SOTU – Clean energy focus, but “nuclear” treated as the other ‘N’ word that cannot be spoken

During President Obama’s February 12, 2013 State of the Union address, he spoke for six and a half minutes about the importance of energy to the American economy and the importance of being a world leading supplier of clean energy technology.

As a proud contributor at an American clean energy company that is developing a new product that is going to help reshape the energy industry, it felt good to hear the President describe the national level impact of the work we are doing every day. I was, however, slightly disappointed that the President failed to mention our project and failed to say a single word about my favorite clean energy source.

I’m sure it was just an oversight and that his speech would have included the ‘N’ word if he had just had a little more time to think about what he wanted to say. Perhaps he wanted to say something about nuclear energy, but just did not have any more time to allot after he had spent so much of his speech extolling the virtues of a “nearly 100 year” supply of natural gas – which will actually last a little less than 90 years as long as we do not increase our current consumption rate.

His speechwriters must have forgotten to include the line that would have described how the USA has uranium and thorium resources that might provide several hundred thousand years of emission free power, even if use of those heavy metals grows to supply ALL of our energy needs.

I apologize for the snarky tone, but it can be a bit discouraging at times to be a nuke. I often feel like the smart kid in the back of the room who has correctly answered so many questions that the teacher refuses to call on him because she wants the other students to get a chance. That’s okay in a classroom setting where there is a goal for all to learn, but it is a silly way to run a marketplace. Some energy products – like wind turbines and solar panels – are inherently inferior. They are less reliable and less useful than fuels like hydrocarbons and heavy metals; they do not deserve continued investments from the taxpayers.

I’d like to repurpose a comment that I posted earlier in response to someone who thinks there is an energy source somewhere that we have not yet discovered that can beat both nuclear energy and hydrocarbons in the market for clean, reliable, affordable, acceptably safe energy.


@EL

Pretend I am from Missouri. Stop pointing to academic studies and models created by “many fine people.” Show me a place anywhere in the world that provides an example of a reasonably large body of people who are living in a style even remotely close to the American middle class suburban lifestyle that I have enjoyed throughout my life while depending on an energy source other than hydrocarbons, nuclear energy or large hydroelectric dams for the lion’s share of the power they use in their daily lives.

Whenever your references include a strong dependence on people like Mark Z. Jacobson you will eventually find out that you are on the wrong technical path. He is an unreliable charlatan when it comes to real world energy production.

You keep telling us here that you care about people who struggle to make ends meet, yet you also claim that your favored energy sources cannot compete because fossil fuels are too cheap. You then claim that nuclear is losing in the market because its cost seems too high.

I refuse to play the energy game by your rules or the rules that have been imposed by the establishment. In my analysis, hydrocarbon fuel sources are far too expensive. They are moving farther and farther out of the reach of the people who need them the most to lift themselves out of dire poverty. It is time for the Kobayashi Maru solution to a game that has been programmed to force nuclear energy off of the list of available options.

The standard that you have implicitly applied to natural gas is a pretty good one to apply to nuclear energy; as long as an energy source is substantially better (cleaner, safer, etc) than our existing coal power plants, then it is worth developing and improving.

Nuclear energy met that standard almost as soon as the self-sustaining chain reaction was discovered. Within 13 years after the historic operation of Fermi’s CP-1 demonstration, Rickover’s USS Nautilus reported that it was underway on nuclear power. That ship dramatically showed the world that the atom had tremendous potential for clean, reliable power, even in the most challenging possible application – a sealed submarine under a deep ocean. Within a couple of years after its launch, the USS Nautilus made a trip from Hawaii to the UK by way of the North Pole. The Shippingport reactor started providing commercial quantities of electricity on the fifteen year anniversary of the successful demonstration at CP-1, despite the disadvantage of 13 years worth of strict secrecy about the technology.

In reaction to the proven potential for nuclear energy to take markets away from fossil fuels, fission energy’s hydrocarbon competitors teamed up with vendors and construction contractors who learned about cost control from their experiences in the military industrial complex. They developed a government regulatory agency influenced by scientists who felt that they were guilty of original sin because of their involvement with The Bomb. That coalition of common interests developed designs and processes that elevated the cost of nuclear energy (and the revenue from building the plants) to its currently uncompetitive level. Many scientists and some engineers kept going along with the program because it led to a reasonably steady flow of research dollars for an unachievable goal of perfect safety.

There is no need to tighten nuclear energy regulations; far from it. There is a crying need to relax prescriptive regulations, to encourage real quality assurance programs adapted from industries like commercial aviation, automobiles, and shipbuilding that seek to improve results at ever lower costs by reducing wasteful rework, and to allow nuclear fission’s inherent energy density advantage to drive DOWN the cost of energy.

Making energy cheap will force hydrocarbons to become cheap again. It will protect the very places where you prefer to camp and kayak; oil and gas companies will stop trying to extract resources from the Arctic, the deep ocean, the tar sands and the mountains of North Dakota because those places contain large quantities of high production cost resources that could not compete in a market of abundant fission energy.


Disclaimer: Though I work for The Babcock & Wilcox Company on the B&W mPowerTM Reactor project, I do not speak for the company. My thoughts on Atomic Insights are strictly my personal views and do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of my employer.

photo by: Ethan Bloch

About Rod Adams

90 Responses to “SOTU – Clean energy focus, but “nuclear” treated as the other ‘N’ word that cannot be spoken”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Joris van Dorp says:

    “I apologize for the snarky tone, but it can be a bit discouraging at times to be a nuke. I often feel like the smart kid in the back of the room who has correctly answered so many questions that the teacher refuses to call on him because she wants the other students to get a chance. That’s okay in a classroom setting where there is a goal for all to learn, but it is a silly way to run a marketplace.”

    So true. Another fine posting Rod. It’s why I keep coming back to this blog.

    The drive for renewables (unreliables) is fueled not only by a will to reduce AGW, air polution, energy import dependency and so on, but it is also being run as a ‘job creation’ program, though this last bit is not often explicitly mentioned. Spending some time thinking about that last motive would be good though. For instance, the European Energy Roadmap 2050 forecasts (probably optimistically) that the energy sector will go from a 10% share to a 15% share of GDP under a carbon reduction program. (IMHO, it will probably turn out to be 20%, not 15%) This implies that all other sectors need to crimp by a combined 5% of GDP. Which sectors will that be? Defense? Science and education? Health care? Consumer goods and services? Social security? Development aid? Take your pick.

    To be honest and transparent, anyone who supports unreliables should explain which sector they believe needs to crimp to accomodate unreliables, so that all may judge whether they want to support such a plan.

    I know my preference, as a consumer, would be none of the above. I prefer a strategy that limits the energy sector to the 10% share it has now (in the EU). I believe nuclear energy is the only option that will be able to provide the energy we need, cleanly and abundantly, while limiting the size of the energy sector to 10%. Perhaps it could even lead to a further reduction? I think it could.

    I don’t view the energy sector as a sector that would benefit society by growing by 50%. I imagine that people who do not work in the energy sector would agree with that. Presumeably, this is about 90% of the population. A lot of potential pro-nukes in that group, methinks.

    Joris

    • Joel Riddle says:

      “I often feel like the smart kid in the back of the room who has correctly answered so many questions that the teacher refuses to call on him because she wants the other students to get a chance.”

      I often share the same sentiment.

      Joris, I like the way you have conveyed the energy as a percentage of GDP issue. I see communicating in these terms as being potentially quite effective in communicating why more nuclear power is needed. For a further example from just one portion of the energy sector, and just in the U.S., the Energy Information Administration posted this on February 4th as their “Today in Energy” post: http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=9831

      There is basically zero doubt in my mind that the rise of crude oil prices in 2008 was the match that lit the recession fires.

      • David says:

        @ Joel,

        “There is basically zero doubt in my mind that the rise of crude oil prices in 2008 was the match that lit the recession fires.”

        Absolutely. I was in the Philippines and Micronesia in 2008. I watched the price of fuel drive up both the cost of rice, nearly doubling it, and the cost of cooking gas so that suddenly a food budget was 50% of an average family’s wages. In the USA, the explosive growth of the cost of energy drove families into default who had purchased a home that was right on the edge of their budget. The bubble burst. I know people who found that the 50 mile one way trip to their 11 dollar / hour job was chewing up a very large percentage of their take home pay. With unemployment so high, there were not a lot of options to NOT drive these miles.

        I would vastly prefer to invest as a society – if we want to continue to borrow money to “stimulate” the economy – in Nuclear power plants that will give us long term price stability and when paid for long term low prices. Borrowing money to build wind mills is basically throwing the money away.

        I totally agree with Joris, that we want energy to be a very small percentage. Energy should ENABLE work not produce it.

      • Joris van Dorp says:

        I agree that crude oil prices have a lot to do with recessions, there are plenty of analyses that indicate it. Also indicated, by other analyses, is that high crude prices tend to spur activities that mitigate the impact of higher prices. This is why most politicians and economists ignore crude prices as given, and not worthy of much attention. However, some authors writing for the IMF recently wrote an interesting paper that suggest some economist may be changing their thinking:

        “The scenarios developed in this paper highlight that the extent to which persistent oil
        scarcity could constrain global economic growth and current account imbalances depends critically on a small number of key factors. If, as in our baseline, the trend growth rate of oil output declined only modestly, and if the economy was adequately represented by a standard production function in capital, labor and oil, world output would eventually suffer, but the effect might not be dramatic. If the substitutability between oil and other factors of production was increasing in the oil price, the effect would be even smaller. But if the reductions in oil output were more in line with the more pessimistic studies in the scientific literature, the effects could be extremely large. The same could be true if, as claimed by several authors in the scientific literature, standard production functions miss important aspects of the economic role of oil under conditions of scarcity. We discussed three possibilities. First, if the economy attempted to substitute away from oil, it might encounter a lower limit of oil use dictated by entropy. Second, the contribution of oil to output could be much larger than its cost share, because oil is an essential precondition for the continued viability of many modern technologies. Third, the income elasticity of oil demand could be equal to one third as in some empirical studies, rather than one as in our model. And if two or more of these aggravating factors were to occur in combination, the effects could range from dramatic to downright implausible.

        (my emphasis, assuming it did it right)
        Entire report worth reading IMHO.
        http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2012/wp12256.pdf

  2. Daniel says:

    Energy is key. Obama wants 15 manufacturing hubs. What can I say. Even Dr James Conca is in sync with the energy situation as presented in the State of the Union.

    Let’s hope Mr Stone can do some good with his movie. I can’t wait to buy a few tickets.

  3. Engineer-Poet says:

    That “could not compete” meme is a good one.  Those concerned about climate change are especially keen on keeping as much carbon in the ground as possible, and making it uncompetitive is pretty much the only way to guarantee it.  After all, the only reason our economy isn’t solar-powered is because solar is uncompetitive.

    The issue is going to be the ideologues for unreliables who see anything else as betraying the faith.

    • Daniel says:

      @ Engineer-Poet

      Solar not competitive ? We could have waken up with President Chu this morming had anything fatal had happened in Congress yesterday evening !

      • Engineer-Poet says:

        That would probably have been a huge improvement, especially if all the entrenched corrupt pols were swept out as well.

  4. Steve Aplin says:

    In the hour that it took Obama to give his SOTU, Ontario generating plants fueled with “clean” natural gas dumped 1,885 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere — the same CO2 that Obama says is causing climate change.

    Ontario wind turbines during the same hour produced not even two percent of Ontario’s total electricity, even though on paper they were capable of providing 7 percent.

    The unmentioned nuclear plants provided a steady-as-a-rock 10,500 megawatts, more than 99 percent of their capability. Nuclear outperformed all other sources combined, and did not dump a single gram of CO2 into the air.

    Somebody needs to put a ticker up in Times Square, which tracks, hour by hour, the CO2 emissions from U.S. gas and nuclear plants.

  5. DV82XL says:

    Why should the U.S. government be any different than any other that is in thrall to Big Carbon? No politician, not even the President of the United States can stand against the sort of economic might fossil fuel interests can wield. That is why a top-down solution to this issue is just not possible.

    • John Chatelle says:

      Agreed. With our 2 party system, a powerful and strange false dichotomy, is exemplified.

      On one hand, as we saw last night we have the Democrats who favors conservation and reliance on natural energy flows, mainly wind and solar, with clean natural gas used to leverage the adoption of a clean energy future.

      On the other hand, we have the Republicans, who favor a strong increase of domestic energy production, namely gas and oil to help curb imports, and keep the cost of energy down.

      To the Citizens of the US, It seems like a clear exclusively divergent choice. I try to point out to people that this is the perfect situation for the Oil and gas Industry since neither choice will provide competition that will limit their gross profit margins. I point out that for the Oil Companies more domestic drilling is great, and they don’t see Biofuels, wind, solar, geothermal as competition, since they’ll even promote them on their own advertising. Neither choice will negatively impact gross sales or profit margins of the Oil Industry.

      The only thing that threatens their gross profit margins is the strong force. The standard American nuclear weapon fits in a conical reentry vehicle 22” in diameter at the base and stands 5’ tall. Inside is a device that has the energy equivalent of 300,000+ tons of TNT. not pounds, TONS. What should we suppose is the “coal equivalent” of such a device? Why is it this physics isn’t pursued to solve our energy situation?

      I agree that only a grassroots effort can kill this false dichotomy. I appreciate the work of Rod and look forward to the release of Pandora’s Promise. I think we are turning the corner in slaying this great and miserable false dichotomy that does nothing but service politicians and their unseemly rent seekers.

      • Engineer-Poet says:

        What should we suppose is the “coal equivalent” of such a device?

        Roughly 40,000 tons if the inertial-confinement yield is the best you can do.  Roughly 4 trains worth of coal.  IIUC, bombs have about 1% fission yield; if you can split 80% of the fissile atoms, that figure goes up to ~600 trains worth.

        The only thing that threatens their gross profit margins is the strong force.

        Truer words were never spoken.  The irony is that if fission replaced fossil fuels in electric generation, and natural gas replaced petroleum as motor fuel, the USA would enjoy a much stronger economy with far better employment… yet our soi-distant “jobs presidents” refuse to suggest such a thing.

        • Joris van Dorp says:

          I you watch this video, you find a very interesting comment by white-house adviser Daniel Schrag, where he explains that Obama is hoping that the Shale Gas Revolutio””n will ‘break the back’ of the coal lobby, which would open the door for credible climate change policy. Schrag explains that only the coal lobby has political clout, not so much the natural gas or oil lobbies, which is why substituting gas for coal in power generation could improve the chances of credible climate policy (which would include strong support for nuclear power).

          So the Obama plan would seem to be:

          1. break the back of the coal lobby (by supporting natural gas)
          2. break the back of the natural gas lobby (such as there is)
          3. make credible climate/energy policy

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPqSZvcIKJc

          Joris

          • George Carty says:

            Strange policy then — I would have thought that Big Oil/Gas would have far more power than Big Coal. The only real political leverage of the coal industry (as I see it) is its ability to provide jobs for miners in places that would otherwise have no raison d’être.

          • Engineer-Poet says:

            I just wrote Schrag a letter, asking him to ponder a more lucrative market for natural gas which could soak up everything we could produce and then some:  motor fuel.

        • Rod Adams says:

          One of my colleagues has just produced an interesting slide that shows that a single B&W mPowerTM core reload will provide as much energy as a coal train stretching from Lynchburg to Boston. (180 MWe x 24 hours per day x 4 years x 365 days/yr x 0.95 (CF) )

          I’ll share it with you once it has been refined.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @DV82XL

      Forgive my idealism, but the US is a place where we have a government that is supposedly “for the people and by the people”. I admit that it has not been doing so well for the past 50 years or so, but that is more the fault of the people for allowing it to happen. We are the government; we own the process. We need to remember that every day and resist the efforts of those who think that money is anything more than a medium of exchange.

      We really don’t need as much fossil fuel as we currently buy. If we pursue the technology despite opposition, we can teach the fossil fuel suppliers that without markets, they are simply owners of some smelly, explosive, flammable material that is difficult to store and not terribly valuable.

      • DV82XL says:

        All of your readers live in representative democracies, and in all of them there has been a collective failure of the voting public to take their responsibilities as seriously as they might and influence by moneyed special interests has moved into that vacuum. Given this is the case, we should not be surprised when influence manifests itself in policy.

        That is why I wrote a top-down solution to this issue is just not possible. It is only by taking back our governments through the ballot box – a bottom up solution – that we can get the policies that we want.

        What pains me is that some pronukes still seem to harbor a fantasy that some leader will suddenly see the light and start supporting nuclear energy simply because it is a good idea, and are disappointed when this doesn’t happen. Well I have a news: it’s never going to happen unless said politician has a big enough constituency behind him (or her) that the fossil fuel lobby has no hold on him. Until that happens government is the last place to look for support.

        • Engineer-Poet says:

          It is only by taking back our governments through the ballot box – a bottom up solution – that we can get the policies that we want.

          It’s not that simple.  The PTB have proven very skilled at using the courts and other branches of government to block popular measures they don’t like, such as Proposition 187 in California.  The Ron Paul faction was frozen out of the Republican party deliberations by dirty tricks, ditto.  (This refusal to even let Ron Paul speak at the GOP convention, by ex-post-facto rule changes and replacing his elected delegates with others appointed by the party bigwigs, is part of why Republican turnout was so low last year leading to Romney’s loss against a very unpopular opponent.  The PTB got what they wanted, which was someone who wouldn’t upset their applecart.)

          It will probably take something like a Dixiecrat revolution which leaves no candicate with a majority in the EC and forces the PTB to bargain, but there is very little time to do this before the Democrat party imports enough new voters to guarantee itself a lock on national elections forever.

        • Rick Maltese says:

          I had pretty much the same sentiment on my recent deregulate blog

          “There is no way that pleading on blogs will ever directly reach someone like Obama. All any of us can hope for is that our efforts trickle upward by motivating others to contact their local politicians about their feelings about energy and that nuclear is so much better than coal and natural gas.”

          http://deregulatetheatom.com/2013/02/a-response-to-obamas-state-of-the-union-speech/

          “A friend who made a good observation said that Obama chooses to speak about what he thinks people want to hear. His words don’t seem to be emotionally driven or even represent his own feelings. We do get a glimpse occasionally when he connects such as the response to the Sandy School shootings but it’s rare. Why this is the case may come down to the simple fact that Obama has made up his mind. We can speculate that he’s been bought. None of that makes any difference. The voices of the people can make a difference. The question is, are you one of them?”

  6. Carl Lumma says:

    Rod- Where did you find this segment? I looked in here and don’t see it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7doAXkmGJw

  7. James Greenidge says:

    I REALLY think it’s WAY due time for nuclear professional organizations and atomic workers unions to pick up the banner dropped by the nuclear “industry” and start some no-nonsense serious self promotion via PSAs and mass media education programs and hot truth squads to challenge all accusations by anti-nukers any time anywhere. Any primary school grad could’ve told all that a politician steeped ass-high in “green energy” isn’t going to care a wilt about initiating any brand new nuclear projects much less sustain these existing. This is like the movie adage, location, location, location! Except to win public acceptance and favor, the nuclear community must stop zenning on their navels about reactor types and educate, Educate, EDUCATE! Gee whiz, must they be on their deathbed before they get the idea?? Get the Tylenol ad agencies to work on positive nuclear promotion — something! Doc Kaku must be laughing at his green promotion checks!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  8. EL says:

    I’m sure it was just an oversight and that his speech would have included the ‘N’ word if he had just had a little more time to think about what he wanted to say.

    I think you might want to blame “hostage taking” Republicans for this omission (and not his speech writers). Obama made clear “nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime,” and Republicans have moved deficit reduction to the top of our national agenda (especially on the heels of a very contentious sequestration battle).

    The section of the Rubio rebuttal on natural resources and energy is also very telling: “God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas.” Do we fault him for not mentioning “uranium” either? It seems to me perfectly reasonable to suggest that a heightened focus on the debt and government spending has several major goals and purposes in mind: to limit this kind of spending, claw back public supports for alternative energy investments (renewables and nuclear among them), and keep our eyes focused on the real prize (maintaining a 50 – 100 year status quo of coal, oil, natural gas and associated vested interests).

    Given these budget and fiscal constraints, why would anybody expect Obama to have anything to say about the “N” word? The private sector seems perfectly willing to lend a hand and do most of the heavy lifting with renewables. By this route, Obama is able to keep most of his promises in speech regarding clean energy shifts, job growth, and at relatively low to minimal cost to the taxpayer.

    If there’s another constituency that wants to develop nuclear power plants, let them go to the private sector to do it (they’ve only had 60 years to plead their case), or lobby Republicans to get a fair bit of help (and see if the likes of Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, John Boehner, or Mark Rubio are willing to go for it).

    Rod Adams wrote: “@EL, Pretend I am from Missouri. Stop pointing to academic studies and models created by “many fine people.”

    I gave my rebuttal to these comments on “academic studies and models” that you so effortlessly dismiss and discount in the other thread. For those who might be interested, it’s probably worth reading the whole thread (and see if you are in agreement on the merits or deficits of new and advanced technologies, assessment of investment and regulatory risk, timing in current and future global markets, basic common ground … or whether there are some obstacles that are just too great to overcome and that engineering and markets cannot solve on a practical or cost-effective basis). I argue my points, I think, objectively and forcefully (while I also keep an open mind). It’s my hope others will do the same (otherwise, there is little hope that any further debate will yield any positive fruit or rose petals, in honor of the upcoming holiday, and we better all hunker down and get very used to a long and bumpy ride on the non-renewable oil, coal, and natural gas crazy train).

    • DV82XL says:

      The thing is there is enough installed wind and solar that now one can examine real numbers and the grim reality is that the performance of ‘alternative energy’ in the field has not met the promises that have been made for it, nor is it ever likely to.

      I sympathize with those who, since about the 1960s, have been putting all their money into the bottomless pit of the “alternative energy” industry, but my compassion does not extend to prevarication. There is really no sense in devoting vast amounts of time in trying to prove that 2+2=5. But the case is worse than that: unfortunately, so many people who get into discussions over “alternative energy” have simply never bothered to do their basic homework and that unfortunately includes those producing those same academic studies and models you are so fond of.

      • EL says:

        DV82XL wrote: “The thing is there is enough installed wind and solar that now one can examine real numbers and the grim reality is that the performance of ‘alternative energy’ in the field has not met the promises that have been made for it, nor is it ever likely to.”

        Indeed. Do you care to show us any of those numbers? I typically think an objective reference or link is worth a thousand general impressions (especially if it comes from a very good and independent source).

        NREL and DOE have a Transparent Cost Database which is open source and provides current information on wind energy statistics and performance (and other energy resources as well). Narrow a search to 2010 – 2012:

        Onshore wind LCOE (41 entries): minimum $0.04, median $0.06, maximum $0.12 kWh.
        Onshore wind capacity factor (40 entries): minimum 30%, median 40%, maximum 50.4%.

        Sounds like we’re heading in the right direction (and making rapid progress). No shortage of other sources to confirm the same. So what’s not to like … a resource that covers it’s costs, delivers a product that people want, and externalizes very few of it’s environmental impacts?

        • Rod Adams says:

          @EL

          Thank you for the link to an interesting information source. (I’m fairly certain you would dismiss information from Argonne or Idaho National Lab about nuclear energy, but your standard is applied rather differently to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Oh well…)

          I checked the methods page to find out more about how the numbers are calculated for LCOE. My main goal was to find out how the PTC and state incentives are addressed. Here is the disclaimer about the LCOE number: (http://en.openei.org/apps/TCDB/methods#methods)

          “The data gathered here are for informational purposes only. Inclusion of a report in the database does not represent approval of the estimates by DOE or NREL. Levelized cost calculations DO NOT represent real world market conditions. The calculation uses a single discount rate in order to compare technology costs only.”

          • EL says:

            Rod Adams wrote: “Here is the disclaimer about the LCOE number.”

            Indeed … this is how we do such estimates? Are you suggesting something is underhanded or untoward in their approach. PTC and state incentives are not part of this calculation. And no. I wouldn’t discount Argonne or Idaho National Lab numbers (although I would look at them closely and see if they are the best numbers we have available). All energy resources are compared at the same discount rate (so that we get comparable numbers). Do you have a problem with this approach? And yes, models are approximate and do not represent real world market conditions. A boilerplate caveat. NREL and DOE are simply compiling information from other sources (the majority of which are annual surveys of market conditions and outlooks). I see no reason to be suspicious of these numbers, and I applaud efforts to satisfy Obama’s “Open Government” directive that informs project, and others like it in his administration.

        • DV82XL says:

          “Sounds to me like we are headed in the right direction.” Tell you what, check in with me when we have arrived.

          The point is that these numbers do not paint as rosy a picture as what was projected by academic studies in the past, and is why arguing with reference to the latter is of little value.

    • JimHopf says:

      It’s specious to say that private industry is doing most of the “heavy lifting” with renewables. Few, if any, energy facilities are literally built by the government. The government does, however, play a significant role in determining the energy mix, through the use of subsidies, outright mandates, and by setting the regulatory playing field (which can affect the relative costs of different sources to a huge degree).

      Virtually all the solar and wind generation that has been built has been due to huge subsidies or outright mandates for significant renewable capacity, regardless of cost or practicality. It doesn’t even matter if additional generation is needed. The reason why they can boast that ~half of new capacity has been wind is that in most regions they don’t need more capacity, and thus would have built nothing at all but for the fact that renewables mandates forced them to build wind capacity.

      Even more absurd, I suppose one could argue that things like renewable portfolio standards (or feed in tarrifs, perhaps) don’t “cost the govt. anything” and are therefore “not a subsidy”. They simply pass a law requiring that this amount of renewable capacity will be built, and consumers (utilities, etc..) must buy it, no matter how much it costs. Hey, doesn’t cost the govt. anything! In fact, such a policy is essentially in infinite subsidy. Can anyone here imagine the govt. passing a nuclear portfolio standard? That would solve all of nuclear’s “problems”, now wouldn’t it?

      • David Andersen says:

        A great example of the government essentially forcing wind power on consumers is the was Massachusetts as a condition of approving the merger of Nstar and Northeast Utilities was that Nstar had to enter a power purchase agreement with Cape Wind to purchase electricity at 18.7 cents a kilowatt hr with a potential increase if 3.5% for 15 years.

      • EL says:

        JomHopf wrote: “The government does, however, play a significant role in determining the energy mix, through the use of subsidies, outright mandates, and by setting the regulatory playing field (which can affect the relative costs of different sources to a huge degree).”

        So you are arguing for the repeal of the PTC for new nuclear in the US (in order to create a more level playing field)? Along with 2005 energy act loan programs, and also indirect subsidies having to do with research and development, waste management, and liability caps.

        I agree with your characterization, government sets a lot of rules (these have indirect costs but very few direct costs to the taxpayers), and private developers operate within them. Which seems to me to say a great deal about why Obama said nothing about a broad nuclear build to address climate mitigation in this country. Private investors aren’t that hard to figure out. They are drawn to low risk and high rate of return projects, they don’t like a lot of uncertainty (regulatory or otherwise), they don’t want their money tied up for 40 years (unless it is worth their while), they don’t want a lot of long standing and uncertain legacy costs (which weigh down a company with debt), and they certainly don’t want any bad publicity (from repairs that go awry, or worse, from an accident that shuts down entire fleet or sends an individual company into court haggling for decades over liability claims).

        DV82XL talks about grim realities. Well, this news story today (“Nuclear Revival Dying in Europe“) couldn’t be more grim for the prospects of nuclear power. It appears there is little consensus on moving forward with Temelin, and it’s just a matter of time before the project (already scaled back from 5 to 2 plants) is cancelled. It is worth considering why this is the case (whether German energy reforms have anything to do with it), and major reasons cited in the article.

        “The future of nuclear energy in Europe looks very dim indeed,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent consultant on energy and nuclear power based in Paris. “Nuclear is too capital intensive, too time-consuming and simply too risky” …

        The Czech utility is asking the government, its majority shareholder, to guarantee future purchase price of electricity to ensure that it gets return on its investment …

        While the Czech government says it wants new reactors to replace coal plants and reduce dependence on Russian gas, consensus is proving difficult to find. The center-right government of Prime Minister Petr Necas is battling plunging popularity and had to face as many as five no-confidence votes in the parliament since 2010 as it carried out deficit cuts, raised the sales tax and curbed public spending …

        German wholesale power prices have more than halved since 2008 as the economic crisis cut demand and wind turbines and solar panels increased supply, while a slump in EU carbon permits to a record low has removed much of nuclear’s advantage over fossil fuels.

        and more.

        • DV82XL says:

          Nuclear power is in trouble in Europe because the whole economy there is in a slump, demand for electric power is down and Russian gas is plentiful and cheap. This combined with the work of a well oiled antinuclear movement that has convinced the electorate in many countries on the Continent that everything nuclear is bad. This does not imply that renewables are forcing nuclear out of the picture because they are superior. The only thing they have going for them is better lobbyists and better subsidies.

          Here in Ontario renewable energy firms are screaming because the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) wants to restrict the flow of wind and solar power onto the electricity grid when the demand for power is low and use less expensive generation instead. Increasingly, IESO has faced times when demand is low but winds are blowing strongly. That creates surplus power, which has to be exported at very low prices. At times, the IESO has had to pay neighboring provinces or states to take Ontario power, with the cost borne by all customers. At other times, it has had to shut down a nuclear unit, which then can’t be restarted for several days, even if demand rebounds sharply. What IESO wants is wind to be dispatchable like every other form of generation in the system, and that he renewable energy firms claim is discriminatory.

          In another growing outrage, there is now a ‘debate’ beginning on who should pay for and install storage; the utility or the end-user. If this is not another attempt at extracting a subsidy, I don’t know what is. Furthermore what does this imply? A variable supply of power being delivered down the line that the user is going to have to cope with by going to great expense?

          That’s just great – de-rate the power system to accommodate wind and solar AND pay more for it.

        • Engineer-Poet says:

          I find it difficult to believe that electric prices in Germany have fallen below those in France, except for those periods when wind or PV are producing heavily when demand is low… which is when industry isn’t buying much power.

          There’s also the small detail that Germany’s rush to coal makes it impossible to meet its GHG commitments.  The European cap-and-trade system is hopelessly corrupt and isn’t a viable mechanism for reductions.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @Engineer-Poet

            Wholesale prices can go below zero in a market where some of the suppliers make money by fiat, even if there is no customer that actually wants the product they are producing.

            The feed in tariff arrangement made for certain favored kinds of electrical production systems requires German consumers to pay high prices for the electricity for 20 or more years after the facility has entered operation.

            The average retail price of electricity in Germany is roughly 33 cents per kilowatt hour for all customers other than industrial corporations. Because of something that resembles state capitalism and a belief that what is good for business is good for Germany, the corporations that buy electricity as a production input pay about 1/3 as much as the customers that are subsidizing their production.

            For some odd reason, EL, who claims to be a liberal who is concerned about the disadvantaged in the world, thinks that situation is okay. I think it is absurdly immoral and that the people in Germany have, once again, been victims of groupthink irrationality sold by charismatic elites.

          • EL says:

            Rod Adams wrote: “For some odd reason, EL, who claims to be a liberal who is concerned about the disadvantaged in the world, thinks that situation is okay. I think it is absurdly immoral and that the people in Germany have, once again, been victims of groupthink irrationality sold by charismatic elites.”

            Many of these smaller renewable energy projects are “owned by the people” in Germany, and not by the corporation. So corporations buying power from them (without RE surcharges) seems to be a net benefit to the “people” and not the corporation, it seems to me. Regular folks paying a higher rate for investment in their own power plants seems perfectly reasonable to me (and is something akin to an equity investment in their own power plants). FIT, strictly speaking, is not about cost of energy, but is a tariff that allows for faster capital recovery on investments. It provides for greater certainty in capital recovery (which investors like) and eventual goes to zero (or to market rate) when equipment is paid for. They don’t all work the same, but I see it more as a capital financing scheme (and less a subsidy having to do with cost of energy, which can be higher, but not necessarily so). If this benefits corporation as well as private citizens (developing their own power plants) all the better.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @EL

          So you are arguing for the repeal of the PTC for new nuclear in the US (in order to create a more level playing field)? Along with 2005 energy act loan programs, and also indirect subsidies having to do with research and development, waste management, and liability caps.

          ABSOLUTELY. I would be very happy if there was no PTC for new nuclear, especially since the Establishment carefully prevented nuclear from benefiting from the immediate tax credit in lieu of a delayed PTC program that was authorized from 2009-2012 for ALL other “low carbon” power sources – some of which emit ten to 100 times more CO2 per unit of delivered energy than nuclear reactors.

          The US tax payers have not spent a dime on PTC for nuclear power; that program is a promise that is only available for the first 6,000 megawatts of nuclear energy from a “qualifying advanced nuclear facility”. Finishing Watts Bar unit 1 did not qualify; neither will finishing Watts Bar Unit 2. Both of those facilities have a design that was approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission before 1993.

          The PTC is only available for the first 8 years after entering service. Qualifying facilities must enter service before Jan 1, 2021. Unlike the PTC that is paid to politically favored alternatives, the 1.8 cents per kilowatt hour is NOT indexed for inflation.

          (The indexing provision might have changed; I am reading from JCX-44-05 – DESCRIPTION OF THE “ENERGY POLICY TAX INCENTIVES ACT OF 2005”, https://www.jct.gov/publications.html?func=startdown&id=1571 . It is the site of the Joint Committee on Taxation. It is the bill that was proposed for EPA 2005, but I am pretty sure that it was passed without amendments in this provision.)

          If qualifying facilities that produce more than 6,000 MWe are completed before the deadline; the Secretary of Energy has the authority to develop prorated ways to share the fee. There is also a limitation of a maximum payment of $125 million per allocated 1000 MWe; which is just 1.4 cents per kilowatt-hour for a 1,000 MWe facility that operates for 8760 hours per year. Though no nuclear plants operate with an overall capacity factor of 100%, every year there are a dozen or so that complete a single year with a CF equal to or greater than 100%.

          The PTC is reduced, but “not below zero”, if the average contract price per kilowatt-hour of electricity sold exceeds 8 cents per kilowatt hour.

          I predict that the PTC for nuclear will end up costing the taxpayers very little; if any money does flow into the nuclear energy business as a result of this rule, it will flow only to the most established and most politically connected players in the business.

          Are you seriously trying to claim that the US government is providing subsidies for WASTE MANAGEMENT? What do you call the $750-800 million per year that nuclear plants have been paying into government coffers since 1983 for the service of used fuel removal without a single fuel assembly being moved, despite an initial deadline of 1998?

          Liability caps don’t cost a thing. They also do not encourage anyone to invest; all they do is backstop the same bankers and insurance companies that have made a mess of our current financial situation.

          I am starting to understand why Brian is getting fed up with your contributions to this discussion. I have only addressed your first paragraph of misinformation and antinuclear slanted propaganda.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @EL

          I’m in a feisty mood, so now I will address another portion of the comment that reveals more about your pro-Establishment, pro-banker, pro-corporate mentality cloaked in “progressive” clothing.

          I agree with your characterization, government sets a lot of rules (these have indirect costs but very few direct costs to the taxpayers), and private developers operate within them. Which seems to me to say a great deal about why Obama said nothing about a broad nuclear build to address climate mitigation in this country. Private investors aren’t that hard to figure out. They are drawn to low risk and high rate of return projects, they don’t like a lot of uncertainty (regulatory or otherwise), they don’t want their money tied up for 40 years (unless it is worth their while), they don’t want a lot of long standing and uncertain legacy costs (which weigh down a company with debt), and they certainly don’t want any bad publicity (from repairs that go awry, or worse, from an accident that shuts down entire fleet or sends an individual company into court haggling for decades over liability claims).

          Do you really believe that government sets rules in isolation from “private developers?” I’ve been in rule-writing situations; I was a “requirements officer” for 9 straight years for a rather large federal agency. The large majority of the active duty people who are assigned that task only do a single 2-3 year tour, many just start to recognize the sausage making aspects of the job by the time they are ready to rotate out. With a series of lateral transfers, I learned a little more about how involved contracting companies were in the process of writing the rules that demanded the agency to continue purchasing more of their services every year. I did as much as I could to resist that greed and feel pretty good about the fact that I made a few enemies in the “bandit” community.

          During the energy portion of the President’s SOTU address, Obama mentioned a program being funded in one of the offices in which I served. That program is one of the reasons I resigned my commission; staff members fought it pretty hard but the striver in charge of the office funded it anyway. He did not seem to care about the fact that the money was coming from operational budgets that might end up forcing us to curtail deployments due to a lack of funds for useful fuel. He cared more about his career; he has received his third star and a big promotion that allows him to move even more money to his patron’s pet projects since I left the office.

          The private investors that you describe as being drawn to “low risk and high rate of return projects” are exactly the same kind of bankers that have seriously damaged our financial system by betting huge quantities of other people’s money (often pensions or mutual funds swelled by 401 K deposits) on risky, but government backed “investments” like mortgages. When those investments failed they claimed they were “too big to fail” and required those same people – known as middle class taxpayers – to bail them out. While the bubble was expanding, they received bonuses and fees that were many multiples of the annual income of the people who provided the funds they used for their gambling spree. When the bubble popped, they did not have to suffer the consequences of making poor decisions and have not returned any of the bonus money.

          The accident at Fukushima should NEVER have shut down an entire fleet. The repairs that have resulted in such bad publicity would have been almost invisible in any other business and might not even have resulted in a loss of production. Can you imagine stopping a deep water oil rig and a similarly designed neighboring rig for 14 months due to a pinhole leak of nearly pure water that resulted in the most exposed person receiving a dose of 5.2E-5 millirem?

          You are right that the playing field puts nuclear at a serious disadvantage. You give the impression that you think that is the natural state of things and that it is okay.

          Once again, you forget that rules are written by people, often by very rich people who do not care a lick about all of the rest of us. Despite your protestations to the contrary, you apparently do not care that the climate is changing due to continued and increasing dumping of fossil fuel waste products that could be avoided by changing existing rules to enable more nuclear energy production.

        • Mark Pawelek says:

          Mycle Schneider is another anti-nuclear green. He co-authored this report (with Thomas B. Cochran) Fast Breeder Reactor Programs:
          History and Status
          The report makes factual errors w.r.t. the IFR on pp 103/104. It seems that report authors made no effort to talk to IFR developers before commenting on it.

    • JimHopf says:

      What we’ve really been waiting for for 60 years (although we haven’t been “pleading” nearly hard enough for it) is a fair playing field. What we have now doesn’t even closely resemble one, and nuclear has, by far, the shortest end of the stick. Here’s what a true, level playing field would look like:

      No energy sources are allowed to emit any significant amount of pollutants. Thus, like nuclear, fossil fuels wouldn’t be allowed to emit any pollution into the atmosphere (no NOx, no SOx, no mercury, no particulates, and yes, no CO2). Instead, they would have to contain all wastes/toxins and guarantee that they are never released for as long as they remain hazardous (which for them, I suppose means forever). This containment guarantee would also apply for coal ash, not to mention toxic byproducts of the fabrication of things like solar cells (or spent solar cells). Note that with this true level playing field, we’re not even talking about limiting or taxing CO2 or other fossil pollutants. Like nuclear, there would be a complete prohibition against any release (even a tiny chance of release). If there ever is a release, massive compensation is due.

      All portfolio standards would disappear. No picking winners or forcing outcomes. (Note that solar and wind are not new industries. They are mature industries that have been worked on, and have received huge amounts of support, for over 40 years.)

      If there are any subsidies, they would be roughly equal (per kW-hr) between sources. If there are any loan guarantees, the terms would be the same for all sources. Better yet would be no subsidies. (With the no pollution requirement above, there would be little reason to, since all sources are environmentally benign.)

      As for energy independence, any govt. expenditures made to guarantee the supply of foreign fuel sources (e.g., the ~$60 billion per year for the US navy to patrol the Persian Gulf) would be paid for by a tax on that source.

      Any required grid upgrades would be paid for by utilities, not the govt.

      The utilities (or individuals) would be left to decide which sources to persue, with no govt. meddling or influence. Given the utilities’ responsibility to maintain a reliable supply, the full effect of intermittentcy would be felt, since the utilities would have to deal with grid impacts, and the costs of backup generation (which would result in a negative incentive to use much intermittent generation). (What I’ve heard from utility personnel I’ve spoken to is that, if it were totally up to them, they wouldn’t be interested in building much wind. It is simply a hassle that the govt. is pushing them to do.)

      And yes, given that we do all the above, any liability caps would be removed.

      If we had a such a (level) playing field, I would happily abide by whatever result the market chooses. My personal opinion is that nuclear would do quite well.

      • DV82XL says:

        Nuclear power is in trouble in Europe because the whole economy there is in a slump and Russian gas is plentiful and cheap. This combined with the work of a well oiled antinuclear movement that has convinced the electorate that everything nuclear is bad. This does not imply that renewables are forcing it out of the picture because they are superior.

        • Rod Adams says:

          @DV82XL

          Truth be known, Russian gas is not all that cheap in the European market. Prices are tied to crude oil and range in the neighborhood of $7-13 USD per million BTU, though the markets there trade in euros per thousand cubic meters.

          There is a reason for the resurgence of German coal; as long as there are plenty of CO2 credits to go around, there is a large cost incentive to burn the dirtiest, but cheapest fuel, even if the plant requires a larger initial investment.

      • Atomikrabbit says:

        @JimHopf

        I think you have written the platform for the Energy Density Party.

        If Lamar Alexander is drafted, will he run?

    • Rod Adams says:

      @EL

      By way of efficiency, I will not repeat the response that I provided in the original thread that motivated me to write this post. Here is a link for anyone who is interested in why I think your studies are incorrect by claiming that there is any other technology that has a hope of displacing fossil fuels.

      http://atomicinsights.com/2013/02/enormous-differences-between-southern-co-solyndra.html#comment-49023

      I will freely admit that I do not have an open mind about energy technology. It is too full of knowledge about the limitations of the possible competitors and the incredible, untapped technology of nuclear fission. Objectivity tends to disappear in engineers; we are trained to make choices with firm technical basis for those decisions. Open minded engineers never build anything because they are always still evaluating various options.

      I think there is a basic reason why Rickover frustrated many scientists; he actually stopped evaluating at some point and started building hundreds of working power plants that actually did things to make the world a safer place.

      • Engineer-Poet says:

        I think there is a basic reason why Rickover frustrated many scientists; he actually stopped evaluating at some point and started building hundreds of working power plants

        But if it was proper to stop R&D, some predecessor who stopped evaluating and built diesel-electric submarines would have nixed any work on nuclear boats.  That was Milton Shaw’s great crime.

        • David Andersen says:

          I agree that you shouldn’t stop R&D but eventually you have to build something. I once heard a quote that goes something along the lines that an engineer will keep working on something until they take it away from them and actually build it.
          I don’t think R&D has stopped on Navy nuclear plants,but I think they are working along the lines of the development of the steam engine and boilers, started out with a reciprocating engine and a sealed pot of water with a fire under it, what we have now are still steam engines but James Watt wouldn’t recognize them.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @EL

      The section of the Rubio rebuttal on natural resources and energy is also very telling: “God also blessed America with abundant coal, oil and natural gas.” Do we fault him for not mentioning “uranium” either?

      ABSOLUTELY. I have tried to make it abundantly clear that I am NOT a Republican and that I tend to vote for Democrats. I even voted for the President during his first election. My vote in 2012 was a protest against both of the The Establishment parties; I voted for the only guy in the race who was against war and for increasing our energy supplies by using the best available technology.

  9. Bruce Behorst says:

    Under a weak representative 2 party (U.S.) electoral system ‘Nuclear’ is odd energy out from a mix of other energies that make up the current ad hoc national energy policy, which is purposely designed to be in control by crony BIG business energy lobbies in Gov’t. The U.S.energy industry nexus with gov’t regulators is run by very confused energy policy wonks who are so fragile on predictive analytics they fail to separate data noise from signal. And the White House is bent on promoting media gimmicks on peddling narrative rather than doing the prudent choice of Gov’t to stay way and let the energy market assign energy usage tasks. This is nothing new this has been the modus operandi for a least two decades. No one in the nuclear industry should be surprised. We do need to look at a world where economic transition is taking place in BRICS and BRICS like nations who increasing see more benefit in small scale modular nuclear. Sorry, to say the United States is currently experiencing ethos malfunction – temporarily. In the meantime there will be no reprieve from errors of so called, ‘happy’ predictive energy models that guide ‘big fail’ energy policy.

  10. Robert Hargraves says:

    The President speaks the “N” word in South Korea…

    “… let’s never forget the astonishing benefits that nuclear technology has brought to our lives. Nuclear technology helps make our food safe. It prevents disease in the developing world. It’s the high-tech medicine that treats cancer and finds new cures. And, of course, it’s the energy—the clean energy—that helps cut the carbon pollution that contributes to climate change.”
    US President Barack Obama, March 26, 2012

  11. EL says:

    Rod Adams wrote: “Are you seriously trying to claim that the US government is providing subsidies for WASTE MANAGEMENT?”

    Yes … siting and licensing of waste repositories (interim or otherwise) has proven incredibly difficult. Some might even say it is impossible. The industry has subcontracted this “impossible” job to the Government, which has failed to get anything done (surprising no-one). It’s a “passing of the buck” blame game, and it’s shameful (in my view). The industry can’t do it itself, so it asks for help from the biggest bully in the room, and when the Federal Government can’t do it either (it points the finger of blame and recrimination and says “it’s all the government’s fault”). I know you differ in your view, but this is how many people see it.

    If the industry wants the job done, they should do it themselves? It would save everyone else a great many headaches, and would likely improve the public perception that nuclear is doing it’s fair share (and is taking full responsibility for all of it’s operational and legacy costs).

    Liability caps don’t cost a thing.

    They do if the actuarial tables are correct. Liability caps save ratepayers and the industry money (and they take this money out of the pockets of private insurers and leave in it’s place an IOU or placeholder courtesy of the taxpayer). The CBO scores it this way, and estimates the value of the subsidy is $600,000 per reactor per year.

    Are you recommending nuclear not carry adequate liability insurance against power plant accidents? What signal do you think this would send to private credit or investment markets (I remain 100% convinced this would likely hurt the industry more than it would help)?

    Rod Adams wrote: “The private investors that you describe as being drawn to “low risk and high rate of return projects” are exactly the same kind of bankers that have seriously damaged our financial system by betting huge quantities of other people’s money (often pensions or mutual funds swelled by 401 K deposits) on risky, but government backed “investments” like mortgages.”

    I don’t understand the relevance of this point. Are you recommending that nuclear break all of it’s ties to private investors, bankers, fixed income credit markets, low interest public financing, and all other sources of capital or equity loans? I don’t see how this would work. Where is the capital going to come from for building power plants at such a high cost, and have a capital recovery time frame of some 40 years (or 25 years if we’re going to be using something like PTC or tariffs to cover these building costs in a shorter time frame). Or are you recommending that we need to reform lending practices instead, end “too big to fail,” and restore due diligence standards to before the time of the mortgage crisis (which most people would like to see, myself included, regardless of the financing of NPPs)?

    CWIP is only good for a small portion of the capital expense of a new project (and I have discussed my problems with it elsewhere). The Czech are pursuing a fourth approach: public financing, and having the Government take a majority equity stake in the project. As the article I cited above suggests, this also comes with considerable risk and doesn’t seem to be working out too well.

    The idea that nuclear isn’t getting a fair deal, and only needs a level playing field to improve it’s prospects I think turns a blind eye to many of the challenges and obstacles described above. And no, I’m not simply a close minded or inconsolable critic (although I sometimes “play one on the site,” ha ha). I am a strong advocate for renewables. The path forward for nuclear is very clear to me: 1) build plants on time and on budget, 2) address long standing legacy costs pertaining to decommissioning and waste management, 3) retire old plants that no longer have the confidence of the public and build new plants that adhere to the most stringent of industry best practices and standards for safety and reliability, 4) advocate for rational and cost-effective climate policy and carbon caps that place all energy resources on a level playing field (including renewables), 5) give some thought to system integration and how nuclear can contribute to broader energy conservation and efficiency goals, 6) pursue productive partnerships and allies outside of military contracting and the nuclear establishment (since nobody does anything alone), 7) provide better assurances and security to investors that properly minimize their risk (likely involving such things as PTC, Price-Anderson, government leverage over siting and licensing, constructive working relationships with a fully independent NRC, 8) better international frameworks and cooperation, and 9) fully account for total costs, and lower them vis a vis other perfectly viable and commercially competitive alternatives.

    If I were writing this blog, this is the technology and policy positions I would be advocating. Then again, I doubt whether 2% of the people here really care what I have to say, on a constructive basis (or otherwise). People appear to be rather dismissive of alternative views on the site (the blog owner being an exception, and a zen master of reasonableness, productivity, engagement, and patience in this regard).

    • Engineer-Poet says:

      The industry can’t do it itself

      It can’t, because the US government has declared that it owns the SNF and its approval is required to do anything with it.  Reprocessing is forbidden, to list just one restriction.

      when the Federal Government can’t do it either (it points the finger of blame and recrimination and says “it’s all the government’s fault”).

      Because it is.

      I doubt whether 2% of the people here really care what I have to say, on a constructive basis

      Look at the bright side:  you’re right about something for once.  If you wanted more people to care, you’d show more respect for those stubborn things called “facts”.

      • EL says:

        Engineer-Poet wrote:”It can’t, because the US government has declared that it owns the SNF and its approval is required to do anything with it.”

        You don’t think the government should have “approval” or otherwise regulate the proper storage or recycling of spent nuclear fuel? I though you had “facts” you wanted to discuss (and not drole and mindless comments about another user)?

        • Brian Mays says:

          You don’t think the government should have “approval” or otherwise regulate the proper storage or recycling of spent nuclear fuel?

          EL – Don’t you know the difference between regulation and ownership?

          For example, the state government regulates my automobile; it doesn’t own it.

          • EL says:

            Brian Mays wrote: “EL – Don’t you know the difference between regulation and ownership?

            For example, the state government regulates my automobile; it doesn’t own it.

            And this is unique to the US how?

            All originators of spent nuclear fuel must provide for long term financial and institutional requirements for proper discharge of long term obligations over safety, security, management, future use, or disposal of such materials. This is typically done through Radioactive Waste Management Organizations. In EU members states, ownership belongs to the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM). Canada and Switzerland have producer ownership, and US and Finland have State ownership (after waste is accepted for disposal or with closure of repository). Other countries take similar or different approaches. If power plant operators in the US came up with a credible and adequately resourced plan for long term storage and management of spent reactor fuels (plus adequate regulation), you don’t think the Government would be interested?

            Yes, regulation and ownership are separate concerns, but we’re not talking about safe storage of hockey pucks here. If a power plant operator goes belly up, and no money was set aside for oversight and management of spent reactor fuels, who is going to take up this “costly” obligation (and why should they do so out of the goodness of their heart)? If third party agrees to take up this risk, they should do so but assume no rights of ownership over the material? Is there nobody who understands liability on this site? I don’t see how turning a blind eye to risk, and crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, is in any way a sane or rational approach to these concerns?

          • Brian Mays says:

            EL – The NRC requires nuclear plant operators to create and maintain a fund that will be used to decommission the plant, even in the event that the company “goes belly up.” The Federal Government also requires all of these plant operators to purchase the maximum amount of liability insurance (from private insurers) that is available on the market. The government also has a say in the transfer of ownership of nuclear plants.

            The government does all of this without actually owning the plants. Ownership has nothing to do with risk management.

            The owner of the plant decides whether to run the plant or retire the plant. The owner of the plant also can decide how to dispose (i.e., decommission) the plant when its useful life is complete. Their plans are regulated by the NRC, but the choice is left to the plant owner.

            The owners of nuclear plants are not owners of the used fuel, however. Thus, they cannot do anything with it, except warehouse it on site for its negligent owner, the Federal Government, who has refused to do anything with it after over three decades of empty promises. Do you think that this is fair?

            Apparently, the courts don’t think so, which is why every lawsuit launched by utilities to recover the costs of storing this federally owned material past 1998 (when the government promised by law to take possession) has been successful.

          • EL says:

            Brian Mays: “The owners of nuclear plants are not owners of the used fuel, however. Thus, they cannot do anything with it, except warehouse it on site for its negligent owner, the Federal Government, who has refused to do anything with it after over three decades of empty promises. Do you think that this is fair?”

            .

            Sounds like we may actually agree (you have a new comment forthcoming, this is my reply to earlier post, which wasn’t yet published on site but available via RSS).

            No, this is not fair, and the government is getting sued for these delays. And I think it is appropriate to do so. I’m advocating action on these issues and not more of the status quo. It does nobody any good (government, taxpayer, industry) to kick the can down the road. But such actions are costly, and they are not easy. They need to be elevated to a top priority (I’ve always said as much), and the industry needs to be an ally in elevating these concerns and not a critic on the sidelines and offering no real solutions. That may be an unfair assessment on my part, but I see nobody offering a credible alternative (or stepping up to the plate with a credible alternative to the Waste Policy Act of 1982, or the financing and institutional capacity to back it up). Certainly not the NEI, so who is getting out in front of this issue and representing the industry in your mind?

        • Engineer-Poet says:

          EL disingenuously said:

          You don’t think the government should have “approval” or otherwise regulate the proper storage or recycling of spent nuclear fuel?

          If the government wants approval for any disposition, it should take custody of the material… as it was supposed to under law enacted decades ago.

          No legitimate regulation extends as far as prohibition, just a maximum release standard shared with everything else.  For instance, if the public’s exposure must be limited to some nanosieverts per MWH, all sources of radioactives should be put under the same limits including the radon and polonium emissions from coal and natural gas combustion.

          The nuclear industry should also get credits from things which improve public health.  For instance, if reclaimed Sr-90 can be used to eliminate 99.9% of all pathogens from treated wastewater before release, that ought to be counted as an offset to other things.  Perhaps some combination of ionizing radiation, ultraviolet and ozone could be used to periodically sterilize hospital wards and eliminate reservoirs of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.  That would improve our lives… and the nuclear industry is an irreplaceable part of any such measure.

          • EL says:

            Engineer-Poet wrote: “No legitimate regulation extends as far as prohibition”

            So government has no rights to prohibit sale of fissile material to third parties inside or outside of the country without proper oversight and regulation. What are you talking about?

            Re-processing is properly speaking a deferral and not a ban. There is plenty of research on advanced fuel cycles taking place (much of it with taxpayer support), and much of it with the support of the industry (or trade organizations presuming to represent the industry).

            If you think a different approach needs to be taken, the path is clear. Take back liability from the government, and propose to fund and operate your own Radioactive Waste Management Organization along some international standard to your liking. In other words, fully replace the services and long term oversight capability currently provided by the Government. I take it you are not recommending an option where we do nothing, and create a regulatory free for all where anybody can do anything they wish with SNF (and if anything goes wrong, the taxpayer is available for a bailout)?

          • Brian Mays says:

            Re-processing is properly speaking a deferral and not a ban.

            EL – An indefinite deferral is a de facto ban. We might as well be honest with ourselves and call it what it really is, rather than relying on “properly speaking” government newspeak terms.

            Take back liability from the government, and propose to fund and operate your own Radioactive Waste Management Organization along some international standard to your liking.

            In the US, this would require major changes in legislation. Any substantial changes in legislation are risky while there exists a strong anti-nuclear lobbying effort with powerful allies in Congress (e.g., Markey, Reid, and a couple dozen of the nuttier left-leaning congressmen).

            I don’t think that you’ll find anyone who argues that the status quo is the optimal (or even preferred) path, but it is the one that offers the least amount of risk to those who already have a large stake in this business. Given the almost schizophrenic behavior of government over the past 40 years when it comes to nuclear regulation, are you surprised that industry lobbyists are working hard to keep from rocking the boat?

            Don’t expect anything to happen along these lines anytime soon. With the current administration, which still has four years to govern, a strong defense remains the best course of action. Perhaps the time for offense will eventually come, but not as long as Obama keeps appointing unqualified geologists, who are associated with the consistently anti-nuclear Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, to head the NRC.

    • Rod Adams says:

      @EL

      Either you are unaware of historical reality, or you are purposely lying about it.

      The nuclear industry had a plan for its used material. There was a large scale, industry funded recycling plant that was almost ready for commercial operation at Barnwell, SC in 1976. That year, a man falsely representing himself as a navy trained nuclear engineer was elected President of the United States. He issued an executive order banning recycling, making the industry’s investment worthless overnight.

      The government had always asserted ownership of all used nuclear materials because of the remote possibility of someone attempting to extract certain components of that used materials to produce weapons.

      The government passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and forced all license holders to sign a standard contract that established the government as the monopoly supplier of long term used fuel storage services.

      This is most emphatically NOT a subsidy that encouraged nuclear energy development.

      • EL says:

        There was a large scale, industry funded recycling plant that was almost ready for commercial operation at Barnwell, SC in 1976.

        It’s my understanding there were three private facilities operating or proposed in this early timeframe. West Valley closed down primarily for economic reasons (after AEC adopted more stringent safety and seismic criteria). Morris Illinois shut down as a result of equipment failures and technical problems (with a longest sustained run of only 26 hours). Additional regulatory scrutiny after West Valley also played a role. And Barnwell was shut down primarily because of concerns over proliferation (was the industry unable to make a case it could properly secure these materials … or did it concede that it would be too costly for it to do so)?

        And please explain. When Ronald Reagan lifted the ban on commercial reprocessing in 1981 … why didn’t the industry pick up the work at that point? Do you think economics played a role here too, and the availability of low-cost uranium (concern over the costly misadventures at West Valley and Morris Illinois, and the idea that waste stored in rock and not salt would be retrievable)? I’d be interested to know … or is Clinton the next fall guy on your list for an industry eager and willing to do this work (at whatever cost and whatever reasonable and legitimate regulatory burden)?

        • Brian Mays says:

          It’s my understanding there were three private facilities operating or proposed in this early timeframe.

          West Valley and Morris were small-scale pilot plants. Over half of the material that West Valley processed came from weapons production plants at Hanford, not commercial reactors. Morris was supposed to use a novel technology that didn’t pan out. (Sadly, some people think that only the nuclear industry has to be perfect every time.)

          Barnwell was the first and only large-scale commercial reprocessing venture in the United States.

          And please explain. When Ronald Reagan lifted the ban on commercial reprocessing in 1981 … why didn’t the industry pick up the work at that point?

          Sure, I’ll be happy to explain. Economics certainly played a role, but the role it played was almost completely determined by government policy and influence.

          First of all, you need to examine the context of the decision to abandon Barnwell. In the early 80′s, the recent accident at Three Mile Island had ushered in a sweeping set of new regulations for nuclear plants. Although Reagan overturned the ban on reprocessing in October 1981, there was no assurance that, should he be defeated in 1984 (and the first two years of Reagan’s term were shaky — with a recession and high unemployment), the next administration would not simply reinstitute the ban. And sure enough, when the next Democrat was elected to the Oval Office, he did in fact quickly reinstitute the ban on reprocessing (thanks Bill). Do you think that Walter Mondale, who was Carter’s VP, would have acted any differently?

          Do you really think that anyone sane would be willing to invest serious money in a regulatory situation as unstable as that?!

          Next, you should realize that the process for getting a license for Barnwell ended in 1977, as a result of Carter’s foolhardy “nonproliferation” policy. To “pick up the work” in 1981 would have meant beginning the entire process over from the beginning — with all of the additional cost and delays that entails — and with no guarantee that the facility would ever be licensed. This was a huge disincentive for continuing work on Barnwell.

          The report issued by the US GAO explains all of this. In addition, it highlights three concerns of the nuclear industry that the Federal Government would need to address before industry would seriously consider any future commercial reprocessing venture:

          (1) Industry didn’t know whether plutonium recovered from commercial reprocessing would be allowed to be used in commercial nuclear power plants. It’s hard to make an economic case for a product that nobody is legally allowed to buy.

          (2) Industry needed to know what form the government will allow for any high-level radioactive wastes produced from commercial reprocessing.

          (3) Industry was concerned about changes in Government policy (e.g., Carter’s ban) that would doom any commercial reprocessing ventures. I’ve covered this above, but if the government had been willing to offer some sort of protection from losses stemming from its own meddling over spurious “proliferation” concerns, then commercial reprocessing possibly could have gone forward.

          It’s all in the GAO report. Basically, government dropped the ball, and industry decided to cut their losses to avoid being a sucker the second time around.

          Or in other words, Charlie Brown finally decided not to try to kick the ball.

          • EL says:

            That’s a very useful history, and I appreciate you providing it.

            So in your best and expert opinion on these matters, you believe in the 1980s, and perhaps even today given a willing partner in the government (who isn’t going to raise ownership and proliferation concerns or excessive regulations) that the industry is ready to go on closing the nuclear fuel cycle on a fully commercial and independent basis (and with no additional help from the government via indirect subsidies and additional research and development costs)? In other words, you disagree with the following recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future related to reprocessing and advanced fuel cycles (and that additional taxpayer support won’t be needed to bring these technology to market, close the fuel cycle, site and locate waste repositories, and resolve these very long standing fuel cycle alternatives and challenges).

            Page 100

            “Technologies exist today or are under development that would allow spent fuel to be at least partly re-used; systems have also been proposed that could—in theory and at some point in the future—possibly allow for the continuous recycle of reactor fuel, thereby fully “closing” the fuel cycle. Substantial uncertainties exist, however, about the cost and commercial viability of the more advanced of these technologies …

            … the Commission reviewed the most authoritative available information on advanced reactor and fuel cycle technologies, including the potential to improve existing light-water reactor technology and the once-through fuel cycle, as well as options for partially or fully closing the nuclear fuel cycle by reprocessing and recycling SNF. We concluded that while new reactor and fuel cycle technologies may hold promise for achieving substantial benefits in terms of broadly held safety, economic, environmental, and energy security goals and therefore merit continued public and private R&D investment, no currently available or reasonably foreseeable reactor and fuel cycle technology developments—including advances in reprocessing and recycling technologies—have the potential to fundamentally alter the waste management challenge this nation confronts over at least the next several decades, if not longer [emphasis in original]. Put another way, we do not believe that today’s recycle technologies or new technology developments in the next three to four decades will change the underlying need for an integrated strategy that combines safe storage of SNF with expeditious progress toward siting and licensing a disposal facility or facilities. This is particularly true of defense HLW and some forms of government-owned spent fuel that can and should be prioritized for direct disposal at an appropriate repository.

            If all of this is incorrect, and the industry (NEI in particular) has been lobbying for this kind of indirect subsidy and research and development support that it never needed in the first place, I say it’s time to shut it down, return the spent fuel inventory to the industry (with appropriate oversight on interim storage and security), and give them an appropriate time frame to get such technologies up and running. The French have ANDRA, which does receive federal subsidies from the government. So what are you proposing, and what do you see is the impact on competitiveness and consumer costs for nuclear power (and how does the industry pay for it)?

          • Brian Mays says:

            [Do] you believe … that the industry is ready to go on closing the nuclear fuel cycle on a fully commercial and independent basis … ? So what are you proposing, and what do you see is the impact on competitiveness and consumer costs for nuclear power (and how does the industry pay for it)?

            EL – First, let me say that, while I respect some of the members of Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission, I don’t respect the commission as a whole, because it is obvious to anyone with half a brain that this entire exercise was merely a thinly veiled smoke screen to cover for the fact that the Obama administration has flagrantly violated federal law as passed by Congress. That the commission was barred from considering the one option that is currently mandated by law just serves to make the farce complete.

            So, yes, I disagree with the conclusions of the Blue Ribbon Commission. Most of their recommendations are almost worthless. Has anyone, the current administration or anyone else, paid any attention to even one of their recommendations?

            I work for a company that not only has commercial technology for recycling that it would like to sell to US customers, but has been using these technologies itself for decades by recycling fuel from several countries. There is about $24 billion sitting in a fund that has already paid for by industry. This money is currently doing nothing, not even R&D or paying for finishing approval of a license that has already been submitted to the NRC. If it were freed for use on a recycling facility using existing technology, or if it were simply returned to the utilities that paid for it in the first place, we could finally get somewhere with closing the nuclear fuel cycle.

            As with many things, government has been the obstacle here, not the solution.

            The $24 billion (plus the entire cost of the aborted Yucca Mountain Repository) was collected with negligible impact on the competitiveness and costs of nuclear power (i.e., a fee of $0.001 added to the price of a kWh of electricity). It’s irrational to assume that any other scheme, even it were to cost five times as much, would have any significant impact on the cost of electricity generation from nuclear power.

          • EL says:

            Brian Mays wrote: “That the commission was barred from considering the one option that is currently mandated by law just serves to make the farce complete.”

            You’re going to have to get over Yucca. It’s going nowhere, re-writing the licensing guidelines for the site is bad policy, and it’s never going to happen. We talked about this previously on the site. Plenty of good-intentioned people can have legitimate differences over this, but that doesn’t mean we are any closer to getting a deal, or that any of the independent scientific work that suggests there is trouble with the site doesn’t exist. It’s done, and Obama was correct to bar consideration of the matter from Blue Ribbon Commission. It’s time to start moving forward.

            I work for a company that not only has commercial technology for recycling that it would like to sell to US customers, but has been using these technologies itself for decades by recycling fuel from several countries … If it were freed for use on a recycling facility using existing technology, or if it were simply returned to the utilities that paid for it in the first place, we could finally get somewhere with closing the nuclear fuel cycle.

            Indeed, this is the crux of the matter. And many independent scientific assessments (reviewed by the Commission) suggest we aren’t there yet. We can partially re-use spent fuel (I take it this is what you are advocating), but we cannot do away with an integrated strategy involving disposal facilities (the French have Bure … a $1.3 billion research project on a pilot scale with plans for expansion). And we’ve set aside $24 billion to complete this necessary work (leaving these funds unavailable for advanced fuel cycle R&D).

            Many of these questions have clear and well documented answers. Either the technical assessment of these technologies is correct or not? We should be able to answer this question. Or maybe it has to do with what questions we are asking in the first place. Are we looking to solve problems (that are long-standing, costly, and aren’t going anywhere), are we satisfied with partial solutions (and waiting on future alternatives), or are we only interested in new capital opportunities where none currently exist (and maintaining the current status quo). This appears to be how the Blue Commission outlined and evaluated the problem. I agree with it. I think we should avoid taking the last option, new capital opportunities, and somehow misrepresenting them as full or complete solutions to our many long-standing, costly, and difficult to deal with challenges in waste and spent fuel management and storage.

          • Rod Adams says:

            @EL

            If Congress wants to change the law of the land, there are well established mechanisms for doing that. The situation we have today is one person dictating to the rest of the nation. That is not the system that I fought for.

          • Brian Mays says:

            You’re going to have to get over Yucca.

            I’ll get over Yucca when Congress changes the law.

            Are you in the habit of cheering when federal laws are broken by the highest executive office in the land?

            Obama was not right, and if Congress had any balls, they should have impeached him for not carrying out his constitutional duties, namely Article II, Section 3, Clause 5: “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This clause was meant to ensure that law, as passed by Congress, is faithfully executed by the President, even if he disagrees with the purpose of that law.

            This is not about intentions, it’s about law, and if we truly want to be a “government of laws and not of men” then it is not only proper but imperative that we hold the current administration to these standards.

            You want to get rid of Yucca Mountain, then fine. Change the law. Until then, sham Commissions don’t hold much weight with me, nor should they for anyone who cares anything about how this country is run.

          • EL says:

            Brian Mays wrote: “Obama was not right, and if Congress had any balls, they should have impeached him for not carrying out his constitutional duties …”

            You left out the fact that environmental review of the proposal showed that it did not meet siting guidelines as defined by the law.

            http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/yucca/ymsum01.htm

            “Yucca Mountain can be characterized as being extremely complex geologically with fast flowing groundwater, an active tectonic environment (subject to earthquakes, fault movement, and volcanic eruptions), an oxidizing environment corrosive to many metals, rocks that are highly fractured and stressed to near failure, and being in a location within a geologic belt of gold and silver production. The Agency [Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects] has concluded that, under DOE’s own repository siting guidelines (10 CFR 960), Yucca Mountain should have been, and still should be, disqualified as a suitable location for a deep geologic repository.”

            You think it is good public policy to site a geological repository in a State where there is no local constituency that wants it? How is that good for public opinion and the long term viability of civilian nuclear power? Typically, we don’t impeach Presidents for understanding the law, adhering to fiduciary responsibility to not waste taxpayer dollars on a project that will never see the light of day, and for making serious efforts to develop alternatives (recommendations from an expert panel) that may one day have a reasonable level of success at meeting the government’s obligations in this area.

            We had this discussion here … I suppose you want to have it all over again (without presenting any new findings or facts).

            Yucca is not going to happen. The sooner you get over your grief the better.

          • EL says:

            Rod Adams wrote: “The situation we have today is one person dictating to the rest of the nation.”

            Are you referring to the decision by fiat strategy of House Speaker Jim Wright (TX), House Majority Leader Tom Foley (WA), Energy Committee Chairman J. Bennet Johnson and others to use their political clout (and not a consent based siting process) to force the selection of Nevada (and not the two other alternatives: Texas and Washington State).

            It doesn’t do any good to obliterate or mischaracterize this history with patriotic charges of “what you fought for.” It’s been politics all around, which is one reason why we are stuck in this mess in the first place. Based on what I am reading, we all want progress on this issue (so let’s go out and get some). Obama’s decision to defund Yucca appears to be the first real decision made on scientific merits in a long time … and he even put together a credible alternative to start moving forward on the issue (consistent with nearly every jurisdiction in the world that has done this successfully … i.e., using a consent based citing program). Two interim storage facilities are in the works (for 2021 and 2025), and a permanent facility could have a target date of 2048.

            The quicker we get to the business of developing alternatives, the quicker we get to solving this issue. Lawsuits are lawsuits. The Government, so far, has won most of them.

          • Brian Mays says:

            You left out the fact that environmental review of the proposal showed that it did not meet siting guidelines as defined by the law.

            EL – I don’t consider a second-rate pseudo-scientific hack job with predetermined conclusions to be relevant.

            The law says that the states don’t get to decide issues of safety in this matter. This is the exclusive domain of the US Federal Government and the NRC is the only entity that legally has that authority to decide one way or another.

            The state of Nevada can act as an intervener and submit its objections for consideration along with Greenpeace and the other interveners, but that is all.

            If you’re so positive that Yucca Mountain is unsuitable, then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind if the NRC were to be allowed to review the DOE’s license application as required by law, would you?

            If not, why not?

            You think it is good public policy to site a geological repository in a State where there is no local constituency that wants it?

            No local constituency? Heh.

            Once again, you’ve demonstrated that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Nye County, where the facility is located, does indeed want Yucca Mountain, and local government has written to the Secretary of Energy to inform him of this in no uncertain terms.

            Your stubborn ignorance is starting to become tiring. Perhaps you should stick to the anti-nuke blogs, where ignorance is not only tolerated, but lauded as an ideal.

          • EL says:

            Brian Mays wrote: “Nye County … does indeed want Yucca Mountain, and local government has written to the Secretary of Energy to inform him of this in no uncertain terms.”

            A bit more context here.

            http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/mar/16/nye-county-sandoval-clash-over-future-yucca/

            Nye County has done quite well hosting a process that by most objective measures is dead in the water on scientific merits (receiving $11.25 million in unrestricted funds in 2007, and $3 million for oversight at the height of the process). Do you blame them for wanting to keep the process going (which they say they want to do). Where is the new evidence and findings to suggest there is any merit in doing so (and that money won’t be further wasted confirming what we already know). They say they are “calling the BRCs bluff.” They also say “We don’t know if it’s safe to operate.” And the Governor has said “Nye County does not and cannot speak for the state of Nevada.” You appear to be mistaking a non-serious offer and a publicity ploy for a serious and measured response at a credible plan.

            Yes, their letter is an excellent publicity gambit to try and force the Government’s hand. I hope it works (and we can close this sorry chapter in America’s nuclear waste side show once and for all).

            Brian Mays wrote: “Your stubborn ignorance is starting to become tiring. Perhaps you should stick to the anti-nuke blogs, where ignorance is not only tolerated, but lauded as an ideal.

            Don’t you sound proud of yourself. Someone appears to have used the internet and cited a news article (and has a lot of empty rhetoric to throw at opponents). I suppose we are back to belittling personal attacks now. Is this really where you want to take the debate on a substantive issue that seems to matter a great deal to you. Why stoop so low if the facts are on your side. Are your knuckles getting tired yet?

          • EL says:

            Brian Mays wrote: “Nye County … does indeed want Yucca Mountain, and local government has written to the Secretary of Energy to inform him of this in no uncertain terms.”

            A bit more context here.

            http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/mar/16/nye-county-sandoval-clash-over-future-yucca/

            Nye County has done quite well hosting a process that by most objective measures is dead in the water on scientific merits (receiving $11.25 million in unrestricted funds in 2007, and $3 million for oversight at the height of the process). Do you blame them for wanting to keep the process going (which they say they want to do). Where is the new evidence and findings to suggest there is any merit in doing so (and that money won’t be further wasted confirming what we already know). They say they are “calling the BRCs bluff.” They also say “We don’t know if it’s safe to operate.” And the Governor has said “Nye County does not and cannot speak for the state of Nevada.” You appear to be mistaking a non-serious offer and a publicity ploy for a serious and measured response at a credible plan.

            Yes, their letter is an excellent publicity gambit to try and force the Government’s hand. I hope it works (and we can close this sorry chapter in America’s nuclear waste side show once and for all).

            Brian Mays wrote: “Your stubborn ignorance is starting to become tiring. Perhaps you should stick to the anti-nuke blogs, where ignorance is not only tolerated, but lauded as an ideal.

            Don’t you sound proud of yourself. Someone appears to have used the internet and cited a news article (and has a lot of empty rhetoric to throw at opponents). I suppose we are back to belittling personal attacks now. Is this really where you want to take the debate on a substantive issue that seems to matter a great deal to you. Why stoop so low if the facts are on your side. Are your knuckles getting tired yet?

          • Brian Mays says:

            Don’t you sound proud of yourself. Someone appears to have used the internet and cited a news article (and has a lot of empty rhetoric to throw at opponents).

            Ha ha ha … so says the anonymous internet denizen who just googled his or her way to two random “news articles” (from the biased Las Vegas Sun, no less) and a press release that is almost nine years old. That’s some good googling, but it is not all that impressive as a cover for your general ignorance.

            Listen anonymous, I’ve been following the progress of Yucca Mountain for almost 20 years. The residents of Nye County are not mounting a “publicity ploy,” and if you had any real knowledge of the situation beyond what you can google from the Las Vegas Sun, you would know this.

            It was just less than ten years ago, when I attended an event where one of the commissioners from Nye County explained and detailed the general opinion of local government toward the Yucca Mountain Project. She stated, in no uncertain terms, that Nye County had long been an enthusiastic supporter of the project and had actively worked with the Department of Energy to see that the project moved forward. The article that I referenced is consistent with everything I have ever known about the position of Nye County for years, it appears that all of the neighboring counties also support completing the licensing process for the repository.

            So much for the myth of “not in my backyard.”

            Where is the new evidence and findings to suggest there is any merit in doing so (and that money won’t be further wasted confirming what we already know). They say they are “calling the BRCs bluff.” They also say “We don’t know if it’s safe to operate.”

            That last quote is an outright lie. It’s quite shameful to observe the levels to which you will stoop to cover for your ignorance. I almost feel sorry for you.

            All of the evidence, spanning over 25 years of study, is in the supporting documentation (an enormous database of cross-referenced documents) that was submitted with the license application to the NRC. This is the license application that you apparently don’t want to be considered by the NRC.

            Why is that? Perhaps it is because you think that “sound science” is the same thing as the opinion of one politician with no scientific training and only a degree in law to his credit.

            You still haven’t answered my question. Please tell me what is wrong with the license application being considered by the NRC, the only entity that is legally allowed to judge the merits of the application. If you’re so confident that it is so unsafe “on scientific merits,” then the NRC will be sure to turn it down, no? Then why not let the process go ahead so that we can end this in a way that is consistent with current law, that is based on sound science, and that includes involvement from all interested parties.

            I’m calling your bluff. Please, put out or shut up.

          • EL says:

            Test … comments appear to be getting stuck in queue.

          • EL says:

            Brian Mays wrote: “That last quote is an outright lie. It’s quite shameful to observe the levels to which you will stoop to cover for your ignorance. I almost feel sorry for you.”

            Please explain? I’m not following.

            I gave you the source:

            Nye County officials told the Legislative Committee on High Level Radioactive Waste Friday they want the Energy Department to start examining the site again to determine if it is safe.

            “We don’t know if it’s safe to operate,” Nye County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen [sic]. “Just give us the facts.”

            Scientific merits … we went over this before (and now you want to do it again with zero new facts). The hazard risk of disruption at the site is some “1–2 orders of magnitude greater than the EPA standard. A longer health standard, as ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals, makes a disruptive event during the period of compliance even more likely” (here). It doesn’t sound terribly promising to me. I’m glad you have been there and talked to a Nye County Commissioner. Then you know how serious an issue it is for people who live in the region. How do people in Las Vegas feel about it?

            “In no uncertain terms.”

            I believe they do have certain terms … a facility that is safe to operate.

            Brian Mays wrote: “You still haven’t answered my question. Please tell me what is wrong with the license application being considered by the NRC, the only entity that is legally allowed to judge the merits of the application.”

            Where do you want me to start?

            The process is broken. BRC speaks to this, and trust has broken down on all sides. Doomed if you do, and doomed if you don’t. It’s an impossible situation. You want to stick with a process that has no legitimacy, that’s fair. But there’s a lot of people who want to actually solve the problem, and do it well. Please address the science. Here’s what the BRC says about it:

            As we have listened to testimony and public comment, we have been constantly reminded of the lack of trust that exists today in the federal government’s ability to meet its waste cleanup and management obligations. Past decisions—first to truncate the siting process for two repositories that was established in 1982; then to limit all efforts to a single site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; and then, after more than 20 years of work on the site, to request to withdraw the license application for that site—have only increased this deficit of trust, particularly among nuclear utility ratepayers and in communities that host nuclear waste storage facilities. These people and others believe they have been let down repeatedly by a government that has yet to make good on its commitment to provide a disposal solution for the most hazardous nuclear wastes (pg. 3).

            Another fundamental flaw of the repository development process established under the 1982 Act, and one that carried over to Yucca Mountain after it was designated, was its relative inflexibility and prescriptiveness. This made it difficult to adapt or respond to new developments, whether in the form of new scientific information, technological advances, or (just as important) the expressed concerns of potentially affected publics and their representatives. The 1987 NWPA Amendments made no provision for an alternative path forward if Yucca Mountain proved untenable. This lack of adaptability further undermined confidence in the analysis and planning conducted by DOE and other federal agencies, making it easy to view these efforts as mere paper exercises, rigged to justify a preordained conclusion (pg. 23).

            There seems to be a real risk the think might actually get approved. Some call this regulatory capture? I know you don’t believe the NRC is capable of it in the way you understand (since you see them as a organization that bends over backward for oil and natural gas interests, anti-nuclear lobby, international proliferation concerns, or some other such silliness). But $14.5 billion has been spent on Yucca so far, and that’s a heck of a lot of pressure coming down the pipe for a decision. A great many careers are caught up in Yucca (perhaps even yours is one of them), the politics is a mess, and someone is going to have to take the blame for lying down on the tracks of this unwieldily and broken train. It might as well be Obama. It’s certainly not going to be Congress. And the NRC already has enough headaches with the weight of the defense department breathing down their necks. Obama, with Chu at his side (and a credible alternative), seems perfectly willing to take most of the heat. In fact, some would even say it’s the definition of his job. You really think Congress has the wherewithal to take up an issue like this. Have you seen a science and technology committee hearing these days.

            Without new science, this is a done deal. Sue the government if you want, and you should, but you’re only running out the clock and delaying the inevitable (and tying up a great many resources by doing so).

          • Rod Adams says:

            @EL

            You have correctly described the situation and I tend to agree that the industry would be far better served by simply letting go of the rope. I have been advocating that for many years.

            We should be reframing the issue. The industry should be demanding that it be allowed to take ownership of the fuel and to create the reliable ability to do something useful with the valuable material. There is a role for government regulation, but it should be based on protecting the public from actual risks, not imaginary ones.

            For example – the EPA standard is ludicrous. A maximum dose rate of 15 mrem/yr for 100,000 to 1,000,000 years? Why? what is the basis for that number?

            If we really want to move forward with solutions and regain trust, we have to tell the truth and stop trying to scare people. The material we are talking about has never hurt anyone, not because it has no potential to hurt anyone but because it is pretty simple to use shielding, distance and time to control exposure and because it is a small enough volume to be fully contained in carefully designed structures.

            Of course, a good deal of the mistrust comes because there are people who have been purposely using “the waste issue” as a means to constipate nuclear energy development since at least 1974 when Ralph Nader organized the “Critical Mass Energy Project” and explained to a host of organized groups that attended the DC conference just how to make sure that the issue must never be allowed to be solved.

          • Brian Mays says:

            Rod – Have you written to your congressman and your senators to encourage them to change the law?

          • Brian Mays says:

            EL – Let’s see.

            The Department of Energy spent a quarter of a century, involving thousands of scientists and engineers, studying the Yucca Mountain site to produce a license application that is over eight thousand pages long and is backed up by thousands of supporting documents, the majority of which are scientific and engineering analysis reports.

            The NRC (except for the politically selected Chair of the Commission) wants to review this license for approval and is still required to do so by law.

            The location of the site, Nye County, NV, wants to host the repository. Most of the neighboring counties want the site to be considered.

            So … you say that we need a “new science.” Gee, I never knew that there was anything wrong with the “old” science that I spent years learning in school, but thanks for emphasizing how irrational and unscientific your end of the debate is. For example:

            There seems to be a real risk the think might actually get approved.

            Yes, there is. It’s clear that this is what you don’t want, and it is what you are afraid of. Thanks again for making that clear.

          • EL says:

            Yes, there is. It’s clear that this is what you don’t want, and it is what you are afraid of. Thanks again for making that clear.

            I’m not afraid of anything. I want a workable solution (and one that best meets our many long term challenges, and not just moves the goal posts on an outdated approach for a single facility).

            There is also a real risk it will be rejected too. In which case, how does that improve the prospects of establishing a new site at a future location (I would be interested in hearing your views on this). It doesn’t sound to me like you understand how flawed and broken this process has become. Doomed if you do, and doomed if you don’t. Whose interests are served by getting a decision that many people will see as illegitimate (albeit prescribed by law and a prescriptive approach that really only works in places like Russia and China). Don’t you think we can do better, and define a win win alternative (one that has proven successful elsewhere, serves our democracy better, and might even represent a better long term solution for the industry with respect to “ownership” and advanced fuel cycles). I don’t see why I should have to pull teeth to get you to bite at something that is better for the industry in the long run (the status quo is unacceptable, don’t you know this)? We thought this might be the best approach to the issue in 1982 (with a handful of politicians calling the shots), but it wasn’t (and we’ve seen two decades of delay, uncertainty, political obstinacy, and distrust that the government can do any of this). Continuing with such uncertainty sounds like a terrible solution to me … it’s time to come up with an alternative.

            We should be reframing the issue. The industry should be demanding that it be allowed to take ownership of the fuel and to create the reliable ability to do something useful with the valuable material. There is a role for government regulation, but it should be based on protecting the public from actual risks, not imaginary ones.

            It sounds like we might be well on our way to doing this. Obama appears to be considering Ernest Moniz for position of Energy Secretary. He oversaw research at Yucca, and was also panel member on Blue Ribbon Commission. In recent writing, he recommends moving on from Yucca (a process that “backfired,” is in “shambles,” and has been cancelled), and setting up Radioactive Waste Management Organizations for short and long term goals, which would be federally chartered, industry funded, and established at arms length from Government.

            “To deal with the immediate problem of waste building up in reactor pools, Congress should allow the Nuclear Waste Fund to be used for moving the spent fuel accumulating in pools into dry-cask storage units nearby. But such an incremental step should not substitute for a comprehensive approach to waste management.”

            Interim “sites should be paid for by the Nuclear Waste Fund, a change that would require congressional approval.” This also leaves SRF available for partial reuse, and future decisions on “whether spent fuel is waste or a resource.”

            “Given the sustained challenge of waste management, an overhaul to the existing program should include the establishment of a new federally chartered organization that is a step or two removed from the short-term political calculus.”

            “If the benefits of nuclear power are to be realized in the United States, each of these hurdles must be overcome.”

            You wish to stick with an outdated and defunded approach (one that is garnering little confidence from people, even many industry stakeholders, involved with these decisions). That is your choice (and you are advocating for that). I understand that (and you don’t need to convince me of your view). I believe we need to be moving forward. Industry having more control over this material, using funds collected to manage solutions now (on interim storage facilities), and leaving all the options on the table for advanced fuel cycles (if these can be utilized by industry on a commercially feasible basis and as part of an integrated waste management strategy). In fact, I see this as the only workable option on the table, and also the one with the best opportunities for success.

  12. EL says:

    Rod … are you still accepting comments in this thread?

  13. Mandi says:

    Like most subjects, everyone has an opinion. Nuclear energy as a power source is no exception. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but here is some food for thought about each side of the fence.
    The pros and cons of nuclear energy as a world-wide source.
    Pros-
    • It is cheaper than alternative energy. While building nuclear plants is expensive, harnessing clean energy such as, wind, solar, wave, and hydro, is significantly more expensive.
    • Nuclear energy produces more energy compared to clean alternatives. Wind, solar, wave energy, and hydroelectricity take significant amounts of input to get a noticeable output. Nuclear energy is about equal in its inputs and outputs making it a more efficient source.
    • The job opportunities are definitely a factor to consider. With nuclear plants being constructed supply job opportunities in this, for lack of a better word, dismal economy. The planning, constructing, and production of nuclear plants will provide an economic stimulus in the countries on board with nuclear energy. The fact that those countries could sell the produce energy could also be a significant pro to the world-wide economy.
    • Nuclear energy, much like clean energy, is renewable. This makes it an ideal replacement from using our nonrenewable resources (coal, petroleum, etc.).
    Cons-
    • The lack of knowledge surrounding nuclear energy. More research is needed to make sure there are no dangers of meltdowns, pollution, environmental damage, health risks, etc.
    • Temperature pollution is a common occurrence. Exiting water into streams and lakes are hot, increasing the overall water temperature. Even if only by a few degrees, this temperature change will affect the aquatic life significantly. Fish and other water creatures are very temperature sensitive; therefore, even slight differences can make the quality of life worse and even result in death. This domino affect impacts ecosystems, food sources, endangered species, and so on.
    • Air pollution is another concern. If the stacks do not produce clean steam, our ozone layer becomes affected by the production of carbon dioxide. Our ozone layer is what keeps our human existence possible. I’m pretty sure all of us want to keep our existence. If not, you are the minority and a weak link anyway. If the ozone layer goes, one of two things will happen. 1. We will all be invited to the human roast and die due to trapped solar heat because the ozone layer is too thick to release and reflect it. 2. We all become one, giant human popsicle. If the ozone layer does not exist at all there is nothing stopping the atmosphere from dropping the earth’s heat average like the New Year’s ball in Time’s Square. All I’m saying is balance is key to keeping our happy asses alive and functioning.
    • I mentioned above that nuclear energy is renewable, but so is clean energy. Research done to improve the efficiency of clean energy outputs poses no threat to the environment if continued. There has been no record of clean energy plants melting down either.
    While the respondents make good points on each side of this discussion, I still disagree with nuclear energy as a world-wide source. I’m not judging anybody’s choices or preferences, but I wanted to throw some things out there that might give anyone who reads this something to think about.

    • James Greenidge says:

      There are three easy rock bottom criteria for me to favor a power source that’d run my home and job; #1 How many people has it put away even in normal operations, not just accidents in its history and record; #2. Is it plentiful and reliable even through dead of winter; #3 What’s been its impact on the environment and wildlife and scenery worldwide? For me it’s very hard to knock nuclear energy on these counts (even the waste part is way more political than technical issue), but unfortunately the one big cross nuclear must carry from being no-brainer accepted wholesale as a near ideal energy source is that it made its debut to the world not in the form of a quiet almost bland reactor under a football stadium but as a mushroom cloud in a desert years later. This media and movie pumped stained image of war and horror and off-the-wall sci-fi consequences indelibly colors the truth and perception most people have of nuclear energy — and going after it with pitchforks and torches is truly undeserved.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

  14. Carter says:

    I know you don’t want to hear them, will roll your eyes, and most likely delete my comments but I’ve got three names for you sir, Three Mile Island,Chernobyl, and Fukushema. I challenge you to have the courage to post my descenting viewpoint and I promise to listen to any rebuttal with an open mind. I’m not totally against nuclear technology and I don’t have an errational fear of it. (I’m a registered professional mechanical engineer that has studied it at the postgraduate level). I just don’t think we should be mass producing it for something as trivial as running our microwave ovens, dishwashers, and water heaters when there are better and safer alternatives.

    I respectfully submit you’re not like the smart kid in the back of the class that the teacher doesn’t call on because you always have the right answer but more like the “smart ass” kid in the back of the class that the teacher doesn’t call on because you “think” you are so much smarter than everyone else but really aren’t.

    The shortsight and arrogance of the nuclear industry is absolutely breathtaking. Nuclear energy was suppose to be inexpensive and safe, it is niether and I believe the “facts’ support this contention if we consider all of them. The nuclear industry has been assuring the world since it’s inception that they can manage the abomable threats they are creating, (aka the possiblilty of accidents and nuclear waste) and provide clean, cheap energy to the masses for the advancement of corporate profits and the betterment of mankind. But in three decades we’ve had three major catastrophies that have irrevocobly change the chemistry of large parts of our planet for the worst. Now you get to have a little radioactivity to go with that mercury in your tuna sandwich but heh, the lights are still on and we’re making money.

    Reality check! Nuclear energy is NOT “Renewable”, it’s NOT “Green”, and it’s NOT “Clean” but it is easy and profitable. The path to a truely renewable future will be a difficult one, there is no question about that, and it won’t be a profitable one for conventional energy suppliers who unfortuneately hold a lot of sway in the decision making process in our society. But I contend, it is simply immoral to dot the landscape with ticking time bombs while creating a legacy of deadly waste that will linger and threaten future generations for 10s of thousands of years just so a few people can make a bunch of money and this generation can have the illusion of affordable power.

    Just look at the broken promises, near misses, and silent killings that we’ve had in the last 50 years. Do you honestly think, Mr. “smart kid”, in your heart of hearts, that we can expand our use of nuclear energy and safely manage this threat for another 1000 years, 10,000 years, 100,000 years? Is the benefit worth the risk? It seems unlikely to me but I’m just one of the kids sitting in the middle of the class keeping my mouth shut,(most of the time) and actually “listening” to to what the teachers have to say.

    The path to a truely renewable energy future is not the easy path, I’m not saying it is.There will be some pain in the transition, but in the long run it will be the best deal for humanity because it will actually be clean and sustainable and won’t burden future generations with the cost of using it in the present.

    Carter Quillen, PE
    Merritt Island Florida

    • Rod Adams says:

      @Carter

      First of all, my apology for the delay in posting your article. I sometimes get behind in my site maintenance tasks because I am arrogantly working 10-12 hour days to help bring a new nuclear energy product to the market.

      The litany of three names that you have provided are often repeated, particularly by the ad supported media and the PAC supported political class, but the technical reality is that two of them were minor industrial events that destroyed valuable private property without harming anyone’s health and the other one was a larger industrial accident caused by gross negligence (or perhaps purposeful human action calculated to break the plant). At Chernobyl, there were about 30 early deaths among operators, firefighters and other first responders. Despite decades worth of intensive searching and credible scientific research, the only long term effects that have been identified are about 15 more deaths from thyroid cancer, 6000 treatable cases of thyroid cancer, and about a dozen early deaths from delayed effects among first responders. There are stubborn women who refused to move from their homes in the evacuated area who continue to experience robust health despite 25 plus years of living off of the land and eating vegetables grown in “contaminated” soils.

      I’ll proudly compare nuclear energy’s technology record to that of ANY other power source. Our waste is completely contained and has never harmed anyone. The complete fuel cycle for a modern plant with a modern enrichment process produces about 5-10 grams of CO2 for every kilowatt hour of electricity. The complete cost of that fuel cycle compares very favorably with all competitors – the “all-in” cost of commercial nuclear fuel is about 65 cents per million BTU, which is about 1/5 of the price of the “cheap” natural gas that is all the rage in North America.

      The technology that you and many others like to call “renewable” is fundamentally unreliable and outside of the control of people or control systems. Therefore I prefer the term “unreliables”. In contrast, the world’s accessible quantities of thorium and uranium are so inexhaustible that politicians feel it is safe to make it illegal to mine a known, accessible deposit large enough to supply the entire US nuclear fleet 0f 100 or so operating reactors for two years from a tiny segment of a single piece of private property.

      I will freely admit that the industry has done itself no favors by failing to get costs under control; we continue to allow old habits to perpetrate a “cost is no object” mentality hampered by a set of QA professionals who often think it is worth spending thousands to address a 10 cent problem. We HAVE to change that to win in the market; I am working hard to both live that dream and to spread it to my fellow fission fans.

      So, tell me, Mr. middle of the class guy – did you complete your postgraduate studies or did you just take a few classes after you graduated from college. What is your specialty as a “registered professional engineer”?

      I believe it is important to disclose conflicts of interest and provide resume bonafides, especially in an important technical conversation about our future energy supply system.

      My resume is posted here.

      PS – yes, I am arrogant. I also have chosen to work to develop technology based on a basic physical phenomenon that releases 2 million times as much energy per unit mass as oil combustion. It’s a pretty decent ally to have on your side in a competitive situation.

    • James Greenidge says:

      I won’t say you are but that your nuke news sources are quite bluntly media darling hypocrites, no contest or rebuttal. They’ll happily ignore literal thousands of oil and gas and coal workers around the world being killed and maimed on the job and tens of thousands burned or blown out of neighborhoods surrounding these facilities in accidents, but cry out like wounded virgins if just one nuclear worker is injured and even more rarely killed in even rarer worst accidents that other industries would kill to have half the accident mortality record of. I mean a worldwide industrial mortality tally so low after sixty years you could pack such numbers on a bus? These green hypocrites shrug at said fossil plants emitting millions of tons of CO2 and pollution and particulates afflicting literal millions worldwide diseases for generations yet the hypocrites howl to shut down plants that emit zero and whose “waste” is sealed up and safe from the environment and who make a big stink about million year storage “problems” which means squat when you drop the stuff down a deep hole unless you plan on moving next to garbage yourself. The only out from being a green hypocrite against nuclear power is to dump the health/safety issue and rail against nukes on philosophical stances like banishing the atom for the unique “evil” it perpetuated at Hiroshima or the threat of glowing mutant monsters or take your pick. At least those protests are more honest.

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

    • David says:

      Hi Carter,

      Welcome to a good conversation. Unless Rod has morphed, your comment will not be deleted but debated. Point by point with facts and reasoning. You are welcome to rebut anything written. None of us agree on everything but most of us are deeply committed to bettering humanity by supplying vast amounts of energy.

      I have looked this over deeply for several years now. I don’t work for any industry. But I can do the basic math it takes to compare various energy sources. I can also, do basic comparisons about actual risk. I am deeply impressed with the safety of a power source that you can – from the top of your head – quote all the major accidents related to it. We learn when authorities conflict.

      I have become a nuclear nut after looking at the alternatives.

  15. Carter says:

    To all,

    First off, I’d like to commend Rod for operating an open forum, even if it’s participants seem to have a prevailing opinion on the debate. I can’t wait to get lambasted by your following. Unfortuneately I don’t have time to rebute your rebuttal point by point right now as I am busy working 12-16 hours a day trying to figure out ways to use less energy and make “unreliable” energy more reliable. Plus, I am going out of town this afternoon and don’t have time to properly challenge many of your questionable contentions with another set of stats that tell a competely different story.

    But I would like to make several quick points.

    First off, you’re almost right about TMI, when it was all said and done, it wasn’t really that big of a deal in terms of hazard to the general public, it was simply a near miss of epic proportion that was almost a catastrophy of biblical proportion, (like Fukushema for example). I would like to refer you to a book by Dave Lachbaum from the Union of Concerned Scientists about some of the many other near misses that most people have never heard about but it’s title escapes me in the moment. I will look it up later and may provide the reference in a future post.

    Second, your stats on the consequences of Chernobyl and opinion on their magnitude are dubious at best and just plain wrong in my opinion. I may also come back to them later with the other end of the spectrum on the toll of damages but I simply don’t have time to do the proper research for the “facts”. In addition, on the subject of Chernobyl, I wish you would just step back and listen closely to yourself. You are blaming the victims for a crime that was perpetrated on them. This supports my contention of a level of arrogance that is absolutely unbeleivable some times. It borders on the scale of some kind of twisted religious fanaticism. Try and find some humility man, Chernobyl was cluster F***, admit it.

    And finally, your minimization of the consequences and explanation of the causes of the Fukushema catastrophy further supports my point.

    Obviously, we are diametrically opposed in our views on this subject, and in any argument, it’s human nature to use extremes to convey your side, the anti-nuclear camp can be worse than the proNukes in this reguard sometimes, often relying on emotion, rather than biased stats to make it’s point. But facts are facts even though they are subject to interpretation. One side pics out what they like to support thier contentions, the other does the same, and the truth lies somewhere in between.

    So perhaps you are delusional or maybe I am paranoid and together we represent the paranoid delusions of the human race but one big difference between you and me my friend is that I go to bed every night praying that I’m wrong and you are right, even though I can’t reconsile it logically. I get the impression that you sleep like a baby at night, convinced you are right. I hope I’m wrong about that too.

    Carter Quillen, PE
    CLEAN Energy Advocate

  16. Carter says:

    PS:After posting, I reread Rod’s reply and to my chagrin realized I had misread, and thus mischaractrized one of his references, whoops. Plus, I not only failed to read his message carefully, I didn’t even read the whole thing and failed to answer his inquiries about my qualifications at the end of his post, whoops again. That’s why I hate being in hurry and endeavor not to be as much as possible.

    But I HAVE to get back to work and while I do enjoy trying to convert Jews to Islam sometimes, I’ve got more important things to do right now so I have to take my leave and get a few things done to meet a deadline. Sorry for opening a can of worms, spillng them on the floor, and not sticking around to pick them up but I’ll do some research later and be back with a more informed rebuttal next week.

    Have fun ripping me apart, I guess I deserve it for being in a rush and going off half cocked.

    It won’t happen again.