Atomic Show #226 – Nuclear tour de France reunion
On Wednesday, November 12, I got together with two friends. The three of us were 60% of a group of five writers and bloggers given the opportunity to visit a sampling of nuclear facilities in France owned and operated by Areva.
That experience helped form a strong bond. We missed our other two companions from the trip, but still enjoyed our conversation briefly remembering what we saw and then moving on to observations about recent news and public perceptions about nuclear energy.
Topics include outlook for US natural gas this winter, upcoming National Academy of Sciences meeting to discuss organization for a BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) VIII, NCRP’s million worker study, risks of continued outsized dependence on fossil fuels.
Guests on this show include:
Gwyneth Cravens, author of Power to Save the World, the Truth About Nuclear Energy and one of the five stars of Pandora’s Promise
Steve Aplin, publisher of Canadian Energy Issues
Hope you enjoy the show.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:13:05 — 33.6MB)
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Rod, You guys talked some about oil and potential supply problems always being on the near horizon with fossil fuels that I heard. More specifically kind of a interesting energy supply situation going into winter has developed with coal and gas this year. In some places at least.
Its left me wondering a few things.
The gas storage reserves are still a bit behind as you know and although America is producing large amounts of coal it seems to be being exported(?) or just not getting delivered to some coal plants, that traditionally stockpile for the entire winter season. The EIA said the number of col plants with 60 day stockpiles is actually up significantly over last year. But how is that computed, especially with respect to gas? Did increased oil product shipments have anything to do with decreased coal shipments to some areas? (was that for the election??) I donno. Probably though you are already following it better than I am, but here are the links I looked at to save time, if you are interested.
Utilities say coal stockpiles near ‘dire’ levels ( http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/utilities-say-coal-stockpiles-near-dire-levels/article_3146594f-9096-559b-8672-871f86eb3355.html )
Coal stockpiles down at US power plants ( http://www.worldcoal.com/news/coal/articles/US-coal-stockpiles-down-on-recent-years-1543.aspx#.VGmQX1EjulM )
Rail Shipments of Oil and Petroleum Products through October up 13% Over Year-Ago Period ( http://theenergycollective.com/todayinenergy/2156086/rail-shipments-oil-and-petroleum-products-through-october-13-over-year-ago-per )
Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report ( http://ir.eia.gov/ngs/ngs.html )
Coal ( http://www.eia.gov/coal/data.cfm )
It looks like it was a recent shift by refiners, in some areas at least, to increase rail traffic possibly fueled by it being made more economically viable via regulations and environmental concerns(?).
2013 – More oil trains expected in Washington under proposals ( http://fuelfix.com/blog/2013/10/28/more-oil-trains-expected-in-washington-under-proposals/ )
2010 – Freight Transportation ( http://www.c2es.org/technology/factsheet/FreightTransportation )
When measuring the movement of goods in units of energy consumed per ton-mile, rail is the most energy- efficient form of freight transportation (see Table 1). Using this metric, rail is twelve times more efficient than trucks and almost twice as efficient as ships
I didn’t even know about this program. I guess rail was making something of a comeback all this time behind the scenes. Too bad they have torn out so much track.
SmartWay ( http://www.epa.gov/smartway/ )
Electric rail freight for the US would be interesting.
I guess nuclear shipping would change those numbers drastically as well for near port destinations. Probably would be safer and a lot cleaner and healthier than diesel fuel as well.
I am beginning to wonder also if the decline of the US heartland production cities was not more related to resource access/shipping issues, and infrastructure than the much hyped “cheap labor.” (although thats a big part of it undoubtedly)
Anyway bundle up tonight on the east coast! Its going to be cold. I imagine as we are getting near to ground freeze the inevitable natural gas leak related accidents will be occurring more frequently now as well. Not to mention supply and production issues.
Even with these impulse cold events there is still a good chance this will be or near the warmest year ever. November has been unusual.
Australian Horror Story: Thousands of Dying Bats Dropping from Trees amid Heatwave ( http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/australian-horror-story-thousands-dying-bats-dropping-trees-amid-heatwave-1475419 )
“I am beginning to wonder also if the decline of the US heartland production cities was not more related to resource access/shipping issues, and infrastructure than the much hyped “cheap labor.””
Don’t forget about the great lakes. Many rust belt cities are also port cities. I wonder if the decline wasn’t actually due to bad management. Profitable companies have been closed because the profit wasn’t enough for these guys.
Yea, that too, In everything you have to stay on top of things and its in everyones interest to keep infrastructure operational and well maintained.
I cant believe the Keystone Pipeline didn’t pass. Ive even dropped my opposition to it as the oil is already being processed in less efficient/less safe manner and economically we need it bad. Not just the rail shipping stuff either is being utilized to increase petroleum processing:
Federal regulator warns reversing pipeline flow to handle new oil, gas could result in spill, website reports ( http://www.nola.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/11/federal_pipeline_regulator_war.html ).
They are doing it with all kinds of pipelines and mixing products in them as well.
That really would have been an amazing trip. There really needs to be a documentary on the French nuclear plants. Such a successfully powered country. I’m sure they have benefited in many ways. Are such tours by invitation only? How does the public go on such a tour?
There doesn’t seem to be any neutral documentary about the French nuclear program. The documentaries available are all more or less biased againt nuclear energy.
I read the following thick book that came out recently that’s pretty interesting, but I doubt it’ll get translated into English:
“L’énergie de la France : De Zoé aux EPR, une histoire du programme nucléaire français”
EDF does offer free visits of some of its nuclear power plants, but only a few times a year. I visited the one in Nogent-sur-Seine, about 100km east of Paris:
It’s interesting to see how small the reactors are compared to the cooling towers (which over here, everyone thinks are specific to nuclear power plants).
BTW Starfish wasting disease on the pacific coast, which many anti nukes very ignorantly attributed to infinitesimally small amounts of radiation from fuku, (far below background sources) has instead been linked to a newly discovered virus.
Densovirus associated with sea-star wasting disease and mass mortality ( http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/11/12/1416625111.full.pdf )
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