclear Cafe, Will Davis points out how ratepayers will be on the hook for everything that happens relative to replacing Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, including community impact mitigation.

ansnuclearcafe.org/2016/06/22/diablo-canyon-pge-cancels-license-renewal/#sthash.9ByifkZQ.dpbs


Nuke Power Talk: Gail Marcus

    At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus reports on the appointment of Margaret Chu to NRC’s ACRS. With Margaret’s appointment, there will be 2 woman on the ACRS for the first time. Gail identifies the very limited history of women on the ACRS and the now-disbanded ACNW.


nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2016/06/women-at-acrs.html


Next Big Future: Brian Wang

Third Generation Laser Enrichment

    Third Generation Laser Uranium Enrichment Technology is likely over 5 times more energy efficient and more compact than the best centrifuges

    New laser-based uranium enrichment technology may provide a hard-to-detect pathway to nuclear weapons production according to a forthcoming paper (25 pages) Ryan Snyder, a physicist with Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security.

    Research on the relevant laser systems for laser enrichment is also currently ongoing in the United States, Russia, India, China and Iran.

nextbigfuture.com/2016/06/third-generation-laser-uranium.html


Salute to the American Nuclear Society (ANS)

This is a well deserved salute to the ANS

    “ANS has made, and continues to make, important contributions to the use of nuclear science and technology, and consequently to the larger society beyond ANS. It achieves this through its many products and services, including meetings, publications, standards, outreach, honors and awards, scholarships, teachers workshops, Organization Members, and representation in Washington, D.C.”

    “ANS continues to be a professional organization of scientists, engineers, and other professionals devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its 11,000 members, from over 40 countries, come from diverse technical disciplines ranging from physics and nuclear safety to operations and power, and from across the full spectrum of the national and international enterprise, including government, academia, research laboratories, and private industry. Making it all succeed are a Board of Directors, 20 standing committees, 19 professional divisions, one technical group and two working groups, 32 local sections, over 35 student sections, liaison agreements with over 30 non-U.S. nuclear societies, and a headquarters staff of about 50 people.”

www.ans.org/about/history/

Environmentalists Announce Climate March to Protest Nuclear Plant Closures

13 US NUCLEAR PLANTS AT RISK OF CLOSURE PRODUCE 3 TIMES MORE ELECTRICITY THAN ALL U.S. SOLAR IN 2015

With 13 nuclear plants at risk of closing and taking the United States backwards on climate change, a coalition of environmental groups is announcing a historic pro-nuclear protest march from San Francisco to Sacramento, June 24 – 28.

“If we lose all 13 of the nuclear plants at risk of premature closure we will wipe out three times more clean power than all of our solar provided in 2015,” said the March’s Lead Organizer, Eric G. Meyer. “If you care about renewables, clean energy and climate change, you should support keeping nuclear plants open.”

In Illinois, a coalition of anti-nuclear groups including by Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC), Sierra Club, and NRDC blocked legislation that would have saved two of the state’s nuclear plants, Clinton and Quad Cities.

ELPC has said it wants to replace the nuclear plants with natural gas, and gradually wind and solar. “Everybody looks with excitement when a new natural gas plant is built,” ELPC head, Howard Learner recently told a journalist when explaining why he supports closing Clinton and Quad, an extraordinary statement coming from a self-professed environmental activist.

“Anti-nuclear groups should be forgiven for their advocacy because they believe nuclear energy is something it’s not, and can’t see it for what it is,” said Alan Medsker of Environmental Progress, Illinois, “but we cannot allow them to shut down Quad and Clinton. It’s time for Sierra Club, the Citizens Utility Board, and Environmental Defense Fund to break from ELPC. There’s still time to pass legislation that would invest not only in renewables but also protect our largest source of clean energy.”

If Clinton and Quad close, 1,500 workers will lose their jobs and carbon emissions will increase the equivalent of adding two million cars. The proposed subsidy for distressed nuclear plants is less than half the cost the wind production tax credit.

Nuclear plants around the country are closing prematurely because they areexcluded from the various federal subsidies and state mandates for solar and wind. If nuclear were included in state Renewable Portfolio Standards, or received a fraction of the subsidy for wind or solar, nuclear plants would be economical.

“The evidence is clear: nuclear is far more effective at replacing fossil fuels and reducing pollution and carbon emissions than solar and wind. To exclude it from any clean energy standard in the face of irreversible climate devastation is simply unethical,” said Meyer.

“It’s a mathematical certainty that closing nuclear plants results in more fossil fuel burning and emissions,” says Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Robert Stone, whose award-winning film “Pandora’s Promise” documents the conversion of many environmentalists from anti-nuclear to pro-nuclear. “California’s reputation as a leader in the fight against climate change is at stake if Diablo Canyon is shut down.”

“It’s vitally important for any of us that care about the environment — progressives or conservatives — to share that message with Governor Jerry Brown,” said Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb. “People fear nuclear power largely because they associate it with nuclear weapons, but the two don’t equate. Nuclear power is not only an important part of the answer to climate change. It has outstanding public health benefits as well, greatly reducing air pollution.”

The March will occur in the run-up to a Tuesday, June 28, California Lands Commission meeting, where Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and two other members could deny a critical permit to Diablo Canyon, California’s biggest source of clean energy.

March coalition members includes Mothers for Nuclear, Thorium Energy Alliance, Environmental Progress, Pandora’s Promise, and Energy for Humanity — all are organizations independent of energy companies and interests.

“We can’t let irrational fears put our children at risk,” said Mothers for Nuclear co-founder, Heather Matteson, an environmental activist who was once anti-nuclear but changed her mind and now works as a reactor operator and procedure writer at Diablo Canyon.

The 13 nuclear plants at high risk of premature closure produce three times more electrical power than the US produces from solar. Diablo Canyon produces 11 times more power than the world’s largest solar farm, Solar Star, will produce.

Rather than simply replacing fossil fuel use, as nuclear plants do, plants like Solar Star increase the demand for natural gas when the sun is not shining which is on average more than 75 percent of the time.

Eric G. Meyer, 28, quit his job as a nurses union organizer and drove to San Francisco from Minnesota last month to be the Lead Organizer of the March. “My heart breaks every time they announce a nuclear plant closure,” said Meyer. “We’re going to fight hard to save every last one of those 13 plants. This is going to be remembered as the summer that we saved our largest source of clean energy.”

For Immediate Release:

Julia Pacetti, JMP Verdant Communications, (718) 399-0400
Eric Meyer, March for Environmental Hope!, (218) 384-1645
With Nuclear Plant Closures Increasing Emissions, Environmental Coalition Announces Historic Protest, June 24 – 28, SF – Sacramento

Join the First Ever Climate-Environment-ProNuclear March – June 24-28

FRIDAY, JUNE 24 :: SAN FRANCISCO

12:00 Assemble Kaiser Lot. 22nd st. and Kaiser Plaza, Oakland
12:45 Rally at Sierra Club, 2101 Webster St. Oakland
1:36 Board Yellow BART 19th and Oakland to Greenpeace
2:10 Arrive at 16th St. and Mission. March. 4 miles North
2:30 Rally at Greenpeace, 1661 Mission St.
3:10 March to NRDC
3:45 Rally at NRDC 111 Sutter Street, San Francisco
4:15 March to PG&E, Embarcadero BART Station
4:31 Take Yellow BART Line to 19th St. and Oakland
5:00 Dinner
6:00 Leave for Lake Solano
8:00 Arrive at Solano, Set Up Tents
8:30 Campfire, Singalongs, S’Mores, and Stories

SATURDAY, JUNE 25 :: FAIRFIELD

7:30     Good Morning Yoga and Calisthenics with Matt Meyer
8:00      Breakfast in Camp (Day-Use Area)
9:45      Shuttle to 500 Solano College Rd. Fairfield, CA
10:30    Arrive and Prepare to March
10:45    March! 3.8 Miles Along I-80
12:00    Lunch at Allan Witt Park
12:30    Community Discussion — Theme: “Water is Life” 
2:00      Swim at Allan Witt Park!
4:30      Shuttle back to cars and Solano
5:15      Arrive at Camp Solano–  R&R
6:00      Dinner (Day-Use Area)
7:00      Capoeira Lesson with Rauli Partanen
8:00      Campfire, Singalongs, S’Mores, and Stories

SUNDAY, JUNE 26 :: VACAVILLE

7:00      Potential march time for our Long-Hikers (12.2 Miles)
7:30      Good Morning Yoga and Calisthenics with Matt
8:00      Breakfast
9:45      Shuttle marchers to 201 E Monte Vista Ave, Vacaville
10:15    Assemble
10:30    March! 2.8 miles (54 minutes)
11:30    Community Grill Out in Andrews Park
1:00     Speakers and Performances. Theme: “Creation Care”
2:30      Shuttle marchers to base camp
3:00      Arrive at Solano: R&R
4:00      Activities.  (Filming/Music/Climbing Trees)
6:00     Dinner at base camp
7:00     Show and Tell Activities
8:00     Campfire, Singalongs, S’mores, Stories.
9:00     Outdoor Movie Screening.

MONDAY, JUNE 27 :: DAVIS

7:30     Good Morning Yoga and Calisthenics with Matt
8:00     Breakfast
10:15   Shuttle marchers to 1525 Tulip Lane, Davis, CA 95618
10:45    Assemble March
11:00   March! (2.0 miles)
11:20  Rally by Solar Installation at 3817 Halcon Plaza
12:00  Lunch in the Park
1:00    Visit EXPLORIT Science Center
3:00    Shuttle Back to Camp
3:40    Arrive at Base Camp
4:00    Activities (Crafts/Music/Filming)
6:00    Dinner at base camp
8:00    Campfire, Singalongs, S’mores, Stories.

TUESDAY, JUNE 28 :: SACRAMENTO

6:30     Breakfast at Camp
7:15     Drive To Sacramento
Park Near Cesar Chavez Park or Sacramento Station
8:15     Meet at Cesar Chavez Park and Prepare for March.
8:30     March! around the Capitol and Ending at the Lands Commission meeting.
9:15     Rally at Lands Commission Meeting at Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza
10:00   Pack the room at the Lands Commission Meeting
11:00   (TBA)
12:00   End of March

Michael Shellenberger gets the message right on. How we can…

We need to share this message widely from Michael Shellenberger, president of the Breakthrough Institute. It is vital and desperately needed. The timing is good when so many are looking to the Paris Summit this December 2015 for answers. It is not the heady intellectual ecomodernist jargon about “decoupling” that was present in the Ecomodernist Manifesto, that would risk losing people. Michael modestly and effectively delivers a great script telling us a message that sounds like we should have known this all along, yet it is original, straight forward, and the message makes it seem like fear is a real burden and that we need to grow up without saying that. Bravo Michael Shellenberger.

Dr. Gene Nelson – Government Liaison for Californians for Green Nuclear Power

by Gene Nelson, Ph.D. San Luis Obispo, CA

Gene Nelson, Ph.D. 17 June 2015 Edited Comments to the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee (DCISC)

This is the version of my comments that will appear in the NRC report released to the public regarding the 28 April 2015 meeting between the NRC , their consultants, and the owner of Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP).

“The staff received a comment from Dr. Gene Nelson (Physical Sciences professor at Cuesta College and Government Liaison for Californians for Green Nuclear Power) via email during the meeting. The NRC staff inadvertently missed the opportunity to acknowledge Dr. Nelson’s comment during the meeting.”

“According to Dr. Nelson, Diablo Canyon has favorable site conditions, which attenuate or dissipate earthquake energy over relatively short distances. Due to these favorable conditions, the primary earthquake forces seen by the plant would be dominated by nearby earthquake sources and energy transmitted to the plant would be dominated by the small section of the earthquake rupture closest to the plant.”

“Dr. Nelson stated that when considering the information presented at the meeting of overall plant ruggedness and the seismic hazard insights discussed above, Diablo Canyon will continue to operate safely – with generous safety margins – during anticipated earthquakes.”

I am a Physical Sciences professor at Cuesta College and serve as the Government Liaison for Californians for Green Nuclear Power (CGNP.)

In advance of this meeting, I submitted for the DCISC record about 250 pages of scientific, engineering, and economic analysis regarding the Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP.) I am the author of of the comments that preceded the published articles that I curated.

Here are some of the salient points in this submission:
  1. DCPP continues to operate safely as the largest power generator by far in California, generating annually about 18,000 GWh of carbon-free low-cost high-reliability power. (For those not familiar with very large numbers, that is 18 followed by 12 zeros Watt-hours.) The low cost and high reliability subsidizes the production of solar and wind power – and stabilizes the California electrical grid with regards to the intermittent and irregular production of power by these sources.

    Without DCPP’s power, California would need to import even more dirty coal power from out of state. With the premature forced closure of SONGS in 2012, the CEC tabulated that California imported in 2013 about the same amount of dirty coal power from out of state that had been previously generated by SONGS each year prior to 2012. These out-of-state coal powered generating plants dramatically diminish air quality throughout the region and are some of the worst CO2 sources for power generation in the World. With more attention being given to Global Warming by many levels of government including the Governor of California, members of the Californians for Green Nuclear Power (CGNP) Board and members of the Thorium Energy of Silicon Valley (TESV) Board strongly urge PG&E to work with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to offer California ratepayers a 100% nuclear power option on their electric bills to fight global warming. Dutch and German 100% nuclear power programs are already operating successfully. Both the CGNP and TESV Boards also appreciate that DCPP is willing to share up to about 800,000 gallons/day of surplus desalinated sea water with the drought-parched communities near the plant. Many scientists believe that Global Warming has worsened California’s drought, so seawater should be desalinated by carbon-free power.

  2. DCPP’s earthquake risk is exaggerated by its opponents. While many of those opponents indicate that they do not understand the underlying science and engineering, the key point is that each earthquake safety analysis shows the substantial seismic margins for DCPP for any credible earthquake in the area. Everything in the plant is rugged. As an example, the DCPP containment domes, with 3 foot-thick reinforced concrete walls and six layers of wrist-thick steel reinforcing bars have a 100% safety margin. To show the massive scale of the steel reinforcing columns in the DCPP Turbine Building, here’s a recent photograph taken by John Lindsey of myself and a tour group of Cuesta College students. I’m the man in a green shirt at the right hand side of the [photo].

    To help the public to understand some of the paleogeological concepts that were the topic of DCISC discussions on June 15, 2015, it should be noted that San Luis Obispo has the world’s best-preserved example of lateral stream displacement from strike-slip earthquakes on the Carrizo Plain. The San Andreas fault, about 33 miles away from DCPP, caused the lateral stream displacement. The public can examine and walk through this informative site. Posted signage assists the viewer’s interpretation.

  3. Similarly, the opponents of DCPP exaggerate the tsunami risk of DCPP. Earthquakes in the region are strike-slip, which don’t tend to generate large tsunamis, unlike earthquakes in subduction zones. The coastline in front of DCPP is not conducive to producing large tsunami waves. Critical plant safety systems are 85 or more feet above sea level. The paper cited yesterday by Jane Swanson of Mothers For Peace (MFP) appears to show the incorrect year, as the large Japanese Sanriku Tsunami occurred a few minutes after the 15 June 1896 magnitude 8.5 earthquake in the subduction zone 103 miles offshore at 19:32 local time. With a simultaneous high tide, local wave heights reached 125 feet. There were at least 22,000 deaths from the tsunami. As an illustration of how tsunamis diminish with distance, the huge 22 May 1960 magnitude 9.5 earthquake in the subduction zone off the coast of Chile caused tsunami waves of 25 meters near the earthquake’s epicenter. When those waves crossed the Pacific Ocean, they reached the Sanriku coast of Japan 22 hours later.

    The tsunami height had diminished to 3 meters there. I am grateful that the DCISC is comprised of knowledgeable and experienced scientists and engineers who routinely practice critical thinking when evaluating the value of the evidence provided to them by experts and the public.

 
Dr. Gene Nelson’s Educational background: B.S. Biophysics, Harvey Mudd College; Ph.D. Radiation Biophysics, SUNY Buffalo Past employers have included: NASA -Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Technicon, CIBA-Corning Diagnostics, Cuyahoga Community College, Microsoft (contractor), Collin County College, Genuity, U.S. Census Bureau, California Polytechnic State University and assignments as a freelance investigative journalist and computer consultant. Current employer: Cuesta College Physical Sciences Division. Active in matters of science and public policy. Provided citizen testimony regarding DCPP’s strong safety record to the Diablo Canyon Independent Safety Committee, California Coastal Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the State Water Resources Control Board. Have also provided in-person testimony on other matters in the U.S. House of Representatives and to the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Nelson lives with his wife and several pets about 10 miles from DCPP.

Letter to California Energy Commission by Alex Cannara – a good read.

Next month on June 3rd and 4th I will be joining Alex Cannara and over 100 others in what has become a yearly conference. The Thorium Energy Alliance (TEA) has evolved over the years from supporting the LFTR with their star speaker Kirk Sorensen, in the early days, to a now much wider set of mandates that includes MSR advocacy as well as the numerous related technologies that will eventually transform our lives. Now in it’s seventh conference the proceedings have evolved and been a truly focused team of advocates, patriots and environmentalists.

But there is a lot of anti-nuclear mischief going on behind the scenes from a loosely affiliated group of calculating lobbyists and a much less scientific collection of self-appointed yet misguided wanna-be saviors of Mother Earth. There is little doubt that the reasons for the antinuclear activity comes from those who have a genuine fear of nuclear power. Several others are purely motivated by wanting to kill the competition. The problem is that the competition to oil, natural gas, wind, solar, biofuel and others is nuclear energy. So killing the competition and ironically living in fear of the safest energy source is also killing our best chance at finding solutions to a range of issues that California (and many other places) desperately needs.

Thankfully there is the TESV a sub group of TEA in California (plus a few more engineers, scientists and laymen like myself) who are still working to keep the dream of a better world alive. These enthusiasts are small in number but are beginning to be noticed. Last Dec 2014 I was lucky to visit Alex and his family during my visit to the AGU conference. I learned that Alex Cannara is a caring father, a loving husband and an animal lover. True to what you might expect from a nature lover Alex really loves his family pets.

His passion is evident in the tone of his letters. I once tried to get him to tone down the harsh style and he pointed out that he wants them to know he’s angry.

James Conca who has been writing for Forbes.com says scientists deserve more respect. When scientists support and share information in their own area of expertise they certainly deserve respect. Even the science celebrities deserve respect to a degree but the idea that they may have been preaching about things that they don’t fully understand is giving science a bad name. The biggest offenders who have a hidden agenda are the political extremists who will not give up their faith-based and power-preserving beliefs to give credit to reality based facts. The last time we witnessed such shameful disregard for science was during fascist dictatorships.

The growing defection of environmentalists joining the @pronuclear side is evident in the writings by journalists George Monbiot and Mark Lynas who have been converted by witnessing the Japan Fukushima crisis and realizing that if reactors can survive the worst known earth quakes then they are truly a lot safer than what the superstitious masses are claiming. Film maker Robert Stone who created anti the nuclear documentary Bikini Beach has made a strong statement that he does not equate nuclear weapons with nuclear power. His Pandora’s Promise promotes the idea of modern nuclear plants being our salvation. The cast is made up of former anti nuclear environmentalists who have made the switch for various reasons.

I like to think of them as ecomodernists which is the newest buzz word that was recently described in a paper titled the Ecomodernist Manifesto introduced on the Breakthrough Institute website. Alex who shies away from labels is one of them and his recent May 4th letter is just one of the many the group has been sending to politicians and governing bodies like the California Energy Commission.

Read the Letter

California’s Water Emergency – A Solution Worth Considering

by the TESV folks in California

When considering options for energy production in drought stricken geographies like California, nuclear energy plants such as The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), should be highlighted for the role they can play in meeting our energy needs, while not consuming an abundance of freshwater resources. During its operation, SONGS conserved approximately 126,548 gallons of freshwater per hour and produced enough energy to desalinate 668 trillion gallons of water a year. (2 million acre-feet.)

Ninety percent of the electricity produced in the United States comes from fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, which require large quantities of water for cooling steam (that is used to spin turbines that generate electricity) back to water that can be reused in the electricity generation process. Each type of power plant requires different amounts of water for cooling. For example, once-through cooling systems (such as the one used at SONGS) for nuclear power plants consume 400 gallons/MWh, coal power plants consume 300 gallons/MWh, and natural gas power plants consume 100 gallons/MWh. Once-through systems most commonly use freshwater from rivers, lakes, or aquifers, thus consuming water that could be used for agriculture, industry, and residential consumption. However, some power plants built near the ocean, like the SONGS, incorporate seawater into their once-through cooling system and require very little freshwater, leaving valuable water resources available for other purposes.

During its operation, SONGS produced 19% of the power used by Southern California Edison customers, supplying power to large portions of Southern California. Operating at full capacity from 1984-2011, units 2 and 3 of SONGS had a gross capacity of 1,127 MW and supplied on average 7,592 GWh of electricity a year and required the use of very little freshwater resources. The negative impacts of SONGS closure on the environment is already being realized. Carbon dioxide emissions from California’s power generation facilities increased from 30.7 million tons in 2011 to 41.6 million tons in 2012 in part due to the early closure of SONGS. Furthermore, millions of gallons of water that could be used for a multitude of other purposes have been used in fossil fuel energy production processes to replace the electricity once produced by SONGS. During its operation, SONGS conserved approximately 126,548 gallons of freshwater per hour (see calculations and assumptions below) that would have been used to produce the same amount of energy from other sources.

Furthermore the energy produced by SONGS could have been used in other ways to address water scarcity issues in California. For example, the average energy supplied through SONGS could have desalinated 668 trillion gallons of water a year, (2 million acre-feet) assuming it takes 3kWh to desalinate one cubic meter of water. That is enough water produced each year to supply San Diego’s population of over 3 million people with 119 gallons of freshwater (San Diego County’s daily average per capita) every day for five years.

Producing water locally would have also saved a considerable amount of energy that is required to pump water from reservoirs to Southern California. It requires on average 2908 kWh of energy to supply Southern California with one acre-foot (326,700 gallons) of water. Therefore during an average year, SONGS could have desalinated enough water locally, saving 5948 GWh of energy a year that would otherwise be required to pump water to Southern California.

Freshwater Conservation Calculations and Assumptions

Assuming the majority of the energy produced at SONGS would be used by Southern California Edison (SCE) customers, SCE’s energy mix can be used to determine what proportion of energy sources would be needed to make up for the loss of 7592.9 GWh of electricity SONGS supplied on average each year.

 SCE Energy Mix for 2006 (the most recent energy mix data):

  • Natural Gas: 54%

  • Coal: 8%

  • Nuclear: 17%

  • Large Hydro: 5%

  • Renewables: 16%

If energy production was ramped up proportionally across the energy mix of the SCE, each energy source would need to produce the following additional energy:

  • Natural Gas: 4,100.166 GWh (54% of 7,592.9)

  • Coal: 607.432 GWh (8% of 7,592.9)

  • Nuclear: 1290.793.59 GWh (17% of 7,592.9)

  • Large Hydro: 379.645 GWh (5% of 7,592.9)

  • Renewables: 1214.864 GWh (16% of 7,592.9)

According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, natural gas, coal, and nuclear consume the following amount of freshwater to produce electricity:

  • Natural Gas: 100 gallons MWh

  • Coal: 300 gallons MWh

  • Nuclear: 400 gallons MWh

Which would result in the following freshwater consumption a year:

  • Natural Gas: 410,016,600 gallons (4,100,166 MWh * 100 gallons MWh)

  • Coal: 60,743,200 gallons (607,432 MWh  * 300 gallons MWh)

  • Nuclear: 129,079,300 gallons (1,290,794 MWh * 400 gallons MWh)

  • Total: 1,108,563,400 gallons

Therefore during its operation in 2006, SONGS conserved 1,108,563,400 gallons of freshwater a year or 126,548 gallons of water an hour, that would have otherwise been used by other power generation processes to produce the same amount of energy.

So if you’re thinking that San Onofre Nuclear Plant should not have been closed then you get it.

Carbon Pricing in Ontario set for Spring 2015

I hear this and automatically wonder why now just after shutting down coal plants. My other concern is that electric cars don’t have charging stations so that seriously affects EV car sales. Maybe the taxes collected should go towards these charging stations.

Ontario to Unveil Carbon Pricing Plan this Spring