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Showing posts from April, 2008

GE-Hitachi to Add 900 New Jobs in NC

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley (D) and state officials announced today that GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy will expand its campus in Wilmington, NC. The move will add 900 new jobs to the area over the next five years.

Via The News & Observer:
He [Jim Fain, N.C. Commerce Secretary] predicted the GE expansion would have "a significant halo effect" in the Southeastern region of the state.GE-Hitachi plans to invest $704 million at its New Hanover County campus and pay average annual salaries of $85,000. The Hanover County average wage is $33,226 a year.The company plans to add new manufacturing, training, simulation and testing facilities at its 1,300-acre campus.

Latest Issue of Nuclear Energy Insight Available

The April issue of Nuclear Energy Insight is now available online. The cover story features the Florida Public Service Commission's approval of two new reactors at Florida Power & Light Co.'s Turkey Point nuclear power plant. The issue also details two new-plant license applications and the Energy Information Administration's generation projections for 2030. Other articles include discussions of greenhouse gas emission reductions under Climate VISION, the completion of an historic construction project at Diablo Canyon, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's support for nuclear energy and an innovative approach to modeling future nuclear reactors in development at Idaho National Laboratory.

What Arab Nations Think About Iran's Nuclear Plans

Iran is pursuing nuclear energy for purely peaceful reasons.This is the result of the 2008 Annual Arab Public Opinion Poll taken by Zogby International for the University of Maryland's Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development. The poll covers a number of topics; by all means, take a look at the whole thing.46% of those polled believe Iran is conducting research for peaceful purposes while 39% think weaponry is the end goal. More strikingly, 67% feel Iran should be left to its own devices (so to speak); only 22% think pressure should be applied to stop them. The countries do not think as one. Jordan and Morocco are more dubious about Iran's motives and what it might mean for the Arab world than are Saudi Arabia and Egypt - other participants are the UAE and Lebanon, which split more evenly. The pdf linked provides more details, of course, but not enough to really understand the cultural and perhaps geographical biases inherent in each polled country. It's hard to believe…

Bush Addresses Sagging U.S. Economy

In a Rose Garden press conference this morning, President Bush acknowledged American's growing anxiety over the economy and faulted the Congress for inaction. The pull quote:As electricity prices rise, Congress continues to block provisions needed to increase domestic electricity production by expanding the use of clean, safe nuclear power. Instead many of the same people in Congress who complain about high energy costs support legislation that would make energy even more expensive for our consumers and small businesses.

Inside U.S. Energy Subsidies

The Wall Street Journal's excellent blog, Environmental Capital, takes a look at the federal energy subsidy pie and asks, Who's getting what?Since 1999, federal energy subsidies have more than doubled—from $8.2 billion to $16.6 billion in 2007. Who gets the most? “Renewables” landed $4.8 billion last year, but that includes $3.25 billion for ethanol and other biofuels. Coal and cleaner-burning “refined” coal took home $3.3 billion, while the nuclear power industry got $1.3 billion. In all, about 40% of the energy subsidy pie went toward electricity production; the rest for things like alternative fuels and energy conservation....But the raw numbers don’t tell the story. What does is how much cash the government hands out per unit of electricity produced. The winner there is refined coal, at $29.81 per megawatt hour. That’s even more than solar power ($24.34) or wind ($23.37). Nuclear power received $1.59 per megawatt hour. Regular coal took home $0.44 per megawatt hour, while …

Monday Morning Breakfast

...nuclear energy news you may have missed this weekend.

The DOE report on long-term storage of used fuel will be delayed one year....Algeria, Jordan, Libya, the UAE and now Tunisia: French President Nicolas Sarkozy will sign an agreement on civilian nuclear energy development in Tunis on Monday....The British government has warned that the shortage of nuclear engineers could cause delays in the country's new plant building program and expects to bring engineers out of retirement....Turkey's first nuclear power plant is to be inaugurated by 2015....British Columbia has announced a ban on all uranium mining and exploration in the province....Rick Montgomery's Kansas City Stararticle from April 19th runs this weekend in another McClatchy-owned paper, the Detroit Free Press. DFP editors have retitled the piece, Towers of Potential....Public meetings to discuss safety procedures at Indian Point are being held today in Cortlandt, NY....The Tri-City Heraldlooks at the possibility

The Shining Path to a Nuclear Workers' Paradise

Stuart Jordan over at Workers' Liberty proposes an interesting reason to oppose nuclear energy if oppose it we must:Whether or not we believe there is a role for nuclear in a future society, we should be absolutely clear that the bourgeoisie views nuclear technology in a way fundamentally opposed to the how Marxists should see it. Their concern is for profit, ours is for human need, and the nuclear power stations that they are proposing to build will reflect this difference.I think he means the plant will reflect the drive for profit, not the difference between that and human need. Marxists know how to create loaded terminology, but it turns their prose into spaghetti-like strands of thought that sound densely intelligent but are often just plain dense.But any particular technology developed under capitalism will invariably bear the mark of this ecological[ly?] destructive and alienating system. In some cases the technology can be modified in ways that will restore the metabolic r…

Charlottesville Mayor Interviews Anti-nukes

Yesterday, the Mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia Dave Norris (not to be confused with Chuck Norris), hosted an interview with Stratton Salidis of Alternatives to Paving and Elena Day of the People's Alliance for Clean Energy (or PACE, whose website is no longer in existence). According to Mayor Dave's blog post, the interview was to talk about "the kinds of decisions we make as a community to either undermine or support our commitment to environmental sustainability."

By the choice of guests one hardly has to imagine how lopsidedly anti-nuclear this interview was.

In the interview, the guests describe nuclear (among other things) as "incredibly polluting" with waste mounting up so high that it won't even fit in Yucca Mountain, if it were ever opened.

If you can stand to listen to the misinformation, you can find a video of the interview here. (Author's note: I suggest you wait a few hours after eating to view this.)

According to Mayor Dave Norris's…

"Is Nuclear Energy Our Best Hope?"

Discover Magazine has just published an article, "Is Nuclear Energy Our Best Hope?," written by Gwyneth Cravens. The pull quote:[James] Lovelock explained that his decision to endorse nuclear power was motivated by his fear of the consequences of global warming and by reports of increasing fossil-fuel emissions that drive the warming. Jesse Ausubel, head of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University, recently echoed Lovelock’s sentiment. “As a green, I care intensely about land-sparing, about leaving land for nature,” he wrote. “To reach the scale at which they would contribute importantly to meeting global energy demand, renewable sources of energy such as wind, water, and biomass cause serious environmental harm. Measuring renewables in watts per square meter, nuclear has astronomical advantages over its competitors.” All of this has led several other prominent environmentalists to publicly favor new nuclear plants. I had a similar change of heart. For…

Entergy Profits Surge in First-Quarter

Entergy Corporation this morning reported first-quarter earnings of $308.7 million, up 46% from one year ago. 1Q revenue rose 6.3% to $2.86 billion. In other good news for Entergy shareholders, Indian Point 2 increased to 98% capacity early Friday morning according to an NRC power reactor status report. The unit had been operating at 91% of capacity on Thursday.

Vermont's Fanatic Anti-Nuclear Movement

John McClaughry, president of the Ethan Allen Institute, wrote a commentary piece to the Rutland Herald about Vermont's Fanatic Anti-Nuclear Movement:In the face of all science, reason, and experience, the anti-nuclear zealots fiercely maintain that the Vernon nuclear power plant [Vermont Yankee] is a standing death threat against the population for miles around, that its pall of radiation will produce deformed children, and that the plant's present owner, Entergy, is a reckless and sinister enterprise making enormous profits while scornfully dismissing the concerns of its likely Vermont victims.

...

The attack on Vermont Yankee has escalated since 2003, and especially since 2007, when the champion of the anti-nuke/VPIRG forces, Windham County Sen. Peter Shumlin, returned to the Senate and again became its president pro tem.

In return for the state's non-objection to an increase of Vermont Yankee's electricity output by 20 percent, the legislators in 2003 demanded that t…

New and Updated NEI Resources

We have posted several new and updated fact sheets and policy briefs to NEI’s public Web site during the past few weeks. They cover such topics as new-plant financing, advanced fuel cycle technologies and plant security. Here is a list of the publications and their links. The documents are available in HTML and PDF formats. We hope you find these products helpful and informative.

Policy Briefs
New policy brief:
Financing New Nuclear Power Plants.

Updated policy briefs:
Uranium Fuel Supply Adequate to Meet Present and Future Nuclear Energy Demand, Advanced Fuel-Cycle Technologies Hold Promise for Used Fuel Management Program, Nuclear Power 2010: A Key Building Block for New Nuclear Power Plants.

Fact Sheets
New fact sheet:
Nuclear Industry’s Comprehensive Approach Develops Skilled Work Force for the Future.

Updated fact sheets:
Nuclear Power Plant Security, Water Consumption at Nuclear Power Plants, Nuclear Power Plant Fire Protection, Licensing New Nuclear Power Plants.

Ohio Lawmakers Embrace Nuclear Energy

The Ohio General Assembly has sent Gov. Ted Strickland (D) sweeping energy legislation that includes Nuclear Energy in the new state definition of technologies that generate “clean” electricity. Strickland has said that he will sign the bill into law.

The definition is significant, as the bill would require that 25 percent of the electricity sold in Ohio by 2025 be generated by a combination of “advanced energy projects,” including nuclear, and renewable sources. Advanced energy projects and renewables each would be required to provide half of the 25 percent total, or 12.5 percent each. The bill establishes specific generation targets for solar energy among its renewable requirement.

The legislation, Amended Substitute Senate Bill 221, passed the Ohio House and Senate overwhelmingly and closely conforms to key clean energy objectives that the Governor outlined for lawmakers a year ago. SB 221 also would enact new electricity rate regulations and energy efficiency standards. The Gove…

The Snap Together Energy Plant

If solar power has an image problem, it is that there is an aura of fluffy-headed idealism about it, a wouldn't-it-be-cool do-good factor that bull sessions in college are built around but not grown-up things like energy policy. So it is a puzzlement whether the recent announcement by eSolar portends an interesting development or the kind of thing that wows the kids at liberal arts schools. (The name eSolar doesn't help a bit - sounds like software to help you get a great tan through your computer.)Here's the announcement:Google, Idealab and Oak Investment Partners, among others, are backing Pasadena's eSolar with investments worth $130 million. eSolar plans to use computing and mass manufacturing technology to build thermal solar plants more cheaply and efficiently. "The eSolar power plant is based on mass manufactured components, and designed for rapid construction, uniform modularity, and unlimited scalability," Asif Ansari, CEO of eSolar, said in a press …

Energy Policy in the North Carolina Primary

As the Democratic presidential candidates turn their attention to North Carolina and the upcoming primary, residents of the Tar Heel state will be considering the national and local implications when entering the voting booth on May 6th. Current Governor, Mike Easley (D), will be stepping aside, the victim of term limits. Major candidates running for his open seat include:

Lt. Gov. Bev Perdue (D), State Treasurer Richard Moore (D), Mayor of Charlotte Pat McCrory (R), State Senator Fred Smith (R), former state Supreme Court Associate Justice Robert Orr (R), and attorney Bill Graham (R).

In its pages, The Charlotte Observer has provided a platform for the gubernatorial candidates to speak on individual policy issues. (Hear, hear Fourth Estate!) Today their series continues with "energy." Links to the individual candidate's statements are above. Looking for those candidates who specifically address nuclear energy? Graham, McRory, and Smith.

Laura Bush Touts Eco-Friendly House

Or ranch, I guess, as in the Crawford Ranch. Hosting the third hour of the Today Show yesterday, Mrs. Bush won a sandwich-making contest, listened politely to advice about raising twins - her own, Jenna and Barbara, were on hand to cheer on their mom - and interviewed author R.L. Stine. And:...in a pre-taped tour of the family’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush touted green aspects of the home, which is partially heated with geothermal power. “We could and we’ve discussed putting one wind mill out here because, as you can tell, we have enough wind to generate electricity” she said as the wind tousled her hair.With President Bush ever so slowly acknowledging climate change issues, it was nice of the First Lady to move things along a bit in an audience-friendly way. Bush has become a bit detached from eco-unfriendly movement conservatives as his presidency moves into its final months, and it has allowed him to strike out in some new directions. It'll be interesting to see how, or if, …

The Rough and the Smooth in Canada

An editorial in the Ottawa Citizen offers some surprises. Here's the rough:The latest fiasco in the world of nuclear is that the rehabilitation of Bruce Power units 1 and 2 is running up to 24 per cent over cost estimates. That could mean extra costs of between $350 million and $650 million on the $2.75-billion project. Ontario taxpayers are on the hook for the first $300 million of overruns and then a quarter of the cost after that. Bruce Power is owned by TransCanada Corp. and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. Already the provincial auditor has said that Queen's Park didn't drive a tough enough deal on the Bruce plan.Worth noting here is the differences between the U.S. and Canada, with government (and taxpayers) taking a heavier role in costs and cost overruns in the energy sector than would happen in the U.S. Add to this the difference between Canada's provinces and U.S. states, where provinces go their own way far more than states do. Here's t…

Wind Energy Production Tax Credit Subsidy

The U.S. wind industry's production tax credit subsidy is set to expire at the end of 2008. The wind industry has received this PTC incentive since 1993 - nearly sixteen years - and it recently has begun to prove its worth. From the American Wind Energy Association:Thanks in part to the PTC, U.S. wind power capacity is now over 16,800 MW—or enough to serve the equivalent of 4.5 million average households—and wind has been the second largest source of new electrical capacity in the nation, behind natural gas, for the past three years.Bravo for the wind industry - they have definitely established themselves. My question now and many others also are wondering is: how long does the wind industry need to receive the PTC incentive? The AWEA still says they need it. Here's Kirk Sorenson's thoughts:
I keep reading on environmentalist websites how great wind is because it's supposedly cheaper than nuclear. They also talk about how terrible nuclear power is, with its government …

McCain Answers Energy Questions

Or rather, surrogates from his presidential campaign are. Making the rounds on Earth Day, McCain's environmental and energy policy advisor, Eric Burgeson, participated in an online chat with Washington Post readers. Earlier, Grist published an interview with Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a top economic advisor in the McCain campaign. The pull quote:Q: One of McCain's signature issues is opposition to a lot of subsidies and earmarks. But on climate policy, this is coupled with a stated insistence on heavy subsidies for the nuclear industry. Is there a principled distinction between which subsidies are good and bad? A:There's a pretty straightforward philosophy. The fundamental concern he has -- not with just climate policy but on earmarks and things like that -- is that you are using the taxpayers' dollars for special interests, not for the national interests. When you have a practice of providing subsidies, you invite lobbying on the part of special interests, and this l…

Mambo Italiano: Nuclear Energy in Italy?

It certainly seems likely:Enel SpA. plans to build a nuclear power plant in Italy to take advantage of a possible legislative shift in Italy making nuclear power production legal, Financial Times Deutschland reported, citing chief executive Fulvio Conti.This would be a big change: nuclear energy has been banned in Italy since 1987. The reason for the change would apparently be the mandate voters handed to Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, which allows him to go out on a few limbs politically:Silvio Berlusconi, the head of a right-wing coalition that earlier this month won general elections, advocates the reintroduction of nuclear power and believes it could take five years to build a power plant.That might be optimistic, unless Italy is far less encumbered by regulation than the United States. Enel projects that it would take seven to ten years to get a plant up and running; that seems more plausible.Well, if this comes together, that's one more European country to take a shine to…

Energy Secretary Bodman on Biofuels

U.S. DOE Secretary Samuel Bodman spoke at DOE's Biomass Conference on April 18. In his prepared remarks the Secretary acknowledged concerns about corn-based ethanol and the importance of developing the "next generation" of ethanol made from biomass products that are outside the food chain: In all areas of our research and development, the impact on our global environment – including the impact of energy diversification on land and water resources and world food supplies – is an important part of the discussion. And it is an important consideration in our technical research. This has absolutely been the case when it comes to biofuels.

We’ve looked at the research and we’ve concluded that a diverse, sustainable set of biofuels-technologies will measurably improve our energy security and the health of our environment.

But to do this we must develop, produce, deliver and consume biofuels in an intelligent way and with an urgent focus on sustainability.

So, as we pursue diversit…

TVA Eyes Nuclear Waste Center

From the Alabama "Times Daily:"
The Tennessee Valley Authority, along with the U.S. Department of Energy, could announce as early as Monday a plan to develop a nuclear waste recycling center that could demonstrate a technology many experts believe can address the growing problem of spent nuclear waste, according to a Congressional source...
Read the full story.

Monday Morning Breakfast

...nuclear energy news you may have missed this weekend.

The United Arab Emirates will pursue a vigorous nuclear energy program to answer growing electricity demands and shortages of natural gas, so says a white paper released by the UAE government...Sri Lanka is moving toward nuclear energy too...Alberta, Canada is being wooed...Add French-owned Suez to the list of suitors looking to purchase British Energy...Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are looking at common ceramics and their potential impact on the development of new containment materials...The Kansas City Star reports on changing political attitudes toward nuclear energy...Last week it was time for Time to publish their green issue, this week it's The New York Times Magazine. Highlights include the cover story, Why Bother?, which "looks for a few reasons to go green." Michael Pollan's article is currently the third most-emailed story on nytimes.com. The issue also features a short pie…

Illinois Earthquake and Nuclear Plants

(4/18/2008) - This morning at 4:37 central time a 5.2 magnitude earthquake shook southeastern Illinois. Illinois is home to six nuclear plants operated by Exelon and are located in the central and northern parts of the state. Here is a statement from Exelon on the earthquake and its nuclear plants:None of Exelon Nuclear's six Illinois nuclear energy stations were affected by early morning seismic activity near the southern Illinois town of West Salem, the company said today.

Plant equipment continued to function normally at each of the six operating nuclear stations. Station operators and technical experts conducted extensive pre-planned inspections when the seismic activity occurred.

Operators performed "walk-downs" to search for potential effects and confirmed by this morning that the earthquake caused no damage to equipment or otherwise affected plant operations. Additional plant walk- downs are scheduled throughout the day. Each plant continued to operate at its normal…

Baby Steps: Mother Jones on Nuclear Energy

Not the magazine you would consider a go-to for nuclear energy  advocacy, but Mother Jones and writer Judith Lewis make the most honest attempt we've seen to honestly explore issues surrounding nuclear energy from the perspective of those who really, really don't like it. Even with a little too much David Lochbaum and a brief zinger at NEI, we recommending reading the whole thing.Here's a taster:Will a nuclear reactor operating under normal conditions give you cancer? It's a question that, surprisingly, still hasn't been conclusively answered. A 1995 Greenpeace study found an increase in breast-cancer mortality among women living near various U.S. and Canadian reactors in the Great Lakes region. Yet peer-reviewed studies by the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation as well as the National Cancer Institute show no significant increase in cancer among people living near reactors. An initiative called the Tooth Fairy Project is currently trying to prove tha…

NEI's Energy Markets Report - April 7- April 11, 2008

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:Electricity peak prices saw small changes at all hubs last week. All prices last week were higher than the previous four-week and last 52-week averages. The Palo Verde and SP 15 hub prices have steadily increased with the price of gas since the beginning of November. Their prices last week were about $20/MWh higher than the last 52-week average. In 2007, Arizona and California relied on gas for 34 percent and 56 percent of their generation (see pages 1 and 3).

Estimated nuclear plant availability fell to 77 percent last week. Four units began refueling while one finished. FitzPatrick and Pilgrim were down briefly on April 6 (NRC, see pages 2 and 4).

Uranium prices fell to $69 and $68/lb U3O8 according to TradeTech and UxConsulting (see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub increased $0.21 to $9.81/MMBtu. After beginning the 2007-2008 heating season at a record level, underground natural gas storage levels declined…

Staying On Task with Global Warming

The Fox News Channel is determined to play as still controversial an issue that much of industry, not to mention the public, not to mention Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, has decided is not controversial. Al Gore has won fair and square, but since Fox has no use for Gore, that's easily discounted. If Fox really wants to play the opposition, though, the network has to be sure everyone stays on task. And unfortunately, that's becoming difficult, a sign that the opposition has become increasingly irrelevant. Fox and Friends is the network's breakfast show - I think it used to have a puppet as a co-host. Human host Alisyn Camerota brought on MIT Professor of Meteorology Kerry Emanuel and this happened:Introducing him, [Camerota] gushed that [Emanuel]  is one of THE most influential scientists when it comes to global warming and its link to hurricanes; he used to think that climate change caused more tropical storms but now, he's changed his mind. Three years ago he publish…

Google Trends and "Nuclear Energy"

I've been spending some time recently with a great little Google widget (redundant, no?) called Google Trends. More robust than Google Zeitgeist, GT (acronyms abound!) allows the user to see keyword search results over time. Even better, one can break searches out by country, state, and city.

After plugging in the phrase, "Washington Capitals, best team in the NHL," and coming up empty, I searched "nuclear energy." Connecticut tops the list in 2008. (The full results from 2008 YTD searches can be found here.) What jumped out was Pennsylvania's place at #4. Indeed, going back to 2004, residents of PA rank #8 of those searching Google for information on nuclear energy.

How often have we heard nuclear energy policy discussed by the presidential candidates in the run up to the Pennsylvania primary? Or Ohio? Or Michigan? Not much. A Nexis and Westlaw search confirms this. In a presidential campaign where personality appears to matter more than policy, how often h…

Bechtel, AFL-CIO in Labor Agreement for New Nuclear Energy Plant

At the BCTD conference, it was announced today that the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department had committed to negotiate a project labor agreement with San Francisco-based Bechtel to construct a proposed third reactor at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Maryland.

From the Press Release, Under the agreement, to be signed by the end of 2008, the BCTD will commit to provide, qualified, skilled, craft workers to the Calvert Cliffs project, and Bechtel will commit to provide fair wages, fringe benefits, and working conditions for all craft workers. The proposed plant would create 4,000 new jobs during peak construction and 360 permanent jobs once the new reactor is operational.Michael Wallace, President and CEO of Constellation Energy, has targeted Dec. 2008 as the groundbreaking date for Calvert #3.

Taxes and Nuclear Power

Joe Somsel, a contributor and frequent commenter here on the blog, asked me to share this with our readers:Since I'm posting on the day my US and state income taxes are due, let me expound a bit on relative tax treatments for nuclear generation compared to wind and solar generation.

In the US, the Internal Revenue Service allows accelerated depreciation (actually "Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System" (MACRS)) that classifies assets into classes then gives the percent of first cost (basis) that can be deduced per year from taxable income. [Note - I'm not a tax accountant - I just took some classes!]

Solar and wind equipment used to make electricity is a five year asset class while a nuclear plant is a 15 year asset class. Both exclude the underlying land values which do not depreciate.

That means that the owner of two new $3000/kW plants, one wind (or solar) and one nuclear, could write-off $960 the first full year for his wind or solar plant but only $285 for his …

Skip Bowman Builds on Nuclear's Promise

Speaking today before the Legislative Conference of the Building and  Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, NEI President and CEO Skip Bowman went beyond extolling the benefits of nuclear energy - which he also did, of course, as this is not an audience that lives and breaths nuclear - to address the bread and butter issues that directly impact this group. And this year, there's a lot of butter on the bread:What does building a new nuclear plant mean to us in this room? Well, each new construction will generate thousands and thousands of high paying jobs for several years. Peak employment during construction could be as many as 3000 jobs or even 4000 jobs depending on man-hours per week, overtime, and other factors. Those of you in this room represent the kind of workers we want and need. Thirty new plants could mean a lot of jobs — as many as 100,000 jobs!And it’s not just about these construction jobs. Operating a nuclear plant calls for 400 to 700 permanent jobs for t…

Patrick Moore in Newsweek

Patrick Moore, one of the cofounders of Greeenpeace and an advocate for nuclear energy, is interviewed by Fareed Zakaria in the latest issue of Newsweek. The pull quote: Greenpeace still uses the word "evil" to describe nuclear energy. I think that's as big a mistake as if you lumped nuclear medicine in with nuclear weapons. Nuclear medicine uses radioactive isotopes to successfully treat millions of people every year, and those isotopes are all produced in nuclear reactors. That's why I left Greenpeace: I could see that my fellow directors, none of whom had any science education, were starting to deal with issues around chemicals and biology and genetics, which they had no formal training in, and they were taking the organization into what I call "pop environmentalism," which uses sensationalism, misinformation, fear tactics, etc., to deal with people on an emotional level rather than an intellectual level.

How Not to Be Helpful: Iranian Edition

Somehow, the very real seriousness of what the United States may or may not do as regards Iraq's Persian neighbor pales when one considers what a nation of smurfs Iran turns out to be. Head smurf  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting the Philippines with the intention of sharing the great knowledge of nuclear energy his country has gained:President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here on Monday expressed Iran's readiness to put its expertise on peaceful nuclear technology at disposal of all nations within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations. Ahmadinejad made the remark in a meeting with Philippine Foreign Minister Alberto Romulo, adding that certain monopolist powers try to introduce nuclear energy as atomic bomb. We're reasonably sure that "monopolist power" is Liechtenstein. And the Liechtensteinians have been saying mean and untrue things:The seditious policy of certain nuclear powers possessing nuclear arms is a big lie, the president sa…

Nuclear vs. Fossil Share Price Performances

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) hosted their annual energy conference last Saturday with keynote speakers including MIT's President Susan Hockfield and Duke's CEO James Rogers. The event showcased many panelists including NEI's Vice President Richard Myers. Myers passed along the slide below from one of the panelists John Gilbertson - Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. I would say the slide is pretty self-explanatory.

Obviously Wall Street investors aren't bearish on nuclear utilities.

Nuclear Blog Roundup by Idaho Samizdat

From Dan Yurman:Every four weeks or so I'll take a look at what other nuclear energy blogs are talking about and provide some pointers here. ...Check it out.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

NEI Nuclear Notes has fallen a bit behind in recognizing new bloggers for nuclear energy. Nevertheless, Rod Adams is still keeping it up and in fact helping to convert the ones on the fence. Rod last month participated in a live debate at GreenOptions hosted by Mark Seall - "the man behind TalkClimateChange.com." Mark was skeptical "to whether or not nuclear power should be a major tool in the fight against air pollution and climate change." Three days ago, Mark came off the fence and Kirk Sorensen was there to welcome him:Welcome to this side of the fence! Not only is the grass greener, but it gets even greener than that when you learn about the potential of thorium to power some really impressive reactors!Welcome from NEI Nuclear Notes as well!

NEI's Energy Markets Report - March 31-April 4, 2008

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:Electricity peak prices increased $4-32/MWh at all hubs. ERCOT increased $31.70/MWh as it returned to its average range from the depressed prices the week before. Colder temperatures at the beginning of last week for the Northeast and Southwest hubs increased electricity prices by $8-10/MWh (see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub rose $0.58 to $9.60/MMBtu. According to EIA’s STEO, the recent upward price shift reflects a number of factors, including the drop-off in LNG imports compared to year-ago levels, high oil prices, and the drawdown in storage to the lowest levels in 4 years (see pages 1, 2 and 3).

Estimated nuclear plant availability fell to 79 percent last week. Four units began refueling while only one finished. Perry 1 was down for a planned maintenance outage and Oconee 2 was briefly down due to a low condenser vacuum (NRC, see pages 2 and 4).

Crude oil spot prices fell $0.70 to $104.49/barrel. WTI c…

T. J. Rodgers on Alternative Energy Sources

Peter Robinson from the National Review Onlineinterviewed T. J. Rodgers on the "the promise and pitfalls of the most popular alternative-energy sources." At the end, Robinson asked Rodgers what energy technology he would invest a million dollars of his own money in if they all received zero subsidies and were on an equal footing. Rodgers answered "nuclear, sure."

T. J. Rodgers is the founder and CEO of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY) and the chairman of SunPower Corp, a manufacturer of solar-power systems.

Japan and France: Nuclear Energy Points the Way

Back in 1959, director Alain Resnais released a film that has since become a classic. Called Hiroshima Mon Amour, it posited a love affair between a Japanese engineer and a French actress. As the title suggests, the relationship founders on the issue of a defining moment of modern history both western and eastern. No debates, please, and the film is a masterpiece that chokes off debate anyway. In the real world, here comes a different defining moment:The prime ministers of Japan and France said Friday they wanted to put global warming high on the agenda for the Group of Eight summit and hailed nuclear power as a way to reduce carbon emissions.And here's some more:In a joint statement, [French Prime Minister Francois] Fillon and [Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo] Fukuda said they "share the same vision of nuclear energy's paramount role for prosperity and sustainable development in the 21st century."The two countries have chosen nuclear power "as a key component of …

Showing OPEC the Door:

Broadly speaking, the nuclear energy community is in favor of a diverse energy mix. The current mood of the country has tied nuclear power ever closer to its green brethren, and the energy companies that own nuclear energy plants are likewise friends of old man Sol and Aeolus god of the wind. However, oil is driving everyone nuts. Here's Lester Thurow in the Los Angeles Times:There is a solution to the rising cost of oil, but it is a painful one. Let's say there is a lot of $20-a-barrel oil in the world -- deep-sea oil, Canadian tar sands. But who would look for $20-a-barrel oil if someone else (Saudi Arabia) has lots of $5-a-barrel oil? The answer is: no one.Basically, American taxpayers have to guarantee potential producers that the price in the future will not fall below $20 a barrel and that they will not lose their investments.This is easy to do. The U.S. needs to guarantee that it will buy all of its oil at $20 a barrel before buying anything from OPEC. This forces the p…

Berkeley School of Law Launches New Journal

In its innaugural issue of Ecology Law Currents, the Berkeley School of Law has published an article, "Relative Risk: Global Warming and Imported Fossil Fuels vs. Nuclear Power," by California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R). The pull quote: California is the most electrically efficient state in America and the third most energy efficient state overall. Our environmental laws are world-class. The result is that a unit of goods or services produced in California does less harm to the environment here than it would were it produced in almost any other place on earth. But making California less competitive has the unintended impact of moving economic activity to other states or nations with less environmentally friendly economies. Many Californians concerned about air and water pollution were fine with the loss of manufacturing jobs in exchange for improving California’s environment. But to the extent that global warming is caused by greenhouse gas emissions, this California-cent…

Economic Benefits of North Anna Power Station

One of the tools NEI provides the public is a series of economic benefit reports. Created in collaboration with the plant owners, these reports show how the presence of a plants rebound in many positive ways throughout its state and community. Nuclear plants not only provide clean, low-cost energy but are veritable economic engines for their regions.Here's the press release. At the end is the link to the current report:Economic Impact of North Anna Power Station Tops $700 Million Yearly in Virginia, Study FindsWASHINGTON, D.C., April 10, 2008—As a reliable provider of more than 20 percent of Virginia’s electricity, the North Anna Power Station generates more than $710 million in economic benefits to the state, according to a new economic analysis of the facility.The direct economic benefit of electricity production at North Anna’s two reactors is $600 million. The secondary economic benefits to the state are another $111 million, according to the analysis.The power station is “an …

British Energy Hits 20-Month High on the LSE

British Energy Group (BGY) rose 38 pence (.75 USD) or 5.4 percent on the London Stock Exchange in trading Thursday. The jump occurred after reports that RWE, Germany's second-biggest utility, had made an £11 bn (21.7 bn USD) offer for BGY.

From Bloomberg,
"British Energy is clearly in play," said Edward Collins, a London-based fund manager at New Star Asset Management Group Plc. He helps manage $41 billion of investments including British Energy shares. "New nuclear is absolutely essential. British Energy has an unrivaled strategic position."

Senator Domenici on Used Fuel and Yucca Mountain

Is the nation beginning to head a new direction on how to manage its used nuclear fuel? Here's the direction Senator Domenici thinks we should go:The Senate’s longtime champion of nuclear energy said today that other communities, not just Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, should be considered for storing the nation’s nuclear waste. New Mexico Republican Sen. Pete Domenici’s comments this morning reflect Washington’s deep frustration over the Department of Energy’s endless delays at Yucca Mountain. The nuclear industry has quietly been soliciting other communities as potential hosts for a repository, and Domenici said he would introduce legislation that would free up money from the Yucca Mountain account to do just that. Doing so would represent a major policy shift on Yucca. The multi-billion-dollar Yucca fund is considered sacred, having been built from fees collected from ratepayers in states with nuclear energy....Domenici’s comments came as both Senate and House appropriators this wee…

"The Cure to All that Ails Us"

Jay Zawatsky proposes an energy plan that will solve a great many problems. At it's center is nuclear energy:How is nuclear power the cure to all that ails us? Here’s how: We import ten million barrels of oil every day. That costs us one billion dollars every day, adding $365 billion each year to our trade deficit. Nearly all of that imported petroleum goes into transportation fuels. Replacing all of the imported-oil horsepower with an equivalent amount of nuclear-generated power eliminates nearly 30 percent of the trade deficit. But how do you run cars on nuclear power? The answer can be found in two words: “hydrogen” and “hybrids.”Amusingly, the focus on nuclear energy proves a stalking horse for hydrogen production. This seems an odd approach and the author is identified only as chief executive officer of havePower, LLC. And what is that? According to its website:havePower is the nation’s leading hydrogen fuel cell systems design, integration and installation company for critic…