What did the Cove Point protest on Monday Night Football have to do with nuclear energy production in Virginia?
During the November 2, 2015 Monday Night Football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Indianapolis Colts, a small group of protesters rappelled from the upper deck and unfurled a banner directed at Bank of America, one of the largest employers in Charlotte, NC, the site of the game.
The banner said “BoA Dump Dominion wearecovepoint.org.”
The game continued; seats below the climbing protesters were cleared. After about 45 minutes, the protesters let themselves down and were promptly arrested. You can read more details about that event at ‘Monday Night Football’ protest aimed at stopping Md. natural gas project.
The stated goal of the highly visible direct action was to draw attention to the fact that Bank of America is providing a major portion of the financing required to convert the Cove Point LNG terminal from an import facility into an export facility. The project is budgeted for close to $4 billion dollars. The project is “bankable” because it is supported by credible 20 year contracts for the full capacity of the terminal, mostly to European customers.
The activists are concerned about the health and safety implications of a busy LNG export facility and about the long term implications of the increased demand for fracked gas, most of which will be extracted from a continuing drilling program in the Marcellus Shale regions of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and western Maryland.
A web publication called The Public Herald interviewed one of the activists soon after he was released from jail. The interview is available in both audio and text form at Exclusive Interview: Activist Who Shocked ‘Monday Night Football’ Reveals Story Behind @BankofAmerica Protest.
This story captured my attention because of the “wearecovepoint.org” URL at the bottom of the banner. The Cove Point facility has been on my radar since the late 1970s.
Aside: I must confess that it also caught my attention because I’ve been watching Monday Night Football for nearly 50 years. It’s a popular show with pretty good ratings. Monday’s game was one of the best in the long series. End Aside.
I used to live in Maryland and have visited Calvert County, the location of the Cove Point facility, on a number of occasions. My wife and I have hiked the trail in the state park next door to the facility. It leads to a beach where one can see the receiving pier a hundred or so yards off shore. I’ve also sailed past the facility dozens of times over several decades, starting when I was a member of the Naval Academy’s offshore sailing team.
Most of the times when we visited or when I sailed past, the Cove Point LNG facility has been idle.
When I heard that Dominion Resources, which had purchased the facility from Williams, was converting it to an export terminal, it was in the context of trying to find out when Dominion would finally begin construction of the long planned and frequently delayed project to build North Anna 3. My sources told me that the final investment decision for that long overdue expansion of the North Anna site — which was originally designed to have 4 units — would not be made until after the Cove Point conversion was completed.
At the time, it was disappointing to hear that the plant I’ve been interested in seeing built for so long had been temporarily superseded by a project to export natural gas.
I think that is a bad idea. The gas made available by hydraulic fracturing is a large, but limited resource. It is selfish for people who are currently living to seek to convert it to cash as quickly as possible; that gas could be useful raw material for many future generations.
We would be far better off by building new nuclear plants that could supply clean electricity to a growing base of customers and help our domestic manufacturing industry compete by supplying affordable, reliable electricity. The project would also provide thousands of workers with good jobs that would help them develop valuable, exportable skills and would help create a competitive supply chain of nuclear plant related products.
I understand that the beancounters at Dominion have difficulty quantifying or placing a corporate value on those future prospects, especially when compared to the ease with which a spreadsheet model can show rapid returns on a smoothly completed natural gas export project.
Some Atomic Insights readers will probably think that I’m nuts and others might be actually angry at me for questioning their decision processes, but I decided that it might be worthwhile to attempt to contact the people who are so passionate about stopping the Cove Point project that they planned and performed an action they knew would land them in jail. They seem willing to accept the consequences, including the probability of fines and possibility of more jail time.
Here is the comment that I posted on the Public Herald interview of John Nicholson, one of the climbers who unfurled the “Dump Dominion” banner on Monday night.
Thank you for telling the story about John and his organization’s efforts to halt the Cove Point conversion to an LNG export facility.
It gives me an opportunity to briefly explain the often overlooked way that the business of supplying power to people is interwoven in complex ways.
Starting in about 2006, I’ve been intermittently involved in an effort to push Dominion Resources towards completing a much needed clean energy supply project in central Virginia.
The project was begun in the 1960s and is still only half finished. As it stands, it reliably provides my current home state with about 14 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year without producing any greenhouse gases or other types of air pollution. Since it was halted after completing only half of the planned units, there are another 14 billion kilowatt hours of electricity being produced somewhere else to meet the needs and wants of Dominion’s customers. Those additional kilowatt hours are produced by a combination of plants that burn coal or natural gas and produce substantial quantities of greenhouse gases, fly ash, SOx, NOx, and mercury.
The company began efforts to complete the facility about ten years ago, but it has been a slow process. Part of the slowdown has been due to organized resistance from people who claim to be afraid of the new unit even though the existing facility has an admirable record of being a good (locally popular) neighbor, paying good salaries, providing reliable power, participating in the local community, paying large tax bills, keeping both workers and the public safe and healthy and even providing a warm place to water ski in the cooler months of the year.
I suspect that at least some of the resistance is also coming from the people involved in the business of supplying the coal and natural gas to the plants that would be made redundant if the clean energy facility is completed. There are big numbers involved; the amount of fuel burned in the plants that could be displaced produces several hundreds of millions of dollars per year in revenue.
The permitting and construction process for the expansion of the existing clean energy facility has also been slowed because Dominion accountants, planners and decision makers convinced themselves that their stockholders would see more immediate profit from fracking, building pipelines, and converting the Cove Point facility into an export terminal than completing a facility that would supply a couple million of my fellow Virginians with 60-80 years worth of clean electricity.
The financials associated with the projects needed to make that export facility work look good because it enables irreplaceable American natural gas to be sold at higher prices under 20-year contracts with European customers than can be obtained in our temporarily oversupplied market at home. The project that I and my loose network of associates want Dominion to build is in a queue of capital investments; it will only be started after the Cove Point project has been completed — or abandoned. There is no an infinite supply of capital or human resources; companies have to make choices about how to best deploy their limited assets.
I’m an independent small businessman who has far too much to lose to be involved in actions that break the law. It is also difficult to capture attention and find fellow activists who want to help push a company towards building a needed facility instead of organizing them to stop building something. I’m not sure why that is true, perhaps you can help me understand.
The facility I want Dominion to build is North Anna Unit 3, a 1500 MWe nuclear power plant that will be capable of producing perhaps 12 – 13 billion kilowatt-hours per year of emission free electricity.
I hope this comment is a step towards making contact with passionate people like you and John to explain how we can help each other and make the world a cleaner, safer, and more equally prosperous place.
Publisher, Atomic Insights
Host and producer, the Atomic Show podcast
I think I have a different perspective on this, but that does not necessarily mean I disagree. Natural gas is not really traded in a global market currently, it is more regional because there are not enough exports to tie the global market together. The fracking boom has caused the natural gas market in the United States to be much lower priced than natural gas in the rest of the world. A completely natural response to this is to export. If someone else overseas will pay more for your natural gas than your neighbor, are you not likely to make the decision to sell it overseas. A sufficient amount of export should cause the price of natural gas to tie together globally, causing natural gas prices to drop in Europe and maybe Asia, as well as increasing the price here in the United States.
Increasing the price of natural gas here should lead to more rational decisions regarding our energy decisions, such as early retirements of nuclear plants that are not competitive with natural gas, or projections that in 2050 about 50% of our electricity will be generated in natural gas plants. In short, I think that natural gas exports may be a good thing, both for the electric industry in general, and for nuclear in particular.
What are your thoughts regarding the impact of rapidly rising natural gas prices on home heating customers, raw materials producers, fertilizer manufacturers, and mom and pop businesses like bakeries, restaurants, and farms?
Looking at the world wide market volumes and prices, US prices would increase dramatically while prices in other areas might fall a bit. The total amount of useful energy available to consumers will fall with increases in LNG trade; the reason that markets historically very regional is that it is a troublesome fuel to move from place to place. Pipelines are reasonably energy efficient, but require government force to complete. LNG facilities are energy intensive; I need to find some good numbers regarding the energy invested in liquefaction, shipping and gasification. None of those inputs are needed when gas is sold in areas close to where it is extracted.
You ask some good questions and I will try to provide my best thoughts. Let’s start with spot versus retail markets. The spot price of gas has indeed been volatile, but the retail price much less so. The reasons are several-fold. Part of it is that the retail price, that is a customer’s gas bill, has a lot to do with the natural gas distribution system and infrastructure, and that cost does not change with gas prices. Another piece is that some amount of gas is procured under long term contract, so even when the spot price changes dramatically, the utilities acquired gas price may be way above or below spot, depending on the situation. In fact many utilities are paying above spot prices in their long-term contracts particularly when those contracts were signed before the spot prices fell. There are also accounting nuances, but I don’t want to dive into LIFO, FIFO, and weighted average inventory methods here.
Of the customers you mention above, it is possible that raw materials producers and fertilizer manufacturers procure on the spot market and others do not.
I agree with much of what you say about expending energy and shipping. I would add that once those costs are accounted for and priced in, if it is still better to export the natural gas, then I would support that. On a similar note, I oppose electric water heaters in homes and businesses that have natural gas service. It makes more sense to heat water with natural gas than to heat it with electricity that is generated from burning that natural gas somewhere else.
Since those of us in the nuclear industry are accustomed to literary techniques, I want to seek clarification on some of what you have said. What is a rapidly rising gas price? How much in what time frame? We have seen gas prices at $14/mmBtu in about 2005. Is that high? Similarly, you mention natural gas prices rising dramatically. What does dramatically mean? Can you provide numbers?
Rapidly rising gas prices would be something in excess of 25% per year, but what I see in the reasonably near future is a 500% increase in spot market prices from recently levels. Those spot prices, by the way, have been flirting with $2.00 per MMBTU, so a 500% increase would be something in excess of $10/MMBTU.
As you noted, those prices would not be unprecedented, but the $14 per MMBTU prices that you mentioned — along with the $147 per crude oil barrel — played a major role in the Great Recession.
Being insulated from the underlying commodity prices doesn’t mean unaffected. Retail customers may not see the effects of changes in wholesale prices, but they are very real.
I don’t oppose electric heating or electric water heaters in homes where they have access to natural gas as long as the electricity suppliers are using nuclear reactors instead of natural gas to generate power. It is really dumb to have shifted New England from nuclear to natural gas for electricity.
DTE Electric presented what I thought was a fascinating chart in June of this year. It presented cost of carbon in $/Ton versus cost of natural gas in $/MMBtu and then showed three generation choices that would be selected given these conditions: coal, natural gas, and nuclear. The “triple point”, where all three technologies were basically equal was at approximately $40/ton carbon and $7/MMBTU natural gas. At anything less than $5 mmBTU natural gas, the choice was going to be natural gas as long as the carbon price was $100 ton or less. As I recall the chart only went this high. From the triple point, increasing gas price above $7/mmBTU ruled out natural gas as a generation source and the price of carbon at $40/ton delineated the line between coal and nuclear.
My conclusions: The price of natural gas needs to rise at least as high as $5/MMBTU and likely as high as $7 to push DTE to build Fermi 3. The clean power plan will need to result in the price of carbon being equivalent to $40/ton or more to push DTE to build Fermi 3. Using $2/MMBTU as a baseline, a 250% to 350% increase in natural gas is necessary before the utility considers Fermi 3 the preferred option.
I presume this chart means all other things are equal, such as transmission upgrades, ample fuel supply, whether gas, coal, or nuclear, etc.
If the price shifts are nationwide rather than merely regional, one of the knock-on effects will be a reduction in re-export of finished petroleum products from Gulf Coast refineries. Currently cheap NG translates to cheap hydrogen for hydro-cracking and hydrodesulfurization, and US-made ULSD is a hot product internationally. Remove the price advantage those refineries get on NG and that all goes away.
That would depend on whether the external markets for US ULSD e.g. Europe can find the capacity to get ULSD from somewhere else, and at what price. If Europe has idle ULSD refining capacity then sure. Otherwise they have to build some more.
Similar with carbon tax: there’s a threshold below which emitters will just pass their increased cost on to their customers rather than switch to lower-emission, but more expensive, sources.
But help me outta some numbers here, E.P. Speaking of refined oil that has to come from somewhere, my inbox’s been flooded today with 350.org and MoveOn.org and EnvironmentThisAndThat.org all effusing over their hard-fought victory over Keystone XL.
KXL Capacity: 700,000 barrels/day, 830,000 barrels/day peak. That’s 110,000 – 130,000 m^3 day. That’s a lot of crude.
At 800 kg/m^3 that’s 8.4 to 10.4 x 10^7 kg/day. That’s a lot of heavy crude.
At 44 MJ/kg that’s 3.7 to 4.7 x 10^9 MJ/day, or between 43 and 54 GW, gross thermal, flowing down one 48″ pipe.
“They” estimate tar sand net energy is about 83% that of conventional oil, so the carbon emissions (they think we’ve) saved by foregoing KXL is 17% of the above: 7.3 to 9.2 GW equivalent gross thermal power.
Which is impressive, as one might suppose most oil consumption is for thermal applications for which there is not currently good nuclear alternative, such as transportation.
But to make a fair apples-to-oranges comparison, suppose that oil were used for electric. Divide by three and get 2.4 – 3.3 gross GWe. Kewaunee, Vermont Yankee, Pilgrim, and FitzPatrick combine for 2.7 GW peak, or 2.4 GWe avg (net) at 90% Cf.
So it’s a wash at best.
A wash that doesn’t count being soaked by SONGS at 2.2GWe peak, Oskarshamn 1&2 at 1.1 GWe, and Ringhals 1&2 at 1.6 GWe. Another 4.9 GW net. Pilgrim, Fitz, and the two Swedish sites all hitting us this past month.
Oh wait… I don’t hear you wildly cheering the KXL environmental victory either. It is something and I don’t wish to sound ungrateful for small mercies. But it’s winning a skirmish, while losing the war.
Possibly Saudi Arabia. They’re so short on NG that they burn crude oil for some of their electricity, but they’d rather sell finished product and Qatar is right next door. Current prices have KSA putting on hold its plans to displace crude-fired turbines with nuclear; they aren’t foregoing any great revenue for the time being.
I don’t think it amounts to much. The internal US part of the pipeline is being built anyway, and there’s already a cross-border section which I recall talk of re-engineering to move more crude through, including bitumen. As long as tar sands projects are being abandoned due to low world oil prices, the hoopla has the flavor of distraction (as you noted).
Won’t the tar sands pipeline just go west instead of south?
I have to wonder that a lot of the defeat of the XL Pipeline was due to the influence of the “oil patch” states: Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana who’s elite didn’t want t compete with all that new oil for refining resources or the customers for the ULSD itself.
It’s strange they get passed off as the “oil patch” in that the area of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma is larger than France and Germany, and has been so influential on American politics. The “oil patch” was even central to World politics in winning world wars….
I’m certain that a lot of influential and financial entities are quietly set against all that Canadian (and even Baakan) oil flooding their markets. I don’t believe the view that environmental reasons precipitated the decision to prevent the XL pipeline decision. It’s got to be that the markets for the refined oil products originating from the gulf coast are far too lucrative.
Sorry. There were a couple of good games on before Navy started playing. I can’t help it; I’m a lifelong southerner. I like college football and fortunately, so does my lovely wife.
We love football up north too. #GlowBlue #UofMichiganNuclearEngineering
As a townie born and bred as well as a Michigan grad, I’d be thrilled to bulldoze the stadium and replace it with a nuclear-fired CHP plant serving the south side of the city. Make it socially useful, unlike the borderline-retarded future felons whose antics are on display there now.
Get rid of the arts in our colleges, replace our sports arenas with industrial or technical infrastructural facilities. Whats next, abolish colored paints, panty hose, and ice cream?
I’m (cautiously) supportive of fracking both in my own country (Britain) and in America, for one reason and only one.
Both countries desperately need to improve their external trade balance!
I could be wrong, but I’ve come to the conclusion that, absent a high enough carbon tax to really incentivize the shift to nuclear, that exhaustion of *currently* cheaper resources first, before the transition to, at first, more expensive resources (which then, over time, become cheaper as the related industries scale up) is simply the natural economic progression of business.
OF COURSE energy companies will go with the most profitable path, first. The only way to affect change is to make fossil fuels unprofitable, and that means that, unless we are content to allow fossil fuels to be burned en masse until they are almost depleted, the only way to FORCE an early transition away from fossil fuels is to add a very high cost to them.
As someone, myself, who is concerned with climate change, and the expected impact of burning all those fossil fuels as quickly as the market demands, I have decided I am in favor, very strongly, of keeping as much fossil fuel in the ground as possible, and that means putting a price on carbon and methane emissions.
Some great thoughts. For some reason I doubt that we will end up keeping fossil fuel in the ground. I just don’t see the mechanisms going in place to do that. There may be ways to draw it out though. Maybe I should work on my attitude in this regard.
One question: What does the government do with the revenue from a carbon tax?
James Hansen’s plan is to have it divided and mailed as checks to everyone. That is, each American will receive an equal portion of this money — even children, unless you happen to be a third, fourth, fifth, etc., child in a family, because then you’re left out. (Hansen seems to be one of those Population Control folks. How adopted, foster, and step children fit into this scheme remains unknown.)
This will ensure that carbon emissions will never go out of style, just like taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, and pot (where legal) ensure that government will never ban (and in the case of alcohol, it sometimes promotes) the consumption of these sinful products.
As far as I know, there’s no word yet whether the millions of illegal aliens in the country would be entitled to their share, but since a legitimate third child of an American citizen is left out of the process, my gut tells me that the answer is probably no … that is, not unless their future votes would be necessary to pass some sort of additional “climate” legislation or to reelect one of the politicians sponsoring this plan.
We can certainly fight to modify Hansen’s otherwise reasonably modest proposal. I have argued with him on this topic already. Every set of lungs should be equal recipients of the carbon dividend.
Rod – Every set of lungs? So this will be a global check-writing initiative, right?
Don’t be absurd. Each country collects and distributes their own taxes. Why would you think anyone is talking about writing checks to individuals outside our borders? Sure, NSA probably has their email addresses, but I’m positive we don’t have mailing addresses.
I think it’s silly to split up the carbon tax and just give it to people. Why? Because fossil fuel industries that would be taxed, are causing a very real environmental harm that will cost the government money to mitigate. Healthcare costs; Federal flood insurance payouts; FEMA spending for disasters; building dykes to keep much of our coastlines from flooding. So many costs, that currently are externalized.
A carbon tax (and, there should be an additional tax on things like particulates and NOx, SOx emissions) should not just be given out to people as money off their taxes. That’s ridiculous, because that pretends that it’s ‘free money’ the government is getting.
The customers of fossil fuels should be PAYING for the damage they inflict, and that’s the ONLY thing a carbon tax and any other taxes levied on fossil fuels, should be used for.
Not a check but a tax rebate. I think this type of carbon tax is the best course available. Learn more at https://citizensclimatelobby.org/
Your argument concerning “not going out of style due to taxes” is in error. This is most easily seen by studying alcohol prohibition attempts in US and elsewhere. Taxes appear to be the best course of action to keep the “sinful” activities under control.
What do you do for the Americans who pay no net taxes? Are they left hung out to dry?
I’m not in error. Where the taxes are highest, black markets form to fill the void. Whether these markets are involve bootleggers or big fat black guys selling “loosies” in NYC, the economics driving the process are the same.
In the case of carbon emissions, the average member of the public won’t see the cost (that’s paid by the utility or whomever is the direct user of the fossil fuel energy), but they’ll definitely see the benefit. Thus, there is no incentive to shut down that coal plant, but there is a direct incentive that hits the pocketbook to keep that thing going and providing that paycheck, rebate, or whatever you want to call it as long as it can operate.
Citizens Climate Lobby and James Hansen have a terrific idea for that money – give 100% of it directly back to households as a monthly dividend.
I doubt that much or any of this money would be rebated back to the public. There would be a strong, irresistible pressure to spend it on “public” purposes or redistribute it for “fairness”. Remember, something like half the people in this country rely on government spending.
In the highly unlikely event it were to be rebated, it would undercut the effort to reduce fossil fuel usage. It would be the equivalent of taking money out of one hand and putting it in the other. Consumers would be able to afford the higher price of fossil fuels. And if fossil fuel or renewables remain easier or cheaper to build than nuclear, nuclear will have no advantage.
The road to regulatory hell is paved with good intentions.
I doubt we could develop a plan where the citizens would see a dime.
What happened to the $21 Million Gas Metro, CVPH and the state Government of VT owed the ratepayers of VT? Apparently Shumlin and the rest of the VT gangsters found more interesting uses for the cash.
We can’t naively underestimate the stickiness of our politicians fingers, at least in Albany and Montpelier. Maybe things are still different in Richmond and Washington, but it’d be a risky business.
Nuclear Waste Depository Fund? Highway Trust Fund? And the biggest of all, Social Security Trust Fund?
I noticed that Citizen Climate Lobby somehow “forgot” to include nuclear as a green energy technology. I’m sure they will eagerly correct this oversight if brought to their attention.
They also claim this fee will expand the economy and create jobs. By that logic, I benefit from clogged arteries since they make my heart work harder and therefore stronger. Plus it creates jobs in the medical field.
Part of the problem Fitzpatrick faced was that NY State has taxed and regulated industry and people out of the state. I grew up an hour away from Fitzpatrick and the region has been in an economic depression since the late 1960’s.
Look, we are all upset about the lack of progress in expanding nuclear energy in the US. But pushing policies advocated by our opponents (and most of the climate change cultists are our opponents – any not convinced by now are hopeless) is not the answer.
My previous response to this got eaten by the computer, so here I go at it again.
There are many differences between spot and retail gas prices. Spot prices have been volatile and they are often not felt by the retail customer, and here are some of the reasons. Part of the retail price is for the distribution system infrastructure. This fixed infrastructure cost does not change with the cost of gas. Additionally, many utilities have long-term contracts for the purchase of gas. These long-term contract prices may be above or below the current spot price. Due to recent market behavior, many long-term contracts are currently acquiring gas above the spot market price, hence the gas price drop has not reached customers to the extent that many assume it has. It will eventually work its’ way through the system, but the retail customer is insulated from spot market price shocks, whether up or down. Of the customers you mention in your list, possibly only the raw materials producers and fertilizer manufacturers have the ability to purchase in the spot markets, and if they are concerned about rising prices they can enter into long-term contracts instead of relying on the spot market.
There are also accounting nuances, but I don’t want to dive into LIFO, FIFO, and weighted average inventory accounting in this venue.
I agree with you about energy intensity, but I would still look at it from a perspective of cost recovery. If we can compress, ship, deliver the natural gas, pay for that and still make more profit overseas, then that seems fine as long as it does not impact national security or adversely affect the environment.
I do want clarification from you on words like “rapidly” and “dramatically”. Can you put that in: $mmBtU, $mmBtU/year, or %/year terms. I want to throw in here, that some form of carbon pricing is probably inevitable. I am not willing to predict what form that will take, but I expect the price of natural gas to go up long-term just based on cost-of-carbon type policies.
Anything involving NG or its rivals has all kinds of sketchiness on every level. You cant pull a string that doesn’t unravel some other place in garment it seems. Remember the RT foreign anti nuke slant? Well – the founder of RT:
Putin Associate Found Dead in DC Hotel
“From 1999 to 2004, Lesin served as Russia’s Minister of Press, Television and Radio… ,,,In 2013, he became head of Gazprom-Media Holding, the state-controlled media giant that describes itself as one of the largest media groups in Russia and Europe.” ( http://abcnews.go.com/ABCNews/putin-associate-found-dead-dc-hotel/story?id=35024556 )
The anti Keystone “enviros” are probably celebrating today : “Citing Climate Change, Obama Rejects Construction of Keystone XL Oil Pipeline” – NYT
Probably one of the funniest headlines ever. The full Keystone XL pipeline would have moved 830,000 barrels a day. Since 2009 the rail freight capacity for oil has been increased by about 50 fold to accommodate over a million barrels a day. All directly benefiting Warren Buffett and his BNSF lines, among others, in all its inefficient and sometimes catastrophic glory. Much of the rail stuff was also subsidized and suspiciously under regulated. Still too there are new pipelines and new options to increase flow on older pipelines not to mention the whole expanded ethanol cultivation, processing and delivery thing – a environmental and food supply mess in itself.
The only real and possibly significant carbon reductions under this administration have arguably been from the switch to NG – and those are even hotly disputed due to leakage. The loss of nuclear plants has been tragic. Fracking and disposal of fluids, when regulated and done carefully, appears to be reasonably safe. So it would be interesting to see what this group has to say about it all, and where they place themselves in the mix.
It seems to me these groups have already had their say and it is, NAY! They say this despite the repeated studies, Yale University being the most recent, showing no detriment to water tables and underground aquifers from fracking. How many studies will it take before they decide to bark up another tree? There’s always another tree, I guess.
Pennsylvania is enjoying the economic benefit of fracking it’s Marcellus shale deposit and New York could, too, if not for Gov. Cuomo doggedly determined, not unlike Gov. Brown here in CA, to single-handedly affecting climate change via stifled economic development. Thousands of blue-collar, skilled-trade jobs flushed down the toilet — in spite of a nearly lock-step voting bloc for the Dems. And last Friday this administration gave lip service to nuclear power while not touting it’s unparalleled advantage in meeting new clean air standards promoted by the unelected bureaucrats at EPA. Faint praise for nuclear while declaring an “all-of-the-above” strategy. Baloney!
Two counties away from me, wastewater from fracking was dumped on county roads. People definitely noticed the odor, though I don’t recall if anyone became ill as a result. The noxious components did not all dissipate and there is a threat to groundwater over a considerable area.
This sort of thing is a threat no matter how impermeable the caprock is and how perfect the cement jobs on the well casings. Vast volumes of waste means it will escape.
You might want to raise the question to the researchers at Yale about this sort of spill and potential environmental damage. Something they overlooked?
It’s cliché, but no development or industrial project is perfect in its environmental impact. Whether its mining coal, iron ore, uranium or any other raw material to be combined with other raw materials to be made into a more useful end product, there are changes to landscape, local waterways and wildlife. We as a nation have improved in our approach to mitigate against wanton abuse (and I would ask “who does it better?”) but as long as there are new devices to replace current versions of same and new consumers to buy them, there will be environmental impacts.
Going back to the protest at the Panthers vs. Colts game:
1. Political sentiment isn’t a tradition in American football. Or baseball. Or basketball.
2. Political sentiment _is_ a tradition among European and other fans of Association football (soccer), generally in the minor leagues. Fans in Europe bring all sorts of overtly political banners and other stuff into stadiums, and then sit in the stadium often in groups. This has been long accepted as part of the roundball game, usually in minor league games. Gets pretty rowdy sometimes.
I think there are sports-related reasons for American football being much less political than European soccer.
Basically, it is easier to follow a soccer game even with lots of distractions around.
Also European Premier League tickets cost quite a bit less than NFL tickets. The minor leagues in Europe are cheaper.
Law-breaking stunts at NFL games definitely aren’t the way to go. The fanbase just isn’t into that sort of thing. It’s totally fringe.
However, change the approach a little bit, go watch another sport (with less expensive tickets), and I think it would be possible to bring pro-nuclear cloth banners, shirts etc. into local soccer games, especially if the team hq is reasonably near a plant.
No need to break the law.
@We Support Lee
It’s not one or the other. As noted in my post, I wouldn’t choose to break the law in most scenarios. Too much to lose.
However, I can think of a few situations where capturing national level attention might be worth the risk if it doesn’t put anyone else at risk.
Was just making a generalized suggestion that the fans at soccer games are traditionally more “ready” to hear political statements at games. Soccer fans are also a lot more rowdy in general than US football fans.
This is a longstanding “context” thing in European football.
Some people in Europe even pick their teams based on politics.
I know this sounds sort of crazy to Americans who usually pick teams based on geographic location or alma mater.
FermiAged: “I noticed that Citizen Climate Lobby somehow “forgot” to include nuclear as a green energy technology. I’m sure they will eagerly correct this oversight if brought to their attention.”
It is time to call out stupid… but let me ask directly,
Where are the young folk out there who are prepared to engage in silly, attention-getting stunts to raise awareness about the loss of irreplaceable nuclear energy resources?
Where are the young folk out there who even know the current energy mix?
Why do people purporting to discuss energy (politics, blogs, news) feel no shame or embarrassment in failing to mention nuclear energy?
Why is the average age of nuclear industry workers approaching retirement age?
Side Q: If you work in the nuclear industry, how many of your own children were interested in following your path?
Related to the ‘looting’ of energy resources, abandonment of options,
For the first time ever the US government is planning to sell from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. How does that make old-timers feel? Why would the young see this as anything but a way for their gov’t to make a quick buck, and get off their backs?
We are seeing energy companies make live-or-die judgement on the nuclear plants they own based on projections from spot market natural gas prices. Aside from predictable ire within the nuclear industry itself and some heartwarming (though ultimately ineffective) support from the locals around these plants, the loss of precious resources with decades left on license never becomes a national news item, except when environmental groups submit their press releases. Why?
Irretrievable loss of nuclear generation capacity is not — and was never considered to be — an issue of National Security. If any other means of generating electricity was found to be systematically targeted for destruction and dismantlement, not merely a more transient status of ‘shutdown and mothballing’ as are done with coal plants, would it not raise general alarm and suspicions of monopolist conspiracy?
On the path to so-called saving the so-called environment,
It seems to me that many in the nuclear industry joined forces to ’embrace’ the most catastrophic claims of global warming and related theories of effect — direct CO2:temperature causation, sea level rise, ocean acidification, ‘arctic ice free by 2033 and such’, tipping point world-threatening methane releases, and other predictions, some even which were recognized as outlandish at the time, and dissenting voices were heard, but there is this unspoken sense that if it pushes people in the general direction we want things to go, then we reserve judgement and curry no opinion, in much the same way one couches scientific inquiry out of respect for others’ religious observances. Especially when those observances seem to do no harm, and might even help one’s own objectives.
Sorry to be so blunt, but as I get older I feel the need to speak up on things I observe, even if I turn out to be flat-wrong.
One problem with this which has nothing to do with saving the Earth, is that the very same demographic who took so willingly and radically to these claims, helped to propel them from science theory into mantra-like public discourse, is the demographic who are irrationally afraid of radiation. That is a tough nut to crack. Perhaps impossible. Our only hope is that these peoples’ children are more open. I find myself debating young people who are afraid of trace radioactivity and have no idea why. They inherited the idea unchanged and unchallenged — that’s why.
The problem that does have to do with saving the Earth is that when it comes to advocating anything that limits our present choices, people believe that ‘experts’ or ‘the market’ or ‘environmentalists’ will make the tough choices, make the right decisions. People like Dominion and Entergy.
But a great deal of the present climate hype rests on an exaggerated, shoddy base of projections that have far less than 100% confidence. So does the ridiculous popular belief that windmills will some day power everything, and until that day natural gas will power almost everything.
So it comes down to bad math exaggerated for political purposes, in things climate as well as energy mix. Who can judge one harshly but not the other?
Where does the survival of modern civilization figure in with all of this?
They’re in class, learning the things that they need to learn to keep civilization going.
After seeing a communications professor at the University of Missouri who had a joint appointment to the School of Journalism attempt to physically intimidate a student reporter trying to do his job, I think most of (non-STEM) higher education is designed to destroy civilization rather than sustain it or build it.
Much of the education environment in primary and secondary schools is following a similar path.
A thousand times this.
I find it odd that in all of the discussion of the carbon tax that nobody noted that it could displace other existing taxes. Taxing and distributing in a Robin Hood fashion will not be done. At least nobody offered that silly “trickle down” theory that was touted so heavily by the right wing a few short years ago,
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