Is the Effort to Shut Down Vermont Yankee a Modern Day Witch Hunt?
A frequent contributor to the discussion threads here on Atomic Insights shared the following observation about the battle over Vermont Yankee. I think it deserves more attention than it will get buried in a separate commenting system. I would be interested in hearing from you; especially if you have a personal connection to the struggle. That does not mean I think you need to live within the state of Vermont to have an interest or a concern on this very important issue. There is a similar battle going on in New York over Indian Point and there will be others over both license renewals and new construction licenses.
A commenter who identifies himself as katana0182 (Dave) wrote:
VY is going to be a big fight – and really important, too. It’s important for the future of Vermont, important for the future of Western Massachusetts, important for the future of New England, important for the future of the country at large, important for the world. Whether or not we’re serious about fighting global warming depends on this: whether fear of the unseen, of the unknown, of the “invisible world”, of modern-day “witchcraft”, and reflexive articles of political (even quasi-religious) faith will win over science, engineering, common sense, decency, and REAL environmental protection. This is going to be the Scopes Monkey Trial – if not the Salem Witch Trial – of the 21st century.
The Court of Oyer and Terminer is open for business up Montpelier way, and now comes the defendant, Vermont Yankee, accused of weird, mysterious, and strange means of generating energy, ways not understood, ways feared because they are uncanny, and inexpensive, and endanger the fossil fuel interests! Witchcraft is rumored to abound down in Vernon, Vermont under the unholy concrete of the Reactor Building!
At the bench, we have Peter Shumlin, a latter day Judge Hawthorne, who always findeth so many and divers witches, and always hath so little firewood, while for the Prosecution, we have his erstwhile accomplices of VTPIRG. What evidence do they have? Cows have given sour milk, and strange lights have been seen in the night…and these little girls have given us evidence! They have seen witches in their dreams, speaking in tongues about strange rituals! SPECTRAL EVIDENCE!
A coven of witches dancing around the pressure vessel chanting “Boil, boil, toil and trouble, fuel rods heat, and reactor bubble! Jet pumps run, and dry steam bring; wetwell quench, and turbine sing. Unknown deposits of the Chalk River, distill thee out! Get thee hither!” WITCHCRAFT! The claw of the Devil holds Vernon, Vermont!
Who’s funding this modern day Inquisition? The filthy special interests who have their eye on Vermont – King Coal and Standard Oil – King Coal’s looking to bulldoze the Green Mountains into the Brown Hills – while Standard wants to DRILL BABY DRILL!
The question before the jury: Do we want poverty? Or do we want a decent life? Should government serve the special interests? Or shall it serve the public good? Shall we give blood for oil? Or shall we make energy for all? Shall we fight global warming with the only thing powerful enough to stop it? Or will we all be downwind of the global meltdown? In the balance stand the people of Vermont – the people of New England – the people of the United States of America – the people of this planet.
The clock is ticking: either civilization ends carbon, or carbon ends civilization. Either we end fossil fuels, or fossil fuels end us all.
Ending fossil fuels starts with saving Vermont Yankee from this latter-day witch-hunt.
I generally do not comment on internal issues in other countries, however in this case the impact of shutting that reactor will have impacts on me. Shortfalls in power from the closing will have to be made up from other places, one of which undoubtedly will be Hydro-Qu
What I find rather ironic is that the marchers are claiming VY can be replaced with solar and wind. The UAE is building nuclear plants and they have lots of sunshine. China is the world’s largest builder of PV panels and they are also building nuclear plants. Perhaps these countries have folks who understand the physics and engineering of electric power generation than the anti-VY marchers 😉
I agreed with katanao182 right up to the point when he stated that “either civiization ends carbon, or carbon will end civilization.” Please Google “Climategate” and get updated on the latest in the unfolding AGW saga. It should be a matter of concern that many of the big energy companies are supporting the climate change theory, when it would seem counterproductive for them to do so. They are also positioned to profit from carbon emissions trading, while we are told that it will be the nasty polluters that will have to pay. A little investigation will also reveal that these same companies are investing in renewable energy projects and stand to profit from tax subsidies and carbon credits. Essentially, they increase their profits and we pay higher electricity bills. Science and engineering are no longer guiding energy supply plans, money is.
I recently read a columnist who claims that the IPCC is essentially a political cover for the renewable energy companies. I’ll have to think about that for a while, but the truth eventually always comes out, so I guess we will all find out in due course. However, if AGW were really a compelling concern to the environment, there is no way that nuclear energy would be sidelined. This is more about oil, coal and natural gas companies having their cake and eating it too.
Agreed, although I stated the same view rather more bluntly: “if the threat of catastrophic AGW was real, they’d shoot the anti-nuclear protesters.”
AGW is a compelling concern. The problem is the cognitive dissonance in the conventional green movement regarding AGW and nuclear power. Changing major articles of faith doesn’t happen overnight.
Nuclear power is the issue to wedge the anti-nukes off the enviro coalition.
Climategate shown that skeptics have no arguments, and found no further arguments even in the stolen emails – which is why they missrepresented soudbites such as “hide the decline”, which correspond to well known, published, discussed and obviously legitimate “manipulation” of tree ring data. The fact that the deniers either dont know this issue, or actually do follow the research and still missrepresent the truth, is rather telling. Similarly with the other “climategate” points. See here a good summary, or you can google up detailed review published in Nature.
Climategate, as the Watergate, is a story of thugs stealing data from the information center of their opponents.
The science only become more solid with this thug-review.
DV82XL. I didn’t know about the Point Lepreau plant. This is such an interesting post…can you cross-post it on Yes Vermont Yankee?
By the way, the head of the Vermont House Natural Resources Committee, Tony Klein, has said that the presence of Vermont Yankee on Vermont soil can possibly ruin the “Vermont Brand”. If anything happened to the plant, bye-bye tourism, maple syrup, you name it. So maybe he would like it if the plant was in Quebec. Heck. I am SURE he would like it.
@Lynne – You will find a significant amount of support for the pro-AGW side among the pro-nuclear bloggers. Why this is the case, I don’t really understand, other than the desire to replace coal-fired plants with nuclear, which makes sense on several levels: air pollution, water contamination, fly ash spills, older plants grandfathered into the Clean Air Act applications to coal plants, comparative inefficiency to nuclear on a volume-of- raw- material -for energy-output basis, miner safety and health concerns, etc. These are all valid concerns.
The alarm over CO2 atmospheric concentrations is one where I have raised my concerns here, and other pro-nuclear blogs. Even before ClimateGate, I was routinely rebuffed for near apostasy on the CO2 question. When I tried to address the issue with references to respected (at least outside the pro-AGW arena) scientists – like Lindzen, Spencer, Choi, Gray, Pielke, Christy – I was met with the same derision and detachment that nearly all “deniers” are subject.
My warning from early-on remains: the nuclear power plant stands as a Colossus over every other power generating system, when all things are considered, from first shovel to final decomissioning. Nuclear doesn’t need to engage in fear-mongering over “climate change” in order to win a fair debate on its merits. And with the public sentiment shifting significantly away from the alarmist position, I’d tread lightly in using that card as a strong reason for rapid deployment of new nuclear power plants. Just my two cents worth.
BTW, katana0182(Dave) is known for his well-reasoned, creative ideas and thorough knowledge on things nuclear. He is also a gentleman.
Doc – I respect the skeptical point of view, especially with respect to cries for immediate action and an insistence that a catastrophe is just around the corner. I just cannot believe anyone who insists that the sky is falling “within the next ten years”, especially when it comes from someone who wants to sell me something. I long ago learned to look for “forcing functions” that sales people use to get to “the close”.
I also recognize that burning hydrocarbons (and carbohydrates) is something that humans will never stop doing – it is simply too valuable a part of our lives to have machinery do some work for us and to be able to control our interior climates.
On the other hand, while I recognize the limitations of predictive models and cannot definitely prove what will happen in the future, it simply does not make sense to me to continue experimenting with the only atmosphere that we have. We are dumping about 20 billion tons of chemically inert and relatively buoyant CO2 (and other stuff) into the atmosphere. Between natural sources, natural sinks and manmade emissions, the total production is higher than the natural reduction capacity. That means that the concentration of CO2 is increasing gradually. That increased concentration, though it will never exceed a concentration that the Earth can withstand – because the planet has been there before – it just might cause some changes that will make it uncomfortable for the number of humans who live here today. Remember, we have only been around for a tiny portion of the Earth’s existence. We were not here when CO2 concentrations were really high.
Humans can reduce our production – and probably increase the natural absorption by planting a lot of long lived trees – without causing economic destruction. In fact, I think we can do it in a way – using abundant nuclear energy – that will actually improve our economy and provide us with more energy to do work than we have available today. I think it is worth doing for all of the reasons that you list, but also because it is a bad idea to continue on our present path where we produce more and more CO2 as economies and populations continue to increase even though we have an available alternative that is better and cheaper than hydrocarbon combustion.
One more thought – I have to agree with Lynne and his suspicion of fossil fuel interests in the AGW scare campaign. That suspicion is ESPECIALLY strong when it comes to those that sell or promote natural gas. The messages that we have been given over the past 15-20 years regarding CO2 emissions lead me to believe that the natural gas folks thought that they had a real hook compared to coal – one that would encourage people to choose to burn their higher cost fuel even when a much lower cost coal was available.
At least some of the thought leaders (Romm, Wirth, Lovins, Podesta, O’Leary, Pickens, Turner, etc) THOUGHT that they had gotten rid of the nuclear alternative or at least put it so far out of reach that they would go through a period of impressive prosperity during the “bridge” period while we were trying to figure out how to get some plants built.
At least, that is my theory. I have not yet focused on building it into an airtight case.
“fossil fuel interests in the AGW scare campaign” – actually the fossil interest have been trying to belittle the science of climate change as much as they could, but at some point the evidence became so overwhelming and they realized they are not going to win this way, they started to (simultaneously) back up the “solution” which is least harmful to their interests and which is known to fail – the cap and trade scam.
Rod, I don’t disagree with you, other than in regards to the effect of CO2 emissions and concentrations. I am reminded that it is a trace gas with a minor role in climate forcings. Levying a tax on water vapor would garner a tight-fitting white smock with no arm holes. Granted, humanity wasn’t nearly as involved with large-scale burning of carbon during the Medieval Warm Period when global temperatures and CO2 concentrations were higher than today. Nor during other epochs of massive plant growth – I don’t know the exact name – Carboniferous? Pleistocene?
What has always informed me is a world-view that avoids alarmism, particularly man-caused catastrophes. Even a full-out atomic war would leave large sections of the earth untouched. That said, I wouldn’t care to see that conflict unfold. The climate alarmism that demands action “NOW” dismisses the fact that climates change slowly over decades and people adapt to those changes. The oceans rose about 1 foot this past century and are predicted to rise another foot by 2100 (Moerner (sp)); would an increase in global temps of 2-4 degrees F really be a bad result? We don’t know and the thought of spending trillions of dollars chasing a possible non-problem, particularly when far less money could be far better invested in nutrition, infrastructure, sanitation, education – which are not theoretical problems but painfully real today – strikes me as a wiser path to tread.
We don’t know the ability of the oceans to absorb CO2 or the rate at which it releases it. I agree that replacing coal-fired plants with nuclear, as Jim Holm has outlined on http://www.coal2nuclear.com, makes the most sense and requires the development of small and medium-sized NPPs and, as katana(Dave) has stated, that has tremendous spin-off benefits. Environmental stewardship demands that we use the best practices to achieve the greatest good, for humanity and for resource management.
Rod, a great energy site I often read http://www.masterresource.org deals with who benefits. Could I recommend an article – http://www.masterresource.org/2009/08/rent-seeking-crony-capitalism-and-us-energy-politics-who-wins-from-the-racket/#more-4041 ? You might be surprised how nuclear will fare under cap and trade.
Thanks, Doc. You’re a gentleman, too, and I thank you for your complement on my (still very limited – but growing) knowledge of things nuclear power related. I respect your reasons for holding the position that global warming is overblown. I think I’ve said this before – and I’ll say it again:
If global warming is just hot air and we go nuclear, we haven’t lost anything and gained a lot, just in terms of energy security and sustainability of a materially decent way of life for the long term. In any event, fossil fuels are going to run out, sooner or later, the air isn’t getting any cleaner, and there’s a need for reinvestment in infrastructure – and nuclear power – and first class research, development, engineering, and investment into the field of peaceful applications for peaceful nuclear energy – is something that America’s got unique knowledge of and potential in.
If global warming is real, and we go nuclear, we don’t have to find out what would happen if we didn’t go nuclear.
Global warming isn’t an article of faith that I believe in, but a falsifiable scientific theory that I judge has sufficient evidence behind it – and insufficient evidence that it isn’t occurring – to play the odds here. Truly catastrophic global warming I doubt will occur. Global warming that is disruptive I think has a good chance of occurring. Others may look at the science and reasonably differ about that.
What I would ask, though, is that we stop looking at this as a “either/or” equation and more of an argument from contingency type of problem. Merely because you think that it is going to rain tomorrow and I think it isn’t doesn’t mean that some prudent preparations in case it does rain might not be such a good idea. If the theory of global warming is accurate, nuclear power is the magic bullet to stop it. We have the power to stop the hypothesis of global warming from becoming the theory of global warming – or being proven to be a load of horse-feathers. Global warming is one theory that I don’t want to absolutely know whether or not the scientists are right or wrong on, because the consequences are high. Do you really want to find out if the scientists are right about their theory if the consequences of them being right are as they say?
Instead, I want to find out what we can do with nuclear power to keep global warming – if, indeed, it exists – as solely a theoretical concern. There are plenty of people like me, who support nuclear power for many other reasons besides global warming. Global warming, though, changes nuclear from being a prudent investment for the future of America, and a great way to generate lots of electricity, jobs, development, research, and growth, into the magical bullet that can stop global warming – a categorical moral imperative for the future of the species.
Global warming turns nuclear power growth from an effort that can be done at a pretty rapid rate – building a national energy infrastructure for the 21st century – into a war against carbon and time for human survival – a hot war against carbon dioxide that might be comparable to World War II except with no human enemy. A war to save the world that America can win. A war to end scarcity of energy that America can win.
You do indeed sound like a thoughtful gentleman with the best interests of humanity at heart. I thought very much along your lines up until a few years ago. Please allow me to explain how I arrived at my conclusions. My husband and I have always been very concerned about the environment and in the early 90’s started (and still have) a certified organic farm. In setting up our operation, we looked seriously at wind and solar, and my husband ( an electrical engineer in the power industry) came to the conclusion that the math just did not add up. We opted instead for geothermal. When the Ontario government embarked upon their green energy campaign and supported wind farm construction in our area, again my husband ran the numbers and saw that they just didn’t make sense. In talking to politicians and regulatory bodies, it became very apparent that they did not care whether this was good policy, it was politically expedient. At that time, an acquaintance sent me an article about AGW being all a scam, and frankly, I thought the writer was one pickle short of a jar, so to speak. However, I began to look into some of the allegations, and was very disturbed to find that the article was accurate. My husband at first dismissed this out of hand, because our generation had been taught to respect science and he could not grasp that scientific journals and universities could be manipulated by political considerations. Something has gone very wrong with our scientific process, and it needs to be corrected. The recent release of the CRU emails showing corruption of the peer-review system and the abysmal quality of the data in the code files demonstrates why we should not make major economic and energy decisions based on our current knowledge. The Harry_Read_Me. txt file alone should make anyone who values science to re-evaluate their position. If the science is clear, why was data fudged and manipulated? We support nuclear because it works and it does what it claims. Today’s headlines in Britain warn of natural gas shortages and that people will freeze. Doesn’t sound like all those wind turbines are working out so well. They are finding out the hard way that math does not lie.
Lynne – Nature is seldom clear, in particular when details are considered. If it was, there would be no need for science. Same applies for the climate. At the basic level it is very clear: CO2 absorbs IR radiation, so additional CO2 will inevitably heat up the planet. This is crystal clear since some 100 years ago. What is unclear is how much will it heat up the planet, what are the other effects, how do they contribute, and if or rather when (at what CO2 concentrations) will the additional heating screw up the climate enough to present a major problem for our civilization, which is adapted to a very specific kind of climate.
This is why thousands of scientists were working for decades to make these issues clear-er. There was no “corruption of peer review” – trying to keep flawed articles out of the peer reviewed journals is the basic of peer review. Still some crap finds its way in, this is a fact of life. There was no evidence of fudging data, despite the propagandist efforts to show the contrary. I read the Harry_Read_Me.txt and didnt find anything alarming – yes science is a mess, in particular if you need to review multitudes of historic data, which all use different standards (computer files of various formats only if you are lucky), if you need to use or rewrite old codes written by someone who is gone for good in a cryptic way with no comments using some funny version Fortran which does not compile any more. A day in life of a scientists. The TV shows about science are as much missrepresenting as the TV shows about surgeons or cops. I hope it does not come as a surprise to a non-scientist. However this does not invalidate science.
Actually the fact of anthropogenic climate change holds even if you throw away all the CRU data. Indeed if you look at NOAA/NASA data, they show even faster warming than Hadley/CRU data, because the latter omit polar regions where the warming is stronger than the average. Concerning the former data, here is a nice popular summary of how these data come about: http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2009/20091216_TemperatureOfScience.pdf
Since I am not a climatologist, merely in the health care field, I must defer to others who, as I read them, make a plausible argument, given the data available and the research published. In that vein, please read this and comment accordingly:
And, just as I would read through an argument posted by Joe Romm at RealClimate, even though I disagree with his policy preferences, I would trust that commenters here would also read through this in its entirety and comment on the substance as opposed to the messenger.
Lynne, FYI here is a summary of the reviews of the hacked data by several independent bodies:
I am afraid will have to respectfully disagree. I think there is strong evidence in the emails that the peer-review process was controlled by a small circle of scientists and that the temperature data is unreliable, and in some cases, manipulated to show a warming trend. Could I recommend a few other websites for you to examine? Joe Romm, a buddy of Avery Lovins, is hardly an impartial source for information. Try Watts Up With That (Anthony Watts) or Climate Audit (Steve MacIntyre).
There is no evidence that anyone manipulated data, this is completely fabricated claim, numerously refuted. Neither Watts or McInyre are cliamatologists, and both were shown to misrepresent science numerously. The point of the link to Romm’s article was the list of articles from highly respectable sources such as Nature which disprove your claims. I dont like Romm either, but this is besides the point. If you dont like Romm, check reaclimate.org (by actual climate scientist), or http://www.skepticalscience.com (by a physicist and better organized). The best is of course to read the actual science papers.
The claims of global warming do not depend on Hadley/CRU data, there is multitude of independent evidence, partially summarized here, with links to the scientific literature: http://www.skepticalscience.com/What-happened-to-the-evidence-for-man-made-global-warming.html
I find the current tide away from science, as represented by several comments here highly alarming. This anti-science attitude was what got us the trouble to begin with, by halting the first nuclear era. It is rather sad to see the similar tactics of half-truths and blatant lies used again with respect to climate change.
There is no scientific body of national or international standing is known to reject the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change.
Manipulated data? Of course they manipulated data! That’s exactly what “value-added data” are — i.e., data that were manipulated by the people at the CRU.
Ordinarily, this would not be a problem, except that they did not keep the raw data, which means that nobody knows what manipulations were done to the data. I’m willing to bet that even the folks who did the manipulating do not know. This is not how credible science works!
Climategate reveals a complete breakdown in transparency. It is pretty clear now that there were attempts to hide data, destroy data, and prevent data from being released according to Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation. To put this in a way that people in the nuclear industry will understand, if someone had pulled these stunts to prevent information from being released to the NRC, they would be going to jail, and any company involved would be paying millions of dollars in fines.
So, you need a better source than anti-nuke Joe Romm? Then why do you cite realclimate.org, which is financed by (i.e., has its web-related costs covered by) one of the organizations of David Fenton — the guy who co-produced the “no nukes” concerts in 1979?
If being a “climatologist” is so important, then why do you cite Romm and that “skepticalscience.com” guy, neither of whom are cliamatologists. Why do you assume and assert that their commentary is good, while the commentary of Watts and McIntyre is not? Double standards rip holes in your credibility. Why should I belive anything that you have written?
Scientist do manipulate data for living. It is called corrections. There are all kids of corrections which need to be applied to make sense of any data. The issue is if they are justified, and for all what was shown – they were justified. Indeed the “hide the decline” corrections for tree ring data are discussed for a decade in the relevant literature: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v391/n6668/abs/391678a0.html
As a matter of fact, responsible scientists do not keep primary data, because these take space, which costs money, which is in short supply. In my field most raw data are discarded just at the detector, what is kept to analyze is already “value added”, which needs plethora of additional corrections. Once an experiment is finished, all the data are thrown away (besides personal copies of researchers). The original data are anyway useless without all the machinery used to analyze them. In science the results are in peer reviewed publications, not in “raw data”. Therefore the publications are archived, not the “raw data”.
This illustrates how easy it is to manipulate general public, which has little to none understanding of how the science is indeed done. The Climategate is another example of the witch-hunt, hence the discussion is rather topical. Again, I am rather distressed about the level of anti-scientific ignorance, and how much pro-nuclear people are oblivious to the fact that exactly this tactics has been used against nuclear energy in the US.
Concerning personalities of the blog authors – it is arguments which hold water, not the personalities. If you want to get the full picture, read the scientific papers. The skepticalscience neatly provides links to those. In particular to the “coproduced antinuke concert in 1979” – are you serious? Poor Gwynneth, NNadir, dwalters etc. They are doomed for ever to burn in flames, nah?
FOIA request about data obtained under non-disclosure agreement puts researchers between a rock and a hard place. What is and is not responsive and deliverable to an FOI request is a subject that it is very appropriate to discuss, while obviously suggestions to delete are ill advised. However most of the data (those not under NDA) are (and already were) available to the public.
To conclude Brian, you need not to trust me, or any blogger, or even any particular scientist. You should, however, on the matters of science trust the reputable scientific bodies – none of which rejects the basic findings of human influence on recent climate change
So because you work in a field where sloppy practices are the norm and no kind of transparency or traceability is required, you think anything goes, eh?
Many people in the nuclear industry are rather skeptical of climate “science,” because they work in a field that has stringent Quality Assurance requirements. Thus, when they see such sloppy practices — where the only QA requirement is “peer review,” which has been corrupted by a small group of researchers and a few sympathetic editors of (formerly) prestigious journals, as has been documented in the emails — they become rather skeptical.
Meanwhile, it is not surprising that the majority of those who are the most adamant about the need to “stop global warming” are also strongly anti-nuclear. Can you spot a trend?
By the way, the difference between Gwyneth Cravens, NNadir, David Walters, and David Fenton is that the first three don’t run a highly profitable PR consulting business and associated front group with the purpose of whipping up scares that are designed to drive business to David Fenton’s customers.
Yes, I agree it is “easy it is to manipulate general public, which has little to none understanding of how the science is indeed done.” Fenton has made a lot of money doing just this.
When the science is as sloppy and as partisan as it is in climate “science,” manipulating the general public with scares is easy, and your comments are a rather good example of the results.
Dear Brian, I presume you believe as much as I do into experimental validation of our hypotheses, therefore the time will tell us very soon. I found the climatephysics.com site, which I guess you subscribe to (and which I consider to be in error on many levels, with the exception of passionate support of nuclear energy). The prediction therein is rapid cooling in coming decade(s). I trust the predictions of Hansen et al. who predict rapid warming in the coming decade(s) – in particular there is about 50% chance that year 2010 will be warmer than 2007 hence the warmest year on the record.
(And I deleted snarky remark about qualities of our respective fields 😉 )
At the very least, there are significant anomalies in the data format. The raw data deserves to be normalized in an open and transparent process. Unfortunately, this process is time consuming.
I absolutely hate normalizing data files. Especially when 30 people send me 30 different files in 30 different “personalized” formats…but if it’s my job – I do my job.
A clear explanation of what when on during the data normalization process would be helpful. It seems, at least to me, as though there could be…*some*…errors during the *enhanced normalization* process this fellow contrived to normalize the data sets – i.e. hit the numbers with anything short of a sledgehammer to get the program to run it, using hidden variables unknown to man or to science (I say *some* and *enhanced normalization* with *some* understatement.) I don’t see the hand of bad faith. But I see definite possibilities of “garbage in, garbage out” – I see that very easily.
I’d say that the CRU needs to try harder, be absolutely transparent with the processes of normalization of data, make their process open source and transparent. For a large data set like this, we need the raw data and the source of the computer programs used to normalize, manipulate, draw conclusions, and predict. Science needs to be reproducible. Science needs to be falsifiable.
At the moment, I think the read_me file calls the CRU data into question – the data may be contaminated. The CRU science is not falsified, but it is rather potentially defectively based: the computational processes run on the data are called into question due to the possible data quality issues at hand.
This being said, at least the NASA data hasn’t been called into question, which means that there still is a body of valid science supporting the AGW hypotheses. And there are other research teams as well out there. If we’re all working to advance nuclear power – the strongest arguments that can be made to build a “big tent” coalition – for total mobilization on the nuclear power issue are those that use AGW to back it up. Without AGW, closing VY would be a tragedy of private greed over public need. With AGW, closing VY becomes a danger to everyone.
Teller supported AGW, Lovelock supports the theory, Brand supports the theory, Hansen supports the theory – and they all support us. Shouldn’t we support them?
katana – this was apparently a work log, not the final result.
<blockquote>HARRY_read_me.txt. This is a 4 year-long work log of Ian (Harry) Harris who was working to upgrade the documentation, metadata and databases associated with the legacy CRU TS 2.1 product, which is not the same as the HadCRUT data (see Mitchell and Jones, 2003 for details). The CSU TS 3.0 is available now (via ClimateExplorer for instance), and so presumably the database problems got fixed. Anyone who has ever worked on constructing a database from dozens of individual, sometimes contradictory and inconsistently formatted datasets will share his evident frustration with how tedious that can be.</blockquote>
See here with the links: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack-context/
I agree with your “big tent idea, but I feel there is a more general issue – a smear campaign against science is what we should all oppose on principal grounds.
at least the NASA data hasn’t been called into question, which means that there still is a body of valid science supporting the AGW hypotheses.
Why? Do we have their “raw data” and “the source of the computer programs used to normalize, manipulate, draw conclusions, and predict”? Well, NASA GISS’s GCM (General Circulation Model) ModelE is available for download, so I guess the computer program used to “predict” is available. What about the rest?
Teller supported AGW
Huh? Are you high? Before he died, Teller signed the Petition Project. They even feature his signature on their home page. Now, my purpose is not to endorse the Petition Project, but claiming that Teller was an AGW supporter is quite an unbelievable stretch.
Duuuuuuuddddeee….I don’t do drugs. 😉 I’m talking about Teller’s statement to the ACS in 1957. Oops.
Yeah, it’s a rather old talking point. It’s amazing how little the script has changed in half a century.
Nevertheless, the 46 years between 1957 and Teller’s death in 2003 leaves a substantial amount of time for the man to have changed his mind. On the other hand, he was an unflinching advocate for nuclear power until the end.
Correlation != Causation
Against Kyoto != Opposed to AGW hypothesis
Kyoto was fundamentally flawed – carbon emission reductions due to new nuclear build weren’t creditable. I would think that lots of people who are pro-nuclear would oppose a treaty that was twisted against real solutions to global warming from the get-go.
It doesn’t matter how the CO2 is gotten rid of, so long as it’s gotten rid of.
I would have a lot of thinking to do before ratifying Kyoto just because Kyoto was biased against credible solutions.
“nuclear power plant stands as a Colossus over every other power generating system, when all things are considered, from first shovel to final decomissioning.”
Doc – you and I and everyone following this blog may think so, but that hardly matters. All those folks involved in the “first nuclear age” though so as well, and were as well as we are persuaded about the merits of nuclear power. Guess what – it did not matter. Claiming otherwise is laughing in the face of reality, as much as the “wind/solar/conservation will solve our energy future” fellows. We can “safely” hydrofrac our energy future, burn the abundant coal with somewhat efficient scrubbers (and declare the remaining pollution as unimportant, see our friend Kit P here). There ARE other options, and the merits of nuclear energy do not necessarily matter. Actually technological superiority does not guarantee a win in the market place, nuclear energy being the prime example, but there are many others such as the VHS (inferior winner) vs. Betamax (superior loser) case.
Climate change is the only reason for the green groups and politicians to support nuclear power. We need to stop shooting ourselves into out heads with the fossil fuel funded anti-science propaganda.
Nuclear power is an excellent way to make electricity as demonstrated by the history of VY.
For those who are looking to reduce the environmental impact of out energy dependant lifestyles there are many things we can improve. We can get more electricity for each unit of fuel. Compare the burn up for the first VY core to reloads now. We can get more electricity for the same asset. Compare the capacity factor of VY 30 years ago to now. Compare the up rated output to the original VY output.
Not only has the environment performance improved greatly but has been done by improving economic performance. Ten years ago no one would be predicating a debate about extending the life of VY.
There is one more important way to improve environmental performance. It is called product life extension. If I can make that old faded shirt last one more year, or I can make old car that gets good mileage and does not burn oil last a few more years; that saves the energy and environmental impact of building a new power plant.
Making VY last 20 more years is an environmental no brainer. It is sad that a few environmental activists are so ignorant of ways to protect the environment that they reject VY. Better yet, keeping VY running is very economical.
I hope some of you remember this when you are debating making VY last 80 years.
I’m sure that we can get 80 to 120 years out of most of our reactors. At least.
What I’d like to see within the next 10 years or so is a project to completely overhaul an existing plant. Develop the capabilities to take any plant, shut it down for 2 years, rip everything (including the RPV) out, put new stuff in, and get it running again. This could be with a different design basis – a Plant Upgrade and Operating Licence, or something like that. For instance, we could take a BWR today, put in a new RPV, new CRDMs, dump the jet pumps for internal pumps, install an upgraded ECCS, and new and different data systems, basically turning it into an ABWR scaled to the containment size. The turbine could be enlarged or new turbines added.
Does anyone think this to be feasible?
I think that we have already “done” this in the US with TVA’s Brown’s Ferry project. However, we could do it again using Zion 1 &2 as demonstration units – they are not currently operating and producing revenue anyway.
It is hard to disagree with katana0182 (Dave). His thinking is logical and makes a lot of sense. I support him completely in his statements because they are in complete alliance with mine. His witchcraft hunt comparison is impressive and straight to the point.
Indeed, all of us who do not believe in solar/wind energy Jesus are dangerous practitioners of mysterious witchcraft and must be burned at the stake. This is the view of anti nuclear inquisitionists. If they had the power to enforce their way they would make the Spanish Inquisition look pale in comparison. These people are dangerous to life in numerous ways.
” its the cost stupid ! “.
In spite of political spin, smoke, mirrors and corruption, once Nuclear becomes much cheaper than coal, the game is over. Windmills will be decommissioned with a half life of 5 years or so. We do not need more Copenhagen theatrics; just more of the rationalism expressed through these pages. The hypothesis of AGW, worthy or not, could be a major blessing for mankind if it leads to further refinement of Atomic Energy technology and eventually its ubiquity.
Mat – Your comment about cost is important, but in the case of this particular plant the facts are already in – the plant was built about 38 years ago. It is paid off and has an operating cost that is far less than any coal fired plant would have in the same area. I doubt that it would even be possible to build a coal plant to serve the New England market.
Part of the controversy over the license renewal is a brinkmanship exercise in which some of the negotiators believe they can force the plant owners to sell power at a far below market rate by threatening plant closure. The current long term contracted price of about 4 cents per kilowatt hour is only about half the market rate in that area so the customers are getting a great deal. That contract, however, is expiring.
Logically enough, the plant owner would like to bring the sales price of its product closer to market value, especially since the output is actually higher quality with less environmental cost than some of the other electricity in the same market that is selling at a higher price.
Just so you know Rod, Browns Ferry is a BWR and Zion is a PWR. Replacing SG is a huge cost difference.
Kit – I realize that there is a difference. In fact, the fact that the steam generators at Zion needed replacement is part of the reason that the plant was – logically enough at the time – shut down after a determination that the cost of doing the replacement might not be able to be recouped. In the mid 1990s, natural gas was cheap and “everyone” was saying that it would remain cheap. No plants had gone through license renewal, so that path had not yet been blazed and there was a lot of uncertainty about whether or not the NRC would allow licenses to be renewed or how costly it would be. Steam generator replacements were still relatively new and had unpredictable costs.
Most of those conditions have changed significantly. I certainly do not have access to all of the details that would be required to make a decision. It may not be a slam dunk, but there are reasons to believe that the plant could be restored for enough less than the cost of a greenfield project to make it viable.
In the case of Zion (and Shoreham, Seabrook 2, Millstone 1, maybe even TMI 2), even the containment building and the site’s bounding specifications have value. You have a known quantity. If you go in and completely gut the place, perhaps excepting the RPV – if the RPV’s still there, and hire someone like B&W or Westinghouse to draw up specs, you can have a nearly new nuclear plant for less than it would cost for a greenfield build.
Another idea would be say, if some decommissioned reactor with an intact containment was near a national lab (Shoreham is near BNL; Zion is near ANL), you could even gut the containment building, keeping its integrity, and use it as a testing facility for Generation IV reactors.
Waste not, want not; the conditions of an earlier age are not the same as conditions today. Working nuclear power plants are incredibly valuable prime assets today. Even decommissioned plants could have potential major value in the hands of someone with vision.
Rod there is no reason to believe Zion is viable. If you would like to find the resource planning documents for that area you could speak with authority. I think you would find that there is a plant to uprate other plants.
Adding 200 Mwe here and 200 Mwe there, pretty soon we are talking real power.
The real story of nuclear power is so much more amazing than the hypocritical one you make up. Looking at Watts Bar II, I am waiting to see if anymore of the partially finished plants will be completed.
Kit – Haven’t you often told the story about losing your job at a nuclear plant that was prematurely shut down? Haven’t you also expressed the reasonable position that it is often less costly to refurbish and extend the life of existing assets rather than being forced to build new ones?
Why won’t you apply those concepts to a 2200 MWe nuclear power plant that only operated for about 25 years before being shut down due to economic circumstances that have changed in the time since it was shut down? If the problem was that the plant was poorly managed – put in better management. If the recalcitrant unions played a role, work for a better labor force and better labor relations. If the problem was that the steam generators needed replacing and there was not enough life left in the plant with a 40 year license to enable a payback, then extend the license.
There are solutions – unless the desire is to keep the plant shut down so that there is not quite enough power in the system to fully meet all customer demands with some spare left over. (That situation is beneficial for customers, not for suppliers.)
Are you really here to defend rich guys or to talk about energy issues and use experience and logic to try to come up with solutions. (Go ahead and diss my naval experience again, LT.)
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