Armond Cohen: Looks at Lovins’s claims with questioning analysis

A few hours ago, I posted a blog titled Amory Lovins-speak: Three misleading statements in a 15 second sound bite. That post included a video embed of Lovins presentation during a March 28, 2014 symposium sponsored by the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth titled Three Mile Island 35th Anniversary Symposium: The Past, Present, and Future of Nuclear Energy.

That talk was followed — after a break — by the following panel discussion. If you don’t have time to watch the whole hour and 21 minutes, you might want to focus on the first 20 minutes. That is the section where Armond Cohen, the Executive Director of the Clean Air Task Force and former guest on the Atomic Show, provides a presentation with analysis that is direct opposition to the talk that Lovins gave. Though Cohen was not provided an advance review of Lovins’s talk, he has probably heard similar talks from the same source often enough to know what to expect.

Several times during his presentation, Cohen said something to the effect of “And here our conclusion is different from than the one that Amory provided.”

My interpretation of Cohen’s talk was that he once hoped renewables and energy efficiency could be able to do the job without a lot of help from either fossil fuel or nuclear energy, but after running the numbers he recognized that the probability was not high enough to risk betting the cleanliness of our shared atmosphere on a hope.

Cohen is evidently a hockey fan, like several nuclear advocates that I know in Washington, so his prescription for our energy future uses a hockey analogy. He recommends that we take a lot of shots on goal and to avoid removing one of our most potent and proven scorers from the game.

PS – Cohen and I do not see eye to eye on some topics, especially with regard to the potential utility of offshore wind. I am adamantly opposed to offshore wind, especially the Cape Wind project, but have not been spending much time worrying about it. I predicted several years ago that it would never be built, but the project keeps getting jolts from the death-delaying paddles of political intervention.

Amory Lovins-speak: Three misleading statements in a 15 second sound bite

I had the opportunity to be in the audience during the above talk. You might notice my impolite interjections; I have often been accused of being very poor at hiding my real reactions and feelings. There is a reason why I stopped playing poker during game nights on the USS Stonewall Jackson. I was losing […]

Read more »

Russia continues sustained fast breeder reactor effort

On June 26, 2014, the 60th anniversary of the start of the 5 MWe Obninsk reactor that was the first reactor in the world to routinely supply electricity to a commercial power grid, Russia started up the latest in a series of sodium-cooled fast reactors, the BN-800. This new nuclear plant is an evolutionary refinement […]

Read more »

HTR-PM – Nuclear-heated gas producing superheated steam

The first HTR-PM (High Temperature Reactor – Pebble Module), one of the more intriguing nuclear plant designs, is currently under construction on the coast of the Shidao Bay near Weihai, China. This system uses evolutionary engineering design principles that give it a high probability of success, assuming that the developers and financial supporters maintain their […]

Read more »

Modest proposal to Chris Crane, CEO of Exelon

Dear Mr. Crane: According to Exelon’s power struggle, your company is searching for a strategy that will restore the glowing prospects that it faced in the period from 2004-2008. That is the period that an Exelon leader called “the boom years for nuclear.” During that time, Exelon’s stock price reached an all time high of […]

Read more »

EPA Carbon pollution emission guidelines – New and preserved nuclear capacity

The EPA has released a 645 page draft document titled Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units for comment. Though several newspaper commentaries about the rule fail to mention the word “nuclear” the EPA draft document includes 76 instances of the word, often in terms of describing it as a […]

Read more »

NuScale and DOE finalize the agreement announced six months ago

On December 12, 2013, the US Department of Energy announced that it had selected NuScale as the winner of a cost share program to develop small modular reactors. This morning, NuScale distributed the following press release announcing that the agreement with the DOE had been finalized for up to $217M over the next five years. […]

Read more »

B&W mPower cover story about lack of interest is bogus

Update: (June 20, 2014) Here is the chart of B&W’s stock price during the past year. It is interesting to note the 10% drop between May 9, 2014 and May 18, 2014 and the fact that the stock continues to trade in a range centered around the new, lower price established after that drop. End […]

Read more »

Vogtle Construction Update Video

This video provides an encouraging view of the positive impact that the Vogtle expansion project is having on the local community. It’s 4,000 – 5,000 construction jobs is just one part of the economic impact; that $23 million dollar property tax check shown during the video is another part that apparently brings smiles to the […]

Read more »

NEI Small Reactor Forum Report – Part 2

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) hosted its biannual Small Reactor Forum on February 25, 2014. The agenda for the one day event included six well-organized sessions with presentations from three small reactor vendors, the industry trade group, the regulatory agency, and several outside observers with a significant interest in the technology from a variety of […]

Read more »

DOE Signing What May be the Only Nuclear Loan Guarantee

Yesterday, Dr. Ernest Moniz made it official; he is continuing his recent travels through the southern US. As he joked with the audience at the National Press Club, there is a reason why his itinerary has focused on southern locations in December, January and February. His next stop will be today, Feb 20, 2014, in […]

Read more »