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33 Comments

  1. The thing I like to point out to the gassies is that methane is a terrible, terrible greenhouse gas, much more harmful than CO2 or SO2. Just the losses of methane to the atmosphere during the extraction process offsets the gains in avoidance of CO2 or SO2 or NOx or PAHs from using coal or petroleum. Throw in the danger aspects as you mention and it is a compelling argument. Natural gas accidents have killed scores of the general public. No member of the public has been killed or even injured by nuclear plants. For the enviros who advocate use of gas over nuclear and then claim to be a “friend of the environment”, they are most definitely not that.

  2. Russia is doing well at both ends, supplying gas to Europe and supplying reactors to Turkey, India, China, Vietnam, ..

  3. Here’s a machine translation of an article in the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza pointing out how WWF Deutschland, BUND (the German wing of Friends of the Earth) and Naturschutzbund Deutschland have between them received $10 million from a foundation whose sole sponsor is Gazprom-controlled Nord Stream.

    No wonder German environmentalists are so anti-nuclear!! Bloody traitors — Erich Honecker would be proud of them.

    1. Rod, this would seem to be beyond a smoking gun, wouldn’t it?

      The translation of this sentence is a bit humorous, in a sick way:

      “Gazprom ensure that the management of the Foundation is to work honorably.”

      1. Glad someone’s responded to it! I think I may have made a mistake — it’s actually €10 million, but Google Translate for some reason changed euros to dollars…

      2. After a little further thought, I think this group may have simply been set up to manage the environmental impacts of the Nord Stream project.

        If this particular group was found to be engaging in stoking the anti-nuclear sentiment of Germany, that would be a serious smoking gun.

  4. Economists that I trust (Krugman, DeLong, Gagnon, …) make a strong case that we are not going to get out of our demand-constrained economy without additional stimulus (monetary or fiscal or both). Cutting spending is not going to help the deficit, which is largely a problem of revenue loss and unemployment benefits from the large number of idle workers. They also make the point that putting off needed infrastructure investments does not save money. As you say, with 20% of construction workers idle, wages and interest rates low it is a perfect time to make these investments. They are mostly talking about roads, water and sewer, bridges, trains etc. But, building a fleet of nuclear reactors would not only serve all the purposes noted above but would go a long way to solving our energy/climate change problems.

    It is very painful that it is not happening or even discussed all that much by policy makers.

    1. We can say most of the great hydro dam projects of the New Deal were good decisions – they provide us with water and power to this day. But today, can we trust our politicians to see through the deception of green energy? The environmental movement didn’t exist back then, but it does exist now, and ironically they are campaigning – and succeeding – to tear down most dams built back then, each time proclaiming renewable energy and conservation can replace them.

      1. I live in the Pacific Northwest with its abundance of dams. While I benefit from the power generation, irrigation, flood control, and river navigation aspects of the dams, I also see the damage done to salmon fisheries and loss of freely flowing rivers. I might be persuaded to have at least some of the dams removed — if their power generation were replaced with nuclear power plants.

        On the other hand, they can’t be beat for load following power generation. They can go from 0 to full power in 15 seconds, with minimal extra wear on the equipment.

    2. Note that shale gas developments suddenly changed the diminishing outlook on gas and made this new found reserves “the Saviour”. Uranium market is not far behind the oil market in respect of its peak.
      Demand growth cannot be sustained. The alternative energy becomes necessity. Check out the “Solar tower” being built in Arizona Desert by Enviromission of Australia or the solar project in Sahara, being funded by EU. The first can produce electricity even after sun down – thanks to thermal-accumulation.

  5. Rod, I would like to at least explain my reasoning for not supporting your position that there is a causal link between fossil fuels and anti-nuclear. For me, it comes down to the dearth of reporting and/or scientific studies showing any causal link. I support your reasoned assumption, but I am ever mindful it is a reasoned assumption and am reluctant to express it myself to any but my most trusted and trusting friends. I would never present it publicly as I do not see the strong presence of evidence which you do.

    Please do not take this as a discouragement at all for your expression of this position. I have a suspicion that, over time, the evidence will bear out your position as correct or, at the very least,
    present us with no convincing evidence to the contrary.

    Good luck with your continued endeavor to promote nuclear power. Irrespective of the presence or lack thereof for a causal link between fossil and anti-nuclear, I do everything I can to promote nuclear including a continued discussion with all my legislators at all levels. Currently, I only have one (maybe two) representatives which do not fully support nuclear power from my districts. The first is my member of the state house and her position is being shown to be a faith position for anti-nuclear/wind/solar. The other, possibly, is the president. I have no idea what his actual position is, but his stated position leads me to believe he is in favor.

  6. Robin…the problem Rod is facing is that this kind of reporting, and establishing a link, requires true *full time* investigative reporting. Almost all the fine, serious investigative reporters are on the left, broadly stated, and are ipsofacto anti-nuclear (Rod is progressive as are many pro-nuclear bloggers but none, to my knowledge, are investigative reporters). The likes of Seymour Hersch, Matt Tiabbi and so on simply don’t exist for our side of this discussion.

    Rod has made an incredible effort in establishing the *motive* for fossil fuel opposition to fission. He’s established (he’s not the only one of course) between the quite open, public and provable link between, say, the original 2001 German phase out by the Greens and Social Democracy and their subsequent leaders going to work for the gas industry(s).

    The famous Aussie coal industry poster which declared “Nuclear threatens our way of life” should be enough for anyone not to conclude that these fossil lobby’s don’t put their money where they mouths are.

    David

    1. @Robin Holt – The very nature of this sort of thing is that the offending parties work very hard to keep it in curia as these types of activities are considered illegal in many countries. However, I am reminded of an obscure American journalist named Mark Hibbs, who is largely unknown to the public, but must rank as one of the greatest reporters at work in the world today.

      It was he that exposed single-handedly A. Q. Khan’s proclivity to export his nuclear wares. Much of what he writes is of short-term interest at best, and only to regulators and nuclear-energy insiders; he has filed thousands of such service reports over the years. Embedded among them, however, are several hundred related dispatches—usually inconclusive, yet accurate and precise—that together tell an ongoing story of the shadowy world of illicit nuclear markets, and the transactions therein.

      Much of the business was questionable but not obviously illegal; for the most sensitive items it involved dealings with middlemen who worked through front companies and third-country destinations and provided the sellers with usable explanations. For many years his reports made little impression individually, but over time there emerged a picture that could not be ignored.

      The same thing is happening in this case. There may never be a sudden confession of guilt, but if enough circumstantial evidence is presented, it is going to be difficult to deny – and that might be all that is needed.

  7. 400 + ppm and rising and with the volcano eruptions and methane release and combustion and cows farting and belching the CO2 and SO2 are changing our weather. Not just a little bit of change but major weather model alterations. I invite all to view just CO2 monitoring satellite data and note the reverse vortex over Labrador and southern Siberia. These circulation changes occured in the last two years. One may blog until the “Day After Tomorrow” and then decide which carries more weight, Nuclear with no aerosol release or Natural Gas which unleashed a very long winter.

  8. I would say that the anti-nuke movement of the environmental left has many shared properties with the more recent anti-vaccine movement that’s caused the re-emergence of measles in countries that had previously stamped it out as well as the anti-genetically modified crops movement.

    While there is certainly the possibility that the energy competitors of nuclear play a role in funding these groups, I suspect that they would exist regardless. They have a long pedigree of activist paranoia regarding anything “artificial” and vaguely specified “toxins” poisoning the environment and affecting humans, without scientific evidence and often contrary to the evidence available.

    I will agree that there is a financial motive and it certainly seems plausible that fossil fuel producers would attempt to bolster such groups, but I suspect that they would exist with or without support from an interested party. Never underestimate the ability of activist groups to form around a misguided message with no benefit to themselves or any patrons. Rational self-interest does exist, but it’s not a necessary condition for what we see.

    1. We have the “romantic” environmentalists, that dream of a better future by rolling back technological progress on the one hand, and the scientific environmentalists on the other hand, that want to reduce emissions such as CO2 and reduce consumption of limited resources.

      Big Oil/Gas is fooling the 2 sides with the utopian promise that they can put up solar and wind installations and that way achieve both a total reduction of emissions and resource consumption, as well as a return to primitive technology. Those plans are always tied to a “transition” period that is powered by fast responding natural gas turbines, and not to forget also continued burning of oil in our vehicles, since electric cars become prohibitively expensive with renewable power, just like 100W incandescent light bulbs. Use of gas and oil are being played down by rethoric and marketing techniques, such as claiming all gas burned is “biogas” and all oil burned is “ethanol” or “biodiesel”.

      Once invested and all treasure has been spent on the renewable-natural gas combo, the state will eventually run out of money, and have to stop subsidizing wind/solar, so only gas and oil remains. By then, a return to coal&nuclar will be extremely costly and would take many decades. Meanwhile Big Oil has taken over the electricity market from coal&nuclear and has enough time to come up with a new plan – this is their thinking.

  9. For the record, it was 8 people who lost their lives in the San Bruno explosion and fire. Among them were:

    Jessica Morales, 20
    Joseph Ruigomez, Jacqueline Greig, 44
    Janessa Greig, 13
    Lavonne Bullis, 82
    Greg Bullis, 50
    Will Bullis, 17

  10. @Meng

    The groups might exist, but without support they could be easily ignored. They would not have accumulated four decades worth of successful actions to halt an objectively better and affordable power source.

  11. In Italy energy produced from gas combustion is 48% of total energy. Every year there are methane explosions that destroy entire buildings and kill more people than all nuclear power plants in the world

  12. “The Lancet”, Vol. 370, Settembre 2007, pagg.979-990.

    Title: “Electricity generation and health”

    Tab.2, page981: “Health effects of electricity generation in Europe by primary energy source (deaths and cases per TWh)”

    energy source -deaths – serious diseases- minor diseases
    lignite -32.6 – 298 – 17676
    coal – 24.5 – 225 – 13288
    gas – 2.8 – 30 – 703
    oil – 18.4 – 161 – 9551
    biomass – 4.6 – 43 – 2276
    nuclear – 0.05 – 0.22 – 0.00 (including Chernbobyl)

  13. I forgot to copy the comment from http://www.eia.gov/oog/info/ngw/ngupdate.asp yesterday, but there was a comment that natural gas prices increased due to higher temperatures and air conditioning loads and increasing use of natural gas for electrical power generation. Today, there is a comment at the bottom of the page “EIA Data Show Natural Gas-Fired Generation in March up 5.0 Percent from the Previous Year”. Oil prices seem to rise in the winter due to heating oil demand, and summer due to increased driving. I think the natural gas companies want that too (more heating in winter, more electrical power generation in the summer).

    To normalize the costs of natural gas vs nuclear electrical power generation, I wonder if it is possible to get a guaranteed 30-year price for a natural gas electrical power plant. I have heard Russia does long-term fuel assembly sales with new nuclear plants. If the guaranteed 30-year price of fuel was included in the new plants cost, I bet fission would look much better compared to natural gas….

  14. A greedy ecosystem of organisations have been created across the EU, each with the appearance of independence, working in cahoots with radical environmental NGOs and governments. Yet few, if any, of these organisations offer accounts of their funding sources, let alone explain what kind of organisation they are: how accountable they are, how independent from government they are, and who they really represent. It is as if no membrane delimits their functions from the functioning of the state, except to conceal its operations.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/6/16/ideological-money-laundering.html“>Ideological money laundering

    1. Thanks, DV8.

      Sadly, it’s not limited to just the EU. The UN is also infested with such corruption.

      Cui bono?

  15. I just opened a new category “Fossil Greens” on my blog, linking to this post.

    I agree completely that it would make sense for the fossil fuel industry to have Fossil Greens on their payroll.

    It would be interesting to be able to point to a few clearly documented cases where exactly that happened.

    1. Karl:

      If you do a search on this site with the key word “smoking gun” you will find a number of articles that attempt to do exactly what you have suggested. I am just one guy without a research or investigative staff, but it is a start.

      1. Thank you for that pointer. I just did the search and found quite a number of articles. I am looking ahead to read them all.

        Thank you also for your friendly Twitter link.

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