Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Unbuilding a Building - and Obama Dissents

Despite our pre-Thanksgiving prep-for-bloat kind of lethargic mood, we thought we point you to a couple of interesting videos. Here's one from the BBC about the disassembly of the Sellafield Cumbrian plant. This isn't a nuclear power plant, but a plant at which plutonium was produced for bombs. We can't think of a nicer plant to go to pieces. Note: If you're not British, you'll have to listen quite closely to decommissioning manager Euan Hutton, who narrates, because he frequently disappears into a thicket of accent. Worth watching more than once to catch all he has to say.

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Well, all right, we can rouse ourselves from thoughts of gobblers and bog fruit to express dismay about Jim Riccio's sourpuss ding on NEI central. Of all people, he knows that advocacy organizations make the most positive case possible for the object of their advocacy and he also knows that credibility craters if NEI or Greenpeace or any other such entity spins facts into lies or hides discordant information. Neither NEI nor Greenpeace do these things - they're both quite effective in making their cases and they're both quite credible. Their goals are not even all that far apart, although NEI by its nature is less general in its topic areas.

Here's what Riccio says:

So rather than calling for an expansion of nuclear power, the Obama/Biden campaign actually acknowledged the dirty and dangerous downside of nuclear power and the risk that expanding nuclear power would lead to the spread of nuclear weapons.

Dirty and dangerous, proliferation? - nuh uh. What Obama and Biden said on the stump and in the debates is that safety is key but that nuclear has to be part of any energy policy solution that addresses carbon reduction. Search for Obama and Biden in the handy box above and you'll see we've caught virtually every reference to nuclear energy they made during the campaign.

And here, for your viewing pleasure, the president-elect says the same thing again (at California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's international climate change summit; the reference to nuclear energy is at 1:46):

Riccio doesn't have to like nuclear energy and can fight it tooth and tong with the full weight of his intellectual weight behind him - but he cannot generate his own facts. They must align with reality.

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And a Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! We suspect our foreign readers have holidays with highly circumscribed menus and opportunities for family dismay, woe and loads of love. This is America's and by plane, train and automobile, half the country will alight in the other half's dining rooms for festive overeating and reconnecting with every last twig of the family tree. So eat a lot, keep your temper even and find the comfiest chair in the house to enjoy a good solid nap after the last slice of pumpkin pie has slipped into the last crevice your stomach has available in it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Right Side Up Down Under

624 Watching Australia come to grips with nuclear energy is like watching Mr. Hyde fighting not to become Dr. Jekyll - the struggle is intense but perhaps not wise. Let Ziggy Switkowski  (and doesn't that seem like a name right out of Laverne and Shirley!),  chairman of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, explain it to you:

MALCOLM Turnbull [leader of the Liberals, currently the political opposition] is correct in emphasising the need for bipartisan support if the nuclear journey is to proceed. The question is, why has it been so hard to build bipartisan support? There may be three reasons not to support nuclear power for Australia:

* You don't believe in climate change or the need for a sustainable economy, so business as usual is fine.

* You don't believe a small economy such as Australia's, with its 1.4 per cent contribution to global emissions, can make a difference, so why bother with clean energy?

* Your planning horizon stops at 2020; the first nuclear reactors would appear later than that in Australia.

That second point is sort of amusing. In Neville Shute's novel On the Beach, Australians didn't cause the war that destroyed the Earth, but the deadly fallout was heading their way anyhow. The terms are somewhat reversed now, with nuclear energy a kind of savior for a problem Australians haven't caused. Switkowski lays out many of the pro-nuclear energy arguments we've seen many times on this site and makes some recommendations:

Our policy architects suggest there is no future scenario that will require nuclear power in Australia but:

* Deep greenhouse gas emission reductions will almost certainly prove beyond the capability of existing technologies and renewable energy platforms to deliver in the time allowed. The inclusion of nuclear power will be critical to our success.

* Our lights will start to go out as investment in clean baseload energy generation stalls in an uncertain regulatory environment and the nuclear alternative is not validated.

* In a carbon-constrained future, nuclear-powered economies will exploit their cost advantages for clean energy in competing with Australian products newly burdened by embedded carbon costs.

We're not sure cap-and-trade will put Australia in quite so dismal a position, but we take the point. The whole article does not have a lot that pro-nuclear energy folks haven't fully internalized, but take a read to see all this laid out for the increasingly ambivalent Australians.

If you want to keep up, here's the blog for you: Nuclear Australia. Also done at Blogger, it looks almost exactly like Nuclear Notes.

Mr. Switkowski himself.

President Obama on Nuclear Energy

President Obama Nuclear EnergyOver at The Huffington Post, Greenpeace's Jim Riccio offers up some red meat in his provocatively titled guest post, President Obama and Nuclear Power's Spin Campaign. Riccio accuses NEI of mischaracterizing President-elect Obama's support for nuclear power and dismisses the work done by the industry association as "propagandist."

Back in July, at the start of the presidential campaign, another claim of mischaracterization was made; this time by the nonpartisan Factcheck.org in their article, A False Accusation About Energy.

We’ve been through this. Obama has not said a flat-out "no" to nuclear, as the ad claims. Instead he has said he is in favor of nuclear energy if it is clean and safe, saying in his energy plan that "it is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power from the table."
In October, The New York Times, in its presidential candidate Check Point series, had this to say,
...And contrary to what Mr. McCain has been saying on the campaign trail, where he proposes the construction of 45 nuclear plants by 2030, Barack Obama does not “oppose the use of nuclear power.”

Both men endorse nuclear energy, although to differing degrees, as part of their strategy to wean the United States from its dependence on foreign oil
More recently, in an interview on Charlie Rose, the senior U.S. Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, described the legislative landscape in an Obama Administration
Charlie Rose: What else will we see in terms of legislation in the House and Senate?
Chuck Schumer: You will see a really serious energy policy that will wean us away from fossil fuels.
Charlie Rose: Okay, but tell me what that means. What is going to wean us away?
Chuck Schumer: It means, it's going to mean changing the tax laws. We developed...
Charlie Rose: Incentives to...
Chuck Schumer: All kinds of alternative energies. All kinds. I would say with President Obama, nuclear energy is on the table. Okay? People don't realize that. It's in his platform.
Charlie Rose: Add to nuclear energy?
Chuck Schumer: Mmm hmmm. Mmm hmmm. [Affirmative]. With Senator Obama, all kinds of... now, we'll have an electric car. Production. Work. Travels the same distance in five or six years. Okay?
A question: would Jim Riccio characterize the Annenberg Center (Factcheck.org), the New York Times, and Senator Chuck Schumer "propagandists" as well?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gov. Beshear and the Nuclear Imperative

20081120energy Interestingly, Kentucky's Governor Steve Beshear pursued an energy policy during his campaign but was notably silent about nuclear energy being a part of that policy - you can see his campaign manifesto on energy issues here. But, boy, when he comes around, he comes around big.

"We must begin the discussion now about whether nuclear energy should be a part of our energy portfolio," [Beshear] told reporters at a Capitol press conference.

The governor's energy plan comes at a time when utility companies are looking at Kentucky for potential nuclear power plant sites.

"Several companies have suggested that they would be interested in building nuclear plants in Kentucky," said Energy Secretary Len Peters.

Here is the governor's plan (warning: sizeable pdf). You'll see that there are seven strategies - presumably to keep things lucky - and the seventh strategy is "Examine the Use of Nuclear Power for Electricity Generation in Kentucky." Sounds good to us: let's see what he has in mind.

  • Legal hurdles to successful inclusion of nuclear power in Kentucky’s energy mix should be examined. Specifically, removal or revision of the legislative ban on new nuclear power plants must be addressed.
  • A public engagement plan should be implemented to gather and address stakeholder feedback and concerns and to provide education about nuclear power today.
  • Research should be conducted to assess the desirability of co-locating nuclear power plants with advanced coal conversion plants to assess the effects on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, providing ready access to electricity and/or steam, and possibly using waste heat for the coal conversion process.
  • Incentives that reduce the risk of capitalizing and financing a new power plant should be considered in developing these programs.
  • The EEC should work with the Community and Technical College System to ensure that trained personnel are available to staff the construction and operation of nuclear power plants.
  • The state universities should explore now the possibility of adding nuclear engineering, health physics, and radiological science programs to their curricula.

Make a note of it - that's a pretty good laundry list for getting ready for the nuclear tomorrow.

Obviously, the plan focuses on the state's commitment, but it could go deeper into industry's role. It seems a big hole not to include it, since a lot of what's proposed will be done in partnership. But in all, a good plan.

By all means, read the whole thing: nuclear is just one of seven proposals and the other six are well worth a rehearsal.

Gov. Beshear is the pointing one. Surprised?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Plants Explained

In looking for videos to include on NEI's newly created YouTube channel (NEI Network), we came across an excellent online resource there this week: Third Wave Digital. Third Wave is an advertising company that has created over 50 high quality animated clips that explain how a nuclear plant works. The videos were created for Progress Energy's Harris Plant Visitors Center.


Be sure to check out the Third Wave's YouTube channel. And if you have any suggested clips for the NEI Network channel, please send them our way.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thorium at Google's Tech Talk

Dr. Joe Bonometti, with the help of thorium expert Kirk Sorensen, gave about an hour long "tech talk" at Google discussing liquid fluoride thorium reactors. Here's the video:



Slowly but surely thorium is gaining greater and greater interest in the country. Atomic Insights has some thoughts on how to keep it going.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Obama's Cabinet Picks: Energy Secretary

Obama's Cabinet Energy SecretaryTime to scratch a name off your Energy Secretary candidate list? ABC's Jake Tapper and Martha Raddatz are reporting that retired Marine General James L. Jones has emerged as the leading candidate to serve as the National Security Adviser for President-elect Obama.

The former head of NATO and U.S. forces in Europe, Jones is currently president and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy. A move to the NSA could provide synergies with the work done at the ITCE; where energy policy is viewed as integral to national security.



Click here for more NNN coverage on who will be in the Obama Cabinet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Romania Expanding Nuclear Fleet

cernavoda1_simulator Romania has pulled together a pretty impressive group of energy suppiers - including ArcelorMittal, CEZ, GDF Suez, Enel, Iberdrola and RWE Power - in order to knock together two new nuclear units to join the units at the Canadian built Cernavoda.

Romanian Finance Minister Varujan Vosganian said the project would take nearly seven years to complete.

"This is a very great step to increase Romania's energy security," Mr Vosganian was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

We can only agree. The story doesn't mention whether Canada is building the new units, though the second unit, which is Canadian, only opened last year. There's a history there.

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While we'd like to say a few switches are getting thrown on at a the proposed plants we've mentioned here, we know we've got a bit of a wait ahead. So file this - and similar -  news in the back of your mind and we'll return to Romania in a few years to cut a ribbon and pop a cork. In fact, those same years will likely see a lot of ribbon cutting and cork popping.

The picture here is titled Cernavoda simulator, so we'll assume this is for teaching and testing rather than the live control room at Cernavoda.

Who Are You? - The Silicon Knows

fortune The internet, as you may have heard, is jam packed with pages that purport to determine your perfect mate, your personality, your life span (based, I guess, on your intake of Omega-3 and asbestos). Typalizor says it will tell you your personality type by analyzing your blog and judging, well, we'd guess word choice.

Here is how Typalizer judged Nuclear Notes (we were really expecting "Psychotic" since it would be taking in the writing of three frequent writers):

INTJ - The Scientists

The long-range thinking and individualistic type. They are especially good at looking at almost anything and figuring out a way of improving it - often with a highly creative and imaginative touch. They are intellectually curious and daring, but might be physically hesitant to try new things.

The Scientists enjoy theoretical work that allows them to use their strong minds and bold creativity. Since they tend to be so abstract and theoretical in their communication they often have a problem communicating their visions to other people and need to learn patience and use concrete examples. Since they are extremely good at concentrating they often have no trouble working alone.

Well, that makes sense, all things considered, and about what you'd expect to hear from an exceptionally good urban fortune teller. (We think it's actually the Meyer-Briggs test, but a good fortune teller will know his way around that, too).

However, it really does seem to come down to word choice - the subject of this blog has rather skewed the results, we think. If you have a general interest blog or online journal, try it out.

I once ran into a startlingly good tarot card reader on an Amtrak train. She went way beyond the boilerplate that you expect fortune tellers to dole out. And that's how, when the gag works, it really works.

50th U.S. Nuclear Plant License Renewed!

The Wolf Creek nuclear plant in Kansas just became the 50th reactor unit to receive a 20 year license renewal from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The plant is now licensed to operate until March 11, 2045.

Congratulations to everyone involved! Only 54 units left to go.

A Nuclear Plant That Uses Wastewater - News Video Style

Arizona's Fox News must have read my previous post. ;-) Here's a link to the video clip of the news channel discussing how the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona uses waste-water to cool their reactors.

Dingell, Waxman in Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Challenge

Dingell Waxman House Energy and Commerce Committee ChairDingell Waxman House Energy and Commerce Committee ChairCongressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) has emerged victorious from the Cannon Caucus Room this morning, defeating John Dingell (D-MI) in a 137-122 secret ballot vote, to gain chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

More details to come.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Recycling Gets a Hearing

hanford Annette Carey does a good job in the TriCity Herald of covering a  public meeting that occurred there covering the possibility of recycling used nuclear fuel. Sponsored by the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) in Pasco, Washington - the tri-cities also include Kennewick and Richland - the meeting directly addressed the elephant in the room: the Hanford site. Hanford might seem a big bullseye for controversy, yet the attendees seemed quite sanguine about its potential as a recycling center.

Hanford still would be an ideal site for reprocessing used commercial reactor fuel for reuse, said several speakers at Monday's hearing.

The Tri-City Development Council has consistently said cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation is its top priority, said Gary Petersen, TRIDEC vice president of Hanford programs. But reprocessing fuel could not only be good for economic development, but also help clean up Hanford by recycling the spent fuel sitting at Energy Northwest, he said.

So there you have the economic argument and an acceptance of Hanford as an functional element in the community.

The nation would do better to focus on cleanup and conservation, [Tom] Carpenter [of Hanford Challenge, which watchdogs the site] said. Much work on solar and wind power could be done in Eastern Washington with a far quicker payoff than developing proposed plans for nuclear fuel reprocessing, he said.

And there you have the environmental argument. We suppose you could do both - solar and wind are obviously different kinds of projects than recycling and both look to benefit from an Obama administration. We're not really all that sure these - especially solar - are logical power generators for that part of the country, but they know better than us. (And we admit to the suspicion that solar and wind are convenient go-tos when one wants to promote "benign" energy.)

We should note that GNEP wasn't proposing putting a recycling center at Hanford at this gathering, though that might be percolating somewhere in their planning - the goal here was to discuss recycling as an issue in itself.

"People don't seem to understand the difference between civil nuclear power and the Department of Defense," said Chris Orton, a third-generation Hanford worker, who said he represented the up and coming engineers and scientists.

We second that. "Up and coming" - young, we guess he means, perhaps edgy and hip? An edgy engineer should never be let out at night - a hip one never.

We could go on, but read the whole thing. It's an interesting conversation, covering a spectrum of opinions, and Cary covers it well. It's great to see GNEP engage with communities in this way.

Bonus: Here's a video produced by Hanford Challenge. Tom Carpenter introduces it.

A view from Hanford.

Obama Addresses Governors at Global Climate Summit

Obama_Schwarzenegger_Sebelius_EnergySome interesting comments coming from President-elect Obama in his address to the bipartisan Governors' Global Climate Summit, scheduled to begin later this morning. It would appear that, despite the global financial crisis, cap-and-trade is still front and center. From the prepared remarks,

In particular, I want to commend Governor Sebelius, Governor Doyle, Governor Crist, Governor Blagojevich and your host, Governor Schwarzenegger –all of you have shown true leadership in the fight to combat global warming. And we’ve also seen a number of businesses doing their part by investing in clean energy technologies.

But too often, Washington has failed to show the same kind of leadership. That will change when I take office. My presidency will mark a new chapter in America’s leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process.

That will start with a federal cap and trade system. We will establish strong annual targets that set us on a course to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80% by 2050.

Further, we will invest $15 billion each year to catalyze private sector efforts to build a clean energy future. We will invest in solar power, wind power, and next generation biofuels. We will tap nuclear power, while making sure it’s safe. And we will develop clean coal technologies.
A Webcast of the two-day summit is available here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

When Nuclear Fades

oldbury You don't get a very good result:

Power suppliers are turning back the clock to use coal-fired plants as their main source of electricity in a bid to avert potential shortages this winter.

Latest figures from the National Grid show that the fuel accounted for 42.5% of all power generation, overtaking natural gas production for the first time in years.

This is happening in Great Britain. Why?

The surge, from a usual level of little more than a third of total output, comes as the major networks seek to fill a gap caused by a slump in nuclear energy output at East Kilbride-based British Energy.

This is because a couple of plants are closed to have their boilers changed. That's the closing of two count 'em two plants that have caused this result.

It gets worse. If you've looked at the stories pointed to in the post about clean coal below, this next sentence will cause bitter and ashy laughter:

The major power companies stress that the increased use of coal is compatible with the drive for cleaner energy, and ScottishPower is investing heavily in "clean coal" technology at its Longannet and Cockenzie plants which could provide a quarter of Scotland's energy needs.

Now, we really, really want clean coal technology to work because a lot of people depend on it for their livelihoods. Having an industry collapse is not pretty - imagine, which you can now do, the American automobile industry completely shuttering and you have a sense, though on a global scale, of what a cratering (so to speak) of the coal industry would look like.

However, the clock is ticking. When it ticks, governments around the world have to find a way to expand their nuclear energy fleets before the current generation ages into obsolescence; when it tocks, they have to find solutions to the massive challenge of clean coal.

And if we really wanted to be alarmists about it, we'd have to add that we don't really know how many ticks or tocks are left in the clock.

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Every time we read something about carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), it seems to represent a massive Catch-22:

A power plant equipped with a CCS system (with access to geological or ocean storage) would need roughly 10–40% more energy than a plant of equivalent output without CCS, of which most is for capture and compression.

On the one hand, you could use nuclear energy to supply the juice, but then again, you really don't need the coal plant if you've got the nuclear plant. Oops, that's another Catch-22!

The Oldbury plant, due to be decommissioned next year. Maybe they'll have that carbon sequestration thing worked out pretty soon. (Another nuclear plant is actually due to be built here, but that'll take time.)

William Tucker Interview

My interview with journalist and author of Terrestrial Energy, William Tucker, is now up on NEI's YouTube Channel. Part one can be seen here. Part two, here.

Favorite Q&A?

Q. Have you ever convinced any friends to become supporters of nuclear energy?
A. Ahhh! In fact of I have. I actually managed to convince my wife. [I] Thought that was a big accomplishment.


Many thanks to Aaron Rosenberg from Hill & Knowlton for shooting the video and NEI's Calvin Haden for the editing.

Is "Clean" Coal Real? Physical Insights has the Skinny

If you're ready to think deeply and able to absorb a lot of info on a Monday morning, check out Luke Weston on "clean" coal at Physical Insights. Luke's first post debunks the Australian coal industry's latest "clean" coal ad and his second post looks critically at how a demonstration coal plant sequesters CO2. Enjoy!

Obama's Cabinet Picks: Energy Secretary

Obama's Cabinet Energy SecretaryThe Hillary to State speculation drew most of the attention this weekend, but there was some Energy news. The AP is reporting that New Jersey Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa Jackson has been named to the Obama-Biden transition team on Energy.

Jackson joins Robert Sussman, a former deputy Environmental Protection Agency administrator, and 11 others. They will conduct a department review to provide Obama and key advisers with information they need to make policy, budgetary and personnel decisions prior to the inauguration.
Per the Obama transition site, Jackson has been named a Team Lead for the EPA Review. Other Team Leads include Cecilia V. Estolano, CEO of the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, and Robert Sussman, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Some did play the cabinet parlor game this weekend: in the pages of Newsweek, Slate.com's Jacob Weisberg lobbies for Al Gore to become Energy Secretary.
The genius principle should also be applied to the lesser agencies, where many of the names being trotted out have a dreary, box-checking quality to them. Obama says transitioning to renewable fuel sources is his second-highest priority after saving the economy. So why not talk the brilliant, socially awkward Al Gore into taking the job of energy secretary? Following the anonymous Samuel W. Bodman might seem like a demotion for the former vice president and Nobel Prize winner, but it would give Gore a chance to accomplish his life's mission by addressing climate change—and make up for his neglect of the issue when he was vice president.
Overseas, Kostis Geropoulos from New Europe, asks, "Why not make him [Arnold Schwarzenegger] Secretary of Energy?"

Click here for more NNN coverage on who will be in the Obama Cabinet.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One for the Money in Wisconsin

commonstock There's been a veritable flood of good press on nuclear energy coming out of Wisconsin. The goal, of course, is to get the state's ban on new plants overturned. Now, a few good editorials don't make a Spring or even bring the swallows back to Capistrano, but we were interested to see this pickup of a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal editorial:

We also think that it's time to lift the state's moratorium on talking about additional nuclear energy. Dr. Patrick Moore of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, CASEnergy, made a good case in Madison last week for nuclear power.

His basic argument is that although wind can provide some relief (and solar, far less) from the greenhouse gas emissions of coal plants, neither can provide the base load power provided by coal. Nuclear can, and at least it should be on the table. As should renewables, biomass and conservation.

Actually, the moritorium is about new plants; Wisconsinites can yak it up about nuclear energy all they want - which is what this editorial is doing.

The editorial is mostly about the Public Service Commission's rejection of a coal/biomass plant and, though it doesn't directly say so, one suspects that this plant, like a lot of coal plants, is facing hard times in a changing energy environment. While the editorial credits Alliant Energy for trying to do something viable with coal, it moves on to the lines above.

It is a notable couple of paragraphs: first, because nuclear energy is brought in as a secondary point of the piece, almost casually, as if this were a settled issue and it should be evident how Alliant should proceed. (It really isn't, but let's let that pass for the moment.) Defending nuclear is unnecessary is instead presented as a way forward. Second, this editorial has been picked up by a stock trading site, and the take-way to that site's readers is that nuclear might be something to take a look at when you visit your broker or study stocks. We can't disagree with that. Third, er, yay Patick Moore!

A little slice of capitalism for you. Get it while it's still hot.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama's Cabinet Picks: Energy Secretary

Obama's Cabinet Energy SecretaryAdd a new name to the list: the AP offers up former Indiana Congressman Philip Sharp. Sharp is currently serving as president of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Resources for the Future.

And in a feature titled "The New Team," The New York Times fills in the backstory of an Energy Secretary candidate first reported by the Washington Post's Steve Mufson last week: (Ret.) General James L. Jones.

Click here for more NNN coverage on who will be in the Obama Cabinet.

Former Secretaries of Energy on the Next Energy Secretary

Obama's Energy SecretaryWe're still waiting on a copy of the transcript, but Katie Fehrenbacher over at earth2tech is reporting on an interesting exchange between former U.S. Energy Secretaries from Day One at the Forbes Energy Conference.

While [James] Edwards and [John] Herrington were riled up over cap and trade, [Spencer] Abraham's biggest issue was actually with people who fight both climate change and nuclear power. It’s impossible to fight both, and nuclear will need to be a big part of the clean power equation, Abraham said.

Utilities Voted: "Nuclear Energy Best Investment to Meet Environmental Requirements"

That's according to Black & Veatch's latest annual survey to electric utilities (pdf). Here are the highlights:

Continuing the survey trend from past years, utility personnel believe strongly that nuclear energy is the best investment to meet environmental requirements. Nuclear demonstrated not only the highest level of support this year (77% of all respondents and 80% of all IOUs), but also a sustained increase in the level of support over the three years of the survey. While nuclear remains the preferred technology within the industry, it continues to meet considerable resistance among environmental and political groups making such investments difficult for utilities.

Wind and solar rank second and third as preferred technologies: 56% and 54%, respectively. Wind has retained its relative ranking over the 2006 to 2008 period, while interest in solar has accelerated rapidly. While not at significant levels, interest in tidal resources has also increased substantially over the last three years. Interest in coal gasification has lost ground, dropping from 22% in 2006 to approximately 10% in 2008. - p. 59
Now if we could only convince the public...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What Did the Voters Intend on Energy?

In a November 7 posting, the Wall Street Journal's Environmental Capital blog provides an excellent summary of the various "messages" observers believe voters sent about their desires on energy policy during this election. While some clean energy advocates believe the voters expressed a clear mandate for clean energy, exits polls suggest that the voters' message may be more nuanced (i.e., mixed) than advocates would like. It seems the voters were far more interested in the candidates' economic proposals than their energy proposals, according to exit polls cited in the posting. While both candidates promised action on climate change, the public's concerns about economic security appear to trump concerns about longer term challenges, such as climate change, making voters less eager to bear the costs that will fall on the public when government-mandated carbon controls are implemented.
Whether "election haruspicy" interests you or not, the Environmental Capital blog posting will give you some insights on the signals bouncing around the political atmosphere this week as the incoming administration begins to think about priorities and possibilities in energy policy.
Image: The Liver of Piacenza, a bronze model of a sheep's liver inscribed with the names of Etruscan deities, and believed to have been used by Etruscan priests in the practice of haruspicy.

Monday, November 10, 2008

That Darn Ban! Wisconsin Rethinks Nuclear Energy

wisconsin_dairy_farm_400 Wisconsin has been rethinking its ban on new nuclear energy plants for awhile now:

Wisconsin's 24-year-old moratorium on nuclear power plant construction is wrong.

The foundation for removing the moratorium has already been laid. Earlier this year, the Governor's Global Warming Task Force recommended that the state modify the moratorium, lowering barriers to plant construction.

That recommendation followed the a decision in 2007 by the Legislature's special committee on nuclear power to support eliminating the moratorium altogether.

That's from the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison and what can we say? We agree. But:

So far, however, adamant nuclear power opponents have blocked attempts to remove the moratorium, which has prevented the state from adding to the three nuclear reactors that generate 20 percent of the state's electricity.

So perhaps its time to pull out the big - well, we won't say guns. How about, as Jessamyn West might put it, Friendly Persuasion:

Self-proclaimed “sensible environmentalist” Patrick Moore opened the UW [University of Wisconsin] Energy Hub Conference Friday by advocating nuclear energy, calling it the most effective way of reducing carbon emissions and consumption of fossil fuels.

Although he was a founding member of Greenpeace, Moore left the organization, feeling his colleagues created policies based on sensation rather than science. He is now a co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, a pro-nuclear energy association. [CASEnergy describes itself this way: "The CASEnergy Coalition is a large grassroots coalition that unites unlikely allies across the business, environmental, academic, consumer and labor community to support nuclear energy." "Association" doesn't quite catch it.]

“Nuclear energy is one of the most important, beneficial energy technologies for the future of this world, and we need to go down that road,” Moore said.

With a nuclear moratorium up for repeal in Wisconsin in January 2009, Moore said the state government needs to remove “the barrier to nuclear energy which has been erected here.”

We can't predict the future, of course, but we suspect the Wisconsin ban is not long for this world. The Journal has it about right:

Nuclear power is required.

Nuclear power is not free of problems. The high cost of plant construction and questions about long-term waste disposal are drawbacks. But solutions are available.

The moratorium should go.

Sing it loud, sing it strong.

A Wisconsin dairy farm. We may be focused on energy , but in Wisconsin it's all about the dairy.

Obama's Cabinet Picks: Energy Secretary

Obama's Cabinet Energy SecretaryThe parlor game of cabinet speculation continues...

The Houston Chronicle lobbies for their hometown Mayor.

The next secretary of energy needs expert understanding of the fossil fuel industry — without being owned by it or wedded to its dominance. This official must shepherd America from dependence on oil, and toward alternatives, without crippling the economy.

As mayor of the nation's conventional and alternative energy capital, Houston Mayor Bill White is uniquely qualified for this post. He has the executive experience, having served as deputy energy secretary for President Bill Clinton; he is also a warrior against pollution and environmental depredation, who was nevertheless backed by Houston's energy industry and has long worked on guiding Houston's economy to greater diversity.

The Politico is reporting that former eBay SVP, Steve Westly, is "emerging as a strong dark horse candidate for energy secretary."
Westly co-chaired Cleantech and Green Business for Obama, a constituency group of green techies, along with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and former Clinton Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner.

Westly ran for governor in California two years ago, but lost in the Democratic primary to state Treasurer Phil Angelides.
Washington Post reporter Steve Mufson offers up Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers,
If Obama wants a business executive who isn't necessarily a Republican, he could consider any number of interesting utility executives because quite a few of them are very forward-looking about greenhouse gas emissions and upgrading the nation's anachronistic electricity grid. Again, I haven't heard any names but one possibility I think might be Jim Rogers, the ceo of Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy. He would be interested in promoting a smart grid (useful in accomodating electric cars and facilitating conservation) and carbon capture and storage. He also supports new nuclear power plants. A former partner at Akin Gump, he knows his way around Washington.
On the Today show this morning, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm artfully dodged the question about accepting the cabinet position.
Well, let me just say that as governor of Michigan I feel like I can be a tremendous partner here on the ground in Michigan. He’s going to need governors across the country to carry out his plans and I would be honored to be a partner.
Over at Cleantech Blog, Neal Dikeman casts a vote for Daniel Yergin.
Pulitzer prize winning author of The Prize, the seminal work on the history of the oil industry, and Chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates. The energy sector is going to take a serious thinker to overhaul. The last thing we need is a johnny come lately with a shiny copper penny plan. Yergin knows the business, knows the politics, and knows the people.
What are the priorities for the next Energy Secretary? The New York Times asked energy experts that question in a roundtable last week. Here's Roger Ballentine, former Chairman of the White House Climate Change Task Force during the Clinton Administration:
The combination of linking climate and energy policy, along with an industrial policy (yes, we need to say this) aimed at creating green industry in the United States will mean a much larger role for renewable energy. But we can’t ask renewables to do it all, which is why a truly transformational energy policy will mean more renewables AND an emphasis on efficiency, more efficient fossil fuel use and nuclear.
Click here for more NNN coverage on who will be in the Obama Cabinet.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Lost in Translation: Vietnam Edition

vietnam_017 One of the dangers of snooping around the internet for interesting stories is that we have to hope the reporting is accurate. That's tough, because journalistic standards differ between countries and the press elsewhere often has a different role in society than what we're used to. Usually, the news sources we use are pretty reliable, but not always. If the initial story doesn't really pass the smell test or we can't confirm it, we just drop the story. (Sometimes, the smell can be pretty raw.)

For example:

Vietnam is set to build their first nuclear plants and have them running by 2020. Viet-Nam only began talking about nuclear energy in the last couple of years, so this seems an oddly premature announcement.

Well, we're not the only doubting Thomas':

Prof. Dr Tran Dinh Long, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Electricity Power Association, warned that building a nuclear power plant would require strict technical demands.
“It is not as easy as building a shoe-making factory. We cannot affirm that engineers who have studied for five years will be able to build a nuclear power plant. That’s why scientists must be very careful in selecting technology, equipment and suppliers.”

Or how about:

Vietnam has yet to even choose what technologies will be used for its first nuclear power plant.

Yet here's what they plan to do (according to the same story):

The final plan outlines building a plant on two sites, with four reactors (with a total capacity of 4000 MW), using two different technology models. [whenever they choose them, that is.]

Common sense seems to have evaded this story, yet, even coming from Iran, we're not sure the goal was to deceive.

---

So we looked around for some reports on this development and  found a few from Asian news sources. This one, from Malaysia, suggests that the Vietnamese are not moving quite as quickly as all that:

Vietnam is ready to make a decision to establish a nuclear power programme, following careful research, said Head of the Vietnam Atomic Energy Institute Vuong Huu Tan.

Vietnam news agency (VNA) reported that at a workshop on nuclear power, which took place in Hanoi on Friday, Tan affirmed that developing infrastructural facilities for a nuclear power programme needs to undergo three stages and that actually making the decision is the very first step.

Well, that seems more sensible.

But then there's this, from Thailand:

Vietnam is capable of operating nuclear power plants, and the plan to run its first nuclear reactor in 2020 is of great significance in the situation of power shortage.

A bit too up-with-Vietnam for our taste.

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So, we don't know. Consider this one a work in progress. We'll see what IAEA has to say and look for some more pickup in the press. Right now, we're a little lost in translation.

Whenever we see pictures of Vietnam, we're always struck by how vibrantly green it is. It's like Asia's Ireland.

Perhaps Apple Could Design a Nuclear Power Plant?

Ales_Bursic_1 One thing you can say about nuclear power plants - or any industrial structure - is that they are not inspiring pieces of architecture. Obviously, the message they want to project is one of functionality, not aestheticism. But people actually do work at plants and many more see them from their cars and boats. So why not spruce them up? Given the cost of the average new plant, why not splash out a little extra and have a chance of getting your plant into a glossy magazine?

So it is that World Nuclear News has invited its readers to submit plant designs. We suspect the most imaginative entries come from people who know how to use Bryce and 3DS Max rather than architects, but they do indicate tremendous imagination and a desire to plant plants on the plants, er, we mean, give nature a certain run of the grounds. The design pictured above, by Aleš Buršič, shows this at work. Another design, shown at the WNN site, shows a cooling tower covered with a grassy drop cloth.

We suspect, by the way, that if Apple did design a plant, it would be white, squat and square. But somehow they make that work.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Steve Forbes on the Obama Administration

Obama Administration Steve ForbesForbes magazine editor-in chief and publisher, Steve Forbes, a former presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, looks at the future Obama administration in this week's issue. The pull quote:

Though an Obama Administration won’t try to lift the ban on drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the next President will allow the removal of more and more barriers to offshore drilling. Even more amazing will be his support of new nuclear power plant construction. Obama will let congressional Democrats and Republicans take the legislative lead, but he will quietly make it clear that he’ll sign virtually any pro-nuclear legislation they can pass—while publicly pretending to be mighty reluctant to do so.
(H/T to P.P.)

Magnetic Nanoparticles to the Rescue ... Maybe

The Department of Energy is funding the University of Idaho with $732K to prove the feasibility of using highly magnetic nanoparticles to reprocess used nuclear fuel.

If successful, scientists at the University of Idaho will kill three birds with one nanoparticle by recovering usable nuclear fuel, making nuclear waste easier and safer to dispose of, and accomplishing the task in an environmentally friendly way.
Here's some heavy science for you:
The fundamental technology that makes the process possible is the ability to make the MNPs. These are tiny pieces of pure iron nanoparticles coated with a layer of iron oxides, commonly known as rust, just two nanometers thick. Because of their iron core, the MNPs are 10 times more magnetic than commercially available nanoparticles that typically are made entirely of iron oxide. The trick to using nanoparticles made of pure iron is the thin coating of iron oxide, which prevents the core from completely oxidizing into rust.

The particles can be created in exact sizes, ranging from two nanometers to 100 nanometers in diameter. At their largest, scientists still could fit 100 million nanoparticles on the head of a pin. At their smallest, a pin head could fit 250 billion.

The project will explore a process applied to the MNPs that allows the tiny pieces of iron to selectively grab on to radioactive metals belonging to the actinides group of elements. The nanoparticles are coated by an organic molecule that acts like glue for other chemicals, in this case holding alkyl-oxa-diamide. This long-named chemical compound works like Velcro, grabbing and holding tennis balls. Except in this case, the tennis balls actually are radioactive metal ions.

Because the MNPs have such a high magnetic momentum, a small magnetic field selectively can yank the MNPs with attached radioactive molecules out of the nuclear waste. Once separated, a process breaks the bonds, separating the actinides from the nanoparticles, both of which can be reused.
And what kind of experts are needed?
“We need a nuclear specialist, physicist and organic biochemist to even make the right experiments,” said Paszczynski. “It truly is an interdisciplinary research group.”
This stuff is way beyond my knowledge but it sounds cool. Best of luck!

Picture above is a chain of magnetic nanoparticles.

Calvert Cliffs Plant Tour

Calvert Cliffs Plant TourA great piece in The Washington Post today on the Calvert Cliffs Plant in Lusby, MD offering a plant tour to local residents.

Once routinely offered to school and community groups, plant tours were halted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks. The October visits by relatives of plant employees and neighbors who live within a five-mile radius were the first since security has been upgraded at the plant, said Jim Spina, vice president at Calvert Cliffs.

"Regardless of your stand on nuclear power, you were invited," Spina said, noting that the tours were conducted to help the public understand nuclear power and how the plant operates.

Plant employees doubled as tour guides, answering questions on topics such as the amount of electricity produced by the loud, churning turbines and how Calvert Cliffs officials handle opposition to the proposed third reactor.

"It is a great public relations thing," Chuck Lockerby of Drum Point said after a tour.

Lockerby, who bought property in Calvert in 1970 and has lived in the county since 1986, said he favors a third reactor, which could nearly double the capacity of the plant on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay.

"It is going to reduce our taxes, for those of us who have lived here so long," he said.

"And we need more energy sources," said his wife, Jean.

Constellation Energy has significant support elsewhere in Calvert for a third reactor. Elected officials and many residents say they think it would result in hundreds of new jobs and $20 million a year in tax revenue.
[Snip]
The alarms and flashing lights of the simulator were the best part of the tour, said 11-year-old siblings Anthony and Rachel Lettner of St. Leonard. Their mother, Sharon, said that both children were excited about the tour and that her curiosity was piqued, with the company seeking regulatory approval for a third reactor.

There has been a lot of "swamp gas and mirrors associated with it," Sharon Lettner said. "This [tour] put that to rest."

Spina said he would like to continue the public tours and expand the list of who will be invited. For now, however, no other tour is scheduled.

Obama's Cabinet Picks: EPA Administrator

Obama's Cabinet EPA ChiefPolitico's Mike Allen reports that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is being "strongly considered" to head the EPA. NBC's Political Director, Chuck Todd, knocked down the story earlier this morning on MSNBC. (Apologies, no transcript or video available.)

Jim Efstathiou at Bloomberg.com is reporting a very different short list,

The names most mentioned by officials at leading U.S. ecology groups include Kathleen McGinty, the former secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, Mary Nichols of California's Air Resources Board and Ian Bowles of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas was cited as a "wild card'' choice by a person familiar with transition issues.
Click here for more NNN coverage on who will be in the Obama Cabinet.

Industry Execs Discuss Energy Policy at National Journal's Blog

Margaret Kriz at National Journal's energy blog asked this question to several energy industry leaders:

How Will New Leadership Impact Policy?
Executives from the wind, petroleum, and gas industries, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and others weighed in including NEI's CEO Skip Bowman. Be sure to stop by.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama's Cabinet Picks: Energy Secretary

Obama's Cabinet Energy SecretaryWith the possible exception of Redskins-Monday-Morning-Quarterbacking and the Veep stakes, few DC parlor games attract more interest than guessing who will fill a new president's cabinet. Towards that end, we'll be feeding the frenzy (chumming the waters?) these next few weeks by passing along pundit speculation; paying special attention to the position of Energy Secretary. From a Washington Post online chat earlier today, Energy Wire's Steve Mufson weighed in.

At the Energy Department, a lot of people have mentioned to me Gov. Ed Rendell from Pennsylvania. I’m not sure why he would want to do that, but there it is. The department mostly handles nuclear weapons and waste issues. The energy policy bit is smaller and largely about setting appliance standards. One new task it will have: Promoting carbon capture and storage so that coal plants won’t emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases. That might create a desire for an expert in that area to be deputy secretary, maybe someone like Ernie Moniz at MIT. Skill in helping negotiate cap and trade might be a plus.

Another possibility might be a national security type or Republican businessman. Retired Gen. David Jones has done a lot of work with the Chamber of Commerce promoting energy plans. [Edit: Mufson likely was referring to Retired Gen. James Jones.] FedEx ceo Fred Smith has also been active on energy issues.

Some members of Congress might also be interested. A possibility is Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) who has written a book on energy policy. But I'm not sure what that would mean for his seat.
Click here for more NNN coverage on who will be in the Obama Cabinet.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Obama on Energy: Chuck Schumer

Last week, the senior Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, stopped by the Charlie Rose show and surveyed the Senate landscape under an Obama administration. A transcription follows, but mere text on a page does disservice to the actual exchange - occurring at the 13:40 mark in the video below.

Charlie Rose: What else will we see in terms of legislation in the House and Senate?
Chuck Schumer: You will see a really serious energy policy that will wean us away from fossil fuels.
Charlie Rose: Okay, but tell me what that means. What is going to wean us away?
Chuck Schumer: It means, it's going to mean changing the tax laws. We developed...
Charlie Rose: Incentives to...
Chuck Schumer: All kinds of alternative energies. All kinds. I would say with President Obama, nuclear energy is on the table. Okay? People don't realize that. It's in his platform.
Charlie Rose: Add to nuclear energy?
Chuck Schumer: Mmm hmmm. Mmm hmmm. [Affirmative]. With Senator Obama, all kinds of... now, we'll have an electric car. Production. Work. Travels the same distance in five or six years. Okay?

A Horse Walks Into a Bar

Should you ever find yourself in Lodz Poland, by all means stop by the Hotel Alicja. Here's some pictures of the hotel - and no, we don't know why they have a horse in their bar - it certainly seems tidy and comfy. I've seen pictures much like this at Expedia or other travel sites for hotels in this country.

4

However, for whatever reason, they've left off one telling angle from the exterior of the hotel:

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So now we know how they keep the buffet table nice and toasty.

This isn't what it looks like. Poland doesn't have a nuclear power plant -  the Zarnowiec plant was left uncompleted in 1972 - plus the tower seems a bit squat. We couldn't quite figure out what kind of plant the tower belongs to - maybe one of our Polish readers can fill us in - but we have to say that we'd be tickled to end up at this hotel after viewing the pictures at their site and then running into this tower. It would be almost as entertaining as finding a horse in the bar.

A horse walks into a bar, the bartender comes over and asks, "Hey, buddy, why the long face?" We're here at the Krupnik Room all week. Tip the waitress if you liked the pierogi - they work hard for their zlotnis.

A Nuclear Plant that Uses Wastewater

About every summer, nuclear energy opponents like to dust off their talking points by rehashing the claims that nuclear plants can't survive in the summer. This is due to the fact that droughts can possibly affect a plant's ability to cool themselves during operation. NEI then dusts off our prepared talking points in response and then the debate usually takes off in all directions.

A key rebuttal piece to the opponents that often gets lost or forgotten in the debate is the fact that the largest nuclear plant in the U.S., Palo Verde, is in the middle of the desert and uses wastewater to cool itself. So it was great to read a post by Kate Galbraith at NYT's Green Inc highlighting this plant's features.

“This is a desert here. We don’t have any choice,” said Jim McDonald, a spokesman for Arizona Public Service, which operates the Palo Verde plant and owns the largest share of it. He believes it is the only nuclear plant in the country to reuse treated wastewater — which it has done since opening in 1986.

He emphasizes that the wastewater, which comes from Arizona’s biggest cities and is brought in by pipe, is treated again at the plant. All of it evaporates from a pond after being used at the plant, and the pond “becomes very similar to the Great Salt Lake — a heavy concentration of salt,” he said.
Palo Verde provides power not only to Phoenix but also to Los Angeles nearly 500 miles away. PV recently broke its own record for most electricity produced in a summer in 2008 and is a key plant to meeting the demands of the burgeoning population in the Southwest.

Let me tell you, I grew up in Phoenix and those summer temperatures are hot. There is hardly a day in the summer that the temperatures don't hit at least 100 degrees and you don't want to be in Phoenix during those times without electricity and air conditioning.

So next time the debate centers on nuclear plants and their claimed "inability" to provide power during the hot summer temperatures, remember to bring up how PV does it in the middle of a desert. The only way Palo Verde won't have enough cooling water is if the 4 million residents of Phoenix stop flushing their toilets. You can pretty much guarantee that won't happen. :-)

Picture of Palo Verde at night, ain't it pretty?

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Meet Angela Saini from the UK.

Hat tip to Jim Muckerheide!

Monday, November 03, 2008

California Edges Toward Nuclear Power

arnold-schwarzenegger "Nuclear power is a dead-end in California, and we shouldn't be wasting resources on such an expensive and problematic energy option," said Bill Magavern, director of Sierra Club California. "We have far cleaner, cheaper and safer energy resources like solar, wind and geothermal, and we should be investing in those."

Well, that's not very positive, is it? After all, the Santa Anna wind doesn't blow all the time, and although they do have some very large deserts, they unfortunately lurk under moonlight half the time. But California, which gets about 15% of their electricity from nuclear energy - from two plants in the state plus another over in Arizona - is becoming uneasy about reaching their carbon emissions goal. Consequently, nuclear energy keeps entering the conversation.

This story from the Sacramento Bee rounds up the attitudes about nuclear energy in the state. Once you've got the Sierra Club out of the way, things start looking up.

"It drives me nuts when I go over to France and they get 80 percent of their power with no greenhouse gas emissions whatsoever from nuclear power. And they have been safe, they have been handling it the right way and they are building some more. So I think we should look at that again and revisit it."

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger then removed thirteen bullets from his stomach and legs and stitched up the wounds with a rusty needle. He's right on the nose, though, about nuclear energy and it's only a shame he doesn't want to expend political capital on overturning the ban on new plants there.

You might call his recent statements trial balloons, though, especially in light of this:

A Field Poll released in July showed that 50 percent of voters support building new nuclear plants in California, compared to 41 percent who are opposed. In 1990, only 38 percent supported new plants.

So that might mean getting the ban overturned by referendum (which they love in California) or perhaps the legislature will just do it on their own account since they have some political cover.

One point not mentioned in the story: however tomorrow's Presidential race turns out, we owe it to John McCain for openly supporting nuclear power and being loud about it - loud enough, in fact, to make his listeners rethink opposition to it. We can't say that this had an effect on this poll or any other (nuclear has seen improvement in the polls for awhile), but we think it a cultural sign that supporting nuclear energy is not a campaign killer.

Okay, you know we wanted to get something from Conan or Predator for our picture, but we couldn't bring ourselves to do it. Besides, with what looks like an official portrait complete with politician pointing - they love to point, the politicians - Schwarzenegger may be considering a less strenuous role if he returns to acting - like, say, Merlin the Magician. (But does any actor-politician ever return to acting - hmm, Fred Thompson, maybe?)

Two More Bloggers for Nuclear Energy

Meet Neurovore:

Although I am not pursuing nuclear physics as a formal field of research, I have always been an avid hobbyist of nuclear technology as well as other topics of scientific study. After following the blogs of several prominent nuclear advocates such as Kirk Sorensen and Rod Adams, I have decided to create a blog of my own in order to keep track of the upcoming developments in nuclear energy...
Welcome! I guess I should humbly acknowledge that I was beaten to the punch once again by Rod Adams and Dan Yurman. You guys are getting too good!

Also, another blogger to meet is Chuck Muth at Yucca Facts. He's deep into the debate surrounding Yucca Mountain and definitely writes some hard-hitting posts.
The purpose of this website is to provide factual and scientific information on the proposed nuclear waste repository being built at Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada.

The authors of the site are not advocates for the project; however, we believe that much of the information the public has received in the past is disingenuous and often deals with hypothetical scenarios - such as a rail car being blown up in downtown Reno with a shoulder-launched rocket by an illegal alien from the roof of the Silver Legacy shouting “Allāhu Akbar!”

...

We hope that by better understanding the advantages and disadvantages the state might receive by hosting the repository, as well as safety assurances the state must continue to insist upon, combined with the progress being made in the area of reprocessing, that the state’s elected officials will consider changing to a neutral position on Yucca Mountain and allow an unbiased assessment of the project.

Welcome to the both of you!