Skip to main content

Clean Energy, The EPA and a Question

schoolhouse rock bill2 Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) released what called the chairman’s mark of the Kerry-Boxer climate change bill, called the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733). At least, this is an accurate title – bills are often called something benign despite repulsive contents, but this one hits the goals of the bill. While it’s about 100 pages longer than the previous draft version, the nuclear section is much as it was – the focus remains workforce, used fuel management and safety.

We expect this section – and all the sections – to gain more provisions as the bill moves along.

Grist’s David Nelson points out one notable difference between the House and Senate versions of the bill:

it retains EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act.

Nelson doubts this will survive the process. We’re not really sure why this bill would not take precedence over EPA since it establishes the same kind of carbon reduction regime and EPA would be involved in implementing it. But we’ll see.

---

EPA, speaking of that agency, released a report of this bill, looking at it (pdf) under various scenarios. Main takeaway: if nuclear energy is not part of the mix, the goals become harder to meet.

However, in scenarios with limits on the availability of technologies such as nuclear, biomass, and CCS, the limits on international offset usage would be reached.

Which is not what you want to have happen.

The fewer international offsets allowed by S. 1733 compared to H.R. 2454 in these limited technology scenarios would require an extra 9.5 GtCO2e [billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent] of abatement from covered sources cumulatively over the 2012 – 2050 time frame, and would result in higher allowance prices.

Not good, either.

---

The National Journal asked its group of insiders this question:

Q: Could you see yourself supporting a cap-and-trade bill if it included significant incentives for nuclear energy?

Okay, now guess the percentage of support based on party affiliation.

Ready?

Democrats 81-16

Republicans 3-95

But wait, don’t Republicans heavily favor nuclear energy? There’s the rub – not enough to embrace cap-and-trade. (And remember, too, this is a single question poll – lots of potential follow-up questions not asked). Still, interesting to see that the Democrats accept nuclear energy in such heavy numbers.

See the story for respondent’s comments – they really tell the tale.

I’m Just a Bill was created for Schoolhouse Rock, a series of 3-minute interstitial segments made for Saturday morning children’s programming on ABC. Ideated by adman David McCall as a song, which his agency later thought would make a viable cartoon. The series started in 1973 and, even though the cartoons played for a couple of decades, they always retained a sort of Free-to-Be 70s vibe to them. I remember these as being pretty clever and better animated than most of the fare surrounding them.

Comments

DocForesight said…
As Sen. Inhofe has recently suggested, separate the climate aspect from the energy development aspect and let them stand or fall on their own merits.

Why muddy the waters with, what some consider, conflicting debate topics? It seems to me it would by a pyrric victory to win additional nuclear- favorable language and actions while handcuffing the overall economy with cap-and-tax penalties.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …