environment,energy,greenhouse,gas,carbon,dioxide,global,nuclear energy,clean energy,emissions,global climate change,environmental impacts, Nuclear Energy Can Save US: December 2007

Nuclear Energy Can Save US--America�s 100 nukes equal four million barrels of oil per day.

Billions of lives and civilization itself may be at risk from the Global Warming & End of Cheap Oil, Crisis. Rising sea levels and rising oil prices could be the end of civilization as we know it. The problem is so huge that the most powerful answer, many nuclear plants, must be deployed. Currently, America‘s 100 nukes deliver the energy of four million barrels of oil per day. Wind and solar cannot do the job, and may delay the real answer too long. Still, all kinds of clean energy, plus conservation, plus reducing deforestation, will be needed to help the poor half of the world, and for civilization to survive through this century.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Proceedings of Bali Climate Conference (Part Two)

Conference extremists want US to pay reparations for emissions, which is totally unfair. America took no deliberate action to cause harm, but will do its part, in cutting fossil fuel. Other nations however, must control deforestation; likely 1/3 of total CO2 emissions.

CO2 is most directly related to burning of fossil fuels, and America consumed 25% of the world's total; namely 80Q of the world's 310Q fossil fuels in 1990; and will consume estimated 22%, 130Q of world's 600Q total fossil fuels in 2030.

A goal for emissions by 2030 to equal the 1990 level, would take the following clean energy (or equiv.):
US 130Q-80Q=50Q (equivalent to 8.5 billion barrels of oil) = 570, one-gig, nukes or 1.15 million, one-meg, wind turbines; or combination of these two clean sources.
World 600Q-310Q=290Q (equivalent to 48 billion barrels of oil) = 3200, one-gig nukes or 6.4 million, one-meg wind turbines; or combination.
NOTES: 1. All energy data from eia.doe.gov 2. One billion barrels oil=6Q, since US 7.5 billon barrels equal 42Q (2005)

A goal for 2050 would be more difficult to achieve, since oil may well be gone and additional clean energy will be needed to compensate. Antinuclear activists who closed down nuclear energy because of a few minor events, are the real villains of the coming climate and oil crisis. Chernobyl was not serious, compared to the Bhopal, India, chemical plant leak (thousands dead, and twice as many blinded and maimed), and Three-Mile Island problem was nothing at all. If the world had 2000, one-gig nukes right now, with the capability to ramp up to producing dozens more each year, there wouldn't be anything to even discuss

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Proceedings of Bali Climate Conference (Part One)

Two overriding ideas have come from the Bali Conference. Many of the 10,000 delegates, in particular those from Europe, blame America for all emissions problems, and think that they will get policies they like when the Bush administration is over. They ignore more important facts of history. The world, Europe especially, owes plenty to America, and all of its administrations for sacrifices to bring peace in two world wars, and two Asiatic wars; for huge balance of trade deficits that amount to nothing less than wealth transfers to the rest of the world; and for $trillions in foreign aid.
No one can predict in detail how the future will play out, least of all government planners. This was seen clearly in the problems of rigid Soviet economics, versus the thriving free market countries at the end of last century.
Fusion energy might arrive and solve all problems; but it always seems to be 50 to 100 years away. Barring that, this century's problems seem sure to center on energy. It will be difficult to convince any American administration, and also be counterproductive, for America to be rigidly constrained. If the end of cheap oil happens as a real crisis, free market capitalist countries, led by America stand the best chance of handling it. At some point, it may be right for America to promise steep emissions cuts, backed by its full faith and credit, with or without rigid numbers.
Already several nations face Kyoto Treaty fines up to $30 billion because they will miss the goals they promised. One negotiator said it had been hard to see how difficult the job would be; i.e., they did not see what they were getting into. For America's enormously complex economy, deciding numbers that can be met would be next to impossible.
Bali posts, Parts two and three, will consider emission transparency, and aid to poor nations. Aid programs will be easy to sell, because America is always generous.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Nuclear Subsidies; Tiny Vs. Renewable's.

A story in the Hawaii Reporter (http://www.hawaiireporter.com/), by Michael. R. Fox, Ph.D, describes the US energy subsidy program in the clearest manner that I have ever seen. Some critics have claimed that the $50 billion Nuclear Loan Guarantee is excessive. (My take; this is ridiculous. In the past there were some shoddy nuke programs, but transparency will guarantee that will not happen again; it is most likely that not a single $billion will have to be spent.)
On the other hand, Mr. Fox, with 40 years in energy, plus University teaching, says that the subsidies for renewables have been ongoing for three decades, with little to show. Now, there is a 0.52 per gallon subsidy on ethanol, which has only 2/3 the energy of gas (data from another source). If nukes received compensation for clean energy delivered, that was equivalent to the ethanol subsidy, one-gig nukes, which produce one million kilowatts each instant, and one million kwh each hour, would be paid a subsidy of $22,000 for every hour of operation.
The cost to build nuclear plants is wildly exaggerated by antinuke activists. Costs are also artificially inflated by government overregulation. In the early 70's many US plants were built for $100,000,000. Some of these were probably slapdash, but plants could be built quite safely now for a few $billion, under current strict supervision. Japan builds for $1.7 billion, and China, probably for less.
As for strict supervision, it is unfortunately too strict, and intrusive. Sometimes, changes are made in designs after construction starts. Then, instead of simple design revisions by software, concrete, rebar, cables, etc. have to be ripped out causing huge overruns. Also, the paperwork for construction is excessive. In one case studied, 44,000,000 pages of documents were produced, almost 2/3 of a ton per day. The nuclear renaissance which is starting in America, needs more common sense supervision than this for success.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bali Climate Change Conference Report

Among the first issues being discussed at the Bali conference on climate change, is whether rich countries owe reparations to poor ones for climate problems caused by burning of fossil fuels. It seems to me this is a moral obligation that should be accepted.
However, for America, there are good reasons why it should be given some slack; even decades worth. It would not be good for the world if America's might was hobbled by restrictions on its industries. Starting after WWII, America has created the modern world economy. While some economic excesses are a big part of the problem, the available capital and industrial strength that the world now enjoys, is the only reason to hope that the problem may eventually be solved. After WWII, America spent trillions of dollars rebuilding Europe, including the devastated nation of Germany. Also, rather than destroying Japan with reparations, America led them with trade (plus their ingenuity and energy) to where Japan is the world's third economy, and a real economic competitor. No one can call this imperialism.
In more recent decades, trade with America, Europe, and Japan, has helped development of China and India. They should also be given some slack; if their economies succeed, then one-third of the world's population will be supported.
In coming decades, the industrial might of the world must focus on construction of nuclear and wind energy plants; the only solutions visible right now. 5000, one-gig nukes, AND 12 to 15 million, one-meg wind turbines, plus car and appliance efficiency, controlled forestry, and biofuels (from anything except food) might pull the world through.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Insanity-The Only Word That Fits

A recent report, at www.townhallmail.com/raslnam_thukkjkj.html, says that corn ethanol used 6% of the US 2000 corn crop, 20% last year, and about one-quarter this year. Furthermore, congress mandates 7.5 billion gallons of corn ethanol by 2012 (no crop % estimate), and 15 billion gallons by 2022 (i.e. 36 billion gallons ethanol, with 21 billion from scrap stock such as saw grass). (Aside-saw grass technology is now yet proven, but is infinitely better than food as a feedstock. The sacrificed food will not just be corn, but includes other foods that will be left unplanted, crowded out by the corn acreage.)
The Org. for Economic Co-operation and Development says that rising food prices will threaten the nutrition and health of poor people worldwide, and that ethanol production causes greater environmental damage than fossil fuels . A Nobel Laureate, Paul Crutzen concurs; saying nitrous oxide from ethanol causes an increase in greenhouse emissions. Even worse, a Cornell professor, David Pimentel, computes that from start to finish, growing and processing the corn requires 1700 gallons of water for each gallon of ethanol. This is obviously a greater strain on the Earth, than even coal, which is simply dug up, moved, and burned in a power plant.
15 billion gallons of ethanol, equal to about 400 million barrels, is less than 20 days of US oil consumption, and could be produced more sanely by 25, one-gig nukes.
PS: A United Nations spokesman said (10/29/07), that using arable land to grow crops for biofuels is a Crime Against Humanity.
PPS: I believe corn ethanol craze will end before five, or at the most ten, years from now.