Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

02hime.large1 Patrick Moore celebrates the actions taken lately to push out bad nuclear and bring in good nuclear:

On this 40th Earth Day I hope people recognize that we are moving in a positive direction by encouraging the peaceful use of nuclear technology and working to reduce the threat of nuclear war and nuclear terrorism. These twin accomplishments make 2010 the most significant year in decades of nuclear achievements.

Well worth a read.

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Our old friend Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) has a run at the question, Is Nuclear Green?

Nuclear turns out to be the gold standard.  You can produce a million megawatt-hours of electricity a year – that’s the standard they chose – from a nuclear reactor sitting on one square mile.  That’s enough electricity to power 90,000 homes.  A coal-powered plant absorbs four square miles when you count all the land required for mining and extraction.  A solar thermal plant, where they use big mirrors to heat a fluid, takes six square miles.  Natural gas takes seven square miles and petroleum takes 17 – once again counting the land needed for drilling and refining.  Photovoltaic cells that turn sunlight directly into electricity take 14 square miles and wind is even more diluted, taking 28 square miles to produce the same amount of electricity.

We always attend to Alexander’s thoughts on nuclear energy. He’s absolutely right about nuclear energy’s ability to produce a tremendous amount of electricity in a relatively contained space. We may tilt a bit more to the opinion that there’s a lot of unused land out there that could be turned to energy generation, but that doesn’t negate Alexander’s thesis at all. It’s a very strong bow in the quiver.

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Although we didn’t find this article all that interesting – it promised a nuclear-wind “smackdown” that doesn’t materialize – writer Eric Rosenbaum gets the optics about right:

Thursday is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and this year, it's not just the renewable energy companies that are celebrating.

Some conventional -- not to mention controversial -- energy sector players have been given recent reason to celebrate, from nuclear power plant operators to offshore oil and gas drillers.

And celebrate we shall. And the controversy? Eh – nuclear is riding above 50% and 60% in the polls. We’ve seen more controversial things.

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Entergy throws its hat into the Earth Day celebration, as well it should:

It is celebrated nationally on April 22 annually, but at Entergy we are committed to make every day Earth Day through business actions to support the environment. Sustainability isn’t just a fancy word to us, it means being responsible for helping to reduce the carbon footprint we all make – through clean nuclear power, through changing light bulbs and so much more.

It’s repurposed a lot of material for its Earth Day section – lots of good reading.

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And of course, where would we all be without our friends at the Washington Times?

We're hearing a lot these days from the nation's capital about the coming "clean-energy economy" and all the green jobs we'll get out of it. If truth-in-advertising laws applied to politics, however, you'd have to replace the word "clean" with "costlier" - which is why this agenda is very bad news for jobs and the economy.

It’s like finding a spider on your birthday cake, isn’t it?

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But let’s close on a positive note. Here’s a list of things you can do today and everyday to celebrate the earth. We like it because it harks back to the idealistic, perhaps slightly naive beginnings of Earth Day in 1970, when we kids would sing This Land Is Your Land and pick up the litter at the local park. We may hope that that idealistic, slightly naive quality lives today.

I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts
While all around me a voice was sounding
This land was made for you and me.

From This Land Is My Land by Woody Guthrie (pictured – click to see larger.)

7 comments:

gunter said...

Greetings,

I'm surprised Patrick Moore didn't make the claim to be a co-founder of "Earth Day." It would not have been much more of a stretch than his claim to Greenpeace.

On the other hand, Denis Hayes, the real founder of Earth Day celebrated Earth Day 2010 by saying, emphatically, that nuclear power has no legitimate role to play in addressing climate change.

In fact, new reactors detract from the real solutions through efficiency and renewables.

It's no surprise that Entergy would have an Earth Day message, too. They need an "environmental" face lift, given that 5 top-level management for Vermont Yankee were placed on administrative leave while the VT Attorney General is investigating perjury for statements made under oath about buried pipes and uncontrolled radioactive leaks to groundwater.

DocForesight said...

@gunter --
Energy efficiency is a fine goal for which to strive, individually and corporately. Considering that 2 billion humans don't have consistent access to the commodity that we take for granted, and considering that India and China are forging ahead with their understandable expectation of enjoying the fruits of reliable, on-demand energy, it will take far more than mere efficiency to provide that increase in energy demand.

If "nuclear power has no legitimate role to play", pray tell, what does? And Denis Hayes has a corner on the market of all knowledge of energy production?

Regarding VY and tritium, please see Rod Adams' quantitative explanation of this triviality at www.atomicinsights.com. Besides, if you succeed at closing VY, with what will you replace that lost power? At what cost to the consumers? At what cost to the environment from the coal and natural gas to back up your windmills?

SteveK9 said...

Isn't Lamar off by a considerable factor.

A 1 GW plant = 1000 MW

Assuming 100% over a year (a little high but utilization is over 90% at most plants now).

1000 MW * 24 hours/ day * 365 days / year =

8.8 million MW / year. (or ~ 700,000 homes)

Paul Studier said...

A square mile (640 acres) is way more than a nuke needs. For example, San Onofre has two 1.2 Gigawatt plants plus one waiting decommissioning on 84 acres.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Gunter:

Longtime Vancouverite here. Dr. Moore, as you know, was on the first voyage of the group that went on to become Greenpeace. The Greenpeace organization, as you also know, has always celebrated its birthday on the day the Phyllis Cormack departed Vancouver harbour, with its crew of ten including Moore, for the Aleutians - Sept 15, 1971 (Google 'Greenpeace anniversary'). So the math is simple, the voyage and the Greenpeace birthday party being the same and all.

Dr. Moore, who assisted in the planning and preparations for that first voyage, stayed with the organization in the top committee for 15 years as it evolved from the 'Don't Make a Wave Committee' to the 'Greenpeace Foundation' to 'Greenpeace International' - longer than any other founder.

The stretch, I respectfully suggest, is all yours.

Brian Mays said...

Patrick Moore's Earth Day message is positive.

Mr. Hayes's and Gunter's message ... not so much.

Who holds out more hope for progress?

It appears that Denis Hayes and Gunter are still stuck in the seventies. Meanwhile, the world -- and Earth Day -- have moved on.

Gunter - Earth Day is supposed to be about the Earth, not about individual personalities and environmental prima donnas. I realize that you are paid full time to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt), but can't you give it a break for even the one day that is supposed to draw attention to environmental solutions?

All you can do is spread more lies.

Jarret Adams said...

Author and environmentalist Gwyneth Cravens has a nice post on the AREVA North America blog that focuses on how we can work together to understand our energy challenges and the important role that nuclear energy plays. http://us.arevablog.com/2010/04/23/let%E2%80%99s-move-from-%E2%80%9Cus-versus-them%E2%80%9D-to-%E2%80%9Cwe%E2%80%9D/