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  1. Could it be that you are both a bit right? The truth may be somewhere in the middle. It’s common sense that fossil fuel companies don’t want their market eroded by some “upstart” form of energy. This is simply self protection. It’s also kind of obvious that groups like Greenpeace don’t like nuclear plants. They don’t try to hide it at all.

    Good article.

  2. Rod,

    As you say, this is a complex issue, ripe with egos, greed, corruption, and great benefits.

    I understand your point as well as the view expressed by Mr. Williamson and believe both are likely in play when it comes to nuclear. Your point is shown to be valid, IMO, by the fact that oil and gas industries have signiificant lobbying efforts in the open to kill federal support for ethanol production. Manipulating markets is clearly something they have no problem pursuing.

    Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest in the 60’s and 70’s, I saw first hand the growth and radicalization of the “environmental” movement. None of these “progressive”, the label they want to use today (back then we called them radical and extremist – sound familiar?). Additionally, they would not believe that they were doing the bidding of big oil. Just a case of “strange bedfellows”? I’ll let the reader decide…..

    I do disagree with Williamson when he states “And President Obama is better on this issue than conservatives might expect, supporting Georgia Power’s plan to build new reactors and issuing generally friendly noises from the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy.” I truely believe that if President Obama could be more like the “Greens” in not supporting nuclear, he would. However, the President knows the political reality is that nuclear has enough polictical “capital” in various forms that he needs and cannot ignore. However, President Obama will turn on nuclear or a part of it if there is someone else who has more significant political capital (e.g., Sen Ried stopping Yucca Mountian).

    Take care…..

    1. @Flying Finn

      I’m not sure if your nom de plume indicates that you live in Finland or that you are from Finland. In either case, you may not realize that American politics normally boils down to money.

      The “interests” that prefer fossil fuels over nuclear because they are more profitable — for them — are quite varied and powerful. Many of them have a keen understanding of using policy and regulation to create a favorable environment — for them — and also are skilled at creating cover stories or using surrogates so that their manipulations are not easily discovered. One important technique taught in propaganda or manipulative PR courses is to create what appears to be a pitched battle between staunch enemies where the faked blows never really connect.

      The Keystone XL fight is an example. It is portrayed as a battle between environmentalists like 350.org and the Sierra Club against the big bad fossil fuel industry that insists on easier and cheaper access to the dirtiest oil available.

      In reality, the most important interest being protected is that of Burlington Northern Railroad, which represents 11% of Berkshire Hathaway’s assets and nearly 25% of its 2013 profits. The railroad had a good year despite some large, weather related service interruptions during a very cold winter because it currently controls the only way for Alberta’s oil to be moved into the lucrative US market.

      That company and many others would ban together and use some of the same surrogates to apply political pressure against anyone that took steps that would effectively enable nuclear energy to succeed. Those steps, by the way, would not cost taxpayers any money – they would simply require revising some regulations that have NOTHING to do with safety and EVERYTHING to do with imposing delays and uncertainty into an already expensive licensing process.

      My best hope is that uncovering the deceptions and showing where the real interests are will help all of the powerful and no so powerful people who are disadvantaged by high energy prices and real environmental degradation to band together to effectively fight what I’d like to now name the “black-green” coalition. (Carbon is black. So are most hydrocarbons in their raw form.)

      1. @Rod Adams

        To quote from my post:

        “Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest in the 60’s and 70’s…”

        Last time I heard, unless you consider British Columbia as part of the Pacific Northwest, that part of North America is part of the U.S. Thus, I am a U.S. citizen. B^)

        I am also a “Rickover” Nuke….

        I don’t disagree that there are people and companies doing what you say, just that others take the same viewpoints for different reasons. Thus, the term “strange bedfellows”. Additionally, it is hard to find a solid “smoking gun” to tie an organization to such “criminal” behavior.

        Unfortunately, you can uncover the deceptions all you can (and more power to you) but getting the rest of the country to care is, in my opinion, the hardest part. Case in point: The dishonest and criminal behavior of then Governor and President Bill Clinton. He should be or have served time in jail for his sexual crimes against numerous women. But a certain political party cared more about political power. Look what the Democrats did to Linda Tripp, a true whistle blower.

        Not trying to digress but more to your point, once you can uncover deception, greed, etc., the hardest part is to find and win over an organization with the power to do something about it. In your Keystone XL pipeline case, I would say it is to work the political system to ensure that the Republicans with sympathetic Democrats can end the blockage in the Senate (hopefully with enough Democrats to override any veto).

        I hope you are successful with a strategy to address the wrongs you find.

        Good luck,
        Flying Finn
        (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paavo_Nurmi for the significance of my nom de plume)

  3. Rod,

    your paradigm is closer to Adam Smith’s in his “Wealth of Nations.” Smith recognized that existing interests / merchants were most interested in restricting the trade of new competitors who would lower the margins on their business. The collusion of government with established merchants is very old indeed.

    But, on the other hand, the closer that we get to actual free trade and true competition in a market the more the consumer is benefited.

  4. Is the closing of Zion another example of industry limiting output to increase price?

    1. At the time Zion was closed, wasn’t its production costs less than Commonwealth Edison’s coal fired units? If the limiting of production was the primary reason for closing Zion, it may have made more sense at that time to close some of the older coal plants (since sold to NRG, I believe). The closing of Zion has been explained to me by former employees of that site and I still don’t understand it.

      1. Eino, You said “The closing of Zion has been explained to me by former employees of that site and I still don’t understand it.”
        Try this; Comm Ed had overproduction capability, the reason Zion was picked (3rd oldest dual unit nuke) was because of a temper tantrum by the CEO. He wanted to break the Comm Ed labor union.

  5. Ok…..so, Rod….

    Whats your prediction about how the recent midterm results will affect our energy situation?

    Do you think NE will get a boost?

    Or will the fossil fuel mega-monsters enjoy relaxed regulation, laudatory press exposure, and the unfettered license to pad the wallets of the snakes in Congress that masquerade as “representatives” of the people’s interests.

    Interesting that the movement of crude via rail is getting such an epic marketing resurgence. I have ran up against a brick wall trying to get any local journalists to expose to the public the high incidence of derailments on the Tehachapi Loop. Despite the fact that the tanker train traffic is slated to increase exponentially. Eating breakfast right now at a local eatery, three trains have gone by, not 100 yards from the counter I’m sitting at. The main drag in Tehachapi parallels these tracks.

    Anyway, I really am curious about your predictions regarding the impact the midterms will have on our energy policies. Something tells me that our right wing commenters here are in for a rude awakening.

    1. @poa

      I’m not quite ready to make a prediction. While I understand your point of view — they’re all bums — I disagree with it. There are some good legislators in both parties that recognize that what is good for the hydrocarbon industry is not necessarily good for the public or the planet’s environment. With regard to nuclear energy in particular, a few very bad individuals in the Democratic Party (Boxer, Markey, and Waxman in particular) will have a good deal less influence while a few good individuals in the Republican party (Sessions, Vitter, and Murkowski) will have more influence.

      I’m hoping that the shift in leadership will enable the NRC to focus on its formally assigned mission and be less distracted with “come arounds” to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for public bashing by Boxer, Markey and their “independent” tagalong – Bernie Sanders.

      Tom Carper, Ben Cardin, Amy Klobuchar, and Mary Landrieu (depending on the results of the December runoff) are all examples of Democrats that might work with pronuclear Republicans to start the process of removing some of the many strings that have been tied over the past 45 years to keep the nuclear Gulliver under control.

      Then again, I’ve occasionally been accused of being an incurable optimist.

      1. I suspect that you do have some concrete predictions, but don’t really want to hang them out there where they might, unmet, sully your credibility. Not saying that disdainfully, as I understand your reluctance to take that risk, considering your mission.

        Like you point out in one of your comments, money talks. And taking that into consideration, I find your unwavering optimism somewhat inexplicable. Both sides of the aisle will pursue the agenda of the biggest spenders willing to pad the coffers of their campaign funding. And, with the Citizen’s United decision, we don’t really have anyway of knowing who is greasing the skids of a candidate’s slide into office. I know you buy the rattle crap about it being a “free speech” issue. And further, that it enables the “little guy” corporations to have a voice. But the reality is that the little guys can’t match the funds of the mega players, so this disastrous Supreme Court decision actually reduced the voices of the little guys to inaudible background noise. Such is evidenced by the huge influx of dark money into these recent midterm campaigns.

        A huge effort will now be made to tie NE to weapons proliferation, as this stance is mandated by Israel’s efforts to keep Iran from joining the modern world. And as I’m sure you know, but are loath to admit, Israel’s stance, even if it works against our best interests, becomes the stance of both parties in Congress. To go against Israel is to commit political suicide in DC. And already these snakes on the right are tripping over themselves to prove themselves more pro Israel than the snakes on the left, as if such a thing is possible. So, we can expect an unprecedented congressional whoring to Israel, as well as Saudi Arabia, as they both share an agenda about keeping Iran down. So how do you advance NE when you’re screaming at the top of your lungs that Iran can’t have it because its just a path to nuclear weapons capability? And advocate for reduced fossil fuel usage while you’re stroking the Saudi royal family’s g-spot? Won’t work. So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read the cards. I just hope these scriptwriters, re-employed to hand us a redux of the Iraqi WMD lies, figure out a way to bullshit us into a policy that doesn’t include killing a million or so Iranis, like the million or so Iraqis that were killed by their lies and fabrications. (And are still dying as a result). It doesn’t look good though, because the Israelis don’t seem to do anything that doesn’t include drawing blood, even if its the blood of our own. They WILL goad us into doing something, guaranteed. And our politicians will march our boys to harm, at Israel’s behest. All for a few bucks, and extended terms in office.

        The fiasco and fiction known as the GWOT was created by the people coming back into power. And if you think they screwed the pooch in Iraq and Afghanistan, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

        1. @poa

          So how do you advance NE when you’re screaming at the top of your lungs that Iran can’t have it because its just a path to nuclear weapons capability?

          You advance nuclear energy by addressing the costly barriers to entry and the political distractions associated with actions from Boxer and Markey. The public already supports nuclear and the investment community is coming around as long as the current projects perform reasonably well.

          The screaming against Iran must be shown for what it is – stupid, short-sighted, and monetarily motivated.

          1. And who will do this? A Republican House and Senate? Obviously the democrats were sufficiently cowed by the Israeli lobbies such as AIPAC, and read their lines as scripted. So now the right is going to proclaim the script being written about Iran is “stupid, short-sighted, and monetarily motivated.” Who in DC dares commit such anti-Israel sacrilege? As you probably well know, the rhetoric against Iran will now become even more incendiary now that the right has complete majority. And rather than rotting in Leavenworth where they belong, the bloodthirsty maniacs such as Bolton, McCain, North, Feith, etc (ad nauseum) are being resurrected as desirable media pundits and “foreign policy experts”. And just yesterday Dempsey was complimenting Israel’s recent carnage inflicted upon the Palestinians, despite a number of international bodies calling for ICC investigations and indictments against Israel for war crimes, and human rights abuses.

            Who is going to counter the saber rattling against Iran? You and your pro-nuke compatriots? Uh, in case you haven’t noticed, a number of your compatriots are undoubtedly applauding the mid-term results. So even if you did have the public’s ear, which you don’t, I doubt you’d find many willing to stand with you and watch your back. Particularly considering the swift “justice” meted out to any and all that dare to try to rewrite the Israeli script.

            Optimism, to a point, is fine Rod. But delusion is not very productive, and tends to give birth to ill fated strategies. There is no way that the rhetoric against Iran will do anything other than grow more strident as a result of these mid-terms. And the pro nuke community has neither the power nor the will to counter this rhetoric. Hopefully the call for further and deeper sanctions doesn’t get replaced by the hammering of war drums. At least not being able to get meds for your ailing children beats the hell out of watching them get incinerated by a Patriot missile. But if Israel gets its way…..(and, it always does).

          2. Btw Rod….

            At times your robotic moderation protocol is damned irritating, as it inhibits the flow of a conversation. Or, perhaps thats its purpose. Certainly, as you will note when you read my comment that was just consigned to the backroom, you can discern that there was no plausible reason for it to be so consigned. Weird, man. You sure you ain’t tweaking the protocol occasionally? Sure seems that way sometimes.

          3. @poa

            Rod Adams often advances the claim that nuclear power is being suppressed by corrupt politicians in the pocket of fossil fuel profiteers, but even the might of Big Oil turned out to be no match for AIPAC.

            And sorry to be pedantic, but the Patriot missile is designed to be used only against flying targets. The only way any children would “incinerated by a Patriot missile” is if they were on board an airliner shot down with one.

            1. @George Carty

              Just to be clear, my assertion is that fossil fuel interests — a description that includes, for example, railroads, banks, pipeline companies, drill bit suppliers, and taxing authorities and is not limited to “Big Oil” in the form of major multinational oil companies headquartered in “the West — are often the financial, media, and political strength behind antinuclear activities that are often designed to look like they are motivated by something other than competitive financial interests.

            2. @George Carty

              I read the piece to which you linked. It doesn’t indicate that AIPAC’s might is larger than oil’s might. It indicated that AIPAC activities were generally shaped by rich donor desires. It also indicates that oil interests often compete against each other for market share even while they also cooperate to keep the market from being flooded. This last paragraph is particularly enlightening for those who want to understand why the US has had such a rocky relationship with Iran even while our government has maintained close ties to the Saudi monarchy despite its nasty record on human rights, women’s rights, and support of madrasas around the world.

              Prince Bandar used to send us messages. I used to meet with Adel al-Jubeir a couple times a year. Adel used to joke that if we could force an American embargo on Iranian oil, he’d buy us all Mercedes! Because Saudi [Arabia] would have had the excess capacity to make up for Iran at that time.

              Read more: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2011/06/aipac-from-the-inside-1-isolating-iran.html#ixzz3IZxSMUiJ

          4. Yeah, well, we’ve done that too, haven’t we? There’s an oops that was never fully explained.

            I shoulda used Tomahawks as an example of our great respect for non-combatant civilians in targeted urban areas, eh? Or we can follow Israel’s example, and just dump white phosphorous and cluster munitions on the heathen savages. That’ll teach ’em to dare hate us because of our freedoms.

          5. “….even while our government has maintained close ties to the Saudi monarchy despite its nasty record on human rights, women’s rights, and support of madrasas around the world”

            Hey, cut them some slack, will you? Why, just yesterday I read that they are gonna allow women driving privileges. During certain weekdays, at certain hours, with the permission of a male family member, wearing proper attire, they will be blessed by Allah and be allowed to hit the open road. They’ve come a long way since 2001. Why heck, in today’s Saudi Arabia, they might even let a woman fly a 737!

          6. “It indicated that AIPAC activities were generally shaped by rich donor desires”

            Far more sinister than that. Of course, economics dovetail. But AIPAC’s true aim is keeping our politicians subservient and amiable to the agenda of a foreign state, even if that agenda conflicts with our own interests. In that respect, AIPAC is far more powerful than big oil, because it has the power to crush the political careers of any and all that dare question our complicity in Israel’s despicable treatment of the Palestinians, its illegal expansion, and its frequent war crimes. Remember what a media darling Petraeus was?? Until, of course, he publicly stated that our alliance with Israel was a threat to our national security. Pffffft, there went his political future down the crapper. And Ron Paul? How’d his astute observations about our relationship with Israel work out for him? The list goes on and on. And behind every one of these destroyed careers, the hands of AIPAC can be found pushing their victims out the door.

          7. Gosh….I don’t see NE mentioned here…..

            http://www.aipac.org/news-hub?id=%7BD3688BC7-F094-4429-8455-DFC77C2D8E30%7D#

            “Among the many important provisions of the bill, energy security features prominently as one of the most ambitious and far-reaching areas in an inherently ambitious initiative. Thanks to the tireless work of Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA), the bill includes a variety of provisions that create new mechanisms to connect the United States and Israel in enhanced energy cooperation”

            more….

            “An inaugural summit was held this August at Tulane University in New Orleans to introduce this center, the first of its kind. Tulane was selected as the Center’s host in part due to the centrality of the Gulf of Mexico in America’s offshore energy production, drawing important parallels to Israel’s ongoing development of its offshore gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean”

            Btw…..I strongly suggest, if you want to keep abreast of what tomorrow’s foreign policy agenda looks like, you monitor the AIPAC website. They write the agenda.

          8. Before I comment on POA’s blatant anti-semitism and de facto support for the religion of 1300+ years of terrorism, let me say that I have worked with both Shiite and Sunni Muslims, and I would proudly work with them again. But they with whom I worked and whom I admire are in a minority. The Koran itself demands dhimmitude of Christian and Jew alike. So while I support clean safe nuclear energy for the Iranian people, I oppose the rhetoric of its leaders to drive Israel into the sea. Furthermore, the one free nation in the Middle East is Israel where women are treated equally with men, and where gays and Christians are not persecuted and beheaded or stoned. Everything we are taught in public schools about Islam, the Crusades, etc is a lie. Read the truth about Charles Martel and the Battle of Tours, and about the Battle of Lepanto, and about the Church’s defensive action to protect Orthodox Christians in the Middle East during the Crusades instead of the liberal progressive propaganda from secular Academia. Nuclear power isn’t going to free the peoples of the Middle East from the shackles of radical Islam. Only a spiritual awakening will do that. In the meantime, Israel’s armament will protect her, thank God. The paradigm of liberal progressivism is completely incorrect and inherently anti-semitic. It always has been and always will be. And no, I am not anti-Arab or anti-Iranian. Rather, I am pro-Israel and pro-Christian. My Messiah is after all a Jew. And PS, I am pro-nuke too.

          9. Anti-semitism, eh? Ho hum. That what someone says when they cannot defend Israel and its policies. My comments accuse Israel of some specfic war crimes and human rights abuses, as well as territorial expansion that the majority of the global community, including the United States, recognize as ILLEGAL. Of course unable to rebut facts, loannes resort to a timeworn accusation that has been so over used and inappropriately applied that its usage is little more than feckless diversion. I dare loannes to quote one single comment of mine that is anti-semitic.

          10. BTW Loannes…..

            I suggest you read your own commentary if you are truly interested in what a “blatantly” bigoted comment looks like. Your assertion that the majority of muslims are radicalized is bigotry on steroids. And itx comical, considering the plight of the Palestinian people, to see Israel described as a “democracy”. Are you telling us thag both jewish israelis and palestinians enjoy the same rights? If so, you’re a liar. Tell me, can a Jew marry a Muslim in Israel? Gee, why not? Hmmmmm, talk about BLATANT BIGOTRY.

  6. There are two convincing theories regarding who fights for energy poverty. Given in terms of the mindset that such groups must necessarily have:

    1. Greens:

    This was another assumption that I think we got wrong: we also thought that as you provide societies with more energy it enables them to do more environmental destruction. The idea of tying us to the natural forces of the wind and the sun was very appealing in that it would limit and constrain human development. What we’ve actually found in recent decades particularly with what’s happening in the developing world is that the more energy you give a society the less environmental damage they do …

    Robert Stone – explaining why he stopped being against nuclear power.

    2. Capitalists:
    Obviously not all of them; just enough of them. Many haven’t really thought it out too well. This explanation comes courtesy of the hard left, so I don’t expect any Americans here will even want to read it.

    Capitalism rations scarce goods through the market mechanism. It disperses the weekly ration to families as wages. It recovers its costs by limiting access to goods. It reduces us to wage slaves by controlling access to the means of subsistence. Capitalism cannot exist without scarcity. Scarcity is capitalism’s means of social control.

    James Heartfield – Green Capitalism – manufacturing scarcity in an age of abundance.

    1. I’d prefer to call the second group of bad guys “rentiers” rather than “capitalists”.

  7. Malthusians fight abundance. They correctly predicted that the supply of whale oil to light our homes would run out but failed to predict that kerosene would do the job better and for much less money.

    Today they (correctly) predict that the supply of kerosene and other fossil fuels will run out but they have failed to understand that it does not matter as nuclear fission can provide all the power we need to run an industrial civilization for at least another 100,000 years.

    Many millennia from now gloomy Malthusians may note that Uranium and Thorium are getting scarce but it will not matter. By then our electricity will be generated via nuclear fusion.

    1. @gallopingcamel

      And who, do you think, are the Malthusians? Most members of the Club of Rome represent the interests of well-established, old money elites who remain certain that the riff raff — where they place almost everyone who is not in the top echelon — are reproducing too quickly and consuming an ever larger share of the earth’s bounty.

      Malthusians often work closely with Luddites. They wail about the limits to growth and “peak everything”, but fight the technological advances that change the boundaries of the limits and avoid the impacts of the peaks by substitutions and vast improvements in production efficiencies. Try discussing fission, molten salt, high temperature gas reactors, or breeders in a group of peak oilers.

      You see, perceived scarcity is profitable for the established suppliers. It results in bidding wars and commodity stockpiling, even though there are better replacement technologies that have been bottled up in regulatory reviews or court battles led by “NIMBYs”

      My theory is that the people who most effectively fight progress are often the people who are wealthy and powerful in the world as it is today. They feel threatened by the advances that are enabled by open, inquiring minds that see opportunities in solving problems. They are often willing to have others engage in the visible battles. They prefer letting their money do the work or to use their access and influence shape backroom deals.

      What you and I recognize as a boon to society in finding better replacements as supplies of fossil fuels become more difficult and expensive to reach, the hydrocarbon establishment sees as a grave threat that must be beaten down — even if it results in enormous costs to the rest of us.

      Have you been following the business press during the recent collapse in world oil prices? Articles are filled with angst about the loss of value in many exploration and production related enterprises. There have also been a number of articles that condemn OPEC for NOT stepping in and reducing their production rates in order to maintain prices that make it profitable to exploit high production-cost resources like shale oil and oil sands. Some dismiss recognition of quite understandable actions by Saudi Arabia and other gulf states to defend market share as mere “market conspiracy theory.”

      Of course, some articles point out that there will be large benefits spread out through the rest of the economy as money that was being spent on fuel is not available for food, clothing, cars, airline tickets, sporting events, cultural activities, vacations, house payments, etc., but the authors are concerned about the concentrated effects on parts of the economy that have been booming for the past decade or so as oil prices climbed more than five fold from the sub $20 per barrel prices of early 2000s and made long-known but uneconomic resources profitable.

      1. Rod – I came to energy analysis through peak oil. A lecturer described Hubbert’s analysis and the contemporary work of ASPO so clearly one night that it changed my whole outlook on the world. For several years I tried not to think about the “inevitable” energy crisis. But then, through Gordon McDowell’s videos I learned about MSRs, which prompted me to consult textbooks on conventional nuclear energy and start to shed my unwitting, socially engineered rejection. Maybe you understand the sense of relief that granted me? Crucially, I was looking for solutions, but I expect you are right that “peak oilers” are generally emotionally (probably also financially) invested in The S**t Hitting the Fan.

        1. @ActinideAge

          If I did not understand the incredible abundance locked up inside the nuclei of naturally occurring uranium and thorium and the ease with which we can turn the key to unlock it, I would be a very depressed man.

          My perspective advantage is that I have been given the opportunity to run a 1960s vintage nuclear power plant through its paces and I have had the opportunity to be deeply involved in the business end of that enterprise, including reviewing and justifying the financial expenditures for Naval Reactors. I know where the big noises are in cost and know they are not related to training, manning or quality programs as much as they are driven by the imposed fear of small amounts of radiation. Often, insiders take advantage of that fear to establish highly profitable work practices.

          I also have the advantage of believing in a well-designed system that Lovelock called Gaia but also believing that free-thinking, creative human beings are an integral part of that system.

  8. Rod said:
    “Long time readers of Atomic Insights will know that I lean way to the left on the political spectrum and often disagree strongly with the positions taken by writers at conservative publications like National Review. ”

    You may be a rabid Marxist but your heart is in the right place when it comes to nuclear power.

    1. Nah – AtomicRod’s no Marxist.

      I think, like many of us, he realizes the path to truth lies at the intersection of an open mind and a questioning attitude.

  9. According to James Inhofe, (R-Okla), global warming is a “hoax”. He’s likely going to be the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Sweet, eh?

    1. His bread is buttered by oil interests in his home state of Oklahoma. If he wasn’t there, maybe the oil interests would simply find another boy to serve them. It does sort of give credence to the smoking gun idea.

      1. Inhof’s political projection can be one of two, both of which are acceptable to his benefactors. He has chosen the far less insidious projection of: “global warming is a hoax”. The other, far more evil political projection open to Inhof is even more dastardly:
        His political focus could have been that wind and solar “POWER” or “ENERGY” is the way to go, and that the American people should spend $hundreds of millions per year, which would help convince the American people that wind and solar “POWER” and “ENERGY” isn’t really just sunshine and breezes.

        Spending billions on sunshine and breezes to maintain an ineffective competitor as a distraction is far more insidious, and a much more evil hoax than a simple wave of the hand in dismissal of the unknowns of massive atmospheric and Oceanic CO2 loading, as Inhofe has apparently chosen to do.

        1. As I pointed out on another site:

          It does not matter that many folks do not believe in the evidence supporting anthropomorphic climate change, as long as the only solutions currently being implemented are to build wind turbines and install solar panels and build biofuel installations.

          None of these “solutions” do a lick of good to reduce CO2 emissions and in the aggregate are probably more harmful to the environment than any tiny benefit they accrue.

          Until the recognized solution for CO2 emissions is the one that actually has been proven to work in the real world, it is completely irrelevant if a vast number of people do not believe that CO2 emissions matter.

  10. First, I am gratified that the nation has elected a mainly Republican Congress.
    .
    Second, I oppose liberalism because of what Pope Leo XIII wrote in paragraphs 15 and 16 of his encyclical Libertas. The open-minded person will simply google “Leo XIII Libertas” to find the document.
    .
    Third, politics has changed little since Marcus Tullius Cicero prosecuted Lucius Sergius Catilina in the Roman Senate. I hold faith in neither businessmen out to make a profit at any cost or politicians out to gain power at any cost. I agree with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Rerum Novarum. Read that one too.
    .
    Fourth, anyone here who drives an internal combustion vehicle or who uses electricity from the grid pays fossil fuel businessmen for their products. If you oppose the manner in which they provide their product, then do not buy it. Be pure in the execution of your principle, otherwise, you are no better than the hypocrites whom you criticize.
    .
    Fifth, Republican Senator Inhofe is pro-nuclear and pro-fossil fuel. He is both. I checked his web site. One does not have to embrace the god of anthropogenic global warming to be pro-nuclear. Senator Inhofe supports energy regardless of source. It is a very different paradigm that the liberal progressive one which has wreaked such havoc in places going bankrupt like Detroit.
    .
    I will stop now. It is no use to debate politics with liberal progressives. I am simply happy that a liberal like Rod Adams does advocate (and quite well too) nuclear power. Liberals like him are far and few between. I cannot do anything but commend that.

    1. @ioannes

      Fourth, anyone here who drives an internal combustion vehicle or who uses electricity from the grid pays fossil fuel businessmen for their products. If you oppose the manner in which they provide their product, then do not buy it. Be pure in the execution of your principle, otherwise, you are no better than the hypocrites whom you criticize.

      Not surprisingly, I disagree. I enjoy using fossil fuels and celebrate the power that they provide to humanity. That does not mean I have to avoid criticizing businessmen for certain methods of production and collusion in controlling production rates and market prices. It is quite possible to sell a good product but to capture extra profits using nefarious means.

      1. 100% Correct, Rod – “It is quite possible to sell a good product but to capture extra profits using nefarious means.” Pope Francis has been very outspoken about that particular point.

    2. I am a business owner and very pro nuclear power who also identifies as a liberal democrat however I believe that there are good ideas from both sides of the aisle and I applaud certain republicans (shimkus etc…) for investigating the yucca mountain issue and oversight of the nrc commission. I wish that the Democratic Party would focus more on the facts, science, and following the law when it comes to nuclear power and the issue of what to do with fuel that has only had one pass in a reactor.

    3. See Hilaire Belloc, The Servile State, for a masterful exposition of the moral & practical unsoundness of capitalism, from a strictly Catholic perspective.

      And it is a great irony that Tully’s opposition to the Agrarian Law almost certainly dealt as great a blow to destroy the Republic as his prosecution of Catiline dealt to preserve it. The disproportion of wealth is always fatal to social order, because it leaves the common man with the choice of sustaining himself by servile submission to a patron, or by violence. In a republic the evil is doubled, because the man who must devote all his energy to maintaining himself (see Pieper, Leisure the Basis of Culture) cannot properly participate in the affairs of the State, becoming a prey to demagoguery & worse.

      1. Publius,

        You wrote:

        “See Hilaire Belloc, The Servile State, for a masterful exposition of the moral & practical unsoundness of capitalism, from a strictly Catholic perspective.”

        Pope John Paul II wrote in paragraph 34 in Centessimus Annus the following:

        “It would appear that, on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs. But this is true only for those needs which are ‘solvent’, insofar as they are endowed with purchasing power, and for those resources which are ‘marketable’, insofar as they are capable of obtaining a satisfactory price. But there are many human needs which find no place on the market. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental human needs to remain unsatisfied, and not to allow those burdened by such needs to perish. It is also necessary to help these needy people to acquire expertise, to enter the circle of exchange, and to develop their skills in order to make the best use of their capacities and resources. Even prior to the logic of a fair exchange of goods and the forms of justice appropriate to it, there exists something which is due to man because he is man, by reason of his lofty dignity. Inseparable from that required ‘something’ is the possibility to survive and, at the same time, to make an active contribution to the common good of humanity.”

        You wrote:

        “And it is a great irony that Tully’s opposition to the Agrarian Law almost certainly dealt as great a blow to destroy the Republic as his prosecution of Catiline dealt to preserve it.”

        Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote in Oratio Secunda of de Lege Agraria Contra Rullum :

        “Nam vere dicam, Quirites, genus ipsum legis agrariae vituperare non possum.”

        Tully did not oppose Agrarian Reform in and of itself, but he did oppose the so-called Reform that evil men like Lucius Sergius Catilina wanted. He opposed not because he wished to deprive people of sustenance but because of what would result from implementation of Tiberius Gracchus’ proposal of a half century prior: the institution of decem reges to oversee the management and distribution of property – the concentration of power into the hands of a few. Oh how like today’s Democrats! His opponent, Catilina, was the epitome thereof, whining about how only he could provide social justice for the poor. Even down to the early Middle Ages in northern Italia circulated the myth of his love and support for the down-trodden. Oh how people were fooled, and they still are today. Thankfully this last election saw a turn-around.

        The only solution – Republic, NOT Democracy – was the one that Tully supported, and thus for telling the truth was he beheaded by the Second Triumvirate 20 years after writing de Lege Agraria Contra Rullum. Livia, the wife of Gaius Octavius soon to become Augustus, took his decapitated head and repeatedly stabbed his dead tongue with a knife because she could not bear to remember the truth he told. How quickly on the promise to serve the plebes Rome went from Republic to Democracy to Autocracy.

        What does this have to do with nuclear power? Commentators here say they want people to have access to low cost, pollution free energy. But those that are liberal insist on constantly pinning their hope on the Catilinas of today’s politics, those who promise reform but emasculate nuclear energy – people like Andy Cuomo, Barbara Boxer, Ed Markey, et alias. It isn’t the Republicans who have stymied nuclear energy and fed the interests of those dreaded fossil fuel companies with hair-brained schemes of useless renewable energy. It is the Democrats. Maybe now, however, the plebes have awoken and realized that Catilina’s promise of hope and change is a lie from the pit of hades.

    4. I wouldn’t hold up Republican Rome as a model, as it was a shameless predator state which slaughtered and enslaved millions out of pure greed, as well as being one of the nastier slave societies internally.

      It was also a ruthless plutocracy as shown by the murder of the Gracchi brothers — most of the laments for the Republic’s fall were written by the old aristocracy who had been its main beneficiaries (and whose short-sighted greed brought it down). Most ordinary people were better off under the Emperors.

      1. George Carty wrote:

        “I wouldn’t hold up Republican Rome as a model…”

        Agreed. Even less so was the succeeding Empire where Christians were openly tortured and murdered. St. Paul was beheaded outside Rome, St. Peter was crucified upside down, and St. Ignatius of Antioch was fed to the lions. Mad Caligula murdered his own sister whom he made pregnant and danced around in female clothing as the goddess Venus, designating even his horse as a Senator. Nero burned vast portions of Rome to the ground and blamed it on the Christians. Marcus Aurelius sat in the Coliseum, writing his Meditationes while Christians were being slaughtered right in front of him. Claudius deported the entire Jewish population out of Rome. In similar manner, I note with dismay that today’s Democrats are already marginalizing orthodox, traditional Christians as bigoted and intolerance (the first step towards open persecution) while they commit some of the same heinous crimes that would make pedophile Tiberius blush with embarrassment. The claim of being for the poor and down-trodden while opposing safe, clean nuclear power (Cuomo, Boxer, Markey, Sanders, etc ad nauseam) is more than merely disingenuous. They feed right into the hands of those fossil fuel interests that they say they oppose.

        🙁

  11. Here’s another angle: “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” – Billy Shakespeare

    There may be great possibilities for energy abundance. These may be technologically achievable. The United States has a lot of litigation. This can wipe a company out. Is it possible that the fear of litigation is stifling both the implementation of new ideas and increases in production? I’ve heard that the US has more lawyers than the rest of the world combined. (not verified) Litigation must be considered for most if not all products sold today. This is a risk that can restrict what is available in the marketplace. How much of a tax does this impose on all of us through increased costs of goods? Could this indirect tax be limiting energy abundance?

  12. As a conservative and pro-nuke viewing Tuesday’s election results, I rejoice at the thorough and well deserved drubbing of the left wing. Republicans are not our saviors, but they stand a better chance of restraining the diminution of America under the feckless, sackless, leadership of Obama. He may say nice things about NE, but his partnership in the back stab of Yucca Mt. and his waste of our tax money on useless renewable projects speaks louder. As the leader of the left wing, he not only didn’t restrain Harry Reid, he joined him. Did he bother to talk sense into madam Boxer et al whose interference caused 1200 of my co-workers to lose their jobs?

    Always willing to be educated, is there some evidence available that suggests Iran is developing NE for peaceful purposes and not for weapons? I thought that was a given. If it is obvious it is for peaceful NE, and if what POA suggests is true, that AIPAC runs our foreign policy, why would Israel or the US be against this “peaceful” NE?

    @POA
    “The fiasco and fiction known as the GWOT”

    Are you suggesting there isn’t global terror or only that the US is fighting a faux war on terror?
    I assume you are aware of the numerous attacks world wide as well as here in the US by Muslim terrorists and so without further comment, I am aghast at such a statement.

    I thought Petraeus was canned because he dared to criticize the anointed one, and recall it was the leftists who referred to him as “General Betray Us.”

    It is a shame Palestinian women and children die at the hands of Israeli bombing, but Israel, like America, takes enormous steps to avoid civilian casualties and the terrorists they target, unlike in the west where the warriors surround and protect the women and children, put them out in front to be killed. Also, civilians are killed in every war but with the Muslim terrorists, the civilians ARE the target. Want to find blame, blame those who cause the troubles, ie., the terrorists (Hamas) not the Israelis who get tired of suicide bombers and being rocketed. Would we in the US stand by and endure attack without retaliation? Remember too, the Palestinians celebrated our losses on 9/11, rejoicing in the streets at the sight of our misery.
    Just what would you suggest Israel do about suicide bombers and being rocketed? Israel isn’t doing anything to the Palestinians that Hamas wouldn’t do to their own if they openly disagreed with Hamas’ goals, as they have aptly demonstrated on a number of occasions.

    The climate for NE will improve if only due to the passage of time since Fukushima. Pro-nukes would do well to promote Pandora’s Promise as much as possible. We need to marginalize those in the tin-foil hat crowd by constant, and instant refutation of their bunk whenever and wherever we see it. I appreciate Rod’s work as I have used some of it in my editorials against the crack pot class. I do hope the pro nuclear members here will do the same.

    1. @david davison

      Always willing to be educated, is there some evidence available that suggests Iran is developing NE for peaceful purposes and not for weapons? I thought that was a given. If it is obvious it is for peaceful NE, and if what POA suggests is true, that AIPAC runs our foreign policy, why would Israel or the US be against this “peaceful” NE?

      It is always impossible to prove a negative, but there is evidence that Iran is very interested in producing atomic power while there is only assumption, propaganda and innuendo that they are aiming for weapons. There is evidence of a covert program during the Iran-Iraq war, when the US and many of its allies were allied with Saddam and did not prosecute known uses of chemical weapons by the Iraqis.

      Iran is a country with a population of 70 million, including a large portion of young people that want better lives. It is well aware of the limitations of depending on oil and gas and would like to diversify its domestic energy supply. It also knows that producing electricity at home using nuclear power frees up a substantial quantity of oil and gas for export.

      Neither Israel, the US or Saudi Arabia would be happy to compete against Iranian natural gas. Israel makes that list because of its recent large discoveries of gas in the eastern Med. http://www.haaretz.com/business/.premium-1.618502. The US and the Saudis have long cooperated to limit Iranian oil production for a variety of reasons including the desire to keep oil prices high and profitable in the world market.

      You say you remember Palestinians celebrating bombings on 911. Do you remember where the lion’s share of the 911 terrorists came from? Do you remember how Iran responded to our tragedy?

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/iran-gave-us-help-on-al-qaeda-after-9-11/

      1. @ Rod
        Your news flash on Iran’s help post 9/11 is welcome news, news I have never heard of. This is obviously all pre-Ahmadinejad whose crazy talk is what I remember.

        “There is evidence of a covert program during the Iran-Iraq war, when the US…”
        I’m unsure as to what you mean or the point you’re making with that statement.

        On your second link, are you suggesting that because Israel now has NG and because we, the US, want to keep oil prices high, we have colluded with much of Europe in fabricating a narrative that Iran is only interested in nuclear weapons? I’m not buying it. I’m not cynical enough to believe that the US government wants to keep oil prices high just to help the oil companies stay awash in cash and all to the detriment of the country’s economy.

        1. @david davison

          I’m not cynical enough to believe that the US government wants to keep oil prices high just to help the oil companies stay awash in cash and all to the detriment of the country’s economy.

          Neither was I until I began extensive research into the history of the oil business, the importance of our relationship with Saudi Arabia, the shift of our monetary system from the gold standard to the petrodollar standard during the Nixon era, and the decade long interest by the Saudi’s (and their American partners) to keep Iran from producing and selling oil into the world market at capacity. While the Shah was in power, the US’s position was not so one sided because we had companies with Iranian production that ensured they were not cut out of the market, but that check and balance disappeared when the Shah was deposed and oil resources were nationalized.

          For a very long time, I could not figure out why our government held such a grudge against Iran. I am fully aware of the embarrassment of the hostage crisis at the end of the Carter Administration – I was at the Naval Academy during the whole event so I discussed it in detail with my fellow students. I heard the rage among some of the more militant and was pretty angry myself, but the crisis ended reasonably well – all the hostages were returned.

          Then I realized the size of the losses to the companies that were operating in Iran and had oil they considered to be their’s nationalized. Too much of US foreign policy is driven by wealthy interests who carry a grudge and a desire to get some or all of their property back after being kicked out by a nationalization effort. (Think Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran.)

          Since the US has been a major oil and gas producer since the 1850s, there have been competing interests about whether it is better for us and our competitive position in the world to have low or high oil prices. In general, the answer has been an effort for Goldilocks pricing – not too high and not too low. Until the 1970s, companies headquartered in the US and the UK set the world price.

          Since then, surrogates in OPEC were price setters and our companies have professed to be “price takers.” Reasons why I added quotes there would require a book length explanation of how I see world events unfolding.

        2. “Your news flash on Iran’s help post 9/11 is welcome news, news I have never heard of. This is obviously all pre-Ahmadinejad whose crazy talk is what I remember”

          Thats not a news flash. Anyone that has bothered to look beyond the Fox News/MSM garbage would know the Iranian’s response to 9/11. What, you just figured you didn’t need to know? Those nasty Iranians are nasty just because some media mouthpiece tells you they are?

          And apparently, there is quite a bit more that qualifies as a “news flash” to you. I wonder…dumping white phosphorous and cluster munitions on civilian populations like Israel did in Lebanon? Is that the model you would hold up to show us what great pains Israel goes to in seeking to avoid non-combatant casualties when they wage their brutal aggressions? And Rod did not go far enough in his comment. Heres another “flash” for you. It is Dick Cheney that greased the skids for Saddam to acquire chemical weapons capabilities, in 1981, by being instrumental in easing our export laws so that Saddam could acquire said weapons. And this “GWOT” scam? Heres another “flash” for you; It was known shortly after 9/11 that a top ISI general had sent funds to Atta. He was never arrested, indicted or removed from his position. Instead, we gave Musharif countless millions during the time Pakistan was masqueraded as an “ally”.

          Basically, David, TRUTH is a newsflash to you.

          1. POA,

            I looked up the accusation that Israel dumped white phosphorous and cluster munitions on civilian populations in Lebanon. What I found is that Israel used standard tracer and smoke screen munitions. A few soldiers were found to be guilty of violating the rules of engagement.

            1. Let’s assume for the sake of clarity and debate that this is a war crime being covered up by Israel and that it was done on orders from the highest levels of the Israel government.

            2. What should be done by Israel and what path do you recommend to peace?

            3. If Israel were at peace with the Palestinians would Iran recognize Israel as a nation with full diplomatic relations and support Israel’s right to exist.

            You keep asking us to look deeper. Frankly, you need to explain better.

            Finally, Israel only allows Jews to be citizens of Israel. This type of restriction of citizenship to an ethnicity is quite common in the world. If you disagree with this for Israel, would you apply that standard to all other nations?

            1. @David

              Finally, Israel only allows Jews to be citizens of Israel. This type of restriction of citizenship to an ethnicity is quite common in the world. If you disagree with this for Israel, would you apply that standard to all other nations?

              Is being a Jew ethnic or religious? How does one qualify? I’m no expert, but I’ve read that Israel has accepted people from many different countries around the world to become citizens there, but apparently not most of the people who were living on the lands given to the Zionists after WWII.

              I have very mixed emotions about the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially because of the way that the state was established by colonial/imperial powers as part of the spoils of war. There seems to be a substantial portion of the population there that would prefer to stop fighting all of the time while there are others who believe that it is possible to bomb people into submission.

              It is an effort that takes a lot of time, but if you read from a variety of sources (stay away from headline TV news and political speechifying), you will find that Israel and Iran have had many periods of cooperation.

              There is the possibility of peace, but people have to stop over reacting. You are willing to accept the fact that individual soldiers or units on the Israeli side violated the rules of engagement. Would you be willing to accept the fact that some of the rockets coming from Gaza are coming from particularly angry individuals or small groups who are doing the virtual equivalent of putting a Molotov cocktail onto a glorified bottle rocket as a way to express their anger and feel like they are doing something to fight back?

              BTW – The original translation of Ahmadinejad’s statement about Israel was slanted to make it sound worse than intended. It was then repeated and morphed by newspaper headline writers, TV talking heads and politicians with motives and agendas to inflame.

              http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/did-ahmadinejad-really-say-israel-should-be-wiped-off-the-map/2011/10/04/gIQABJIKML_blog.html

          2. Rod,

            Would you be willing to accept the fact that some of the rockets coming from Gaza are coming from particularly angry individuals or small groups who are doing the virtual equivalent of putting a Molotov cocktail onto a glorified bottle rocket as a way to express their anger and feel like they are doing something to fight back?/

            Sure I would be very willing to accept that some of the rockets are shot from frustration and retaliation. I understand that the situation is very complex with many motivations on multiple sides. I feel quite sorry for the Palestinians as a whole who are caught between two hard headed enemies. I don’t understand POA’s apparent position that – what ? Israel should be pushed into the sea? I don’t understand or agree with our arming both sides so heavily, unless is a hugely cynical arms sale for our local Tony Stark.

            At the same time, if you keep up a fight you can expect to get a fight back. Hamas is no angel in this. The refusal of Islamic nations to accept Zionism now going on 60 years later is deeply embedded in their theology. Frankly, in comparison to many of the maps that were drawn by Colonial powers in the years past, this is small potatoes. Was it just? In the context of the recent history at the time it was done, it was just, in my opinion. Was it pleasant for the people kicked off their lands to make room? No.

            My grandfather and great grandfather were kicked out of turkey and most of my relatives starved to death in the 1890’s I am alive because my grandfather was sent to the USA just ahead of the event. Talk to Greeks in Cyprus today about loosing their lands. My point is that in WW II many horrible things happened and many people were displaced. The continuing focus on this one small country is way out of proportion.

            I do agree that peace is possible. I just don’t think it will be possible until both parties keeping the fight going decide their children are more valuable than a continued fight. Hamas needs to come to the table as well.

            I will try to find a better text of Ahmadinejad’s speech.

    2. “It is a shame Palestinian women and children die at the hands of Israeli bombing, but Israel, like America, takes enormous steps to avoid civilian casualties”

      I long ago stopped arguing with those such as yourself, who are so completely out of touch with the the truth that it exposes them as either remarkably ignorant and malleable, (repeating hasbara by rote despite decades of evidence that contradict the hasbara), or are themselves shameless liars, who recognize the falsehoods even as they offer them.

      “I assume you are aware of the numerous attacks world wide as well as here in the US by Muslim terrorists and so without further comment, I am aghast at such a statement”

      Your astonishment is not suprising, as you’ve obviously ingested massive amounts of the proper Kool-aid to arrive at such an ignorant reaction to my comment. Feel safer today, genius?? Our twenty three years of military intervention in the ME has certainly been a roaring success, eh? Makes a lot of sense, defeat your enemy by instituting policies that guarantee an enemy. Or are you such a hapless idiot that Dubya’s “They hate us because of our freedoms” BS found a couple of your brain cells willing to dance with stupidity??

      Egads. We are doomed as a nation if this yahoo illustrates the mentality of the majority.

      1. @POA
        Wow, were you going to provide your readers some useful information or only throw a tantrum? In my statement here “and so WITHOUT FURTHER COMMENT, I am aghast at such a statement” I left the door open for you to clarify YOUR comments. Instead of returning the curtesy, you chose to employ the boiler plate ad hominem attack bereft of any supporting data with the addition of the always amusing “I long ago stopped arguing with” retort.
        Don’t argue, just regale us with your wisdom of what Israel should do in the face of rockets and suicide bombers, or have you the inside scoop demonstrating these phenomenon are simple fiction?
        Enlighten your readers as to the real reason “they” hate us, as if it is always “us” that must do the understanding and never them. Please educate the group as to why radical Islam is also a problem in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, etc.; in fact they seem to be a problem every where they go.
        I am a simple man with simple questions. If LNT is true, why don’t nuke workers, airline crews, and those living in high dose background areas suffer higher rates of cancer, AND
        what should Israel do in the face of terrorism, AND what policies short of surrender, would you with all your wisdom employ to guarantee peace with radical Islam?
        While you breath the rarefied air in your ivory tower, difficult as it may be, try not to equate simple with simpleton.

        1. I suspect that POA has a similar viewpoint to Ken MacLeod on this issue:

          “The argument that Israel has a right to self-defence but that its present actions are disproportionate leads nowhere. Sometimes disproportionate response is exactly right, and for the state of Israel disproportionate response will always seem right. What is wrong is the existence of a state that can exist in no other way. Its only hope of survival, spelled out clearly enough by Jabotinsky, is to reduce the millions of people it has wronged to utter despair: “

          1. Well, that analysis is wrong. Israel is a state where the one prime minister who was really willing and ready to reach peace was quickly and brutally murdered.

            Think about what it truly means, peace would be possible if there wasn’t quite a few people in Israel who just think peace would be a major threat to their power, and are definitively not willing to let it happen.

          2. “Israel is a state where the one prime minister who was really willing and ready to reach peace was quickly and brutally murdered.”

            By a Jewish Israeli.

        2. David – This clown doesn’t have any arguments — well, anything other than conspiracy-theory garbage (a.k.a., the “truth”). He knows it, and that’s why he throws in the towel so quickly when challenged on his nonsense.

          Don’t you get it? He’s the “Pissed Off American.” He’s 100% rant and 0% substance. Rod’s failure to deal effectively with jerks like him is why quite a few intelligent people don’t bother to visit this site much anymore. If I wanted liberal politics shoved down my throat and discourse at POA’s level, I’d go read The Huffington Post. It is far more popular and updates more frequently.

          1. @Brian Mays

            Welcome back. How would you suggest that I “deal with” people that you consider to be “jerks?”

            I’m not sure I’m happy with your comparison between Atomic Insights and the Huffington Post. I like to think that the level of discourse here is far better informed and represents a wider variety of points of view.

            I’d like to remind you that the mission here involves helping people to revise negative assumptions about nuclear energy. If we only communicate with people who already like the technology, how can we make any progress in achieving that mission?

          2. Brian. Give me one single falsehood I have stated here about Israel or 9/11. And I will rub your face in the facts.

          3. POA,

            I would love to state a fact you have presented, but I am having difficulty finding them. I think you are saying that Israel is an invalid nation that should be removed from the list of nations, but I am not really sure. I think you are saying that Israel over reacts to the attacks against it but I am not really sure. I am sure that you feel that reading news from standard news sources is not enough but you are not pointing to any alternative news sources you consider more reliable. In all this, I am not sure how Nuclear power is affected, except to the degree that Israel feels that the Iranian nuclear program is a threat to them.

            1. @David

              POA is not the most calm debater in the world. He has a lot of anger, but also introduces some discussion points that might be worth pondering if offered with less accusation against people who are willing to learn but who have been subjected to years worth of slanted reporting on both the left and right. I pine for the day when opinions were clearly segregated from the rest of the newspaper and when there were not several 24 x 7 “news” stations doing everything they could to keep people tuning into their form of entertainment.

              Israel has a murky history as a state that was established as part of a regional realignment by the victors after WWII. There were a large number of people killed in the conflict and even more who were pushed off of the land on which they had lived for generations. Borders have been expanded, fences have been built, bombs have been dropped on civilian populations, all of which have been justified by the idea that the efforts establish a more secure and defendable nation on land where the occupiers point thousands of years into the past for their claim of ownership.

              The US gives Israel approximately $4 billion per year. The defense portion of that payment is sent at the very beginning of the year and is never subject to the realignments that often have to take place in the rest of the DoD budget to address contingencies that were not expected when the budget was approved. Many of those dollars don’t actually leave the US because they are used to pay our contractors for weapons that are then used against Israel’s neighbors.

              Yes, there are plenty of good people in Israel and the state does have a democracy for its citizens – but that category excludes a recognizable portion of its residents. It should certainly not be removed from the list of nations — what is done is done — but it has to take some serious steps towards establishing a workable peace and cooperative relationship with its neighbors. It is not at all pure in this conflict, neither are we. (There is some validity to the notion that one reason the US is such a strong supporter of Israel is that our strategic planners believe we need to keep a strong ally in the area just in case someone decides to take control of “our” oil.)

              I need to stop now. Getting way off track.

          4. Thanks Rod,

            The diversion is interesting, if somewhat off topic. Thanks for taking a few minutes on this topic as well.

          5. Thats actually comical. Thats not at all what I said. But whatever. Btw, horseshit on your rebuttal abpust Israel’s use of white phosphorus. It is matter if record, as is its use of cluster munitions.

            It is becoming quite apparent that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          6. @Rod

            Rod thank you for an excellent post that has stimulated my thinking as is frequently the case. Much of the discussion is also valuable but the signal to noise ratio is deteriorating. I think that you are being overly kind referring to poa as a debater.

            Here is my assessment of poa’s original post:
            Quote

            Ad hominem “who are so completely out of touch with the truth that it exposes them as either remarkably ignorant and malleable,” and “or are themselves shameless liars, who recognize the falsehoods even as they offer them.”

            Quote

            Ad hominem “ you’ve obviously ingested massive amounts of the proper Kool-aid to arrive at such an ignorant reaction”

            Sarcasm “Feel safer today, genius??”

            Content “Our twenty three years of military intervention in the ME has certainly been a roaring success, eh? Makes a lot of sense, defeat your enemy by instituting policies that guarantee an enemy.”

            Insults “Or are you such a hapless idiot that Dubya’s “They hate us because of our freedoms” BS found a couple of your brain cells willing to dance with stupidity??”

            Fluff “Egads. We are doomed as a nation if this yahoo illustrates the mentality of the majority.”

            End of assessment.

            You asked a question. “How would you suggest that I (Rod) “deal with” people that you (Brian Mays) consider to be “jerks?”.

            From a previous comment it appears that you do some form of moderation, perhaps geared to certain words. To preserve the high quality of your site, please expand your moderation to include argument via “ad hominem” and “insults”.

            To retain poa’s contribution to the debate, you could retain his posts after removing the parts which do not contribute to a debate. It may not be technically possible but a moderated version could appear with the option for the reader to display the original post.

            For instance, poa’s original post could be reduced to:

            “It is a shame Palestinian women and children die at the hands of Israeli bombing, but Israel, like America, takes enormous steps to avoid civilian casualties”

            “I assume you are aware of the numerous attacks world wide as well as here in the US by Muslim terrorists and so without further comment, I am aghast at such a statement”

            Our twenty three years of military intervention in the ME has certainly been a roaring success, eh? Makes a lot of sense, defeat your enemy by instituting policies that guarantee an enemy.

            And that concludes my free advice and we all know the value of free advice. Thank you again for your efforts in promoting NE.

        3. “….in fact they seem to be a problem every where they go”

          Uh huh. Who’s “they”, David? Oh, I know, they all look the same, right?

          Tell me David, how are our tactics working out for us? Have we seen an ebb in Islamic radicalization in the decade since 9/11?

          You think the Gazans are leaning towards Hamas in a vacuum? Israel has no culpability in the Palestinians becoming more and more radicalized?

          1. One reason of course why the Palestinians elected Hamas is because Fatah were a gang of kleptocrats.

          2. @ Rod
            ” There were a large number of people killed in the conflict and even more who were pushed off of the land on which they had lived for generations.”

            Let’s not forget who started the war. The Jews accepted the UN partition plan for Palestine, the Arabs did not. Upon Israel’s declaration of Independence the Arabs immediately went to war with her. The Arabs lost the war and in the process, many fled their lands, terrified the Jews would do half of what they had planned to do to the Jews. This mass exodus was spurred on by the Arab’s own radio pronouncements of the horrors that awaited them at the hands of the Jews and by the two small villages that the Jews did massacre.
            Land expansion? Like the west bank gained in 1967 when the Jordanians attacked Israel, even after Israel begged them not to interfere. As I recall, they gained the Gaza Strip from Egypt and have since given it to the Palestinians. Israel and Egypt have had an agreement they’ve honored all these years, Israel having traded the Sinai Peninsula which she had taken in an earlier war with Egypt. Israel has always been willing to negotiate, the Palestinians not so much.
            As to second class status, there is currently 12 Arabs in the Israeli Knesset and there have been Arabs in the Knesset since 1949, at last count, 57 of them. How many Jews were in the PLO, or Hamas, or any other type of ruling authority in Palestine?
            I’ll ask you the same question that POA doesn’t have the sack to answer. What should Israel do in the face of suicide bombings and rocket attacks?
            One last item, I looked at Israel’s standing in the world regarding NG production and as of 2013, they were #48. Unless they’ve significantly increased their output since then, #48 doesn’t sound very impressive. However, I’m all ears on the topic.

            1. @david davison

              So the residents of the area were supposed to blithely accept a partition plan created by colonial/imperial powers that gave a portion of their land to someone else? Of course the Jews accepted the plan and the gift being given to them.

              I always wondered why the Jewish nation wasn’t created out of lands in places that were actually responsible for the Holocaust. Please don’t get me wrong. I have no desire to rewrite history or attempt to change homelands now, my point is recognizing that there are some very legitimate gripes that must be addressed.

              One possibility for slowing bombings and rocket attacks (there will always be some risk of them because there are many individuals with legitimate hard feelings after decades worth of being bombed or isolated by fences or having land taken by settlers etc) would be to start honestly discussing grievances and implementing policies that improve living conditions — including increased freedom of movement.

              Past production of natural gas is not the point. The effort to keep Iran from significantly increasing its domestic nuclear power program and freeing up more natural gas for export is concerned with FUTURE production and marketing efforts. As I pointed out before, there has been a large amount of natural gas discovered in the eastern Med in the past several years and there are many interests in Israel who are looking forward to the bonanza of income that will come when that gas is being shipped to Europe through relatively short pipelines to be sold at profitable European prices.

              In 2010, a year after finding the Tamar field, Noble discovered the much larger Leviathan reservoir (17 tcf) about 80 miles off the coast of Haifa. Once Leviathan comes on line, around 2017, Tadmor and his partners will be able to do far more than provide Israel’s energy needs. The potential financial windfall has Israel’s economists and politicians starry-eyed. “Israel will soon be a net exporter of energy, and this is a tremendous boost to the Israeli economy and will therefore strengthen its political, geopolitical, and diplomatic position in that part of the Middle East,” says Simon Henderson, a Middle East energy analyst and senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “This is a big deal. Most people don’t realize what a big deal this is.”

              http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/moment/2014/02/israel_s_natural_gas_deposits_tel_aviv_s_offshore_gas_fields_will_make_it.html

              The market value of that gas will be determined by scarcity. Stated another way, if there are competing supplies that exceed demand, the prices — and profits — will fall rather dramatically.

          3. Israel announces 200 more illegal housing units yesterday. Daily attacks on Palestinians by radical setters. Olive orchards razed by settlers. Settlers empty sewage into Palestinian villages. Jewish only roads. Palestinians subjected to a “justice” system separate of that the jewish israelis are subjected to. Palestinian fisherman regularly fired upon by Israeli gunboats. Israel gobbles up more and more territory, illegally, while expecting the Palestinians to stand meekly subservient. American citizens killed, maimed, and crippled, protesting legally, by IDF troops. The list of despicable Israeli practices and policies is epic.

            And to point out these policies, abuses, and crimes is “anti-semitic”? I suggest a reread of the debate on this thread. With an open mind, look for bigotry. You will find it. And it isn’t coming from me.

  13. My background is in television and telecommunications. I’m interested in nuclear power only as a potential consumer and/or fanboy.

    I would draw a parallel between fiber optics and nuclear power. Both are relatively new technologies, having been developed in the last part of the 20th century. Both are capable of providing “abundance,” in the case of fiber optics, virtually unlimited communications bandwidth.

    Both nuclear and fiber optics change the economics of the game. Thanks to the energy density of nuclear fuels, the cost/KW/KG of electricity produced is an order of magnitude cheaper than anything else out there. Because of the nature of light, fiber optic cable can carry the equivalent of the entire radio frequency spectrum on a single wavelength, up to 150 or so wavelengths using today’s technology. Or, using digital modulation techniques, use that same laser to send hundreds of gigabytes of data per second, again, per wavelength, up to 150 or so wavelengths. And that’s just one human-hair sized fiber. If you need more data, just light up one of it’s neighbors in the same cable, since it’s so cheap you always run at least a dozen between points.

    Now suppose you’re a telephone company. You have a pretty good business model, charging $50/month for a service that only gets (at most, even with teenagers) a few hours use per month. Or you’re a cable company, selling 50 or so channels at a buck a piece, knowing each customer can only watch 1 or 2 at a time. You know about fiber, know that reliability increases. Because the number of active devices decreases over the same distance (thanks to the nature of light and loss through glass), your network maintenance costs fall by an order of magnitude. It becomes a “no brainer” to use fiber in the core of the network, in spaces that are easy to dig up, and where it will be an easy sell to Wall St. Profits increase, payback is made, life is good.

    Now along comes the Internet. Thanks to some very smart people, becoming an ISP without having to completely rebuild your infrastructure becomes possible. Again, selling to Wall St as an incremental add-on is simple, the payback works. In the case of cable, the door is opened to all the “interactive TV’ applications that were promised in the 1980s as well as the “information superhighway.” Everyone is happy (except when it doesn’t work right, but that’s not a problem with the technology per se, just in the way it’s managed).

    But there’s a problem. Your competition has smart people too. They’ve been increasing their throughput, making their network more efficient, bit wise. Oh, not a huge increase, just a few megabits/sec. So you match their throughput. And new applications come online, that use more bandwidth, so you increase your network throughput again. But this is still using your legacy network, the same one that’s been in the ground since the 1960s and 70s. You graft some more fiber on (remember you can light up more of what’s already there), but the customer still sees the same thing at the house. Again, this model works well for you and Wall St, since there’s still no big investment necessary to keep up. And maybe you start to sell a little glass directly to customers who are willing to pay up for the privilege. The price per bit comes down a little every year, in a nice linear progression.

    But fiber to the home (FTTH) destroys that cushy business plan. Because it only makes sense to pull fiber if you’re going to be dramatically (5-10 times) faster, but people aren’t going to pay 5-10 X more per month for your service, you need to dramatically cut the cost per bit you’re delivering. And you’re still probably not going to get 100% of the market, even if you give it away (we’ll see with Google fiber). And if you get money to build FTTH, so will your competitors. So we have what amounts to a Mexican standoff, where if someone pulls the trigger, everyone ends up dead (or at least that the perception).

    So I guess my point is, it’s not only energy abundance that’s fought. Abundance in every way is something that many believe to be avoided. Unfortunately many of those people are in power today, controlling our communications, food, health and energy.

    1. @Eric_G

      Excellent analogy. Similar trends affected microprocessors, storage, and memory. People have figured out how to use abundant commodities to create new wealth. I’m not opposed to making money; I’m opposed to artificially constraining the supply of something as important to human development as energy as a way to concentrate wealth into an ever smaller number of hands. That process makes humanity poorer and a small number of people incredibly wealthy and powerful.

    2. My view of the IT/Telecommunications revolution is much simpler on an economic basis.

      It was unplanned and unexpected by the Plutocracy. It was a major economic bomb tossed into the current state of affairs of all leading media companies (audio, visual, print) as well as Telecom carriers and all ancillary businesses.

      From my point of reference as a lower middle class grunt the result was excellent. The media and media carriage portions of the plutocracy had to scramble to hold their respective market shares, or scrambled to take advantage of new opportunity. The opportunity for me, with little expense and a bit of effort was to perform lucrative work within the hiring bubble of the new IT opportunities. With the Plutocracy in a scramble, they had to hire skilled middle class workers to either keep what they had, or take advantage of startling new opportunities. .

      We currently see disruption and economic “churn” among the poor and the middle classes with the trend toward becoming poorer as the plutocracy slowly gleans wealth-power from the masses. The good fight now is to prevent the loss of “Net neutrality” which will, over time, move economic power from the masses back to the media companies, carriers and related media powerful businesses. We need to buck the trend of the shift of “wealth-power” from the masses to the already powerful.

      The point I want to make is that middle class hiring takes place only if there is “churn” among some aspect of the Plutocracy, where they have do do something OTHER than cut costs. The masses should want them to scramble to take advantage of new opportunity or keep market share. If there are no winners and losers in the Plutocracy, then all they’ll do is cut costs, which means in almost all cases, trim the middle class workforce.

      I think Nuclear Energy has all the potential to toss another “economic bomb” into the status quo of the plutocracy. The ensuing scramble among the wealth-powerful for maintaining and capturing market share will lead to some very exciting times for young people among the American Masses.

      Lets go for it.

  14. Well, committee chairs will pass from the likes of Reid, Waxman, and Markey to the likes of Inhofe and Cruz.

    Science loses to partisanship once again…..

    By the way, for the record, I am VERY disappointed in Obama, Waxman, Reid and that whole lot.

    But Inhofe and Cruz are NOT any better!

    1. Ruth,

      Inhofe and Cruz are better. They support nuclear energy and they generally take the Judeo-Christian conservative position on the important moral issues of our time. True, they are politicians and politics remains essentially the same since (as I wrote above) Cicero prosecuted Catilina in the Roman Senate for treason and grotesque immorality. I note that Catilina escaped immediate punishment, only to die later in battle. He, in spite of his treason, was more of a man than any of our modern day politicians because he threw himself into the thick of the fighting in northern Italia to die heroically. Lavender he was not. Nevertheless, for all their hypocrisy and acquiescence to the current lavender brigade, voting for the GOP is still voting for the lesser of two evils, and voting Democrat gives power to anti-nukes like Andy Cuomo, Ed Markey, Bernie Sanders (oh, I forgot, he is socialist – is there a difference?), et alias.

  15. Missing from the argument are the unwitting billions on the planet who have no clue what energy abundance really is. The poorest certainly know what they’re missing. To some, having power once a week might be energy abundance. So to put it into perspective, too many of the voters who are antinuclear don’t understand energy abundance. If they think we can do away with nuclear and replace it with renewables they should trying living like the poorest of the poor for a while. That would be an energy education. That might give them an inkling of what energy abundance is about.

    1. Heck, they should just try living with substantial “demand management” for a while and see how well that works out.

      And by “substantial” I mean the actual draconian measures that would be necessary to make a renewable (unreliable) only grid actually work.

      1. I have always thought that a good first step for those who want to go “all solar and/or wind” and all “off grid” on a personal level do exactly that. Cut the cable from the utility. No “net metering” or “must-take” for them. Likewise, no tax credits for their windmills or solar panels. No grid backup if they aren’t going to pay for the grid. Want backup diesel? Okay, get an environmental permit for burning diesel and siting your generator. Want to burn wood? OK, play it that way. Do an environmental impact study on trees cut down and emissions of CO2, CO, and PAHs. IOW, see what that kind of lifestyle costs, and I mean the whole shebang.

        1. The public doesn’t get fungibility. You hear the profits of the NYS Lottery go toward education. People buy it. Such ignorance is why the RE shell game works so well.

    2. Rick Maltese wrote:

      “Missing from the argument are the unwitting billions on the planet who have no clue what energy abundance really is.”

      If their lives could be raised to a better level by cheap energy just try and think what this unleashed human capital could do. Think of the increased innovations they may bring onto the world. In a generation or less, the whole world would benefit. All of our living standards would be enhanced. Those that deny energy abundance to the world are committing a crime against humanity. They are robbing generations yet to be born of a potentially better world.

      1. Has anybody ever asked if coal plants are modular? My point is that if someone were to make a functional comparison of the components that go into a coal plant’s construction comparing to a hypothetical modularized nuclear plant and the actual costs versus the regulatory and licensing costs then we could help demystify the process and perhaps help plant the idea that launching a factory-based mass production facility to manufacture NPPs to replace coal is a good idea. With one coal plant a week going up that justifies the effort to do something soon.

  16. @Rod Adams,
    “And who, do you think, are the Malthusians?”

    I could treat that as an essay question with commentaries on Malthus, Jeremy Bentham and the whole gloomy pantheon. So as not to bore y’all to death I resisted the temptation.

    So who are the modern Malthusians? Clearly Al Gore and Prince Charles have name recognition but they are not nearly as dangerous as Maurice Strong and David Suzuki

    Maurice Strong created the IPCC and he filled it with acolytes. He explained what he hoped to achieve:

    “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
    – Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme

    “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.”
    – Maurice Strong, Rio Earth Summit

    We need to recognize that elitist Malthusians such as Maurice Strong, David Suzuki, Al Gore and Prince Charles are dangerous lunatics.

    1. Don’t forget John Holdren. I suspect that he is directly or indirectly responsible for all of the backwards movement we’ve seen in this administration. Obama just doesn’t strike me as a person who actually has even an incorrect understanding of the technical details. Is suspect he’s letting Holdren suggest these horrible nominees and appointees.

      1. West Virginia was singled out when Obama declared his “War on Coal”. Thankfully that has come back to bite him via the election of Shelley Moore Capito by an overwhelming (2:1) majority.

        This fine lady says that defunding the EPA will end the “War on Coal”. Who can doubt that she is right.

        I support Rod Adams when he is promoting fission reactors but I disagree with him when he complains that fossil fuel energy companies are unfairly targeting NPPs. The general public is best served by competition between all approaches to the generation of energy. If coal produces cheaper electricity than Nuclear Power Plants, stop whining and go back to the drawing board to improve NPP designs.

        Shelly Moore Capito…..you go girl!

        1. Sure make nuclear cheaper but also be vigilant about reforming the NRC and leveling the playing field. Also, those who can should do their best to put nuclear science in a good light.

        2. Coal is cheaper than nuclear only because it gets to externalize its heavy environmental costs (air pollution, CO2 emissions and ash disposal). In those terms, extra taxes on coal to deal with those environmental problems are justified.

          The issue of coal miners losing their jobs is a more difficult one to deal with (especially if a significant number of them own their homes, as such homes would probably become almost worthless if the mines closed). Any suggestions from the readers here?

          1. The problem of communities suddenly with no means of livelihood after closing coal mines is big. Same goes for other fossil fuel jobs. Possibly new NP plants could be prioritized to first be sited in coal country. With enough energy to drastically reduce the cost of electricity, home heating and transportation, and the attraction of businesses for the same reason, the area could weather the storm and come out way ahead. Getting from here to there is difficult, but it could be a way of selling nuclear. TVA comes to mind.

        3. @gallopingcamel

          The general public is best served by competition between all approaches to the generation of energy. If coal produces cheaper electricity than Nuclear Power Plants, stop whining and go back to the drawing board to improve NPP designs.

          Competition by rules established by the incumbents or the currently most powerful is not in the best interests of the general public; it is in the best interests of the people who are setting the rules of the game. I believe that both coal and nuclear are being attacked and generally for the same reason – they can produce cheaper BTUs than natural gas or oil. If they were not being suppressed, all energy would be cheaper because there would be a substantially larger supply.

          Very rarely have nuclear plant design engineers been asked to design a cost effective, safe plant. Instead, they have been told that they need to make a technology that is already so safe that it has not injured the public by exposure to radiation in more than 60 years of operation even safer. They have generally added more equipment, built more protective layers, added more safety margins, and invested in more emergency equipment that will rarely, if ever, be used. They have been subjected to intensive design reviews by “show me proof” regulators that are often hard to satisfy and taken through hearing processes that are designed to give full participation to everyone, even competitors in disguise.

          1. @ Phil
            Phil, when SCE sold off most of its oil and natural gas units in the 90’s, we absorbed some of the operators from those plants–not many as some chose not to try their hand at the POS test, but some. The maintenance division probably absorbed more as a valve is a valve regardless of application. However, this was all within the same company.
            Also, when Unit 1 was shut down in 1992, we, at units 2 & 3, absorbed all of their operators, at least those who didn’t retire. If coal companies expanded into nuclear, perhaps they could do something similar. SCE itself used to own Mojave Generating Station, a coal powered plant not far from Las Vegas.

  17. This is an interesting commentary on an interesting thread. Just about motives that Rod raised regarding US foreign policy. “The Blood for Oil” is a sign I carried during the first and second Gulf wars. But I knew enough that this is not about the possible *profit* to be had bu U.S. and U.S. based transnational oil and gas companies. After all the US gets very little oil from the Gulf anyway. Subsequent awards to European oil companies for grants to explore, run and produce oil for export from Iraq were denied to American oil companies. And yes they were pissed with the as expected “we won the war, why don’t we win these bids…” Imperialist sort of attitudes.

    Because it was never about establishing a neo-colonial relationship with Iraq, it was about *control*. It’s always about control. Oil from the Gulf, especially from Iraq, is an economic and military *strategic* commodity that the US wanted to insure it can get to where it was wanted (even China). For this the U.S. has to control the Gulf on behalf of the rest of the advanced capitalist world…even if U.S. oil companies get the short end of the oil straw. Oh well. It was never about them. So the U.S. lied to get the American people behind that war.

    Iran imports more refined product from S. Arabia than any other country in the world. Not oil, refined *added value* diesel, gasoline, chemicals. It is a huge market. The US has insured that many parts for Iran’s dilapidated oil refineries never get to it. Why? Because of S. Arabia who wants to insure it’s continued export of these products (they are not forbidden in the current int’l embargo on Iran). The Saudis do indeed see Iran as a competitor for oil export markets. It’s applied, or tried to apply pressure on India, another big important of Iranian oil, and has, along with the US tried to sabotage the building of the “Peace Pipeline” that is supposed to export Iranian natural gas to both Pakistan and India. So “yuck” on our policy, supported bi-partsianly, by Dems and Repubs. Sick.

    Lastly AIPAC. I’ve been a firm believer that they should register as a foreign agent…cuz they are one. They are the direct conduit for Israeli influence in the US. They were all quite upset when it turned out that 70% of Jewish American opposed the last Gulf War and a similar percentage oppose any US or Israeli attack on Iran. Poor babies. In fact liberal minded Jews set up “J-Street” to counter AIPAC’s policies that are simply say that is is the foreign office of the Likud Party of the current PM of Israel. They are totally out of step from most Jewish-Americans.

    However…they do NOT control U.S. foreign policy. U.S. policy has ALWAYS been in the interests of the big money groups…oil companies, banks, etc in the US. AIPAC can influence, and they do, policies with regards to Israel but in no way does it control it. In fact, it’s proven by negative example: the US did not bomb Iran NOR “OK” Israel to do it either. AIPAC, which was for this because Israel’s current gov’t was for it, failed miserably in this (which made me, a Jewish-American myself) very, very happy.

    David Walters

    1. David Walters brings up some interesting points above. I do not know if he is entirely correct, and I think his accusation that the US (presumably its government) lied to the American people in the 1st and 2nd Gulf War is not precisely true. I do not think that either George HW Bush or George W Bush ever intended to mislead the American people. There were others, however, who had that specific intention. Nevertheless, David Walters is correct about the US attempt to stabilize the region for the free flow of oil into Europe, and his point about Saudi Arabian refined product being sold to the Iranians to make them dependent while their refineries stand in disrepair because of the US-led embargo is a very interesting one. There is much food for thought here. Personally, I think we should go full scale in building commercial nuclear power plants in US that are capable of providing steam heat to convert coal into liquid hydrocarbon fuel via the Fischer-Tropsch process. Then we should tell the radical Muslims who keep their women in slavery and behead Christians at every turn that they can go drown in their mineral slime. And as for Europe, non-intervention on our part might teach them a lesson or two. But maybe I am too far to the right in my thinking. 😀

      1. Personally, I think all three possible solutions (electric cars, Fischer-Tropsch and urban densification to reduce automobile dependency) will be needed to deal with peak oil.

        1. Nuclear to replace coal for electricity generation (competitive without excessive regulation), electricity to replace natural gas for heating (transition already 50% complete), and nuclear electricity, coal (Fischer-Tropasch), and natural gas to methanol to compete with oil for transportation (competitive when OPEC raises the price of oil above $50-70 per barrel). This is the best approach to dealing with war and Islamic terrorism originating in the Middle East that is funded by the purchase of oil. Competition is the is the way to deal with the OPEC cartel.

          With uranium/thorium satisfying the demand for electricity and heat, there is more than enough oil, natural gas, and coal in the US to satisfy the transportation sector demand until electric vehicles become competitive even it it takes 100-200 years.

  18. “There is no substitute for abundance.”

    That’s not quite correct. There is a partial substitute for abundance, which is efficiency. It’s not a perfect substitute, as (1) there are physical limits to efficiency (e.g. Carnot’s Theorem) and (2) you can’t power an economy with energy efficiency when you have no primary energy resource in the first place. All else equal abundance is certainly better than scarcity, but you can increase efficiency to make up for some shortfalls in abundance.

    Then again, efficiency and abundance can also be considered complements. Given a certain original endowment of a resource that we might describe as abundant, a technological advancement that improves the efficiency of its utilization will make that resource more abundant relative to our demand for it.

  19. I’m opposed to artificially constraining the supply of something as important to human development as energy as a way to concentrate wealth into an ever smaller number of hands.

    @Rod Adams

    It’s ownership and monopoly control of “abundant” energy (not it’s level of production) which leads to wealth being concentrated in a few hands. Since barriers to entry for nuclear are very high, this is probably one of least promising technologies for creating wealth on a distributed and “fair” market basis (perhaps this is one reason why republicans are so enamored with it on ideological grounds). Microprocessors, storage, memory, the internet were all transformative not merely because they were more abundant than in the past, but because they were more accessible (and regular folks like you and me could own and operate media sites, access vast sources of publicly available data, engage directly in political action, publish, make informative videos, create new marketplaces with the click of the mouse, etc.). If poverty could be alleviated by printing more money, we would have done it by now. But we haven’t, and energy is much the same (especially with fuels and technologies that are not accessible to all, or are unevenly distributed on the planet). If you don’t see how distributed energy technologies (renewables, storage, micro-grids) can alleviate some of these conditions and inequalities in the marketplace, and create new opportunities for wealth creation and reduce common barriers to entry … then you’re only paying attention to one part of the debate (the part that is already ruled by the status quo).

    The national review article (no surprise) doesn’t really get this!

    1. @EL

      You and I have a very different perspective on whether the barriers to entry to nuclear are a natural function of the technology or the result of a focused and long term propaganda effort by the controllers of the current hydrocarbons.

      You also have completely failed to grasp the importance of limiting supply in keeping prices high and profitable. What do you think OPEC was formed to do? Before OPEC, what did the Seven Sisters do when they had more resources than markets? Before them, what did Standard Oil do?

    2. Since barriers to entry for nuclear are very high, this is probably one of least promising technologies for creating wealth on a distributed and “fair” market basis.

      The same can be said about any utility-scale power plant, be it fossil, renewable, or nuclear. The owners of large power plants are almost always large corporations. The owners of those corporations are usually rich people or investment firms. Sometimes average people like you and me invest in the stock markets (such as when we put away money for retirement), and our money ends up somewhere, sometimes in a power plant.

      A municipal utility in California has figured out a way for its customers to directly own a personal share of a solar farm: https://www.smud.org/en/residential/environment/solar-for-your-home/solarshares/ For a monthly fee of $21.50, ratepayers can claim credit to the ownership of a 1kW share of a local solar farm. The benefit of this ownership comes out to an average monthly bill credit of $14.71! Such a great deal, right? (That’s a net negative $6.79 per month.)

      Anyhow, there’s no reason why you couldn’t apply this program to any other kind of power plant if you’re not satisfied with indirect ownership of capital through capital markets as they currently exist.

    3. El,

      You are really stretching it with the microprocessor analogy. You think Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, Google etc etc are cottage industries? They are some of largest corporations on the planet. Without a doubt they have influenced the path of technological development and skewed it in their favour. That may or may not be in the interest of the masses.

      Of course there is extremely inequality and suggesting that nuclear power (or renewables) is a magic fix is just silly. Furthermore it is a lame excuse for not thinking through the underlying issues of political economy that those inequalities arise from.

      But the undeniable evidence is that expanding energy use improves average human well being enormously regardless of the ownership of the energy production or whether the energy comes from large or small scale facilities. Go and have a look at Hans Rosling’s wonderful Gapmider. Chart metrics of well being such as life expectancy, infant mortality, average income, fertility (children per woman), etc etc against average per capita electricity consumption. This is one of the most important realities of our age.

      Be sure to use a log scale for the electricity axis and realise the implications of that.

      Also chart GINI against electricity use to see that inequality is another matter. Energy use does not fix inequality, but it hugely improves average well being.

      1. You are really stretching it with the microprocessor analogy. You think Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, Google etc etc are cottage industries? They are some of largest corporations on the planet. Without a doubt they have influenced the path of technological development and skewed it in their favour. That may or may not be in the interest of the masses.

        @quokka

        Not at all. There is still a company (perhaps a multinational) that builds wind turbine parts, solar panels, bulk energy storage units, small hydro turbines, fuel cells, smart meters, PHEVs, etc, and these can be owned by private individuals, small businesses, municipalities, cooperatives, universities, hospitals … etc. (entitles closer to the rest of us who don’t have access to low cost capital, the wherewithal to invest in capital projects with very large up front cost, the personnel who are highly trained to operate them, the time and resources to sheppard projects through complicated regulatory, site licensing, maintenance, and decommissioning schemes, tie up capital for decades, and produce energy far in excess of what is needed by end user). The microprocessor brought the power of computing to the masses (not those with enough space, capital, and special interests and training to merit owning one). Early computers were very costly and unwieldily for the private individual to own. Barriers to entry were very high (and became much less so with cost reductions, usability, and the era of the modern personal computer).

        Chart metrics of well being such as life expectancy, infant mortality, average income, fertility (children per woman), etc etc against average per capita electricity consumption. This is one of the most important realities of our age.

        You don’t think education, access to health care, accountable public governments, responsible banking, social justice institutions, minority rights, gender equality, children’s rights, reform of the work week, minimum wage, modern communications, and a great deal more in our contemporary and modern world has a little something to do with it this as well?

        I don’t know why it is so hard for folks here to understand. But there is no shortage of energy (just like there is no shortage of food). What is far more important is distribution, access and ownership. And if additional and more massive centralized production owned by energy oligarchs is the answer to “undeniable evidence … that expanding energy use improves average human well being” I don’t think you are looking close enough, or to the history of significant inequalities and social justice issues that have generated around energy development in our global history. You are just repeating status quo inspired PR. There is zero compelling logic that suggests there is a straightforward relationships between energy abundance and human well being. Tell that to folks in Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, or anywhere else in the world that resource wars or the global geopolitics of energy development and use have played themselves out. There just a few more other social and national conditions, compelling factors, public institutions, and steps that you are leaving out (don’t you think)?

        1. @EL

          I don’t know why it is so hard for folks here to understand. But there is no shortage of energy (just like there is no shortage of food).

          Maybe we are just dense. Alternatively, maybe we have a better understanding of both technology and humanity.

          On the technology side, claiming that we have plenty of energy now implies that you believe our current system of production is good enough, even though it is about 85% dependent on hydrocarbons that get progressively more difficult to extract as we, logically enough, find and use up the easiest fractions first. There are many applications where burning hydrocarbons is the best available and readily foreseeable technology. I don’t see battery, wind, solar, coal, commercial aircraft ever or nuclear aircraft in any kind of near term future.

          On the humanity side, providing the rest of the world the kind of reliable and universal access to power that we enjoy in the US means that we need to generate a lot more electricity from a lot more heat than we do today. Do you really expect Americans to give up 3/4 of their current power demand in order to spread it more evenly around the world? Even that would not be enough, by the way, to supply a growing population.

          You claim to have respect for public institutions, but have you ever taken a hard look at the enormous public benefits provided by regulated monopoly electric utility companies that pay a reliable dividend? If you don’t like the investor owned model, how about the cooperative or public utility model. There is a reason those companies were known as good investment vehicles for “widows and orphans.” The ones that remain in existence are, for the most part, still good for that class of stockholder, as well as for pension funds.

          Even if the generating plants are massive and the wires require the kind of maintenance infrastructure not available on an individual level, electricity is a widely distributed product that is available from a standard socket throughout most buildings in the US.

          One more thing – how useful do you think the internet would be without reliable electricity?

        2. El,

          If you look at Gapminder and chart HDI against per person electricity use, you will see that Iran and Venezuela exhibit similar trends to elsewhere. The data on Nigeria and Iraq are too incomplete to be useful.

          Wars (including oil wars), foreign military or covert interventions, social upheaval etc etc manifestly can and do affect human well being, but that in no way negates the blindingly obvious connection between electricity use and human well being.

          Per person electricity consumption in India is only about one quarter of world average. How this gels with “plenty of energy” is anyone’s guess. Is the rest of the world in some completely unprecedented act of extraordinary benevolence going to forego large slices of it’s own electricity consumption and donate large sums to put the infrastructure in place in India. That would truly be something to behold – but it ain’t gonna happen.

        3. You don’t think education, access to health care, accountable public governments, responsible banking, social justice institutions, minority rights, gender equality, children’s rights, reform of the work week, minimum wage, modern communications, and a great deal more in our contemporary and modern world has a little something to do with it this as well?”

          Tell me how you can have those things without access to energy. It was coal and steam which brought an end to slavery, because it was no longer necessary to brutalize human beings just to turn chemical energy into useful work. It’s no coincidence that the global movement for abolition got its start in the shadow of Boulton & Watt’s works in the 1760s. And it’s no coincidence that child-labour laws in America came into effect just as the cities were lighting up with Edison lamps.
          Only the lowest of low-energy societies, those strictly Paeleolithic in character (as New Guinea, or the Australian aborigines), have anything resembling equality. The rest are hierarchical in the extreme.

          1. Tell me how you can have those things without access to energy.

            @publius

            Nobody suggested you can have the security and advantages of society without energy. I simply questioned whether “abundant energy” was a universal and necessary pre-condition for social and economic fairness, social inequality in general or wealth not being concentrated in a small number of hands in particular, and ranking high in various metrics of human development (life expectancy, education, good lives for women and children, religious tolerance, accountable public institutions, low corruption, independent judiciary, global citizenship and positive trade with neighbors, etc.).

            Why does a place like Kuwait or Qatar get relatively high marks for energy abundance but relatively low marks for income equality or some of the metrics of human development mentioned above? It seems to me a pretty good argument could be made that energy abundance, particularly when it is concentrated in a few hands, can actually harm a society or a country. I don’t think it’s in any way obvious or straightforward that countries that are resource rich and have abundant energy are going to be better places to live, have low income inequality, and better functioning social and political institutions. Energy abundance is not a variable directly correlated or determinative of these outcomes. In fact, when lacking adequate social and political institutions, the opposite is an equally probable risk or outcome. An argument for energy abundance in the absence of anything else is not a very clear or informative point. It “may” alleviate social inequality. But it may not as well. Other factors appear to play a much more important and determinative role than relative or comparative energy use and production.

            1. @EL

              I think we are talking past each other. When I talk about abundant, reliable energy, I am referring to controllable power that is available to people at a universal or almost universal level. I am not referring to being in a place sitting on large quantities of potential fuel that are controlled by multinational corporations and despots.

              Electricity in the US is so readily available and cheap that it is taken for granted — as it should be. Places that have distributed, locally operated sources of power like diesel generators, solar panels or windmills only have power if they can afford to make the initial investments in capital equipment or if that capital equipment is granted to them by some kind of NGO or other charity. They are dependent on the weather and/or their ability to secure additional fuel supplies as required. It is not difficult to disrupt those fuel supplies for a variety of reasons.

              Our electricity system has long been part of what makes living in the US so attractive to people from other countries. You have often disrespected that system and the incredible social benefits it brings. You also seem to forget the cooperative, liberal efforts of people like FDR and LBJ to expand access to electricity to all areas of the country, thus granting some overworked people a degree of leisure and comfort that would otherwise be impossible. Certainly, some of the people might have become lazy as a result of no longer needing to chop wood, carry water, or run to the outhouse, but a pretty fair portion used their increased leisure time to study and develop their minds.

              Without the comprehensive electrical grid that we built over a 100 year period of investment, I would not be writing this blog. My dad spent his first 12 years in a farmhouse without electricity. His chores level decreased substantially after moving to a place with electricity. That helped him qualify for technical training in the Navy and led to his getting a EE degree using his GI Bill after WWII. He then spent 35 years working to help keep electricity reliable and to expand its delivery to an ever growing customer base.

          2. I am not referring to being in a place sitting on large quantities of potential fuel that are controlled by multinational corporations and despots.

            @Rod Adams

            Are you sure?

            Many despotic and intolerant countries (who don’t provide meaningful protections or freedoms for their citizens) aspire to “abundant” nuclear energy and cooperation with similarly intolerant states willing to offer aid and share such technologies. North Korea, Venezuela, Libya, and others, all sought aid from Soviet Union and are among such an inner circle of nuclear power plant seeking groups that challenge global security (and human rights among their own citizens).

            Suggesting abundant energy from nuclear (minus other more relevant and important factors) positively impacts fundamental features having to do with energy security and States that are “good places” to live is contradicted by a great deal of history. Yes, I agree with you about federal power initiatives in the US and the likes of liberal progressive and market reformers such as FDR and LBJ. I haven’t forgot about this, but suggest the success of these programs has a lot more to do with design and implementation of energy reforms (and the social and political visions of FDR and LBJ and our national political culture and ideals) than with any sense that energy itself is an inherent good (and that simply producing more of it results in a fundamental good for society, basic human rights, and reduction wealth disparity). It does not, robber barons more than proved that point in our country.

            If you wish to make an argument about access, ownership, and distribution of available energy resources, please make that argument. Energy development can have many adverse effects on democratic institutions, constitutional checks and balances, human rights, economic institutions and finance, and a great deal more. Failing to acknowledge this, and just saying we need more of it, is not a particularly well thought out or very informative position. And demonizing distributed energy resources (which do provide significant reforms and new opportunities for access, ownership and distribution and challenge the status quo) simply because you assume them to be unreliable and that issues of variability can’t be solved by modern engineering (which is incorrect) is nothing more than the status quo speaking (and saying please eat your gruel and only consider only more of the same).

            1. @EL

              I am advocating for abundant, accessible energy for as many people as possible. Our electricity distribution system has played a large role in creating a functioning example, but it would not have been possible without the reliable generation from hydro, coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear. No mechanical or electrical engineer would honestly attempt to claim that it is even remotely possible for weather dependent sources of power to be more than occasional, often uninvited supplements to a functional grid that enables people to purchase as much power as they want WHEN they want it.

              I’m all for distributed generation, but I’m convinced that the only truly distributed, reliable generation possible involved small atomic power generators. I’ve experienced life off of the grid with such a device and have a clear understanding that they are possible and proven in much smaller versions that the one that powered my submarine — like the early 1960s vintage technology that powered Camp Century and McMurdo Station.

              You are not telling the truth when you claim that I demonize distributed energy systems; I may disrespect them and I may point out their known and immovable flaws, but I do not demonize them. I will never fight anyone who wants to spend their own money to build wind or solar systems, though I might fight against their claim to be able to sell their excesses to the grid at retail prices or their right to take as much power as they want ONLY when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. They need to pay their fair share of the cost of maintaining the system that makes that possible.

              I envision a time when it is possible for a neighborhood, a small factory, a shopping center, or a wealthy individual to install and operate a simple, virtually black box, atomic generator that can provide all of the power and heat needed without any connection to a grid. That is the vision I have had since 1991 when I began the research for Adams Engines in earnest.

          3. No mechanical or electrical engineer would honestly attempt to claim that it is even remotely possible for weather dependent sources of power to be more than occasional, often uninvited supplements to a functional grid that enables people to purchase as much power as they want WHEN they want it.

            @Rod Adams.

            More nonsense. Another entirely unsupported comment that appears to be a staple of willful blindness that is becoming more and more common on your site (which presumes to have a mission of real world analysis and education). Disproven by most available sources on the topic.

            I envision a time when it is possible for a neighborhood, a small factory, a shopping center, or a wealthy individual to install and operate a simple, virtually black box, atomic generator that can provide all of the power and heat needed without any connection to a grid …

            Following in the footsteps of Thomas More …

            Utopianism is often defined as a flight from reality … an inadequate appraisal of the nature of humans and the universe (typically infused with lots of biting irony and satire).

            https://philosophynow.org/issues/70/Utopia_Living_in_a_Nowhere_Land

            “It’s important to note that the character who reveals the story of Utopia is named Hythloday, which translates from the Greek into something like ‘spouter of nonsense’, and that the word ‘Utopia’ itself literally means ‘no-land’.”

            Something a bit less ironic and a little more sensible may help others better understand what “insight” you are providing here. Unless “true believer” is really the main audience you are hoping to reach with such comments and perspectives?

          4. @El
            Your arrogant attitude of moral superiority is offensive given the death toll associated with your anti human ideology.
            Greens denied DDT to Africans killing 40 million people over the last 50 years.
            Greens oppose Golden Rice that would have saved the life of 5 million children.
            Greens oppose cheap coal energy for Africa where 4 million people per year die from lung diseases associated with burning dung and wood indoors for cooking.

            Rod “… it is [not] even remotely possible for weather dependent sources of power to be more than occasional, often uninvited supplements to a functional grid that enables people to purchase as much power as they want WHEN they want it.”

            El “Another entirely unsupported comment that appears to be a staple of willful blindness”
            It is you (El) who is engaging in willful blindness ignoring the hundreds of billions wasted on unreliable, expensive renewables. This wasteful experiment has already failed (see below). Renewables are just a scam to enrich the 1% at the expense of the poor and to promote the use of natural gas. Renewables cant run without natural gas as backup; natural gas without renewables cost much much less and produce less CO2. It is hard to believe that anyone could sell this scam.

            And contrary to “Disproven by most available sources on the topic.” even the Greens are starting to realize the energy poverty that they are inflicting upon the poor by promoting higher electricity prices to reduce consumption.

            From the Energy Collective: Examining Nuclear Energy as Climate Option
            “Germany had already been building up renewable energy since 1990. In 2012 wind and solar capacity represented 84 percent of Germany’s nameplate electric power generation of 70.4 GW  –something close to 23,000 wind turbines (2014) and 1.4 million solar arrays (2013) which is roughly a third of those in the world (2012)–but ultimately generated only 11.9 percent of the country’s total electricity.”
            “Yet the Energiewende people remain hopeful, primarily due to the promise of storage. … The lithium ion battery, used in a Tesla, is the most dense way to store power. Right now the biggest battery in the world is a factory-sized lithium ion battery in China that is the size of a football field and costs $15 million. It can store 40 MWH of electricity, enough to power 12,000 homes, but only for one hour. Germany would need 28,000 of these, at a total cost of $420 billion dollars, to meet its storage needs.”
            “That sum of $1.5 trillion is a little less than what Siemens has said the Energiewende will cost. …  That would get them to seven years, and then they would have to replace the batteries, and in 20 years they would have to start replacing the turbines and the solar panels. It would take a third as much money to get the same amount of power from 17 of the most expensive new nuclear plants on the planet”
            “The other 10% is made up by biomass, which as an element of Germany’s renewable energy mix is growing three times as fast as wind and solar power combined. But biomass and its relative, biogas, are controversial, as they are primarily made of corn and wood.”
            “Between  2011 and 2015, Germany is building up a coal capacity that will have double the annual output of all of its solar panels, much of it highly carbonaceous lignite.”

            Yes you read that correctly. The Germans are cutting down their forests and burning the wood to reduce CO2 emissions. And replacing their nuclear plants with coal plants. This is Green energy policy.

            The basic energy policy question facing the US is whether to use the natural gas bonanza from fracking to replace coal for electricity generation or to convert natural gas to methanol to compete with oil in the transportation sector. For some strange reason both the Greens and OPEC would prefer natural gas to displace coal rather than compete with oil and both oppose replacing coal plants with nuclear plants.

            Rod, I applaud your vision of personal reactors that provide energy without dependence on the grid. Clearly Steve Jobs. El’s windmills are reminiscent of the Middle Ages and Thomas Moore and clearly belong in a Green utopia.

            Green Dreams Kill, they are not just delusional.

      2. It’s also important to realize that the genesis of things like microprocessors, memory, the Internet, etc., was not in somebody’s garage, but within the confines of very large organizations. Computers were first developed for military use (ballistic trajectory calculations, among other things). The internet began as a DoD (DARPA) project. The point-contact transistor was born in Bell Labs as an attempt to get away from the fragility and power consumption of the triode vacuum tube. True, many people since then have built companies upon these basic inventions in their garages and dorm rooms, but the real skullwork and expensive development was already done somewhere else.

        With energy, the key to lifting the bulk of the world’s population out of poverty and servitude is how to get them access to high-quality (i.e., versatile and available) in quantities that are both economical and sustainable. Mankind lived for hundreds of thousands of years using low-quality, “renewable”, distributed energy (wind, solar, wood burning, etc.), albeit with a tiny fraction of the world’s population today, and with that relatively tiny populace living in conditions of ineffable suffering, hardship, and deprivation compared to even the poorest of lifestyles today.

  20. Thank you, Rod, for being willing to speak about artificial scarcity.

    It is the blackest irony of our age that, while industrial technology has made it possible to banish want from the world, our society expends enormous efforts to ensure that wants are not met. Rather, there is an enormous apparatus, with manifestations as diverse as bankruptcy laws & television advertising, which exists precisely to ensure that most people remain unsatisfied. And those very people are taught that this state of affairs is good & right, & that any criticism of the system is the vilest kind of immorality.

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