Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Comments:


  1. This is a bad idea.

    If all the revenue collected is disbursed back to consumers, it is an economic wash. Consumers have extra money to pay for the more expensive carbon-based fuels.

    More likely, there will be a “handling charge”. Money will be lost in the system to pay for bigger government – probably much bigger government. There will be a temptation to redistribute the revenue for purposes totally unrelated to reduced fossil fuel use. It will be used to seed the growth of new programs which will eventually need more tax revenue to sustain.

    The result will be an even slower growing economy which can’t possibly help nuclear power. Particularly if nuclear power “advocates” are associated with the idea for their own interests.

    The abuse of the Social Security and Highway “Trust Funds”, the Medicaid smoking settlement should suggest to even the most mentally challenged person the inevitable outcome of this idea.

    Like it or not, the nuclear power “Renaissance” is dead until the lights go off and people freeze or bake. Then, we better have nuclear designs that can be put into operation in under two years.

    1. @ FermiAged

      ” More likely, there will be a “handling charge”. Money will be lost in the system to pay for bigger government – probably much bigger government.”

      Agreed. Government simply can no longer distribute money without political benefit.
      My mental example is Vermont: When Green Mountain Energy was sold to Gaz Metro, the ratepayers were owed about $23M ( I’m guessing from my distant memory). They didn’t get a dime of what was owed. There will be unexpected consequence in a carbon tax with attempts to distribute the revenue back to the public. We should know there will be further dependence on fossil fuel / carbon sales revenue, and we’ll be even more stuck than we are now, with strange and unexpected counterproductive consequences.

      ” … the nuclear power “Renaissance” is dead until the lights go off and people freeze or bake.”

      Disagree: The Chinese, or whomever beats coal in cost / KWH first wins the day. World production will gravitate toward them if they also aren’t too corrupt. I believe it’l happen in about 10 years, but certainly not in the west where huge blocks of elite are dependent on the current state of affairs. The Paris conference will certainly reiterate that sunshine and breezes are the best competition for Gas and Oil. Watch and see.

        1. We’ll panic when reactor sales outside the US’s boarders puts the writing on the wall, and the US can no longer productively compete.

          The sooner this happens the better IMHO.

    2. FermiAged – I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing, or misunderstanding the rationale for a carbon tax.

      Don’t focus on the revenue side: the whole point of a carbon tax is not to raise revenue and expand the tax base per se. It’s to add the externality of carbon emissions in to the price of fossil fuels – and therefore to ***raise the relative price of fossil fuel sourced electricity versus non ff energy***. If you accept climate change as a thing…and you understand that carbon pollution is a thing, then you accept that burning carbon imposes a cost on everyone…then you quickly realize that the government is the *only* entity capable of passing that cost back to the producers. And a tax is a tried and true method.

      A tax on carbon would be much better than what we have today, where the president raises emissions standards by fiat via the EPA…(Which I totally agree with – but a Repiblican in the White House will simply reverse)…

      And here’s where it gets even awesomer: with a carbon tax, you can do away with the renewables subsidies / tax breaks, which – we all agree are ridiculously unfair to nuclear and counterproductive for climate change purposes. If the point is to promote non ff sources, don’t give money to solar and wind, just tax the hell out of ff sources and let the chips fall where they may!!


      1. I pretty much agree with everything you say here. And have always thought the only rational for climate deniers is if it is acknowledged as a real problem, they know the only entity that can solve it is a government. They fear that more than the problem. Add in the ideological anti nukes and you really get a formidable opposition. All complicated by the folks in a position to solve the problem have jobs that depend on not solving the problem.
        As John C says: “The sooner this happens the better IMHO.” This is not a comforting approach, but i fear it is true.

        1. Show a graph of the temperature predictions from the climate models as compared with actual temperature measurements since the end of the models’ benchmarking/”tuning” period.

          Also explain why the climate models have not been able to capture the pause in temperature rise over the past 15-18 years, which covers most of the period that the models have been running independently of their benchmark data.

          The only graphs I have been able to find are produced by the climate “deniers”.

          1. The only graphs I have been able to find are produced by the climate “deniers”.

            There may be a reason for that. The “pause” as a crisis in climate science has only been a crisis in the denialist camp.

            The period of time in which this pause is supposedly taking place in the eyes of denialists has slowly crept forward these past few years. The reason for this is simple: there has been a slower period of surface warming, which means that the minimum period of time to establish warming as statistically significant got longer than usual. So denialists falsely claimed no warming when what was actually true was a general warming trend that required longer than usual to pass the statistical tests that allow us to use the word “significant”.

            However, surface warming appears to have picked up again, and all the while, overall global energy budgets were increasing anyway. The issue for mainstream science has not been “is it still warming”, but “where is the warming going, because it has to have been going somewhere given what we know from flux measurements at the top of the atmosphere”. It seems to have been in the oceans and parts of the poles.

            1. @Brian Mays

              Explanations that account for and then incorporate factors that were initially ignored as insignificant and then recognized to be important is the hallmark of complex model verification processes.

          2. Ex-post-facto excuses are the hallmark of pseudoscience.

            What part of “given what we know from flux measurements at the top of the atmosphere” is pseudo-sciencey?

            Pseudoscience is claiming that mass-energy can appear or vanish.  Inferring an unknown heat sink from a known energy imbalance is the essence of science, just as the missing energy and momentum in beta decay forced the inference of the neutrino.

          3. Explanations that … is the hallmark of complex model verification processes.

            What “verification”? I don’t see any verification. I see a Texas sharpshooter, who shoots at a barn, draws a circle around tightest group of bullet holes, and claims that he’s got great aim.

            That’s not verification.

            This is not that hard to understand. The situation is that you claim that you understand a system and how it works. You use this understanding to make predictions. The predictions turn out to be incorrect. You conjure up post hoc, speculative excuses to explain why.

            Now, anybody with any sense would, at the very least, conclude that you didn’t understand the system as well as you thought you did. Those who are shrewd would further ask: why should I trust you now?

            This in itself would be bad enough if it were only an academic exercise, but these excuses get spun through a PR machine that has been built to support “climate-change-fighting” industries worth hundreds of billions of dollars. The claims become even wilder and more Orwellian: Now you can claim that you had been right all along!

            Or since you’re trying to scare people, uncertainty can be your friend: “We were wrong, but now it could be even worse than we had thought!” This is the same kind of trick that is used by unscrupulous “researchers” when it comes to the effects of low-dose and low-dose-rate exposure to radiation when they claim that LNT might not be conservative enough.

          4. It is a simple fact that for the last 20 years or so, the earth has been receiving more heat than it has been re-radiating back into space, at about a nett average rate of 0.5 – 1.5 watts per sq.m of surface. This is demonstrated by actual measurements from satellite and infrared sky cameras, not outputs of “models” (which particular models never seem to be specified by GWDs). This nett heat inflow is required by the basic laws of physics to be going somewhere or other.

            In fact, surface temperature measurements are not the most accurate measure of overall warming. There is more heat absorption taking place in the ice and also the deeper ocean, than is necessarily directly manifest in surface temperatures.

            To those who sneer that “the temperatures aren’t rising, how can the earth be warming?” let me give a simple example of how this can be the case:

            It’s a hot day, and you’ve just poured yourself a beer. It’s not as cold as you’d like, so you add two cubes of ice to the top. The sun continues to shine, and your glass continues to absorb heat. The ice starts to melt.

            Now answer this question: does your beer start getting warmer, or does it start getting colder?

            It starts getting colder, naturally. This is because the latent heat absorbed by the melting ice is capable of cooling the same volume of water by nearly 80 degrees Celsius, or a larger volume by a correspondingly smaller amount.

            Of course, this pleasant process comes to an end once the ice is all melted.

            Is an analogous process taking place on Earth? Why, yes, it is. Over the last 10 years, the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets have lost about 5 trillion tons of nett mass. This has also been measured, by the GRACE satellites.

          5. Never mind that all of Antarctica’s ice sheets as a whole (including the West Antarctic ice sheets) have added roughly 800 billion tons of net mass over the same time period, also determined from satellite data.

          6. Rod – It is, but a good part of that 5 trillion loss is included in that 800 billion net gain. That is, the addition to the ice sheets in other parts of Antarctica is enough to make up for the loss in the West Antarctic ice sheets and then some.

            But what’s going on is far too complicated than can be captured by a couple of numbers. People on both sides of this issue are all too frequently guilty of cherry-picking the numbers that suit their narrative and ignoring those that don’t.

            1. @Brian Mays

              People on both sides of this issue are all too frequently guilty of cherry-picking the numbers that suit their narrative and ignoring those that don’t.

              I’m not interested in cherry picking or nit picking. I’m not interested in getting into the details of the debate about “this issue” because I don’t believe the exact results of the discussion about what is happening over historically short periods of time are terribly important.

              There are terrific reasons to take action to lower society’s dependence on combustion while increasing its use of fission with as few constraints as are needed to provide adequate safety against over exposure to radiation or radioactive materials or use of nuclear explosives in a way that harms anyone or anything.

              One of those terrific reasons is slowing and potentially reversing the gradually increasing concentration of long residence time CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere that is happening as a result of human needs or wants currently served by combustion or other activities that release those gases. Where fission can do the job as well or better, it should be allowed to compete on a reasonably consistent basis of risk acceptance.

              The accumulation of greenhouse gases is hugely important to many people, including many members of tribes who have been taught to almost reflexively oppose nuclear fission and “the nuclear industry.” It’s so important that it has proven that it can be a motivating reason for reevaluation of their received teachings.

              Why do so many people who say they want nuclear energy to succeed waste their time trying to say that the accumulation of greenhouse isn’t important enough to worry about?

          7. @Brian Mays
            “But what’s going on is far too complicated than can be captured by a couple of numbers. People on both sides of this issue are all too frequently guilty of cherry-picking the numbers that suit their narrative and ignoring those that don’t.”

            Indeed. Including, one might suggest, those guilty of cherry-picking the numbers measuring the total mass increase of Antarctica as a whole to suit a personal narrative, while ignoring the breakdown describing the when and the where and the why. Which is equally misleading.

          8. Seeing an NE advocate deny global warming is a true irony. How can an advocate base what he desires to be seen as credible advocacy on supposedly sound science, while denying actual sound science on a related matter?

            The answer, of course, is that the denial is based on political considerations, rather than scientific considerations. That is a huge part of the hurdle that must be leaped by those truly committed to addressing the problem of global warming. When one talks to John Q about global warming, one finds opinions based solely on political leanings. It isn’t scientists that have the podium for public discourse about this issue, rather it is the politicians that are manning the megaphones. And as Brian repeatedly underscores with his arguments and opinions, political biases are a tough nut to crack.

          9. A common thread I see in the arguments offered by those denying global warming is their tactic of citing climate phenomena occurring in a specific geographical location, and claiming it represents a global climate condition.

            “Its snowing record amounts in Podunk, and its unusually cold, therefore the premise of global warming must be false”.

            I note those mouthpieces on the right that I particularly despise, such as Hannity or Limbaugh, are particularly prone to appealing to the ignorance of their fans by employing this absurd manner of argument.

          10. Indeed. Including, one might suggest, those guilty of cherry-picking the numbers measuring the total mass increase of Antarctica as a whole to suit a personal narrative, …

            Ed – No, and you are dishonest to imply otherwise.

            My purpose was to point out that one number doesn’t tell the whole story. It was in response to an extremely naive example about ice cubes in a beer. The implication was that Antarctica is somehow the ice cube in the analogy (and so we’re all going to die! … or something like that 😉 ). Therefore, it was completely apropos for me to point out that the latest research shows that the ice mass on Antarctica is actually increasing, not decreasing. I shouldn’t have to write a dissertation on the Earth’s cryosphere to point this one thing out.

          11. Brian’s rebuttal to Ed is transparently disingenuous. We are obviously talking about a global situation, that Brian is denying in his arguments. The glass, (cited by turnages), containing the ice cubes, signifies climate not in one area, but rather our global climate. Walking back his attempt to address a global phenomena by citing a specific area is unconvincing. The conversation, as Brian well knows, is not about antarctica’s ice. It is about the climate of the entire earth.

            Yes, Brian, its snowing in Podunk. Cold, too. So what?

          12. I don’t understand why modeling chaotic systems can even begin to be taken seriously. They don’t pretend to know which butterfly will allow for the next tornado in Kansas or where it’l be; Why then do so many pretend they can make predictions based on levels of pollution? Why do so many of us believe?

            I’ll take scientists seriously whom don’t pretend to “model” chaotic systems but instead take accurate measurements and report like so:

            Oh-oh…. We’re dumpin’ 30 billion tons of C02 into the atmosphere every year.
            Oh-oh… We’re at 400 PPM C02 as measured at Mona Loa…
            Oh-oh… We’re dumpin’ X amount of S04 into the atmosphere over the Adirondacks every year..
            Oh-oh…. Air pollution exacerbates uncle Cooder’s black lung….

            They know how to model Chaotic systems? What no Crystal ball? How can so many believe it?

          13. Brian…..

            From the link I posted for John C….

            “Warming temperatures lead to the melting of glaciers and ice sheets. The total volume of glaciers on Earth is declining sharply. Glaciers have been retreating worldwide for at least the last century; the rate of retreat has increased in the past decade. Only a few glaciers are actually advancing (in locations that were well below freezing, and where increased precipitation has outpaced melting). The progressive disappearance of glaciers has implications not only for a rising global sea level, but also for water supplies in certain regions of Asia and South America.”

          14. John – A chaotic dynamical system is not the problem. Turbulent fluid flow is highly chaotic, but computation fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques have no problem accurately simulating many highly turbulent (high-Reynolds-number) systems.

            If you want to worry about climate models, worry about the “parameterizations” used in the models. These are simplified models that are used to represent phenomena that are far too complex or occur on scales far too small to be modeled from first principles. Essentially, they are educated guesses with fudge factors, but these guesses have a substantial impact on the results of the entire model.

            The problem is that these pseudo-models come with many parameters — or adjustment knobs — that can be tuned to produce whatever results are desired. These degrees of freedom are useful for tuning the models to replicate historical data, but they give me very little confidence in their ability to accurately predict either the future state of a system as complex as global climate or the influence that various forcings (e.g., carbon-dioxide) have on the system as a whole.

        2. Ok John… so if we ignore the modeling, and just consider available data, do you concede that we are experiencing global warming?

          1. Anyone doing what I do, which is get up in the morning and leave my 5000 ft elevation residence only to drop into the east end of the San Joaquin Valley would realize that something drastic needs to be done. I pass very near to the worst air in the United States, which occurs in a an area that includes the town of Arvin. The air, looking down on it as you are descending on highway 58, is often quite literally black.

            The trajedy for the residents of such areas is that when you are in it constantly, you really don’t realize how bad it is. There is no way I’d live in an area such as that, particularly if I was raising children. Of course, Arvin is populated primarily by latino farmvworkers, so its doubtful the health effects are monitored closely, if at all. (Perhaps it would be a good place for Trump’s interment camps.)

    3. “If all the revenue collected is disbursed back to consumers, it is an economic wash. Consumers have extra money to pay for the more expensive carbon-based fuels.”

      Come on, you’re smarter than that. It is clear that such a program will increase the incentive to use less fossil fuels, as it makes fossil fuels more expensive. Receiving a fixed dividend check does not reduce the incremental cost of using fossil fuels one iota.

      Bigger government? Being revenue-neutral, and NOT growing the size of govt., is central to this idea. It is the main reason why it is better than a CO2 tax or (worse yet) cap-and-trade. You’re comparing a small administrative (“handling”) charge to having govt. pocket the whole thing. Seriously?? The whole idea here is to apply a disincentive to use fossil, but give all the proceeds back to the people, *as opposed to* letting govt. waste it on various projects (e.g., bullet trains, etc..).

      What, exactly, is your alternative proposal?

      The lights are never gonna go off and people are never gonna freeze or bake. They will use fossil fuels before allowing that to happen (global warming be damned) and we’re essentially never going to run out of fossil fuels. So, I suppose the nuclear renaissance is never going to happen then. You may find that acceptable, but I do not (either global warming or the death of nuclear).

      We need some policy to reduce CO2 emissions, and this one is the best I’ve seen. Most economists agree (including conservative ones).

      1. Being revenue-neutral, and NOT growing the size of govt., is central to this idea.

        Except for the part about implementing a huge tax that will affect the price of … well … just about everything and rolling out a new scheme to pay everyone in the entire country (or countries, if adopted abroad) a yearly “dividend.”

        Other than that, it’s not growing the size of government.

        Geez … you people ever even read what you write?

      2. I have a proposal for the electric sector only:

        1.  Tax all dispatchable thermal powerplants (IOW, neither wind, hydro nor PV pay) on their CO2 emissions at a rate of $50-$100/ton.
        2.  Divide the revenues by the net generation and give each dispatchable thermal powerplant a refund based on net energy delivered.

        Far less overhead, accomplishes much the same end for the electric sector.  This could be generalized later but need not be.

    4. When people get extra money, they tend to spend it on things they need or want. They quickly adjust to their new income. They won’t be putting aside that money to cover the increasing cost of gas or whatever. They will say, wow, now it makes even more sense to get a hybrid or use the bus.

      And even more importantly than the end consumer, this will totally change investment and the power sector itself. Fossil fuels will quickly become less profitable than renewables (and nuclear) so even following the profit motive, no one would build or start building a new fossil fuel power plant when they could make more money on something else.

  2. @FermiAged
    You said, “If all the revenue collected is disbursed back to consumers, it is an economic wash. ”
    If you have any evidence for this I’d like to see it; here is a study that asserts just the opposite:


    @John C
    You said, “Government simply can no longer distribute money without political benefit.”
    But there’s plenty of evidence indicating that this type of program can be handled properly by our government. I direct you to the CCL website. There, in the FAQ section, find the answer to the question “Won’t it be expensive to impose the fee?”. I don’t want to repeat their extensive explanation here.

    In my opinion everyone should look at the CCL website before making up their mind on the CF&D. There’s plenty of food -for-thought there and it’s not all one-sided. I think they make a strong case for the US adopting this policy. And a strong case for NOT adopting and/or NOT continuing a cap-and-trade program.

    One point to emphasize with CF&D is that if the US enforces this policy, it puts a good deal of pressure on other nations to adopt a similar plan otherwise they are just needlessly sending revenue to the US. This can’t be said of cap-and-trade.

    1. @William Vaughn

      Carbon energy producer pays government tax of X dollars.

      Carbon energy producer raises price of carbon energy by X dollars.

      Government gives “dividend” of X dollars to consumer.

      Consumer spends dividend to cover increased price of carbon energy.

      The increased prices of other goods that require carbon energy in their production is covered by the carbon tax paid during the production process.

      Of course, the “dividend” will certainly be significantly less than X dollars. It will be diverted into non-productive government spending. Which will further strangle the economy. Which will reduce demand for ALL forms of energy. Including nuclear.

      1. You left out the part where consumers, utilities, major industries, etc. reduce their carbon use, pay less tax, and still get the dividend. It’s a net plus for people who choose to do it.

        The link William Vaughn posted above is a summary of the study. Here is the full 126-page study:


        The study projects 2.1 million additional jobs as a result of the tax and refund, and 13,000 premature deaths saved from improvements in air quality. That is a lot better than an economic wash.

        A short discussion of administrative costs is here: http://citizensclimatelobby.org/administrative-cost/#advanced

        The bottom line is administrative costs will probably be a fraction of one percent of the revenue raised by the tax.

      2. NOT diverting money to non-useful govt. spending is precisely why the dividend was proposed, as opposed to a straight carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system.

        As an example, Gerry Brown wants to use the proceeds from the state’s cap and trade system to fund his bullet train, under the argument that the train would reduce CO2 emissions. Sure it would (slightly), but it’s the least cost-effective means of reducing emissions that you will ever find.

        The main reason why this approach has the most potential to attract moderate/conservative support is that it is revenue-neutral, and does NOT increase the size of government. It is NOT a tax.

      3. FermiAged-

        I want to Point out a few broken links in your logic chain:

        1. As carbon based energy provider raises their price to the consumer (to offset the carbon tax they pay to produce), nuclear wind solar and hydro do NOT have to raise their price to the consumer. Now we actually have a more realistic market, where production costs AND societal costs are factored in to the price of energy. So, no, consumers and factory owners would NOT automatically spend their dividend check on another polluting energy source…with a fair market they could support innovation, cheaper alternatives, etc and put the highest polluters out of business in favor of the cleanest sources.

        2. The idea that government spending is some kind of economic dead-end or that it ‘strangles’ the economy is absurd and ignores macroeconomic reality. Where do you think government expenditures go? The government – like any entity in an economy – spends money on salaries, vehicles, consultants, food, gas, rent, steel, electricity etc etc. you think all the government spending on destroyers in ww2 strangled the economy? Sure, the government makes bad choices from time to time, but so does private industry!

        3. The idea that ff powered electricity is now cheap and would become more expensive with a tax is a carefully crafted deception you have bought into. In terms of the dollar price we pay? Sure maybe that goes up. But – if you accept climate change – then the fact is we’ve been getting a semi-free ride in our electricity production for a hundred years. The cost of ff powered electricity has been artificially low for a century because producers pay nothing extra to pollute, even though we all will ultimately pay the price for it.

        Again – i would urge you to focus on the primary effect –> fossil fuel burners cause harm to society as a whole, yet they do not pay for it. Forcing them to pay for the harm they cause as a component of their production cost not only makes the market more fair, it has the added benefit of being the right thing to do.

    2. “If you have any evidence for this I’d like to see it; here is a study that asserts just the opposite:”

      You cite a study. I have cited several recent and current examples. I will cite another example. The Nuclear Waste Fund.

      I will believe an analysis that is focused on physical quantities that can be benchmarked against controlled studies, robust empirical data and sound mathematical/physical reasoning.

      As soon as dollars and peoples behavior enter the picture, particularly for time spans more than a year, I stop believing. The California Bullet Train is an excellent current example.

      1. It’s a “study” commissioned by an activist group. They got what they paid for.

        The same people who promote such studies would recoil in horror at the results of a study commissioned by a tobacco company on the health effects of smoking.

  3. USA dividend calculations: Year 1: 16.4 tons/person x $10/ton = $164/yr dividend; Year 5: 16.4 tons/person x $50/ton = $820; Year 10: 16.4 tons/person x $100/ton = $1,640/yr dividend; family of five = $820, $4,100; $8,200; Fee totals: $52.48B, $262.4B; $521.6B; This seems to be strategy that could be presented pretty easily.

    1. “This seems to be strategy that could be presented pretty easily.”

      As long as you leave out the part about higher prices for everything. That might be important to some people.

      Wow. Just wow.

    2. I think the $10*(1+n) are per ton of carbon burned, and not per ton of carbon dioxide emitted, so you have to multiply your numbers by 12/(12+2*16)=0.273.

  4. Carbon fee and dividend would give a free pass to the natural gas industry for all its fugitive methane emissions ( and to New Zealand, with half our greenhouse effect due to methane and nitrous oxide from farming.) That said, it would be a lot better than anything that’s happened till now, and would make a start on the biggest problem. Politically possible? It’s amazing what becomes possible when history gives people a kick in the backside. Chennai, India’s fourth largest city, capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, is underwater right now after the heaviest rains in a century. It’ll be interesting to see if the opposition to the Russian reactors, being built further south in the state, abates.

      1. ‘Who said anything about a free pass for methane fugitives?’
        That would have to be additional to a carbon fee. If you dig up a ton of anthracite coal and burn it, you know you’ll make about three and a half tons of CO2. Unless that is stored somehow, it’s going into the air, and can be taxed as such. Pumping out a ton of natural gas in theory could have no leakage to the air, still make over three tons of CO2, but produce nearly twice as much heat as the coal. In practice, leakage along the way from well to user means the methane greenhouse efffect could be better or worse than burning coal, but it’s much harder to measure. Methane from livestock or rice farming is even harder to track, so there’s much more scope for argument about who pays what. ( Methane leaks out of coal mines too, as evidenced by the frequent explosions when it’s not pumped out effectively.)

        1. John ONeill: you’re an intelligent man. Rod is an intelligent man. On a good day even I can pass myself off as one. What makes you think there aren’t intelligent people advising Citizen’s Climate Lobby? James Hansen, for instance? Here:

          1. Collection of Carbon Fees/Carbon Fee Trust Fund: Upon enactment, impose a carbon fee on all fossil fuels and other greenhouse gases at the point where they first enter the economy. The fee shall be collected by the Treasury Department. The fee on that date shall be $15 per ton of CO2 equivalent emissions and result in equal charges for each ton of CO2 equivalent emissions potential in each type of fuel or greenhouse gas. The Department of Energy shall propose and promulgate regulations setting forth CO2 equivalent fees for other greenhouse gases including at a minimum methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons, and nitrogen trifluoride. The Treasury shall also collect the fees imposed upon the other greenhouse gases. All fees are to be placed in the Carbon Fees Trust Fund and be rebated 100% to American households as outlined below.

          2. Emissions Reduction Targets: To align US emissions with the physical constraints identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to avoid irreversible climate change, the yearly increase in carbon fees including other greenhouse gases, shall be at least $10 per ton of CO2 equivalent each year. Annually, the Department of Energy shall determine whether an increase larger
          than $10 per ton per year is needed to achieve program goals. Yearly price increases of at least $10 per year shall continue until total U.S. CO2-equivalent emissions have been reduced to 10% of U.S. CO2-equivalent emissions in 1990.

          Sure, measuring and detecting methane and these other gasses is a bit harder than reading a flow meter at the well head. But get a grip man: its just IR spectroscopy!

          A cutout for livestock? I’m sure it’ll be proposed. And I’m against it. But I don’t eat red meat anyway.

          1. What makes you think there aren’t intelligent people advising Citizen’s Climate Lobby? James Hansen, for instance?

            Having sat in the trenches for a while, the stuff that comes down from national is all about pinwheels and black panels in the sun—the precise stuff that we know CANNOT accomplish the transformation we need.

          2. It does matter if the “portfolio standards” and other fingers on the scale are left in place.  You cannot build a NPP if the market is rigged so that the only dispatchable plant that can make a profit is a gas turbine.

          3. @E-P. I happen to agree. And if Congress wants to remove its fingers from the scale, reform NRC and DoE, and replace PTC and Clean Carbon Plan with F&D, that’s fine by me. But separate bills, each aimed at a specific goal, are preferred. Even absent any other action, F&D price signals alone would still set us on a right track, accomplishing a great deal — even within the energy sector — as well as without.

            Price signals might also prompt more of the business community and the public to question how high a price — not on carbon emissions per se, but why a price on carbon emissions should result in exorbitant electricity costs.

            If it does. Renewable advocates assure us it won’t.

            One problem with trying to tie F&D with what others might consider bailouts for a failed industry, is that the rope hangs both ways: those others can tie amendments and riders on a F&D bill to support their own failed industries. So keep it simple; keep it as written.

            As for net-metering, Renewable Portfolio Standards, out-right bans on new nuclear build, ratcheting thermal pollution standards, and caviar support, these are all fingers of the individual states, Congress has no say.

  5. In my talks with various RE advocates, I’m noticing that those advocates don’t like carbon fee and dividend at all. The reason? They are afraid that it will stimulate nuclear power. They realise that the fee-and-dividend policy is meant to *replace* other climate policies, including the policy direct RE subsidization. That is why they don’t like fee and dividend.

    So we then have an interesting situation. We have RE advocates openly and covertly fighting *against* fee-and-dividend, in order to protect their RE interests. This despite the fact that fee-and-dividend is thought to be one of the most effective policies to reduce global co2 emissions. Is this final proof that RE advocacy was never so much about solving global warming, but much more about lining the pockets of the RE (and natgas) industry?

    1. Just because RE advocates believe it does not make it true. They also believe windmills will save the planet. Hell, Bush believed Iraq had WMDs.

    2. Good interview that James Hansen had with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now

      Hansen states a dividend and fee “tax” that all of the money need to go to the people. None of it to the government.

      He also say that we need to get rid of all subsidies. Now that is a visionary.
      Looks like he knows that a level playing field will favor nuclear energy.
      Interesting that he never states explicitly much about nuclear yet we know he favors it.
      At the 29 minute mark watch the video


  6. As for the implications of this proposal on existing nuclear power plants:
    $10/t carbon is equivalent to $2.73/t CO2.
    Coal emits around 1000g CO2/kWh, hence a $10 fee adds 2.73$/MWh
    For CCGT gas plants these figures are 410g CO2/kWh, so a $10 fee adds 1.1$/MWh.
    After 10 years, this would already amount to 2.73cent/kwh and 1.1cent/kWh.

    Fitzpatrick would not be closing if Entergy saw any chance of these proposals being implemented. Sadly, I think they are right in this assessment.

    1. I disagree. NYS energy policies strongly favored renewables, mainly wind. Moreover, the local economy has experienced a prolonged exodus of people and jobs. The state had to offer ALCOA a subsidy of $70 million dollars to keep an aluminum smelter open at a cost of $33000 per year per job.

      Even with the carbon tax, policies still overwhelmingly favor wind and solar.

      1. True. Carbon fee-and-dividend by itself will not repeal PTC, RPS, net-metering, or requirements for permanent federal sequestration sites for something nobody wants to permanently sequester. Nor will it reform the license fee structure at NRC.

        However, the alternatives to fee-and-dividend are to continue down the path beaten by EPA’s Clean Power Plan, supplemented with strict export prohibition on all fossil fuels. IOW, nationalize the mines and shut ’em down. (As opposed to just cutting off their air.) And we’d still be faced with the export-import problem. That part of CCL’s fad proposal is necessary just about whatever you do aside from nothing.

        Aside from nothing ‘cept figuring out how to generate clean energy domestically cheaper than our competitors can generate it with coal. Which will be a trick when coal becomes a glut on the market. Sure you don’t want to just tax the filthy stuff?

      2. You’re right that the policies would still favor wind and solar, but Joris is right that the plant would not be closing.

        When you consider the annual loss estimate of $60 million stated by Entergy, along with the amount of kW-hrs the plant generates annually, you arrive at a per kW-hr loss of less than one cent/kW-hr.

        Natural gas plants set the wholesale market price. Thus, an increase of 1.1 cent/kW-hr for a CCGT plant (let alone simple turbine plants that my be setting the market price some of the time) would raise whole sale market prices by ~1 cent/kW-hr or more, which should be more than enough to keep Fitz (and other plants) open.

        1. If they follow James Hansen’s full explaation it does not favor wind and solar. He adds in the interview that subsidies need to stop. That would seriously affect wind and solar.

    2. Correction: from Rod’s summary ($10 per ton of carbon content), I had incorrectly concluded the fee is based on ton of carbon rather than CO2. However, according to http://citizensclimatelobby.org/carbon-fee-and-dividend/ the proposal is $10 per ton of CO2 equivalent.
      So after 10 years, the fee would amount to 10cent/kWh for coal and 4.1cent/kWh for gas generated electricity. Nuclear power plants would be a real gold mine in this scenario. Especially since the high fee on coal would drive out coal plants and stimulate gas demand, raising pre-fee (nearly said pre-tax) wholesale gas price.
      I fully support the fee-and-dividend approach, as it would clearly lead to a rapid emission reduction via all available paths, efficiency, fuel switching and investment in low-carbon technologies, in particular nuclear.
      Unlike cap-and-trade it does not reward existing polluters for becoming a little less polluting, but drives them out of business.

  7. I recently joined the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, a grass roots political organization that has a presence in almost all Congressional districts across the US. Their purpose is simple and narrow. Get a carbon fee and dividend policy passed in the US. James Hansen is the group’s founder and leader.


    To give you an idea of how fast this group is growing, not only does it have chapters in every Congressional district, but the operating budget (for this political/lobbying group) has mushroomed to ~10 million dollars, in just a few years.

    I would recommend that all nuclear supporters (e.g., everyone here) check this group out (or better yet, join). As I said, it is present in all Congressional districts. Nuclear supporters who live near Washington (and therefore can regularly participate in Capital Hill events such as meeting with your legislators) would be particularly influential, as part of this group. They are, in particular, focused on getting Republican support. Technology-neutral, market based policies like this have the best chance of getting bipartisan support. Being pro-nuclear doesn’t hurt either (with Republicans).

    I was attracted to this group because it supports a technology-neutral approach, and its founder is openly pro-nuclear. Thus, it is one “environmental” group that I would feel comfortable in; where pro-nuclear views will be accepted. It is a good place to interact with the wider environmental community, many of which come from a pro-renewables background (or in general have little to do with nuclear). Thus, it is the perfect place to spread the word, inform, and advocate for nuclear.

  8. Carbon fee and dividend is the best idea to come along, for many reasons:

    It is technology neutral. Everyone here doesn’t need much more explanation on this point. Such a policy would FINALLY give nuclear tangible financial credit for its non-polluting nature. All these nuclear plant shutdowns would halt immediately. It would finally move us away from policies that discriminate between different emissions reduction options (i.e., that support renewables only).

    Ideally, such a policy would replace renewable portfolio standard policies, but if those policies didn’t go away, a fee and dividend would be better for nuclear than cap-and-trade. In the case of a weak cap and trade policy, along with strong renewables mandate policies, the price of CO2 falls to ~zero, since compliance with the renewables mandates alone will result in more CO2 emissions reductions than required under the cap-and-trade system. With a fee and dividend system, there is always some price on CO2, and thus some financial incentive for nuclear vs. fossil.

    As this is a technology-neutral approach, it lets the market decide the best was to reduce emissions, resulting in the greatest emissions reduction at the lowest cost. Also, since it is revenue neutral, it doesn’t grow the size of govt. or give govt “global warming” funds to use on various non-cost-effective emissions reduction programs that are chosen based on politics (e.g., renewables mandates, bullet trains, etc…). The fact that it doesn’t increase the size of govt., makes it FAR more likely to get moderate/conservative support. (The only real chance we have, really.)

    As it is revenue neutral, the cost to the public is essentially nothing (at first). And the dividend check to each household is constant. While energy bills are a larger fraction of poorer households’ overall income, their absolute energy use/bill is less than that of wealthier households. Thus, the fee and dividend program will be progressive (i.e., poor and middle class households will come out ahead, whereas rich households will come out somewhat behind).

    Despite the fact that this is not a tax, and will not reduce American’s standard of living, it does fully incentivize the reduction of CO2 emissions, by utilities, all other industries and by individuals. The incremental effect is that if you use less carbon fuel, you come out ahead. Yes, over time, CO2 emissions will drop, and the size of the dividend checks will drop. In the end (e.g., in the hypothetical final state where no fossil fuels are used at all), the dividend checks are zero, and people are using (at least some) non-fossil energy that they would not have otherwise used, but for the policy (i.e., non-fossil energy that is somewhat more expensive than fossil energy).

    But this is the entire point. The point is to use non-fossil energy even though it is somewhat more expensive than fossil energy. Otherwise no policy is needed. At least this policy attains maximum reductions at minimum cost, and is the best there is in terms of fairness in distributing the cost. As for whether the emissions reduction is worth the cost, such questions are easily addressed by this approach, when policymakers simply decide what the fee (per ton CO2) shall be. We are making that philosophical decision up front, in the most transparent way possible. This is one more way that a tax or fee is better than cap-and-trade. We are essentially deciding how hard we are going to try. We are *setting* the cost.

    Fee and dividend answers all the points that opponents of global warming policy are likely to raise. It is revenue neutral and doesn’t grow the govt. It is technology neutral (doesn’t pick winners) and is therefore the lowest cost approach. It is progressive (i.e., will not “hurt the poor/middle class) and will not significantly reduce people’s standard of living (as increased energy costs are offset by dividend checks). And it is not vulnerable to the pathologies that cap-and-trade is vulnerable to. The fear mongering arguments about runaway costs (needed to reduce emissions) are neutralized, as the price on CO2 is fixed.

  9. “Thus, it is one “environmental” group that I would feel comfortable in; where pro-nuclear views will be accepted.”

    Isn’t this the lobby that EP claims tells him not to bring up NE at group meetings?

    1. Yes, it is. All CCL chapters are different, they’re composed of the individuals who attend. I don’t bring up nuclear at mine either. And the RE folks are (fairly) good at not flogging theirs. Our chapter president runs a pretty tight ship.

      1. I’ve mentioned it, but am somewhat cautious about it. When I introduced myself for the first time, I acknowledged that I was a nuclear supporter, and that that is one of the reasons I joined, given the technology-neutral approach and the pro-nuclear views of its founder. I said that, for those reasons, this is one “environmental” group where a nuclear supporter would be accepted.

        In private conversations with group members, I have discussed nuclear, and I found that most people are actually supportive of nuclear. I suppose it’s a sign of the kind of person this group attracts.

        In any event, whether or not all or most of the members actually support nuclear, everyone can agree on the fee and dividend policy, and that policy will help nuclear. Thus, it’s an area where I, and all the other members, can agree to pull in the same direction, supporting the same policy. Classic political coalition.

        All that said, I’m not sure how I feel about the notion of keeping quiet about my nuclear views. I view this group as a prime opportunity to try and reach (convince) a broader range of environmentally-conscious people who may have an open mind. This group seems to be one of the best places to find such open-minded people. At a minimum, one should be able to convince many of them of the merit of technology-neutral approaches, as opposed to policies that favor/dictate only politically popular technologies (i.e., renewables). The fact that that’s the stated policy of the group and its founder, they will be hard pressed to disagree.

        1. Well… we’ve never met, though I’ve read a fair bit of your copy. I think perhaps you communicate better. I largely agree, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the nuclear support here, but there is also a strong contingent of old-line environmentalists still fighting the last war. These folks happen to be quite effect CCL organizers, recruiters, and event workers; I’ve no strong desire to antagonize them. I may yet end up doing so — I’m not Ben Heard though I do try — but if I do I hope its not in a CCL context. I feel time is on my side in the clean energy education department. I want to keep our chapter meetings friendly and non-antagonistic, sharply focused on getting F&D enacted. We all lose if it loses.

          Otherwise, I’m slowly gathering presentation material of my own, to eventually balance the rainbows and unicorns from the 350.org contingent. I’m in south Denver, a very liberal, target rich environment. But I’m also encouraged by the support nuclear is beginning to get in The Denver Post online comment sections. The Post ran Michael Blood’s AP piece on Nuclear Power Losing Its Glow in California this past Sunday. I submitted a reply for consideration in The post’s Open Forum, but haven’t heard back from the editorial page editor. These things have to be short; I posted the album version to my own site this morning.

        2. I think it has a lot of potential as long as the fee is high enough. Have you any information on how they might establish rates? As I said above that Hansen’s wish is that subsidies be removed from all energy types. So for it to work it needs a good formula.

  10. Lost in the discussion is the fact that the most consumers have no choice over the source of energy from which their electricity is generated. That decision is made years in advance by the utility under the guidelines of their regulator. While the guidelines consider cost, there are always political considerations (RE portfolio requirements, nuclear waste disposal, cooling water use) that cloud the matter considerably.

    So if the utility can pass their fuel costs on to the consumer, shielded by the dividend, why would anyone expect this idea to help nuclear? Assuming this dividend is real, I would then use it to pay for a rooftop solar system. Unless an RTG system is developed for home use.

    Bad idea. For the economy AND nuclear power.

    1. If utilities can pass higher costs on to customers, then they will.

      This is why, today, the utilities are not worried about the high volatility of natural gas prices. The capital costs of a natural gas plant are cheap and predictable. The cost of fuel, while not as predictable, often can be passed on. The risk is on the electricity consumers.

      In many regulated environments, passing on the cost of fuel is built into the system (e.g., through a fuel adjustment charge). In a market environment where the right side of the dispatch curve is made up almost entirely of natural gas plants, the cost of natural gas will be built into the price of electricity by the market.

      The increase in the price of electricity could probably help some of the struggling nuclear plants to remain operating, but I don’t see much incentive for a utility to build a new nuclear plant over building a new natural gas plant.

      1. “The increase in the price of electricity could probably help some of the struggling nuclear plants to remain operating, but I don’t see much incentive for a utility to build a new nuclear plant over building a new natural gas plant”

        I agree Brian. No merchant plant in their right mind would consider any of the nuclear designs likely to be available for construction in the next 10 years as their investors will have to foot the entire bill and risk, unlike Vogtle (getting ObamaBucks) and SCANA (ratepayers, who, believe me, are starting to grumble). NuScale might be an exception. Or a derivative of the SMP-1 that Rod discussed recently.

        Of course this assumes that the scheme will be implemented as designed. I doubt that very much. Within a few years it will be changed beyond recognition if not repealed.

    2. We disagree. The policies that are bad for emissions reduction by being bad for nuclear power, that you have identified, are separate from fee and dividend. Fee and dividend, by itself, is good. With reform of anti-nuclear policies it might be better, but even by itself F&D is good. No, most consumers — you and I — have no choice of electricity provider. We can chose whether to heat our homes by gas, sometimes oil, or heat pump. When I was a kid we used coal 😮

      But lets consider gas, and suppose you needed 500 arbitrary heat units to heat your home for a month. Used direct in a 92% efficient furnace, you’d need 500/.92 = 540 heat units of gas.

      Suppose you had the choice of a 3x efficient heat pump, i.e. one that could move 3 MJ heat for each MJ of electricity it consumed. Suppose your utility could deliver electricity from a gas plant to your home at 50% thermal efficiency. You’d then need 500/(3 * .5) = heat 333 units of gas to deliver the same heat to your home. How expensive does gas have to be in order for you to make the switch? How expensive for new construction? Does summer AC matter?

      Consider coal. F&D will raise the price of coal generation twice as fast as gas. For existing plant yes, the utility passes its increased fuel cost on to you and me. We have increased incentive to conserve, and still a few means to do it. For new plant in a merchant market the utility just buys from the cheapest vendor, coal is at increased disadvantage over gas, and the utility is required to buy from the lowest bidder. In a regulated market where the utility builds the plant itself, it has to justify the relative costs of coal vs gas to its regulator. Unlike in merchant market, here the utility can make reliable capacity arguments as well, e.g. it can stockpile coal against a snowy day, but not gas, and argue either way before its PUC. Afflicted ratepayers can also ask, at the same hearings, why either of these increasingly expensive fuel options are being considered while the price of wind and sun and uranium stay essentially fixed.

      And there will be debate, including why the fixed cost of uranium, for all its dispatchable reliability, is still exorbitant and we need dangerous fracked gas to meet the RES anyway.

      Before all this, we can hold the same mock debates in Congress and before CBO when it is called upon to repeat and expand upon the REMI modeling upon which CCL’s F&D justification is based. REMI’s actual code might be proprietary, but its inputs, outputs, and assumptions are public. They’d better be repeatable, and CBO, the national labs, universities, and interested think tanks had better be able to repeat them.

      And modify their inputs and assumptions to see what might be done better, or worse, and why.

      And that’s the part of the process I’m most interested in: the public modeling and debate 🙂

      1. We can chose whether to heat our homes by gas, sometimes oil, or heat pump.

        What about the 37% of American households who rent? They’re mostly younger and in lower-income brackets. What about low-income homeowners who don’t have the financial resources to invest in a new heating or cooling system every time government plays with the rules?

        You’ve just demonstrated why schemes such as this are highly regressive.

        You’ve also explained why a carbon tax would be a boon for the natural gas industry.

    3. Fermiaged – I would challenge your earlier assertion that government spending represents some kind of strangulation of the economy. The government SPENDS tax revenues on the same things that private businesses do, like salaries and materials, and vehicles, and services, and everything else under the sun. That money flows right back into the economy. Sure, they make occasional unwise allocations, but so does private business. Did the government strangle the economy during ww2? Of course not – it collected taxes, sold bonds, borrowed…and then pumped that money back into the economy, which – by the way – went gangbusters for the next 30 years.

      The idea of ‘passing the cost to the consumer’ as a problem misses the point. If the carbon tax makes it more expensive to produce ff based energy, then over time, utilities will not choose to burn fossil fuels in the first place because it will be relatively more expensive. The same way that any business makes production decisions based on costs.

      Yes, there will be an adjustment period – as there always is when external factors change – while the industry reconfigures around the new tax. The energy industry has relatively long lead times…licensing takes time, building plants takes time, they plants have a long life span,..but there are easy ways to mitigate the impact to consumers.

      And you are probably right that a carbon tax by itself does not necessarily bring nuclear out of its slump. But just because it’s not adequate for that goal doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial and the right thing to do.

      1. “The government SPENDS tax revenues on the same things that private businesses do, like salaries and materials, and vehicles, and services, and everything else under the sun.”

        Water flows downhill. It can either flow through a hydroelectric generating station or just empty into the sea. Either way, the water ends up in the sea.

        “Did the government strangle the economy during ww2? ”

        The old “war stimulates the economy” argument. First, WW2 led to widespread deferred consumption. When the WW2 economic controls were lifted at the end of the war, the economy naturally did well. Second, I point to the “Broken Window” fallacy mentioned by Brian Mays. Third, FDR died.

        “If the carbon tax makes it more expensive to produce ff based energy, then over time, utilities will not choose to burn fossil fuels in the first place because it will be relatively more expensive.”

        I have already addressed this when I pointed out that RE portfolio requirements, nuclear waste disposal, cooling water regulations etc. are significant factor in power generation technology selection.

        Something that hasn’t been pointed out is that the dividend is apparently for individuals. Yet it will raise the prices for everything INCLUDING nuclear power, since the inputs to operating and maintaining a nuclear power station will be more expensive. However, companies that operate nuclear plants will NOT receive the dividend.

        1. Second, I point to the “Broken Window” fallacy mentioned by Brian Mays.

          It should be noted that the Broken Window Fallacy doesn’t apply if the guy who fixes the window is from another town and all you consider is that town’s economy.

          The US economy did quite well fixing up the mess left over after the war in Europe and Japan. We profited by cleaning up a mess that we didn’t create and didn’t pay for.

          If more jobs and salaries and materials were the only goal, then I could start a government program whereby I hire a million workers to dig ditches and a million more to fill them back in. I would create two million jobs and I would purchase a lot of shovels, but at the end of the day, I would have accomplished nothing of value.

          1. @Brian Mays

            The US economy did quite well fixing up the mess left over after the war in Europe and Japan. We profited by cleaning up a mess that we didn’t create and didn’t pay for.

            While I know that the U.S. did not start the war and also know that the effort was necessary and just, I don’t agree that the we didn’t contribute to making the mess. A whole lot of the reconstruction effort was needed to recover from the destruction caused by American bullets and bombs.

            We also invested a substantial portion of our money into the reconstruction effort through programs like the Marshall Plan. Though it was a farce and a satire, there was a grain of truth in the movie “The Mouse that Roared” with Peter Sellers. Losing a war to the U.S. is historically a reasonably good way to rebuild a manufacturing economy with new equipment.

          2. Two points:

            Rod is correct in that Marshall Plan fund was our cost in the “Broken Windows Fallacy”. From what I have seen, there is no positive correlation between MP funding and a particular country’s recovery rate. Germany recovered only after it disregarded US Keynesian advisers and enacted regulatory and monetary reforms.

            Second, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that FDR schemed to get into that war, through Germany if possible, through Japan if necessary. Even FDR admirers admit this. (The question of FDR foreknowledge of the actual date of PH is moot.).

            We ended up siding with one of the co-belligerents (USSR) who had not only invaded several countries before they joined Germany with the invasion of Poland, but had aided the re-armament of Germany. In the aftermath, we traded a continental menace for a global menace.

            The American people were isolationists in 1937 because they were not isolationists in 1917.

          3. Rod – You’re getting off on a tangent.

            The claim was that breaking things is good. That is, imposing extra, unnecessary costs is a good thing, because it leads to extra spending, extra jobs, etc. The example given was that World War II lead to a post-war era of prosperity and this was largely a result of actions of government.

            No, that’s falling for the Broken Window Fallacy. In the case of World War II, it was the other guy’s window that got broken. So to the US, yes, there was a benefit.

            The economic stimulus during the war was fueled by debt and deferred consumption (rationing, etc.). After the war, the debt was paid off through the boom that followed, both in making up for the deferred consumption that occurred during the war and rebuilding the war torn countries.

            But where did the wealth come from? From government? No. With the former Great Powers out of the way recovering from the war and distracted by their collapsing empires, the US was left with a field wide open to exploit resources, both domestic and foreign. With a robust industrial infrastructure left over from the war effort, this was easy to do.

            This doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea in the long run to start a war just to boost your economy.

        2. Yeah – To be clear – I actually am not 100 % sure about the dividend concept, although I am open to being persuaded. Didn’t mean to imply I am defending that. My defense is strictly about a C tax.

          I would urge you not to get bogged down on specific policies in the WW2 argument. If the govt is a ‘hydroelectric station’ on the way from water running to the sea then to so is private business–after all they too make unwise allocations …they often save profits rather than spending them. They make bad decisions. Point being – Government doesn’t burn dollars collected in taxes — taxation is not some kind of macroeconomic brick wall…. the government is historically a *very* capable spender/stimulator in an economy. We can argue degrees or efficiency, but the difference in $ velocity is tiny.

          It seems like what you’re saying is that a carbon tax isn’t adequate to overcome nuclear’s problems. And you maybe right. But it’s at least it’s a start…a solid step to leveling the playing field so producers associated with externalities start paying for them. Again – that’s the right thing to do, and it is fair.

          Hope you keep an open mind on this.



  11. “a world wide fee on all hydrocarbon fuels could be assessed at the domestic mine or port of entry.”
    That idea of Hansen cs was tried by the EU for airline traffic.
    EU continued with the idea while USA was against. However EU stopped when USA found China as an ally and boycott threats were communicated.

    It also makes little chance as Hansen cs are primarily seen as promoters of nuclear.

      1. From BBC: China has barred its airlines from participating in the ETS; US Congress has voted to exclude US airlines from the ETS.

        ETS= European (EU) Emission Trading System.
        If you (e.g. power plant) emit CO2, etc., you have to buy emission rights on the ETS market. The tax is not high yet. Also because USA, etc refused to install similar tax.
        It’s strange that Airlines are exempted from fuel tax and partly from the ETS tax (though it delivers me a very cheap flight from NL to New-Zealand next week).

        I thought the row ended in full victory for the USA-China alliance (my comment was based on my memory from Dutch papers years ago).
        But as often in these matters, it ended in compromises which postpone final decisions (EU history under tab ‘documentation’).

        Having looked better, I estimate that some emission tax (ETS or so) for global airliners may become accepted before 2020 and installed before 2025.

  12. All this talk about the money, taxes and a possible rebate may be moot. I think you are all “missing the target.” The objective should be to convince the masses that global warming is a real problem. You have a vast right wing propaganda network telling people that it is not a problem. Talk and studies are being generated to blow smoke over the target. Money is simply a tool to achieve the given objective. First, you need a near consensus that the issue is an actual issue. Only then can you approach the task at hand.

    Why did all of the reactor research take place in the 1950s and 1960s? There was fear at that time. People built fallout shelters. Peacetime reactors were an offshoot over the reaction to nuclear war. The people were motivated. Things got done. This was the time when nuclear submarines began and research was performed on the molten salt reactor.

    Why did it stop? Although the threat of a nuclear war has never completely left us, it has abated. The necessity to develop nuclear energy is no longer seen as a necessity by many. The fear has gone. Concerns about global warming have not replaced that fear. Necessity is the mother of invention. Without apparent necessity, changes will not occur.

    There are a thousand ways to skin a cat. The first step in the journey is to decide that the cat actually needs to be skinned.

    1. The target you speak of is a mirage. Much like the North Vietnamese attack on US ships in the Tonkin Gulf.

      The nuclear development in the 1950’s was done by the government. There are several reasons.

      1) Ameliorate the stigma of nuclear weapons upon which our foreign and military policy relied.

      2) Retain scientific and engineering infrastructure to support future national defense.
      needs. This is a major motivator of government support of science and technology.

    2. Eino – you’re not wrong in the narrow sense, but you’re talking about a separate problem, and you’ve got it backwards if you think job 1 is convincing Republicans about global warming. Not only should we not wait till everyone is onboard to advocate and make good policy, i’m not sure we should spend all that much time on it.

      These are not academic questions – energy policy is already happening and changing around us, at every level of government. Look at emissions standards for cars, Sulfur and Mercury limitations on coal burners. Look at how wind and solar have become billion dollar businesses because the federal government and states have enacted policies that nurture them.


      1. Look at how wind and solar have become billion dollar bankruptcies because the federal government and states have enacted policies that nurture them.

        There. Fixed it for you.

        1. Bmays – you wanna believe that?
          I would love it if you were right. If municipalities and states and utilities and foreign countries were choosing to build nuclear power plants over wind and solar farms. I would be delighted.

          But they aren’t…or they are *very* rarely.

          So you can shit on them as much as you want, but the truth is solar and wind is now a $100 billion business in the U.S. alone. Sure, there are some bad bets out there…but if you honestly think the whole thing is a house of cards that will someday collapse to nuclear’s benefit, you’re totally fooling yourself. Just go to Eia.org and look at the power plants under construction in the U.S. – this renewables trend is not easing up. We can scoff at their inability to provide baseload power, we can scoff at their capacity factor, at their natural gas backup, but so far all our scoffing has gotten us exactly nowhere.

          If y’all didn’t listen to the Jigar Shah episode of the atomic show – you should. And if you listened to it once, go back and listen again. There’s a serious reality check embedded in there which is that WE (pro nukes) don’t have a game plan, we don’t have a congressional constituency, we don’t have passionate public support, and the corporate interests who should be fighting for us are not.

          I think that if the world takes climate change seriously it will HAVE to turn to nuclear eventually, but instead of acting like wind and solar are some kind of a huge bottomless scam – we (pro nukes) should be emulating them in terms of exciting the public support and imagination, forcing favorAble policies, driving entrepreneurship, engaging in the lobbying and policy writing process, etc it’s a long list, but it starts with acknowledging the very real success of wind and solar, no matter how bitter a pill that is to swallow.



          1. @swainscheps

            I agree with emulating success. The activity includes learning as much as possible about how that success was accomplished and which actions in the process can be adopted in order to achieve a similar outcome.

            One of my focus areas here has been a scattershot attempt to identify aspects of the “renewable energy” branding effort. That effort has been active for nearly all of my cognizant life – starting about the time I was finishing elementary school. One of the components of the plan has been identifying unpopular enemies worth fighting. You won’t hear most renewable energy promoters saying that they believe our energy policy should be “all of the above.”

  13. Very interesting discussion. At the moment I’m leaning towards CF&D is a good idea. Seems most of the arguments against it here are if it’s a gov program, the gov will screw it up, divert the funds etc. I hear that message and acknowledge there is some historical truth to it. But there is also some evidence to the contrary with some gov programs, so it may be worth a try.

    I’ll also buy into the opinion that if it was current policy maybe Kewaunee, VY1, Pilgrim, and FitzPat might be economically feasible for continued operation. But it has nothing to do with the self-inflicted demise of CR3 or SONGS.

    But the main problem I still see for the future of US nuke power is it JUST KICKS THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD. When the current operating plant licenses expire, there will be no replacements. Maybe there is logic to buying time to change that (using all the tools discussed on this and other web sites), but without that changing there is still no US nuclear future.

    The root cause of that is still the NRC. I have suggested changes in the NRC structure and absent any other proposals I will stick with my opinion. The two biggest flaws in the current NRC regulatory structure are, in the absence of nuke power being recognized as a national security need, “state’s rights” intervention and public intervention.

    As long as another “Shoreham” is possible a utility is crazy to build a new nuke. As long as a State can influence the State rate structure a utility is crazy to build a new nuke. In national security issues the Federal gov gets the final (and only) say after the debate. Double dipping on the interfering after that debate is not allowed on national security issues. Everybody gets their chance at the ballot box for the Federal gov policy makers. Yup, they can lie when running for office, but that is not a “nuke” problem. And one person can’t change a Federal law in a vacuum. Yucca got killed because the process allowed it. Change the process. One person doesn’t control a budget, in a vacuum, for national security issues.

    So you keep the current plants running until end of license with CF&D, then what? What are the replacement advanced designs? And what is preventing them? They also must already be built and operable to be a usable replacement for the expiring licenses.

    Would you buy a new car if the salesman said we can only tell you the cost after it gets here? Because we don’t know the design cost, or the certification cost, or the parts manufacturing cost, or the construction cost, or intervenors don’t like the color of the paint job? That’s the system under current NRC structure.

    Both the AP600 and ESBWR are certified old light water tech designs. Nobody in the US will buy one.

  14. Swain – excellent points.

    “Look at how wind and solar have become billion dollar businesses because the federal government and states have enacted policies that nurture them.”

    From Wikepedia:

    “For calendar year 2014, the electricity produced from wind power in the United States amounted to 181.79 terawatt-hours, or 4.44% of all generated electrical energy.”


    “The U.S. Department of Energy’s report 20% Wind Energy by 2030 envisioned that wind power could supply 20% of all U.S. electricity, which included a contribution of 4% from offshore wind power.”

    All that work. All those subsidies for 4.44%. Seems like somewhat of a waste.

    “Eino – you’re not wrong in the narrow sense, but you’re talking about a separate problem, and you’ve got it backwards if you think job 1 is convincing Republicans about global warming.”

    I don’t put people in boxes. I’m talking about convincing people. You get people behind you and then you’ll see things happen. Right now, I think a lot of people are indifferent to this issue. You get the masses to take an interest and the other 90% or so of the electricity will be made carbon free. Right now these policies are to appease special interests and not for the general interests.

    1. Eino-I think I understand the distinction you’re making – you’re saying that because there isn’t a broad consensus that climate change is worth fighting for, the policies that get enacted are necessarily narrow, special-interest driven rather than being broad and for-the-public-good. I would agree with that as a result we’re not getting the healthiest policies right now. But…this is the world we live in, and I think it’s a bad idea to wait for people to be convinced before we move. That’s why I resist this sentence in particular:

      “First, you need a near consensus that the issue is an actual issue. Only then can you approach the task at hand.”

      Near consensus isn’t happening anytime soon in this country, and I don’t want to wait for it. (People are just not good at ‘being convinced’ – especially righties in this case who have made climate change denial a core component of their identity.)

      w/r/t your stats on wind contributions…I am certainly not defending investments in wind or solar over the last decade(s) – especially versus nuclear. I would never try and convince you that the country’s choices to get to 4.4% of generated power have been good ones. I agree, 20% isn’t going to happen by 2030. [FWIW I did a very simple, mostly straightline projection of wind growth based on the last 10 years of history. $15b in new investment per year has netted about 6.8GW in new capacity (average!). Assuming 31% capacity factor (slightly optimistic!), and 1% growth in demand gets wind to about 13% of total generated electricity in 2030. We would hit 20% by the early 2040’s.

      But again – 4.4% of generation or not,my main point was: wind and solar businesses are valued at $100b in the US. Sometimes these companies are profitable, sometimes not……there will be winners and losers, there’s possibly a bubble happening. And yes, they are taking advantage of generous subsidies, aggressive lobbying, and favorable public perception..(reminds me a little of any other new sector like High Tech). But I think it’s a waste of our (pro-nukes) time to pretend that it’s all a fad, a scam, and that it’s all going to evaporate one day…or that we have nothing to learn from them.


  15. I was a member of ccl until earlier this year. Most of the members gave tacit approval of nuclear power as one solution to the co2 problem. We had a regular monthly column in the local paper advocating for a carbon tax and dividend. It came my turn to write a column, but I I wanted to broaden it to solutions as well, and to advocate for nuclear . I was at first discouraged from doing that but worked out a compromise draft with the leader. I read it at the next meeting and the folks roundly disliked it. I rewrote it in the mildest possible manner yet explaining the problems with unreliables and the advantages nuclear as well as a short primer on the new designs. I concluded with the ccl pov.
    The upshot was that it got published, I had an angry exchange with ccl national, and quit the group. So maybe it was the wrong venue for me.

    1. Sounds like the leadership wants to appear neutral in order to get their idea enacted without being accused of being a stalking horse for RE or nuclear.

      The fact the the rank and file members disliked your draft says volumes about their real attitude toward nuclear.

      If you think the fossil fuel lobby has it in for nuclear, wait till they lump nuclear in with those fools who gave us high energy bills. Of course, the economy will be in the tank so not only will no new nuclear plants be built, the lowered demand for electricity will put operating plants at risk.

  16. Over half of the words in the provided printed press release (excluding biographies) talk about how renewable energy won’t cut the mustard and the importance of nuclear energy. No mention of a carbon tax.

    Here we have real, world class scientists trying to change the anti-nuclear positions of environmental leaders. And then there is Bill Nye, a science clown of sorts, exhorting young people to vote out of office pro-nuclear politicians.

    Bill Nye the Social Primate and Nuclear Energy

    1. Where’s (what nuclear organization’s sponsoring?) our nuclear Carl Sagan to counter Nye as he gets over??

      James Greenidge
      Queens NY

      1. I’d humbly suggest you are waiting for Godot. Sagan is gone. Fermi is gone. Weinberg is gone. Carol Browner is here. Ben Heard is there. Rod Adams is here. You and I are here, if we put our minds and pens to it.

        1. If such is the attitude of the nuclear community even while the iron is white hot to hawk nuclear energy a’la climate change concerns, then anti-nukers and gas interests will definitely get over at least here in the U.S., and the most advanced nuclear reactors on the drawing boards will just remain engineering wet dreams because the public fears them. Who needs Arnie and Helen when your community and its promo orgs are its own worst PR enemy?

          James Greenidge
          Queens NY

          1. “Who needs Arnie and Helen when your community and its promo orgs are its own worst PR enemy?”

            Ah. Some of you are finally wising up. But, sadly, too little too late for NE.

          2. Come on, James. You know that both the American Nuclear Society and the US Department of Energy are in Paris hawking nuclear energy.

            It’s not their fault that they have a tough crowd.

  17. @Ed Leaver December 6, 2015 at 1:44 PM
    “As for net-metering, Renewable Portfolio Standards, out-right bans on new nuclear build, ratcheting thermal pollution standards, and caviar support, these are all fingers of the individual states, Congress has no say.”

    Under the current laws you are correct. Read my post at mjd December 5, 2015 at 11:30 AM. Congress has the power to change this. And it must.
    “The two biggest flaws in the current NRC regulatory structure are, in the absence of nuke power being recognized as a national security need, “state’s rights” intervention and public intervention.” As long as these conditions exist it is too risky for a business to consider a new nuke.

    Changing this is admittedly a hard sell, but absolutely required. For anyone who has ever lost power at their house (we all have), just consider what will happen in your community, and nationally if it never comes back. Life as we know it stops. Back-up emergency gens run on stored fuel supply, until gone. All food, fuel, etc. supply links need AC power to function. Take down the national grid interconnects in the right place, and you have it. Cascading failures, and all plants need a crank to start up. The only plants with enough on-site fuel supply available to survive and generate until things can recover are nukes. And no nukes can survive a load rejection anymore, with a rapid runback to low load limit supplying their own power required to stay operating until the grid can be recovered. Post-TMI2 NRC required changes eliminated the runback capability.

    Doomsday scenario? Not hardly, a single grid interconnect fault in Arizona took down most of the generators in S Cal. A hardened selective portion of the national grid, protected by the military, backed up with nuke generation IS a national security requirement. It’s the reality of the world we live in. What security experts called a “dry run” attack on a Cal substation has already occurred.

    My point is your examples of states interfering with the operation of the potentially most dependable, without external support, generating plants must stop. Federal law must change to make it happen. But it first must be recognized by law makers that a hardened grid supplied by nukes is a national security issue.

    And this is only an interim solution. New technology nukes must be up and running by the time the current fleet licenses expire, or 25-30 years. The current NRC structure won’t allow this time frame. By their own frequently spoken position on nuke power, and a misguided interpretation of “non-promotion” they are officially agnostic to the need for nuke power. Rickover’s system worked, and he would not have tolerated an agnostic, knowing it would eventually affect productivity. The current NRC is slowly moving to zero risk (mostly to them) plants. They don’t exist, and never will.

    1. no nukes can survive a load rejection anymore, with a rapid runback to low load limit supplying their own power required to stay operating until the grid can be recovered. Post-TMI2 NRC required changes eliminated the runback capability.

      Is there any material on this that I can read?  This bit of rule-making is very curious and I would love to know the justification for it.

      1. I’ll have to review that event, but I believe the AP1000 can. It also survives a closure of the MSIVs. MSLB is far more benign than in the CE 3400 MWt plants which are similar.

        Of course, this is in the simulator.

      2. Hopefully some other B&W plant experience will pipe up, but they got punished the worst. Some might say they deserved it. But basically the target was to prevent mostly the specific TMI2 transient. B&W plants were extremely maneuverable, compared to U-tube SG plants. During DBNPP Power Escalation testing we conducted a 100% power Load Rejection test. Basically opened the Main Generator output breakers at 100% power. We made it w/o a Rx trip, plant ran back at a 50%/ min demand rate (actual rate gets adjusted to balance Pri-Sec heat transfer), to a low load limit of 15% power. Turbine didn’t trip, so it’s on, main generator still powered, Main transformer and Station Auxiliary transformer still on supplying all house load (generator output breakers downstream of Main transformer). But… in those days the PORV lift point was 2255PSI and the Rx High P trip was 2300PSI. The nature of this transient is when gen load is lost a Primary heat up, which means a Primary P increase transient. The PORV was available to minimize the probability of High P Rx trip. I don’t actually remember if our PORV lifted during this test.

        Post TMI2 the PORV lift was required to be 2400PSI. But the worst requirement was the required installation of another automatic trip system. The Anticipatory Reactor Trip System (ARTS). One of the inputs to this is Turbine Trip, which via ARTS now automatically trips the RX (above its arming power level, don’t remember it but I think low load limit power of 25%). Why? DBNPP has 40% power steam dumping capacity on 25% Turb Bypass Valves and 15% Atmos Dump Valves.

        If DBNPP is running, unhooked from the grid, supplying its own Aux power (like every navy nuke vessel runs 24/7 for months on end) and the Turbine Trips, ARTS now trips the reactor. This configuration (like the navy runs) is the most reliable electrical generating machine known to man, If you are in a LOOP condition, ARTS just dumped the best generator on the system, and no way to restart it.

        Might not matter, plant Technical Specification require a manual plant shutdown when off-site power lines (sources) are not available. Why? You might be shutting down the only available power source to supply off-site power to boot the grid back up!

        Those are two direct NRC mandated changes (that I can remember). Other changes are indirect to TMI2, and not all directly NRC. The “New Paradigm” required by INPO requires at every plant burp the Operators manually trip out. Why? There are Operating Margin windows that bound Safety Analysis limits requiring RX trip. “Real Operators” would use those margins to correct the problem. Not allowed anymore. I see manual Rx trips reported on loss of a Circ Water pump, because main condenser vacuum is decreasing. Why? The Turb manufacturer has provided a low vacuum trip, use the margin, run the damn thing back until the load matches the available circ water flow.

        The big post TMI2 effect is more subtle. No more plants were built. How do you get more MWs for your system? You squeeze the living crap out of the core loads you have (and thus reduce every margin to trip) and you tune the controls to straight line at 100%. These plants can barely move anymore without an auto trip. B&W plants of the ’70s could easily survive both a MFP or RCP trip at 100% power with an automatic runback. No more.

        Some of this seems catch 22. I want them to survive load rejections, but I say they can’t even wiggle anymore without a trip. (Count the number of plants hurricane Sandy took down on grid faults). The ability to rapidly down power these big PWR plants is limited by the reactivity insertion rate of control rods and the delta flux trips of these juiced cores. If it was a national security issue, both easily solvable.

        1. IMO, it SHOULD be a national security issue.  VY should be returned to service with national security as the justification for the EO, and governors should be warned that any plants they hound into shutting down will be taken over by eminent domain and run by ex-Navy people for the sake of grid security.

          1. BINGO (mostly). The operating crew/staff of VY1 is perfectly capable, and has proved it, that they can run that plant just fine. No need to replace them, and I also wouldn’t advise it. No need for eminent domain take over.

            The “governors” shouldn’t have the power to hound them, anymore than the governors have the power to kick a military base out of their state.

            Professional interveners shouldn’t have the power to intentionally cost them money, just to wear them down, using frivolous claims, UNDER A FREE RIDE SYSTEM. The rest of the legal system doesn’t work that way. If your neighbor financially harms you with a frivolous claim and looses in court (like the ASLB) make them pay your legal expenses. They will quit.

            The public intervention is a left over idea from day one of the AEC, Atoms for Peace, etc. when the thought of nukes was so scary it seemed appropriate. Time has proved it is being used inappropriately, time to change it. There are a lot of things I “don’t like” about national security issues but I don’t get a double dip voice. Only at the ballot box.

            But again, IT’S ONLY A STOP GAP MEASURE. VY1 is old, small, and now facing NRC mandated Fukushima fixes (like all the operating plants). Are they really necessary, or driven by political hysteria over the “Fukushima Unit 4 SFP is empty and on fire”?

            VY1 WILL reach end of life, what nuke design will replace it? And when should that replacement construction start? The current regulatory and economic problems can not support the required development schedule, with actual operating new plants, in time to replace the whole current nuke operating fleet.

            And it doesn’t even have to. Unless you believe a hardened grid backed by nuke generators is a national security issue. Which I do, because they are the ONLY generators which have enough stored fuel to survive an extended grid black out to boot up a recovery. But they also have to still be running after the black out or they are useless. A hardened national grid crosses state lines so meddling with the operating nuke plants is not the right of a state… if it’s a national security issue.

          2. VY1 is old, small, and now facing NRC mandated Fukushima fixes (like all the operating plants).

            So have it operated by the military.  This removes it from both state and NRC authority.  This is the anti-nukes NIGHTMARE.  If that becomes the default outcome for nuclear plants hounded out of business, they will rapidly change tactics.

          3. These (and similar) statements:
            MJD: “The public intervention is a left over idea…”
            MJD: “a hardened grid backed by nuke generators is a national security issue”
            EP: “So have it operated by the military.”

            are a major motive driving the Energiewende movement in the last century.
            The Germans don’t want such autocracy again (they remember Hitler cs and communism).
            It became the second reason for the Energiewende “democratize energy’ immediately after “all nuclear out”. You confirm the position of the greens that nuclear will inevitable lead towards an autarchy / dictatorship.

            It is one of the main reasons the Germans are so happy with the Energiewende (90% support it), despite paying a levy of ~7c/KWh (~5c/KWh netto) for the Energiewende.

            1. @BasG

              The Germans were happy with the autocracy as well — until the full costs became apparent.

              That 7c/kwhr is more than I pay for electricity delivered to my house. It is only a downpayment on the Energiewende; much of the eventually required infrastructure hasn’t even begun construction yet so its cost isn’t included.

          4. “Germans were happy with the autocracy as well — until the full costs became apparent.”
            I doubt that*).
            Anyway, they were very unhappy with that in the decades the Energiewende movement became a major power. The autocratic attitude of the big incumbent, nuclear utilities also stimulated that ‘democratization of (electric) energy’ became such an important part of the Energiewende.

            “That 7c/kwhr is more than I pay for electricity”
            Here in NL we don’t have an Energiewende. Still we pay ~22c/KWh due to the energy tax (so we are more cautious with energy consumption, good for the climate, etc) and various other taxes (VAT etc). The total different tax situation makes comparison difficult.

            “It is only a downpayment … much of the eventually required infrastructure hasn’t even begun construction yet so its cost isn’t included.”
            They did scenario studies.
            The results were so clear that Merkel promised that the Energiewende levy would increase only a little (~1c/KWh) and go down after 2022. One of the reasons: the high guaranteed FIT’s of the first years (up to 70c/KWh for solar during 20yrs) come to an end.

            The Energiewende levy is this year slightly lower than in 2014.
            While it’s a fluctuation, it confirms that the levy won’t increase much in coming years. Also because:
            – the amount of new solar and wind installed per year is now better regulated with the new FiT adaptation scheme (~2.5GW/a each), so excesses such as the 7GW/a of new solar in 2010-2012 can no longer occur.
            – the FiT’s continue their gradual decrease

            *) I estimate that most Germans were not happy with that in the 1933-1945 period either. To judge, we should study the unstable political situation in ~1932/1933, which allowed Hitler to install its laws while he got 33% of the votes in the last free election of Nov.1932.
            Historians consider the last election, ~4 months thereafter in March1933 which delivered 44% support, already as not free (major violence put pressure on the voters, etc). Thereafter no elections.

          5. @Rod,
            Sorry, I forgot to explain the important role of the huge compensation payments (for the damage of WW1) in the German 1932/33 elections.
            Those compensation payments were killing for the German economy. Citizens were impoverished so much that parents sent their children to NL (my grand-parents took a sibling) for years as they couldn’t feed them.

            Hitler promised to stop those payments immediately if he came into power, which must have attracted many voters.
            The allied forces accepted the stop, probably also because they saw the inhumanity those created.
            It was a factor in the US decision to deliver us in Europe, the great Marshall aid after WW2 for which we are still grateful.

          6. Rod,
            Your idea about the massive German support for Hitler may be caused by the fact that the Germans continued to fight until the bitter end. While any rational thinking German knew after 1943 that the war was lost (Stalingrad was lost in Feb.1943, the big tank battle at Koersk was lost in July1943).
            So why did they continue to fight and so fanatic?

            I believe there were two important factors:
            1. Hilter told the Germans that they would be annihilated if they would loose.
            Most Germans didn’t believe that. But they remembered the killing huge compensation payments after WW1, so they could project that after this war far more severe punishment would follow, making their life really miserable.

            2. The allies helped Hitler a lot by bombing city centers, killing only civilians and houses (e.g. Dresden full of refugees, no factories or military relevant targets, 100,000deaths).
            Those bombardments were used by Hitler and convinced many that the life of their families would become slave like (if not killed anyway).
            So many German soldiers chose to fight with heroic courage, sacrificing their life, in order to save their families future.

  18. I really wish nuclear power advocacy would focus on the following:

    “The safest, most reliable, highest power density method of electricity generation AND storage currently available or likely to be available in the next 10-20 years that provides an acceptable energy return on investment and minimal environmental impact is the core of a LWR.”

    What battery pumped storage facility can rival the energy density storage of core of a nuclear reactor?

    1. I have a backup battery sitting right here.  It stores a nominal 1.25 kWh and measures 6-1/2″ by 11-1/2″ by about 8″ high, roughly 0.35 ft³.

      An AP1000 is rated at a nominal 1115 MW(e), so storing an hour’s output would require 892,000 such batteries occupying about 309,000 cubic feet:  roughly 100 by 100 by 31 feet.  Storing a day’s output would require 7.4 million cubic feet, 1000 feet by 1000 feet by 7.4 feet deep.  Storing a year’s output would require 7.7 billion batteries occupying 2.7 billion cubic feet, a square mile stacked 97 feet deep.

      It would take on the order of 2 cubic miles of batteries to store the annual output of the existing US nuclear fleet.

      1. And these batteries could never release the same amount of energy that was used to charge them.

        Meanwhile, an LWR using UO2 enriched by centrifuges will return 50 to 75 times the energy used to mine, enrich and transport it. Even without recycling.

        1. Here’s were safety comes in to the picture.

          Imagine those batteries discharging at once. I wouldn’t want to be around that.

          What about compressed gas storage. That, too would not be pleasant.

          Pumped Hydro? We have seen dams fail. Not too good for those downstream.

          Flywheel? Don’t even want to think about that.

          Meanwhile, an LWR shuts itself down and confines it’s initial energy release to it’s containment building. From there it is slowly removed as heat which would not cause any noticeable temperature rise in the environment.

    2. As utilities have to compete against many others (~20 in NL) they will choose the most economic method. When they don’t do that, they face bankruptcy (often competitors take them before it occurs).

      Even power density measured as the land needed to generate a MWh, is hardly relevant. The superior power density in MWh/m² of wind and rooftop solar, has hardly any influence on decisions.

  19. This just in:

    Rod Adams is now officially a “Climate Denier“!

    (… at least, according to the author of “The Merchants of Doubt.” He’s not mentioned by name, but if the shoe fits …)

    It’s a badge of honor, Rod. Wear it proudly.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar

    Renewables people are masters in marketing. Unreliable intermittent generators whose output is all over the place, and usually badly correlated…

  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts