Markey’s Misinterpretation of NRC Non-Concurrence Process Targeted Survey
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission values discussion among staff members who suggest alternative approaches or hold differing professional views. Since 1976 it has offered alternative methods of raising concerns including a documented Open Door Policy and a formal Differing Professional Opinions (DPO) Program. In 2006 the Executive Director for Operations issued a draft directive establishing an additional option called the Non-Concurrence Process (NCP).
All documents that the NRC creates must pass through a review by affected offices and selected individuals. There are opportunities available for these reviewers to make comments and suggest corrections. The document preparer works with reviewers to address concerns, but occasionally situations arise where no agreement is possible. The reviewer then has the option to formally document a “Non-Concurrence.” In the period between implementation and the end of 2012, the process was used 80 times, an average of 11 times per year with the maximum number of 19 cases in 2011. Compared to the volume of documents produced by the NRC each year, the NCP is infrequently used.
In an agency-wide Safety Culture and Climate Survey conducted in the fall of 2012, there were two questions relating to the NCP out of 132 questions. Out the the roughly 4,000 employees at the NRC, 2,981 responded to the survey. 88% of them indicated that they were aware that the NCP was one of the methods available for raising a concern. That was up from 41% in 2006, when the program was first introduced, and up from 78% from the safety culture survey conducted in 2009. 49% thought that the NCP was effective, up from 44% in 2009. 37% indicated that they had no opinion about the NCP, while just 14% indicated they did not think that the program was effective.
Survey Targeted to People Who Have Used Non-Concurrence Process
The NRC is an agency that seeks continuous improvement. In March 2013 it contracted an additional targeted survey aimed at people who had used the NCP, either as submitters or participants (people who responded to a non-concurrence.) Because of the low number of NCP cases, this targeted survey was sent to a small fraction of the 4,000 employees. There were 39 surveys issued to submitters and 24 were returned. 62 participants received surveys and just 17 people returned those surveys. The survey population included anyone who had used the NCP during 2007-2012.
The low population size and limited return rate raise substantial questions about the survey validity. The most likely people to take the time to fill out a survey like this are those who have strong feelings.
Despite its statistical limitations, the NRC is using the targeted survey results as a useful indicator of the need to make improvements in the process and to address the noted concerns about a perceived lack of management support. (See pages 10-20 of U. S. NRC Office of Enforcement 2014 Non-Concurrence Process Assessment (ADAMS accession # ML14056A294) for a detailed look at the actions that the NRC is planning to implement or has already implemented.)
Never one to overlook an opportunity to discredit nuclear energy and its regulatory body, Senator ED Markey has seized on the worst-sounding results out of the numerous questions asked of the small population of people surveyed. He did not choose to mention that 64% of the submitters indicated that they had received verbal praise from co-workers after submitting their NCP or that 77% reported that they believed that their views were heard by management or that 73% agreed that others in the process understood their reasons for non-concurrence.
Instead, during the June 5, 2014 interrogation of the five Nuclear Regulatory Commissioners hosted by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Senator Ed Markey made damning accusations against the NRC and its safety culture.
Here is Markey’s quote from the hearing.
The NRC claims to foster a safety conscious work environment where personnel feel free to raise safety concerns without fear of retaliation, intimidation, harassment or discrimination.
In the past year, my office has heard from an increasing number of whistleblowers from many different offices at NRC. These people are all serious, dedicated individuals who are calling my staff because they feel that they are not being heard by their own managers and colleagues. They feel that when they step forward to report safety, security or other problems they are systematically retaliated against. I have raised this concern many times with you.
I am holding a report written by the NRC but not yet publicly released that actually surveyed those who have attempted to use NRC’s formal processes for resolving policy disagreements. A staggering 75% of those who used them reported that they had received a poor performance appraisal after they raised their whistleblower concerns.
Almost two thirds of them said they were excluded from work activities by their management, 25% were passed over for promotion, 25% were even verbally abused by their colleagues and their supervisors. Those results are shameful and I ask that portions of this report be entered into the record and request your formal written response and what you plan to do to fix these problems.
Though he stated that his concerns have arisen over the past year, it is most likely that he meant to refer to communications received during the past two years. A search using “Markey NRC whistleblower retaliation” turned up a number of news stories starting in May 2012 with additional stories in June and October of that year.
As mentioned above, the targeted survey was conducted in March 2013 and surveyed people who have submitted a non-concurrence sometime during the period between 2007 and 2012; it provides no evidence of trends during the past year.
The “staggering 75%” of people who received a poor performance appraisal represents just 18 people out of an agency with 4,000 employees. There was little follow through by the surveyors to determine if that claim was, in fact true. It would not be difficult to review the performance appraisals of the people who made the claim to see if they got any worse. It is possible that at least some of the people were already receiving poor performance appraisals before they submitted a non-concurrence.
I’ve personally experienced the frustration that managers and leaders experience when they discover an area for improvement using their routine methods of finding problems, take action to address those problems and then have overseers who are apparently trying to score political points or advance a particular agenda continue to claim a trend of ever worsening performance without waiting for the results of new evaluations after the improvement actions have taken place.
My advice to people who are concerned is to take a few deep breaths, let the NRC work on its internal processes, and wait for the results of the next survey. I know that will be difficult advice for politicians to take.
Washington Post (June 6, 2014) Nuclear agency chief pledges freedom to disagree.
Government Executive (June 6, 2014) Staffers at Nuclear Regulatory Commission Report Backlash After Dissent
NRC Blog (June 4, 2014) Improving NRC’s Internal Processes
Rod, I suggest you change the article title from “non conformance” to “non concurrence”.
Markey is definitely one of the most dishonest politicians you can find … that says a lot. The NRC should just respond in the way you have suggested. The Executive has most of the power here … MacFarlane could largely ignore Congress. President Obama could do a lot more of telling members of Congress to stick it where the sun don’t shine … he’s not running for anything again, but that has never been his way.
Think of it this way, Markey has to retire or die someday, and I don’t think we will see his like again … thank God.
A dishonest politician??? Naaaahhh……not in amerika.
I’m idealistic and believe it is important to keep pointing out specific instances of provable dishonesty. Even if an insufficient number of people are paying close attention now, there is some indication that documented history may gradually catch up with the worst of the worst. I’m personally heartened by the decision of about 35,000 Virginia residents to push Eric Cantor out, even though he outspent his opponent by 25-1 or more.
Ahh … the decision of 35,000 residents of a district with 473,000 active registered voters (or less than 8% of the total) to decide who is supposed to lead the majority party of the lower legislative house that is supposed to represent 146 million registered voters.
If that ain’t democracy in action, then I don’t know what is. /sarc
You’re heartened. I’m frightened.
Though I understand the numbers and decry the low turnout, the result demonstrates that money is not the only tool that can be used in the political process.
Those voters were not deciding who would represent 146 million registered voters; they were deciding who would represent their district in the legislative body designed to most closely represent local interests at the federal level. The founding fathers did not establish the seniority system, the two party system, or the notion that elected representatives were supposed to subject themselves to party discipline even if it hurt the interests of the people in their designated district.
What I have learned about Brat’s campaign is that it was targeted at Cantor’s decision to serve Wall Street and other moneyed interests instead of the interests of his district’s constituents. That message apparently resonated.
You make a very good — if unexpected — Tea Party enthusiast.
I knew nothing about Brat until after his improbable victory. I am more of an Elizabeth Warren fan. However, the New Yorker published a blog that helps explain why I have a soft spot for some of Brat’s positions.
By the way, you aren’t alone in liking Brat. He’s a favorite of Ann Coulter, as well. Congrats, you’re in….uhhh…a select group. Maybe Limbaugh will jump on board as well. Oh boy!!! And Primevera is gonna loooove this guy! Maybe if Brat ever has presidential asperations, he can recruit ‘ol Hukabee for VP. What a pair they’d make! Break out your hymnals.
(Really, I suggest you dig a bit deeper about this guy. Separation of church and state??? Not likely, with this guy.)
I am not “all in” on any political figure or party. It is disingenuous to tarnish someone based on an attempt to link them with their fans.
I admire what Brat accomplished with few financial resources and I agree with at least two of his targeted focus areas. There is no reason to prop up businesses just because they are “big” and there is no reason why people who violated numerous laws and impoverished millions should be rewarded with bonuses enabled by taxpayer supported bailouts instead of a taxpayer-hosted stay in a prison cell.
Well, I have written and discarded about a half dozen comments to this post over the past several days, and really wasn’t going to respond at all because it isn’t worth my time to try to dialog with a mind cast in concrete, but POA has successfully baited me. Yes, POA, I do find much to admire in Bratt:
But I do not find so much to admire in Ann Coulter. Furthermore, I am disgusted with how liberals have hijacked words and terms to always give reference to the millions in the Middle East supposedly killed by “war-mongering,” “oil-loving” Bush while ignoring the one million innocents per year killed in our country by liberalism since 1973. Oh, but I am accused of being a hater because I believe in the sanctity of life and in old fashion morality, because I find the conflict and strife between Sunni and Shia in Iraq horrible and deplorable, because I loathe and abhor the Taliban terrorism in Afghanistan, because I really believe in human rights that are denied to women under the burka in Islamic countries, because I oppose the fundamentalist anti-Semitic rhetoric of Iran as more war-mongering, and because I think very highly of the initiative of Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to make a lasting peace in a land whose people have fought since Hagar and Ishmael went into the desert more than four millennia ago. But according to the liberals, it is all George Bush’s fault, never mind that he started the Global Nuclear Energy Program to wean us off from fossil fuel in lands of Islamic fascism and never mind that Barack Hussein Obama has just about killed the nuclear renaissance.
For the record, unless and until we respect both life as sacred and morality as fixed and indissoluble, until we reject what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI calls the Dictatorship of Relativism where what is right and wrong is determined by democratic popular vote (shades of the serpent in the Garden of Eden!), then no matter how much we go after nuclear power we will always have worthless politicians like Ed Markey. We deserve the leaders we get.
Another thing needs to be mentioned regarding the foreign intervention to which POA alluded in one of his comments. My view is that of John Quincy Adams:
“Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will [America’s] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….”
It is moral, sacred principle, NOT personality, that will save us. Scripture says, “Put not thy faith in princes.” I therefore put no faith in politicians. And until we have a change of heart on the inside, until life and morality mean more that having and getting, more than Facebook and Reality TV, then no amount of nuclear power can save us. Sadly, it is liberal progressive Democrats like Markey and Boxer and self-described socialists like Sanders and hypocritical weak-kneed RINOs who would deny us not just one but also the other.
No more comments from me on this post. It is too frustrating discussing with a paradigm so far left from reality.
Perhaps people will start to feel the same way about Greenpeace the same as some do about Cantor. They do some good stuff, its unfortunate their anti nuke stance is such a colossal error as to probably wipe all the good stuff out.
Greenpeace loses $5.2 million on currency trading ( http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/16/greenpeace-loses-millions/10568731/ )
Rod: “I am not “all in” on any political figure or party. It is disingenuous to tarnish someone based on an attempt to link them with their fans.”
Treebeard: “I am not altogether on anybody’s side , because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me.”
More and more, I believe that Tolkien’s Treebeard had it right…
Saddam had Christians in his cabinet. Iraqi woman were afforded rights unheard of in the middle eastern arab countries. Education opportunities, employment, as well as government posts, were available to them.
Also, membership in groups such as Al Qaeda was dealt with extremely harshly, like
..uh…death. So, Paul, how’s that compare with today’s Iraq?
Its interesting to me how our various interests and concerns dictate our perceptions of our politicians and their integrity. Marky obviously has the ire here, above being accused of being one of the “most dishonest”.
But hey, I don’t recall him being one of the maggots that launched the debacle in Iraq. I have no doubt that Marky is a real sleezeball, dishonest to a fault. Frankly, he wouldn’t have his position if he wasn’t. But more dishonest than his slithering compatriots? Nope. And on a scale of one to ten, his transgressions really don’t count for much. He’s really kind of an amateur scumball. After all, he’s got a ways to go before he can claim he destabilized an entire region and lied us into murdering close to a million middle easterners. But hey, I guess it all depends on what floats your boat when you’re passing judgement, eh?
I guess it depends on your historical perspective. In my analysis of history, the US would not have had any temptation to launch any actions in the Middle East if we were not so darned dependent on hydrocarbons from that region and if we did not have so many of our ruling class dependent on the income generated by our assumed right to control those hydrocarbons.
Without the decades-long actions by people like Markey to suppress the only energy alternative capable of replacing hydrocarbons in most applications, the US would have a slight interest, but not a complete dependence on oil and gas from the Middle East.
Rod, thanks for the good report on this subject. It provides way more info than even the NRC Blog post on the subject. As far as the 14% “non effective” of just the targeted participants, really no surprise there other than it’s not higher. By human nature, if you feel strong enough about your position to use the process, and it doesn’t change minds, the person is going to feel the system was not effective. As you point out, the alternative is to accept your position is wrong. There is a big difference between “we can agree we disagree” and “the system didn’t give me a fair chance.”
Rod…. you have an issue with the TRUTH about AIPAC, Israel, and Cantor? Is NE the only area that truth matters to you?
You brought up Cantor. You opened the door. You pointed out why you felt he needed to go. So did I.
Do some research. There wasn’t anything I said that wasn’t the raw the truth.
Words like maggots, slimy, etc. are insulting opinions, not truth. Rephrase and I might let your comment remain.
Ok……you’re right, of course. My apologies. Sometime today I’ll put together a more appropriate post about Cantor, and his willingness to support the interests of Israel above our own interests, and his complete subservience to a foreign lobbying organization; AIPAC.
Though you have proven yourself capable of independent research, this article might be useful as you compose your post.
Here is some reasoning behind my disdain for Cantor, Rod.
More evidence that the media is more concerned with sensationalizing faulty but provocative data than it is with helping the public undertstand the information in context, the top story in today’s Platt’s Inside NRC: “NRC employees criticize non-concurrence process in agency survey.”
Is anybody here besides me counting to 1000?
Most of us only have the patience to count to 10.
I know, I rarely make it to two or three and then I have my jackass intervention theory for unreasonable discussions. But something about this seems really distant from my concerns when it comes to energy and other matters, and its interesting to see the motivations people have.
I think we lump beliefs in with motivations too often and as controversial as beliefs are, motivations are more basic and even for more difficult to understand and discus. Just the definitions are interesting:
– something that arouses action or activity (MW)
– literally the desire to do things. (Psychology Today)
– Motivation is the driving force that causes the flux from desire to will in life (wiki)
Ive wondered to myself for about 20 years now if my failures I perceive as a person and possibly our major failures as a species will be that they seem to primarily originate in negative things like fear.
J. Tucker: “I think we lump beliefs in with motivations too often and as controversial as beliefs are, motivations are more basic and even for more difficult to understand and discus.”
Almost fifty years later, “The Naked Ape” by Desmond Morris is still good reading when you’re trying to understand why people do what they do.
Fear. Tribalism. Competition for status in the “tribe”.
By weird coincidence Monbiot has come out with a new piece somewhat along these lines that I just noticed in Rod’s twitter sidebar. I will have to read it and see how he deals with the subject.
The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal – has come up more than a few times in my travels. I think I may even have a copy, I remember seeing it in my dads books as a kid (“naked” probably caught my eye!). Its still in print. So thank you. I will give it a much closer look now.
You just cant put things off. You always end up forgetting them.
In another odd turn, Desmond Morris is also a quite an accomplished surrealist artist (which undoubtedly also means something important im probably missing about that movement and will need to have a think on). Not everyone’s cup of tea, but very nice and intriguing work ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/artists/desmond-morris/paintings/slideshow#/1 )
J. Tucker: “The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal Its still in print. ”
It looks like Morris updated it in the 90s. The update is the title you quoted. I read the ’67 version. I have not read the update. There’s been a lot of research done between the two publication dates. One of these days, I’ll read the update…
Some interesting web statistics.
Your comments on the June 11 post were quite over the top, but not without a noticeable pattern in the past.
Just in the month of June, through June 11, 2014 Rod has posted 12 posts on the blog.
You have made 31 comments.
I characterize them as follows:
Generalized Attacks: 11
This type ID no one specific person or entity, but spew negativity and obviously will hit some one’s anger trigger.
Personal Attacks: 10
This type IDs some one by user name or is a direct reply, with a derogatory comment that will obviously hit some one’s anger trigger. You have actually called PP a bigot twice, and today you direct your anger at him again.
Neutral Comments: 9
This type contains no attack, but never addresses the topic in a technical way or adds to the technical discussion or asks a question.
On-Topic, Containing a Question: 1
And now just above, above you attacked Rod’s integrity.
Obviously some one else’s filter result mileage may vary, but not significantly.
Thus 2/3 of your contribution to this site hits anger triggers, which derail the discussion.
You are also the worst potty mouth on the site, I don’t find your soft core profanity amusing.
I find your threats to leave both idle and amusing.
You are not “just here to learn” at all, you are here to spew anger and for your own personal amusement.
I’d bet you are running out of places you are welcome.
If you wonder where else you might go, don’t be afraid to ask, there will be plenty of suggestions.
Try to have a nice day today, it is not that hard, good luck.
70 year old retired career nuke plant operator.
I’m just grateful that he hasn’t (yet) quoted “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” as an authoritative source.
mjd – If you want to talk statistics, I can provide a bit more information.
I’ve been tracking the comments on this blog since 5/22/14. Thus far, I’ve logged 528 comments on this site.
[Caveat: I am pulling the comments from this site’s RSS feed. If Rod has deleted a comment that he doesn’t like (and he does do this on occasion), it often still shows up on the RSS feed before it is deleted, so the statistics that I present here might differ slightly from what you might actually see in the comment section today. Given the real-time nature of RSS, I might a missed a comment or two during a particularly busy time on this site, but I doubt that I have missed much.]
Here is the breakdown, from most prolific to least prolific:
No. of comments – Author
115 – Rod Adams
46 – PissedOffAmerican (a.k.a. “poa”)
41 – EL
28 – Engineer-Poet
27 – John T Tucker
15-20 – 3 people
11-14 – 3 people
6-10 – 9 people
3-5 – 13 people
2 – 18 people
1 – 43 people
It’s not surprising that Rod, the owner and author of this blog, has posted the most comments. What is disturbing, however, is that just two people (POA and EL) are together responsible for almost as many (75% to be precise) comments as Rod is. Together they have posted as many comments as the next five people put together and as many comments as 63 of the least active people who have commented on this site since late May.
Given the confrontational, crude, and frankly, inflammatory tone of the comments that are often posted by this pair, one naturally must wonder, where do they find the time (and resources) to keep up this constant barrage of crap?
I no longer follow this blog (and particularly the comments) close enough to categorize these comments as you have done. So thank you for that interesting tidbit of information on what POA has been yammering on about. 🙂
Rarely have I seen El post confrontational or rude commentary. You…on the other hand…..
First, I recommend that you check the dictionary definition of “bigot”. If you can show me how Paul’s constant negative categorization of democrats and liberals fails to meet the definition, I will retract my labeling of him, and apologize to him. Interesting that you don’t note his constant negative representation of democrats and liberals as an act of “pushing an anger trigger”. Nor do you seem to consider telling someone to “get back under their rock” an “anger trigger”, or constantly accusing a civil and articulate commenter of being a “paid troll” being anything less.
Thanks for the link. However, Cantor’s “jewishness” is not the issue. Any criticism of Israel is always met with the timeworn deflective accusation of anti-semitism. The term is being rendered useless by its misapplication.
You’re right about appropriate forums. Undoubtedly, I’ve hit a nerve here that ain’t attached directly to the topic. Obviously I have strong feelings about those such as Cantor, and when his name came up, I voiced them.
Unfortunately politics are part of the picture when considering energy issues. And when a politician exhibits a lack of integrity in one area, it is hardly reasonable to expect him or her to merit our trust concerning other issues.
Anyway, sorry for singing off key. I hope the choir will forgive me.
Religion is not the issue; tribalism is. There are numerous exceptions, but my general position with regard to organized religion is that it is more about cliques, clubs and tribes than about specific ceremonies and rituals directed at worshiping whatever God the religion professes. Cantor appears to have been a highly regarded and useful member of the tribe that cooperates to protect Israel and all that it represents – including its position as a bridgehead in the region of the world that is most associated with accessible petroleum resources.
You misinterpreted my request to keep this discussion focused on energy-related issues. There is most definitely an energy angle to AIPAC, Cantor, and Israel. Energy, money, banking, foreign policy, international relations and domestic political power are all strongly related. It is not pretty and not a nerve for me. Focus on that angle here.
There are an unprecedented amount of multi-millionaires currently steering our ship of state. Catering to special interests, above the needs of the people is a given. But the corruption of greed pales in the face of support for the kinds of abuses that Israel heaps on the Palestinians on a daily basis. I find it hard to concentrate on the greed of our corrupt governing body when actual evil is being financed, supported and condoned as a matter of policy. This transcends mere greed, and is making our nation a pariah within the global community.
I understand your general area of political interest, and your desire for focus from the participants here. But I find it hard to prosecute someone for stealing a candy bar while ignoring the fact that they just murdered their mother.
I don’t think you are reading my comments closely enough to notice the multiple layers and the root causes of the problem. I stopped thinking it had anything to do with religion many years ago.
Would there even be a Palestinian problem if there had never been an effort to establish a “democracy” beachhead in the oil producing regions? Would Israel have the clout in American politics that it has if the Jewish homeland established after the Holocaust had been established in a more logical place – perhaps in a region of what is now Germany and eastern Europe?
Your issue can be discussed here; it has a lot of ties to energy, but those ties need to be made clear so that we remain on topic.
Count away, folks. Its a debate that needs to happen, though. Its way past time. There is no single issue that is fueled by widespread public ignorance on the scale that our relationship with Israel is. So too are most americans ignorant of the huge corrosive influence that AIPAC has on our political body. You can’t selectively decry media complicity in deception in one area; NE, while ignoring it in another; foreign policy. Do you want truth or not?
I do not ignore media complicity in deception, but this blog is mainly about energy, specifically atomic energy. If the complicity touches or is related in some way to the main blog topic, it is worth discussing here.
If not, there are probably better forums for the discussion.
Markey is a fool, and has consistently shown himself to be interested primarily in shining a spotlight on himself, rather than on the so-called “issues” that he digs up. In this case, though, he is being even more disingenuous than usual. I don’t recall any comments on his part when his former staffer, Greg Jaczko, was cited as being responsible for a hostile work environment at the NRC. On the contrary, he directed his rancor at those who criticized Jaczko. It would appear that when it comes to expressing dissenting opinions, Markey’s door swings just one way.
Can you really call him a fool, when he is extremely effective at *his* goals?
We need to stop calling these folks fools and idiots and start calling them vandals, thieves and whatever the proper word is for a person who substitutes his personal interests for the public’s good when given high office as a public trust.
Fools and idiots fail at their endeavors. These corrupt people are all too effective at their purposes.
Well, “hypocrite” and/or “demagogue” might work. “Corrupt” is pretty good, too. But I’d quibble with your assertion that Markey is “extremely effective at his goals.” Markey is a gadfly who, from what I’ve seen, usually exerts relatively little influence over his colleagues. And if the Republicans gain control of the Senate in this year’s elections, he’s likely to be even more marginalized than is currently the case.
I like your third word. Direct evidence is hard to come by, but there is one area in which Markey has been effective ever since his initial election in 1976.
He has helped to ensure that the New England power grid burned more and more natural gas sourced from the LNG terminal in his home district. He has been involved in slowing, stopping and reversing nuclear energy development in the entire area. He has slowed pipeline development that would have increased supplies from other areas. He has helped to provide LNG tanker escort at taxpayer expense and has diverted attention away from the very real vulnerability of having those tankers pass close to Boston. His protege helped to vastly increase the profitability of the world’s LNG market by his actions to focus the world’s attention on Fukushima — which eventually led to every operable nuclear plant in Japan being shut down.
Now he is focusing attention on a 1977 law barring both crude oil and natural gas exports from the US where the natural gas part of the law was never implemented in regulation. Keeping US LNG out of the world market will help to ensure that LNG prices remain high and more profitable for the players already in the business.
I suspect that Markey is by now a wealthy man with a very specific, long-term patron.
While nukers quibble, anti-nukers gain more ground, step by step big time…
That’s actually a self defeating victory. 300 MW solar will never actually provide much power, but will generate already a very costly FiT for the town.
Disagree. The biggest game in town is to fiddle with the rules to extract as much cash from the masses (preferably the relatively wealthy middle class masses) as a set of partners can get away with.
Its rent seeking. Of course rent seeking is a confusing term to the masses since it brings to mind the activity of landlords. A better term IMHO is Fizbin, which is rent seeking on steroids && named by the first user of the technique, now used primarily by politicians and their benefactors…
The hyperlink is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v77SF4TFUoM
But the powers-that-be and the power company will never admit to the rate payers that the cause of their higher rates was foolish energy choices involving solar or wind energy.
It’s going on right now in Austin. They’ll do anything except admit that their insane energy source choices is what is driving the rate increases.
When the public never hears the root cause,and never looks for themselves, how will the foolishness ever be corrected?
It’s not self-defeating for the people who profit from it and have no regard for the well being of the public.
Reply just went to the ether when I clicked Submit. Rod, if you have time to rescue it I’d appreciate, although I think John covered much the same though. I wonder if we submitted at the same time and that bumped my post somehow.
Markey may be on the losing end of trends also here. A few things have been and are occurring in the world power industry that may tilt the whole game more towards demand and his jumping into the gas export fray now may be too much exposure for him.
Gas issues could spiral (more) out of control in Europe and India is having big time energy issues now. Conditions in Iraq are also driving up oil prices. Coal (which most of us would think is in “decline”) reached its highest share of world energy markets since 1970 last year.
Heatwave triggers riots in northern India ( http://www.aljazeera.com/weather/2014/06/heatwave-triggers-riots-northern-india-2014689551264867.html ).
Things have cooled off but a week ago Sunday Delhi hit 118 degrees and were 110 or over for seven days. Half of India does not have access to reliable power. Its a complex mess of subsidies, wealth, poverty, pollution and politics as well. El nino is expected to reduce their hydropower performance in coming months as well.
I should add here even though I constantly rail against coal – and even if it isn’t “clean” – considering pollution indoors and less safe and efficient alternatives to electricity – access to reliable power (which enhances things like food and water quality) is more important than any environmental concern when it comes to peoples health. I dont think that can be reasonably disputed.
I thought that last bit would ignite a firestorm. I tried it over at climate progress and even included that I didn’t think it was possible for India to finance all its energy needs with nuclear power and renewables were unreliable. Nothing but crickets.
I think I was very wrong opposing all coal and possibly gas(?) exports, like Markey seems to be doing, especially to certain countries in Africa, Asia and south America. The argument being that access (easy and cheap) to reliable electricity is a major immediate player in public health that cannot be easily replaced. Some notes:
Regionally, low- and middle-income countries in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with a total of 3.3 million deaths linked to indoor air pollution and 2.6 million deaths related to outdoor air pollution. ( http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/ )
Fuel gathering consumes considerable time for women and children, limiting other productive activities (e.g. income generation) and taking children away from school. In less secure environments, women and children are at risk of injury and violence during fuel gathering… Black carbon (sooty particles) and methane emitted by inefficient stove combustion are powerful climate change pollutants…. The lack of access to electricity for at least 1.2 billion people (many of whom then use kerosene lamps for lighting) creates other health risks, e.g. burns, injuries and poisonings from fuel ingestion, as well as constraining other opportunities for health and development, e.g. studying or engaging in small crafts and trades, which require adequate lighting. ( http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs292/en/ )
It has been estimated that each year 1.8 million people die as a result of diarrhoeal diseases and most of these cases can be attributed to contaminated food or water. Proper food preparation can prevent most foodborne diseases ( http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/consumer/manual_keys.pdf )
And while these carbon fuel sources also pollute they include far more efficient indoor uses and probably produce less pollution – that all goes outdoors eventually anyway (so outdoor pollution would likely remain unchanged or improve ). Not to mention they also are necessary for dependable communications and timely information distribution.
As for worldwide deaths directly related to coal combustion specifically for electricity, (mining and such but not including warming and acidification) there are not any clear numbers I can find but my best guess from my readings is somewhere between over 200,000 to over 1 million, per year. Correct ??
@John T Tucker
I’m not sure that everyone is aware of what you are talking about with regard to Markey’s jumping into the gas export fray.
I don’t think I mentioned topic in the initial post and my quick skim of the rest of the comments here did not reveal anyone else introducing the topic into the discussion.
(I just posted a comment with a link to his web site describing his opinion that exporting natural gas from the US was made illegal in 1975, even though the Commerce Department never created the required regulations.)
The firestorm you expected might not have materialized because of the position in the thread or the lack of a reference to explain what you were talking about.
Oh yea, that too, I did think they knew about that. And if they would spend less time arguing… hehehe sorry j/k.
Actually Rod I was thinking because opinions on fossil fuels are so radicalised that a partial answer/approval would stir up the range of opinions that seem to exist here on the subject. Oh well, I thought it was kinda a interesting argument too. I probably need to discus carbon monoxide poisoning also if it comes up again.
Incidentally Markey is looking like the quite the anti coal export warrior too. [note the quote midway down] ( http://www.markey.senate.gov/news/press-releases/markey-report-on-public-coal-leasing-shows-taxpayers-losing-money ). When it comes to rip offs in mining rights he should talk to his buddy Reid. He is a expert of course. Obviously though that’s not the point.
Im not sure if we even will have enough gas to export. Probably though we do need to be cutting our carbon emissions drastically and not look to the developing world to take the initiative or restricting their access to energy. They have greater worries now.
Also im still no fan of coal but the way Markey seems to use any administrative/regulatory/internal access means as punishment and political dissuasion for other agendas seems unethical at best, perhaps even dangerous. Perhaps they are “all doing it now” in congress, Its still not a good idea. He should be able to make the best argument for issues at hand.
Btw…mjd and Brian.
Thank you for being so interested in my posting history. For you to expend such time and investigative energy is impressive indeed. I’m flattered. I think I’ll stick around.
The NASA numbers are up and may is looking like the warmest for that month on record according to those – the NOAA numbers will probably put it in the top warmest at least. ( http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt ).
The cool anomaly that was over much of the US is looking about over ( http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/ ).
Chance of El Niño is 70% during the Northern Hemisphere summer and
reaches 80% during the fall and winter. ( http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf ).
Like it or not climate change is likely to further itself as a issue with respect to energy in the coming months. Markey’s antinuclear stance puts him at odds with the only dependable, freestanding, known successful greenhouse gas reduction technology, despite his strong verbal commitment to addressing climate change. ( http://www.edmarkey.com/issues/climate/ ), That needs to be made clear.
Its quite a jump – and When fully implemented.?? I dont think such a drastic increase at once is a fair or practical approach. It doesn’t feel serious.
Oh and the specific reason the may temps records are so late is some issues with numbers from China:
“June 17, 2014: Analysis was delayed hoping the missing reports from China would become available. Unfortunately, this has not been the case yet. Please note, that the current May 2014 data are therefore not directly comparable to previous records.” ( http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/updates_v3/ )
Previous UK reports put this around the 3rd warmest May. Japan and NASA put it first. Its going to be in the top tier no matter what. After that it looks like the rest of the summer will post some interesting numbers. I wonder what NOAA will do.
My new car, purchased April 2013, has averaged over 106 MPG since then.
It’s quite doable.
I see where Tesla has “opened” their patents, in the hope that it will speed the evolution of the electric automobile. A rare bit of altruism from a company that is apparently riding a wave of success.
I wouldn’t call it altruism, any more than Adobe’s release of PDF into the public domain was altruism. Both are the result of enlightened self interest; establishing a standard can provide substantial network effects.
The specific patents that Tesla is releasing will enable many others to build fast charging stations. That infrastructure is a prerequisite to attracting more than a niche customer base; keeping it proprietary would be just plain dumb because it would saddle Tesla with the responsibility of coming up with huge quantities of capital.
It will be better for Tesla to focus on being an exceptional manufacturer of batteries and automobiles than to become skilled at real estate, traffic patterns and negotiating power purchase agreements in numerous jurisdictions.
Besides, the boundaries of valuable intellectual property are not strictly defined by patents. Knowhow and trade secrets are not public information and can be kept forever, unlike the limited-time protection available on patented innovations.
That would be the odometer and various gas pumps.
I am expecting a major fall in the dollar and commensurate increase in petroleum prices in the USA. Even if I’m wrong, I’ll pay off my investment in the life of the car.
22.3% nuclear, nearly 31% carbon-free overall.
I bought some on the used market (no subsidy). I’m trying to find a sufficiently un-shaded place to put them.
I bought some on the used market (no subsidy). I’m trying to find a sufficiently un-shaded place to put them.
Tell me more about this used market for solar panels. Based on all of the marketing literature, I thought everyone who bought solar panels was happy with their purchase and would use them for many decades.
EP: “22.3% nuclear, nearly 31% carbon-free overall.”
Is there a web site that tracks such ratios by city.
I believed (must have read it somewhere) that Austin was getting 28% of its electricity from STNP. But the brochure that came with my last utility bill claimed only 10%. However, they lie, a lot. So, I suspect that the 10% number may be a comparison of generating capacity, rather than actual KWHrs used/produced.
I’ve done some Google searching, but turned up nothing useful. Ideas? I’m not sure I trust the Austin Energy website, but I guess I should explore there.
Sign of attempted deceit: claiming someone hasn’t said what they said (e.g. miles per gallon does not mean miles per GALLON). This is always followed by attempts to put words in their mouth, often amounting to slander.
E.g., such “exaggerated” assumptions like expecting a widespread withdrawal from the petrodollar as the global medium of exchange (currently under way) to have a substantial impact on the value of same, and the dollar-denominated price of oil.
It is fascinating to ponder how this discussion would have gone in 1970. That is when the Texas RR Commission set the allowed production rate of Texas oil wells to 100% of capacity, right on M. King Hubbert’s schedule. A mere 3 years later, OPEC took advantage of its new status as the world’s swing producer and orchestrated the first world oil price shock, followed by years of stagflation in the USA. I bet in 1970 you’d have been claiming any such scenario was exaggerated too. You’d think that after the Dot Bomb era and housing bubble, you’d be bright enough to see the signs.
I don’t believe that the OPEC actions in the 1970s were taken without plenty of advice and counsel from the major multinational petroleum corporations and the petrodollar inventors, both of whom received rather massive benefits from the increased prices. So did their banker and military-industrial-academic complex supporters.
You can find almost anything on Craig’s List (though I’m still looking for that 10 kW(th) Sr-90 heat source).
Some people are hobbyists and have temporary installations. If they need money or have to move where they can’t take their gear, they’ll put it up for sale. This is not so great for a major installation, but perfect for another hobbyist.
Now in excess of 107 MPG (give or take the 1% or so error in the trip computer). The car has travelled 14,000 and some miles since new. It has burned just under 133 gallons of fuel. You do the math, Einstein. I’m assuming you’re capable of long division.
Today’s driving ran through roughly 1 full charge. The engine never started.
You’ve gotten more than you gave. Now be true to your namesake. Go hide in your gulch and leave us alone.
I tend to agree with JohnGalt here. It is disingenuous to ignore the energy that you are putting into the vehicle’s batteries to enable you to claim such a high fuel economy.
Your plug-in hybrid does not defy the laws of physics. It has a certain weight, rolling resistance, etc. and requires a certain amount of work to move it from point A to point B at a certain speed and acceleration. Part of the energy that provides that work comes from burning gasoline which contains roughly 40 kilowatts of heat per gallon and can be converted into useful rotational energy at roughly 20-25% efficiency in an internal combustion engine. Part of the energy comes from the electricity that you can store in your battery, which is converted into to work at an efficiency that approaches 95%, but that also includes losses in the heat that must be dissipated in the charging and discharging cycle.
It is more energy-efficient to charge a battery slowly, but it is more convenient to charge it quickly.
Using electricity does have the advantage of opening up a much wider range of fuels, nearly all of which are domestically produced and not imported from countries that do not like us very much and are getting tired of accepting our depreciating greenbacks.
The EIA tracks them by state, though the tables are not always clearly labelled as to exactly what is being counted and over what specific interval.
I’m not ignoring it, I’m discounting it. That energy is 100% domestic, and has the potential to be 100% carbon-free. Only the fuel that goes into the tank adds to the trade deficit or causes direct carbon emissions. Petroleum is the only thing that’s subject to scarcity in the near term. If 75% of motor fuel consumption was displaced by electricity, biofuels could supply the remainder (at least in the USA). A PHEV vehicle fleet could go completely carbon-neutral and import-free. That’s why liquid fuel consumption pushes the rest into irrelevance.
So if you drove a Leaf or a Tesla would you say that you are getting an infinite number of miles per gallon?
I’d say “I’m not burning any gas.” I have days when I can say that I have covered X miles with zero fuel consumed. Yesterday was one of them.
So, E-P, I may have asked you this before, but I don’t remember and in any case don’t remember the answer, so please bear with me. I am wondering:
1. What the range is of your vehicle on ordinary terrain (no maintains or deserts) for a single charge, no gasoline used.
2. Does the vehicle have heat and A/C? If so, how does their use affect mileage/range?
3. How does outside temperature affect mileage/range?
I have often wondered about the practicality of EVs and hybrids for my case, which is mainly local driving (retiree) except for an occasional extended trip (about 1500 mi. r/t for vacation).
I know I could probably do research on the web, but I respect your opinion since I am an E without the P (except for a little in college).
1, I have eked out 32 miles on a single charge. That was under ideal conditions and cruising at 40 MPH.
2. Anything more than tiny amounts of heat requires the engine to run. Air conditioning or defroster use can cut the range in half. However, you can operate the air conditioning from “shore power” while plugged in! What the car really needs is a block heater that switches on either on a timer, or when charging is complete.
3. Sub-freezing weather cuts the all-electric range from 25-27 miles down to 14-16, without any climate-control loads. Heat and defrost can cut that in half again. My trick is to drive with windows cracked to vent humidity and keep the windshield from frosting up. There is a way to get a circulation pattern that sweeps fresh air across the glass and out without going past the driver and picking up exhaled moisture.
I’d suggest test-driving one to see how you like it. It might be a good investment, especially if fuel prices take a hike in the next few years. Prius owners were once selling their used cars for as much as they paid for them, I can see that happening again.
Well, Engineer-Poet, I certainly won’t begrudge you your choices. You are free to do what you want, what interests you, what makes you happy (as long as it isn’t illegal). That’s one of the nice things about a free economy, you can make those choices for yourself. But, I don’t know, somehow, things like worrying about range, setting up air circulation loops in the vehicle interior, not having heat when its cold outside, all seems like a step backwards in a lot of ways. Just today I took my son to the dentist. About a 20 mi. roundtrip. Didn’t worry about range (the fuel needle was on half a tank). Fired up the A/C and in spite of 90 deg. heat and 90% humidity, neither of us broke a sweat the whole trip. None of those other things concerned me. Sure, its because modern life and “someone else” made it possible, but aren’t those the very things mankind has striven for over the millennia, to have a society advanced enough that we can be free of those kinds of everyday worries, where our heat will come from, where our food will come from, where our shelter will be from the elements? I know it comes at a cost of a complex and interdependent society, but when I hear people (not you) talk about “living a simpler life”, I wonder how many of them really know what that means? For me, I don’t necessarily want a “simpler life” if it means going back to a life of hardship and drudgery. I want to live a comfortable and advanced lifestyle, where I have the time to do the things I really find interesting, useful, and fun. That doesn’t mean lazy, it means having the freedom to choose what you spend your time on.
It’s a game that you don’t have to play. Most cars don’t have heat for several miles when it’s cold out anyway, I just found a way to manage it for grins (and the car has electrically heated seats). I don’t “worry about” range, I can go 500 miles whenever I want to. I just like to see the gas gauge not move for weeks at a time. The trip computer has been sitting “1.58 gallons used” for days.
How much would it have concerned you if gas was $10/gallon?
Two things are on the way: better batteries, and ubiquitous charging. I’ve already charged my car at the dentist; sooner or later, just about every place where people drive and park for 30 minutes or more will have some support for plug-in vehicles. An hour on the charger is 10-15 miles of range even with the A/C running. Put that all together and most driving becomes gas-free even without paying a whole lot of attention to it.
Even so, it’s years too late to prevent much of the pain that’s coming. Hold on, the ride is going to be bumpy.
I’ll admit to not having a crystal ball. I’ve seen a lot of predictions come and go in my 60-something years on this Earth and one thing I do know is that I don’t know for sure what’s going to happen. I understand you’re looking ahead based on what you think may be in the offering and again I don’t begrudge your choosing to take whatever action you think is in your own best interest. I haven’t seen many charging stations around here. There is one down the street from where I used to work, but it is at the university’s vehicle research center. They have electric and hydrogen refueling ports there. I guess they’re looking ahead, too.
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