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8 Comments

  1. Yes, Rod it is irritating when the fossil part of the energy industry panders to idiots. It is irritating too to use such arguments to support a nuclear agenda.

  2. Kit – my point is not that fossil interest “pander” to factually incorrect renewable advocates – the people you so kindly refer to as idiots. I am convinced that fossil advocates – especially those in charge of marketing or responsible for bottom line affecting decisions – actually create and sustain those incorrect suggestions for future energy systems.
    You have often stated that you were once a Navy nuke. However, you also tell us all that you think that biomass burning power plants are a better choice for power supply needs in the 25-150 MW range. Can you briefly explain the advantages as you see them using objective critera for unchangable technical limitations? From my research, the only advantage I can find for burning wood or ag waste is that the developers MAY not need to get regulatory approvals.
    Note – I capitalized MAY because there are places where sensitive measuring systems – like human noses and eyes can figure out that no biomass plant can be emission free. All of them pump out enormous quantities of waste that must be dumped into our shared atmosphere.

  3. This is an interesting issue coming from a magazine that featured an article talking about the bright future of nuclear power and new nuclear technologies back in 2005. Did something change in its focus from then until now?

    1. I’m told Sci Am was bought out by a German company. You remember Germany, that country that pumps out anti-nuclear propaganda on their official government web sites? Might explain their change in view.

  4. First off Rod, large renewable energy power project must meet the same environmental and safety requirements as a nuke sans off site radiological assessments. Greenpeace and the Sierra Club are just as likely to oppose a biomass plant as a nuke. There is no free lunch.
    The first place to start is to look at the environmental impact of waste biomass. My rotting wood is polluting your sailing area. It is perfectly legal too. I do not need a NPDS permit to create a rat’s nest.
    I even have a spread sheet where I can show that capturing biomass can offset ghg associated with uranium mining and processing for a large nuke. There is an interesting link between uranium and phosphor mining. Take, for example, manure from poultry CAFOs in Maryland. It does not take a very big project fixing one problem to offset all the ghg from a nuke. It illustrates how small the environmental impact of nukes.
    Manure waste and forest health issues are massive and energy is one way to pay for better management.
    Just for the record, I do not subscribe to the idea that renewable energy can supply very much of the grid in an industrialized world.

  5. Biomass has its uses…it’s practically free energy sitting around in all of the cellulose and vegetable matter for the taking. Plus a lot of the biological processes can be helped along by the sort of low-grade waste heat that nuclear power can produce. If you look at the Canadians, at Bruce they have a lot of biological processes going using the waste heat generated by the 8 CANDU plants there. Ethanol refinery, greenhouses, lots of stuff like that. Coal to liquids can become biomass to liquids – you could generate a good part of the liquid and gaseous fuels used in the US just from biomass alone.
    I would agree that biomass has a definite role to play in the future. It’s free, and it helps us manage the environment better. But by itself, it isn’t enough, really, it’s far, far too little. Ya gotta have something else, such as nuclear power.

  6. Trackback message
    Title: Copenhagen – Who pays the bill?
    Excerpt: Much of the discussion in Copenhagen will centre around money, but whose? Governements looking to protect their economies from change are protecting oil companies, not you or me

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