1. “I apologize in advance to all of the professionals who do their very best to make lemons from lemonade.”
    Usually, people make lemonade from lemons, not the other way ’round . . . was this an additional bit of sarcasm, or was this a bit of a “slip of the tongue” (metaphorically speaking, of course, as no actual tongues are involved)?

    1. Jeff – good catch. Perhaps I should have said “make lemons from lemon juice vapors”, since that would have been closer to the analogy that I was really looking for.

  2. One additional thought, I would like to add. . . the Gas Marketers like to gush on about how we have about 100 years of Gas, as if this is a very long time. To me, 100 years doesn’t sound like a very long time. If we have *only* 100 years of known gas supplies, shouldn’t we try to extend that as long as possible? I’m not *anti* gas, per se. I think it can be a valuable resource to us as a nation, but one of the reasons I’m in favor of nuclear power is that I’d like to extend our Gas reserves as long as possible. 100 years, to me, means that we’d be running low on gas again in my grandkids’, or great-grandkids lifetimes. Shouldn’t we, as a species, be trying to think about energy in a much longer time-span than 100 years? Known human history spans something like 20,000 years? In that view, 100 years is the blink of an eye. If we think this resource would be gone in 100 years at proposed consumption levels, we should really, really try to reduce that consumption level significantly – try to extend it to 400 or 500 years. Leave some for future generations.
    Nuclear, on the other hand, using fast breeder reactors, and thorium molten salt reactors, could last us for, potentially, millions of years. If we can find a way to economically extract Uranium from Seawater (which the Japanese are working on, and have apparently made a bit of progress), it’s estimate that Seawater uranium supplies could power our current ‘conventional’ light water reactors for 60,000 years at current consumption rates (even if you assume that a planet powered mostly by Uranium were to use Uranium at a rate 6 times faster than current consumption, that’s still 10,000 years’ supply). Then there are fast breeder reactors – currently, our “conventional” light water reactors only extract less than 1 percent of the available potential energy from Uranium, leaving 99+% of the energy untapped.
    Ignoring seawater Uranium, estimates are that fast breeder reactors (which could use up about 99% of the potential energy in the fuel) could power us for about 30,000 years just using current conventional Uranium reserves. If you use Seawater Uranium in fast breeders, you get a multiplying effect which could power us for millions of years. Then there’s Thorium, which is 3 or 4 times more abundant than Uranium, and could last us another few hundred thousand years or something.
    Natural Gas, if we only have supplies for 100 to 200 years, is NOT an abundant, long-lasting energy resource for our nation, or our species. Nuclear most definitely can be (although, not with current light-water reactors which leave so much of the potential energy unused).

    1. @Jeff – I agree, but the situation is actually a bit worse than that. The “100 year” supply is actually less than 100, the promoters round up from 80. According to the best numbers available on American natural gas resources – the Potential Gas Committee Report of June 18, 2009 – the total in the US including all proven, probable, possible and speculative categories was 1836 Trillion Cubic Feet. The US uses about 23 TCF per year. 1836/23 = 79.8. I fully expect that my already living granddaughter will be alive at the end of that time.
      But wait, that number is as of the end of 2008, two years ago. We have already used up a portion of the time. Methane is way to valuable a raw material to burn it up as fast as possible just to provide temporary jobs and income to a few extractors.

    2. @ Jeff,
      Good summary and I agree exactly with your assessment. I read Roman history from time to time and I have been thinking about how we would feel if the builders of the Colosseum were to have used up all the fossil fuels at about the time of Christ. Or from AD 1 to AD 500… How would we consider them at this point in history? Even the 400 or 500 years of remaining coal seem short to me.

    3. Let me try this again. I am not sure if my posting is getting through.
      I am with Jeff on this. Natural gas has too many other good uses (e.g. plastics and fertilizer) to simply burn it for heat, when there is what amounts to an inexhaustible supply of heat available from nuclear in its various forms. If we need to burn some gas in the short run in order to get those nuclear heat sources up and running, so be it. But let us not build a future on a relatively short-term heat source when we have the beginnings of the inexhaustible source already in hand.
      What is particularly ironic is that there are some well designed reactors being built right now that will still be around producing heat and power when these “abundant” natural gas reserves in the US run out.
      Regarding energy, we need to consider seriously the religious philosophy of the Shakers, who when they make something even as simple as a chair, “build for a thousand years.”

      1. @donb, well, at least there’s this. . . when it gets too expensive to extract methane from geologic deposits, we at least have other sources of methane (algae or bacteria, maybe, or collecting cow farts, or perhaps syn-gas from hydrogen [cracked with heat from a nuclear reactor, perhaps], or something).
        I suppose if the Romans had exhausted geologic fossil fuels, but had left us a legacy of nuclear reactors, and the technology to produce methane or other hydrocarbons through other means, in sufficient quantity, at a low enough price, I’d think rather highly of those clever, forward-thinking Romans. Of course, if they were that advanced, they might well still be ruling the world. *grin*
        Anyhow, that’s the other thing about that 100-year figure. The way I see it, it’s going to take time to build up the ‘nuclear economy’. We need to really start thinking about beginning that process right now, so that in 50-100 years, just as those fossil fuels supplies are beginning to decline, nuclear is picking up the slack. Sometimes I really fear that a lack of long-term vision in our energy policy, coupled with our nations fiscal mismanagement, might lead us to a rapid and catastrophic dropoff in energy production, coupled with our large national debt, putting us in an economic depression so crushing that we simply cannot afford to build the nuclear plants we’ll by then need to supply enough affordable energy, to have a reasonably quick recovery of our economy. That is, painting ourselves into a corner so badly we can’t recover from it for a long time.
        Most of the time, I’m more optimistic that it won’t come to that.

        1. @Jeff, I believe that methane and other hydrocarbons will have a long (though expensive) tail to them. I think they will become quite expensive before they become so scarce that we will be stuck with no way to build nuclear power plants. If we were wise, we would be using the present abundance to build those nuclear plants. But we have too many short-range thinkers, aided by those who are placing their strategic bets on fossil fuels increasing in price. So I am expecting slow progress for nuclear in this country until the wake-up call of really high prices for methane occurs. By then, the nuclear construction infrastructure world-wide should be strong so that we can ramp up quickly.
          A totally nuclear economy will not come all at once, but it doesn’t need to. As nuclear ramps up, it will displace some of those expensive fossil fuels, limiting price increases and stretching out the available supply.

  3. Thanks for posting that comment over there, now I don’t have to. I was one of those stuck in the absurdly cold weather (for here anyway) when I lost the natural gas that runs my furnace. On the plus side I grew up heating a house with wood and the place I own now had a wood stove so I wasn’t one of the hundreds in my community that went to the local gym to stay warm.

    1. @Jason – it might be a stronger comment if you go ahead and make it on True Blue, sharing your personal story. If you could get some of your affected neighbors to do the same, that would be even better.

  4. Do you have to do something (like click a well-hidden link, or login with an account on their site) to see the comments attached to that True Blue NG article? I don’t see any comments at all. Apparently their moderators maybe decided not to publish *any* of the comments on that post?
    I suppose if you are a marketer posting an advert, you don’t want people raining on your parade with silly things like the facts and the truth. It might lessen the impact of the ad.

  5. Thanks Rod, I have been trying to come up with a way to illustrate the relative risks between electricity and natural gas. It seems every week I read about another house exploding from a gas leak. I know houses burn down from electrical problems, but they don’t blow up. I use gas and understand the risks. I live close to the Prairie Island Minnesota Nuke and wish I could have a ground source heat pump.

  6. What goes around comes around. Natural gas used the environmentalists to go after coal, and now the environmental lobby is going after natural gas.
    It started in 2008, when Chesapeake funded an unsigned

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