Friday, February 03, 2006

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Meet Lakeshore Laments and Anthony Rogers.

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47 comments:

JS_VP said...

Dear Mr. Mc Erlain

It is as if a shining young prince,
born to save his nation,
and bring a new dawn,
had been unfortunately born
with an ugly dwarf siamese twin
adhered to his buttocks,
forever carping at each move he makes,
preventing his promise from being fulfilled,
turning bright hopes into ranting arguments.

What rule of ettiquette states that
the delinquent behavior of the funded antinuclear organizations
is never to be exposed, or studied?

It's like duelling
with an opponent who can see us,
while we, because of ettiquette,
wear a black bag over our head,
and then wonder why we get stabbed.

Is it our own techocentric pride,
an assumption
that the innate triviality
WE see in these people
is visible also to the public?

Could we be wrong in this?
Could the public, seeing US always attacked,
and our tormentors never attacked,
come to the simple conclusion
that we wear the black hats,
and they, the white?

Stop a moment.
I have just gored the sacred ox
of the entire pro-nuclear-power PR corps,
and I expect resentment.

Work with it.
I may just be right.

Those who man the antinuclear guns are few.
Yes, they generate lists of 8000 signatures,
but the Grassroots org at Entergy North
has generated counter-lists of 13,000 signatures.
Our time is now.
We are more than they.
We are more numerically, by far.
Our product uplifts the nation.
Their product seeds fear, and delusion.
We are good.
They are evil.
We are sane, controlled, trustworthy.
They are conspiratorial,
shifty, Leninistic , paranoid.
These are definitely not attractive qualities.
So why does THEIR copy get front page,
and OUR copy get small print on page 62?
Let us not blame the media.
It is OUR issue, and we must own it.

Our strategy has been wrong.

No expose' of NIRS has ever been done. Why?
NIRS gets private funding from
an unattractive eccentric billionaire source.
NIRS interferes in local politics,
in a way very similar
to agent provocateurs of the 1930's.
This is a GREAT STORY.
Why does nobody pursue it?

I can go through a similar lightweight
investigative journalist's workup
of just about EVERY
perennial antinuclear NGO.
Each has a shabby, unheroic reality to hide.
I am not in PR.
I am not a journalist.
I have technical work
(which I love) to do every day.

Question:
Who is to expose these scoundrels?

Arrogant charlatans,
feigning public concern,
have been playing
dwarf twin to the nuclear industry
for 35 years now, and their time has passed.
They are low hanging fruit,
rotten to their wormy core,
ready to be plucked out of their cozy
pseudo righteous foxholes.

America truly needs
the nuclear power industry.
Who will excise these aging butt-dwarves,
so we can sit down, at last,
at America's table?

Harry, Dog on the Hudson

Anonymous said...

I agree with Harry, Dog on the Hudson (and no, I'm not Harry - I am a different person entirely). This isn't about making personal attacks against Paul Gunter or Michael Mariotte of NIRS, but of exposing NIRS for what it really is and how in a very real way its policies, its programs and its propaganda help to contribute to the deaths of tens of thousands from fossil-fuel-burning air pollution in the US alone.

Commercial nuclear energy has neither killed nor injured one soul in the US. Fossil fuel burning, however, does. And every time NIRS opposes clean, safe nuclear power, its efforts end up supporting, however indirectly, fossil fuel burning and its pollution.

Perhaps the motives of NIRS are good. I would agree if it supported Nuclear Safety. But it doesn't; rather, it supports the complete abolition of nuclear power and its leadership is fully aware that so-called renewables such as solar, wind, etc., and conservation are insufficient in and of themselves to provide sufficient energy to a plant of 6 billion plus.

So is this a personal attack against Paul Gunter or Michael Mariotte, or is it an expose of the human suffering and death that NIRS has helped contribute to in a very real way?

I write this with all due respect to Paul Gunter or Michael Mariotte.

Eric McErlain said...

What I ask is very simple: Just observe some basic rules of decorum when you engage someone else in an argument. Don't use vulgarity and don't resort to name calling. Aruge the facts. No personal attacks.

And be respectful, even if you don't respect the person you're arguing with.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Eric.

Harry for far less polite than I, but perhaps far more accurate.

I therefore sincerely apologize for the name calling & personal attack.

But Harry is nevertheless essentially correct.

There is a world of difference between what (for example) Dave Lochbaum of UCSUSA does in trying to improve nuclear safety at Davis Besse or Hope Creek, and what NIRS does. I often may not agree with Dave, but I have great respect for him because he does make every effort to speak with the facts.

I have little to no regard for those in NIRS and similar organization (e.g., 'Greenfleece - Greenpeace') who have for 35 or more years (as Harry pointed out) used outright lies to scare the public into a frenzy of anti-nuclearism.

The sad fact in all this is that perhaps the nuclear industry (NEI, INPO, etc.) has no one to blame but itelf for not fighting back during these decades. Unlike the educational programs France ran on nuclear power for its citizenry, we in the US nuclear power industry have done little to nothing till now to help educate the public.

I therefore applaud the efforts of NEI Nuclear Notes and other such blogsites in this regard, but the campaign against enviro-wackism has languished for far too long. We need real environmentalism and that means nuclear energy, and that means exposing to the light of day for all to see the lies from such organizations as NIRS.

Eric McErlain said...

All excellent points, and done in a civil manner. That's all I ask.

JS_VP said...

Dear Mr. McErlaine:

Being a dog,
I express myself bitingly.

However,
a corrupt public relations
incrowd chumminess
only serves to validate
the Luddite posturing
of malicious harrassment agencies,
who represent what constituency?

If I count all the citizens
who use nuclear-generated electricity
I will have perhaps two hundred million souls, (maybe more).

If I count all the seminal antinuclear figures,
I may have 100.
If I count the paid employees & volunteers at all anti-nuclear advocacy offices,
I will not get 800 people.

If I count the employees
at the 103 nuclear generating stations, the national laboratories, the nuclear navy, NRC,
and the colleges with nuclear engineering programs,I might get 350,000.
(maybe more).

This is a huge, pro-nuclear constituency-in-fact.

So , for whom do they work,
these opposers?
I declare here, on this page,
that they express the will
of a small cadre of wealthy donors.

I declare that IRS law
intended to promote charitable giving, has been bent to political use, by a hidden few, washing their contributions through such money laundering schemes as the Tides Foundation.

I declare that much of the non-productive rump industry of nuke-stalking runs on this very engine,for these very masters.

The truly helpful quality & safety programs of INPO & WANO are not to be compared with a harrassment agenda parading bogus "concern" only as validation of its own underlying intent to impede.

A small naysaying agency, stalking the hindquarters of a large,productive, and popular industry must be looked upon
as extortion-in-fact, despite any highmindedness avowed by its agents.
Stalking is stalking.

And....
The fact that NIRS represents at one level, an attempt to import failed German Green Party tactics into a relatively content USA,
with a strong view towards radicalization, hoping to induce as much anarchy as can be generated,must not be let go in silence.
(Nirs is the American arm of a European agency, WISE..Mr. Marriotte has written glowingly of anarchist rioting at Gorleben).

Such agendae not only do not improve nuclear safety, they, in fact, act to destroy civil safety, for that is their core intent.

I have been told that Dave Lochbaum's salary at UCS does not come from UCS general funds, but is provided year to year by a single wealthy donor. If this be so....
Does this then, with absolutely ironclad logic,make Mr. Lochbaum's constituency
a constituency of one?

One, .......versus Two Hundred Million,
Three Hundred Fifty Thousand?

Are you beginning to see the outline
of an outrage, of a sham, of a travesty?
In all civility, methinks I smell a rat.

The NRC and the courts allow open approach
for citizen comment on nuclear issues.
Citizen satisfaction with the industry
is, in fact, expressed
by the citizenry staying away.
( A Westchester county conclave in New York,
called to seek alternatives to nuclear power,
drew only a handful of professional agitators)

What any impartial observer sees here
is a satisfied public voting with their feet
(not coming)
and a few paid interlopers
misrepresenting themselves as the voice
of the very people who have just expressed themselves.

In point of fact, they've misused American openness to craft a sham cottage industry of frivolous hearing attendance,
representing nobody but their paymasters.

In essence, they steal
the consultive process from the public, and perpetrate a silent coup d'etat, on behalf of Pew, Grace, or Tamarind.

And these are the gate crashers
to whom we must grant kid-glove treatment?

Why?

Harry, Riverdog

Anonymous said...

Even if Dave Lochbaum's constituency is a constituency of one (which I doubt), he has nevertheless been a perfect gentlemen in all his dealings with me (even though we are on opposite sides of the 'nuclear' fence as it were), unlike individuals such as Paul Blanch, Ray Shadis, etc.

Mr. Lochbaum does command a great deal of respect both in the industry and in the NRC. As an example, just the other week a letter he wrote on liquid releases to the environment was referenced as the basis for a Condition Report at a commercial nuclear power plant - one with a history of spent fuel pool leaks.

I respect Dave even though I often disagree with him. Treating him with the respect and consideration that he is due is not granting him 'kid-glove treatment'; rather, it is behaving as a decent human being to another decent human being.

As far as most of the rest in the anti-nuclear circles go, I am inclined to feel as Harry does. While sometimes individuals such as Paul Blanch may have worthy concerns (e.g., using containment overpressure to maintain ECCS pump NPSH in a BWR, or BWR shroud cracking issues with EPU), they ruin all discourse with pro-nuclear people by making outrageous and false claims on a utilities motives or actions. They automatically assume in true socialist form that any profit-making is inherently evil, especially if the profit is made by breaking the strong nuclear force. And the control they exercise with the liberal leftist news media knows no bounds. Such is the Brattleboro Reformer or (to a lesser extent) some of Westchester County's newspapers. They paint bull's eyes on pictures of Indian Point plastered on billboards throughout the Westchester area with no other motive than to terrorize the local citizenry into shutting down the only real source of wealth the area has. Who then becomes the real terrorist?

I realize that NEI wants liberals and conservatives to come together and recognize that our energy future requires nuclear as well as clean coal. Yet the hippies of yesteryear led by a few rabble rousers from NIRS, WISE, CAN, NECNP, Riverkeeper, NCI, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, etc. end up commanding the majority of attention in a gullible liberal news media and a dysfunctional television system which glorifies in nuclear science fiction disasters (e.g., West Wings recent episode).

I say that we should respect and listen patiently to people like Dave Lochbaum. But rabble rousers from NIRS or NECNP should be properly and appropriately put in their place. If they really have a nuclear safety issue, then they need to bring it to the table. But instilling fear and hysteria is simply wrong and makes them in a very real sense our own home-grown Al Qaeda.

Igor said...

Mr. Dog,

I am pro-pro-pro-nuclear,
but when you bark :

We are good.
They are evil.


- I must say, IMHO, you are no better then "they", whoever they are, who divide people into "good" and "evil".

Do you realize what would be your next logical step - kill the evil ?

Paul said...

Dear Dog, et al.,

How about this recent bit of news on "good neighbor" Exelon Nuclear-

In a 25 of January 2006 statement
(not made in Nuclear Notes) by Exelon officials, Thomas O'Neill, Exelon’s vice president of regulatory affairs admitted, "We should have done better…this is a black eye for Exelon Nuclear. We are
not happy about this…. We put tritium into the ground
in a place where it is not supposed to be. We acknowledge our failing in that regard, and we are going to fix it and make it right."

In other words, they got caught trying to hide two 3,000,000 gallon spills of tritiated water into surface and groundwater around Braidwood nuclear station in 1998 and 2000, only to report it seven years later in a December 1, 2005 Preliminary Notice of Occurrence (PNO).

My guess is that it was getting a little too hot at headquarters, perhaps as the result of growing disclosures of groundwater contamination around their Dresden site first discovered in August 2004.

Must be that there is something else along with that tritium that got out. What do you suppose that might be?

Dog, that's how you make page 1 with the Chicago Tribune and a slew of AP Wire stories across the country.

If you have a problem with our information, write a letter to the editor, but Dog, your froth doth show.

By the way, the Davis-Besse story is not done by a long shot. Check out the next post below from conservative republican's commenting on the "good neighbor" policy of First Energy Nuclear Operating Corp.

Paul, NIRS

Paul said...

Dear Dog, et al.,

Bite on this Februray 2, 2006 Editorial in the Port Clinton Herald, Port Clinton, Ohio:

'Record penalty isn't enough for FirstEnergy'

"As Americans, we're fond of touting the notion that guilt and punishment aren't determined by the financial resources of those who run afoul of our laws. Of course, we recognize that some people can pay for better legal representation than others, but welike to think position and money aren't guarantees of a free ride through the legal system.

So what do we take from the recent agreement between federal authorities and FirstEnergy that allows the owner of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station to avoid federal charges by paying a $28 million fine?


Is it that corporations don't go to jail, they just pay penalties, as U.S. Attorney Greg White said during
a press conference in January? Or is it that corporations with deep pockets can be horribly negligent and still not be made to truly account for their misdeeds?

We think the latter question is truest in this case. This area came dangerously close to a nuclear disaster in 2002 when massive corrosion was discovered on
Davis-Besse's reactor vessel head.

FirstEnergy has said it accepts responsibility for failing to accurately communicate with the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, which displayed its own weaknesses
in the incident. And the company did agree to the $28 million fine, but as was pointed out by The Associated
Press, the fine is a fraction of the company's $878 million income.

As it is, only a handful of mid-level managers and others have been made to account for the situation. We don't accept the premise that companies only pay for
their wrongdoings through penalties.

We wonder why officials higher in the FirstEnergy power structure have avoided legal consequences. The
legal troubles facing Enron and others didn't stop below the executive suites.

While $28 million sounds like a lot of money, such a penalty is not significant enough in this case. This might be the largest penalty in the history of the nuclear industry, but that might say more about the
questionable oversight of this industry than about any sense of justice."

Anonymous said...

Paul Gunter,

Failure to properly discharge responsibility under regulation and the law is NOT an indictment of the technology itself.

Exelon executives in the case of the tritiated water spill and FENOC executives in the case of the DB RPV corrosion event should be held accountable. Sadly, at least in the later case, five lower level employees have had their careers ruined while executives protected by golden parachutes ride the tidal wave of nuclear success from one plant to another. That is NOT because nuclear technology is unsafe; in fact, that happens in any industry where executives are no longer accountable to their customers and stockholders. This includes chemical, petroleum, airline, medical, etc. I would wager that big coal executives with the recent mining deaths are far more culpable than the nuclear industry which has killed NOT ONE soul in all its 50 year history. The real solution is to bring these executives to justice, not to damn the only non-polluting means we have of generating large amounts of stable, baseload electricity that everyone needs, including you.

The Ken Lays started in the fossil industry whose pollution NIRS however indirectly supports. The nuclear indutsry needs to purge itself of these individuals and events such as tritiated water leaks and RPV corrosion won't happen. And I state again - neither of these injured or killed a single human life. So what's your point?

Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to know more about the Braidwood tritium leak that Paul Gunter referenced, please go to web page:

http://www.braidwoodtritium.info/pages/1/index.htm

Braidwood's most recent news release on this subject is at web page:

http://www.braidwoodtritium.info/images/News_Release_Braidwood_III.pdf

Links to more news releases may be found at web page:

http://www.braidwoodtritium.info/pages/3/index.htm

Now a note to Paul Gunter:

I searched the NRC Event Reports for the past couple of months and found dozens of examples of medical mis-administration of radioactive sources. I found dozens of examples of radioactive gauges used in the fossil fuel industry stolen or missing. Your organization has complained about not one of these. Yet an event that has neither killed nor injured a single human life - the Braidwood event - NIRS holds up with the same kind of horror that one would hold up the toxic chemical leak at Bhopal, India in 1984. This tritium leak is indeed insignificant in the grand scheme of things, except for its use as anti-nuclear propaganda fodder.

The right solution is to fix the leak and prevent future recurrences, and make any executives who fostered a degraded SCWE responsible to the customers and stockholders.

If NIRS really supported nuclear safety and instead of using the same kind of scare tactics that one would expect of a terrorist organization, then I would find merit in its actions. Until then, with all due respect, Mr. Gunter, I shall have to agree with Harry, Dog on the Hudson.

BTW, burning coal still releases far more radioactivity to the environment in the form of uranium, thorium and radium that occur naturally in coal than any radioactivity that was released from the Braidwood leak. NIRS's concern is disingenuous at best.

Paul said...

Dear A,

Does it occur to you that many of the same companies burning that polluting coal also operate poisoned nuclear power?

Moreover, many of those same polluters are fighting the installation of more effective scrubbers on their fossil units, like Dominion Nuclear and Constellation Nuclear, etc.

So what's your point?

Paul, NIRS

JS_VP said...

ARF!.....ARF!

Sniffed a hole....
Smelled a presence.....
Scratched a little...
and VOILA'
Out pops a raging mouse,
with factoids in a row!!

Below your Pleistocene campfires
is found carbon,sequestered low, of no interest save to scholars.

Below your drivers of a huge civilization, joyous, wealthy,
bursting with promise,
we find a water species not found
previous.

AND THE IMPORT TO SOCIETY IS.....
(a silent moment for us all to ponder)

Did you think... "Nil"?

But to Wisemouse/Nirsmouse
it is evidence!
Evidence of doom.
Evidence of crime.
Evidence of a reason to exist.

(Please note that operators self-identified the presence of modified water.)

Please note that ash heaps at coal plants rise 1000 feet high,
and contain U235, Thorium,
and other goodies.

Please note that bronze age middens
in Turkey likewise speak that
man has been, and lived,
and thrown out garbage.

Oh, if we just lived as spirit!
No In, No Out, No trash,
just paranoid complaining at our brothers work!

The mouseling screams in terror:
"They are making trash heaps there!!!
Away!!.... Away!!
I HAVE THE FACTS!!"

Harry, mouseater

Anonymous said...

Paul Gunter,

The point is that the regulatory playing field should be leveled. Coal plants discharge tens of thousands of tons of pollutants per day, but a nuclear power plant produces 30 tons of spent nuclear fuel per year that can be recycled and reused. If coal plants were held to the same regulatory requirements as nuclear power plants, then we would all end up with a safer world; and since coal plants would no longer be able to externalize the cost of their pollution, the free market would naturally favor nuclear power plants (and right now it does).

Additionally, your term 'poisoned nuclear power' is inappropriate. Because of nuclear power millions of tons of pollutants from coal fired plants are avoided. Furthermore, unlike spent nuclear fuel, the mercury emissions from coal plants never ever decay away.

Again, I find your concern over nuclear power plants disingenuous. You base your concerns on fear of radiation and radioactivity. Yet you ignore the far greater danger of mis-application of such in the medical industry - misapplication which - unlike Braidwood, Davis Besse and TMI - actually has resulted in killing people. A case in point is NRC IN 2001-008:

< http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/info-notices/2001/in01008s1.html >

A brief excerpt suffices:

"On June 1, 2001, NRC issued IN 2001-08 to promptly alert licensees to an ongoing investigation concerning cancer patients in Panama who had received excessive radiation therapy doses. As noted in IN 2001-08, ION representatives announced on May 18, 2001, that 28 patients treated at the institute for colon, prostate, and cervical cancer may have received radiation doses from 20 to 100 percent above what was prescribed. Eight patients are reported to have died, and five of the deaths have been attributed to the excess radiation received during the treatments."

It is the commercial nuclear energy industry which has set the standard for controlling radiation and radioactivity. It is this standard - one so high that not even non-nuclear coal-fired plants can meet its limit on radioactive emissions - that has served the public so well. Yet your doctor who may prescribe for you x-rays, radiation treatments, etc., lacks the very basic radiation safety training typically given to even the lowest employee at a commercial nuclear power plant. And this worries you not at all?

That's what I mean by disingenuous concern.

Now as to the hazards of radiation exposure, perhaps you have heard of the term radiation hormesis. Here are a few articles:

Radiation Hormesis: Demonstrated, Deconstructed, Denied, Dismissed, and Some Implications for Public Policy
< http://www.scientificexploration.org/jse/articles/pdf/17.3_kauffman.pdf >

Luckey98 Radiation Hormesis
< http://cnts.wpi.edu/RSH/Docs/Luckey98_Biopositive.htm >

Maybe (just maybe) your fear of radiation is simply an unwarranted phobia. In fact, 1.7 billion years ago in Gabon, West Africa a natural ocurring reactor went critical and spread its radioactivity uncontrollably all over the area. It is called Okla. Here is the web link:

http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/factsheets/doeymp0010.shtml

It is quite possible that the radiation from this reactor helped to cause a variety of mutations in early life forms that eventually through the evolutionary process led to the development of homo sapiens of which you and I are members. We may very well owe our evolutionary lives to a fission reactor. Such serendipity!

Of course I am not suggesting for a moment we do this Braidwood or any other plant; but it puts your fear into proper perspective. The very atoms in our bodies came about from nuclear fusion in the hearts of super novae long dead. Radiation is as much a part of our lives as oxygen or water. To unreasonably fear it is to fear life itself.

JS_VP said...

To Igor

Humankind hungers,
and needs power.
The planet has provided.
The good accept the gift,
the power,
and provide it to the hungry.

The bad would stop the rising.
End the millenium.
Scrabble in trash cans
for evidence that someone lied.

When saved by power
in the freezing cold
Do I care who lied?

Even they do not care.
Each issue is a ringer.
They feel the power too,
and want to ride it up
extorting self importance
with their trashcan scrapings.

in a word....

Evil

Anonymous said...

Harry is right.

It is evil to tell poor Ukranian and Eastern European women and children freezing in the dark this winter from lack of natural gas that electricity from nuclear power plants that could keep their babies warm will not be provided.

It is evil to condemn millions of people - mostly women and children - in third world nations to death from air pollution produced by biomass burning because NIRS / WISE says we must not build nuclear power plants.

It is evil to dump millions of tons of toxins into the atmosphere every year that ends up killing tens of thousands of our own citizens in the United States because of unreasoning fear against the only safe form of baseload power.

Evil must be opposed, but only with goodness.

JS_VP said...

Woof !!!

Dave Erickson said...

I work on climate protection strategies in Sonoma County, CA. I have a blog http://www.climateprotectionblog.com/cpc/nuclear_option/index.html where I have proposed that large scale wind generation obviates the need for nuclear power. I draw extensively from the work of Mark Jacobson at Stanford. My research indicates that the levelized cost of large scale wind beats nuclear (around $0.047/kWh for nuclear vs around $0.043/kWh for wind).

I have concerns, not so much about plant safety, but about the nuclear fuel production process itself, particularly mining and milling, and the toxic and environmentally hazardous waste products. Of course, wind power has none of these risks, either in manufacturing or operation. The other factor that concerns me is the risk that nuclear products or wastes can be siezed by terrorists for either dirty bombs or other uses. This is particularly troubling given the demonstrated willingness to utilize suicide tactics.

Large scale wind is highly competitive from a cost standpoint, and has none of the risks or hazards associated with nuclear fuel production or the security of nuclear wastes or facilities. Given these factors, I really don't see any compelling reason to divert resources to the further development of nuclear power for production of commercial grid electricity. There are other factors arguing against nuclear such as the need to decentralize power production, and move more toward small-scale distributed generation, but I won't go into that here.

Anonymous said...

Dave,

I agree that we should make maximum use of renewable energy, but consider the following:

Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not "Green"
by Robert L. Bradley Jr.
< http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=1139&full=1 >

Wind does not work when there is no wind or there is so much wind that the turbines must be locked down.

Solar doesn't work at night or on cloudy or snowy days.

Capacity factors for so-called renewables will always be less than nuclear.

As far as the hazards of mining radioactives and the potential that mine by-products could be used in dirty bombs, your concern is completley mis-placed. See the following:

Backgrounder on Dirty Bombs
< http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/dirty-bombs-bg.html >

Fact Sheet on Uranium Mill Tailings
< http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/mill-tailings.html >

10 CFR Part 40 - DOMESTIC LICENSING OF SOURCE MATERIAL
< http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part040/ >

I say again, if the coal industry were held to the same standards that the nuclear industry is held to, then there would be no coal plants. And wishing that fickle Mother Nature would with a soft breeze and gentle sunlight obviate the need for large baseload power plants is simple that - wishful thinking.

One nuclear power plant can generate more electricity with no air pollution and no forest devastation than hundreds of square miles of wind farms. That's the advantage of uranium and thorium and plutonium.

Should we use wind to help replace coal? YES. Can wind replace the need for more nukes? NO.

Anonymous said...

I would also recommend that Dave consider the following:

The False Promises of Wind Energy
< http://www.energypulse.net/centers/article/article_display.cfm?a_id=989 >

Please browse through the comments at the end of this article and contemplate what Joseph Somsel points out:

-----

Our kind author has been too generous to wind electric producers in the state of Washington. He assumed a 30% capacity factor for wind farms in his state.

Past performance in Washington state has not been that good. According to the US Energy Information Agency, in 2002 (last year data available and tabulated - see < http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/solar.renewables/page/trends/tablec12.html > and < http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/solar.renewables/page/trends/tablec4.html >), for a calculated 21.1% capacity factor.

These are the facts, according to the US government - neither ad hominem insults nor delusional pipedreams nor "bitter missive".

-----

Nuclear power has a greater than 90% capacity factor in the U.S. No renewable outside of hydro can beat that (well, maybe geothermal, but I'm not sure).

JS_VP said...

Dear Mr. Erickson:

You've provided us
a sterling example of Greenspam.
What is Greenspam?

This is a Pro-Nuclear
NEI notes site.
You feel, apparently,
no embarrassment in
posting your windmill
theories on this site.

This insensitivity,
this lack of courtesy,
this "messianic override"
allows you to blithely
offend a pro-nuclear community,
post off-topic links,
simply throw the word "nuclear"
in your copy somewhere,
and feel you've done
something worthwhile.

(in fact, you've garbled
communications between
pro-nuclear posters-
congratulations).

Mr. McErlain is
vastly more courteous
than I would be.

As far as your proposals,
they could work,
provided nuclear baseload
was in place to mitigate
their lacks,

So...
You see...
To be 100% renewable,
you must use
"The Great Renewable"
Gaia's native heat
Transuranic spontaneous warming.
The self-smelting metals,
misnomered "nuclear",
up until now.

The Hudson Mutt

JS_VP said...

And oh yeah....

Being a dog,
I'm interested in dead birds

Here's a search result of several hundred documented birdkills
due to windfarms

http://www.alltheweb.com/search?advanced=1&cat=web&jsact=&_stype=norm&type=all&q=DEAD+BIRDS+AT+WINDFARM&itag=crv&_b_query=&l=en&ics=utf-8&cs=utf8&wf%5Bn%5D=3&wf%5B0%5D%5Br%5D=%2B&wf%5B0%5D%5Bq%5D=&wf%5B0%5D%5Bw%5D=&wf%5B1%5D%5Br%5D=%2B&wf%5B1%5D%5Bq%5D=&wf%5B

A big address, true,
but big birdkills,too

Hud Mutt

Dave Erickson said...

To "Anonymous":
Jacobson at Stanford ( http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/eletters/294/5544/1000 )has shown that as you add more geographically diverse wind sites to the grid, the contribution of wind approaches and then approximates a baseload source. In other words, if you look at the entire system that includes wind, rather than the capacity factor of a particular geographic location, the intermittant nature of wind ceases to be a factor.

Regarding the proliferation threat of nuclear, this goes directly to the issue of cost. Because nuclear fuel production and use from yellow cake on until waste storage is a military/terrorist target, all nuclear fuel production and transportation facilities must be kept militarily secure from attack. The cost of this has escalated, as it has become clear how vulnerable these processes are to attack. This adds considerably to the levelized cost of nuclear fuel.

Regarding coal, I think it is clear that it needs to be replaced, no question. However, see Jacobson, http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/energy.pdf, the calculated capacity for wind energy generation, both onshore and offshore, can replace coal at a levelized cost of between $0.03 and $0.04 per kWh. Along with wind power, investing in efficiency, using clean biomass technologies such as pyrolysis and anaerobic digesters, there is more than enough truly renewable energy to power the American economy more cost effectively than nuclear can.

To "The Hudson Mutt":
Actually someone who's email address is nei.org, and who gave the URL of this blog, has been posting on my blog, representing, as you call it, the "pro-nuclear" side. I'm actually "pro-cheap clean energy", as I'm concerned about the effect of fossil fuel-fired power plants on the atmosphere. I'm encouraging debate on this issue, because I think it is important. If the owners of the blog want to censor me, they can delete my comments and ban me. Or you can suggest that they email me and inform me that posting comments on this blog is limited to "pro-nuclear" communications.

Finally, regarding bird kills by wind turbines. This has been a problem with wind farms that were developed in the early days of wind power ('80s), for example, Altamont Pass in CA. However, many studies have shown that 1) wind installations can be sited out of the migration paths of birds; 2) wind turbines can be designed to be "bird-friendly"; 3) the large (2.5-5.0 MW) turbines rotate slowly enough so that birds can avoid the rotors.

Thanks for the opportunity to discuss this important issue.

Field Agent said...

Woe, Gunterismo


Picture the veterinarian,
close upon the pregnant cow,
had struggled, strained with her,
waiting patiently for time,
braving all the hot and stink
and liquid stuff,
helping her through,
and her calf, out,
and midway
through the last contraction,
a new life dangling in midair,
a shrill voice screams out,
from one behind the stall-slats, hiding, terrified,
shouting:...
"put it back....
PUT IT BACK....
you've made a mess!"

Thus the non-participant,
a stalker, a fruitless one,
calls the cow "a mess",
the new calf "more mess",
the veterinarian
"untrustworthy, corrupt",
the farmer
"callous exploiting businessman",
the whole procedure,
stemming from evolution
and the planet's life itself,
"dangerous, ...wet...stinking....
threatening"

Where's proportion here?
A cow is just a cow.
A birth, just a birth.
A calf,.. but a calf.

Behind the slats, trembling,
the fear-worshiper
can see no life,
no planet evolution,
no birthing,
no promise of milk...
only stink, and mess, and fear.

Need I remind the reader
whom the parable points out?
Or was my tale itself enough?

The Gunterismo
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
For the abominably dense,
the veterinarian is
Fermi, Bohr, & Rickover
(and all who follow)

The cow is Earth herself-
Gaia in the birthing stall

The calf, of couse,
the spawn of Gaia's fruitfulness,
her ripeness welling up,
her child, her gift,
the heat of her loins,
the warming in the rocks
the metal that lives,
salvation for the cold,
wealth for the poor,
respite for the air,
the "N" calf
full alive
but dangling...

The stalker in the stall..
Well,
you know.

David Bradish said...

Dave Erickson,

We welcome your comments and any comments which discuss nuclear and energy issues. It would be a pretty boring blog if it was just pro nuclear. Keep it up.

David

Dave Erickson said...

Thanks David. It's been a pleasure having you weigh in on my blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Dave Erickson,

I agree that as more and more land area is used to provide wind generated electricity, such production could approach base-load given the variety of geographical locales using wind power. But wind power is still quite diffuse and requires hundreds of square miles to do what a single nuclear power plant on a small amount of property can do. And this requires tearing up vast sections of land on which to erect wind mill towers.

However, that being said, wind production of electricity should be used to the maximum extent practical. Nevertheless, it will never obviate the need for nuclear and there is no reason why both cannot exist side by side to provide pollution free electricity.

As to the possibility that "nuclear fuel production and use from yellow cake on until waste storage is a military/terrorist target", the same can be said of facilities manufacturing petrochemicals and ammonia fertilizers. Anything good has the potential of being a terrorist target, from NYC's Harlem Tunnel or GW Bridge to a shopping mall or a school. See the following web pages for information on the security currently provided to the already robust commercial nuclear facilities:

< http://www.nei.org/index.asp?catnum=1&catid=13 >

< http://www.nrc.gov/what-we-do/safeguards.html >

< http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/brochures/br0314/br0314.pdf >

I wonder how many lives would be lost if a fully loaded 747 hit the Kensico or Croton dams in Westchester County, compared with how many lives would be lost if the same type of jet liner hit one of the two Indian Point containment domes. This issue is simply a red herring, one designed to instill unreasoning and unreasonable fear and hysteria. I am far more concerned about a sniper's bullet hitting one of the large propane gas storage tanks 2 miles from my house than a terrorist attack on a nuclear facility. Dave E., you need to put this in perspective.

Dave Erickson said...

Regarding the "threat of military/terrorist attack." Again, this only relates to the issue of cost. If nuclear fuel production/transportation/use/storage was not secured, I think it is safe to say someone would at least try to steal it. So you need to secure it. Actually, I think the Non-Proliferation Treaty requires that yellow cake and refined and enriched uranium be highly controlled. The nuclear materials must be secured. This is an additional cost. Since we don't want these materials to get into the hands of "bad guys", they need to be *very secure*. Your links show just how secure they need to be. This is not cheap, and there is still a risk, as we have seen that there are individuals who would risk their lives to secure the means to create dangerous weapons.

Regarding "tearing up vast sections of land", for wind installations, it has been shown that given the spacing that is required for large wind turbines, land where they are installed can be used for other purposes. Also, Jacobson has shown (link above) that the best wind potentials are offshore. Since most of the population lives near a coast, changes to the grid structure would be minimized by offshore installations.

Your statement "wind will never obviate the need for nuclear" needs some numbers to back it up. I have numbers that show that wind can, in fact, replace all coal-fired plants, do it cost-effectively, and do it without the need for extensive backup generation capacity. Google Mark Jacobson at Stanford. He's approachable. This can be approached as an engineering problem, and all the numbers are available. There's no mystery or hocus-pocus. Wind is cheap, plentiful and completely clean and renewable. All that is needed is the political will to make the investment.

Thanks for being willing to discuss this with me in a rational, civilized way. I'm trying to keep an open mind. Sometimes it is difficult, and I do learn from you fellows! Thanks again.

Jim Hopf said...

Dave E,

First of all, are your wind costs of 3 to 4 cents based on the 1.8 cent/kW-hr production tax credit (i.e., is the real cost 4.8-5.8 cents)? If not, are they hypothetical prediction of future wind costs. I'm pretty sure that unsubsidized wind costs that low have not been obtained, up till now. My general impression, after all I've read, is that wind power, at best, delivers (intermittant) kW-hrs at roughly the same cost that new nuclear would deliver steady, baseload kW-hrs.

In terms of the intermittantcy issue, I would require a whole lot of convincing before I would believe that this problem can be overcome as easily as you suggest. I've read a whole lot on this, and you're only the 2nd person I've ever heard say that the intermittantcy problem can be easily overcome. The great majority of experts believe that wind's intermittantcy will limit its potential contribution to ~15-20% of power generation, at the very most. At a minimum, transmitting power from whatever section of the country is windy at a given time will involve massive and expensive power grid upgrades, which alone would be enough to add significantly to wind's net costs.

Heck, the (lofty) goal of some states is to have all renewables provide ~20% of generation, and that includes all our exising hydro! I tend to view these goals as upper bound estimates of what will actually be achieved. By most estimates, this contribution will not even offset the increase in demand, resulting in a net increase in overall consumption of "traditional" energy sources.

There is a huge, and frustrating, gap between what some people say can theoretically be achieved, and what I actually see happening. You say that wind could replace all of our coal, nuclear, and gas, as well as cover all new demand. What is see happening is that, despite a very high level of both polticial and financial support, renewables are not growing anywhere near fast enough to cover even the increases in demand, let alone replacing most of our existing supply. I see 50+ GW of new conventional (i.e., dirty, not even IGCC) coal capacity being built; this (not renewables) constituting the great majority of new supply. I see our collective power supply actually getting more carbon-intensive (in terms of CO2 produced per kW-hr).

When considering whether we should insist on only using "perfect" sources (like renewables), or also support "very good" energy sources like nuclear, as an alternative to truly bad sources like coal, we need to ask ourselves how plausible it is to use only renewables, and evaluate how things are going towards that end. Well, things aren't going very well. Not only is coal not going away, it is growing rapidly. Against that backdrop, we need to actively encourage literally every alternative (with the exception of imported gas). Stated more simply, talk to me about not building new nukes, or even replacing nuclear with wind, after all the coal plants are gone.

One final point would be that, if wind is as good as you say, you should have nothing to be concerned about. If utilities could meet all power demand using wind, why wouldn't they? It would certainly be the most politically popular option, right? It also doesn't have fuel cost volatility risks, or risks from increasingly stringent environmental requirements. If wind were the lowest cost, and intermittantly were not a significant issue, then have no fear, no more nuclear or coal plants will be built (aside from perhaps 6-8 heavily-subsidized new reactors). The utilities would only build windfarms.

Right now, wind recieved nothing but support, politically and financially, with no barriers or roadblocks thrown in its way. To the extent wind falls short of any imagined potential, it will be due to fundamental problems, and not due to any failure of policy or lack of support.

Jim Hopf said...

To Dave E (contd..):

Concerning nuclear fuel cycle hazards, frankly they are negligible, certainly compared to the hazards of fossil fuels. Western nuclear plants, and their fuel cycle, have never had any measurable impact on public health or the environment, and they have never had any impact on the proliferation of nuclear weapons. By contrast, fossil plants have caused ~25,000 premature deaths every year in the US alone (hundreds of thousands, worldwide), and they are the leading cause of global warming.

I'm sure you get frustrated when people raise specious things like the bird-death issue as a supposedly serious drawback of wind. Well, this is exactly how we feel towards all the hype about nuclear's supposed "problems". Western nuclear plants, nuclear waste, and nuclear fuel have never hurt anyone, period. The hyping of these false issues (for both wind and nuclear) would not be so serious a problem, if it weren't for the fact that fossil fuels' problems are so real, tangible, and enormous.

Any secuity costs associated with protecting nuclear fuel (as well as waste) are a tiny fraction of nuclear's overall costs, and are (in any event) fully included in nuclear's current price.

The fuel cycle also doesn't constitute a significant security threat. Low-enriched reactor fuel is of no use to terrorists trying to make a weapon. Spent fuel (nuclear waste) isn't useful either.

In both cases, it is much easier to just mine the uranium ore out of the ground in your home country, and enrich it up to bomb grade. Stealing fuel or waste from the US, and then (secretly) further processing it into weapons-grade uranium or plutonium, is not technically impossible, but it is clearly the most difficult approach (for obtaining weapons material) that anyone could possibly think of. Even in the unlikely event that you succeed in stealing the material w/o being noticed, the remaining processing steps are not much easier (and may be even harder) than just processing raw ore.

Finally, it must be noted that whether the US never builds another plant, or if it builds 100 more reactors, it will have absolutely no effect on whether countries like Iran pursue their own nuclear program. It is these programs (along with unsecured, already-made weapons grade materials in places like Russia) that constitute a proliferation threat. Use of nuclear power in Western countries like the US (and more specifically, the number of reactors) has absolutely nothing to do with it. No impact at all on proliferation.

In terms of dirty bombs, spent fuel makes a lousy RDD weapon, due to the material's lack of dispersibility, and its relatively low radioactivity level. Spent fuel is also virtually impossible to obtain, for numerous reasons. Meanwhile, various medical or industrial radioactive sources make infinitely better dirty bomb components, and the level of security around these sources is negligible compared to the security of spent fuel.

Simply put, in terms of dirty bomb risks, nuclear power and its associated materials (i.e., spent fuel) will always be a negligible term in the equation. Building more power reactors will not increase our vulnerability to dirty bomb attack to any measurable degree.

It must also be stated that the actual, tangible public health risks from a dirty bomb, or any kind of attack on a spent fuel shipment (or storage site) have been vastly overstated. Few, if any, would die, and the amount of land area that would have long-term radiation levels significantly outside the range of natural background would be small to non-existent.

Nuclear fuel, nuclear waste, and nuclear plants all make singularly poor targets for a would-be terrorist. For any given level of terrorist firepower/capability, there are too many other targets to count in this country where an attack would be much more likely to succeed, AND would do a vastly greater amount of damage, both financially and in terms of human health/death. This includes chemical/petrochemical plants, toxic chemical shipments, dams, tall buildings, etc..., as well as virtually any large concentration of people (cities, events, etc..).

Anonymous said...

Dave E.,

What are the impacts that harsh weather conditions such as hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, etc. can have on wind mill farm installations? Being robust structures, nuclear power plants are relatively immune to the effects of Mother Nature. Waterford 3 (as a precautionary measure) did shut down prior to the arrival of Katrina, but was undamaged by that hurricane and started up with no ill effect shortly after its passage. I doubt that if wind mill farms had been built throughout Louisiana many of them would have been left operable.

I just can't see the wisdom in making our nation totally dependent on only renewables. Yes, we need to make far greater use of them. But we will also have to use clean coal technologies and nuclear power. Time is running out and with oil supply problems this condition is only going to get worse far faster than we can build wind mills, coal plants or nuclear power plants. Please read:

The 2006 Economic Forecast: Oil Remains a Wildcard
< http://www.energypulse.net/centers/article/article_display.cfm?a_id=1200 >

BTW, I do try to be rational and civilized [though my wife denies that :-) ], and I sincerely apologize if any of my prior posts were construed otherwise.

Brian Mays said...

To evaluate the credibility of the claim of the low cost of large scale wind, all one has to do is go directly to the Jacobson's paper, in the PDF cited above, and check the numbers.

To summarize, Jacobson has arrived at his cost of approximately $0.04/kWh by assuming that the wind farm is composed of large 1.5MW turbines, each of which operates 24 hours/day, 365 days/year, with an average wind speed of at least 7 m/s. Even using the most conservative numbers from his results, his analysis leads to an overall capacity factor of more than 35%.

This capacity factor appears to me to be unrealistic, and I remain unconvinced of the low cost of wind power.

One part of Jacobson's paper did catch my attention, however. It says, "...turbine output is unresponsive to electricity demand. This is moot when wind is one of many energy sources."

Dave Erickson said...

This is fascinating. Thank you much for the volume and quality of information. I really need to take a good look at this, and investigate further. I'll try to answer a couple of the questions.

First of all, some information about me. I am an engineer by background, having worked for 25 years in high tech product development. I have a recent BS in Energy Management and Design and have studied renewable generating technologies, and the basics of nuclear power and conventional coal and gas large scale generation technologies. I have undergraduate training in physics and math. I am NOT 1) a nuclear physicist or engineer, although I've studied the basic technology; 2) a wind turbine engineer.

What I am is someone who is interested in cutting through myth and hype, and finding the truth about a zero carbon, environmentally friendly power generation system that will handle the current and future needs of our society and the rest of the world. Do I have biases? Yes. Am I willing to examine them? Yes.

Enough about me. I'll answer Brian Mays first about Jacobsons assumption about wind speed and availability. Wind availability is modeled using the Rayleigh distribution. Average wind speed is just that, essentially the area under the Rayleigh curve. So, no the assumption is not that the wind is blowing continuously at the average speed 24/7/365. Capacity factor has to be considered using wind speed profiles at average hub height. For the larger turbines, this is 80m+. It turns out that Jacobson did pioneering work on comparing wind speed distribution at the surface (which is what the NREL wind quality maps show, for instance) vs at a hub altitude of 80m. He found that, particularly offshore wind, at 80m is excellent for wind generation.

My questions:
1. Has the cost of additional security required since 9/11 been quantified and factored in to the levelized cost presented in the cost figures you cite for nuclear? Also, is the security as good as it should be?

2. My understanding of the nuclear fuel production process is that toxic chemicals and gases are used. Does the levelized cost you cite include "correct" disposal of these wastes?

3. In situ leaching has some impact at the site, as well as producing tailings, although smaller than open pit mining. Has mitigation of these effects been included in the costs you cite?

That's all I have time for right now. Thanks again for engaging me in intelligent, well-informed discussion.

David Bradish said...

Dave,

Check out this link on security:

http://www.nei.org/documents/
InfoGraphic_Security.jpg

Here's the assumptions:
http://www.nei.org/documents/
InfoGrahic_Security_Assumptions.pdf

The costs of security are part of O&M. O&M for nuclear is around 1.2 cents/kWh or $12/MWh.

JS_VP said...

Wow... stay away for 24 hours,
and my issues are all
disposed of by burial under off topics?

About the birds.
Migration paths are one thing.
But the phenomenon of a microenvironment
has not been addressed.

Studies among the 934 citations
to which I linked you, above
have discovered
that ANY initial unfortunate kill
produces food at the windmill base.
Over time, populations of rodents
and other scavenging species
are both attracted, sustained,
and amplified by seredipitous
off-normal food availability.

Raptors, including eagles,
take note of the copius
free lunch scurrying around the bases.

In patrolling above this scavenger-cloud,
the raptors encounter the blades,
and then become the next
scavenged bladekill.

The phenomenon self-amplifies,
and produces a unique
micro-environment, drawing in
participants on both the
terrestrial, and avian sides,
a multispecies killing rig,
because you don't like
the transuranic gift
of self-heating metals.

Mr. Erickson...
Gaia weeps.

JS_VP said...

Since we are discussing
"refreshing" alternative topics,
here is one:

Let us never forget the implications
of technology footprint.

A maximum density of wind harvesters
cannot be exceeded.
I'm sure you have the figures.
Below the towers, maintainance roads,
collector substations, repair shops,
and tower-profile clearcuts
render the former population
of flora locally extinct.
The extinction can lead to erosion,
necessitating artificial ground cover
of one sort or another.

This destruction of the land
is perpetrated not on the scale
of acres,
but on the scale of square tens of miles,
rendering the surrounding areas
less viable, less valuable,
and at the very least
fatally marred, aesthetically.

Moreover, the albido frequency
of the marred land is altered,
rendering it easily targetable,
even by the most primitive means,
and by "National Asset" means,
from outer space.

Being strictly "Open Air"
devices, the harvesters
CAN NOT be protected,
sheltered, or hidden in any way.

Devices no more clever
than remotely steered ultralight
aircraft , dangling steel cables
can cripple operations from afar,
with no hazard to the perpetrators.

Being essentially spread out
over the entire footprint, the installation
cannot be defended by the slim numbers
of guards assigned to a denser technology,
but will require perhaps several hundred
paramilitary footsoldiers manning,
or patrolling a several-hundred
kilometer perimeter, and a huge
interior attackable central space.
Deployment becomes impossible,
except for prohibitive defensive
preparations not permitted by Posse Comitatus.

Your windmills are, in a word,
indefensible.

But I'm sure you have a study,
declaring this to be not so.

Please do not cite.
Please work the issues
(the courteous way).

Thanks.

Brian Mays said...

Dave,

I understand that the 7 m/s represents the average speed of the wind and includes time when the wind is not blowing at all. It strikes me, however, as a naive and overly simplistic methodology. For example, does it take into account the times when the wind is blowing too hard for the turbine, which has to lock its blades to keep from being damaged? Does it take into account the electricity that is actually consumed by large wind turbines to get the blades to start to turn when the wind speed is low? These are the types of questions that immediately come to mind when I read such a paper.

Besides, the 35%+ capacity factor that is implied in the paper contradicts historical experience with wind farms in the US and other countries. Thus, I am highly skeptical of this number, especially when it is used as the lower bound for the analysis.

As far as technology footprint goes, it is easy to show that a wind farm uses a significantly larger amount of concrete than a well-built nuclear power plant with equivalent installed capacity, and all of this concrete is buried in the ground. (It is used to anchor the large wind turbines.) Do the cost/kWh that are quoted for wind farms include the cost of digging up and disposing of all of that concrete at the end of the wind farm's 20 year life span? Or do they just leave all of that concrete -- which is spread far and wide -- in the ground? Well, if it's offshore, I guess you can leave it in the ocean.

Jim Hopf said...

Dave E,

Yes, all security costs are fully paid for by the plant owners (w/o government help), and are thus included in nuclear’s price. Even with these costs (which were greatly increased after 9/11), nuclear’s operating costs are the lowest of any source. In terms of adequacy, I think it’s fair to say that nuclear has done more than any other industry, especially in comparison with the levels of risk involved. There are many other industries/sites that actually represent a much greater risk, that have taken nowhere near as many precautions.

In fact, the (Democratic) Progressive Policy Institute did a study of all the industries and/or terror targets in this country, and evaluated how much (and how well) they have done in response to the potential threat (i.e., how much meaningful progress they’ve made). The results were given in terms of a report card. Only one “A” was given (an “A-minus”), and it was given to the nuclear power industry, specifically. If I remember right (and I’m not sure), it was the only grade above a “C”. They held the nuclear industry out as exemplary in terms of post-9/11 response/preparation; a model for all other industries to follow.

Any toxic chemicals used in the fuel treatment, enrichment, or fabrication process are fully contained and properly disposed of, and do not represent a significant environmental cost or hazard. Once again, all costs are included in the price. This is part of a general pattern. Nuclear power is basically required to fully contain all its toxic materials, show that they will never be released into the environment, and accomplish all this on its own dime. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, are allowed to freely (and routinely) emit millions of tons of toxic material into the environment, w/o paying a dime for the privilege.

I’m sure some costs are incurred (by the industry) to minimize and remediate the effects of uranium mining, but the environmental effects are not zero. This, along with generation of heated water by the power plants, represent finite external (i.e., environmental) costs associated with nuclear. While these costs are not zero, they are (however) orders of magnitude smaller than those associated with fossil fuels, coal especially. Coal mining has vastly more impact than uranium mining, for example, and even that’s nothing compared to the effects of coal plant emissions.

There have been rigorous scientific studies of the external (i.e., environmental, public health, and indirect economic) costs of various energy sources. One of the most recent, and detailed studies was the ExternE project, performed by the European Commission. A summary of the results can be found at:

http://externe.jrc.es/All-EU+Aggregation.htm

as well as on p37 of:

http://www.nea.fr/html/ndd/reports/2003/nea4372-generation.pdf

These studies show that, while nuclear’s external costs are finite, they vastly smaller than fossil fuels, and are not much larger than renewables (if at all). The analyses show that, on average, nuclear’s external costs are only ~0.25-0.5 cents/kW-hr, compared to anywhere from 2-15 cents/kW-hr for coal or oil (~5 cents on average), and ~1 cent/kW-hr for gas. Wind is the lowest, and solar is only slightly lower than nuclear. Keep in mind that these studies do apply external costs for all potential nuclear risks, including any risks of things that have never happened yet (including accident or attack risks, and any proliferation risks).

Dave Erickson said...

Thanks again for all the comments. I guess we've got the basics down: I think the disagreement is still about costs. I maintain that:

Large scale wind (5 MW turbines), primarily in offshore installations, spread out over a wide geographic area, can more cost-effectively, and with a smaller environmental footprint, replace coal, than adding the 300 or so BWR nuclear plants it would take to do the same thing.

The levelized O&M costs of large scale wind are lower. There is no security cost to speak of, and there are no costs related to containing and disposing of toxics related to fuel production, there is no waste problem, and they don't require open pit mines.

Wind turbines are cleaner, simpler and use a truly renewable energy source. They can serve as baseload power with appropriate alterations of the grid.

But let me close by saying, new generation capacity is *the most expensive way to deal with our electric power needs*. By far the cheapest way to deal with energy needs is to invest in efficiency. The ACEEE has shown that energy use in the existing plant can be reduced by 1% per year by economically feasible measures alone. These are measures that pay back better than most investments. These are investments that, dollar for dollar, yield far more energy than any generation technology. Overall reduction in energy use from energy efficiency can reach 50%-80% depending on the scale and timeframe of the investment.

The other element of the energy future, I believe, has to be distributed, small scale generation, particularly for new development. We have the technology to create new development (housing, office, commercial) both zero net energy and zero carbon. Why don't we do it?

By investing in efficiency, large scale wind, and zero net energy/carbon new development, we can move the US toward energy independence, with the lowest environmental impact. However, whatever the ultimate solution, the approach has to be not only concerned with supply side solutions, but with demand side solutions as well.

Thanks to all who engaged with me. You've given me a lot to think about.

Lisa Stiles-Shell said...

I'd like to add that there is NO completely "clean" power source. I'm not against the use of technologies like wind or solar where they are appropriate, but the construction of turbines and panels have their own waste streams. Take a look at the life-cycle emissions analysis at http://www.nei.org/index.asp?catnum=2&catid=260, particularly the table comparing various generation sources. And note that this data, though contained on the NEI website, comes from a report from the International Energy Agency.

Lisa

JS_VP said...

Simply link to:

http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/infantry/rifle/M107.html

And learn why a $500, .50 caliber sniper rifle,
accurate at up to one mile range,
crafted specifically to interdict materiel
such as parked aircraft, vehicles,
and of course, their far more visible
cousin, the hub of a wind turbine blade set,
renders Mr. Erickson's vision indefensible.

By its nature,
no blade set can ever be hidden.
Its exposure, is the key to its operation.
In this it differs from all other technologies.
This inherent weakness cannot be mitigated.
It is the quintessential shooter's target.

Drawing a radius of one mile around
each tower, the perimeter of viable
firing positions becomes many miles long.
The shot can be silenced,
rendering the location
of the shooter undetectable.

The degradation induced into the bearing set
and/or then generator winding
by a metal jacketed .50 round
would be total, but not initially noisy,
enabling a single dedicated shooter to disable
several dozen towers, and slip away,
undetected, except for an anomalous drop
in windfarm output.

This is the technology Mr. Erickson claims
carries zero security cost.

I think not.

Of course, Mr. Erickson will ignore this ,
preferring to recycle flawed plans among friends,
ignoring the elephant in his living room
hardened nuclear power plants.

That link, once again, is
http://www.inetres.com/gp/
military/infantry/rifle/
M107.html

Anonymous said...

And what a single round from a $500, .50 caliber sniper rifle, accurate at up to one mile range could do to the propane storage tank farm two miles from my house is too awful to contemplate.

No source of energy is nearly as robust, secure and impregnable as a commercial nuclear power plant, and even with the costs of such security included, nuclear is STILL cheaper.

Cheaper - Safer - Better.

JS_VP said...

The Reality

Were the west to become populated by Islamic peoples, and become a series of sharia states, much of the international cultural tension now seen, could dissipate, and security provisions for western infrastructure become not a concern.
However, intramural bombings within the muslim world have occurred, and so a 100% negation of terror implications does not dissipate, even with Islamic rule.

Were some other paradigm at hand, some millennial vision, uniting all ethnicities, all regions, again, security needs would lessen. However this has not happened,
no new worldview even waits in the wings, and so we are left with today's tensions, most likely getting worse as time goes by, as the trend to date has demonstrated.

So we are seen to have a great advantage, in a power technology of miniscule geographical footprint, easily isolated from general approach, in fact already isolated in most cases, as precaution against political complaint.
For this we must thank the regulatory planners who reviewed potential sites, the operators who opted for them, and even political foes who lobbied for them.

With the closest nuclear plants at a metropolitan standoff distance of no less than 50 miles, our current site array is well nigh perfectly planned for a terrorist age.
With the enhanced isolation measures mandated by NRC after 9-11, our nuclear plants now stand in the guise of security avatars, coaching the society itself how to organize the as-yet unprotected infrastructure systems of the chemical industry, communications, transport, and even sport & entertainment gatherings.

Note well here, that an advertising campaign of vast proportions has been perpetrated by an ad hoc coalition of formerly environmental groups, to describe a fictional needed standoff of 500 miles, but in truth they might as well have prescribed a recommended standoff of 500,000 miles, their claims were fiction, and their intent was banning of the technology.

Using the chimeric comparison to a totally impossible re-occurrence of Chernobyl in the USA, they might as well have predicted the eruption of Krakatoa at 42nd street and Madison avenue, and indeed came very close to this level of hyperbole in some of their last efforts, before abandoning the campaign as a lost cause.

I mention this, because many who do not read, but accept hearsay, have accepted the most exaggerated scenario, if only because it is now common cultural baggage,disbelieved, but useful in conversation, advertising, and organizing leftist causes.

That said, we are left with the most perfected, defensible low profile method to power a society whose power thirst is about to balloon to order-of-magnitude
increases in need, with the sprawling of the former farm regions around all major metro areas.About this sprawl....Although greenists decry it, it is in train, no legal way to stop it exists, and development of housing is now the linchpin of our economics

There is one method, and one method alone, capable of sustaining American economics. Greenists do not realize their alternatives will bring the country to its knees, financially, and societally, if attempted. The people themselves, not saddled with a pollyana agenda, realize this.

This savvy estimation of self need is demonized as "lack of an educated public"
within the ivory tower of academic & leftist imagining, but in point of fact, the experience of paying large electricity bills, and seeing smoke, grit, and haze despoil the cities, has self educated the population far beyond the reach of millennial windmill-worlders, and the people want nuclear.

Harry, the Hudson Dog

JS_VP said...

The Nether Regions
of a Windmill World

Since Mr. Erickson's Windmillworld has been made a bona fides topic here, we must not fail to discuss the entirety of the windpower paradigm. As nuclear has an evil siamese twin appended to its butt in the form of a negative propaganda corps-the NGO's, so likewise does windpower, as a concept, have a Kyoto-busting siamese twin attached to its technological nether cheeks, and that doppelganger is PEAKING FOSSIL AUXILIARY POWER. At underwind times or overwind times, (as well as cloudy times, and night---for solar) the citizenry does not behave like a pack of obedient prairie dogs, and scurry into their burrows to hibernate. Baseload remains baseload, despite darknees, calm, hurricane, or .50 caliber bullet, and something must be on the train to provide coverage. That something is fossil auxiliaries, but not optimum fossil, perfectly tuned and scrubbed for low emissions (as baseload fossil can be to some extent)....No, no, no..... these windmillhelpers are PEAKING fossil auxiliaries.

Having worked, fine tuning the fuel, air, gas, and scrubbing loops on a PEAKING FOSSIL STATION for 15+ years, I can tell you first hand, that automating ascensions in power, in response to demand rises, and descents in power to match demand falloffs, cannot be successfully automated. The peaker, feeling a demand rise, inputs excess fuel, cranks up ID & FD fans, alters vortex, spray, and scrub, and in each and every case, without fail, emits a huge puff of unburned hydrocarbons, soot, carbon monoxide,mercury, uranium, thorium & cyanide, and is allowed by federal law to do so for a courtesy time period, in each instance, before being fined.

(A baseload fossil plant is able to balance air, fuel, burn, and scrub, in a long tweaking process taking 24 to 48 hours after each outage to attain its less than 3% opacity in emissions. I have stood by, as expert instrumenticians tuned, tuned, and retuned for an entire shift, to get it balanced.....That is in the baseload fossil plant.)

In the PEAKING FOSSIL STATION, such tuning is an unattainable luxury. A peaking station is never balanced. Their fuel, burn, air, gas & scrub are NEVER OPTIMIZED. They ascend and descend quickly, in minutes, again & again throughout their coverage day, and puff badly, and often. It is in their nature to do so. They are Kyoto-busters of the first magnitude, and they are the dirty little big secret of the windpower paradigm.

So windmills, in failing baseload coverage, necessitate the dirtiest coverage possible during their "fainting spells", and in fact were largescale windpower implemented in larger-than-experimental scale, would induce the building of hundreds of fossil peakers, taking us three or four significant steps backward in air quality, permanently.

H-dog

Field Agent said...

A Woof in the Wind


Among a peer group of young energy professionals, hoping to network and raise personal visibility as a career enhancement springboard, the difference between a windmillworld pollyanna website, eyes on the sky, feet mired in mud and bird corpses, never to succeed, carrying great hidden harm for society in distracting many from truth, and a prophylactic pro nuclear website may not seem that great.Whatever happens, historically, the peers will have met, interacted, and may provide mutual copy exchanges, or even employment for each other at some unspecified future date. At any rate, mutual hit count, and therefore Technorati tag profile will have been enhanced on both of the link-exchange sites.So, in making blog exchange progress, do we weaken, misuse, neglect, suppress, or demonize absolutely true arguments and revelations concerning the technology we have tagged as the very title of our blogspace? Perhaps a kind of compromise is envisioned, in which wind & solar, or even tide driven power and its advocates, are amalagamated into an ad hoc scenario, slipping nuclear power in the greenists' back door , so to speak, but ultimately, when the NGO harrassment corps funded by Pew, Rockefeller, Grace & Tamarind begin filing injunctions of fear, malicious petitions of untruth, and holding their little Ruckus Society type summer rioting seminars, the impediments thrown up will only be thrown up against one member of the coalition, the nuclear member.The playing field is skewed. No Simpsons cartoon series satirizes windmills, with a buffoon lead character, walking into the family domicile, lets say, after a day at the Altamont windfarm, with a bald eagle carcass snagged on his cartoon jacket, bleeding, and rat carcasses adhered to his funny hipboots, as he crushes the little rodent skulls with a crunching sound , popping a can of Bud and saying :" Dooooooooh".If you think that credibility-eroding attack at such a target age group level is inneffective, think again. If, for your own imagined stature, sobriety, and credibility you tell yourself that such malicious cartoonery is not within your purview, that you only discuss BTU's. Megavars, and congressional hearings, leaving puerile insult to fester unaddressed, I would like to point out that several hundred thousand people worldwide have rioted, and given their lives over the last week, over cartoon images, none of which held such a directed venom for its subject, as the Simpson's series.As a motivational exercise, I would suggest each of us mentally compare THEIR zeal, with ours. What makes the difference? Let us investigate. For one, it would appear that they truly believe in their cartoon's subject. (In their case...Muhammad, in our case... Nuclear power).For another, they bridle and feel rage, at unwarranted attack. Apparently, we do not. I have no way to ascertain this for everyone, but if it is so, I would coach each as a mental clarification exercise to ask :"Why not?" If, as I suspect might be the case, some are actually waffling a bit, hedging bets, and preparing a covert parachute for some future personal crossover to the anti-nuclear, or "generalist" side, I would suggest that person act boldly, make a break now, feel the freedom that comes with "fessing up", and leave the field to those more passionate on the subject than in themselves, more dogged, less accommodating to lies, skewed leftist millennialism, and PR peer pressure, more willing to get dirty in the service of nuclear truth, and the ending of malicious antinuclear delinquency.These are strong words, but completely civil, and respectful, as you will kindly note. As to their being on-topic, I would say that they embody a very important meta-topic, that of timidity in the pronuclear advocacy ranks. This topic is at a single remove from purely technical power generation discussion, it is true, but effective PR is couched in simplified terms in order to make a cinematic impression on any new or uncommitted audience, one very effective unused simplification/clarification for the good being the constant revelation of the opposition's shortcomings, their position as factotums to wealthy eccentrics, any less-than democratic method in their operations, any lacunae in their credibility, and is offerred in the hope, in the expectation, that any believing advocate for nuclear cannot be affected by words which, in their case, do not apply.One avatar, showing the way, but in service to farmers, not power-providers, is the website activistcash.com. They have done a fine job of debunking the same frivolous-lawsuit greenist crew which also harrasses nuclear power, but as I said, the accent there is on farmwork. That said, let us address a situation in which hordes of charlatan propagandizers, paid by a few old rich ladies' vanity funds, present themselves as of co-equal stature with pro nuclear commentors, but even more....tacitly let it be known that pro nuclear advocates may well be corrupt in some way, or willing to fail, and cover it up, thus making the charlatans' pretended public interest paranoia well founded. What irony, then that I seem to discern at least an appearance of just such a corruption, however, not having to do with covering up internal nuclear plant shortfalls, but instead glossing over external pronuclear advocacy shortfalls of zeal. So it would seem that to foster balance into future discussion, having strong, delinquent antinuclear spokespersons, versus bland, distracted or simply less-than-motivated self avowed pro nuclear writers with no taste for mano-a-mano engagement, that a dog is what is needed.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.McErlaine,
and by proxy, Dear NEI:

I had suggested that a strategy of aggressive expose',to satisfy the public's propensity for investigative journalism, would be the best way to demonstrate the actual fringe position of antinuclear groups, their dependance on fatcat foundation money, and their small size.

I also suggested revealing them publicly as the little hack PR grunts that they are, rather than their more common guise as "heroes" , "watchdogs" , or "activists".

Well, I don't know if you acted on my advice, but the other side has now very strongly begun using that strategy on YOU.

Link To:

http://www.nuclearspin.org/index.php/Nuclear_Energy_Institute

Have a nice day,
and have fun playing catch-up!

Harry, the Hudson Dog