Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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

Subscribe to Comments:


  1. I am sat over on the other side of the pond, but the same Harry Potter like spells seem to cause suspension of belief over here. People believe that because a wind turbine is turning it is producing energy, it could just as easily be turning under motor power to avoid brinelling.

    Offshore wind is seen as a big thing, and is a saviour (not). It is a job creator (Not really) and is more reliable as the wind blows more at sea. I swear that is what is written, but having spent 23 years in the Royal Navy and 18 years on offshore oil installations I can categorically call that another lie.

    Imagine being recommended to buy a new car. This car couldn’t be used on certain days, and could only achieve 40mph on some days, and for this you would have to pay a premium. Your other car, which you could use any and every day has to sit in the garage so you are paying for two cars to get one car’s use. Economics anyone?

    1. @dennis clark

      Your mention of a motor turned wind turbine reminds me of a tale shared by a Dutch friend. Siemens has a factory located alongside a major highway in Holland. The parking lot includes a moderate sized wind turbine. The turbine never stops spinning because it is a motorized “billboard” for the company’s product.

      1. We have one of those near me as well. Wind River Energy constructed a wind turbine at their office across from a strip mall. They put flags in the same parking lot at the same elevation as the turbine. There are numerous days where the turbine is moving despite the flags not moving at all. Too few people see the irony.

        1. @Rod, Robin – Depending on the size it is probably the generator acting as a motor to prevent warpage and on larger units the blades move to prevent brinelling (grooving) of the bearings on the main shaft. Most power plants do this to their steam turbine – BUT it is moving very slow. Most would not see it rotate as it is slower than a second hand. I am sure Rod remembers the need for the jacking gear. Kinda like that but this is to prevent the large shafts from sitting still with no oil between the shaft and the bearing (No ball bearings).

  2. “…if we electrify all sectors, that’s electricity, transportation, heating and cooling, industry, agriculture, forestry and fishing, which is what we intend to do through these plans,…”

    Rod, you mentioned the issue of fishing vessels…

    I’m curious what his plans to electrify air travel are. Simply making hydrogen planes work, I suppose.

    So in his world, apparently the massive costs imposed on nuclear that arise from irrational regulations and irrational opposition are “market competition issues” that will forever keep nuclear from being able to compete in the marketplace, while all the technological (not to mention environmental!) challenges in his elaborate fantasy energy system are something that can be overcome in a handful of years, if we just have the “will.”

    1. “I’m curious what his plans to electrify air travel are. Simply making hydrogen planes work, I suppose”

      Blimps. And I have it on good authority that he has agreed to supply the hot air that will hold them aloft.

      1. Actually, airships aren’t such a bad idea.  Hydrogen can provide cheap lift if you have a blanket of something relatively incombustible around it, such as nitrogen or ammonia (which is a weaker lifting gas).  Ammonia also works as a compact (relatively) liquid fuel which can be cracked to hydrogen.

        The Hindenburg cruised at about 75 MPH on 850 horsepower, or about 635 kW.  Assuming you can get 80% energy conversion of ammonia to hydrogen and 70% conversion to shaft work via FC+motor, 22.5 MJ/kg HHV gets you 12.6 MJ/kg of work or about 180 kg/hr ammonia consumption (not far off what the Hindenburg actually used).  It would also produce about 285 kg/hr of water.  Rather than retaining about 2/3 of the water as ballast to equal fuel consumption, it would probably make more sense to dump most of it and meet a substantial part of the fuel requirement by consuming the main lifting gas; lift would be reduced as weight fell.

        Who among us wouldn’t love to take an airship tour just once?

        1. When I was an early teen I got to go up in the Goodyear blimp, due to a connection my dad had.

          Ho hum.

          I think I irritated the pilot when I asked him “Won’t this thing go any faster?”

  3. Thanks for unpacking that Rod. In the Q&A he was asked about including carbon from an-atomic-war-blast (in 2009) as part of nuclear’s carbon footprint. That was nice.

    1. It’s not the carbon from the nuclear war that’s the issue; the real issue is that (in his 2009 seminal paper) MZJ counts the deaths from hypothesized nuclear war against the safety of nuclear power. This is a bit like assigning the deaths from napalm to the highway fatality count, because they both use gasoline.

  4. Thanks for the work of transcribing, Rod.

    Something that caught my eye was Jacobson’s claim that five countries have developed nuclear weapons under the guise of peaceful nuclear programs. At present, there are nine countries that (probably) possess nuclear weapons. One other, South Africa, built nuclear weapons and then gave them up. But I’m wondering how Jacobson gets to five.

    In more or less chronological order, the ten are
    United States
    Soviet Union
    United Kingdom
    South Africa
    North Korea

    The first five were quite explicit about nuclear weapons programs, although the programs were largely classified. I would not consider any of them as developing nuclear weapons under the cover of a peaceful program.

    Israel and South Africa were very secretive about their nuclear weapons programs; Israel still does not admit to having nuclear weapons. Both also had civilian nuclear programs, although not strong ones. Undoubtedly there was interaction between the civilian and weapons programs. In Israel’s case particularly, the civilian program was a thin veil over the weapons program. It’s not like either of them had a robust civilian program and decided one day to make weapons; rather, the civilian program was a thin cover for what was really intended.

    India is the nation where I think Jacobson’s accusation sticks. They lied about obtaining the Canadian reactor that they used to produce plutonium for bombs. I’m not as acquainted with Pakistan’s history.

    North Korea, like Israel and South Africa, has used a civilian justification for a primarily weapons program. They haven’t fooled anyone.

    So I would be interested to hear from Jacobson which nations he thinks have “developed nuclear weapons under the guise of civilian nuclear energy programs or research reactors”. He could probably cite the last five in my list, but I find that unconvincing in the sense that he probably intends.

    1. @Cheryl Rofer

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it useful.

      You make a good point by pointing out the thin veil of cover provided in most cases where there was a small civilian research program and a covert weapons program.

      That made me think along a different line than I’ve used before.

      It seems to me that a nation that invests in a substantial civilian nuclear power program similar to the way that UAE has done is far LESS likely to then begin developing a weapons program. Sure, their people may have developed some useful skills in the power program that could be translated. However, the enormous investment in the civilian program would be put at risk by discovery of a covert weapons program.

      The nation who did that would become a pariah overnight and might experience a great deal of difficulty getting fuel, parts and service for their civilian program. Once again, we have a precedent for this result in India.

      Therefore, establishing a substantial program for electric power or industrial heating reactors might be a terrific way to discourage weapons programs.

      1. I think there’s some truth to what you say, although I wouldn’t link cause and effect that closely.

        Iran’s ambiguous program is a counterexample. What was/is the purpose of their enrichment program? It is oversized for their claims about a civilian program, but on the other hand, prestige and international leverage can count for a lot – India and North Korea are examples of this. So that program might have been Iran’s way of demonstrating itself to the world as a significant power. The fact remains that that infrastructure could be turned to weapons or civilian power.

        I think your argument might be used in some circumstances, but I would be careful about when and how I put it forth.

        1. Iran’s only commercial nuclear power plant (Bushehr) has a long term fuel contract with Russia. If I recall correctly, Iran was arguing that they needed the enrichment facilities, and specifically the ability to enrich to 20% U-235, for their surprisingly large number of research and medical isotope production reactors. Specifically the Tehran Research Reactor has had an interesting and turbulent past. Originally fueled with American HEU fuel, it later ran on LEU fuel from Argentina. When that fuel reached the end of its life, Iran was unable to secure a new fuel deal with any other country for this research reactor. This at least was used as the excuse/justification for their domestic enrichment program, and the TRR did start using domestically produced 20% enriched fuel in 2012.

          On the other hand, several attempts by various countries, like Turkey, Brazil, Russia and France, to ensure Iran had access to international research reactor fuel markets were repeatedly rebuffed by Iran and/or P5 UN security council members. And building several deep underground enrichment facilities certainly appears to an outside observer to be a disproportionate response to the lack of fuel for research reactors that don’t exactly need fresh fuel in large volumes or frequency.

          I agree that Iran and India are the closest we come to lending the nonproliferation crowd some credibility. My guess is that Jacobson is probably including in his list a handful of countries that flirted with nuclear weapons in the 50s and 60s, like Sweden and Switzerland. And then of course you have the Brazilian and Argentinian weapons programs, or curiosities, like the non-safeguarded plutonium experiments that South Korea has confessed to in the past. Then you also have countries, like Japan, that, if they were insane, could pull a North Korea, kick out the IAEA, and use their technical know-how and fuel cycle facilities to develop nuclear weapons relatively quickly.

          None of these countries, however, ever really came close to actually building a nuclear weapon, as far as I know. To me that shows that signing the NPT and enjoying the benefits of commercial nuclear power was more important to leaders in those countries relative to whatever security benefits they were pursuing with their past secretive weapons programs. Nonproliferation hardliners, on the other hand, see these countries as dangerous precedents and potential nuclear weapons states if other political leaders had been in charge at the time.

          1. I used to have a University of Michigan – Nuclear Engineering t-shirt that said “Glow Blue”. I wore it out a long time ago.

        2. Shi’ite Iran has Sunni nuclear power Pakistan on its doorstep.  Sometimes these things aren’t about us.

      2. “The nation who did that would become a pariah overnight and might experience a great deal of difficulty getting fuel, parts and service for their civilian program.”

        Or, we can reward them with billions annually, and give them unfettered access to our foreign policy decision making process.

        1. @poa

          I don’t buy it. Iran has plenty of reasons to want commercial nuclear energy and few, if any, reasons to desire atomic weapons. Speaking as a career military man, they are a useless weapon to have in your arsenal. They’re extremely inhibiting, costly, and difficult to oversee. About the only thing they’re good for is rattling.

          Now that I think about it, I suspect you were attempting to refer to a different country. The problem with you making that interpretation is that Israel does not have a substantial commercial nuclear energy program. In fact, it does not have any commercial nuclear power plants at all.

          1. Correct.

            They just have a substantual number of nuclear weapons, developed EXACTLY in the manner that we ACCUSE Iran of doing. They refuse to join the NPT, and they refuse to have their nuclear facilities monitored by the IAEA. And, for this, we reward them with billions in aid, the lives of american sons and daughters, and the servitude of these mewling cowards in Congress that cower under their desks everytime AIPAC enters the hall.

    2. About 81% of the worlds carbon pollution is emitted by countries that already have and use commercial nuclear power.

    3. The whole proliferation issue is a huge red herring. The US already has nuclear weapons, so that ship has sailed. At least it has in regards California, which is what the UCLA debate was supposed to be about.

    4. Good points. India, and maybe Pakistan before the world got it’s non-proliferation act together.

      Iran’s attempt to use commercial nuclear power as a cover to make weapons is a good example of why that ruse won’t work in today’s regulated world. They still don’t have nuclear weapons. Research reactors are all over the place. Israel, South Africa, and North Korea simply built secret production reactors. You can’t make weapons grade material with a modern commercial nuclear reactor. I went into detail on this topic when I parsed Nye’s anti-nuclear rant: http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2016/02/04/parsing-bill-nyes-anti-nuclear-energy-keynote-speech/

          1. @Russ Finley

            India’s 1974 test device was also domestically described — legitimately, in my opinion — as a peaceful explosive that was designed to determine the value of using nuclear explosives in civil engineering projects. At the time, this was still a funded program in the US, known as Operation Plowshares, mainly being promoted by Edward Teller.

            The rest of the free world didn’t believe India. Many in the non-proliferation community and others who were resolutely opposed to movements toward a plutonium economy instead of a hydrocarbon economy seized the situation as a great way to promote their point of view by spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt.

            The strategy worked well for forty years and has been recycled for the past dozen or so years with Iran as the story line villan that is supposed to prove that no countries other than the U.S., UK, France, Russia and China can REALLY be trusted with nuclear weapons. In fact, the story goes, the possibility of any other country deciding to develop weapons is such a catastrophic threat that we should all give up access to valuable technology and material as highly enriched uranium, nuclear fuel recycling, breeder reactors, separated plutonium reactors, and even, in the minds of some extremists, nuclear fission energy itself.

            I reject that story line. I strongly recommend that others reject it. Its true purpose is to maintain hydrocarbon dominance.

          2. The close timing of the Indian test with the Arab oil embargo is highly unfortunate. Similarly horrible timing occurred with the safety tests of EBR-2 being within about a month of the Chernobyl reactor explosion.

            Peaceful nuclear power has had some incredibly bad luck with timing………the even bigger unfortunate timing than the 2 examples above, of course, is the fact that World War 2 coincided with so many of the key discoveries of the wonders of the atom and its use as a source of energy.

            1. @EntrepreNuke

              Coincidence? I think not.

              I’m too skeptical to believe in repeated occurrences of well timed events. I’d add TMI coinciding closely with Iran driven oil price spike, the Fukushima Frenzy coinciding with a growing interest in new nuclear power plants around the world, and the shale gale coinciding with the Nuclear Renaissance.

  5. A major problem that most of the proponents of 100% renewable are still ignoring is the “house loads” (A term used by power plant designers – the energy consumed 24/7/365 by the equipment needed to operate and run the plant.) Texas ECROT indicates that 11+% of the power generated in texas comes from wind. What they do not tell you is that quantity of power is the amount delivered to the grid and ignores the amount sucked back off of the grid. That is because they are measuring the power delivered on one meter and the power consumed on a different meter – common practice for electric utilities. [I worked at one NPP that was required to buy their “house loads” from a competing utility due to the fact that the plant was inside their PUC controlled territory.] Typically, on a yearly average, a wind turbine will consume about 10% of the theoretical name plate generating capacity for the year on “house loads” over the year.
    With a NPP, which has greater than 90% capacity factor (CF), that 10 percent reduces the [1-GW x 24 x 365 or 8760 x 0.9 ] 7,884 GW delivered by the 876 GW consumed. This adds 6,998 net power to the grid (for the year).
    However with wind you have (using a 1-MW turbine): 1 MW x 24 x 365 x 0.33 or 2,891 MW delivered to the grid and 876 MW consumed (over the year) providing you with just 2,015 MW net power to the grid.
    The end result is that to deliver the same amount of power a 1-GW NPP you actually need four times the “name plate” capacity of wind turbines rather than the 3 times used when assuming 33% CF. That means you have to build 1/3 more wind turbines than the are claiming to get the results they want.
    Presently, with the very small percentage of power generated by wind, this power loss is small. Also it is not something that can be drastically reduced. Power is needed to run the lubrication systems, the HVAC, the Controls, computers, localweather conditions, the positioning system (these things do not “auto-position” like the old windmill you see on the prairie) and even to rotate and or feather the very large wind turbine blades so that they do not warp and go out of balance. This rotation might be what Rod sees with his constantly rotating wind turbine, however it is normally only used on larger systems.

    1. Do you have a reference for the 10% house load for wind?
      Seems high for a mechanical energy to mechanical energy device.

      1. GOOGLE “Components of Wind Machines” Among the wind turbine functions that use electricity are the following:

        yaw mechanism (to keep the blade assembly perpendicular to the wind; also to untwist the electrical cables in the tower when necessary) — the nacelle (turbine housing) and blades together weigh 92 tons on a GE 1.5-MW turbine

        blade-pitch control (to keep the rotors spinning at a regular rate)

        lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc.

        heating the blades — this may require 10%-20% of the turbine’s nominal (rated) power

        heating and dehumidifying the nacelle — according to Vestas, “power consumption for heating and dehumidification of the nacelle must be expected during periods with increased humidity, low temperatures and low wind speeds”

        oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox

        motors for the hydraulic systems needed for moving the blade pitch and nacelle position

        hydraulic brake (to lock the blades in very high wind)

        air compressor

        thyristors (to graduate the connection and disconnection between generator and grid) — 1%-2% of the energy passing through is lost

        magnetizing the stator — the induction generators used in most large grid-connected turbines require a “large” amount of continuous electricity from the grid to actively power the magnetic coils around the asynchronous “cage rotor” that encloses the generator shaft; at the rated wind speeds, it helps keep the rotor speed constant, and as the wind starts blowing it helps start the rotor turning (see next item); in the rated wind speeds, the stator may use power equal to 10% of the turbine’s rated capacity, in slower winds possibly much more —- some are now using rare earth magnets and that has its problems.

        using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start to turn when the wind speed is low or, as many suspect, to maintain the illusion that the facility is producing electricity when it is not,‡ particularly during important site tours or noise testing (keeping the blades feathered, ie, quiet)) — it seems possible that the grid-magnetized stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (or for show in even less wind) but at least some of the way up towards the full rated wind speed; it may also be spinning the blades and rotor shaft to prevent warping when there is no wind§

        Rechargeable batteries – Large wind turbines contain a number of rechargeable batteries to power the electrical systems when the wind is not blowing. These systems include aircraft lights, brakes, blade control devices and weather instrumentation. If the wind doesn’t blow for an extended period, these batteries must be recharged with power off the electrical grid.

        Heaters – Gearboxes in wind turbines contain fluids that must be kept warm in frigid climates. Turbine blades also have built-in heaters to prevent icing, which the author suggested could consume up to 20 percent of the electricity produced by the turbine.

        Motors – A common misconception is that the blades of a wind tower sit still when the wind is not blowing. In fact, a tower uses its generator in reverse as a motor to spin the blades slowly. The movement of the blades is almost imperceptible to the naked eye. The blades move to prevent brinelling (grooving) of the bearings on the main shaft. This occurs when bearing components rock back and forth without much movement. Consequently, electricity is taken either from the storage batteries or off the grid to power the blades during these periods.

        Look at the electric bill for the average service station or quick oil-change with hydraulic lifts and air compressors for comparison.

        These are all of the components I can think of on short order, but is based upon 40 years experience in producing electricity 20 of which were designing and testing the above components in Coal and Nuclear power plants. And you have “eco-freaks” concerned about leaving the cellphone charger plugged in!

        Sorry if this is too long.

  6. This particular piece of anti-nuclear false accounting is one I’ve been highlighting recently:

    Plus it takes so long to put up a nuclear plant, between 10 and 19 years on average versus 2-5 years for a wind or solar farm, that while you’re waiting around, spinning your heels for this nuclear to come up, you’re burning coal, gas and oil on your regular electric power grid.

    OK. Under this argument, we allocate the pre-build time of everything to coal & gas. But in that case, the other time that needs allocating is downtime: non-generation after operational startup. Suddenly wind and solar don’t look low-carbon any more.

  7. I don’t know crapola about the science, but I’ve got a good ear for recognizing a con job. Someone oughta muzzle that jackass Jaobson, and put him to work mowing lawns or delivering mail.

    1. My ear suggests something more incidious than a con man for Jacobson: an ego driven true believer. He factors in the CO2 emissions from the fires caused by a nuclear weapons attack? The con man tries to pretend such a thing was never said or was misunderstood; the fanatic defends the notion, as Jacobson does. When forced to choose I’ll take the con man every time, as when exposed at least they catch a train. The fanatic digs in and passes round the poison spiked punch before the cops come.

  8. Jacobson is clearly cherry picking studies with respect to the very low per kW-hr costs he’s quoting for solar and wind. Govt. (EIA) figures are much higher. When he says unsubsidized, I’m sure he’s ignoring many of the (direct and indirect) ways renewable sources are subsidized. And to the extent that those figures are true at all, they certainly only apply for the very best (i.e., windiest or sunniest) sites, and the costs of transmitting that power to distant demand centers is certainly not included. Per kW-hr costs for renewables vary a lot with location.

    He doesn’t seem to talk much about intermittency, i.e., renewables’ primary limitation. Sure, one can smooth things out with huge super grids and/or storage systems. Perhaps someday such things may be practical. But one thing is for certain, the costs of such systems are not included in the extremely low solar and wind per kW-hr costs that he’s quoting. In other words, it may be true that now (or in the near future), wind costs, locally, in Iowa and solar costs in Arizona may indeed be cheap, as long as it remains a small fraction of overall generation. But it will be a long time, if ever, before we reach the point where we can provide ALL of our electricity, at ALL locations, with renewables (backed up by a super grid and massive energy storage). Not at low cost, anyway.

    In any event, we can argue till the cows come home about wind/solar vs. nuclear economics, and who is right (which studies, etc..), but I don’t think that is the best counter argument. The best counter-argument to claims that renewables are actually cheaper and more practical than nuclear is to simply say, “then why not put it to a market test?”. If you really believe what you’re saying, than SURELY you would agree to such a test!

    Renewables advocates talk a lot about how economical they are (especially recently), but in terms of policy, they *always* insist on policies that hand renewables market victory by govt. fiat, and don’t allow nuclear a chance to compete (not on a fair, level, playing field, anyway). The best response to all of Jacobson’s arguments is to say that if he really believes what he’s saying, he would have no reason to object to allowing nuclear to compete with renewables on a fair level playing field. This is ALL that nuclear advocates have ever been asking for!

    Either give nuclear equal subsides and amend all portfolio standards to include nuclear along with renewables, or better yet, just tax or limit CO2 emissions (and air pollution), get rid of all heavy subsidies and portfolio standards, and let the market decide how to respond, This simple, and short, argument would completely back him into a corner. If renewables are practical, and indeed cheaper than nuclear, then they would win under such policies.

    I would look at the audience and appeal to their intelligence and critical thinking skills. If he really believes what he is saying, then why are they opposing any sort of even-handed policy? Arguing that govt. should mandate (pick) renewables, and mandate against nuclear (not giving it a chance to compete), *because renewables are cheaper* is ridiculous on its face. I would look at the audience and say that surely they can see that.

    Then I would walk over to Jacobson’s podium, with hand extended (for a handshake) and say, “so, we’re agreed, right, on a completely even-handed policy that treats nuclear and renewables the same, and thus gives nuclear a free and fair chance to compete with renewables on a fair, level playing field?”. I would end the debate right there. How could he refuse? In any event, that, in one stroke, would address all of the economic arguments he’s making.

    1. What MZJ invariably quotes is the Lazard LCOE numbers, which (as you note) is a huge cherry-pick, and way out of line with other LCOE sources. Lazard is an investment house specializing in renewable energy, so they have skin in the game. A post-debate tweet pointed out that Lazard uses a 55% capacity factor for wind.

      In my own twitterstorm with MZJ last month, I pointed out that there are a lot of other sources for LCOE that he *could* have used, including meta-sources such as the OpenEI Transparent Cost Database. But of course, no need to use honest sources when you have an agenda to push.

    2. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t address the argument that civilian nuclear power automatically makes a country a threshold state, regardless of international inspections. A country can just say, “Sorry, IAEA, you’re not coming in today!” And start turning the domestic facilities it compiled in the “peaceful” years into bomb plants. This is one of the arguments against Iran.

      Even if Jacobson admits that nuclear power is vastly superior to WWS by all metrics of economics and human health, I still believe he could successfully fall back on people’s fears of nuclear weapons. In that argument, WWS could be accepted for its inferiority because peoples’ natures are just too darn awful to trust with the atom.

      1. How do you convert a pressurized light water reactor into a weapons production facility? I thought that breeding in a PWR was so contaminated with weapons poisons as to be useless without further separation which is _NOT_ part of a PWR plant design. You are far better off building a purpose build fast breeder reactore and operating it for short burst of time between fuel off/on loading, which is not at all how conventional power plants are designed.

        1. You start the plant up on fresh LEU. Run for about 60 days. Shut down.
          Extract fuel elements. At this point your Pu will be weapons grade.
          You still have the job of separating the plutonium from the fission
          products and TRU. So you will need a neighborhood Purex plant.

          Its an expensive way to produce weapons grade Pu but it can be done.
          The Iranians ran Bushehr for 60 days in late 2012, and then
          shut it down. So they probably have some fuel elements
          which contain WG Pu. As far as I know, they dont have a Purex plant.

          If the plant runs for about 120 days or more, you are right,
          The plutonium is no longer weapons grade, and effectively
          unsuitable for a high yield device. It still could be used to make
          a low yield weapon.

          1. @Jack Devanney

            The missing Purex plant is a pretty big barrier. Overcoming it would, I think, offer plenty of timely warning of changing conditions.

            The process that you describe MIGHT provide access to weapons grade Pu, but it’s not clear at all that would be a shorter path to a bomb than simply mining and enriching natural uranium. After all, it contains 0.7% fissile material and it much easier to handle on an industrial scale.

          2. Shutting a nuclear powerplant down every 60 days and sending those rods, (designed for use in a nuclear powerplant) to a processing facility until you had enough material to make a bomb might work if nobody was watching but nobody has done that because building a secret reactor designed specifically for that purpose does work, which is why Israel and North Korea don’t have nuclear powerplants.


            A weapons grade production reactor is designed to facilitate rapid and numerous fuel changes.

            Iran’s functional nuclear power plant isn’t a concern. Sanctions were lifted within weeks of their dismantling of their weapons grade production reactor.

          3. With a 1 GWe plant you only have to do it once.
            The Bushehr fuel elements at shutdown probably contained close
            to 100 kg of Pu-239.

    3. @Jim Hopf

      Renewables advocates talk a lot about how economical they are (especially recently), but in terms of policy, they *always* insist on policies that hand renewables market victory by govt. fiat, and don’t allow nuclear a chance to compete (not on a fair, level, playing field, anyway). The best response to all of Jacobson’s arguments is to say that if he really believes what he’s saying, he would have no reason to object to allowing nuclear to compete with renewables on a fair level playing field. This is ALL that nuclear advocates have ever been asking for!

      Spoiler. Tomorrow’s post will be focusing on Shellenberger’s opening statement. It concludes with something very close to your proposal.

    4. When the economics/figures arguments start to take over and bog down the debate,my preferred approach is the following:

      “We can argue about theoretical numbers forever, so let’s forget that and look at the real world.

      No country could be more politically committed to wind and solar than Germany. Yet, after two decades, hundreds of billions of Euros and full government and civil support, they still get less than 9% of their electricity from wind. Solar is less than 5%. They emit more than 450 grams of CO2 per every KWHr of electricity generated.

      To give you some scale, right next door, France emits less than 60 grams of CO2 per KWHr. And France has the 7th lowest electricity prices in Europe, while Germany’s are the second highest, right behind Denmark, the other big wind user.

      When Germany claims more than 20% of their electricity comes from “renewable” sources, it is including 3.5% pre-existing hydro and more than 9% wood burning. That’s right, the bulk of Germany’s renewable energy is from burning forests.

      If we really want to reduce CO2, why imitate Germany? Germany and wind and solar are abject failures at reducing CO2 in the real world.

      We should imitate France. It took France just 16 years from 1976 to 1992 to build its clean energy infrastructure. Less time than Germany has already been at it.

      If you think France is a fluke, there’s Ontario at less than 80 grams or Virginia, South Carolina, Illinois, or Washington state all with far lower CO2 emissions than Germany.”

      1. @Jeff Walther

        If you think France is a fluke, there’s Ontario at less than 80 grams or Virginia, South Carolina, Illinois, or Washington state all with far lower CO2 emissions than Germany.

        Oh how I wish that our state with the lowest CO2 emissions in the country for more than 40 years — until 2014 — had continued to operate the nuclear plant that made their achievement possible.

      2. Washington State can thank its mountains and hydro for that. Proof that renewables can work …if you happen to live in just the right place. Decarbonizing a place like Indiana with hydro isn’t an option.

        1. Renewables (hydro) can work when you have a massive river running through your state, however, when snow pack is at historical lows……they lean on Washington States best asset….Columbia Generating Station. The best Nuclear Power Plant (with the best HP’s) in the Pacific Northwest.

  9. Statements like these always amaze me: “We would create 22 million net jobs over lost worldwide by such conversions.” Especially coupled with statements to the effect that renewables are cheaper. It’s simply economic illiteracy. If it’s less expensive, how can it “create” more jobs, given that jobs are what’s creating costs?

    Most of the pro-renewables crowd don’t understand that jobs (i.e. hours) are valuable resources that we need to spend in order to produce useful goods and services. Jobs are NOT goods that we create. The reason we have high living standards is that we have increased efficiency again and again, doing the same or more stuff with fewer people, which frees resources to do additional stuff. So what Jacobson is really saying is:

    “Look, I have this fantasy land where we need to live with less energy and where I disregard intermittence and seasonal mismatches between production and consumption. But hey, at least I make sure the energy sector tie up 22 million more workers, who will be unavailable to build houses, care for the sick and so on. Great, eh?”

    1. @jeppen

      Surely, you don’t mean to suggest that the useful energy produced per energy job is somehow a better metric than the total number of energy jobs themselves? Or that the nutritious food reliably supplied to feed us end consumers per farmer is more important than the total number of farmers so employed? Where will it end?


      1. On that topic, I am guessing that Jacobson is not intimately familiar with the work of Robert D. Ayres and Benjamin Warr “The Economic Growth Engine”.

        I have yet to finish reading it, but it is very key to the overall picture of worldwide economies in regards to energy (or even more key – EXERGY).

  10. Coincidentally, I am writing a similar blog post on what I informally call the Jacobson Gallop (in honour of the Gish Gallop). I thank you for your transcription as I have been watching and re-watching the feed as my typing is much slower than yours.

    I thank you for your efforts and will credit you accordingly as we appear to have similar views on this topic.

  11. “Okay, folks. It is now February 2016. Who would honestly propose that we can convert 80% of our current energy supply infrastructure to an all electric system powered by WWS in less than 15 years?”

    Would they even be able to find enough qualified people to build and design all of the new electrical infrastructure (substations and transmission lines) to meet his schedule?

    1. My back of the envelope calculations for the US show that by the time that you get less than half of the capacity installed that you need to start replacing them due to age related failures. However, that is with a very conservative 30% capacity factor for both Wind and solar across all portions of the US.

      Ignored is the needed transmission lines, the fact that present HVDC systems are one way and the inherent NIMBY delays over needed HV transmission lines. The ground swell is also growing on NIMBY concerns for Wind Turbines, which will delay things even longer.

      1. @Rich

        However, that is with a very conservative 30% capacity factor for both Wind and solar across all portions of the US.

        Why do lifelong nukes like you use the word “conservative” to underestimate nuclear capabilities and overestimate the capabilities of competitors? Where in the world can solar achieve a 30% capacity factor? Even in a cloudless desert location, limit is closer to 25%, ignoring the low conversion efficiency and the effects of dust accumulation.

        1. @Rod – To minimize arguments, because EVERY time I cite even the EIA capacity factors for Wind/Solar the environmentalists claim that the capacity factors for W/S will double in the next 10/20 years. [They have been saying that for more than ten years already and they still haven’t doubled!] Worse yet, most assume that all solar/wind systems will give the same capacity factor as those in California in their claims! Few, if any, realize that the majority of the population in the US live in areas that have less than 1/2 the solar potential of the areas where solar is deployed in CA.
          You recently had an article about environmentalists bemoaning the lack of solar in Florida. They assume, because of the latitude, that solar would be better in FL than CA. They ignore cloud cover and atmospheric humidity effects. Actually, areas of South Dakota have more solar energy potential than most of FL, which ain’t saying much! If those griping had simply looked at the Solar Energy Potential maps on Energy.gov they would see that the area from NYC to Chicago has 1/2 the potential of the best part of the lower south west – where no one lives. Major population portions of Washington state live in areas with less than a third the potential of CA. Much of the same is also true for Wind, (but areas would be different). Energy.gov has the maps.
          As an “engineer” do the calculations. Take the square footage of your south facing roof, use the numbers from the best available panel manufacture, correct for SEP for your location and do the math. You will not get 30% or even 20% of name plate rating. What will that actually power? What would it cost you to go “off grid?” Look at http://energy.gov/maps/solar-energy-potential – their map allows you to put your cursor on a location and get an energy factor for that point.

          1. @Rich

            “To minimize arguments…”

            That’s what I thought. IMO it’s a failing tactic because those arguments need to be had in public where the weaknesses of the opposition can be clearly exposed. We need to stop being worried about being labeled. I’m learning to spend enough time to put myself on solid ground with sharp and ready arguments and then attack at will.

      2. @Rich

        Have you done any envelope calculations that consider how the energy input needed to construct 10,000s of miles of high capacity HVDC lines, will effect wind/solar’s EROI?

        This classic BNC post looks at the effects of pump hydro on EROI:

        Also, this Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy lecture deals with the payback time when a energy system is built out:

        “By implementing these plans — 80% conversion by 2030 and 100% by 2050 — we would get CO2 down to 350 parts per million by 2100.” I am skeptical, if MZJ were to build out his solar/wind/HVDC/storage system – the additional amount of FF “sunk” into such a system would be staggering. It would take a lot longer than 50 years to payback the system – if ever, let alone to begin to have a net negative reduction in CO2 emissions.

        1. Presently the most economical storage method is Pumped Storage. Google “pumped storage plants in the usa industcards” for examples in the USA. Click on the medallion on the top of the page for the rest of the world. These pages give a brief description of the facility and cost information. Most are only usable for power and useless for recreational purposes. Some are even fenced off from access due to rapid decreases in level.
          Look at the size and cost and then consider that these normally pump water every night (when not needed and the power is available anyway) and then dumped through the turbines at peak, dinner time, or used for smoothing fluctuations. Now cost out batteries for the same capacity.
          Then, with 1/3 solar and 1/3 wind need to meet the 100% BS, there will be the need for weeks instead of days of storage. These PS facilities do not replace power the simply reduce the peak. That means that you will need 40 or 100 times the capacity of the present pumped storage system.
          Do the math for cost of a facility that large, do the math for construction time. Make a good estimate for the NIMBY delay. And finally, since they all claim batteries can do it, do the math for batteries (which only last 4 – 10 years creating another unsolvable problem). A good estimate would be about the cost of the batteries for a Tesla multiplied by the GWhr needed. Every storage method I have looked at costs about that of a decent NPP of the same capacity and the battery replacement costs far exceed the maintenance cost of a NPP [over the lifetime of a NPP] which raises the question “WHY not just go nuclear?”

          1. @Rich

            I recognize your “do the math” teaching technique.

            However, it would be terrific for time crunched bloggers like me if you would simply produce a nice, simple problem solution that can be published and linked.

          2. @Rod I used too, however the web has become infiltrated with BS data. the American Wend Energy Association (AWEA) numbers do not agree with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) which do not agree with the Nuclear Energy Association (NEI) etc. and All I get is static on how I am feeding misinformation. And all use different “cost accounting” methods.

            Here is just one example of the confusion and misinformation, “true lies'” – actually “Propaganda” on the net. AS I have written earlier on this post as far as I can tell all of the numbers for “generation” use the Gross delivered power to the grid,not the Net. I know for a fact that that is not the case. For example. Look at the web page for any NPP and the “rated” Licensed power is listed. Look at the the same power plant on the EIA data pages and it will provide a number reflecting that power. The number for every power plant I worked at is within MWs of the nameplate rating of either the Generator, the Turbine or the reduction required by the NRC because of fuel physics. If there was no outage during the year indicated it will be within a few MWhr of the rated power. If there was an outage that year it will be proportionally less allowing for the number of days of the outage and the ramp up time. So why are they claiming Slippery Rock NPP, a 1,000 Mw NPP, is providing 8,760GW to the grid? Why do they ignore that the plant with 4 massive RC pumps, and a hundred other pumps and multi horsepower motors is using 120 to 150 MWhr to produce that 1,000 MWhr? Yet people blindly assume that a 1-Gw NPP, a 1-GW coal plant and the 2-Mw wind turbine are providing that “Rated” amount of power. The Explanations and data are futile. Meters showing the “delivered” power and the “purchased” power are in the control room of most power plants are there for every operator to see.
            Now, for your next assignment find any document discussing this fact on the internet, that I haven’t written. How do I “cite” sources that are unavailable – yet common knowledge to everyone in the business?

            1. @Rich

              Though I agree there are many confusing and conflicting sources of information on the web and in printed material, I don’t agree that you are the only one who understands or discusses the difference between gross and net generation.




              I’ve also watched many presentations about power generation and about specific power generation systems that make a clear and repeated distinction between gross and net generation.

              I’ll grant that unreliables promoters work hard to obscure the actual amount of electricity that their systems deliver to the grid over any reasonably important time interval. They nearly always tout nameplate capacity without mentioning that their devices almost never produce that specific amount of power.

          3. @Rod – I have seen those and the many others that say the same thing. Not to beat a dead horse, but none that I have found clearly explain that the “some power produced is consumed within the plant itself to power auxiliary equipment such as pumps, motors and pollution control devices.” is not, and I repeat NOT accounted for before the Gross Power “is measured at the plant terminal right before the power leaves the station.” All assume that since they are measuring it “right before the power leaves the station” that plant loads are taken into account in that description of Gross power.
            The only time it becomes a “Big Deal” is with Wind Turbines and other power consuming “unreliables.” The large multi MW wind turbines are consuming, over the course of a year, about 10 percent of the name plate rating. Again, when producing power, no big deal. But when not producing power, the other 70% of the time, they are nothing more than a big power sink – 245/7/365. How does that save ENERGY, CARBON? that power sink is consuming fossil fuels unless we go nuclear big time.
            Ask the wind turbine advocates how much power they consume at your next conference. Have facts to refute their misinformation and confusion. However, you will need insiders at Vestas, or GE. I have spent hundreds of hours trying to find the data with no luck.

  12. Rod,
    I’m amazed at all of the great comments here. Definitely an unexpected “value added” to the original article. Thanks for putting this together. And thank you for everyone who contributed with comments. It has been educational!

  13. OK, IF the following is TRUE:
    In terms of cost, in terms of cost, right now wind is the cheapest form of electric power in the United States today. Unsubsidized, it’s 3.6 cents per kilowatt hour, subsidized, it’s about 2 cents per kilowatt hour. Solar at the utility scale is 5-7 cents per kilowatt hour. Natural gas is 5.2-7.5 cents a kilowatt hour. Nuclear, because there’s only one plant that there’s cost data for that’s recent, is 12.5 cents per kilowatt hour unsubsidized in the U.S. So we’re talking if you invest one dollar in nuclear you’re getting one fourth the energy output.

    THEN “renewables” (especially wind) do not need subsidies. Let the “free market” and the “invisible hand” move this along.

  14. He sounds like a nut. I suspect that many in the audience didn’t believe him. There are dozens of studies out there estimating the cost and timing of replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar. None of them reach this level of delusion. He needs to ask himself why his study is the only one making such grandiose claims.His anti-nuclear spiel was pure BS.

    Pardon me if I’ve posted this quote from the German minister of economics and energy before:

    Germany must reduce the cost of its switch from atomic energy toward renewables to protect growth, Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.

    German companies and consumers shoulder as much as 24 billion euros a year for renewables because of subsidy payments, Gabriel told an energy conference in Berlin.

    “I don’t know any other economy that can bear this burden,” Gabriel said today. “We have to make sure that we connect the energy switch to economic success, or at least not endanger it.” Germany must focus on the cheapest clean-energy sources as well as efficient fossil-fuel-fired plants to stop spiraling power prices, he said.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel has made the top priority of her third-term government, which took office last month, reforming clean-energy aid after rising wind and solar costs helped send consumer bills soaring. Germans pay more for power than residents of any European Union nation except Denmark.

    While renewable aid costs are at the “limit” of what the economy can bear, Germany will keep pushing wind and solar power, the most cost-effective renewable sources, Gabriel said. Biomass energy is too expensive and its cost structure hasn’t improved, he said.

    Germany is demonstrating the real world cost of trying to reduce emissions with only renewables; $25 billion a year, according to Germany’s economics ministry. $25 billion a year would pay for thirty three $7.5 billion AP1000 reactors over ten years ($25 x 10 =250, 250/7.5= 33). Add those to existing reactors and they could supply about 80% of Germany’s electricity by 2025. And their emissions reductions have been flat for the last six years …six years of carbon in the atmosphere we can’t get back.


    One has to wonder that if wind and solar are so cheap to integrate into a modern industrial grid, what is Germany doing wrong? Did they get their advice from Volkswagen?

    1. Give us an order for 33 AP1000s and we’ll deliver them under half that cost. Chicken and Egg with nuclear plants and costs. You need to get production up to lower cost but can’t sell them initially when the learning curve is still step. Building a bunch across the world has limited utility too as every country is different and wants their suppliers.

      1. @Cory Stansbury

        Give us an order for 33 AP1000s and we’ll deliver them under half that cost. Chicken and Egg with nuclear plants and costs.

        This challenge is the reason I’ve been advocating smaller nuclear plants since 1991. There is no crying need for 35 GWe in the US. Sure, there are lots of fossil fuel plants that could be replaced, but those plants are still large capital assets that work fine, last a long time. The fuel costs are affordable for the utility, especially under rules and paradigms in place since the 1970s that allow electricity generators to simply pass fuel price variations quickly to customers with adjustments to allowed electricity prices.

        In addition, until there have been a few AP1000s completed, customers will be purchasing a “pig in a poke” to use another old fashioned farming analogy that many city dwellers no longer understand. Even at “half that cost,” and half of their current schedule, AP1000s are a huge, risky bet.

        Please understand; I’m kind of a fan of that design. Also “kind of” a fan of ABWR and ESBWR, the other certified designs available in the US. Like the AP1000, they look pretty good on computer screens, but until customers can walk around them and do due diligence on cost and schedule there are many unknowns. We’re on a path to solve them, but it is a very slow and expensive path.

        With appropriately sized plants, and under a different, more enabling regulatory paradigm, the cycle can be greatly accelerated.

        1. I picked the AP1000 because we know what the latest ones down south that will be coming on line soon cost to build.

      2. Give us an order for 33 AP1000s and we’ll deliver them under half that cost.

        True, and I left that fact out of my statement to make the cost estimate more bullet proof, and to deflect the idiots who would claim nuclear has a negative learning curve (the more you build, the more expensive they get).

  15. I live-streamed that event, pausing it when I left the screen.  I tried to catch up to real-time at 1.25x real speed.

    I could not do that when Jacobson was speaking.  He literally jabbers too fast to follow at anything above real time.  The rest, no real problem.  Then again, the BS content of Jacobson’s spiel took more brainpower to deconstruct than Shellenberger or Caldiera’s straight talk.

    1. I’ve never met a snake oil salesman who didn’t speak fast. He reminded me of Billy Mays (no relation, by the way) hawking stuff on the late-night infomercials.

      I mean … geez … the guy actually promised World Peace and an end to poverty and then followed it up with … but wait … there’s more!!

  16. Jan-Petri Martikainen has done a hatchet job on Jacobson’s plans for his country, ‘ Why does Mark Jacobson hate Finland?’
    Among other points, the Jacobson Plan calls for Finland to spend 12 billion dollars on wave devices ( which haven’t proved viable anywhere ) – the Baltic Sea freezes solid in winter, when they need the most power.
    On the one hand, the ‘ 100% WWS ‘ fans claim that renewable energy is local, but then they tell you that continent-wide interconnectors mean you’ll need hardly any storage. Somehow I can’t see places like Finland, Japan or Korea being happy to have, at times, pretty much all their power coming over from countries like Russia and China. The same applies to Europe having to depend on solar power from North Africa – you might try to get on with your neighbour, but you wouldn’t put a noose round your windpipe and hand him the other end of the rope.

    1. @Gordon

      That was a purposeful decision. Like most blogs, including this one, a link to the “home” page sends a reader to whatever the most recent post was. The “About” page is a much better place to start because it gives a much more general picture of what the blogger is trying to accomplish.

      1. Whereas I would not (and did not) click through to the “About” page, but I went to the actual relevant article because Gordon linked it.

  17. Primarily myself and Dr. Mark Delucchi who’s at UC Berkeley and over 60 other scientists and students.

    There is quite a credibility difference between a scientist and a student as a coworker or coauthor. Why did Jacobson lump the two categories together?

    Because in Academia, 80-90% of the work for these/ papers is done by the students. The faculty members largely supervise and direct this work.

    1. Isn’t that the truth. My fiance is in her residency now and it’s basically slave labor. I’m not sure I understand the veritable hazing process that is in place at many of today’s grad schools.

      1. Science and engineering graduate programs are nothing like a medical residency. Long hours are still the norm, but not the mandated sleep deprivation.

        1. @Ed Leaver

          Science and engineering graduate students also have a lot more power as employees compared to medical residents. If they are mistreated, they can readily find another program or take their already proven and in-demand skills out into the world. As I understand medical residency, participants don’t even have that much control over where they are assigned. They certainly don’t have an easy exit ramp to avoid abusive bosses if they happen to draw a short straw.

        2. The medical route is far more hierarchical. It’s almost comical. If you’ve ever been treated at a teaching hospital, I’m sure you’ve seen it. In comes the physician with the residents and students trailing behind, in specific order of seniority — like mama duck leading her baby ducks.

          In science and engineering, there are only two levels: student and post-doc. (I’m assuming that Jacobson lumps the post-docs in with the “students.”) In engineering, there’s no pressure at all to go the post-doc route. There are good jobs available on non-temporary, non-discardable terms.

        3. I went to engineering grad school and didn’t get the hazing experience (although I did get the 100+ hour week experience). However, I have heard different stories from people who weren’t in professional programs and were at different schools.

          With that said, and as Brian mentions below, medical schools are an entirely different thing altogether. You’re basically powerless in the face of a bunch of egotistical maniacs.

      2. I’m not sure I understand the veritable hazing process that is in place at many of today’s grad schools.

        I remember the first year of graduate school in the program that I did once described as “boot camp for the brain.” How many people complain about the “hazing process” that is used to make good soldiers?

        In the best of cases, it toughens you up, builds character, and develops those skills that are essential for being a good researcher.

        In the worst, it leads to brown-nosing.

      3. My experience was less hazing and more competition, which was brutal. I guess that is a form of hazing, but you had at least a fair chance that you controlled your fate. And yes, the students did most of the work. My first major project which involved simulation of grid reliability had me working with a 4th year grad student and the professor PI. I did 95% of the work on the final report and was listed as the third “author”, with the prof listed first, of course.

  18. “If we wanted to power the whole world with nuclear, we would need about 16,000 850 MWe power plants, and we have about 400 today. So even if we have only 5% of the maximum we need, that would double it to 800.”

    Classic strawman argument. Who is proposing that we power the world entirely with nuclear?

    1. @Russ Finley

      Senator Cory Booker and other inspirational speakers have told nuclear advocates that we need a “big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG).”

      Here’s my proposal. Let’s to begin promoting the idea that we should move to the All-Electric future envisioned and promoted by S. David Freeman, Leah Y. Parks and Mark Z. Jacobson.

      The twist is to describe how the all-electric future can be built and proven to be not only possible, but improved in measures of effectiveness like reliability, affordability, cleanliness, and quantity of on-demand power. The proof won’t depend on installing continent sized HVDC grids; we can do it one community at a time using a variety of nuclear fission devices serving similar roles as are now served by a variety of combustion devices.

      The really cool thing about this BHAG is that we already have a visible and proven “path to the roof” — to use Booker’s analogy — in the form of nuclear-powered mobile cities known by names like USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan. The newest of that fleet, USS Gerald Ford is an all electric drive ship.

      1. …bringing four new nuclear powerplants on line every five days between now and 2050 isn’t a realistic option. This was the basis of a WWF study that used known maximum industrial capacity to determine when it would be too late for humanity to start producing enough low carbon infrastructure (at world war levels of industrial output) to curb climate change in time.

        Needless to say, we missed that window. And that study is another example of the many dozens out there.

        The Google study also showed that we don’t have the technology to decarbonize and on and on the many conflicting studies go.

        If climate change unfolds as predicted, we’re hosed. Hopefully, the scientists have missed something, although, it’s hard to believe that the oceans can continue to absorb all of this carbon put into the air from fossil fuels and old growth forests and grasslands without serious negative impact …but I digress.

        1. I suspect we could bring a couple of NuScale cans (or equivalent) on line every day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks/year.  The material effort is comparable to the build rate of Liberty shiips in WWII, and we’re now a nation with 50% more people.

          95 MW(e)/day * 250 days/yr = 23.75 GW(e)/yr

          That’s the base-load capacity of the nation in 10-15 years, and if installed inside cities to allow easy transport of low-pressure steam they’d displace natural gas in heating and low-grade industrial uses (drying, etc.) as well.

          Once we have certified reactor designs using low-pressure coolants (molten salts or liquid metals) we could possibly accelerate this pace due to less investment required in containments and whatnot.

  19. Non Sequitur.

    Help me out here guys. A couple six months ago I came cross an article that cited an Archer & Jacobson paper in support of the contention that distributed wind is as reliable as coal.

    Seriously. The paper being cited in support was Supplying Baseload Power and Reducing Transmission Requirements by Interconnecting Wind Farms, by Cristina L. Archer and Mark Z. Jacobson JAMC 46, November 2007. Which of course says nothing of the sort.

    Unless that’s sort of what one wants it to say — see A&J’s discussion of “firm capacity” on page 1705 and following. It’s a generally informative article, interspersed with a few choice one-liner’s even E-P could ‘preciate.

    But I can’t find the paper that led to this one. I distinctly remember the authors citing the same 87.5% Cf for coal as used by Archer & Jacobson (North American Electric Reliability Council 2005) and their attributing half the 12.5% downtime to planned outage and half to unplanned outage. Archer & Jacobson showed their five-state distributed wind generation, with suitable overcapacity, had the same reliability “as the average American coal plant,” which the missing paper apparently construed to mean Archer & Jacobson’s five-state distributed wind generation, with suitable overcapacity, had the same reliability as the average of American coal plants.

    Or even two American coal plants.

    But I can’t find that reference. Should anyone stumble across the like, please let us know. Thanks!

  20. Some numbers to ponder on Wind Generation.
    Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has some very good web pages indicating their wind generation capabilities, capacity, history and data. [Google BPA Wind Authority] From that site I downloaded the 5-minute data for the year 2015. This data is available in an Excel spread sheet format. I averaged the data for the year and got 782 MWh (average) for the year. This power comes from 42 sites [Listed on the webpages] with a total Name Plate Capacity of 4782 MWhr.
    Assuming a very conservative estimate of just 5% of the Name Plate Rating for the “house Loads” [the power produced that is consumed within the wind turbine itself to power auxiliary equipment such as pumps, motors and pollution control devices] gives you a value of 239 MWhr.
    That means that of the 6,850,320 MWhr generated over the entire year that 2,094,516 was consumed making that power. That also reduced their Net generation to 782 – 239 or 543 MWhr giving you a Net capacity factor of just 11%. Admittedly, looking at the NREL.gov average wind speed maps BPA is not in the best area for wind turbines, however they are getting a 16% CF ignoring the house loads. Thus even the best sites will only give you a Net CF in the range of 20% or so.
    Think 5% House Loads is to big? Well if these 42 sites have a total of 400 wind turbines then that means they are only consuming 597 KWhr each on average. That is less than six 100 watt light bulbs. As I have posted further up this Blog. The real house loads are in the neighborhood of 15%.

  21. I find the tube discussions to be quite humorous, particularly when Jacobson stated that he has a plan for “139” nations to switch to renewable energy. How can this be a viable plan when no negotiations are made with the state officials of all these countries? It’s important to keep in mind that the solutions that Jacobson is trying to sell as remedies for climate change are purely mathematical results of his computer simulations, and no other research group has been able to independently validate his conclusions. In fact, his results are so flawed that no other research group is willing to replicate his results to show what important elements have been left out in his simulations. It’s important to remember that once you have a computer model you can always spit out a result or even twig results to give you the conclusion that you want. However, that does not mean that your assumptions are correct and that your results are trustworthy.

  22. The NRDC debater should read the NRDC’s own published data on power plant emissions for 2012.
    My own supplier here in Virginia, with 48% of their energy production being nuclear ranks cleaner than any other except those with more than 48% from nuclear+hydro.

    2012, of course, is the year that the NRC and Barbara Boxer clobbered California’s clean air ambitions by shutting down San Onofre Nuclear for a nitrogen isotope leak, making a chemically undetectable quantity of radioactive ammonia that reverts back to water in four minutes.
    People knowledgeable enough to know that fission products include radioactive caesium atoms, nevertheless were too ignorant to know that atoms cannot get through steel, whereas the neutrons that generated the N-16 from O-16 did. The leak was only in the heat exchanger.

  23. Although PWR and BWR technologies are vastly superior to both “recent” and “fossil” solar power, they have perhaps four liabilities.

    1/ Supply of fissile isotopes is remarkably small.
    2/ Water is a great heat energy transporter, but only at high pressure. (2a) it’s also a great neutron moderator. When power is off from the reactor, it still needs power.
    3 / Oxide fuel is ceramic, and gets far hotter than the coolant. in the centre of the pellets.
    4/The Iodine-xenon neutron poisoning phenomenon makes swft power chnages tricky and discouraged

    ALL of these are solved by liquid cooled breeder reactors.
    Pseudo-environmentalist FUD from the likes of Jacobson, Amory Lovins, and Helen Caldicott have wasted decades of successful US pioneering prototypes.

    http://transatomicpower.com nevertheless describes a particularly promising slightly newer one.

  24. About nuclear weapons: The only country rogue enough to have used them against actual civilian populations, is the USA.
    I left the United Kingdom for the USA, in part because I regarded the government’s adoption of the “independent nuclear deterrent” as damnable proliferation, worse than MAD.
    But there are two other observations:
    If the USA regards you as an enemy, the nuclear deterrent works. The USA believes that both Iran and North Korea might have them. Evidently Cheney and Rumsfeld knew perfectly well that Iraq didn’t.
    Possession of nuclear weapons is like having a yard long penis You may think it makes you superior to any other an in the street. But no good can come of using it.

    1. The only country to have them at the time, used them to end hostilities rapidly and conclusively.

      Had any other country gotten them first, you would either have nothing bad to say about the USA or you would be saying it in German or Russian.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts