Given the tenor of our Deep Borehole discussions, I imagine Hillary Clinton is giving most of my liberal commenters heartburn with her stance in favor of nuclear energy. Here’s the Democratic nominee’s response to Scientific American‘s questionnaire on science, engineering, technology, health, and environmental issues:
Meeting the climate challenge is too important to limit the tools available in this fight. Nuclear power—which accounts for more than 60 percent of our zero carbon power generation today—is one of those tools. I will work to ensure that the climate benefits of our existing nuclear power plants that are safe to operate are appropriately valued and increase investment in the research, development and deployment of advanced nuclear power. At the same time, we must continue to invest in the security of our nuclear materials at home, and improve coordination between federal, state, and local authorities. We must also seek to reduce the amount of nuclear material worldwide—working with other countries so minimize the use of weapons-grade material for civil nuclear programs [Hillary Clinton, in Christine Gorman, “What Do the Presidential Candidates Know about Science?” Scientific American, 2016.09.13].
South Dakota voters seeking a non-nuclear alternative are out of luck. The Republican nominee rambles vaguely about wanting more nuclear power:
Nuclear power is a valuable source of energy and should be part of an all-the-above program for providing power for America long into the future. We can make nuclear power safer, and its outputs are extraordinary given the investment we should make. Nuclear power must be an integral part of energy independence for America [Donald Trump, in Gorman, 2016.09.13].
Libertarian Gary Johnson hasn’t answered Scientific American, but SciDebate.org has a Johnson/Weld statement expanding on Johnson’s 2011 statement that he favors nuclear power:
The Johnson Weld administration supports nuclear power precisely because it produces energy without greenhouse gases. Other nations have used nuclear power safely for generations. However, we recognize that a failure or security breach at a nuclear facility can have catastrophic results.
The Johnson Weld administration would maintain strict nuclear safety standards, but also investigate newer and safer lower yield reactors like breeder reactors or thorium reactors, which produce less or even reduce nuclear waste. The challenge of nuclear waste storage is, of course, a serious one. However, we believe solutions exist, and can be implemented, if decisions can be based on science and honest risk assessment, rather than the politics of pitting one state or community against another [Johnson/Weld campaign, SciDebate.org, downloaded 2016.09.22].
South Dakotans only other Presidential option, Constitutionist Darrell Castle, says nothing about nuclear power on his website, and nobody in the media seems to care.
Green nominee Jill Stein says nuclear fission is “unsafe, expensive, and dirty,” calls for phasing out nuclear energy in ten years, and storing all nuclear waste exactly where it is, with no transport of nuclear waste anywhere, ever. But Stein didn’t make our ballot, so her stance on nuclear power is moot when we start voting tomorrow.
Here is a Ted talk I found on nuclear energy: http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shellenberger_how_fear_of_nuclear_power_is_hurting_the_environment
Some of the plots he shows are found here:
Communities next to closed nuclear plants are becoming de facto interim storage facilities. There is currently nowhere for the waste to go. Jill Stein would force said communities to stay interim storage sites without their consent.
Hillz needs to stop making promises that wingnuts will be more than happy to see she can’t fulfill-just as they did to Obama.
They also support fracking. The good news though is the good folks in Spink County do not support burying the residue in their backyards. Power to the Pheasants!! http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/23/us/nuclear-plant-leak-threatens-drinking-water-wells-in-florida.html?_r=0
No problems for Florida with the nuke plant when you have other nuke stuff https://www.rt.com/viral/359784-florida-sinkhole-mosaic-water/ No wonder Trump has that orange glow and Clinton is all fainty and Johnson cannot find his Aleppo with both hands.
Both fracking and phosphate production for fertilizers can reconcentrate naturally-occurring radionuclides. So the latter is what is happening in Florida.
All three of these folks are wrong and they all agree on it, so what? That is why voters get to make the choices about where these folks think they are gonna put the poison.
There is an interesting discussion here about what happens when you emphasize wind and solar without nuclear.
Buh bye Trump, now there are two http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/russia-trump-political-conflict-zone/story?id=42263092
The political establishment in every developed and undeveloped country is all bought off by the international nuke industry. It’s only the people who really oppose it. Edwards in 2008 was the only candidate who has come close to having a good position on the nuclear weapons and nuclear power.
Actually, Hillary’s position on nuclear power will be an improvement over the Obama administration’s efforts to aid the industry. The only thing Obama has been good at on nuclear issues is sticking with his promise to shut down Yucca Mountain. Otherwise, he’s been a slave to the nuclear industry.
His administration has not supported nuclear power within the Clean Power Plan: Uprates at existing plants only. Nuclear power plants are shutting down, taking their carbon savings with them. Utilities continue to spend monies on storing waste that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act promised they would not have to spend.
While the Obama administration has supported research and development for nuclear power, and has supported interests in promoting nuclear power in India and China, there has been far more support for wind, solar, and natural gas.
If you read the Clinton statement closely, she really isn’t promising new nuclear power. She’s not committing to new nuclear power plants of the type we currently operate. She supports allowing those existing nukes that are safe to continue operation. That, of course, has a lot of wiggle room. Are 40 year old plants safe? The industry is shutting down older nukes now, because they are unsafe or cost to much to continue to maintain safely. She says she is going to increase “investment” in “advanced” nuclear power. Well, that’s just promising government money, which is basically the same policy Obama has. That money is basically a buy off of the good Doctor McTaggart and others on the government dole. It’s pissing tax dollars into the wind. She’s not saying anything about reducing regulation, which is really what the nuke industry wants.
Your linky is pretty fluffy there. I thought I would come upon the Q&A question of “Question Does nuke power really mean free power? Answer Yes, Tinker Bell, it means that if you completely go off your rocker and go nuke all the way, it is free! Free I tell you!!” Earthquakes are now in Texas and Oklahoma those cannot be good for a nuke plant, can they? Rising seas will flood nuke plants like Fukushima.
Then we get good news! http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/84500680/good-news-radiation-in-new-zealand-food-is-not-from-fukushima The poison we are absorbing is just from some silly old tests in the 1950’s and 60’s. We all know that it is gonna take ten years for the poison to reach New Zealand and by then, we will have forgotten how to spell Fukushima or think if the place more as some kind of sushi bar.
The answer is yes, nuclear power plants can operate safely well past 40 years. But certain items need to be replaced and maintained periodically. The economic analyses used in those decisions are more near-term, and the full value of carbon-free nuclear is not being included in the spreadsheets.
With regard to the closing of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California, one group is questioning the data that was submitted: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Efile/G000/M166/K941/166941516.PDF
Until the newer designs arrive, it will often be cheaper to operate the current nuclear fleet even with the maintenance that is required. That will make it easier to actually meet our carbon targets.
And I am still waiting for the check to arrive from our borehole discussions….
With regard to wind and solar energy, we simply need to learn how to use them better.
Until energy storage works, or we deploy the carbon-free small reactors that can follow the load better, we should be shifting demand to when the wind/solar energy is available and designing other applications to be fine with intermittency. But right now we demand energy right now, which is inconsistent with the true nature of wind and solar.
The plants in Fukushima survived the earthquakes successfully. They shut down as intended, but the tsunamis washed away the backup power needed to operate the facilities and maintain the water cooling for the reactor and the spent fuel that was stored. That should have been avoided altogether if the backup generators and the fuel supplies were secured against flooding.
Mr. H, you know that Dr. McTaggart and I,, probably the most scientific mind and a half on your blog, are both #4Science in a really big way. That Hillary, who most would agree is no slouch of a mind for a woman, is with us must be most disconcerting to many.
I agree with Mr. Pay that at the moment, a Clinton administration is not likely to expand nuclear power in the United States. But she has done the math, and shutting them down when they can operate safely would only lead to more carbon being generated.
More or less, the three big challenges for any future president will be the decarbonization of our economy, the reduction of our national debt, and the growth of our economy. Trump is not interested in decarbonization or reducing the debt. Looks to be interested in growing his economy though, namely his hotels.
Importing electricity made by fossil fuels from another state, like California may from Wyoming, does not mean your portfolio is any cleaner. Just carbon-shifting in action.
Would a Clinton administration support American companies that supply the global nuclear market? Probably. It is in our interest that other nations follow the same level of oversight that we do, and to stay a leader in nuclear security we have to play in that market.
“India is negotiating with U.S. Export-Import Bank for an $8-9 billion loan to finance six Westinghouse Electric nuclear reactors, two sources familiar with the talks said, although a lending freeze at the trade agency threatens progress.”
Sounds like the Obama administration is supporting this.
Marty Jackley must be drinking or something weird. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-climatechange-lawsuit-insight-idUSKCN11O0E1 He is fighting an energy climate issue that South Dakota does not have a problem with. Kind of like arguing with your mirror. Now that I think of it, I am glad that Clinton, Trump and whatshisname agree on something. That should be the end of that.
Whatever our positions on nuclear power, let’s keep in mind that President Clinton would actually listen to Dr. McTaggart and Donald Pay and decide her nuclear energy policy on science and the public interest.. The other candidate would vote for whatever boosts his ego, regardless of the facts or the common welfare.
Gruznick says That Hillary, who most would agree is no slouch of a mind for a woman, is with us must be most disconcerting to many.”
I’m sure Hillary would agree that your mental sharpness is surprising and you have overcome many challenges for a decrepit old man with senile tendencies and a penchant for odd phraseologies and an over-reliance on gravy tators.
My apologies for leaving out the “d” in Grudznick.
A bigger challenge for Hillary is what to do about coal-producing states. If she keeps the current nuclear plants operating, while replacing older coal plants with natural gas and/or solar/wind, carbon levels will decrease. If she makes progress on storage solutions for nuclear waste, then that will benefit everyone too.
That is all well and good, but that simply leaves a big question mark for coal country about what to do without coal. She has released a plan in this regard, but whether coal communities buy into that is another question. Difficult to say what will win them over prior to an election, but I think they need to believe that their community will grow, not shrink.
Trump’s energy advisors are basically billionaire oil men and climate deniers. It will be a reversion to the Cheney presidency, or worse. Trump isn’t going to be making any energy decisions based on science. He isn’t going to be making any decisions based on public input of average citizens. Like Cheney, energy policy will be made in secret by a bunch of old men with billions of oil dollars.
Should Trump become President, the nuclear industry will revert back to its former climate change denialism to curry favor with whatever oil man is put in charge of the Department of Energy. The nuclear industry has no principles and no science understanding at all. That industry floats to whatever gets them the most government subsidies.
Clinton will be more likely to take into account science and public input. Trump will not.
How does the nuclear industry have no science understanding at all? Do the power plants run on magic beans or something? They have been pushing the need to produce more of our energy from carbon-free sources….and nuclear energy happens to be the most concentrated source of carbon-free energy.
Clinton has done the math and understands the overwhelming need to reduce carbon…she knows nuclear needs to be part of the solution. Politically she has to support wind and solar…too many big donors in the Democratic Party to do otherwise.
Coal is already being left in the ground where it belongs. http://inhabitat.com/u-s-coal-production-down-40-since-2010-and-clean-energy-is-taking-over/
Plus she risks losing the Bernie Sanders wing of the party if she doesn’t emphasize wind and solar first. So we’ll have more wind and solar than today in a Clinton administration regardless of what happens with nuclear.
Yes, coal is being left in the ground, and the people who mine the coal are being left behind. The clean energy revolution must benefit everybody, and that requires a lot more work than putting up a few wind turbines. It’s not just about producing more clean energy, it is designing a new economy that uses clean energy better.
No one is being “left” behind by leaving coal in the ground. Folks that were “left” behind had that done to them many years ago with open pit and mountain top removal. The economy is already being developed right now that is plain to see in places like Iowa as an example. We do not need nuke, period. Spink County voted the way we all would vote to give the nuke the boot.
Harness makers had to find other jobs as well when jalopy’s came on line. Telephone operators, the same. You have to adapt and that is what you nukers will have to do. Nukes are very dangerous to be used without the idea of getting rid of them pronto.
Speaking of Iowa….
Did you see the Ted talk I linked to above? We need more nuclear, not less.
It may be the case that new nuclear is cheaper to build elsewhere around the globe, which is why the Obama administration has been so supportive of new nuclear in India. It is important for developing economies to develop with clean energy instead of fossil fuels like we did.
But they will need a lot of clean energy. So more nuclear is needed to grow those economies and bring them out of poverty while not emitting carbon.
Time to get rid of that poison boondoggle as well. We still have to contend with the spent fuel of that place and the possibility of issues, again that have shut it down in the past. BTW, it will probably be closing pretty soon because of renewable energy, so there is that http://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/sce/iowa-chapter/energy-globalwarming/NukeStory.pdf
Jerry, you are going to love this from Gary Johnson:
Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson believes that humans aren’t being shortsighted by ignoring climate change, but are simply taking the “long-term view.”
“In billions of years, the sun is going to actually grow and encompass the Earth, right? So global warming is in our future,” the former New Mexico governor said during a 2011 National Press Club luncheon event.
In a 2011 clip, surfaced by Mother Jones, Johnson discusses his “long-term view” on climate change and his stance on government spending to combat climate change.
His thoughts: if the world is going to meet a fiery end, why throw money at the problem now?
The Koch brothers have done a good job making us dumbing us down by following “A lie told once remains a lie but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth” Joseph Goebbels. Old man Koch made his first billions dealing with Stalin as well as Hitler, so he got to see first hand how Goebbels philosophy worked.
I think if you take the approach of let’s keep safe nuclear plants operating as long as they can, let’s develop advanced nuclear that can work better with renewables, let’s spend the near future replacing coal with solar/wind/natural gas, and let’s actually address our nuclear waste issues, then I can live with that.
But at some point this century we will need to make significant moves in addressing carbon, which means renewables plus nuclear.
“Meeting the climate challenge is too important to limit the tools available in this fight.” This is the kind of generalization that leads to incredibly stupid results. No matter how tough the climate challenge really is, we don’t need to accept the first thing that pops into Hillary’s head or any other ideas that are not carefully thought out.
How do you know that her ideas have not been carefully thought out?
Are you saying she should keep thinking about it until she agrees with you?
How do you know her ideas are carefully or any other way thought out?
I make the statement not so much about HIllary, but because of the brain-dead thinking see too often in state and local politics. Some have-bright official who thinks he is really as smart as Einstein pushes the first stupid idea he or she comes up with and then is insulted personally when the idea is shown to be pile of steaming crap. Hillary’s preface the kind of thinking that leads to disastrous results when it is coupled with monstrous egos and small brains.
A number of obvious stupid typing in my post above.
For fun you should watch C-Span when they broadcast the debates from previous elections. A lot of the same issues come up over and over again. Stances seem not to change much.
We’ll see if this Monday’s debate is much different.
OT FYI DAPL has cleared right of way on either side of US Hiway 59 one mile south of Larrabee, iowa. How far SE they have bulldozed I didn’t get to look. I do know, from being familiar with the county, they have crossed several small creeks and the larger Mill Creek at least twice. They will soon be crossing Grey Creek and the Little Sioux River presently.
Now back to your regularly scheduled disagreements.
Doctor McTaggart – “A lot of the same issues come up over and over again. Stances seem not to change much.”
give me one specific example. How long have you been watching?
to the cynic the debate will likely prove that “Hillary is an awful person”. (NPR daily copy, broadcast multiple times an hour)
A professional like Dr. McTaggert, will dilute his credibility with political spin. the two parties are VERY, VERY different.
mfi, I would guarantee you that this pipe is destroying archaeological areas. Here is this http://thenaturalhistorymuseum.org/archaeologists-and-museums-respond-to-destruction-of-standing-rock-sioux-burial-grounds/ This fossil fuel and nuke energy must be heeled.
Interesting that Clinton is willing to challenge the Bernie Sanders bloc (“bloc” may overstate it—perhaps “loose agglomeration of nuts and bolts”?) on this sensitive issue. Sanders, of course, advocates phasing out nuclear power. Clinton has changed position on nuclear power before during a campaign; if she thought she needed to flip on this issue again to keep Bernie voters, she could. Does she feel she’s maxed out her flips on nuclear power? Does she think the Bernie turnout won’t be affected by this issue? Or does she think she’s finally taken the right position and can win with enough voters on the science?
Problems with the TED talk:
1.) His first figures only demonstrate the global rise of fossil fuels as the percent of global electricity production. Emerging global markets (poorer countries) are the sole culprit. The viewer is intended to confuse the rise in percent of global fossil fuels with the change in percentage of U.S. fossil fuels (which the presenter chooses not to show).
2.) In 2008, Germany implemented short and long term goals for reducing carbon emissions. This TED presenter starts his graph in 2009 (the lowest carbon output year to that date), and then he says that Germany’s carbon output is “actually rising” – when, in fact, 2014 was the very lowest carbon output year since 2009. FACT: Germany’s carbon output has gone down (not up) since 2008 when they created their lofty goals. The presenter would have you think Germany is a complete failure if doesn’t reach or exceed it’s lofty 2020 goals.
To this TED talk I say:
• As industrialized nations are able to produce enough renewable energy infrastructure meet their own needs, the manufacturing costs of the same infrastructure for developing countries will become much cheaper.
• By decentralizing the electrical grid worldwide (a thing wind and solar naturally do), people like these EnergyBulletin.com say we could save the world $5 trillion in capital investment while reducing power costs by 40 percent, reduce vulnerabilities, and cut greenhouse gas emissions in half.
• If we expand nuclear, let it just be for a temporary time in order to give renewables the opportunity to reach their potential.
Leslie, the same debates we have been having regarding energy and climate, as well as health insurance, show up in the Carter debates.
And I didn’t say the two parties were not different, but a lot of the responses to the issues seem to be rehashed each debate cycle.
“With coal-fuelled power plants still resisting retirement, greenhouse gas emissions in Germany actually grew last year; when the cooler weather is taken into account they stagnated at best (see chart 2). Germany is now on a trajectory to miss its climate targets by a wide margin. In view of the financial and political capital which has gone into the energy transition, the so-called Energiewende, this is bad news for German politicians.”
The same argument regarding manufacturing can be made for nuclear with regard to the small modular reactors around the globe.
“As industrialized nations are able to produce enough renewable energy infrastructure meet their own needs…” I think you have hit the nail on the head. The question is indeed whether nations can produce enough energy via renewables to do what they need to do…when they want it done.
So what Doc? “The good news for other countries is that tackling an energy transition does not require any technical expertise or social consensus that only Germany has. If the Germans can stumble towards a renewable energy future, others can as well.” http://energytransition.de/2015/06/germany-to-miss-its-renewable-energy-target-for-2020/
Politicians can take the good news and they can take the bad news. As long as facts come out, the Engergiewende is on track. Of course there are naysayers, but the facts are stubborn things. This is good news for Germany and for the rest of us air breathers as well.
Slow progress in green energy seems to be intimately connected to undue influence of industries wedded to fossil fuels in some way. Slow progress in development of Thorium Salt reactors may be related to political influence of General Electric. Influence of GE may also indirectly determine university courses on energy.
If the US would commit as much resources to green energy as it does to wars, we would be converted completely in several years rather than multiple decades.
Some may think that having the Pacific immediately to the west of Harney Peak and the Atlantic just east of Sioux Falls might be a good thing, but I don’t think we or our grandchildren have any good excuses to wait for that.
Our South Dakota politicians are wedded to fossil fuels and technology of GE. Those are not good combinations for the future.
If consumers have to pay more for their energy, they complain to politicians. If the power isn’t there to heat their home or gas up their car or watch TV or wash their clothes when they want to, they complain to politicians.
Lower prices and reliability thus behave as political drivers for maintaining fossil fuels until something else can do both. If you can do both while emitting less carbon, then that energy source will dominate.
Today’s nuclear has higher up-front construction costs, while today’s renewables cannot generate power when we demand it. Alone they satisfy two of the three (low cost, reliability, no carbon), but together they may…particularly if natural gas prices increase or availability of gas by pipelines becomes an issue.
Energy companies have to go to the state to increase their prices and show cause. The prices are raising each year by both gas and juice. I think that in order to lessen the price of these commodities, we need to generate our own power at the local level like was done in the past. We certainly cannot have a nuke power plant in our back yard so nuke is puke. Think clean green and lets move on.
Actually, you could have one in your backyard. Think your local strip mall. Maybe the security fencing would have a wider footprint, but the small reactors can go pretty small.
The reason why there is a lot of faith in the small reactors is because more or less the same designs have powered vessels for the Navy for a long time.
More wind will simply mean more energy produced when the wind generates enough power to turn the turbines, which isn’t all day. Same thing with solar. More solar will generate its peak electricity between the hours of 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Let’s figure out what to do with that energy (shift demand to those times, dedicate the energy to apps that don’t mind intermittency, secondary heating/cooling, store the energy for later) if we are going to build more wind and solar. Plan to take advantage of the true nature of wind and solar.
Numerous examples of ways to handle intermittent wind and solar energy have been presented here. They include reverse fuel cells designed to produce portable fuels such as methanol and anhydrous ammonia. South Dakota has areas alone the Missouri mainstem reservoirs which could gain water when energy is available and release water to generators when wind and solar are intermittent.
Also, it appears from your listing of hours of peak production that relying on solar by day and wind by night makes sense. The Danes have used batteries in vehicles to store excess wind energy at night. That lowers the cost to the generation system, but reduces carbon production.
I don’t think a lot of development is really necessary to make wind and solar work at a steady output level which would obviously be less than the maximum intermittent output.
Has a reactor similar or like those in nuclear submarines ever been used for any kind of domestic or other use besides submarines? Recovering a disabled nuclear submarine turned into a major task.
a nuclear submariner relative said the “efficiency” of subs’ style of reactor is a hundred times (or something) more effective than garden variety GE designed commercial nuclear power plants. Then I was advised i’d have to be killed!
I would think that the charging of electric car batteries overnight would be a terrific application for wind. So there are many applications that would work. But not all applications.
One thing that the Navy has going for it is that if there is ever a problem, they are out in the middle of the ocean. But primarily I would say that the regulatory infrastructure and how the reactors would be used are different between commercial and military uses.
Nuclear doesn’t work in all applications either.
Emerging markets (poor countries) just can’t afford the huge initial investments for centralized nuclear power. It’s a lot easier for them to piecemeal a renewable infrastructure together at a pace they can afford.
If we ever chose to globally go 100% nuclear, the poorest countries would do the crappiest job of storing their nuclear waste and 3 eyed frogs and fish would be a common ‘natural’ phenomena in those poor counties. You also can’t trust that they have security to keep the nuclear material out terrorists hands.
If we ever bring nuclear power to poor countries it will be a complete disaster.
Even if Trump wins the thing, he will not be prez for long before his sorry arse is impeached and he is jailed for treason to start with and for other justice department issues. Here is Two Penny though, much the same only dumber http://theamericanenergynews.com/markham-on-energy/mike-pence-stand-energy-issues
100% nuclear is not the way to go either. A diverse energy portfolio is a good approach for many reasons. Nuclear can provide the baseload right now, renewables/energy storage can provide the peak power.
But in order to generate the energy we need while not emitting carbon, the amount of nuclear should increase from today’s levels to displace fossil fuels. Particularly when we need a lot of power when solar or wind are not available.
Process heat from small reactors not hooked up to the grid would be a good use of off-the-grid nuclear. Water purification, hydrogen production, and other industries (including ethanol which burns a lot of natural gas apparently) would benefit.
I would argue that we should be the ones overseeing nuclear security. In some sense the IAEA offers help to many nations regarding regulations and security, but the more the U.S. is involved, the better.
If you believe in consent-based approaches, that can also apply to the storage of nuclear waste. The isolation of waste in fact may not occur in every nation, but they would have agreements with those that do store the waste. Not every nation will have a site suitable for waste storage.
It would also not be a bad idea to reduce proliferation concerns if every nation did not require enrichment capabilities either. That could be centralized to a large degree and would permit better oversight.
The issue is nations like Iran that say there is a need to enrich fuels to 20% to make medical isotopes, when that is not necessary. 90% enrichment is easier to get to once the 20% work has been done.
Doc, you first promote Nuclear to replace coal in order to offset carbon output globally, and in a very distant 2nd, you support renewables for a very tiny few applications. The TED talker you shared makes a point to mention (just once – in passing – and very quietly) that poor countries using cheap energy are the primary culprits for the alarming increase in the percent of fossil fuel used in global electricity production… And then he wants you to think renewables are partly to blame [hogwash].
I saw a TED talk once on a teenage African villager who built a wind mill for his village out of basic trash, and his village then had light in every hut after dark. His talk was about building more and better models for water pumps and irrigation. It was quite inspiring.
We certainly agree, at least, that a high powered centralized grid isn’t the wisest choice for most parts of Africa.
I have been diametrically opposed to the notion of (a.) doing everything with wind and solar and (b.) doing nothing with nuclear. You don’t produce the power you need in that scenario, which means that you must burn some type of fossil fuel to make up the difference.
I would think there are areas where hydro is a better local fit, and areas where solar is a good fit. Those should be part of the mix that Africa develops.
Many of those nations will turn to coal or gas because it is cheaper, so a better path must be followed if their energy demand increases. They still need to provide power whenever people want it, and reduce carbon at the same time.
“I have been diametrically opposed to the notion of (a.) doing everything with wind and solar and (b.) doing nothing with nuclear. You don’t produce the power you need in that scenario, which means that you must burn some type of fossil fuel to make up the difference.”
This appears to be only an assertion without supporting data. I may have missed it elsewhere, but I do not remember seeing anything that even suggested it was impossible to meet energy demands without nuclear power or polluting coal plants running.
Energy conservation and more efficient and better insulated homes and businesses can greatly reduce demand in the US.
As for Africa, etc. until they can get past killing each other over religion or government control, building any kind of serious energy systems with nuclear power is absurd and also probably far too expensive.
The full costs of all kinds of energy production need to be measured without tax support and subsidized highways and with those subsidies. Sometimes “Chinese Cheap” is not inexpensive as Mark Twain noted years ago.
A lack of political spine and reason by short-sighted politicians is what primarily stands in the way of much better energy use and systems. South Dakota misused federal funds aimed at better, more efficient energy systems and information. Retrograde politicians and educators are hazardous to our health and society.
We produce the energy we use today, but recall that more than 80% of our energy comes from fossil fuels. Solar and wind have not proven they can replace what fossil fuels are generating so far, and in fact their incorporation into the electric grid has been accompanied with natural gas.
Actually, we could do 100% nuclear if we ever had viable energy storage. Just run the nuclear plants full out and store the excess for later. But there are other reasons such as energy security and market forces for why that wouldn’t occur.
Nuclear energy generated in one nation could be delivered to one or more neighbors in Africa.
Because countries with newly emerging markets are the primary carbon output challenge, and as these countries cannot be trusted with nuclear material, civilian nuclear power should be off the table.
And because renewable technologies offer remote, decentralized, access to electricity, they appear to be the most viable solution for these countries, at this time.
Modernized, industrialized, nations have a responsibility to help poor ones to find a way to convert to renewables, and we gotta lead by example on this one. We should be near ‘fixated’ on funding research to make renewables easier to use, more efficient and cheaper to manufacture. Companies do continue to make great strides, but with so many selfish Republicants in Washington owned by fossil fuel industries – they just want to stop taxing rich people altogether, pay for nothing and get nothing more from this country – as all of the income inequality has almost magically made them rich enough to not currently want anything more than they already have from this ‘American’ way of life.
Supporting the RAPID growth of renewables in developing countries is the biggest and best way to support global warming science. And very particularly, not nuclear.
Nukes are poison and dangerous, like Trump. When you think of nukes, think orange.
Certainly I would agree that we need to use whatever solar and wind we generate better. Excess energy on the grid without any demand produces a problem, and not enough energy on the grid to meet the demand produces a problem. Too much wind and solar without energy storage nor demand shifting gives you both problems, and leads to fossil fuels if nuclear is off the table.
Nukes need to be off the table completely time to move on without that threat.
Yes, let’s shorten the lifetime of any distributed energy grid we build by continually placing excess energy on it. It’s time.
There seems to be come conflict between saying wind and solar and hydro can’t produce enough energy and also claiming the system will be continually loaded with excess energy.
If you overbuild the wind and solar capacity, you will have spikes of energy at certain times, but still nothing at other times. That is due to the nature of the sun and the wind.
If there is no energy, then wind and solar cannot deliver the energy when it is needed.
It all comes back around to if storage systems were good enough, we could do what ever we wanted, which includes kiboshing nuclear, natural gas and coal.
“If there is no energy, then wind and solar cannot deliver the energy when it is needed.” – spoken like a fool with a southern drawl.
Building more wind and solar is sort of like building hamburger machines that can only make hamburgers between 12 and 4. Sometimes there is a lot, sometimes less. People take what the machines produce. But right after they are made they are thrown away if nobody eats them immediately.
So if you want a hamburger at 11 a.m., tough luck. If you want a hamburger at 8 p.m., tough luck. Building more of these kind of machines won’t deliver hamburgers when people want them at different times.
If you plan things accordingly, you can collect the hamburgers between 12 and 4 and store them for later, or invite more friends to eat them between 12 and 4. But the rest of the hamburgers that were not eaten go to waste.
Yes, if energy storage were available, we could do 100% nuclear.
If energy storage were available, we could also go 100% solar or wind.
Too bad developing poor countries can’t [and shouldn’t be allowed to] develop nuclear, which removes nuclear from being a significant factor to combat global climate change. 100% global nuclear is just your strange little fantasy.
Don’t forget about the hazards of overbuilding nuclear either – lol – over building is such a huge deal in your opinion. And OMG, there are moments where nuclear reactors are powering more to the grid than what is actually consumed – OMG – the waste.
100% nuclear with energy storage is as likely as 100% renewables with energy storage. But it is unlikely that we will use one power source only.
If energy storage does not come to fruition (people seem to assume that will happen, but technology doesn’t win all the time), then we will need to replace natural gas in its backup role for renewables with a zero-carbon source. More or less your choices are hydro or nuclear. Guess which one can scale up to meet the demand?
Frankly, I see no evidence that we are overbuilding nuclear. If anything we are underbuilding, given our collective desire to stop emitting carbon.
I would like to see changes to the fuel cycle if nuclear increases its electricity contribution, say from 20% to 40 or 50% (that is not total energy…just electricity).
That means getting away from the once-through cycle. Would it be fair in that scenario to obstruct advanced nuclear and reprocessing on one hand while blaming nuclear for not reducing the waste on the other?
Did something not happened with nukes in Spink County? Oh yeah, nobody wanted them.
To correct the record: Nothing nuclear was proposed for Spink County. It was a drilling project. The County could have monitored everything in and out to assure the public in this regard.
Recall that the site did not meet their qualifications for storage of military wastes (which are radioactive, but not fissile). The more uniform geology at the site however was optimal to test their drilling procedures. Nevertheless they didn’t gain consent, so they moved on.
To correct it correctly in its corrective form, yeah it was. No foolin’, that was the plan. It got smacked around, even in North Dakota, and then two by four’d here in Spink County.
No, the “camel’s-nose-under-the-tent” crew only suspected that disposal of waste would follow.
Solar power cost down 25% in just the last five months – “There’s no reason why the cost of solar will ever increase again”
Get on board with the future or get left behind.
Jerry, the County of Spink is filled with ignorant farmers and townies who really don’t understand science very well. They could have had The Borehole drilled there and really perk up their economy, but they feared progress #4Science and will continue to dwindle and die on the vine. There are not nukes involved in digging a really deep hole, unless you are fearing the radiation that might escape through mutant bacteria that climb to the surface.
Prices that never, ever increase again?
Are you sure you are not running as the Republican nominee for President of the United States?
Bob, it’s a link to an article written by a man named John Fitzgerald Weaver, not myself.
Way to shoot the wrong messenger.
Hello Mr. Grudznick, I will tell you what, I will hold your coat whilst you go into Crystal’s and tell the county commissioner that he is as ignorant as the rest of the farmers there. I would do that for you friend, to protect your coat from using the Scotchgard coating. I would also make one other suggestion, have a couple three fingered glasses of red eye before you say that remark as you will probably have a difficult time eating and taking any kind of nourishment after your encounter. Let me know when you want to say when, deal?
The camel had passed gas and all could smell what was coming next.
Mr. Jerry, you seem to be saying the residents of Spink County, and in particular an unnamed elected offical, are felonious thugs who hang around in dive bars. I must say I am shocked to hear that.
Mr. Grudznick, so sorry that you do not seem to understand the value of your words. You see you called all the good folk there in Spink County ignorant, you words are like the words from Donald J Trump, that cutting. Now you add felonious thugs and say that Crystal’s is a dive bar, why those words can cause you black and blue discolorations of your skin said in the friendly confines of Redfield. I would be shocked, I tell you shocked to keep hearing that from someone whom I thought to be such a gentle soul.
I guess then you are the Vice-President for posting the link??? ;^).
But seriously, if prices are too low, then there will eventually be increased demand for the resources or labor and prices will go up. Growth rates change eventually. Just look at the Chinese economy….even if the high growth rates were true, they were not going to continue forever.
Doc, what are you talking about? “If prices are too low, then there will eventually be increased demand for the resources of labor and the prices will go up”. mansplain that one to me because I say, huh?
Go radiation hormesis yourself, Doc. Go bath in radiation for your health like all of the other wackos in your camp.
Imagine what prosperity The Borehole might have brought to an establishment like Crystals. Customers who could pay their bills and didn’t bounce checks, the elimination of much need for Redfield residents to frequent the Dollar Loan Center in Aberdeen which would mean more money to spend on beer and pickled eggs, and perhaps a whole new clientele who didn’t just drink Grain Belt. Not that there’s anything wrong with pickled eggs and Grain Belt.
The prosperity would have been found in the funerals of those who had the misfortune of living there after the hole was dug and the cylinder dropped down it. I guess there is prosperity in wakes with pickled eggs and Grain Belt. Good deal we will never know.
Adam…We’re all immersed in low levels of radiation…part of nature.
Jerry…it is economics. If the demand for critical elements for solar power exceeds the production rate for said elements, for example, prices must increase. High growth rates are not sustainable unless the supply can match the demand.
What circles you spin there spider man. I understand economics but how do you stitch together that statement you made. The resources of labor has what to do with dwindling of elements? That does not compute. You have drifted out of the reality bin like your buddy Mr. Grudznick.
Prices of utilities are regulated. They are not solely a market price. Exceptions of course, Golden West has no competition in most areas and seems to get by with charging anywhere from 2 to 6 times as much for internet service as is common in areas with any competition. I think co-ops are not regulated as are private utilities however.
Labor costs increase….ever hear of health insurance?
There is a disconnect…if prices have dropped so dramatically for solar, then why doesn’t everybody have a solar system with batteries at their home?
McTaggert can’t even take look at graphs that prove how the price of solar is/has continued to get cheaper and cheaper, and confirm that the last 5 months were pretty astonishing. He words it, “If solar was so cheap,” and it proves his unwillingness to get on board with the reality of our future.
He can’t do it because he’s weak on graphs, charts and numbers – only strong on his unsubstantiated BS opinions.
*if prices have dropped*
-clearly they have
You didn’t answer my question…if prices have dropped so much, then why isn’t solar already everywhere?
It’s because home systems are still thousands of dollars. You either need the utilities to agree to accept the extra energy you produce, or you need to find dedicated uses at home. There has been resistance to the former due to upkeep of the grid. The latter may require additional home infrastructure…including even electric cars (which is another big purchase on top of a home solar system).
We’ll see how well the solar farms do…it may be better to collect solar in bulk instead of piecemeal at different locations regarding grid issues. But there may be resistance to that if people don’t want the utilities to benefit from solar.
Good spin doc, I am gonna start to call you the jello man as you are hard to pin down.
Your pitiful logic: “if solar and wind are the future, then why dont we already have it everywhere?”
Because you’re an idiot that’s why.
The sun is free. Everything else needed to deliver solar electricity is not.
Just because you think it is a good idea doesn’t mean everybody is going to fork over $20K (or more) to install a home solar system.
So if you want solar to succeed, the upfront cost needs to come down, and it would be beneficial if home applications could use the energy when it is produced.
Powering air conditioning or fans over the summer with solar instead of pulling electricity off of the grid would be one of those applications.
I guess Adam will want Cory to take down those billboards…they are blocking his solar panels.
Trillions spent on nukes and still no place to dispose of their poison. That is progress for you. They are the problem, not the solution. What a drain
Jerry…it is not the nuclear folks that do not want to dispose of the waste or solve the problem. But I agree, monies spent on storing our nuclear waste in its present configuration is wasteful.
If we just solved the problem, those funds (and future funds) could be spent on other things.
Nuke folks don’t care about disposing of waste, if they did, they would have solved the issue before they went full speed ahead. You have been poisoning the planet since the 1940’s with these time bombs. You and your ilk support the production of even more of this crap and you want good honest folk like those in Spink County to cover your crap like cats in a litter box. No nukes.
Mr. Jerry is afraid of small things he cannot see, like bed-bugs, sub-atomic particles, and the booga-booga man’s pet hamster. Mr. Adam is just being rude. My analysis shows his fiscal costs of this solar business is French Math.
I am only afraid of the small things I see, like Donald J. Trumps small hands and the spin doctors love fest with nukes. Of course, I am cautious about being an alarmist around you Mr. Grudzick as I sometimes question your analysis of many things.
You know what’s truly rude, McTaggert’s intellectual dishonesty. He does not live up to his responsibilities as a teacher or PhD, on this blog. EVERYONE should be offended by it.
The problem here is that any energy source….nuclear, wind, solar, etc….produces waste. Ironically, it is physically impossible to produce clean energy with zero waste.
But you can reduce the waste. In fact, waste from nuclear energy production is the smallest in volume, and can be immobilized in a glass form. It could be made even smaller still if advanced nuclear and/or reprocessing were allowed to proceed.
In many ways, “nuclear waste” is a misnomer. 90% of the energy in the original fuel still remains inside the spent fuel. Many of the critical elements needed for solar, wind, and energy storage are being produced anew in a nuclear reactor and await extraction from the waste stream. Several isotopes useful in medical imaging or radiation therapy also exist in the waste stream.
Anyone who ever reads this comment chain will know, for certain, what a hack you are.
I am sorry that I am not on the “all wind, all solar, all the time” bandwagon….
Ultimately one needs to generate the energy that people demand when they want it, and reduce if not eliminate carbon emissions. I would be intellectually dishonest if I said that you do not need nuclear to do both at the same time without fossil fuels.
When you tell hot ones all the time, there is no intellectual dishonesty, it is all just another day. The spin doctor just keeps going and going. The good folks in Spink County though, that is where the rubber meets the road, they tossed his theories and there nonsense right out on there caboose.
I do have tremendous respect for the people of Spink County – for running that BS right out town – all the way to Idaho. Hell yeah!
Now watch Idaho do the same. No one wants this poison and yet these dudes think they can just keep putting it out there as if it did not matter. There is a big ole storm coming in the Caribbean as we think of all of this that could put some of the reactors in a bad way if they are hit. Lets hope not and hope that they can be shut down for good while we figure what to do with their legacy.
Idaho is home to the Idaho National Laboratory. They do a lot of the national nuclear research there.
You don’t think the power plants have a plan to deal with hurricanes or tornadoes? Or that all that concrete that Adam likes for the linear no-threshold theory wouldn’t protect them? Thanks Adam! You saved all of those nuclear power plants!
You’re going to have to generate A LOT more text if you want disguise or hide all the BS you’ve been selling since long before Cory posted this story.
You mean like if you want to maintain the levels of carbon free power we have today, we have to keep the current nuclear power plants operating?
Idaho is home to a lot of folks that do not want your poison buried in their state. Better take Heather with ya and get to lobbying those folks there.
Or that a better solution would be to acknowledge the strengths of each energy source and the actual electricity demand to optimize our energy production accordingly? That would mean using both nuclear and renewables.
Worth the read again https://www.quora.com/Could-wind-turbines-withstand-Category-5-hurricanes
I’ve been to Idaho. Idaho is home to lots of different folks. The scenery attracts both the conservative and the liberal out there.
Good that you are familiar with it, I hope you still have a love for that scenery when they give you the boot again.
Ironically during the high wind event, they shut the wind turbines down.
As I said earlier, to your deaf ears, if you understand that countries with newly emerging markets are the PRIMARY global carbon output challenge, and as these countries cannot be trusted with nuclear material, you know that civilian nuclear power should be off the table in those places.
And because renewable technologies offer remote, decentralized, access to electricity, they appear to be the most viable solution for developing countries.
If you believe, as you’ve said, that global warming and carbon output is your biggest concern, then recognize that nuclear could only have a VERY small roll in solving the problem.
You can’t/won’t because your little baby might be seen as the ugly little turd that it actually is.
Generally speaking the IAEA provides a lot of support to “these countries” regarding their current nuclear plants or the development of a new nuclear program. If you want to boost the oversight and centralize the international fuel cycle instead of each nation taking care of it, they probably would be fine with not having to deal with those costs.
I think you are coming at this from a perspective of solar and wind are great, so everybody should want more solar and wind, and every solution should include them. Plus they should be happy with the intermittent power that solar and wind provide. But the amount of power they need, what they need it for, the amount of land they have available, the costs involved, etc. differ between nations.
Nuclear should play a role in decentralized grids by reducing the amount of energy needed from natural gas. Off-the-grid nuclear power could do many things for the current Third World, the most pressing is desalination to provide clean drinking water. Cleaning that amount of water for millions of people is energy intensive, and would go a long way to addressing many world health concerns.
But I guess using nuclear to help reduce world poverty, hunger, and disease by simply having reliable, clean water everywhere has no place on a liberal blog….
Nuclear option: The developing world weighs energy needs and security risks
It’s a great article on the facts.
Mr. Adam, I respect your opinion but not the rude way in which you voice it. You, sir, could never be the sort of statesman that Mr. H strives to be, nor the sort of intellectual or scholar that Dr. McTaggart is.
“But I guess using nuclear to help reduce world poverty, hunger, and disease by simply having reliable, clean water everywhere has no place on a liberal blog….”
Where has nuclear helped reduce world poverty, hunger, and disease…reliable or not?
I appreciate having somebody posting about nuclear energy who actually knows something about it, but I also think it skews your perspective a bit on the feasibility of wind, solar, and better efficiency hydro going a long way toward carbon reduction…and even all the way with government research and development commitment.
If the wind and solar systems they build do not deliver the power, they will burn fossil fuels to keep the lights on. Germany is evidence of that…they still burn a lot of coal.
Many of these nations that desire our standard of living in fact are looking to build more coal.
“We in Africa, we should not be in the discussion of whether we should use coal or not. In my country of Tanzania, we are going to use our natural resources because we have reserves which go beyond 5 billion tons.”
I’m the nuclear guy, so people hear nuclear, regardless of whether I say we need to do both renewables and nuclear. But I do not believe renewables alone will generate the reliable power we desire. Adam hears I don’t like renewables, but my message has been let’s use renewables better…just not for everything.
Nuclear energy provides round-the-clock power to poor and rich alike. That same attribute would be desirable for the desalination of water, which for the most part uses a lot of natural gas today. Nuclear power has avoided the emission of millions of tons of sulfur dioxide and soot and nitrous oxide and other things that would have been emitted if said power were produced by coal. That is beneficial to everybody’s health.
Yeah, nuke power to help all those poor people. That is why we like to build those power plants and refineries right where they live so that they can get the nuke power fresh. We have such a liberal love for the poor folk that we would not want their poison to be stale.
Spink county kicked that nuke plan in the behind. Whooped it like a pinata. Beat it like Aunt Martha’s kitchen rug. It was beautiful.
The spin doctor wants nukes in Africa because it is so stable there that we have hundreds of special ops troops there to take care of all kinds of terrorism. The doc does not worry about that though as that is someone else’s problem with the nuke waste and so on. No big deal, huh doc? How about cooking a deal in Nigeria with Boko Haram, or maybe Somalia, good locations with plenty of water, what could go wrong?
Nuclear power plants currently have large upfront construction costs and a regulatory burden not endured by the other energy sources. Nevertheless, once they are up and running, the costs of operation are low and the power is reliable.
If you look at a map of the united states that tells you where the power plants are, you will see two common themes.
First, the nuclear power plants are located near large population centers. The power doesn’t have to be transmitted very far, and the economics work out better. And yes, there are poor people in cities.
The second is that each of the power plants has access to water. This is also no surprise, since water is the primary coolant and moderator for the reactor. There are other factors that drive a site’s location, but those are the main ones.
The Borehole was a drilling plan that did not include the storage of any nuclear material. I think if there were another site that completed a test borehole prior to Spink County, and they did not use that site to store waste after they were done (which many thought this would lead to), and everyone could examine all of the records (before, during, after), the response may have been a little different.
I think I hear you right, Dr. McT. I, too, would like a nice house powered reliably by clean, safe, nuclear power, with a few solar panels and a big windmill outside to help me save some money and help my utility burn a few less nuggets of coal. It makes a whole lot of sense to people who are not blinded with hatred #4Science.
You build a nuclear power plant because you want to provide clean, reliable power to the community. Until the conflicts end, there is a lot of infrastructure that cannot be built, including energy infrastructure.
Now you are talking grudznick!
I don’t think the goal for home solar should be to make money off of the utility per se. As long as it reduces the need for electricity from the grid I will be fine…much like better windows or home insulation does.
Doing that is more achievable and cost-effective than trying to sell the power back to the utility….when they may not take it.
But if you are going to be rude, it may be time for…..
a Rude Awakening:
I have not seen any rendition of the rude awakening in so very many years, I just absolutely had to click on the video, and it REALLY hit the spot. Biggest smile I’ve had all day! Thanks for that.
Hey…finally something we completely agree on!!
I actually gotta give you some kind of digital high five on that one!
Here’s what we should do to the national deficit…
Good Holy everything in this universe! There is nothing, and nothing will likely ever be, nearly as funny as 1980-90s WWF! I was there man, I remember it – live – LOL!
Saturday mornings, NWA/WCW. Yes, those were the glory days.
No matter where it is in the world, the nuclear industry makes the same mistakes over and over. As a Dad, I learned rather quickly that what went into my little girl’s mouth would soon be coming out the back end. Aren’t there any Dads changing diapers in the nuclear industry? They never seem to learn the basics.
China, which decided to build out nuclear power several years ago, is now just starting to deal with the back end of the cycle, and meeting some resistance. No Dads in the nuclear industry over there, but plenty of Dads not wanting a nuclear waste facility next to their kids. Grudz thinks everyone who opposes nuclear waste facilities is a dumb farmer. I think they are just Dads (and Moms) who have changed diapers.
….and just think how much waste the other energy sources will produce. Per kilowatt-hour nuclear produces the lowest volume of waste. News flash…as renewables produce more kilowatt-hours, they will produce even more waste. Remember that 80% of our total energy comes from fossil fuels, and the amount of energy may increase by 20-30% by 2040.
Nuclear must keep track of the radioisotopes in its waste….the others do not keep track of the naturally-occurring isotopes that may or may not be re-concentrated by man-made activities.
So let’s have the energy sources work together in order to reduce all of the wastes that they produce and maximize the clean energy we use.
What you should be more concerned about is potential Russian violations of UN sanctions against North Korea. Energy research is fine, weapons research is not.