Similar Posts

Recent Comments from our Readers

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

17 Comments

    1. @Kit – I can always count on you for consistency.
      If you do not think that money influences decisions, feel free to continue believing that. Nothing I say will make any difference anyway. If you have lived in the same world as I have for as long as you claim, and you have failed to notice how often people change their tones and tunes depending on how they make their money or depending on their potential future earnings, you have been sleepwalking through life.
      I frequently remind people not to simply read my analysis without remembering that I plan to make a lot of money from nuclear energy. That goal does slant my coverage. I never said that the MIT researchers were wrong or did not produce a study with reasonable statistical support. It is useful, however, to follow the money and think about what might have been left on the cutting room floor or in the draft versions of the tables.

        1. Lucius Cassius ille quem populus Romanus verissimum et sapientissimum iudicem putabat identidem in causis quaerere solebat ‘cui bono’ fuisset.
          The famous Lucius Cassius, whom the Roman people used to regard as a very honest and wise judge, was in the habit of asking, time and again, ‘To whose benefit?’
          – Cicero, in his speech Pro Roscio Amerino
          It would seem Rod is in good company, and your grasp of formal rhetoric so weak that you cannot tell the difference

          1. My grasp of the art of BS is second to none. Rod sets off my BS meter almost every time he posts.

            1. OK – Please deconstruct this particular post for dissemination. Paragraph by paragraph, I want you to show me where the BS is. If everything he writes is dishonest, it must mean the facts that he is presenting here are wrong, so please show me which ones are fabrications.

            2. 2My grasp of the art of BS is second to none.” – Kit P
              So very true, although perhaps not in the manner you wished others to take it.
              Kit P, you inspire me with great hope. You are one of the most skilled and subtle anti-nuclear activists on the net, charged with a particular mission of discrediting just one blogger who is arguably the most effective pro-nuclear advocate of our time. I am heartened by your nearly universal failure in meeting this objective. Very few people in Rod’s regular readership (only one, in fact) have bought into your attempts to discredit him and undercut his arguments concerning the role of the established FF interests in the ongoing suppression of nuclear power development. In spite of their enormous wealth and power, they are starting to realize just how shaky the ground they’re standing on is, and they are not liking it. Not one bit.
              By the way, most of us are well aware that there is no such single monolithic, integrated entity as ‘the nuclear industry’, and most of the firms involved in it are also heavily involved in FFs, so you needn’t bother protesting that you work in the industry yourself.

  1. I wouldn’t have thought it would have needed the services of MIT to predict that in the absence of a full court press effort to build NPP the use of gas would at least double.
    Actually it’s a bit of a no-brainer

  2. I agree with DV82XL; I don’t think that in this particular case the funding source is necessarily responsible for the outcome as much as the current political circumstances. If anything, the number of natural gas turbines being built to back up “alternative” energy sources (which themselves are being politically mandated into “renewable energy portfolio” standards) alone would likely account for a good fraction of that jump.
    One doesn’t have to think that this move is wise over the long-term to believe that MIT’s study is at least reasonably objective. Yes, the natural gas industry has an interest in seeing this outcome come to fruition – just as we in the nuclear industry have a similar interest in seeing this happen for nuclear. But in this case, the report’s conclusions seem pretty obvious to the casual observer just based on the way the political winds are blowing; natural gas is a natural consequence of the political push for intermittent “renewable” sources with low capacity factors where quick ramp-up of replacement power is needed. In terms of modular capacity, it’s also cheap to add.
    There are plenty out there claiming to push for renewables whose chief goal *is* to hawk NG; T. Boone Pickens is one who I believe you yourself have identified in the past. And there are those whose positions I frankly feel are acting as unstated boosters of the NG industry (who shall remain nameless).
    In this case though, I don’t really feel like the objectivity is at issue, in the absence of further evidence to this.

    1. Steve – One of my favorite and most influential writing teachers told me to avoid using the passive voice. He continuously reminded me that things don’t just happen, someone makes them happen. Bureaucrats love to use the passive voice because it prevents responsibility.
      In this case, I like to remind people that there is a huge industry that really wants to sell natural gas and works at that task on a daily basis. People who are marketing gas are often the source of the political hot air that starts “the wind” that you are talking about. As I have pointed out numerous times, 50% of the buses in Washington loudly proclaim that they are “Powered by Clean Natural Gas”. ExxonMobil, the richest company in America produces 50% of its oil equivalent units each year from natural gas. Politicians of all stripes – conservative, liberal, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian – all get contributions from people who want to burn gas as quickly as possible because that is what puts the most amount of money and power into their hands.
      Never forget – just 75 years ago, natural gas was a dangerous, explosive byproduct of oil drilling in almost every circumstance. Now that there is a pipeline infrastructure, most gas can reach markets, but there are still enormous pockets of gas in places that are not accessible by pipeline. The gas interests have invested hundreds of billions in building infrastructure to chill, compress and liquify that gas, transport it to markets, and then gassify it for distribution. Do you really believe that they are not working hard every day to make sure that investment pays off?
      Marketing, advertising, and strategizing are fundamental parts of any business, especially one with so much at stake. I just think it is important to keep reminding people that increasing gas use is not inevitable perhaps not even desirable. That seemingly huge supply of gas (roughly 150 times our world’s current annual consumption) will disappear quite rapidly if we use it faster. It is really selfish for us to think that future generations do not want to have access to the valuable raw material.

      1. Bear in mind, Rod, that I agree with you for the most part that there is an active effort underway to push NG as a “clean fuel,” of which there is both active work by major players as well as their willing dupes (i.e., the alt-energy sector). I don’t doubt that the current situation we have has in part been shaped by active efforts to characterize NG as “clean” and “safe” – or that this direction is rather unwise. (Trading one carbon-emitting, scarce resource for another, generally located in the same places as the first? Pass.)
        My point in this particular case is that the MIT study seems to be pointing out the direction the wind is blowing – again, thanks in part to the forces you and I agree are quite active. As it stands, I don’t think the report is off-the-mark or biased; it simply strikes me as an assessment of how prevailing trends – shaped by these same political and economic actors – will turn out if they continue unabated. Obviously, as you and I agree, this has been controlled to the benefit of NG producers, and those that knowingly (or unknowningly) do their bidding.

  3. Gas is just more of the same. It doesn’t change the game, it doesn’t challenge the present correlation of forces, it just rearranges the deck-chairs on the Titanic of Fossil Fuels. The present world system of fossil fuels is a system of power based on what I might call “managed scarcity” designed to preserve demand by enforcing addiction, and designed to preserve social power by enforcing hierarchies and the present economic order.
    It’s time to say enough with all that flatulence.
    It’s time to move from the extractive phase of human civilization based on “managed scarcity” – an Industrial Age – to a transformative phase of human civilization based on ending scarcity – an Information Age – where with enough energy, all things become possible.
    The way to get there is by one road: nuclear power. (Maybe fusion power, too, someday…but it’s been just 20 years away for the last 50 years… 😉

  4. I must say natural gas is a convenient and easy to use fuel. Of course, natural gas prices would go through the roof if it is really used to replace coal. A lot of nuclear will still be needed to replace coal.

  5. If you actually read the report it points out that nuclear is the only carbon free solution in a carbon constrained world and that by 2050 nuclear will be the largest source of primary energy for this same reason. Now we must go find some uranium until we have Generation 4 and 5 reactors to reprocess plutonium and spent fuel.

  6. Wouldn’t it be wise to define the purposes of use of the fuels in question? Doesn’t it break down to basically transportation fuels and chemical feed stocks vs electricity and process heat, primarily? If 96% of transportation fuels are petroleum based and 20% of electricity is from NG / 20% from NPP / 50% from coal / 1% from oil / 8% from hydro / 1% intermittent “renewable”, then is the preferred expansion of NG going to be for transportation fuels since neither NPPs nor coal are involved, directly, in the transportation sector?
    I don’t see Americans voluntarily adopting PHEVs to any degree due to their (current) limited range. Replacing the internal combustion engine with a more efficient substitute that allows the freedom of movement currently enjoyed has been on the horizon for decades.
    It would seem to me that the preferred expansion of NG use would be in the transportation sector while NPP would expand to eventually replace coal for electricity and process heat. You still need coal for steel and other metals production, right?

Comments are closed.