Moniz hires the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists as his gate keeper

I did not understand the enthusiasm with which some of my nuclear energy colleagues greeted the selection and appointment of Ernest Moniz as the new Secretary of Energy. He is a natural gas advocate who professes undue conservatism about the potential value of nuclear energy. Read and compare the MIT reports produced under his direction, The Future of Natural Gas and The Future of Nuclear Power.

Here is the enthusiastic introductory paragraph of The Future of Natural Gas:

Natural gas is finding its place at the heart of the energy discussion. The recent emergence of substantial new supplies of natural gas in the U.S., primarily as a result of the remarkable speed and scale of shale gas development, has heightened awareness of natural gas as a key component of indigenous energy supply and has lowered prices well below recent expectations.

This study seeks to inform discussion about the future of natural gas, particularly in a carbon constrained economy.

Here is the cautious conclusion of the Executive Summary of the 2009 update to The Future of Nuclear Power:

The central premise of the 2003 MIT Study on the Future of Nuclear Power was that the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in order to
mitigate global warming, justified reevaluating the role of nuclear power in
the country’s energy future. The 2003 study identified the challenges to greater deployment and argued that the key need was to design, build, and operate a few first-of-a-kind nuclear plants with government assistance, to demonstrate to the public, political leaders, and investors the technical performance, cost, and environmental acceptability of the technology. After five years, no new plants are under construction in the United States and insufficient progress has been made on waste management. The current assistance program put into place by the 2005 EPACT has not yet been effective and needs to be improved. The sober warning is that if more is not done, nuclear power will diminish as a practical and timely option for deployment at a scale that would constitute a material
contribution to climate change risk mitigation.


Yesterday, my concerns about Dr. Moniz were confirmed when I read a brief notice in the Washington Post indicating that he had selected Kevin Knobloch, who has served as the President of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) for the past ten years. One of my contacts within the DOE sent an email from inside the organization. He included Dr. Moniz’s internal announcement following his pithy response to that correspondence.

I am done.

The inmates are running the damn asylum.

Anyone need help?

(Name removed)

_____________________________________________
From: Secretary Moniz
Sent: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:55 PM
Subject: Announcing Kevin Knobloch as the New Chief of Staff

Colleagues:

Over the past few weeks, one of my top priorities has been to assemble a leadership team of incredibly talented individuals from both inside and outside the Department. I am pleased to announce that Kevin Knobloch will be joining us on Monday, June 24 as Chief of Staff and will be managing this team as we work together to execute the Department’s critical mission.

Kevin brings 35 years of experience in public policy, government, advocacy, and media to his job as Chief of Staff of the Energy Department. He joins us after serving as the President of the Union of Concerned Scientists for the past ten years, where he led the science-based organization’s analytical, legislative, and policy functions. Before that, Kevin held a number of roles on Capitol Hill, as a journalist, and with an environmental organization. I am confident that Kevin’s deep understanding of energy issues and experience as an outstanding manager will be of incredible value to the Department.

Please join me in welcoming Kevin in his new capacity as Chief of Staff.

Secretary Moniz

For those who still believe that the Union of Concerned Scientists is anything but a professional antinuclear organization that believes that the only safe nuclear plants are the ones that are permanently shut down, please visit the organization’s web site and read its carefully worded position on nuclear energy. Here is a quote from that page:

Nuclear power is an inherently hazardous technology; there’s no way to make it perfectly safe.

(Emphasis added.)

If that does not convince you, perhaps you could read Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable without Subsidies. One more suggestion would be to read Mr. Knobloch’s own writing on the challenge of climate change and try to find a single mention of the ‘N’ word as an important tool in fight.

I hope you all can understand the irony of this situation. We have a man who played a key role in a report that acknowledges the important role that nuclear energy can play in mitigating climate change if the government will implement certain key programs to enable its growth. That man is selected for to be the head honcho at the agency that is tasked by the Congress to provide that assistance. One of his first decisive acts in that new position is to hire his official gate keeper and access controller. (That is the role of a Chief of Staff.) His choice for that important role is a man that has spent the past ten years leading an organization that denies the value of nuclear energy, claims it is not viable without subsidies, and fights all efforts to provide any kind of enabling assistance. Hmmm.

Is there anyone else who can see through this to recognize that there is a plan in place to do everything possible to slow the development of nuclear energy as a competitive power source so that the natural gas industry (aka the oil industry) can become even more prosperous and powerful than it already is?

About Rod Adams

55 Responses to “Moniz hires the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists as his gate keeper”

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  1. brendan sutton says:

    doesn’t that also put the union of concerned journalists in charge of nuclear weapons production,and weapons research, in the US?

  2. John Tucker says:

    It doesn’t seem to be a good sign. Obama is also set to release his “new and improved” energy strategy in July. I get the feeling we are gearing up more for a German type energy scam, with little, reverse, or even accelerated progress (as in Germany) on environmental degradation.

    I cant help to think now in retrospect how incompetent and politically telling the selection of Gregory Jaczko was to lead the NRC. Although things have improved somewhat there now it seems people should remember that first public step this administration took into managing nuclear prower I think.

    First impressions sometimes are the most correct.

  3. Robert Hargraves says:

    Here is the 2007 UCS position paper on global warming and nuclear power, http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_and_global_warming/ucs-position-on-nuclear-power.html

    After a talk in Hanover by UCS I tried to improve their position. I joined UCS. I unsuccessfully asked to be put in communication with their policy makers. I wrote…

    Re: Nuclear Power in a Warming World

    Thank you for visiting Hanover and inviting me to the UCS meeting on June 7. Your remarks on UCS concerns about nuclear power indicate strong opposition to this energy source, even though you said UCS has no official position on this. I took a copy of the December 2007 UCS brochure, Nuclear Power in a Warming World, which portrays exaggerated risks and no benefits.

    UCS disdains NRC’s safety culture, implying that the existence of any safety problem illustrates failure. Safety management is a process that requires the recognition, analysis, risk assessment, and procedure improvements for many, ongoing critical issues. Recognizing that perfect safety is not possible is key to managing it.

    The NRC budget is, I agree, inadequate. Also the funding is perverse, in that license applicants must pay NRC for all unknown costs involved in NRC’s work. This is particularly burdensome to applicants who propose new technologies, such as small modular reactors, since the NRC must spend significant money to recruit and train technologists who are competent to review the designs.

    The description of the Price Anderson act is deceitful, since it does not mention the nuclear industry is responsible for over $10 billion of liabilities and that the government officially bears none.

    The UCS complaint about not being able to cross-examine the NRC during hearings on specific power plants betrays obstructionism in my opinion. NRC needs to focus on cross-examining applicants.

    The recommendation that the NRC ensure “new nuclear plants are significantly safer than existing ones” omits the fact that NRC does this and that new proposed plant designs are two orders of magnitude safer, as evidenced by probabilistic risk analysis.

    The statement that “terrorists . could disable safety systems .. cause a meltdown of the core, failure of the containment structure, and a large release of radiation.” is not imaginably true.

    The UCS critique of terrorist vulnerability of spent fuel in cooling pools is correct. Recommendations to mitigate the effect of melting spent fuel rods would be helpful. Cooled spent fuel is today being transferred to safe, 50 ton concrete casks, as UCS recommends.

    The critique that NRC and the industry provide inadequate defense against terrorist threats is unwarranted and runs counter to my observations in visiting Seabrook and Vermont Yankee power plants.

    With respect to weapons proliferation, I agree with UCS that “there is little the United States or international community can do to prevent a determined nation from eventually acquiring such weapons.” But your writing “.civil stockpiles of plutonium, which terrorists could steal and use to produce nuclear weapons” is certainly wrong.

    Certainly the world needs to guard any stockpiles of plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel, as does France. But this reactor grade plutonium can not be fabricated into weapons by terrorists. Even nation states with determination and adequate technical and financial resources would not do this, because there exist much more practical, easy, proven, economical ways to make more powerful nuclear weapons, as illustrated by Pakistan, India, and North Korea. Nuclear war is a serious concern; operating nuclear power reactors does not increase the risk. Yet increasing the number of nations with uranium enrichment plants may enable the nations to produce highly enriched uranium for weapons.

    The statement “None of the proposed new reprocessing technologies would provide meaningful protection against nuclear terrorism or proliferation.” flies in the face of the work done at the University of Chicago development of the Integral Fast Reactor, which maintains plutonium within the bounds of the plant and always contaminated with other radioactive material.

    The current UCS recommendation that the US take the lead in foregoing reprocessing was proven ineffective. The US did not reprocess, yet Russia, UK, France, Japan, and other did.

    The section on safe disposal of nuclear waste needs to be updated. Yucca Mountain is (temporarily at least) off the table. Deep borehole technology developed by the oil exploration industry provides a promising way to store unwanted radioactive waste 3 to 5 km below the earth’s surface. The Blue Ribbon Commission on nuclear waste management is in session. Reprocessing would indeed increase waste depository capacity by reducing the volume of unwanted radioactive materials to just the fission products, as these decay to much lower heat producing materials in a few hundred years. The fissile materials retrieved can seed new generations of advanced nuclear reactors.

    The UCS choice of the French EPR (“only one”) as “significantly less vulnerable to severe accidents” is odd. Other Gen III+ reactors by GE and Westinghouse are similarly designed with passive safety systems, as are any new reactor designs (such as PBMR) that would be proposed to or accepted by the NRC.

    Opposed by UCS, GNEP is now unfunded. It met UCS’s recommendations of limiting uranium enrichment, but non-weapons states such as India and South Africa that wanted to export nuclear fuel stalled this initiative. But this is precisely what UCS recommended, “Such controls should not discriminate between nations that have nuclear weapons and those that do not.”

    I recommend that UCS take a fresh look at its published (if unofficial) position on the potential for Nuclear Power in a Warming World.

    Robert Hargraves
    Hanover NH
    UCS member

    • Joel Riddle says:

      Robert,

      That is an excellent compilation of almost all of the primary issues relating to nuclear power. Perhaps Rod would consider crafting that into a posting of its own as well?

      Joel Riddle

    • Joris van Dorp says:

      Brilliant. Thanks a lot for this.

    • John Tucker says:

      That really was well written Robert. You didn’t shy away from specifics either.

  4. Wayne SW says:

    I was also leary of the Moniz appointment. He played a central role in the trashing of the High Flux Beam Reactor at Brookhaven Lab back in the 1990s. The HFBR was a world-class facility for neutron scattering research. It was an incredibly productive facility that presented no hazard to people or the environment, yet it was trashed along with the careers of a good many very talented and capable people, for no other reason than politics. And Moniz was mixed up in it.

  5. Jeff Walther says:

    I’m not usually a conspiracy theorist, but we have five new (-ish) nuclear reactors under construction. Four are now slated for closing, three because of regulatory obstructionism, with at least two more under threat.

    Is there a quid pro quo here? A back room agreement that nuclear will be a certain size and no larger? If new plants are built, old ones must close and whatever is needed politically will be done to make that happen?

    Appointing Jaczko could have been bad luck or force majeur. Appointing McFarlane was clearly sabotage. This deal with Moniz just puts the nail in the coffin. No honest person with half a wit believes that UCS is an unbiased organization.

    We really ought to dig out their advertisements from SciAm in the mid-late 70s to clearly demonstrate this fact. They started out lying about nuclear power and have never stopped. I was astounded when I started paying attention a few years ago and found that people actually think that UCS is a disinterested party. They are and have always been a bunch of liars who are anti-technology at every turn.

  6. Sean McKinnon says:

    I don’t know if I mentioned this before but UCS is blatantly dishonest and takes a marked unscientific approach in its writings that are crafted to promot unnecessary FUD.

  7. Daniel says:

    I think the DOE was to émit a report on the safety of Uranium mining in the US. Has this report been issued ?

  8. James Greenidge says:

    You know, if Gates, Allen, Branson and the few other pro-nuke billionaires REALLY put money where their supposed gung-ho mouths are, they’d been pumping news print and airwaves with enough anti-FUD literature and videos to blast the UCS out of the water. SpaceX gets far more Ad airtime now for Pete’s sake! PP was a blip in the NYC metro media. It was worst than pathetic because it was seen as a “in the pockets” fringe flick. Nuclear’s fortunes are floundering if not slowly sinking in this country. The antis smell the blood in the water with every nuke gone off-line because the public DOESN’T ask why — only that something infamously dangerous isn’t on anymore. Antis also know you won’t find one pol on the Hill who’ll eagerly wave a pro-nuke flag outside of a closet interview. This just doesn’t have to be. Just doesn’t. Stop the FUD. We got the ammo. The ammo is fact and historical industrial records and no mutant rad victims to parade around. The proof is Doomsdays that never happened over 60 years worldwide. Stop the bleeding. Massive public nuke education like yesterday. Coax pro-nuke billionaries and celebs hawking out in public instead of closed meetings news bites. Aqueduct bets here are that gas is going to royally win in NYC and the northeast without ANY serious challenge from nuclear industry, subcontractors, ciubs, professional organizations (when was their last big fancy conference on this issue?), and unions, all totally gelded in PR effectiveness. Yea, Jacko is probably laughing his way into his new chair to help stick the big fork in American nukes, and he could honestly say the nuclear industry didn’t even need the antis to deep-six it.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    • Bill Rodgers says:

      James,

      They are going to China for a reason. It is more profitable and less of a headache dealing with the Chinese government to get their nuclear businesses up and running instead of working with the US government.

      That is saying something about the state of affairs here in the United States when US entrepreneurs are going to another country that declares itself to be a socialist state with a planned economy in order to start new reactor programs.

    • Joris van Dorp says:

      Ouch. It would be great if it happened. I wonder what people like Branson and Gates actually think about the down-and-dirty PR and politics of nuclear power. I wonder if they’ve considered it and if so, how it is dealt with in their strategy.

      • Daniel says:

        Gates and Branson are not interested in playing in the US. They have stated so before that NRC regulations would kill any creative undertaking.

        Plus the marketing we are dealing with here is more industrial and governmental in nature. Most of it is done between big boys away from the media.

  9. Matt Robinson says:

    It has become clear to me that the USA has a systemic, entrenched anti-nuclear ‘rot’ in it’s corridors of power. I am unconvinced that it’s just an effective fossil fuel industry lobby, but rather an active but subtle and dedicated anti-nuclear conclave.

    This can only be broken by an all-out pro-nuclear revolution. It will take a dramatic change of heart from key, high-profile, respected people with lot’s of cash and iron will – much like how the anti-nuclear movement started.

    The only way to effect a change of heart like that is national recognition that fossil fuels are a clear and present threat to the american way of life, and that renewables won’t fix it, and that nuclear is the only solution.

    Sadly, I can’t see it happening.

    • Martin Kral says:

      I see another way; energy threat. China is moving forward with nuclear at a pace no where else in the world. Gates is even working with them, as well as a few US Universities. When China takes the lead (with our technology) in nuclear research and development, maybe the US will do something serious.

    • Steve says:

      As I’ve said before, the only way it will happen is when the USA sees proof that this course of action is a mistake, i.e. when a geopolitical challenger such as China or Russia start reaping the economic benefits of large-scale deployment of next gen nuclear technology at our expense. The benefits of cheap, abundant power are manifold. Energy is an economic enabler, the master resource. Nations that realize this will capture economic advantage in an age of ever more costly fossil fuels. It was no accident that the USA stood over the world when Texas was the Saudi Arabia of the 1940s and 50s. Cheap energy matters – a lot.

      Once we start eating their dust, clinging to past glories while wheezing on dirty and ever more costly fossil fuels, only then a “critical mass” of opinion to change nuclear policy will happen. If I were to invest in the Nuclear Age of the 21st Century, and invest in the future, it sadly would have to be OUTSIDE of the US for now. The ruling class of the US is too far wedded to what made it powerful in the past and rich today, a history written in oil.

      For now, it will be more nonsense from the likes of Amory Lovins and Al Gore. All talk of wind and sun and negawatts, utterly useless “solutions”, so much snake oil being sold as the fix that doesn’t stand a chance as a cure. Talk that sounds good, feels good, but in the end signifies nothing. The reality will be more fossil fuels get burned as shareholders get rich and the planet burns while the band plays on.

      • Bill Rodgers says:

        Hear! Hear!

        • Bas says:

          Sorry a faulty paragraph
          “(i)At that time:
          – a standard PV panel on my roof of ~2x1m will have a capacity of >0.5kW solar and will produce for 20MW each (big ones here are now 8MW) and cost ~$50/MWh (as they will require far less maintenance). (/i)”

          Read it as:

          At that time:
          – a standard PV panel on my roof of ~2x1m will have a capacity of >0.5kW solar and produce for ~$15/MWh
          – wind turbines will have a capacity >20MW (big ones here are 8MW), and cost ~$50/MWh (as they will require far less maintenance).

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Bas

            How much will the power from your panels cost at night?

          • Brian Mays says:

            Rod – Based on recent experience in Spain, I predict that it will cost taxpayers the same about as it does during the day. ;-)

          • Bas says:

            @Rod
            … How much will the power from your panels cost at night?…
            Nothing, as there are no operating costs.

            Even if NPP’s get the needed flexibility (from 5% to 100% in ~15 minutes) that wind requires, the near zero operating costs of solar and wind is a major unsolved economic problem for NPP’s.
            It implies that their load factor will go downwards towards below 30%, or lower if more wind and solar is installed.
            Driving up the cost price of NPP’s electricity.

            So, how can an utility then develop a profitable business case for a NPP?
            Assuming the huge liability subsidies NPP’s get, stay the only subsidies.

            I don’t see and apparently no utility here in The Netherlands, as well as in most other EU countries.
            But may be you see how?

            As wind and solar will penetrate in the USA too, creating low whole sale prices, this is important for you.

          • John Chatelle says:

            When you can control how much “capacity” can be willfully achieved by the powersource being touted, Please let us know. Why you think it’s a good idea to “rely” on the willy-nilly, I’ll probably never understand.

          • donb says:

            Bas wrote:
            @Rod
            “… How much will the power from your panels cost at night?…”
            Nothing, as there are no operating costs.

            Even if NPP’s get the needed flexibility (from 5% to 100% in ~15 minutes) that wind requires, the near zero operating costs of solar and wind is a major unsolved economic problem for NPP’s.
            It implies that their load factor will go downwards towards below 30%, or lower if more wind and solar is installed.
            Driving up the cost price of NPP’s electricity.

            The ‘near zero operating cost of solar and wind’ is a major unsolved economic cost for NPPs (and other generators) because it is the nuclear power plants and other generators that are bearing the cost of the intermittency of wind and solar. This shifting of cost is due to regulations that favor wind and solar. If wind and solar had to compete in an open, lowest cost dispatch marketplace, they would be uneconomic despite the ‘near zero operating cost’.

          • Engineer-Poet says:

            Bas penned this breathtakingly dishonest response:

            “… How much will the power from your panels cost at night?…”

            Nothing, as there are no operating costs.

            Do you only pay interest costs during the day?  Any amount of interest over zero production is INFINITE cost per kWh.

            What does it cost to only have e.g. refrigeration during daylight?  Massive starvation or food poisoning is a cost of lack of power, but Bas would put it in some other column.  His “renewable” system is ideologically pure, and can never be judged deficient in any way.

      • Bas says:

        @Steve

        … an age of ever more costly fossil fuels …

        After correction for the rise in labour costs, it seems to me that even those became cheaper during the last 60years (leveling the ups and downs).

        But that decrease in price is now surpassed by wind and especially solar whose price fall much faster…
        While nuclear costs and risks did rise.
        (the risks were estimated 1 melt down per 100K years. Now 1 melt down per ~2K years)

        If an utility starts a NPP now, it will be operational ~2020 and has to be profitable until >2050.
        At that time:
        – a standard PV panel on my roof of ~2x1m will have a capacity of >0.5kW solar and will produce for 20MW each (big ones here are now 8MW) and cost ~$50/MWh (as they will require far less maintenance).

        At that time wind and solar each have a capacity >2times bigger than the grid *).

        So can you explain to me / an utility,
        how to earn a profit during the lifetime of this new NPP?

        Especially since wind requires that power plants than can up and down regulate, 5% 100%, within 15 minutes.
        And wholesale electricity prices will be >40% of the time below $20/MWh, ~40% at ~$50/MWh, and ~20% at $80?MWh.

        Despite the huge (liability) subsidies NPP’s get (worth ~$100/MWh), I do not see an economic profitable picture.
        It seems others (utilities) do not either.

        *) In Germany wind capacity is ~50% and solar ~55% of the max capacity of ~60GW needed. They decided to slow down expansion this year to 3GW for wind and 3GW for solar (the halt mentioned elsewhere on this blog).
        Even this ‘slow’ rate implies 280GW for wind + solar at 2050.
        While electricity use is projected to go down.

        • Sean McKinnon says:

          Bas, Taking your comment at face value as I haven’t had time to check it… So one meltdown per 2k req for years? What have we learned are the real consequences?

          Nothing except the harm caused by over reaction.

          If an accident happens that hurts no one then is it really a meaningful reason to continue to use technologies that DO hurt people?

          Even solar kills more people than nuclear. Get with the facts.

          • Bas says:

            @Sean
            The consequences are serious.
            Estimations for Chernobyl and Fukushima each are in the range of ~$500billion, most to be paid by citizens and governments.

            Health.
            Your opinion that these hit only the health of a few (20 years before damage of low level radiation becomes visible (shown by LSS but also by many medical studies such as: raised cancer risk following CT scans. But it should be far less as 97% went towards the ocean thanks to the prevailing winds.

          • Bas says:

            @Steve
            Sorry, somehow my computer or internet connection meshes longer messages sometimes these days.
            I will change to a (50/50Mbps) fiber connection next week and then buy a stronger computer, hoping it will solve it.

          • Joris van Dorp says:

            Bas writes: “I will change to a (50/50Mbps) fiber connection next week and then buy a stronger computer, hoping it will solve it.”

            Why don’t you buy a solar powered computer, Bas? Then at least during the evening, when most of us here have time to discuss energy issues away from our day jobs, we won’t have to be bothered by your convoluted and perpetually repeating nonsense? :)

        • Sean McKinnon says:

          Bas,

          Don’t blame the technology because people irrationally over react and spend too much money decontaminating what would be normal background in other parts of the world. Coal kills more people every year real people not estimated possible future maybe people but real people every year than nuclear power has killed In a life time.

          How much did the coal ash slurry spill at Kingston or Martin county cost to clean up? How about the bp oil spill? (Nat gas comes from oil) every technology has consequences financial or human life or both except that costly nuclear “disasters” just cost money they don’t kill people.

          By the way how much is it costing to clean up and decontaminate the chemical factories and oil refineries I’m Japan that were hit by the same tsunami? What about the rest of the national infrastructure?

          Do you blame the road that gets washed out by a tsunami for getting washed out? No, that would be silly! Why then do we blame nuclear plants that are damaged after being hit by an earthquake and tsunami along with simultaneous station blackout?

          If I had the choice I would rather live half a mile from Fukushima beginning mar 10 2011 than live within 1/2 of a large coal burning plant.

        • Joris van Dorp says:

          Bas says: “So can you explain to me / an utility,
          how to earn a profit during the lifetime of this new NPP?”

          In Germany, when the spot market price of electricity goes to zero because of wind and solar, then the wind and solar suppliers are given money free by the government to completely cover the cost of giving away electricity for free. But nuclear, gas and coal power plants get nothing. In such a distorted market, nothing can compete with solar and wind.

          Bas, you don’t understand this because you are blinded by ideology and unable to think straight. You also have a poor memory, because you and I already discussed this issue and others about a year ago on my facebook page.

      • Rod Adams says:

        @Steve

        I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to promote you comment to the front page.

        It’s an important message.

        • Joel Riddle says:

          I was thinking I might suggest such during the interim time between reading Steve’s post and seeing that you already found it so apt. It does beautifully convey my feelings on the whole energy matter in concise words.

          If I tried to spell all of that out, well over 1,000 words would spew forth. That excessive wordiness is likely indicative of part of the problem of nuclear power, as I am now at 4.5 years of commercial nuclear power experience.

      • James Greenidge says:

        Re: “Once we start eating their dust, clinging to past glories while wheezing on dirty and ever more costly fossil fuels, only then a “critical mass” of opinion to change nuclear policy will happen.”

        I hear you, but I am severely doubtful that will come about. We are looking at real-life test cases of a hopeful “future fossil fuel remorse / nuke reconsideration” scenario in Vermont and New York where the majority are willing to raze and despoil whole mountains and forests and ruin seascapes and countrysides for solar and wind and eat lots more pollution and endure a sprawling fossil infrastructure like railroad yards and tracks just so their radiophobia (maybe Hiroshima guilt too) can be allayed by banishing nukes. I mean they’re willfully doing this — swallowing pollution and higher energy rates and have sicker kids — just to be rid of nuke nightmares despite proven cleaner safer energy!, and for me to believe such people will look at nukes in the future when they’ve “had enough” of fossil’s penalties feels like an awful long hope for me. IMHO, it’s when gas and coal is literally running out, then that’s when America might grudgingly reconsider nukes again. When I know Germany and Vermont and New York will turn around and give nukes another chance in a major way — not just as a tiny pie piece of a “mix”, then I’ll believe nukes are truly back here, but people have an awfully bad habit of putting up with bad and backward things for a LONG time, and when you have pop culture, media, and even schools teaching that nukes are bad and even a proven evil via WWII, I think the only solutions those Americans in the future will think of to a energy crisis will be just to plaster all of Death Valley and Kansas prairies and seashores with more windmills and solar farms. You can see such spellbinding blind allure of “natural energy” by the gushing enthuse of a few on this site. Nuclear is bad for life and health — period. But Oh, Mr. Sun and Breeze, Oh how they love people!

        James Greenidge
        Queens NY

        • Tom Blees says:

          Part of the problem in the area you mention (Vermont, NY, etc) is that people really believe that if they shut down Vermont Yankee and Indian Point that wind and solar will pick up the slack. People are ignorant about energy production and believe the fantasists who make them feel good. The only thing they know about electricity is that when they turn on the switch the light comes on. They’re easy prey for hucksters, and they vote, and sometimes even demonstrate if a handy scapegoat for their trumped-up fears can be pointed out to them.

          This is not to say that such a situation is at all confined to the Northeast. If only…

  10. Rick Maltese says:

    What a disappointment Moniz is.

  11. John Tucker says:

    Emissions are going to jump around 2.5 – 3 % in the US this year (2013) as a result of more coal use / much higher natural gas prices. The Obama administration appears on the verge of a natural gas push.

    It was a very bad time to shutter ANY nuclear power.

    In the first quarter of the year, coal use for power generation jumped almost 13% while natural-gas use for power generation fell 8%,

    In March, natural-gas prices reached $3.95 per million British thermal units, or 78% higher than March 2012,

    Ms. Zichal said the White House will announce in a matter of weeks a climate package that will focus on power plants, energy efficiency and renewable energy. ( http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323836504578553973227234246.html )

    With all the renewable installation (wind turbine installation will outpace new NG) we will still INCREASE GGs this year.

    • Wayne SW says:

      This is already showing up on readings of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Readings of CO2 at Mauna Loa rose about 0.75% between May of 2012 and May of 2013. Not all of that is anthropogenic but I have a hard time believing, given the headlong rush to extract and burn more natural gas, that at least some of the increase isn’t man-made.

  12. Jerry says:

    In Moniz’ first speeches, he has already called for massive energy conservation and mentioned nuclear only in the context of nuclear weapons which the DOE manages. He talked glowingly of a building at MIT that had high energy consumption and how rebuilding it made it so much more “efficient”.
    Moniz is on course to make the “Department of Energy” an Orwellian “Ministry of Plenty” that will ration and reduce the things it is here to provide.

    • Wayne SW says:

      The thing that gets me about this is that apparently people don’t understand that conservation and efficiency do not produce a single watt-hour of energy in and of themselves. It doesn’t matter how efficient you are or how much you conserve if you don’t have an energy source to conserve or be efficient with. So, at one time or another, you have to ask yourself the question, what will your energy source be? Those who would do away with nuclear are then faced with the choices of either burning fossil fuels or relying on inherently unreliable sources. One path leads to atmospheric degradation and acidification of the oceans, which will ultimately cause the extinction of human life. The other will take us back to an era wherein our well-being is dependent on the whims of nature, which is something that mankind has striven to free himself from for millions or years.

  13. Bill Rodgers says:

    So we have to deal with the UCS now having access to billions of dollars of tax money to focus on their version of the world. Of course, the word “scientist” in the Union of Concened Scientists is a misnomer since Knobloch is a policy advocate and does not have any technical trainiing or background.

    But that is now compounded by the fact the Ed Markey will be elected to the Senate next week.

    That makes 3 anti-nuclear people now in the halls of power where energy matters are decided including Moniz. I see more natural gas, more tripe from NREL about efficiency and more push for subsidies to the wind and solar companies which will all come from the wallets of the US taxpayer. Especially after Moniz’s PR push about the solar powered plane that has no payload capacity.

    I also see more guilt campaigns aimed at all energy consumers about how we are the highest energy users in the world on a per capita basis and we should feel “bad” about that, blah, blah, blah. That guilt campaign will be a lead-in to for a push for more “smart” grid (a term I really, REALLY hate) and demand constraint technologies.

    In other words we will be told, like we are little childern, that we need to stop using so much energy since it is bad for the world and if we can’t stop ourselves then the “smart” people associated with Moniz and the UCS will attempt to force technology down our throats that will raise energy rates and make us stop.

    As Rod’s aquaintance states: “The inmates are running the damn asylum”

  14. Dr. John Miller says:

    Rod Adams once again shows us that he can’t be trusted to tell the truth. For its entire 44-year existence, UCS has been neither pro- nor anti-nuclear power. They have instead advocated safer nuclear power. Dave Lochbaum, UCS’s nuclear engineer staffer, told me personally a month ago that this remains their belief and their mission.

    Moniz told the truth when he said nuclear power is inherently hazardous. If it weren’t, how did we get TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima?

    So just remember, whatever Rod Adams says, understand from the start that it’s not all true. To avoid being snookered by him, you would do well to ignore everything he says.

    • Brian Mays says:

      For its entire 44-year existence, UCS has been neither pro- nor anti-nuclear power.

      De facto anti-nuclear is still anti-nuclear, regardless of what that paid shill Lochbaum says. How ironic is it that someone would defend the Union of Corrupt Shills with accusations that someone “can’t be trusted to tell the truth”?!

    • John Tucker says:

      How did we endure the last 40 years of coal and the millions of associated deaths fixating on TMI and Chernobyl when neither actually technically qualifies as a modern nuclear power plant and/or disaster?

      After Fukushima now we even know in the worst natural disaster the casualties can be kept to a minimum, if not eliminated completely.

      None the less UCS’s vague “renewable” enthusiasm with little or no consideration for the realities of energy costs and needs is irresponsible at best.

      Its studies and assessments clearly are biased against nuclear power and rarely if ever give complete reviews of the realities of energy options, not to mention real world pollution scenarios.

    • Sean McKinnon says:

      If UCS is impartial towards nuclear power then I am the Easter Bunny! I have followed Lochbaums writings and the kindest word I can come up with for them is disengenuous.

  15. John Tucker says:

    “For its entire 44-year existence, UCS has been neither pro- nor anti-nuclear power.”

    OK I am wondering in what universe would the following statements be considered unbiased or neutral ??

    The Cost of Nuclear Power: Numbers That Don’t Add Up

    U.S. needs to shift public support to less costly, less risky alternatives

    Financing Nuclear Power: Putting the Public at Risk

    ( http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_and_global_warming/nuclear-power-cost.html )

    OUR ANALYSIS NUCLEAR POWER’S ROLE

    Florida and Georgia Nuclear Power Projects Too Risky, Costly (2011)
    Nuclear Power Subsidies: Report Recommendations (2011)
    Nuclear Power: Still Not Viable without Subsidies (2011)
    Nuclear Power Subsidies Will Shift Financial Risks to Taxpayers (2010)
    Nuclear Power: A Resurgence We Can’t Afford (2009)
    Nuclear Loan Guarantees – Another Taxpayer Bailout Ahead? (2009)
    Nuclear Power in a Warming World (2007)

    ( http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear_power/nuclear_power_and_global_warming/ )

    Claiming the UCS is neutral is a total joke. Even to a non scientist its bias is obvious.

    • Brian Mays says:

      John – Apparently, the UCS took a vacation from its “neither pro- nor anti-” nuclear position for its 2006 “No New Nukes” Matchless Matching Campaign.

      Like the shills at UCS (who are conveniently vague about matching contributions, among other things), John Miller is a pathological liar.

      • John Tucker says:

        Its a shame so many people in trusted positions in government and academia are part of such a fundamentally dishonest organization.

        • John Tucker says:

          Obviously I dont include people like Robert Hargraves in that statement. Obviously too he and people like him have no say whatsoever in UCS policy and positions.

          How a organization can get so far from what it claims to be, like UCS has done, without any self correction is beyond me.

          • Jeff Walther says:

            The UCS never ever ever was what it claims to be. So it did not “get so far from what it claims to be…”

            It started out as a few lazy asses looking for handouts in return for shilling so they wouldn’t have to actually work for a living, and that is what it has always been.

            “Nuclear winter is not the answer to global warming.” From a Union of Corrupt Shills representative on NPR a few years ago, when asked about nuclear to help reduce CO2 emissions.

            How anyone can believe these corrupt, selfish, evil, destructive vandals is beyond me. To support them is the bottom of depravity.

  16. Daniel says:

    I always liked to read Nnadir posts on his dailykos tribune but lately he has been quite silent.

    But I caught him on a response to a thread from May 30 last. Here he is:

    N Nadir says:
    I wouldn’t underestimate the ability of the public to believe nonsense.

    Many times these kinds of things can bring to the public some very dire, if deserved, consequences.

    This is certainly not a new thing. Afterall, the vast majority of people in Europe during the outbreak of the bubonic plague thought the answer was to go to church – and presumably in those times there were a number of fleas in churches and other public spaces – to pray for an answer.

    In modern times, we see how the persistence of ignorance continues to kill people. The World Health Organization, for instance, indicates that 3.3 million people die each year from air pollution. It also reports that more than a million people per year die from lack of decent sanitation.

    But neither of these issues compare in the level of public discussion with, say, for instance, the relatively unimportant nuclear issues at Fukushima, even though no one died from radiation and more than 20,000 people – also barely mentioned – died from non-nuclear human technologies.

    The fear and ignorance of many people who pay lip service – albeit loud lip service – to concern about climate change, and in the next breath condemn nuclear energy is no less pernicious than say, Jim Inhofe’s denialist rhetoric.

    As the great climate scientist Jim Hansen reported in a recent issue of Environmental Science and Technology, nuclear energy has saved millions of lives and might have millions more, except the public has demanded that nuclear energy and only nuclear energy need be perfect and without risk, or otherwise riskier and far less perfect things would be allowed to kill at will, which they do.

    Have a nice day.