March 04, 2011

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 42

1. Idaho samizdat - Progress noted in Texas and Virginia. The nuclear renaissance in the U.S. had some tough going in 2010. The low point of the year was Constellation's decision to walk away from the Calvert Cliffs III reactor project over a dispute with the federal government about loan guarantees. The project may be turning around and there is more good news to report in Texas and Virginia. That said anti-nuclear groups are as active as ever engaging the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in a seemingly endless stream of contentions over licensing issues.

2. Nuclear Green comments on Doing Due diligence on future energy options

A recent essay by Robert Rapier on the Oil Drum titled "Doing Due Diligence" calls attention to an issue that Nuclear Green has repeatedly addressed, the failure to perform due diligence regarding future energy options. One example, involves two businesses, EEStor of Austin, Texas and ZENN Motors of Canada. A second example, involves the failure of energy researcher Mark Z. Jacobson to preform his due diligence obligations. Finally claims made by Greenpeace concerning the cost of Concentrated Solar Power in 2050 were subjected to due diligence tests, and found to be flawed.

3. ANS Nuclear cafe - Ajax Eastman is a lifelong environmentalist and conservationist who has been active in organizations working to preserve and protect Maryland's natural habitats. Here she discusses her concerns over the impact of wind energy projects on natural lands and how she came to embrace nuclear energy due to its environmental benefits and its small footprint vis-a-vis other energy sources.

4. Atomic Insights - Tortuous licensing for nuclear energy is imposed by conscious human decisions. Wind and solar unreliability and fossil fuel limitations are imposed by nature

Rod quotes the Serenity Prayer as one of the inspirations for his work to both improve atomic technology and to promote its use. Among all of the energy alternatives, it is the one whose primary limitations have been imposed by human decisions. It is also the one whose primary limitations are within the power of humans to change. Tortuous and time consuming licensing processes for a safe and proven technology are not a "given"; they are a movable obstacle that is causing opportunities for prosperity to be squandered.

5. Hot Climate and Cold Fish, Gundersen's Debate Misstatements

At Yes Vermont Yankee, Meredith Angwin describes some of Arnie Gundersen's misstatements about fish. According to Gundersen, Vermont Yankee power plant's thermal plume has killed all the shad in the Connecticut River, leaving only sixteen alive. However, without challenge, people believe this kind of nonsense. Meredith Angwin challenges his statement.

6. Gail Marcus makes note of the UCS's latest report claiming that nuclear power is still not viable without subsidies, which as usual, considers loan guarantees and Price-Anderson liability insurance as subsidies, even though they are not funded by electric bills or taxes. Ironically, she learned of this study the same day she heard the news that the Governor of Maryland wants to add almost $4 a month to the electric bills of Maryland ratepayers in order to subsidize off-shore wind farms. She wonders what the UCS would call that fee.

7. Nextbigfuture had a series of articles related to air pollution from fossil fuels.

US and World Air pollution deaths are similar to the scale to the combat deaths in world war 2. 3 million per year air pollution versus 3 to 3.5 million average combat deaths. For the USA 60,000 deaths per year air pollution versus 73,000 average combat deaths.

The figures for air pollution deaths are from the World Health Organization and are based on studies of the actual increase in deaths and disease that are actually experienced by people living with different levels of air pollution.

Most of the health evidence on PM (Particulate matter, PM10 10 micron particulates and PM2.5 2.5 micron particulates) has been derived from epidemiological studies of human populations in a variety of geographical (principally urban) locations. Epidemiological studies have provided “real world” evidence of associations between concentrations of PM and several adverse health outcomes including: mortality, hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory disease, urgent care visits, asthma attacks, acute bronchitis, respiratory symptoms, and restrictions in activity.

Controlling particulates and other air pollutants from coal and fossil
fuel power plants is affordable.
$16 billion would reduce particulates from all coal plants by 200 times in the USA. $20 billion would fix particulate problem from coal plants in China. Double those costs would handle controlling most of the major industrial plants and oil and gas facilties.

Installing electrostatic precipitators at all coal plants and other major air pollution sources would get rid of 99.5% of manmade particulate pollution from those sources. Then an air pollution remediation would be needed for cars and trucks. It would be affordable to eliminate a source of death and disease that is on the scale of world war 2. Society would make back multiples of the cost with lower health costs and lower productivity losses from missed work days.

Some pictures and stories that explain air pollution for those who do not understand the numbers.

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