Friday, October 22, 2010

24th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs

Do you know where your electricity comes from?

carnivalCharles Barton at Nuclear Green reviews the track record of the Obama Administration on energy policy. It did not bring home a good report card. He writes:

"The Obama administration continues to make poorly thought out energy related decisions. Obama used the stimulus package to offer further subsidies to the renewable energy industry, even though renewable energy is unreliable and is not cost effective when compared to nuclear energy. The Obama administration has also mismanaged nuclear loan guarantees."

Renewable standard ignores nuclear energy

The Obama administration’s efforts to craft a ‘renewable energy standard’ ignored nuclear writes Jim Hopf at the ANS Nuclear Cafe.

Now that more comprehensive climate change policies such as cap-and-trade are on indefinite hold, the U.S. Congress is considering a national Renewable Energy Standard (RES) in an effort to do something on energy issues. The RES would require that 15 percent of all U.S. electrical generation be provided by “renewable” sources by 2020. Currently, the definition of “renewable energy” does not include nuclear. Similar policies are already in place in many states, such as California.

As a means to achieve reductions in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, air pollution, or foreign energy imports, an RES that excludes nuclear energy is about the worst policy one could possibly come up with. It is subjective, unfair, and is a very inefficient means for achieving the above goals.

Flawed Solar study

car up on blocksSpeaking of cases where the renewable energy emperor has no clothes, Charles Barton lets us know that a widely publicized report on solar energy being more cost effective than nuclear is based on a flawed analysis. In fact, it has all the veracity and horse power of a car up on blocks.

This post examines the claim made by the anti-nuclear group North Carolina Waste Awareness Network (NC WARN), that solar power would soon cost less than nuclear power in North Carolina. Errors in the NC WARN study included overestimating the average North Carolina Solar capacity factor, and subtracting Federal and States Subsidies from the Solar cost estimates, even though government subsidies are part of solar costs.

Just in case you are wondering where the electricity really does come from, Brian Wang at Next Big Future has the latest statistics about electricity generated in OECD countries.

Comparing January-July 2010 vs. the same period in 2009, total OECD production reached 5 925.8 TWh, an increase of 3.7% or 209.5 TWh over the same period last year. Nuclear generation is up 1% from Jan to July in the OECD and is at 1267 TWh.

Natural gas plant to replace Vermont Yankee?

natural_gasMeanwhile, promoters of ‘renewable energy’ Vermont have some explaining to do about their support for a natural gas plant just across the border in New Hampshire. Meredith Angwin writes at Yes Vermont Yankee that one astute observer, John McClaughry, of the Ethan Allen Institute, has something to say about it.

The nonprofit Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) hollers for shutting down Vermont Yankee, which would produce a 600 Megawatt electricity deficit. At the same time, CLF’s for profit subsidiary is working to create a 720 megawatt natural gas fired plant to take its place.

That self interested arrangement makes it pretty hard for me to believe anything CLF says about nuclear power.

Food fight at NRC

foodfightThe back end of the nuclear fuel cycle is not a happy place to be for now, especially if you are working on the issue at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The politically appointed NRC commissioners have distinct differences of opinion about policy and budget priorities for the agency’s work on Yucca Mountain.

Gail Marcus writes at Nuke Power Talk that the long-standing debate over Yucca Mountain has recently taken a new turn, with action by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to shut down its review, and objections by Members of Congress and others to that decision. Articles in the press and elsewhere have detailed most of the issues, including views on the legality of the action and the confrontation it is causing within the Commission.

It isn’t the food fight from the 1978 movie Animal House, but the metaphor may fit just the same.

Wisconsin want nukes. Cheese heads unite on energy policy.

cheeseheadsAt NEI Nuclear notes we learn that Wisconsin is excited about nuclear energy.

"It could be the most radical yet least discussed policy change coming for Wisconsin. Both candidates for governor – Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a Democrat, and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, a Republican – said in a recent survey they would support lifting the ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants in the state."

UK wants nukes too - hooray

At Areva's North American Next Energy blog we learn a key event for the UK energy policy space is that the British Energy Minister Charles Hendry, a big cheese in the coalition government, has announced and sent several key new energy policy proposals to the Parliament:

The UK has committed that “at least one-quarter of the UK’s electricity generating capacity needs to be replaced by 2020? and Hendry notes, “it will be important we create the right environment for business to invest in the energy market.”

This plan also lists eight sites as suitable for new nuclear reactor development in the UK for the next decade.

India wants nukes, but not, it appears, from the U.S.

Efforts by U.S. diplomats to get India to back off from its severe nuclear liability law hit a dead end this week according to a report in Idaho Samizdat. It’s liability law may lock out U.S. firms. Pres. Obama will want a resolution during his November visit.

In breaking news Oct 21, the Hindu reported PM Singh’s government has told the US that the Act, as passed by Parliament, is final and that no changes in any of its provisions are possible.

Nuclear fusion made safe for work

Polywell_WB-3An odd news note comes to us via Rod Adams at Atomic Insights. Adult magazine publisher Bob Guccione was a fusion fan who was convinced that Robert Bussard was on to something that could be developed if only it could attract a sufficient level of funding. Adams reports that the publisher, who died this week, pour millions of his own money into a nuclear fusion R&D project.

Guccione poured in $16 million or $17 million, by his accounting. Predictably, the Inesco scientists who attended international meetings endured considerable ribbing about working for one of the most successful purveyors of adult magazines in the world. Physicists and pinups seemed so hilariously incongruous.

They could have done worse. The U.S. has been sending money to nuclear scientists in the former Soviet Union to keep them from offering their services to bomb makers in countries that don’t like us. Seems like another opportunity was a lot closer to home? There is no telling how R&D on fusion will turn out, but for scientists, the quest is the challenge as well as the results.

Bussard died in 2007. The U.S. Navy reportedly funded some of Bussard’s work. Brian Wang at Next Big Futrue published an interview with one of the principals on the team in May 2009.

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Anonymous said...

Considering that nuclear generation is currently running 19.5% of U.S. generation for 2010, I am not sure why bloggers are looking at this. We really expect better analysis from you guys and looking at past posts it is apparent that we are not getting it. Focus more intently on carbon tax since that is what makes it a slam dunk.

djysrv said...

I'm always interesting in the expectations of readers, especially if the blog post doesn't meet them. Here I'm assuming the reader isn't happy with the critiques of the renewable folks who claim solar is more cost effective than nuclear.

As far as "better analysis" is concerned, the "carnival" is a blog post about other blogs. It isn't analysis. You can read the full text at each of the contributing blogs.

A carbon tax is unlikely in the U.S. for the balance of the Obama administration. The failed climate bill this year dooms likely efforts to go for a second round.

Anonymous said...

The commenter (myself) is unhappy with some guy trying to make the argument that nuclear is a renewable resource, it is not and it is intellectually dishonest to maintain that it is. If the administration establishes a 15% goal for renewables, does it stand to reason to include nuclear in the standard if it is already producing 19.5%? No! Let the administration have its 15% "real" renewables target. Nuclear is part of the carbon argument, not the renewables argument. Please stop making nukes look like idiots which is what this argument (nuclear = renewable) does.

djysrv said...

OK, I see your point. If you want the author of the cited blog post to get it, you'll need to click on the linking URL and comment at the original blog post.