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Blogroll Drive-By

This Week in Nuclear has a fascinating new interview (downloadable as a podcast) with engineer and writer Joseph Somsel, author of articles in The American Thinker and Energy Pulse. The discussion ranges over nuclear financial topics, touching on tax treatment of new generating stations, investment, transmission, and loan guarantees.

Capacity Factor has an interesting analysis of reports indicating successful integration of wind electric into the Spanish grid.

Reminder to lawyers, their fellow travelers, and news addicts that Utility News remains an excellent law blog and news digest that should reside near the top of your Favorites.

Pro-Nuclear Democrats collected and posted three videos well worth watching: Stewart Brand, Marv Fertel, and Per Peterson.

In Australia, Professor Brook at Brave New Climate covers yesterday’s announcements from the mother country; don’t miss his op-ed and the related news in the Adelaide Advertiser. And if you’re puzzled about this month’s Scientific American cover story, Prof. Brook analyzes and deconstructs several specious bits including the most glaring one found in the subtitle, “How to get all energy from wind, water, and solar power by 2030.”

Final on today’s reading list, check out Energy Outlook’s three new must-read pieces on carbon debt, carbon counting, and cheap oil. Brief, cogent, and original.

And since it’s November, don’t forget to vote – David Walters at Daily Kos has eight ballot questions right on his main page.


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A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…