1. Well, it’s a fine idea if that’s all the industry is willing to do. But most serious analyses show that nuclear emissions are on par with technologies such as solar photovoltaic and biomass. (And that’s for once-through reactors, not breeders, which can be more efficient.) As long as those technologies are labeled zero carbon, then nuclear should too. Here’s the most recent meta analysis I have found:

    Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Nuclear Electricity Generation

  2. From Rod:

    Diesel and heating oil are chemically interchangeable, but legally separate so that highway taxes can be assessed on one and not on the other.

    Here in Canada, they have different color so that it can be easy for an inspector to tell them apart. I would assume the same stratagem is used in the US.

  3. Rod, I’m writing a book, and learning.

    In March 2012 the US EPA proposed limits of 454 g/kWh for CO2 emissions from new fossil fuel power plants. One implication is that coal and OCGT power plants would be prohibited, so wind power backup would only be possible from CCGT natural gas power plants, although they are not able to change power levels rapidly.

    Grams of CO2 emissions per kWh of generated electric power

    Coal, conventional 1200
    Coal, advanced 900
    Natural gas, CCGT 333
    Natural gas, OCGT 700
    Wind + 70% OCGT backup 490
    Wind + 70% CCGT backup 233

  4. As much as “renewables” have been floated in the media as the solution Japan is turning to in the ill advised rush to replace nuclear power, behind the scenes they have selected NG and are making long term commitments to it.

    Hope for Natural Gas Pipeline Shifts From Juneau to Japan

    On Monday night, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) had dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. During that dinner, held by the State Department in Washington, D.C., Murkowski talked with Noda about a key concern of his: electrical power for Japan.

    Murkowski has not only met with Noda, but also met last week with members of Japan’s ruling body

    If President Obama can help reach an agreement with Japan to buy 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas from the United States annually for the next 30 years, a big component of a long-awaited gas line may fall into place ( http://www.ktuu.com/news/ktuu-juneau-couldnt-get-us-an-alaska-gas-pipeline-can-tokyo-20120501,0,7362689.story )

    Its not just Alaska gas they are interested in either:

    Noda, Obama back talks on U.S. shale gas exports to Japan

    A U.S. decision on a waiver for Japan could be made this year. If approval is given, exports to Japan could begin sometime after 2015, once facilities to process the shale gas are completed.
    In January, LNG accounted for 47 percent of Japan’s overall power generation, up from 38 percent in April 2011.
    ( http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/AJ201205020071 )

    1. This morning on the car radio I caught part of an interview with a local Green. This person stated that the glut of natural gas in North America is such that no more can be absorbed by the system and producers are shortly going to be forced to flare-off excess flow at certain wells to protect the equipment. I did not get to here the whole thing and given the source I was tempted to put it down to the usual exaggeration that sometimes comes from that quarter. However I have found that in some cases when a well could not deliver gas to the network for some reason, flaring has occurred for the reason stated.

      What I can’t seem to find is any reports that this is, or is about to happen, system wide now or in the near future. Has anyone heard or seen anything to this effect recently?

      1. Just sitting on the north slope (no fracking needed), pipeline fast tracked and being built as we speak:

        The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently completed a new assessment of


        oil and gas resources of the central part of the Alaska North Slope and the adjacent offshore area. Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the USGS estimates that there are undiscovered, technically recoverable mean resources of 4.0 billion barrels of oil, 37.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 478 million barrels of natural gas liquids. ( http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2005/3043/ )


        35.4 trillion cubic feet of AD gas reserves


        on the Central North Slope in conjunction with existing oil fields, 93 percent is located in four fields: Prudhoe Bay (23 trillion cubic feet), Point Thomson (8 trillion cubic feet), Lisburne (1 trillion cubic feet), and Kuparak (1 trillion cubic feet) ( http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/aeo/otheranalysis/aeo_2009analysispapers/ansng.html )

        1. The depressing thing about all of the excitement over petroleum discoveries is that existing resources have production profiles that are falling by about 4 million barrels of oil per day each year.

          That means that essentially all of the newly announced resources are needed simply to stop daily production from falling year over year. It does not leave any room for growth in demand as heavily populated countries like China, India and Brazil grow their economies.

          The world needs an ever increasing rate of production in order to enable more and more people to enjoy the standard of living that Americans and Europeans already enjoy. Though we will never replace oil in all applications, we need to tap increasing quantities of fission to supply those parts of the oil consumption pie that are not locked in to oil. There is no reason to burn oil to power ships, no reason to use oil in power generation, no reason to use oil for large scale process heat, and no reason to use oil for home heating.

  5. Actually nukes could be considered zero carbon if enrichment plants used contracted for electric power from Hydro or nuke power companies.

    1. seth,
      The construction effort of plants still has some carbon emissions, utilizing the means available today of powering heavy equipment (and lighter equipment) and of producing the significant amounts of concrete that a nuclear power plant contains.

  6. To add more climate injury to the insult:

    Russia’s Gazprom mulls gas pipeline, LNG supply boost to Japan

    Representatives of Gazprom and the Japanese parliament discussed gas cooperation at a meeting held Thursday, a Gazprom statement said.

    “The parties discussed opportunities for a project to supply pipeline gas from Russia to Japan,” the statement said.( http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/NaturalGas/8260804 )

    To put it nicely: the “environmental” anti-nuke greens have to be the most inept, gullible and ignorant environmental movement ever.

    1. Anti-nuclear protesters in Europe and Japan are traitors selling out their countries to the Russians.

      1. I made that pronouncement during lunchbreak with colleagues (we work for a large, independent engineering consultancy firm). You should have seen some of their faces, even though they are used to the cognitive dissonance inducing statements I like to produce now and then. 🙂

  7. Do the estimates of CO2 emissions for gas include the building of pipelines and other infrastructure, as is done for nuclear and wind?

    1. As far as I know, most of the estimates for CO2 emissions for fossil fuels are just at the stack; they are not lifecycle emissions computations that include the enormous amount of energy used in moving and processing 6 billion tons of coal, 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and 29 billion barrels of oil that is extracted and consumed each year. Much of that material ends up traveling thousands of miles before it reaches its destination. Fortunately, a portion of that shipping is on energy efficient ships, but a good bit is via less efficient transportation methods.

      1. Obviously this looks to be more important than many of us know Rod.

        Here is what i have found :

        Compressor stations on Gas pipelines use 3 percent of the total natural gas delivered ( http://www.ingaa.org/File.aspx?id=6210 )

        LNG carriers are powered by “boil off” gas –

        For typical storage containers the boil-off varies between 0.04-0.20 percent of the total storage volume per day, which is released into the atmosphere in the form of methane gas ( http://www.perspectivesonglobalissues.com/archives/fall-2009-energy/lng/ )

        We are talking a lot of gas.

        LNG accounts for 28 percent of the global trade. ( http://dspace.mit.edu/bitstream/handle/1721.1/44920/302285726.pdf?sequ. )

        Gas field loss :

        range of 2.3–7.7% loss, with a best guess of 4%, is slightly higher than Corn­ell’s estimate of 2.2–3.8% for shale-gas drilling and production. ( http://www.nature.com/news/air-sampling-reveals-high-emissions-from-gas-field-1.9982 )

      2. Just the fugitive emissions of methane in the natural gas extraction process dwarfs the lifecycle carbon footprint for nuclear. Remember that there is about a 70:1 atmospheric degradation effect for methane vs. CO2. So just getting NG out of the ground and into the transportation system produces the harmful effects for all of nuclear, from start to finish. That doesn’t even count for losses in transport and end use, as well as releases from actual consumption, and non-consumption, like flaring. We all know here that the rush to things like wind and solar will do nothing more than increase the use of natural gas. In that sense, the whole thing will backfire on the so-called environmentalists who are pushing to get rid of nuclear.

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