1. Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year All!

    Good educational article. Wish the media were as perceptive!

    My New Year’s Atomic Show wish-list is a roundtable interview with the owners of the top ten nuclear blogs on the subject of their treatment by the mass media, why are antis so successful, Anti-FUD media campaigns, and how to get all the excellent points of their features out into the public to get things nuclear moving! My runner-up wish list is to corral a line-up of Who’s Who in pro-nuclear Congresspeople and pols and even interview one. Since Rod hasn’t mentioned being contacted by one, that means my mass e-mail invitation to the Hill to comment on Atomic Show got shrugged or trashed in their offices. My second runners-up Atomic Show wish list is interviews with pro-nuclear Japanese blogs and how they’re handling educating the public over their in the wake of Fukushima and how we might support them. My third runner-up Atomic Show request is a roundtable with the heads of ANS, NEI and IEAC and NRC on nuclear policy and cluelessness of public nuclear opinion. Fourth runners-up is a media grill session with Atomic Show regulars and any members of the 4th Estate gutsy enough to come on to explain nuclear power’s constant trashing and maligning and and smearing in the media and so-called “science” shows (as re Prof Kaku) and school textbooks and unabashed open wind/solar-favoritism. Are there any REAL media “science editors” anymore??

    Keep up the Great Work keeping the atomic flame alive!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  2. Charles Barton said that a consequence of fracking was the creation of potential in situ recovery Uranium mines.

    Is this true and what is the magnitude ?

    Nice by product potentially.

    1. @Daniel

      I don’t think the potential is very high right now. The chemicals needed for dissolving uranium don’t seem to be part of the fracking fluid mixtures I have seen. The people that own the wells don’t have any real desire to mobilize the uranium. The price of uranium is currently less than it was in 1970 using nominal dollars with no inflation adjustment. In other words, the world market is well supplied right now.

      1. Of course they don’t want to mobilize the uranium as long as they don’t want to harvest and sell it. -But the concentration of fissile elements in the drilled shales should easily be shown by the radium reading of the gas.

        1. Given that the major objection to a new gas pipeline to Manhattan was that this gas came from fracking and was loaded with radon, it appears that those shales may indeed be good uranium resources.

          1. @EP

            I’m not denying the presence of uranium in the shale. I think I once wrote about an evaluation of Marcellus for uranium mining.

            Under current market conditions, however, it’s not a likely or needed source of nuclear raw material.

          2. It’s a good counter-argument to people who claim that a nuclear USA would be hostage to foreign uranium suppliers.

            1. @Engineer-Poet

              Before the US is held hostage to foreign uranium suppliers and before the shale resources are economic, perhaps we can tap the 119 million pound deposit that is virtually in my backyard. Right now, it is not legal to mine uranium in Virginia, a state that is home to about 150 coal mines and numerous other metal and rock mines. The critics claim to be worried about safety. I don’t believe they have any basis for their concern, other than fear of competition for the coal mines.

          3. Radon of course. -thanks (I must have been tired).
            To your comment about the Radon in pipeline-gas I want to mention an other interesting point: In Europe there is also more radon emitted by oil and gas bore holes per year than alpha.emitters by the hole nuclear industry including the big reprocessing facilities in Lahague and Sellafield.

  3. Natural gas is gaining a foothold in transportation with people like Pickens pushing it along. Does that have the possibility of creating a more balanced supply demand situation for natural gas? I would think increased demand from alternate uses such as transportation would increase the price. It would also increase market share for the gas producers.

    1. Transportation use of natural gas will increase demand a little, but I think the export market is potentially larger. Natural gas is much more expensive in Asia and Europe, and US suppliers want to arbitrage the price difference. LNG export terminals are being built.

      1. The market for motor fuels in the USA (gasoline and distillate [diesel]) is nearly as large as the market for natural gas.  Conversion of the vehicle fleet could wipe out the NG exports and slash petroleum imports within half a decade.

        1. Conversion of the vehicle fleet could wipe out the NG exports and slash petroleum imports within half a decade.

          “Could” being the important word in that sentence. I was thinking more in the short/medium term (a decade or so). Longer term, the US might get its energy act together, start building dozens of new nuclear stations, phase out coal, and use natural gas for transportation. On the other hand, the US might not.

        1. US gas production was about 30 trillion cubic feet in 2012.

          Gas export to Mexico was about 600 million cubic feet in 2012.

          That means we exported about 0.2% of our production to Mexico in 2012.


          In 1999 we exported about 60 million cubic feet to Mexico.

          In 1999 US gas production was about 24 trillion cubic feet.

          1. @jaagu

            You are missing a few zeros in your figure of exports to Mexico.

            According to the Energy Information Agency, gas export to Mexico in 2012 was more than 600 billion cubic feet. More precisely, it is listed in this table as 619,802 million cubic feet. http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/ng_move_expc_s1_a.htm

            That number is not standing still; 2013’s total is running about 30% higher than the same period from 2012.

            From Energy Information Agency (December 30, 2013) Mexico Week: U.S. is Mexico’s primary energy trade partner amid shifting trade dynamics (http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=14391)

            Natural gas and liquefied natural gas: Mexico’s domestic natural gas consumption is rising faster than domestic production, leading to both record pipeline gas imports from the United States and growth in the country’s imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Natural gas trade between Mexico and the United States has been growing; estimated average daily net exports from the United States to Mexico so far in 2013 (January 1-May 6) has been 1.6 Bcf/d, up almost 29% over the same period in 2012. Many potential new natural gas pipeline connections between the two countries are planned. Pemex subsidiary PGPB imports most of the natural gas that enters the country via pipeline. In addition, private entities and state electric commission CFE also import pipeline gas into Mexico. In 2006, Mexico began importing LNG shipments from the Gulf of Mexico at its Altamira regasification terminal, and in 2008 began receiving LNG on the Pacific coast at its Costa Azul regasification terminal. Mexico has considerable natural gas resources, but the development of its unconventional shale gas is proceeding slowly.

            Your figure for US gas production of 30 trillion cubic feet (TCF) in 2012 is “gross production”. More than 10% of that number is reinjected to maintain reservoir pressure, some is flared, some is non combustible gas that needs to be removed. Total “marketed production” in 2012 was 25.3 TCF.


    2. IMO, Pickens was half right.  He proposed wind to displace gas, and gas to displace petroleum.  He should have suggested nuclear to displace gas instead.

  4. It can appear that a small group of influential participants in the marketplace are acting as part of a conspiracy without it actually being a conspiracy. All it takes is common, shared financial self-interest for smart greedy people to engage in similar actions toward a unified goal – making as much money as possible. Shared interest is enough to cause various actors to behave as if executing a covert plan, even though such a plan doesn’t exist.

    Tossing charges of Conspiracy Theorist is really a transparent attempt to discredit the messenger.

  5. “US exports to our neighbors are rising faster than most people understand.”

    Just a side note – One of the contributing factors to World War II was when the US cut off oil exports to Japan. From Wikepedia, “Causes of World War II”

    “President Roosevelt chose to freeze all Japanese assets in the U.S. The intended consequence of this was the halt of oil shipments from the U.S. to Japan, which had supplied 80 percent of Japanese oil imports. The Netherlands and UK followed suit. With oil reserves that would last only a year and a half during peace time (much less during wartime), Japan had two choices: comply with the U.S.-led demand to pull out of China, or seize the oilfields in the East Indies from the Netherlands.”

    I guess you can have oil wars whether you are a buyer or seller of limited fuel supplies. I hope someone is looking over the gas folk’s shoulders to ensure the US remains with an adequate supply. Cheap gas here can help kickstart our economy.

  6. In support of the low pricing pressures to get everyone hooked on the market side I think gas has been written into the Government side of plan since the mid 2000’s:

    National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency Vision for 2025 ( http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-programs/suca/resources.html )

    For instance, from the PDF:


    … Uncertainties in future prices and regulations raise questions about new investments. New infrastructure is being planned in the face of uncertainties about future
    energy prices. For example, high natural gas prices and
    uncertainty about greenhouse gas and other environ­mental regulations, impede investment decisions on new energy supply options…

    It was very clever of them to put that in there.

    …Timely cost recovery in place. A basic require­
    ment for the elimination of disincentives to energy
    efficiency programs is establishing a fair, expe­
    ditious process for recovery of costs. Failure to
    recover program costs directly negatively affects a
    utility’s cash flow, net operating income, and earn­ings.
    Further, lack of timely cost recovery increases
    regulatory risk and requires the utility to incur car­rying costs….

    That sounds harmless but in there is a disincentive to long term financed solutions.

    Somehow that became the foundation of the EPA clean energy plan and its really no wonder Fracking and waste disposal got a blank cheque and thinks like methane leakage were completely overlooked.

    1. So you can honestly say. Without any irony or embellishment : “Our national environmental program and energy efficiency plan were written by and for natural gas.” Because it was and as much says so in it.

      Obama kept the Bush plan in place (and hired two anti nuclear directors at the NRC for good measure). You couldn’t make this stuff up.

  7. “Are natural gas suppliers purposely overproducing?”
    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, talks like a duck….

  8. Playing devil’s advocate…


    No new Piceance wells for Encana in 2014:

    At the end of the day the drillers are still subject to the price on the market. The market is a bunch of guys in Chicago and New York who are looking at the reserves of gas and driving the price down. But the drillers aren’t charities, even if they have a dual revenue stream. And once it comes out of the ground it has to go somewhere. With lackluster interest in using nat gas as a transport fuel (aside from specialized applications like city busses), even though it could be as revolutionary as plug in hybrids, the drillers are willing to just maintain pipeline pressure until there’s a market.

    1. I dont know NG’s transport share is growing with almost 700 US filling stations now.

      I imagine some of this glut is intentional. But some of it might not be to the extent it is occurring (from the corporate side that is). Smaller drilling and support companies created a juggernaut perhaps ( with the aid of US government incentives and slack environmental policy ) that is killing off the smaller operations.

      Its strange to see the support NG gets in government circles and the things they get away with.

      Report raises new concerns about EPA probe of Texas natural gas drilling

      The company is pursuing a $3 million defamation lawsuit against Steve Lipsky, one of the homeowners who complained about his water. ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/report-raises-new-concerns-about-epa-probe-of-texas-natural-gas-drilling/2013/12/25/da2c7b2c-6d77-11e3-aecc-85cb037b7236_story.html )

      1. Oh I just read the whole “Big Fracking Bubble” article reference link. It does look like the supply glut was intentional in the large scale, corporate side as well. Gas has a lot going for it. They were throwing around money and product.

    1. University dreamer demands funds from taxpayer suckers.


      “But at the same time we should resume serious research on reactor design. ”

      The phds to the rescue!

      “The aim of this research should be to explore that space of better designs that were locked-out by the military origins of civil nuclear power. ”

      Thats hilarious. Britain needs a nuclear buildout right now and this guy is talking blue sky 100 years into the future.

      “To get moving with a new nuclear program, we should begin a serious design and manufacturing program for light water small modular reactors.”

      Translation: We peed away our heavy machine industry in favor of 100,000 postdocs doing lab scale “innovation” at the university so now we have no choice but small reactors.

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