gone pecan


I have said for 30 years, storing nuclear waste onsite is dumb and dangerous. Especially at nuclear power plants. Yes the waste is dangerous and proper precautions must be taken. YES accidents will happen. But how many Fukushimas do you want to see. Melt downs and other disasters are really really bad, but how much worse are they with 1000s of tons of radioactive waste present. Yes, I think they should open Yucca Mountain as well.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2018/03/06/will-we-actually-get-a-place-to-store-our-nuclear-waste/#283213a023a0

 

Will We Actually Get A Place To Store Our Nuclear Waste?

, I write about nuclear, energy and the environment

It certainly looks like it. At the end of February, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted Holtec International’s license application for its proposed consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel, called HI-STORE CIS.

To be located in southeastern New Mexico near Carlsbad, the facility would store spent nuclear fuel, which is better referred to as slightly used nuclear fuel, until a final disposal facility is built or until we build our new fast reactors that will burn it, or we recycle it into new fuel.

Reactor fuel usually spends five years in the reactor, after which about 5% of the energy in the fuel is used, but fission products of the reactions have built-up to the point where the fuel must be replaced. After leaving the reactor, the spent fuel usually spends about 5 years in spent fuel pools of water, until heat and radiation have decreased sufficiently to allow the fuel to be passively cooled in a dry cask (see 1,2,3).

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Go there and read. More next week.

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The real important point from this article for me is that, ‘The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”’. In other words, for the last 2o years the utilities should have been investing in renewables and they did not. The point being that renewables are easier to turn “off” when you do not need them. If the utilities start investing heavily now in renewables they may survive. It is a horse race at this point.

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/energy-and-environment/2018/2/27/17052488/electricity-demand-utilities

The US electricity sector is in a period of unprecedented change and turmoil. Renewable energy prices are falling like crazy. Natural gas production continues its extraordinary surge. Coal, the golden child of the current administration, is headed down the tubes.

In all that bedlam, it’s easy to lose sight of an equally important (if less sexy) trend: Demand for electricity is stagnant.

Thanks to a combination of greater energy efficiency, outsourcing of heavy industry, and customers generating their own power on site, demand for utility power has been flat for 10 years, and most forecasts expect it to stay that way. The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”:

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Go there and read gleefully. More next week.

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I am so amazed by this, that I do not know what to say. I wish these type projects had started 30 years ago. You would say, impossible. I would say the technology would have been different and the work harder, but it could have been done. Still I am so proud of Renault and I hope more companies try this out. GO Renault!

https://www.engadget.com/2018/02/21/renault-ev-second-life-batteries-smart-island/

Renault’s ‘smart island’ runs on wind power and recycled batteries

The experiment in Portugal aims to prove you can live without fossil fuels.

Renault has launched a “smart island” in Portugal that uses its Zoe electric vehicle, home batteries, smart charging and vehicle-to-grid (V2E) energy storage to run without fossil fuels. The idea is to make the Madeira island of Porto Santo energy independent and stimulate renewable energy production. “[We want] to build a model that can be carried over to other islands and cities,” Renault Electric Vehicle Director Eric Feunteun told Engadget.

Unlike Tesla’s massive Powerpack installation, the Renault project is more of a community endeavor on the small (16 square mile) and sparsely populated (5,483 inhabitants), tourism-oriented island. It will unroll in three phases: In the first, 20 fortunate Porto Santo volunteers will get 14 Zoes and six Kango Z.E. utility vans to use every day. They’ll benefit from 40 new connected public and private charging stations set up by Renault and local utility Empresa de Electricitade da Madeira (EEM).

“Let’s say you come home from work at 7 PM with a decent charge left, and only need two to three hours of charging,” said Feunteun. “The smart charging system we’re testing will decide when the best time to do that is, based on usage, energy availability and other factors. Then, it can charge up to eight times a day in chunks as small as 15 minutes.”

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Go there and read every glorious word. More next week.

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Yes I know it is ironic that a total anti-atomic energy advocate has some shoved up his butt. Yet I am hoping good things will come of. What I can honestly say is sitting here is painful. So no post this week.

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More next week.

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Really? No Bid. Nothing. We had experience in the mountains and no one else wanted the contract. That is all they have to say? A company from the Secretary of Interior’s hometown. Zinke had nothing to do with it? WHAT!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/small-montana-firm-lands-puerto-ricos-biggest-contract-to-get-the-power-back-on/2017/10/23/31cccc3e-b4d6-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.f40f2a9969f7

Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to get the power back on

October 23

For the sprawling effort to restore Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid, the territory’s state-owned utility has turned to a two-year-old company from Montana that had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria made landfall.

The company, Whitefish Energy, said last week that it had signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure. The contract is the biggest yet issued in the troubled relief effort.

Whitefish said Monday that it has 280 workers in the territory, using linemen from across the country, most of them as subcontractors, and that the number grows on average from 10 to 20 people a day. It said it was close to completing infrastructure work that will energize some of the key industrial facilities that are critical to restarting the local economy.

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SIGH. Go there and read. More next week.

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This is not CES’ stuff. Sure, I am sure the building is energy efficient and well thought out but, I include this post because I saw the movie. I was so impressed. NASA put her in a building with no “Blacks Only” bathroom. So every day she would have to spend a half hour or more getting to the bathroom and back. Yet she got our white male astronauts to and from the moon with no complaints. WOW is all I can say. Please read the book and see the movie.

NASA Dedicates Building to Hidden Figures Heroine Katherine Johnson

When NASA’s Langley Research Center built its newest, state-of-the-art research facility in Hampton, Va., it was only right that they named it after Katherine Johnson, the NASA engineer and subject of the book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

“You want my honest answer? I think they’re crazy,” the 99-year-old math genius said when she heard about the naming of the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility. The building was dedicated on Sept. 22 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and students from Black Girls Code and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

The $23 million, 37,000-square-foot data center is named after Johnson, who broke the glass ceiling for black women in the space program. In 2015 Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a trailblazer in the space program.

 

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Go there and read. More next week.

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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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