HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » kristopher » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 ... 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 Next »

kristopher

Profile Information

Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,798

Journal Archives

How to close the US nuclear industry: Do nothing

How to close the US nuclear industry: Do nothing
Peter A. Bradford Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 2013 69: 12
DOI: 10.1177/0096340213477996
http://bos.sagepub.com/content/69/2/12

Abstract
The United States is on course to all but exit the commercial nuclear power industry even if the country awakens to the dangers of climate change and adopts measures to favor low-carbon energy sources. Nuclear power had been in economic decline for more than three decades when the Bush administration launched a program that aimed to spark a nuclear power renaissance through subsidies and a reformed reactor licensing process. But Wall Street was already leery of the historically high costs of nuclear power. An abundance of natural gas, lower energy demand induced by the 2008 recession, increased energy-efficiency measures, nuclear's rising cost estimates, and the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station further diminished prospects for private investment in new US nuclear plants. Without additional and significant governmental preferences for new nuclear construction, market forces will all but phase out the US nuclear fleet by midcentury.

"if society seriously aspires to be anti-carbon, it also needs to be seriously pro-nuclear"

That quote appeared in this WP article published on Monday.

In U.S., nuclear energy loses momentum amid economic head winds, safety issues
By Steven Mufson,


...Only five years ago, industry executives and leading politicians were talking about an American nuclear renaissance, hoping to add 20 or more reactors to the 104-unit U.S. nuclear fleet.

But today those companies are holding back in the face of falling natural gas prices and sluggish and uncertain electricity demand. Only five new plants are under construction, while at least that many are slated for permanent closure or shut down indefinitely over safety issues.

On Monday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reiterated its refusal to issue a license for a new unit at Calvert Cliffs, Md., that a French company had hoped to make the model for a fleet of reactors. A pair of reactors in Southern California are under scrutiny over whether a major contractor and a utility there concealed concerns about potential cracks in the tubes of a steam generator. And nuclear plants in Wisconsin and Florida are closing down because their owners said they cannot compete with less expensive natural-gas-fired electricity.

Industry officials still make the case for nuclear as a domestic source of energy that does not emit greenhouse gases. “Anyone concerned about global warming should acknowledge that if society seriously aspires to be anti-carbon, it also needs to be seriously pro-nuclear,” Thomas F. Farrell, chief executive of Dominion Resources, said at a recent conference in Washington sponsored by the industry newsletter Platts....
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/2013/03/11/fb6d61c2-715e-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html?hpid=z1


Because it reflects a constant and false refrain we hear from the nuclear industry, this paragraph jumped out at me:
"Industry officials still make the case for nuclear as a domestic source of energy that does not emit greenhouse gases. “Anyone concerned about global warming should acknowledge that if society seriously aspires to be anti-carbon, it also needs to be seriously pro-nuclear,”"


That quote, as you can see, was from Dominion Resources CEO Thomas F. Farrell. What do we know about Dominion? Well, among other things Wiki has this to say:
46 percent of Dominion's total electric production comes from coal, 41 percent comes from nuclear power, 9 percent comes from natural gas, 1 percent comes from oil, and the remaining 3 percent comes from Hydro and other renewables. Renewable energy sources, primarily wind and biomass, and conservation and efficiency programs will play an increasingly important role in meeting future energy needs and minimizing the company’s environmental footprint.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_Resources

46 percent coal
41 percent nuclear power
9 percent natural gas
1 percent oil



Nuclear power is not a threat to coal - it is a means of preserving the energy economy favoring coal in a world moving to an energy economy favoring small scale distributed renewables.

Dominion's bread and butter, now and into the future, are coal (both mining and burning), natural gas fracking and distributing, and nuclear power plant operations. You can see their attempt to play on climate change worries while maintaining a set of operating assets that preserve their dominant market position based on fossil fuels. It's almost funny that the wiki section quoted devotes half of the text to using 3% of their generating assets to show what great folks they are and how much they care about the company's environmental footprint.

Their PR flacks can't rewrite Sourcewatch so you might want to scan their content on Dominion.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Dominion

NOAA: Fukushima Radioactive Aerosol Dispersion (animation)






The Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model was developed by NOAA to follow the transport and dispersion of pollutants in the atmosphere. In HYSPLIT, the computation is composed of four components: transport by the mean wind, turbulent dispersion, scavenging and decay. A large number of pollutant particles, which by convention are called "particles" but are just computational "points" (particles or gases), are released at the source location and passively follow the wind.
The 2011 Tohuku East Japan earthquake and resulting tsunami caused a variety of failures at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant which resulted in radioactive emissions to the atmosphere. The earthquake occurred on March 11th at 14:26 Japan Standard Time (JST), the tsunami about one hour later at 15:41, and by 16:36 a nuclear emergency was reported. By the early morning hours of March 12th, radioactive emissions were occurring from the plant.



In this dataset, the simulation from NOAA's HYSPLIT model shows a continuous release of tracer particles from 12-31 March at a rate of 100 per hour representing the Cesium-137 emitted from Fukushima Daiichi. Each change in particle color represents a decrease in radioactivity by a factor of 10. Radioactivity decreases due to removal by rainfall and gravitational settling. Decay is not a factor for Cesium in this short duration simulation compared to its 30 year long-half life. The air concentration would be computed from the particle density so it is only partially related to the color scale. The released particles are followed through the end of April using meteorological data from the 1-degree resolution NOAA global analyses.

http://www.sos.noaa.gov/Datasets/dataset.php?id=332

Toxic management erodes safety at ‘world’s safest’ nuclear plant

Toxic management erodes safety at ‘world’s safest’ nuclear plant
Echoes of Fukushima at Exelon’s flagship Byron Station in Illinois

BY DREUX RICHARD
SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN TIMES
MAR 11, 2013

On Jan. 30, 2012, Byron Nuclear Generating Station lost operability to all of its safety-related equipment. At the time, Jim Hazen was the nuclear station operator responsible for the affected reactor, one of two at the Exelon-owned nuclear plant in Byron, Illinois. NSOs drive nuclear reactors like pilots fly jetliners — it’s mostly autopilot, except when something goes wrong. Hazen surveyed the control room’s instruments and advised taking actions that would trigger the plant’s diesel generators, switching the plant to backup power. According to multiple sources familiar with the incident’s details, including at least one who was directly involved, this was clearly the proper action to take.

But shift manager Ed Bendis rejected that advice. Hazen repeated it. Sources claim he repeated it several times. Bendis didn’t relent, and the reactor went without safety equipment for eight minutes, an eternity in fission time.

“For eight minutes, you’ve raised your middle finger to the meltdown gods,” one reactor operator said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “If anything else happened in that window — and it’s a safe bet one problem causes another — you’re screwed.”

...In the aftermath of the incident, the technical details didn’t bother the plant’s reactor operators — it had been an oddball event. The human element, however, was troubling. Following Hazen’s advice would have disconnected the reactor from its regular offsite power supply. In a statistics-obsessed nuclear industry where the “indicator” — a data point triggered by certain adverse conditions — is king and the technical classification of an incident can ruin a manager’s career, nobody likes to have a “loss of offsite power” incident happen on their watch. Least of all Ed Bendis, who had been exposed to some of the worst coercion dished out by Dave Hoots, who held a number of senior leadership positions at Byron through 2009 and is now Exelon’s chief of internal affairs. A wide range of Byron employees claim that, during his tenure at Byron, Hoots established himself as an ascendant manager by smashing operator morale — especially when recalcitrant operators insisted on prioritizing standards over scheduling. “Why would I ever restore morale?” he once reportedly asked a reactor operator. “You work better afraid.”

During the Jan. 30 incident...


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/03/11/world/toxic-management-erodes-safety-at-worlds-safest-nuclear-plant/#.UT7G5Y4yHdl

Nuclear Power/Nuclear Weapons -- and a Precarious Future

Nuclear Power/Nuclear Weapons -- and a Precarious Future
03/11/2013

With the second anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster this week, with North Korea having just threatened a "pre-emptive nuclear attack" against the United States and a U.S. senator saying this would result in "suicide" for North Korea, with Iran suspected of moving to build nuclear weapons, with the continuing spread of nuclear technology globally, the future looks precarious to humankind and the atom.

Can humanity at this rate make it through the 21st Century?

We were only able to get through the 20th Century without a major nuclear weapons exchange -- without atomic doomsday -- by the skin of our teeth.

With more nations having the ability to construct nuclear weapons -- and any country with a nuclear power facility has the materiel and trained personnel to make nuclear weapons -- the likelihood of this luck running out is high.

The only realistic way...


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karl-grossman/nuclear-powernuclear-weap_b_2851985.html





Austin Energy’s Value of Solar Tariff: Could It Work Anywhere Else?

Austin Energy’s Value of Solar Tariff: Could It Work Anywhere Else?

Austin’s solar policy framework may just be too weird to duplicate.


ANNIE LAPPÉ, SOLAR POLICY DIRECTOR AT VOTE SOLAR: MARCH 8, 2013

Last fall, Austin Energy become the first utility in the U.S. to offer a “Value of Solar Tariff” (VOST) to its residential electricity customers.

The VOST rate is presented as an alternative to net metering, the bill credit mechanism that has driven most customer adoption of solar in the U.S. today. Some utilities elsewhere in the country are looking to ditch net metering and jump on the VOST bandwagon. But will that be a good tradeoff for current and future solar customers?

...Here’s how the Austin VOST works: When a residential customer, let’s call her Sally, goes solar in Austin Energy’s service area, she is automatically signed up for the VOST. Sally continues to pay a monthly energy bill based on how many kilowatt-hours of electricity she and her family consume. However, now that she has a solar energy system, she is also given a credit for each and every kilowatt-hour her system generates. That credit is subtracted off Sally’s total monthly electricity bill. According to Austin Energy, the VOST rate is set up to more fairly reward solar system operators for the energy they produce. A VOST may soon be developed for commercial customers as well.

The VOST credit applied to a customer’s monthly electric bill is calculated using a value of solar algorithm originally developed by Clean Power Research in 2006. This algorithm is updated annually, and it currently accounts for the following benefits of distributed solar:

- Avoided fuel costs, which is valued at the marginal costs of the displaced energy
- Avoided capital cost of installing new power generation due to the added capacity of the solar PV system
- Avoided transmission and distribution expenses
- Line loss savings
- Fuel price hedge value
- Environmental benefits


If this list looks familiar...

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/austin-energys-value-of-solar-tariff-could-it-work-anywhere-else?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=headline&utm_campaign=GTMDaily

Third nuclear reactor denied for Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs

Third nuclear reactor denied for Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs

Plans to build a third reactor at southern Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs were halted — perhaps permanently — on Monday as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission upheld its earlier decision to reject the project.

Based largely on the fact that the applicant’s parent company is 85 percent owned by the French government, the commission again said “no” to UniStar Nuclear Operating Service’s proposal to build and operate the reactor near Lusby.

...Opponents of nuclear energy are holding up Monday’s decision as a victory in a much larger fight.

“The NRC commissioners have provided the public with a rare bit of good news … Maryland’s future is clear: it will be based on clean renewable power, not dirty, dangerous and expensive nuclear reactors,” said Michael Mariotte, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, which has long opposed the project.

...


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/11/third-reactor-denied-marylands-calvert-cliffs/#ixzz2NHqplOfD

Why German Conservatives Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Renewables

Not only is this piece the key to understanding the news coming out of Germany about energy, it also provides a very good set of discussion ideas for dealing with conservatives here who oppose envirrnmental action.

Forgetting their Roots – and their Constituents
Why German Conservatives Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Renewables

by Paul Hockenos

The Merkel administration’s ambiguous relationship with the country’s transition to renewable energy, or Energiewende, speaks volumes about German conservatives’ troubled relationship with the clean energy transition. At some opportunities, Merkel and her lieutenants praise to the sky the clean energy switch that Merkel embraced in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. But at other times, they urge caution, gripe that everything is moving much too quickly, and damn the transition for high consumer prices.

The fact is that German conservatives are split over the Energiewende, with the nay-sayers still largely predominant. This is a huge miscalculation, not only with negative implications for Germany but for German conservatism, which is forsaking a topic that fits in well with a conservative world view and will continue to cost its parties votes if their energy hawks win the day.

The Christian Democrats have had a small, environmentally friendly, pro-renewable energy wing since the 1980s. In line with conservative ideology, they emphasize environmental justice for future generations, ecological conservation, the responsibility to respect God’s creations, and opportunities for entrepreneurs. These are fundamental conservative values.

Few observers remember that it was not the Greens who initiated incentives for clean energy in Germany, but rather Helmut Kohl’s government in the early 1990s. Kohl was pushed to do so not by Green Party tree huggers but by conservative landowners with small hydro-power operations who wanted to sell their electricity to the utilities. Probably even fewer remember that the earliest formations of the Greens in the late 1970s/early 1980s included the likes of the former CDU minister Herbert Gruhl. But Gruhl and a mixed bag of other conservatives fled the party when the splintered detritus of the ultra-left factions, including one disillusioned anarchist by the name of Joschka Fischer, appeared on the scene, yanking it to the left – where it remains today.

Since then, German conservatives have by and large abdicated clean-energy topics to the left...


http://goo.gl/LnIjl

Why German Conservatives Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Renewables

Forgetting their Roots – and their Constituents
Why German Conservatives Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Renewables

by Paul Hockenos

The Merkel administration’s ambiguous relationship with the country’s transition to renewable energy, or Energiewende, speaks volumes about German conservatives’ troubled relationship with the clean energy transition. At some opportunities, Merkel and her lieutenants praise to the sky the clean energy switch that Merkel embraced in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. But at other times, they urge caution, gripe that everything is moving much too quickly, and damn the transition for high consumer prices.

The fact is that German conservatives are split over the Energiewende, with the nay-sayers still largely predominant. This is a huge miscalculation, not only with negative implications for Germany but for German conservatism, which is forsaking a topic that fits in well with a conservative world view and will continue to cost its parties votes if their energy hawks win the day.

The Christian Democrats have had a small, environmentally friendly, pro-renewable energy wing since the 1980s. In line with conservative ideology, they emphasize environmental justice for future generations, ecological conservation, the responsibility to respect God’s creations, and opportunities for entrepreneurs. These are fundamental conservative values.

Few observers remember that it was not the Greens who initiated incentives for clean energy in Germany, but rather Helmut Kohl’s government in the early 1990s. Kohl was pushed to do so not by Green Party tree huggers but by conservative landowners with small hydro-power operations who wanted to sell their electricity to the utilities. Probably even fewer remember that the earliest formations of the Greens in the late 1970s/early 1980s included the likes of the former CDU minister Herbert Gruhl. But Gruhl and a mixed bag of other conservatives fled the party when the splintered detritus of the ultra-left factions, including one disillusioned anarchist by the name of Joschka Fischer, appeared on the scene, yanking it to the left – where it remains today.

Since then, German conservatives have by and large abdicated clean-energy topics to the left...


http://goo.gl/LnIjl

China Drives Record Solar Growth While Panel Makers Wilt

China Drives Record Solar Growth While Panel Makers Wilt
By Marc Roca, Bloomberg
March 8, 2013

LONDON -- The $77 billion solar-energy industry is forecast to expand the most since 2011, as China becomes the biggest market for the first time and drives annual global installations to a record.

New generation capacity will rise about 14 percent this year to 34.1 gigawatts, equal to about eight atomic reactors, according to the average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That would beat the 4.4 percent growth in 2012, when demand shrank in Italy and France after subsidies were cut.

China, after building scores of factories that helped cut panel prices 20 percent in the past year, is poised to become the biggest consumer of the devices after doubling its 2013 target for new projects in January. Tumbling prices are benefiting installers including Solarcity Corp. and SunPower Corp. of California while hurting manufacturers such as LDK Solar Co. of China and Norway’s Renewable EnergyCorp. ASA.

“Solar demand is proving very resilient and will keep growing this year even as European markets slump,” said Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Zurich. “A further increase in installations driven by record- low prices, however, won’t do much to help manufacturers’ margins.”

The benefits are...

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/03/china-drives-record-solar-growth-while-panel-makers-wilt?cmpid=SolarNL-Saturday-March9-2013
Go to Page: « Prev 1 ... 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 Next »