U. S. State Department Bureau of Energy Resources input on energy and climate at Central Europe's Tatra Summit 1

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  1. Shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s all about control. US has always supported the EU beginning in the 1940’s. Makes any pesky nationalist troublemakers less likely. Since Russia does not like to play ball with us, we certainly don’t want Europe to use any Russian gas. I’ll bet that current rock bottom natural gas prices are a replay of the low oil price strategy of the 1980’s designed to starve Russia of export revenue and influence.

    Plus US LNG exports are a nice payoff for US natural gas producers.

    Assuming the “fracking miracle” is sustainable.

  2. Different day, same old dribble drabble. Once again we have evidence that the current administrations “all of the above” energy policy is really “all of the above but let’s pretend like nuclear does not exist”. Unfortunately, it appears to me that the last two democratic administrations have been this way, and that no democratic administration going forward is going to change the rhetoric in ant way.

    There will be a lot of bickering about the role of nuclear in the EU going forward, which may actually be better than the situation here in the US, where not mentioning nuclear seems to be the strategy of the day/month/year.

    It seems like at COP21 in Paris it may be China that carries the nuclear banner, which is truly an unusual state of affairs.

  3. If the current Rs are pro-nuke, and they now control the Congress, why don’t they just pass something pro-nuke AND FUND IT. That would call the President’s bluff; either sign or veto. But without such a thing coming from the R controlled Congress, all I see is the same old dribble drabble about who to blame. Get real, if the Rs support nuclear they are in a position to prove it, via Congress. Until they act, I’ll not assign sole blame to either Rs or Ds. I judge by actions, not words. Let the Rs prove they are pro nuke by actions, or else they are just as guilty as the Ds.

    1. Even though the Rs control congress, they still do not have the ability to get something through. The House may and probably does, the senate is different and would take some analysis. Maybe after the departure of Harry Reid, and maybe not. I think it will take the Rs in control of both sides as well as the executive branch for something to happen.

      As far as actions, I see the Rs in the house trying to restore funding for Yucca, I don’t see anyone else doing anything. I understand judging by actions, but the Rs are the only ones speaking any words. Until the Ds speak up for nuclear, they won’t get any support from me.

      1. The Republican party is owned lock, stock and barrel by its billionaire donors.  Many of them get their money from fossil fuels; coal alone is, if Conca’s figures can be trusted, $200 billion per year of money changing hands in the USA alone.  If they don’t want nuclear cutting into their action, no bill threatening to do that will get out of committee.

        1. Agree. Even right wing radio programs don’t mention the “N” word. We need ever more people to understand where the strong force sits in perspectives on power. Once a person knows, those whom give it short shrift are seen as absolutely wrong in the deepest sense, and proven that they’re either blindly ignorant, or are driven by a dastardly agenda.

        2. If the coal lobby does not realize it already, the writing is on the wall, the only futures for coal are export and carbon capture and sequestration.

        3. “The Republican party is owned lock, stock and barrel by its billionaire donors.  Many of them get their money from fossil fuels;……”

          Chuckling here. Been sayin’ that for quite awhile now on this website, and have gotten nothin’ but flack for saying it. You gotta be batsh*t crazy to believe the right wing is gonna come running to the rescue of NE. Truth is, NE is kinda screwed, because the dirt bag politicians on BOTH sides of the aisle have nefarious motives to oppose NE.

          1. @Don

            The problem is the definition of profitable will never be clear, just a few issues…

            How do we consider externalities like pollution from SOx, NOx, mercury, carbon?
            How do you value dispatchability?
            How do you value reliability?
            How do you value economic development (ie jobs, tax base)?
            How do we value lifetime? a plant with a 60 year design life versus a plant with a 25 year life?
            How do you value diversity? or too much exposure to one fuel type?
            How do you take into account system costs? Such as certain generation technologies requiring more transmission?

            Unfortunately there is no right answer with these issues, so you get debate. What you won’t get is unanimous opinion that one technology is more profitable than another.

          2. I agree with Kevin Krause comment about the value put on varius aspects of energy infrasturcutre. In the UK currently there is a lot of political capital made on LCOE where the price for a kWh of wind power is compared directly with a kWh price for nuclear, or gas or coal for instance. Such comparisons are meaningless as a kWh produced in the dead of night does not have the same value as one a 7am during breakfast or 7pm during evening meal when we actually need it.

            Further complexity is added by the hidden subsidy which is applied in most countries which gives preferential access to the electricity market for renewable producers. This has the effect of inflating the capacity value of an intermittent producer as they can always sell their electricity even if it isn’t needed. No value is ever put on this subsidy

            how a pricing regime can be devised which compares apples with apples is needed to make investment decisions clearer for the public, businesses and governments.

      2. Rep John Shimkus R-ILL is trying to get support for opening the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada. Representative Darrell Issa R-CA wants to remove spent fuel from the shut down San Onofre reactor in California and send it to a temporary storage facility In Texas. He has introduced legislation to do so. Most of his co-sponsors are from Texas. The legislation that he has introduced would amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.There often is opposition to building temporary storage facilities before a permanent repository is built. Some fear that without a repository interim storage facilities will become de facto permanent storage facilities.
        I agree with those who feel that the present administration has not moved the ball on nuclear waste disposal. Some states will not allow new reactors to be built in their states unless the nuclear waste disposal problem is solved. Susanne E. Vandenbosch, co-author of Nuclear Waste Stalemate: Political and Scientific Controversies, 2007.

        1. @Susanne
          I often participate in calls with the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition, and the drama is amazing. This long-standing drama has unique minor twists and turns on a regular basis. For an issue that is not moving in the big picture, there is almost always something going on in the details.

          1. For Kevin Krause::
            I agree with your comment. Some feel that there is no hope for significant progress until 2017. But that will only be the case if Republicans get a veto-proof majority in both houses or elect a Republican president. This poses a dilemma for many who cannot swallow some of the other Republican policies.. Also, the pro-nuclear policies of the Republicans may not be genuine. Once they are in the drivers seat their pro-nuclear policies may disappear.

          2. @Susanne

            Thanks for your thoughts. I tend to fall in the camp that nothing will probably get done because it is too easy to kick the can down the road. It really doesn’t matter who is in charge or by what margin. I think back to the 2008-2010 timeframe. The Democrats controlled both houses and the Presidency. It was a perfect time to legislate carbon, which did not happen, or to replace the NWPA with something more to the Democrats liking, which they didn’t. So there was an opportunity to remove Yucca from the law, but it did not happen. So we have this crazy situation where the NWPA with amendments specifies Yucca, Congress won’t appropriate money, no money means the licensing process sits in limbo, and we sit in this fog of “there is a plan”, “there is no plan.” It is absolutely amazing.

  4. There are many ways to approach the political disparity between nuclear and “renewable” energy. Rod (very accurately) uses the term “unreliable” instead of “renewable” energy to describe solar and wind. I prefer a different semantic approach: simple (again, very accurately) call “nuclear” a “renewable” energy source.

    We had that definition in Utah for a while. In 2009, the Utah state passed the bill ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVES FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PROJECTS including incentives for renewable energy projects. It includes a direct reference to nuclear power: “Renewable energy” means the energy generation as defined in Subsection 10-19-102 (11) and includes generation powered by nuclear fuel. The law was superseded this year with no mention of nuclear.

    Also, in 2010, the Arizona Legislature included nuclear power in a proposed bill for electric utility renewable energy standards. The bill defined “renewable energy” as energy that is renewable and non-carbon emitting. It listed solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric, agricultural waste, landfill gas and nuclear sources.

    In 2015 the Arizona bill specified that “Nuclear energy from sources fueled by uranium fuel rods that include 80 percent or more of recycled nuclear fuel and natural thorium reactor resources under development” are renewable.

    Maybe nuclear energy could be called “reliable renewable energy” and wind a solar could be “unreliable renewable energy”

  5. I had wondered about the COP21 implications while I was reading this announcement:

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/06/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-actions-ensure-nuclear-energy

    At the very least, it looked like it was signaling a pro-nuclear stance in the runup to the talks.
    Even better would be if it turns out to be a helpful policy initiative in its own right when it comes to advanced nuclear development (though it seems kind of a kluge solution to task one branch of government with helping to navigate the regulatory maze erected by another branch of government).

    End of week policy announcements are usually ones they don’t want to get much press coverage on. Is that what’s going on here?

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    Renewables people are masters in marketing. Unreliable intermittent generators whose output is all over the place, and usually badly correlated…

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