Category Archives: Energy Choices

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/

COP21 and what is missing from the table

Have you noticed the number of interested parties that offer no real solutions? Obama falls short. Justin Trudeau falls short. The climate marches are preaching renewables and conservation as their proposed solutions. There are no real solutions discussed. People should not imagine that by simply following politics and voting for what they think is the best party that it will make a difference. Following the science is far more important.

We need to look at what solutions are being proposed and seriously evaluate our best strategies. How many people understand that the biggest problem is coal? Yes energy from coal is cheap and abundant. The western world has depended on coal. Also keep in mind that Ontario would never have been able to replace coal without their nuclear plants replacing that reliable energy we all need to run our cities. Right now the overwhelming majority of the active groups who will show up at the COP21 and try to make their voices heard are short on solutions.

The way we view nuclear is also problematic. We need to stop letting people get away with saying “where do we store the waste?” and “nuclear is too expensive” and “what about Fukushima?” those myths have been proven wrong. We have a number of countries engaged in bringing forth nuclear reactors that will be able to re-use so-called nuclear waste. As for Fukushima, nobody died or will even get sick from the radiation released by the Fukushima accident. As for the the expense of building nuclear plants. It is related to the idea of perceived danger. As soon as the public understands through a little education what makes nuclear expensive we will see the costs come down. The nuclear industry is punished when it should be rewarded. What a backwards world. Getting the NRC and EPA to accept the Hormesis model rather than the “Linear No Threshold” model will also help lower prices since that would allow designs to be built without the above-and-beyond safety requirements being imposed.

I urge everyone to look at the energy sources and be honest in comparing their relative ability to solve how to replace coal. Obama modestly supports nuclear energy but has not added it to his COP21 strategy. Why not? Justin Trudeau will be doing the same. Can anybody explain why?

I know most people will give the usual responses about the so-called expense and danger of nuclear power. Please consider that Germany is adding coal plants because they were also under the influence of the renewable movement.

We have grown up with abundant energy and find it hard to understand that the emerging Eastern countries are not going to stop using coal because we tell them to. They are where we were at 70 years ago. Coal is still the cheapest. We need to figure out how to make nuclear power cheaper than coal. I believe that is totally possible with a focus on changing how people just need to educate themselves about radiation and the unfortunate truth that renewable energy will be impossible to meet the world’s energy demands.

So yes, we need to reduce carbon dioxide, but more than that, eliminate CO2 emissions. We need to be honest about the real outcomes of the very few nuclear accidents that have happened. Also come to terms that much of our misinformation comes from funded sources that are paid for by nuclear power’s competition. Also as James Hansen said recently. Let’s be honest about the harm being done by fossil fuel sources for energy. When it comes to climate change and ocean acidification “greed” is not good.

October 2015 Letter to Barack Obama

Dear President Barack Obama

Please consider that the steps to solve climate and ocean change needs to start with a genuine inquiry into energy. America used to be the leaders in nuclear energy. There has been a serious lack of effort to enable an affordable pathway to nuclear energy. The misconceptions cause too many people to not even begin to inquire about their assumptions. The so-called dangers are blown out of proportion causing entire countries to suffer economically for poor decisions. Germany, Italy and Japan come to mind. The best models I know of are France and Ontario, Canada who do not use coal at all.

Our future literally depends on making nuclear energy the primary source of power globally. America use to be the example for the rest of the world. It would be arrogant to think the rest of the developing world can learn from American policies that reflect a lack of energy knowledge.

I am a musician with a passion for the environment. I have learned to appreciate the role of energy in solving the world’s problems. After years of following scientific writings and sharing information with others I came to realize that most people (that includes all kinds of people) fail to understand the significance of 200 years of industrial production of carbon dioxide. It has been steadily accumulating faster than the environment can handle. Now at approximately 400 parts per million is certainly a big factor. The oceans warming and becoming more acidic is going to trigger mass extinction in your lifetime. Some say the mid 2030s.

It is no longer acceptable to view climate change as being about simply weather extremes. We are facing an evolutionary threat that requires mitigating the 1.5 trillion tons of backlog of CO2 that has been building for 200 years making the oceans more acidic and the atmosphere hotter.

We need to view Ocean Acidification and Climate Change as twin tragedies. Conservation and renewable energy will not be nearly enough to remediate the problem. Nuclear energy is our only hope for reducing coal plant usage. One proposed method to reducing acidification is to use nuclear plants to heat limestone to produce lime and add it to the oceans which would give the plankton, the pteropods, the diatoms and all life that depend on calcium and carbon to naturally sequester carbon and after dying fall to the ocean floor where the carbon belongs.

So you see our old vision of an atomic age with energy too cheap to meter might have been the correct path. Let’s begin the process by educating your staff about energy density. The environmentalists who now embrace nuclear energy as a solution understand this.

I can recommend several scientists who would be glad to conduct seminars to get people up to date.

Thanks Rick Maltese
647-379-9655

http://energyrealityproject.com (recommends a nuclear power dominated policy and limited use of renewable – and energy usage reduction)

Note: not the more popular climaterealityproject.com
(unfortunately they have misguided and destructive policies)

Requesting Comments about radiation standards at Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Thanks to Bob Hargraves for the links
“Friends,

Three petitions for rulemaking to end ALARA and reliance on LNT have been submitted to the NRC by qualified radiation professionals Carol Marcus, Mark Miller, and Mohan Doss with additional signatories from Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information. Marcus has successfully petitioned NRC for a less sweeping rule change using this petition process in the past.

NRC has now docketed these petitions under “Linear No-Threshold Model and Standards for Protection Against Radiation” at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NRC-2015-0057

You may submit comments by email to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov specifying Docket ID NRC-2015-0057.

I recommend you read their well-written, well-referenced petitions here:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRC-2015-0057-0001 Marcus
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NR C-2015-0057-0002 Miller
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NRC-2015-0057-0003 Doss

Below is Marcus’s announcement of the petition published in Clinical Nuclear Medicine.

The annotated letter below includes NRC’s summary of the docket, written to Miller.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to end radiophobia.

Bob Hargraves”
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/06/23/2015-15441/linear-no-threshold-model-and-standards-for-protection-against-radiation

DCFC: An Ecologically Friendly Technology

Direct Carbon Fuel Cells are based on coal gasification technology. This technology has already been around for about a century and may yet prove to be a 21st century base-load energy source, and help free our grids from the emissions of traditional coal and natural gas.

Basically, after a high temperature conversion process gasified coal can be consumed by an electrical power station and generate nearly twice the energy of coal while halving the GHG waste! For those concerned with emissions or climate change, this means that modified coal could emit about 250 grams of CO² per KW/hr or 550 pounds of CO² per MW/hr – however you’d prefer to measure emissions. This is about the levels originally outlined in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, but much closer to needed reductions. Also, gasifying the coal will eliminate solid fly ash and allow extraction of other impurities.

DCFC's will have a capacity factor of 65 percent - with ultra low emissions.

DCFC’s will have a capacity factor of 65 percent – with ultra low emissions. Graph based on NEI data.

 

The Energy Reality Project would like to re-post two pieces on this subject.
One from (Th)e Kral Spaces, a blog generally concerned with the nuclear biosphere. The other is a guest post by Robert Steinhaus at the Molten Salt Science International’s beta site.
Please, feel free to leave any constructive comments or questions below.

 

Coal energy cheaper than coal energy”
as originally posted at https://kralspaces.wordpress.com/

The only reason China is investing in everything possible for their energy mix is because they need more energy then they can generate. Once their energy catches up to their demand they will be able to take a serious look at what energy sources are the most efficient and narrow their scope to what can be considered clean energy. Once their focus on quantity is turned to quality, hopefully they will still include fossil fuels. Really?

There is a needed mix for energy and it includes fossil from my perspective. I struggle to understand why the Obama Administration wants to throw coal under the bus. If we change the way we look at coal, it too can be a cleaner energy source. If we convert coal to electricity via electrochemical oxidation without burning it, we can generate twice the electricity with half the coal and manage the waste without a variety of toxins ever getting release into the atmosphere. We have managed nuclear waste for 60 years so we already know how to do it safely.

The concept is called Direct Carbon Fuel Cells (DCFC) and Lawrence Livermore National Labs (LLNL) has demonstrated this technology as far back as 2005. Why no one is interested in this solution stuns me just like the Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) oversight for clean safe nuclear energy did fifty years ago. Natural gas and oil can also be used as a source for this DCFC process and the best part is that it already comes with an existing commercial electrical power generation infrastructure.

I’ve written a short paragraph about DCFC in a previous column but I strongly believe the Unites States Coal Industry needs to take a serious look at this potential technology. There are several reasons why I take this position and the first and most obvious is that the Coal Industry is on the chopping block with the latest EPA regulations. The new regulations have to do with clean air and water from the coal burning process to generate electricity. The EPA itself admits that the plan’s usefulness against the threat of climate change will be so small that it will be impossible to measure. If you eliminate the ‘burning of coal’, you eliminate the need for new regulations and many of the older regulations as well.

Coal is the cheapest source we have to generate electricity today. The fact that there is already a well established infrastructure for mining coal, it only makes business sense to leverage that infrastructure and only change that process which needs to be changed – the burn. At a fraction of the cost to build an equivalent nuclear power plant or renewable wind and solar farm, a new DCFC Converter can be built right next to the existing coal furnaces and the output fed directly into the electrical grid without having to go through a secondary steam turbine process. Wow! That would lower the cost of processing tremendously and make electricity generation from coal cheaper than coal. There is a little sarcasm in that last sentence because coal is the cost baseline for all other energy sources.

There is a book I read recently titled “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” and it addresses the abundance of what fossil fuel has contributed to our extraordinary life style. Even as an advocate of nuclear energy, I just don’t understand the reasoning behind those you want to shut down coal production when clean coal can be achieved if we wanted to commit the effort to it.

DCFC Ref. Link: http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2015/02/direct-carbon-fuel-cells-an-ultra-low-emission-technology-for-power-generation.html


DCFCs can give twice the efficiency of a coal plant for about half the price
as originally posted at http://mssci.com/

Robert Steinhaus contributed this about Direct Carbon Fuel Cells that can run on coal granules.

Molten Carbonate salt Direct Carbon Fuel Cells do not use a turbine-generator to convert heat to electricity. Each DCFC collects electrical charge internally on graphite electrodes inside the cell so a DCFC directly converts the chemical energy in coal into DC electricity. DCFC cells operate at high temperatures comparable to Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors (about 750 degrees C) and high temperature steels have to be used to make the fuel cells.

It is a feat to make a high temperature coal fired plant operate at more than 44% thermodynamic efficiency. DCFCs convert the chemical energy in coal to electricity at a repeatedly demonstrated efficiency of 80%. There is not Brayton turbine-generator on the planet that can approach the efficiency of DCFCs, and DCFCs do their job much more inexpensively than Brayton or Rankin turbines, have fewer moving parts, and require less maintenance.

Some downsides of DCFCs –
DCFCs have to operate at elevated temperatures between 700 – 750 degrees. To initially start a DCFC you have to heat the cell from an external source, although once started, internal exothermic heat of reaction will keep a cell at temperature.

DCFCs tend to be physically large cells for the power you can instantaneously draw from them (lower power density by weight). A DCFC might typically be 4X the volume of a natural gas or hydrogen PEM fuel cell which supplies the same amount of electrical power.

Since turbine generators are about half or more of the cost of most thermal fossil plants like coal fired power plants – not requiring a precision high temperature turbine-generator saves about half of the cost of a traditional coal power plant and make DCFCs very very high efficiency (80%) and very cheap (about half the cost of the nearest coal fired power plant competitor).

Small several hundred watt practical DCFC cells have been built at LLNL National Lab and operated for several months demonstrating 80% conversion efficiency. Commercial DCFC cells would be much larger and perhaps produce 10s of Megawatts of power each. Such large cells would turn high chemically energy dense coal into electricity directly without burning the coal. How often you have to replenish the DCFC cell would depend on how much power you draw out of the cell. You would get twice as much electricity from a given amount of coal using the fuel cell as you would get from burning the same amount of coal in a coal fired power plant.

The vast majority of the volume and weight of coal that you load into a DCFC fuel cell disappears into clear, colorless, and odorless CO2 gas that goes up a vent to the atmosphere or can be can be used in an industrial process or sequestered underground (no smoke, particulates, radiation, or other pollution into the environment to foul the local air quality). There is a ash or char produced by the cell which is around 5% by weight of the coal loaded into the DCFC. This ash/char has to be periodically removed from the fuel cell and disposed (when processed and the molten salts recycled – the char makes decent soil amendment for agricultural soils)

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Direct Carbon Conversion” by John Cooper
https://e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/317376.pdf

Editors Note: Here are some additional web-sites to learn about DCFC and the coal gasification process.  Start with an animation profiling the full process- https://vimeo.com/93110188

Atlanta based Southern Company is an energy provider with a DCFC program-
www.southerncompany.com/what-doing/energy-innovation/smart-energy/smart-power/kemper.cshtml
www.elp.com/articles/2014/04/southern-co-to-study-coal-power-with-chinese-state-firm.html

A more technical look at DCFCs, which will likely have capacity factors of 65%.
www.materialsviews.com/direct-carbon-fuel-cells-ultra-low-emission-technology-power-generation/

China has a strong program for alternate uses of coal as well-
http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/china-build-50-coal-gasification-facilities/
http://english.sxicc.cas.cn/st/rdds/200906/t20090601_19682.html

Quote from the book “A Cubic Mile of Oil”

This quote is from the introduction explaining how the book got its title:

“In discussions of global energy and resources with our friends and colleagues, we found that many of them shared our frustration with all of the different units being used to describe energy. What we needed was a large unit of energy that could be visualized and would also evoke a visceral reaction… We turned to a unit that one of the authors, Hew Crane, had devised as he sat in the long lines that typified the energy crisis if 1974. He had heard that the world was using oil at the rate of 23,000 gallons a second and began wondering how much it would be in a year. A few multiplications later, he calculated it to be approaching a trillion gallons. 724 billion gallons to be more precise.”

This happens to be the volume of a cubic mile. So in 1974 we consumed a cubic mile of oil per year. Later in the book he points out that we are now consuming over 3 cubic miles of oil a year 41 years later.

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.

Noah Nuke Advocate

The solution is technologically available now. The will to execute it is missing. It’s going to be a lot like Noah’s Ark. Nobody imagined it would rain for 40 days and 40 nights. The need for a solution might be pursued when the ark has trouble carrying all the passengers. Too little too late. The ark survivors might live long enough to settle and seek solutions. If they finally realize that nuclear energy could have saved them will the survivors have the know-how?
This is a pretty grim metaphor. But there is plenty to like about nuclear science that goes beyond bombs and nuclear energy. By embracing the benefits of nuclear science maybe we can finally evolve rather than devolve as we seem to be doing now.

Aiming at a National Energy Policy for Energy Reality

Developing a national energy policy for a country of our size does have significant challenges. Making one set of guidelines for a diverse set of regions and jurisdictions is a challenge so not every guideline will be a perfect fit. For those looking for number crunching, graphs and citations you will be disappointed. I keep my comments in the realm of the educated-guessing bloggers often do. Energy policy in our case needs to make the case that nuclear energy has the most potential to do the most benefit. So our energy policy includes educating people to draw their own conclusions based on comparing the options which I hope our website will eventually provide.

But we need to make nuclear energy and nuclear science more important to everyone. It’s true that we need more scientists and engineers but we need the general public to embrace nuclear. Part of the problem is that most people feel that it is too complicated to understand nuclear. We can change that perception. It is not so esoteric. It can be made into a more easy to digest subject by starting with the numerous non-energy benefits of nuclear. For this point to be understood simply look at the wide range of benefits nuclear science has given us beyond energy and weapons. See youtube video The Future of Nuclear Technology … After Fukushima with Alan E. Waltar ( http://youtu.be/NQ_7-BNgBew )

Times have changed. We used to be able to ignore what science and industry were doing. Continue reading

The Hypothetical Case for the Best Energy Source

If we had the most cleverly designed spreadsheet it would not be so hard to compare several factors and weigh the strengths and weakness of each and decide what course of action makes the most sense.

Some of the questions would hold more weight than others. Here are some of the questions about criteria affecting a decision for the best course of action.

1. Does the energy source harm the environment?

2. Does the energy have a small foot print? How much land does it need?

3. What is the capacity of each power plant?

4. How long will the plant last and will the return on investment pay off?

5. Does the energy source provide quality power? In other words can it be relied upon to be consistent and predictable.

6. Is it safe?

7. Are the problems with the technology hard to fix? Are the costs involved fair and subject to the same regulatory criteria as other power sources?

Answers in the next issue.