Saturday, June 6, 2009

AEHI gets another banker

Will the third try be the charm that works?
[Update 06/08/09]

2006_AESilverProof_O_180Alternative Energy Holdings Inc. (OTC:AEHI) issued a press release Friday June 5 that it had a new investment banker.

The banker is Source Capital Group with offices in Westport, CT. The firm describes itself a full-service financial institution, specializing in middle-market investment banking transactions, distressed and high yield debt securities, investment management, mortgages, and business lending.

Source states that it has provided equity, debt, and structured finance solutions to both public and private companies in a variety of industries, including energy, oil and gas, telecommunications, technology, biotech, and consumer goods.

The announcement comes just a few days ahead of a planned decision by the Elmore, ID, county commissioners whether to grant AEHI’s request for re-zoning a large parcel of land to build a 1,600 MW Areva EPR reactor near Mountain Home, ID.

After a contentious planning commission meeting last November, which resulted in a 4-2 decision against the rezoning request, AEHI took its case to the county. A decision could come as early as Monday, June 8.

What’s different this time?

In the past two instances, where AEHI has announced it has an investment banker to raise the $6 billion or so need to build a greenfield nuclear power plant, the firms involved have had little or no qualifications to work in the nuclear energy industry. Both subsequently disappeared from AEHI’s radar screen without ever raising a dime for the project. It isn’t clear whether Source Capital has ever worked on a nuclear plant.

oil-pumpOn its website, Source Capital Group lists generically that it has experience in the oil industry with exploration and development of energy projects. It does not list any experience in the nuclear industry nor projects of the financial size and scope of a new nuclear power plant.

Also, AEHI’s press release includes a statement from an executive with Source Capital Group. Richard Kreger, Senior Managing Director of Investment Banking for Source Capital, made the usual corporate statement about being excited to be working on AEHI’s project.

Still, that’s a change from prior instances where little if anything about the qualifications or experience of the principals in the investment firm could be found on the public record. At least Mr. Kreger has complete LinkedIN profile to tell us he has experience in the investment banking industry. That fact alone makes the AEHI press release newsworthy. According to SEC filings, Mr. Kreger previously worked on stock issues for an aerospace parts company and, based on the LInkedIN profile, for his father’s trucking firm.

FoxNews 12 of Boise reported that Source Capital Group out of Connecticut to fund $70 million for the project. The money will be used to buy the land, water rights, and pay for the license application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Don Gillispie, president of AEHI says the only thing left is to wait for Elmore County commissioners to make a decision on whether or not to approve a rezone of the property in question.

He added that if the land is rezoned its value should increase if nothing else. If things do not go AEHI’s way in Idaho, the firm has previously said that it will seek to develop a nuclear power plant in Pueblo, CO, or in Mexico, rather than continue to seek to build a reactor in Idaho.

Passing the baloney test

baloneyThe $70 million that AEHI says it has secured is enough to pay for filing an application with the NRC for a COL license for the plant. That’s high on the firm’s list of things to do to build credibility with the industry and investors.

In its first ever SEC filing last winter the firm listed cash on hand of $400,000. AEHI’s stock closed June 5 at $0.22/share against a 52-week range of $0.01 to $0.40/share.

The firm has not been taken seriously by some in the nuclear industry because of its inability to raise funds or emerge from its penny stock status. Two years ago then NRC Chairman Dale Klein made an indirect reference to the firm in a now famous “no bozos” speech. Klein said in June 2007 . . .

My subject is something that each of the five Commissioners believe in, and have said before—which is this: owning a commercial nuclear reactor is not a business for amateurs. If the nuclear power business is treated with less than the seriousness it deserves—and people begin to think that anyone can just jump on the nuclear bandwagon . . “

In September 2007 Klein, speaking at a nuclear fuel conference in Boise, ID, told the Idaho Statesman that "AEHI is not on the agency's radar screen."

To refresh readers on the pass/fail criteria of the baloney test, I am listing the short version below. A nuclear energy firm must have the following qualities to pass.

  • Public identification of investors, markets, and suppliers
  • Reactor design is already approved by the NRC
  • Filed a complete COL application with the NRC
  • Co-located with existing reactors to take advantage of existing infrastructure
  • Construction firms and suppliers have track records building nuclear power plants
  • Arrangements with manufacturers of large forgings to get them on time and within budget
  • Deals to sell electricity on an existing grid to committed customers
  • Experience in the nuclear energy industry running nuclear reactors

Getting $70 million to file a license application with the NRC is a start toward passing the test. The firm still has a long way to go to convince skeptics that it is serious about its plans to really build a new nuclear power plant in Idaho.

Updates

June 8, 2009

The Mountain Home News reports The Elmore County commissioners Monday tabled until next Monday, June 15, any decision on the rezone for the AEHI nuclear power plant. The commissioners were advised by legal counsel to limit their discussion to the rezoning action and not to the proposed use, e.g., a nuclear power plant. This could be a difficult task for these elected officials who have the unhappy task of deciding whether to over rule their own county planning commission which voted 4-2 against the land use change. No decision was made at today's meeting other than to meet again next week.

June 9th - Idaho Business Review has a complete update online


Areva EPR

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Barking up the wrong tree

Snake River Alliance testimony at NRC hearing targets issues from its own agenda

Idaho’s self-appointed nuclear watchdog, the Snake River Alliance (SRA), proved what everyone knows, and that is having one around sometimes results in a lot of barking at the wrong things.

Ducks on the lawnFor instance, dogs in our neighborhood here in Idaho Falls will bark at all kinds of harmless birds including morning doves, magpies, and even the occasional ducks that migrate from nearby irrigation canals to backyards to see what’s there to eat.

Mostly, the dogs bark because they are bored or lonely while kids are away at school and parents at work, and so they extend their territorial barking to address anything that moves out of the shear novelty of being heard.

The dog’s own voice tells the astute human the barking isn’t the real “warning bark” that responds to the unknown intruder in the dead of night. It is more of a case, from the dog’s point of view, of “I know I’m supposed to bark at stuff that moves, and since the ducks and morning doves are all I’ve got, that’s what I’ll bark at.”

This is pretty much how things went at the NRC environmental scoping meeting on Areva’s license application for the Eagle Rock Uranium Enrichment Plant. The SRA, which barks at all things nuclear, whether they move or not, also demonstrated the morning doves plus magpies, and ducks, equation works equally well for self-appointed human watchdogs.

Meanwhile, the 30-month long licensing process for the $2.4 billion plant moves at a stately pace guided by regulatory milestones that must be met. A lot of people urged the NRC to move faster, but the agency is required to lay down a complete record of its review and it will take the usual amount of time. The good news the NRC has already licensed a facility just like the planned Areva plant so this isn’t a first-of-kind exercise for the agency.

Key steps in the licensing proces

The hearing did not go to the dogs. Far from it, the NRC kept things moving with an effective facilitator and a three-to-five minute time limit for oral presentations. The NRC also demonstrated how seriously it takes the licensing process and the environmental scoping step by turning out an “A-list” team of nearly a dozen people including Patricia Bubar of the NRC Environmental Office who has long experience with radioactive materials.

nrc logoTwo key documents which the NRC must write are a Safety Evaluation Report and a Final Environmental Impact Statement. The environmental report requires a public scoping meeting in which the NRC takes testimony on what issues the public thinks the agency ought to consider in its evaluation. To see what a completed process looks like, visit the NRC web page on the license for the LES plant in New Mexico which already has a license and is now under construction.

The public is free to submit any issue it wants, but the NRC is bound by its own regulations and federal law in terms of what it actually can consider as part of the review. In its slide presentation given at the public meeting held June 4 at the Shilo Inn in Idaho Falls, the NRC said that it will identify the significant issues and eliminate those that are unimportant.

In this blog post I’ll focus on just two of the issues that the SRA raised because the errors in their statements are serious and need to be corrected before anyone gets any funny ideas. The SRA also said the Areva plant was a proliferation risk, but this statement ignores the fact that only the federal government makes HEU and that work is done at Oak Ridge in Tennessee.

Barking at the wrong issues - numbers

AndreaShipleyThe Snake River Alliance (SRA) turned out about a half dozen of its folks including Andrea Shipley, (right) the group’s young executive director, and Beatrice Brailsford, based in Pocatello, who is well-known in eastern Idaho for her long standing and outspoken opposition to all things nuclear, a record she is proud of.

Where things went wrong was in their assertions that there is no “need” for the enrichment facility relative to market demand and that the depleted uranium from the gas centrifuge process would be a threat to Idaho for decades if not centuries.

Need for enrichment services

On the issue of need, current demand for enriched uranium in the U.S. is met by a combination of domestic sources and imports. Less than 50% of U.S. requirements are met by imports of blended down HEU from Russia under the “Megatons-to-Megawatts” program that ends in 2013.

The Snake River Alliance’s representatives submitting testimony repeatedly got this number wrong pegging it at 90%. The U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, reported in May 2009, that total U.S. demand for the previous 12 months was 13 million SWU. Russian origin fuel was 38% of the U.S. total.

Uranium enrichmentFuture demand for enriched uranium through the middle of the next decade is pegged at 12-15 million SWU where “SWU’ is a uranium industry measure of the U-235 isotope at 3-5% enrichment from natural background of 0.7%. To meet growing demand not one, but three uranium enrichment plants are being built in the U.S.

Louisiana Energy Services, a U.S. domestic subsidiary of Europe’s Urenco, will complete construction and spool up a 3.0 million SWU. The Areva plant as originally proposed is designed to produce 3.3 million SWU, and a third plant that is also licensed and under construction by USEC in Ohio will produce 3.8 million SWU when it, like the other two, is in full production by 2014. This brings projected U.S. production to a total of 10.1 million SWU against demand of 12-15 SWU. There is so much need that money is being left on the table.

The Russians will continue to sell enriched uranium to U.S. utilities, and with recent changes in the international agreements that govern the sales, will be able to achieve about a 25% market share. This accounts for about 2.5-3.0 million SWU. Recently, Russia’s Rosatom inked deals with four U.S. utilities including PG&E, Ameren, Progress, and Exelon.

What this means is that as the U.S. market demand grows, driven in part by new plants coming on line in the next decade, and first loads for reactors, both LES and Areva has asked the NRC, as marketing contingencies, to authorize them to double the size of their plants. These changes would bring LES to 6.0 SWU and the Eagle Rock plant to 6.6 million SWU. USEC is also expected to expand their plant.

Jacques Besnainou2That’s not the end of the demand curve. In a telephone interview on Friday, June 5, Areva North American President Jacques Besnainou (right) told me he sees U.S. demand rising to 20 million SWU by the end of the next decade. Readers should know that Areva executives are cautious about releasing numbers like this. So it follows that this estimate is already well-understood in the industry and is not proprietary information.

In the end the Snake River Alliance’s statement there is no need for the plant is incorrect. There is no other way to put it.

Barking at the wrong issues – waste

The Snake River Alliance also raised the issue of how Areva will deal with the uranium left over from the gas centrifuge enrichment process. This waste stream is really nothing more than the original uranium with the U-235 isotopes spun out of it for use as nuclear fuel. The remainder is stored in gas form as uranium hexafluoride (UF6). It is called “depleted uranium” because the U-235 isotopes that naturally occurs in it has been removed via the centrifuge arrays the plant uses to make fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.

Uranium-hexafluorideThe fluorine is valuable and International Isotopes (otc:inis), an Idaho Falls firm, is building a $55 million plant in New Mexico to recover it from the UF6. As Areva’s plant comes online, either International Isotopes or Areva itself will recover the fluorine gas. Areva has been conducting what is called “uranium deconversion” at its enrichment plants in France for over two decades.

Once the fluorine is removed from the depleted uranium, it can be safely disposed of in a licensed landfill. The reason is the uranium is now in powder form and is entirely composed of the native form as U-238. There are three such disposal facilities in the west including one near Mountain Home, ID, one about 90 miles west of Salt Lake City, and one in Andrews, TX, just over the border from Eunice, NM, which is where the LES plant is being built and will come online this December.

The Snake River Alliance charged that Areva would abandon the UF6 as an waste that could pollute the aquifer. This is a patently false statement since the commercial value of the fluorine insures that uranium deconversion will process the UF6 to make high purity fluorine and safely dispose of the remaining U-238 uranium at a licensed landfill.

In summary, and in the fullest meaning of the idiomatic phrase, Idaho’s self-appointed nuclear watchdog is barking up the wrong tree in its public testimony submitted to the NRC about Areva’s license application.

Wrong tree right tree

EricSimpsonAbout 150 people turned out for the meeting and most testified in favor of it including Idaho’ entire congressional delegation and the governor all of whom sent statements of support. State Rep. Eric Simpson (R-Idaho Falls) (right) took aim at the SRA’s contentions.

He said, “I am all for open debate but let’s make sure it is honest debate.”

Testifying in support of the license application, Bob Skinner, Vice President of the Partnership for Science & Technology, said,

clip_image002We believe any issues raised during the scoping period that are not directly related to the assessment of potential impacts of the project or to the decision- making process should be dismissed from the draft EIS and discussed in other venues.

We have had the opportunity to study AREVA’s environmental report that was submitted along with the application and we found the report to be extremely thorough.

We feel, after application of the best management practices and mitigation measures outlined in the report, the unavoidable environmental and safety impacts from the facility will be small and acceptable.

Ann Rydalch, of Idaho Falls, who has been elected to multiple terms in both the Idaho Senate and the House, pointed out that no Idaho taxes will be used to build or support the facility.

Linda Martin, the CEO of Grow Idaho Falls, an economic development group that played an important role in convincing Areva to come to Idaho, testified that the plant will bring millions in tax revenues to Idaho along with its payrolls from the construction and permanent workforces.

Want to know more?

nrclogo

The NRC has two web pages with information on the licensing process for Areva’s Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility.

How to contact the NRC

If you have questions or comments on Arveva’s license application, you can send email to: EagleRock.EIS@nrc.gov

The NRC also named two of its key employees on the project as public points of contact. They are;

Areva Information

  • Areva’s Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility has its own web page
  • Areva also provides updates on its work via its own US blog

International Isotopes, and its work on uranium deconversion, has been the subject of three comprehensive reports on this blog.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

REMINDER ~ NRC hearing on Eagle Rock plant June 4th

The hearing seeks public comments on its environmental review process for the plant’s license

nrc sealThe U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will hold a public meeting June 4 in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to seek comments about specific issues that should be addressed in its environmental review of a proposed uranium enrichment facility.

The meeting will be held at the Shilo Inn, 780 Lindsay Blvd. in Idaho Falls, (map) from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. NRC staff members will be available for an hour prior to the meeting to speak informally to members of the public. Both the NRC and Areva will have informational handouts available, but get there early because they go fast.

There is a web site where you can get the same information from Areva online. The NRC website has a more technical approach about the gas centrifuge process if you desire this type of information.

Areva must get a license for the facility in order to break ground at a site 18 miles west of town. The NRC license review process is expected to take just under three years which targets the first shovel of dirt being moved in summer 2011. The plant is expected to generate 800 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs when it is fully operational in 2014.

Basis for the hearing

Gas-centrifugeAREVA Enrichment Services LLC submitted an application Dec. 30, 2008, for a license to construct and operate a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility near Idaho Falls. AREVA resubmitted its application April 24 to double the facility’s proposed production capacity. [See 4/22/09 report on this blog – Areva doubles its bet.]

The proposed facility would enrich uranium for use in the production of fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors. Typically, uranium is enriched to 3-5% for this purpose. The fuel cannot be used for nuclear weapons and the resulting spent nuclear fuel, once it has completed its burn-up in the reactor, is a very poor product for this purpose as well. However, it is a very good candidate for reprocessing.

In April, the NRC staff determined that the license application was sufficiently complete to allow the agency to begin its formal environmental review. A notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement was published May 4 in the Federal Register.

What happens at the hearing?

podiumAt the June 4 meeting, NRC staff will explain the licensing review process and provide an opportunity for the public to speak about specific environmental issues that should be addressed in the report.

Members of the public wishing to make statements are encouraged to pre-register by May 28 by contacting Tarsha Moon at (800) 368-5642, ext. 7843, or email at Tarsha.Moon@nrc.gov

Interested persons may also register to speak at the meeting, and written comments will also be accepted. Written comments may also be submitted by e-mail to EagleRock.EIS@nrc.gov

Note that at the last meeting with the NRC here in Idaho Falls, over 400 people turned out to show support for the project . See 12/12/08 report on this blog – Idaho Falls stands up for Areva.]

Don’t miss this opportunity to listen and learn about the project and to ask questions. NRC officials will be available for informal Q&A with the public for an hour prior to the hearing. You can read the summary of the December meeting to get up to speed. Also, Areva now has a web page devoted just to the Eagle Rock facility.

See you there.

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Murkowski steps up for nuclear energy

The senator from one of the biggest oil states in the nation has become a leading advocate for nuclear energy

Alaskan Sen. Lisa Murkowski is taking a leadership role advocating in Congress for nuclear energy to be supported in energy legislation now working its way through the Energy & Natural Resources Committee.

On June 2 Senator Murkowski urged the Obama administration to expand the role of nuclear power in its energy strategy. Murkowski made remarks from the Senate floor as energy committee members in the Senate and the House of Representatives seek to craft new energy legislation.

As the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Murkowski has urged the Obama administration to expand the role of nuclear power in its energy strategy. The administration has resisted supporting increased nuclear power plant construction to help meet the nations energy needs. In fact, it appears to have a deliberately crafted blind spot on the subject.

BTW: There are no commercial nuclear reactors in Alaska.

Here's a video (20 min) of her remarks.

Category: News & Politics Tags: AK Alaska Lisa Murkowski Nuclear Energy

Murkowski speaks for support for nuclear energy to the Senate.

Monday, June 1, 2009

If this is Tuesday it must be Belgium

Brussels TV network & newspaper blog about nuclear energy

CommentVIS
The European news channel, euronews and the Brussels-based newspaper, European Voice, published by the Economist group, have formed a unique partnership, in association with Shell Oil, in order to seek informed opinions on the key issues facing our society.

The project entitled Comment:Visions explores the personal views of thinkers, innovators and scientists about possible solutions to global warming, overpopulation, and dwindling resources. Green technology advocates take note – there are multiple opportunities to interact with this site.

The Comment:Visions website, includes: footage of the on-air programs and interviews, video clips from sponsored events, and a forum where invited guests can share their opinions and vision for the future.

This month’s discussion is on the question: What role should nuclear technology play in our future energy mix?

The site features more than a dozen European and North American expert thinkers on the subject of nuclear energy. There are three web pages of comments pro-and-con about nuclear energy.

Idaho Samizdat, a blog about nuclear energy, is pleased to have been invited to be featured on euronews as part of this project.

I look forward to reading your comments there.

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Advocates for nuclear power near and far

Sen. Lamar Alexander has some common sense goals for the loan guarantee program

lamar_alexanderTennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander has emerged as an outspoken proponent of nuclear energy. The Wall Street Journal Environmental Capital Blog reported May 29 that he is "ratcheting up" the rhetoric.

Alexander and his counterparts in the House are doing more than just talking about nuclear energy. They are sending a signal to the Obama administration that there is a price for support of climate change legislation now being considered in the House. It will be realistic committments to support more than just a token three or four new nuclear power plants as a response to the challenge of climate change.

In a statement at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which is located in Tennessee, he repeated his call for the U.S. to build 100 new nuclear power plants by 2030. Alexander certainly knows the U.S. isn't going to meet his goal, and it shows in his more calibrated call for the federal loan guarantee program to be expanded from four to 12 plants. This makes a lot of sense because it would cover about two-thirds of the applicants now pending before the Department of Energy which are not on the agency's short list for the first four awards.

At about $6-7 billion per 1,200-1,600 MW plant, Alexander's plan would represent private investment of $72-84 billion over a two decade period. The loan guarantees would cost the taxpayers nothing unless one of the projects defaults. Assuming all of the first round of 12 plants are built with reasonable costs and schedules, financing the next dozen or more reactors should be a lot easier and cheaper because investors will have confidence in the industry. This suggests an outcome over the next 30 years of 24 new reactors or 36-40 GWe of new carbon-free baseload electricity supply. Presdent Obama's plan for a nationwide smart grid would fit in nicely with this plan.

The rest of the world is way ahead of the U.S.

powerlinesThe WSJ blog also notes that according to the most current numbers, China has firm plans for 60 GWe of new nuclear power, and is now talking unofficially about building as many as 100 new plants, at least 100 GWe, in the next two decades. Some of the plans of other nations may not be realized such as India's claim it will also achieve 60 GWe. More likely, India will build 20 GWe by 2030. So far it has inked deals for 5 GWe from Russia and 3 GWe from France.

The U.K., Russia, France, Brazil, and other nations also have plans to build news nuclear plants. The U.K. build is spread over 11 potential sites and could involve up to 18 new reactors for at least 20 GWe. The benefit is that, like other nations, it will not build coal-fired plants to generate that amount of electricity.

All of these plans will drive huge investments in manufacturing capabilities for reactor components such as pressure vessels, pumps, turbines, and the transmission and distribution networks to get the electricity to customers. In the U.S. this kind of manufacturing capacity is already under construction by Areva and Northrop Grumman in Virginia and Westinghouse and Shaw Group in Louisiana. Each plant represents investments of at least $300 million and brings hundreds of high paying jobs to their respective cities.

Goodbye Yucca ~ Hello Savannah River

Now that Nevada Sen. Harry Reid is gloating over having killed off Yucca Mountain, he may have done the industry a favor. He's opened the door for the U.S. to consider spent fuel reprocessing which will recover 95% of the energy value of the spent fuel for new product. A $4.5 billion MOX fuel plant is already being built in South Caroline and it could be a potential site for the U.S. nuclear industry's first spent fuel reprocessing plant. It would need a lot of political and economic support from the government to get off the ground. Other nations hungry for the energy value in spent nuclear fuel are already planning to spend billions to get it.

MIT logoMeanwhile, the scholars at MIT think Alexander and advocates of spent fuel reprocessing are whistling in the wind.. In an update to their 2003 report on the future of the nuclear industry, they write that safety, environmental, security issues, and economic costs of spent fuel reprocessing still outweigh the potential benefits of recycling.

What MIT doesn't get is that there are going to be costs that cannot be allocated to the market when it comes to solving the problem of global warming. Investing in new nuclear power plants is in the mix. There are some things government must do and one of them is to provide the means for the nuclear industry to lower the cost to ratepayers of new nuclear power plants by increasing the scope of the federal loan guarantee program. Another is to build the first-of-a-kind 500-1,000 ton/year spent fuel reprocessing plant.

Seeking bipartisan support for nuclear energy?

All this means it is time for Energy Sec. Steven Chu to get over to the White House and explain the physics of spent fuel reprocessing to Carol Browner and company. The President is looking for leadership from his cabinet officials. The President’s science advisor John Holdren is already on record in favor of building more nuclear power plants. Maybe the two of them should make the visit together? What else does Chu need? If it is support from Congress, read on.

Advocacy for new nuclear power plants is a perfect opportunity for something the President really wants and that is bipartisan support for his energy policies. Alexander’s statements are not just wishful thinking. They are a clear signal that if the President expects to make progress in the Senate with his cap-and-trade program he is going to have to step up to the plate on the issue of nuclear energy.

Idaho advocates hit the OP ED pages

simpsonWhile Alexander making his points in the Wall Street Journal, advocates for nuclear energy in Idaho were also busy. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) (right) published an OP Ed in the Idaho Statesman on May 31 in which he called on the Democrats to embrace nuclear energy as part of climate legislation now being considered in the House.

Say, that’s a really interesting idea – bipartisan support for energy policies requires compromise between greens and nukes. The leading Democratic greens (Rep. Henry Waxman D-Calif, Rep. Ed. Markey, D-Mass.) in the House are driving the legislative process, but they eventually will need republican votes. Maybe there is something brewing here after all? There is no need to tap dance around it. Just ask Simpson.

One his best qualities, whether speaking in public or writing for publication, is his direct straight from the shoulder style that gets right to the point. In his column he tells Democrats they need to give up their belief in the magic of “renewable technologies” and deal with the necessity of nuclear energy as a solution to meeting baseload demand while reducing greenhouse gases.

“As I write this column, congressional Democrats are engaged in yet another round of discussions aimed at producing an energy cap-and-trade bill . . .

The most recent version of their bill would require 20% of our nation's baseload energy sources to come from renewable fuels and energy efficiencies by 2020. Further, the bill would require a 17% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2020 and would establish some sort of auction whereby emitters would purchase credits.

Conspicuously absent from the list of Democrat-approved greenhouse gas reducing technologies is the one baseload source that actually has the potential to address this problem on a large scale - nuclear energy.

The failure to include nuclear energy as an approved technology for meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals isn't just a politically motivated mistake; it is an indication that congressional Democrats aren't really serious about protecting our economy while instituting their climate-change agenda.

It is time for congressional Democrats to get serious about combating greenhouse gas emissions. It is time they finally commit themselves to supporting nuclear energy.”

Simpson points out that since 2006, U.S. nuclear energy plants have been responsible for avoiding emissions of almost 50 million tons of SO2, nearly 20 million tons of NOx, and over 9,400 million metric tons of CO2.

We could learn a thing or two from the French Simpson writes pointing out they get over 80% of their electricity from nuclear energy.

Raising awareness one OP ED at a time

Lane_AllgoodAnd in another example of how the pro-nuclear atmosphere of eastern Idaho is making its influence felt, Lane Allgood, (right) Director of the Partnership for Science & Technology, is publishing an OP ED in newspapers throughout the rocky mountain west responding to critics of nuclear energy. His latest was printed in the Casper Tribune this week.

His premise is that most of the nation simply isn’t aware that 20% of all of its electricity comes from nuclear power plants. He points out that there are nearly 30 new reactors proposed for construction with license applications now pending before the NRC.

“Study after study has shown that nuclear energy ranks as one of the best technologies for producing large amounts of electricity without emitting significant amounts of air pollution or greenhouse gases. In fact, on a life-cycle basis, nuclear energy is responsible for less carbon emissions per kilowatt-hour than solar or wind power.

That is why groups like the Progressive Policy Institute, Third Way, and the Pew Center for Climate Change are urging our leaders to embrace nuclear energy as a way to meet growing energy demands while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

You can be an advocate for nuclear energy

Time is short for the climate change legislation moving through Congress and the House Democrats show no signs of giving up their irrational, almost religious beliefs, in “renewable technologies” as a source of baseload electricity.

climate_change_carbon_taxThe Kansas City Star reports that before leaving for Memorial Day, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that would set the country's first mandatory limits on greenhouse gases, promote renewable energy and increase the efficiency of buildings, appliances and vehicles.

The bill now will be considered by other committees and should reach the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote this summer.

Politics can paper over a lot of things, but one thing it cannot fool are the laws of physics and chemistry. If you want carbon free baseload power, there is just one way to go and that is with nuclear energy. Right now nuclear isn’t part of the bill as a method for reducing green house gases. You can change that situation.

It will take more than just the voices from eastern Idaho or Tennessee to make a difference. You can help these voices to voice be heard if you will write to your elected officials. You could even send them a copy of this blog post. Most importantly, just tell them nuclear power will keep the lights on and pollution out of the atmosphere. That’s a good story and a true one.

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