gone pecan


While this piece is important, it is also kind of cutsie in the fact that all the nuclear waste mentioned is well taken care of. Still I want to make 2 points.

1, I always thought and still do, that Yucca Mountain is a perfect place to store nuclear waste. I was pissed when Obama tried to call the whole thing off and I am glad that the Trump administration is trying to reopen it. Don’t get me wrong, I do not like much of what Trump has done so far BUT this is just fine.

2, Illinois had the perfect opportunity to be the nations nuclear waste dump for real. Northern Illinois between Chicago and the Mississippi River is virtually earthquake free. Like for 1000s of years. As soon as Obama defunded Yucca Mountain we could have stepped up and said, “We will build it here”. Illinois could have gotten Billions of Dollars and 100s if not a 1000 jobs, and the waste would have had a very short train trip to disposal. They could have even used trucks. Then it would have been up to the rest of the States to figure out how to get their waste here.  But no, that would have been tooo bold, so now we are back to the beginning.

http://nprillinois.org/post/illinois-issues-prairie-states-nuclear-waste-conundrum#stream/0

Illinois Issues: The Prairie State’s Nuclear Waste Conundrum

Jul 20, 2017

The Land of Lincoln is the country’s largest de facto nuclear waste dump.

Under a federal measure passed 30 years ago, the spent fuel from America’s nuclear reactors is supposed to be permanently buried out in the Mojave Desert, tucked deep under a mountain, far from any population center and easily guarded

In reality, though, that radioactive waste – tens of thousands of tons of it – is sitting in temporary storage at dozens of current and former nuclear power sites all over the country, as it has been for decades. The largest portion of it is divided among seven sites that dot the nation’s fifth-largest state: Illinois.

The story of how the Land of Lincoln became the nation’s biggest de facto nuclear waste dump is a tale of public fear, political pragmatism and the power of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

It’s a story that radiates political irony. Among those responsible for Illinois’ atomic dilemma is the state’s favorite son, Barack Obama, who scuttled a decades-old project that was to have created a national nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.

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Go there and read. Think about it. More next week.

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I will say this once and only once. If nukes are a really bad idea on the Earth, then they are  a really really bad idea for Mars. They are only on or off. That is functional or not, and if it is NOT you are dead. If they go out of control no good can come of it. The first and foremost reason has always been, What do you do with the waste?.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nasa-seeks-nuclear-power-for-mars/

Purch
Space

NASA Seeks Nuclear Power for Mars

 After a half-century hiatus, the agency is reviving its reactor development with a test later this summer

As NASA makes plans to one day send humans to Mars, one of the key technical gaps the agency is working to fill is how to provide enough power on the Red Planet’s surface for fuel production, habitats and other equipment. One option: small nuclear fission reactors, which work by splitting uranium atoms to generate heat, which is then converted into electric power.

NASA’s technology development branch has been funding a project called Kilopower for three years, with the aim of demonstrating the system at the Nevada National Security Site near Las Vegas. Testing is due to start in September and end in January 2018.

The last time NASA tested a fission reactor was during the 1960s’ Systems for Nuclear Auxiliary Power, or SNAP, program, which developed two types of nuclear power systems. The first system — radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs — taps heat released from the natural decay of a radioactive element, such as plutonium. RTGs have powered dozens of space probes over the years, including the Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars. [Nuclear Generators Power NASA Deep Space Probes (Infographic)]

The second technology developed under SNAP was an atom-splitting fission reactor. SNAP-10A was the first — and so far, only — U.S. nuclear power plant to operate in space.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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I must say that the general public is slanted against comedians. First, they think comedy is easy. It is not. It is very hard and mentally challenging. Second, they assume that acomedian could never be a good politician. I think Al Franken proves them wrong on both counts. I think he is an excellent comedian and a politician. About the environment he is spot on.

https://thinkprogress.org/al-franken-strategy-for-trump-climate-deniers-fd9a6502f9cb

Al Franken’s devastating strategy for taking on Trump’s team of climate science deniers

Knowledge of climate science plus mastery of storytelling is a rare combination.

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has emerged as one of Congress’ most devastating questioners of the myriad climate science deniers who fill President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

And it’s largely because the comedian turned Senator combines two abilities rarely seen together?—?actual knowledge of climate science and genuine communications chops. Franken knows how to tell a good story, and as the best science communicators will tell you, the best messaging requires storytelling.

Just last week Franken dismantled Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in one hearing, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry in another. And by dismantled, I mean his doggedness drove Zinke to spout nonsense answers that a top climatologist called “stupid and ignorant,” while it drove Perry to simply lose his cool?—?a take-down that has since gone viral.

Let’s see how Franken does it. Here he is with Zinke on Tuesday:

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Go there and read. Go there and play videos. More next week.

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I have said for awhile that the US would survive the Trump Era. Apparently it is going to be expensive for us and the planet. Hopefully this will limit Trump to one term.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2017/03/06/rolling-back-fuel-efficiency-standards-would-cost-americans-800-billion-add-six-billion-tons-co2/#54beb2e33642

Rolling Back Fuel Efficiency Standards Would Cost Americans $800 Billion, Add Six Billion Tons CO2

The Trump Administration has signaled its intent to roll back existing federal fuel efficiency targets of 54.5 miles per gallon for model year 2022-2025 cars and light trucks, a move endorsed by U.S. auto dealers and auto manufacturers. But going in reverse on fuel efficiency would be a terrible deal for American drivers that would cost the economy approximately $800 billion while adding nearly six billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2050.

Energy Innovation utilized the Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) to analyze the effects of lowering U.S. fuel efficiency standards. The open-source computer model estimates economic and emissions impacts of various energy and environmental policy combinations using non-partisan, published data. It is freely available for public use through a user-friendly web interface or by downloading the full model and input dataset.

Our analysis compared a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario (based on existing policies as of mid-to-late 2016, including the existing fuel efficiency standards) to a scenario that freezes fuel efficiency for new passenger cars at 2017 levels

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Nuclear power is not green. To create it you have to destroy the environment. To run it you risk ruining the environment. To decommission it you destroy the environment. Nuclear power is not clean. How could anybody ever say that radiation is clean. But the Big Greens cut a deal with Exelon and then came to Springfield and crammed it down our throats.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/state-and-regional/illinois-gov-rauner-signs-bill-sparing-nuclear-plants/article_2714be00-b10a-5611-b8e2-6d0e47fe5830.html

Illinois Gov. Rauner signs bill sparing 2 nuclear plants

  • By JOHN O’CONNOR AP Political Writer

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner approved a plan Wednesday that will provide billions of dollars in subsidies to Exelon Corp. to keep two unprofitable nuclear plants from closing prematurely.

The Republican appeared at Riverdale High School in Port Byron to sign legislation he said will save thousands of jobs by rewarding Exelon for producing carbon-free energy.

In addition to $235 million a year for Exelon to prop up nuclear plants in the Quad Cities and Clinton, the plan provides hundreds of millions of dollars in energy-efficiency programs and assistance to low-income energy users.

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Go there and see the picture of Rauner dancing in victory. I will be updating this for a couple of days.

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This article claims that solar power could be as cheap as 4 cents a kilowatt. It speculates that solar power might even reach the 3 cent level. I have doubts about those prices, but it is good news however low it goes.

Solar Is Going to Get Ridiculously Cheap

Solar Is Going to Get Ridiculously Cheap

Costs of the clean energy tech will keep falling over the next decade.

Solar will become the cheapest source to produce power in many countries over the next 15 years, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Part of the cheap solar power will be unleashed because the cost of installing solar panels at big solar farms and on rooftops will drop 60% to an estimated average of around four cents per kilowatt hour by 2040, the report said. That’s cheaper than coal and natural gas power in many regions.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Attempts to generate electricity from tidal and river flows has had some success. People that tried to generate electricity from ocean waves have struggled. They may be on the edge of real change and I find that to be exciting.

The promise of ocean wave power has enticed, and eluded, engineers for 40 years

sea change

The promise of ocean wave power has enticed, and eluded, engineers for 40 years

It’s 1974. A man stands on the Scottish coast and stares out to sea. His dark hair is ruffled by the wind, while his mind is fixed on a new, pressing problem: How can all the teeming, crashing power of the ocean be harnessed to produce electricity, in a world that has just discovered it can’t rely on cheap oil forever?

That man, and his colleagues, are still searching for the answer.

For four decades, the problem of how to create an economically viable business producing power from waves has fascinated a specialized group of engineers, many of whom are concentrated around the sea-beaten coast of Scotland. Inventors have created all sorts of strange and wonderful devices to coax energy out of the water; investors have poured millions of pounds into the effort.

The problem is arguably one of the most perplexing in energy production. And maybe, just maybe, the answer is getting closer.

Seeking lovely, smooth lines

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Go there and read. More next week.

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This article is field researched by the author. It is well written. And I might add frightening and sad.

https://harpers.org/archive/2015/06/thirty-million-gallons-under-the-sea/

From the June 2015 issue

Thirty Million Gallons Under the Sea

Following the trail of BP’s oil in the Gulf of Mexico

One morning in March of last year, I set out from Gulfport, Mississippi, on a three-week mission aboard the U.S. Navy research vessel Atlantis. The 274-foot ship, painted a crisp white and blue, stood tall in the bright sunlight. On its decks were winches, cranes, seafloor-mapping sonar, a machine shop, and five laboratories. Stowed in an alcove astern was Alvin, the federal government’s only manned research submarine. “Research vessel Atlantis outbound,” A. D. Colburn, the ship’s captain, reported into the ship radio.

The water was calm and the bridge crew quiet as they steered us into open water. For the next fourteen hours, we would sail toward the site of BP’s Macondo well, where, in April 2010, a blowout caused the largest offshore-drilling oil spill in history. Once there, Atlantis’s crew would launch Alvin and guide it to the bottom of the ocean, reaching depths as great as 7,200 feet below the surface. Over the next twenty-two days they would send the submersible down seventeen times, to gather animal, plant, water, and sediment samples. Their goal was to determine how BP’s spill had affected the ocean’s ecosystem from the seabed up. I would get the chance to join them in the submarine as they went closer to the Macondo wellhead than anyone had gone since the blowout.

Data gathered by the Atlantis would likely be used in the federal legal proceedings against BP, which began in December 2010. A few months after our mission, U.S. district judge Carl Barbier found the company guilty of gross negligence and willful misconduct. In January 2015, he ruled that the amount of oil the company was responsible for releasing into the Gulf totaled some 134 million gallons, a decision both sides have appealed. By the time this article went to press, Barbier had yet to make his third and final ruling, which will determine how much BP owes in penalties under the Clean Water Act. (If his judgment about the size of the spill is not overturned, the company will face a $13.7 billion fine.) Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of the Interior are concluding an ecological-damages assessment to determine how much BP must pay to restore the Gulf Coast. The trial and the assessment are likely to result in the largest penalty ever leveled against an oil company.1

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Go there and read. It’s a long one but worth it. More next week.

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Coal is now the most expensive energy source in the United States. That means that it will be to expensive to mine. It also means that the worth of the mining companies will fall and their stocks will collapse. It  can’t happen soon enough for me.

http://blogs.edf.org/energyexchange/2015/12/28/a-sunny-future-for-utility-scale-solar/

A Sunny Future for Utility-Scale Solar
By John Finnigan | Bio | Published: December 28, 2015
Utility-scale solar and distributed solar both have an important role to play in reducing greenhouse emissions, and both have made great strides in the past year.
Utility-scale solar, the focus of this article, is reaching “grid parity” (i.e., cost equivalency) with traditional generation in more areas across the country.  And solar received a major boost when the federal tax incentive was recently extended through 2021. The amount of the incentive decreases over time, but the solar industry may be able to offset the lower tax incentive if costs continue to decline.  New changes in policy and technology may further boost its prospects.
Record year for utility-scale solar
Some of the world’s largest solar plants came on-line in the U.S. during the past year, such as the 550-megawatt (MW) Topaz Solar plant in San Luis Obispo County, California and the 550MW Desert Sunlight plant in Desert Center, California. Last year saw a record increase in the amount of new utility-scale solar photovoltaic generation installed – about four gigawatts (GW), a whopping 38 percent increase over 2013, and enough solar power to supply electricity to 1.2 million homes.  This number is expected to increase in 2015 when the final numbers are in.
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Go there and read. More next week.
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The Age of Coal is over. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court doesn’t get that. In fact most of the power plants have already installed the required equipment so what does this ruling even mean?

http://www.alternet.org/environment/us-supreme-court-strikes-down-obamas-epa-limits-air-pollution?sc=fb

Environment

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Obama’s EPA Limits on Air Pollution

Landmark 5-4 decision is major setback for Obama’s efforts to set limits on amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into air, lakes and rivers.

June 29, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down new rules for America’s biggest air polluters on Monday, dealing a blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to set limits on the amount of mercury, arsenic and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into the air, lakes and rivers.

The 5-4 decision was a major setback to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and could leave the agency more vulnerable to legal challenges from industry and Republican-led states to its new carbon pollution rules.

It was also a blow to years of local efforts to clean up dangerous air pollution.

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Go there and read. Be prepared to be sad. More next week.

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For an additional punch today…

 

 

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