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6 Comments

  1. Hmmm, I find it touching that an atomic energy blog apparently cares so much about the jobs and economy of Colorado coal miners and coal towns. *grin*
    I’m not sure I understand what your horse in this race is, Rod? Other than, perhaps, to get the industries which fight against Nuclear to fight more against each other and less against Nuclear?

    1. @Jeff – first of all, I hope you have read enough on Atomic Insights and in the comments to understand that I am a pretty complicated guy with a variety of interests. One of them is an interest in building strong communities. I have been blessed with the opportunity to have lived in a number of great places around the US and worked with a lot of terrific people and groups. American middle class people who work hard at steady jobs with decent wages or salaries and are raising families are fun to be around. They have worked up to a reasonably comfortable part of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
      Over the past few months, as I moved away from the coast and closer to the Appalachian mountains, I have become acquainted with a guy who installs communication systems at coal mines. He is a qualified underground miner and quite proud of that designation. He has helped me to understand a bit more about the industry, the people, and the history. Neither one of us is in favor of blowing up mountains in order to use machines to quickly extract the material and move on, but I am gaining a much better appreciation for the importance of careful extraction of valuable raw material.
      I have never been anti-coal; I have criticized some current techniques and criticized “cheap” methods of burning that are really half-assed systems that do not capture or control contaminants and waste products. I have often suggested ways to upgrade the value of coal at the mines so that the processing systems add opportunity and help to reduce dependence on rail transportation. I have written several times about my friend who wants to use high temperature process heat to produce a clean diesel fuel from coal – http://www.liquidcoal.com.
      Of course, there is also the tactical argument that you alluded to – divide and conquer is not a bad way to overcome some of the resource imbalance between my effort to force nuclear back into the rational conversation about our energy future and the effort of the oil&gas industry to claim that “clean natural gas” is so available and cheap that we do not need to build many nuclear plants any time soon. (It is hard for a thousandair to do battle with a multi trillion dollar business without some kind of alliances.) 🙂

      1. Rod, thanks for the reply. Yes, I did realize that overall, you don’t care just about nuclear, but about what’s best for America, and that you want more people to have good middle-class-wage jobs. What I was confused about was what seemed like an article championing coal on an atomic energy blog.
        I’ve come to the conclusion, too, that at least in the mid-term (say the next 50-100 years), it probably makes a lot of sense to combine increased building of nuclear plants with also building out IGCC+CCS coal plants. A big reason for this is that everywhere I look, people are saying that basically, right now, we just can’t build nuclear plants *fast enough* even if we want too, because the industry isn’t in a state to be able to do a big buildout. We are just sort of bottlenecked, and it will take a few decades to expand our capacity to build nuclear plants.
        In the meantime, since we have a lot of coal in America (I’ve heard the U.S. described as the Saudi Arabia of Coal), let’s use it but, but use it with cleaner generators (which it sounds like you too agree with that idea), and cleaner extraction methods (I agree that I very much don’t like the idea of mountain-top removal and other highly destructive extraction methods).
        Anyhow, thank you again for responding – it gives me a better understanding of who you are, and where you stand.

    2. Personally, given that the gas men hide behind the delusion of renewable energy while the coal men do not, I think a “Beat Gas First” strategy may well be a good idea for supporters of nuclear energy, just as “Beat Germany First” was the correct Allied grand strategy in World War II.

  2. LNG is traded internationally and at the present time we are shipping to the UK. It is not simply a local issue nor, for that matter, is global warming and climate change. We are producing an excess above our domestic market. As nuclear is closely regulated so should the other energy markets.
    Russia will soon come online with LNG from Siberia and dominate as the number one exporter. When that happens in, three years time, the US market in natural gas will tumble. Gas comes and goes.

    1. Mike, doesn’t that just reinforce the business case for LNG electric plants in the U.S.? E.g. new supply from Russia comes online, reducing international export demand, lowers the price of LNG domestically, which means it sells at a lower price point where it’s economical to use it for electricity?

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