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We are witnessing the Fossil Fuel Trifecta of Disaster.

Dec. 22, 2008, the Kingston Steam Plant fly ash pond broke, releasing 1.2 Billion gallons of toxic sludge from a coal plant and flooding the Clinch and Emery Rivers and 3000 acres near Kingston, Tennessee.

April 5, 2010, an accident killed 29 miners in the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Montcoal, W. Virginia.

Since April 20, for 56 Days and counting, 50,000 to 84,000 barrels per day, 2.8 Million to 4.7 Million barrels of oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon.  If it hits the Gulf Stream we can expect tarballs from the Deepwater Horizon to wash up on the beaches of Daytona, the Outer Banks, the Jersey Shore, Coney Island, The Rockaways, Jones Beach, Fire Island, Nantucket, Cape Cod, all the way up the coast to Maine, Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland.

The questions are "When?" not "If?" and "How Much?"

(Most of my thinking is Popular Logistics - Deepwater Horizon coverage, and Blue Jersey . com)

Yet politicians like Jay Rockefeller, Lisa Murkowski, and Sarah Palin repeat that we must continue to burn oil, coal, and natural gas, and fission uranium. They say, "We can't do solar and wind."  But they're wrong.

President Obama, too, had been talking about nuclear power and coal with carbon sequestration tho these are unproven, not safe, and disasters waiting to happen. The Purgen plant, proposed for Rahway, is a 562 megawatt plant that will cost $7 to $10 Billion - $12.5 billion per gigawatt. Solar is $6.3 billion per gigawatt at residential scale, and probably $3 to $4 Billion per gigawatt at utility scales. Offshore wind - and the shore is great for offshore wind - costs $3 billion per gigawatt.

If a wind turbine sinks into the ocean all you hear is a splash and all you see are ripples. We need to shift away from polluting sources of energy to the cold fuel-free fire of wind, solar, geothermal, marine current and 'negawatts'.  Here's how:

Offshore Wind: 100 gigawatts: $300 Billion.
Landbased Wind: 100 gigawatts: $200 Billion.
PV Solar: 50 gigawatts: $250 Billion.
Marine Current: 50 Gigawatts: $200 Billion.

To paraphrase the commercial:
300 Gigawatts of clean, renewable, sustainable energy: $950 Billion. (Less than the war in Iraq.)
Save the world: Priceless.

Originally posted to lfurman97 on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 06:50 PM PDT.


The Best Energy Future

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Comment Preferences

  •  Is there such a thing as a quadrifecta? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We haven't heard from the "safe nuclear power" industry lately.

    •  Vermont State Senate voted to shut down Yankee (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Vermont Senate voted 26 to 4 to close Vermont Yankee.  While proponents of nuclear power claim that the plants can be run safely and economically, Entergy, the Louisiana company that operates the plant, is now known to be running Vermont Yankee AT A LOSS!  Economics is not the issue. The Vermont Senate isn't interested in the profitability of an enterprise. What is at issue is whether Vermont Yankee can be operated safely and whether Entergy can be trusted to operate Vermont Yankee safely. By a vote of 26 to 4, the Vermont Senate answered those questions with a resounding "NO!"

      An Entergy Executive responsible for Vermont Yankee testified under oath to two state panels that there were no buried pipes at Vermont Yankee that could leak tritium.  This testimony is now known to be false. The Entergy executive has been relieved of his responsibilities. According to NPR "Entergy Nuclear chief executive J. Wayne Leonard did not identify the official by name. But he described the executive relieved of his duties in a way that could only apply to Vice President Jay Thayer.

      State Senator Peter Shumlin, Democrat, Wyndham, asked "What's worse, a company that won't tell you the truth or a company's that's operating your aging nuclear power plant on the banks of the Connecticut River and doesn't know that they have pipes with radioactive water running through them that are leaking? And they don't know because they didn't know the pipes existed. Neither is very comforting."

      State Senator Randolph Brock, Republican, St. Albans, who in the past has supported Vermont Yankee, said "If the board of directors and management of Entergy were thoroughly infiltrated by antinuclear activists, I do not think they could have done a better job of destroying their own case."

      There's more at Popular Logistics - Vermont Yankee.

      •  It's ridiculous to assert (0+ / 0-)

        that Entergy is running Vermont Yankee at a loss. It's equally ridiculous to pretend that the Vt Senate vote was answering a technical question in any way. And of course the Senate does not actually have the final say, although they wish they did and will exert all their influence on the decision.

        The statements on the piping have been blown out of proportion, even though Entergy have been singularly careless in their public pronouncements.  The reliability study that was the context of the original hearings was focused on systems, not short runs of pipe, and had decided early on that trenched pipe was not interesting and that no systems met their criteria for a vertical systems reliability study. In witness of which - even the leak itself did not in fact impact reliability.

        Shumlin has spared no hyperbole in exploiting mishaps at Vermont Yankee for his ambition. but he is not scrupulous about accuracy - most noticeable when recently he persistently claimed that Germany gets 30% of its electricity from solar when the true figure is under 1%.

        I should note, in response to the later paragraphs of that blog post you quote, that the Vermont DoH has been very active in monitoring for tritium in both the river and the drinking water wells, and none has been found.

        This is not a sig-line.

        by Joffan on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 07:36:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Against Shumlin, Ad Hominem Attack, And Brock? (0+ / 0-)

          Your statement about Sen. Shumlin is an ad hominen attack on the man. It doesn't say anything about the validity, or lack thereof, of his statement about Entergy either not knowing - and therefore incompetent - or committing perjury in testimony to the Vermont Senate.

          And what about Sen. Brock? He was a supporter of Yankee for years.  Yet he voted against the plant. Why?  

          Some of the problems with nuclear are -
          technical - dealing with the waste -
          political - the national security ramifications -
          economic - businesses tend to cut corners to save money to deliver shareholder value.

          So Germany only gets 1.1% of it's energy from solar. That's a red herring. So what? We - humans - only started using PV solar energy in the late 1990s. 15 years ago they got 0.0000% from solar. Do the math - it's an infinite increase.  

          •  Well, Shumlin phrased his attack as a question (0+ / 0-)

            so it's a little difficult in that quote to disentangle what he is actually asserting. Let's say that his basic insinuation is that Entergy is totally dishonest or totally incompetent - neither or which is actually true.  His point on solar was that it could replace Vermont Yankee, which might have been believable if his wrong-headedness on Germany had been fact rather than fantasy. If you think Shumlin is not ambitious (and my characterization of him as such is unfair), I don't think you know him. But ad hominem seems like just a convenient label to ignore my assessment of a public figure.

            Entergy did not commit perjury in testimomy. They did make statements which were not accurate unless taken in the context of earlier discussions, which is not a sufficient reason for leaving them incomplete in that setting, and they made promises to expand on statements which they never followed up on. As I said, Entergy have not been good at communication - hence Brock's "nay".

            I'll answer your general points on nuclear power tomorrow - I have to go right now.

            This is not a sig-line.

            by Joffan on Thu Jun 17, 2010 at 10:17:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Nuclear in general (0+ / 0-)

            The federal government decided long ago that it was the only one allowed to do deal with spent fuel, and starting collecting the payments, properly charged as part of the cost of electricity. They have been hopeless on coming through on that commitment, mostly for political reasons.

            Final disposal underground, or via burn-up in a fast-spectrum reactor, is feasible - the technical issues are solved. The Swedish waste disposal group has an approved method of burial. The EBR-II was used as a demonstration proptotype of a waste burner.

            Waste is not a big problem though. For example, Connecticut Yankee nuclear plant operated for about 30 years: here is all its spent fuel, safely stored. 43 concrete blocks (actually 40 of spent fuel) that require no active operation. That will be fine for at least 100 years.

            National Security
            I frankly don't understand this in the context of US reactors. I don't really understand it in a world context, since nuclear power programs, well monitored by international groups, should improve the affluence (reduce the poverty) of countries that are sufficiently industrialized to undertake them in the first place.

            This is a requirement in many industries to have vigilant regulation. The nuclear industry pays licence fees that fund its own regulator, which as a result is very much tougher than for other industries. A regulator or two permanently at every site - that's close oversight.

            I'm sure you have more.

            This is not a sig-line.

            by Joffan on Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 07:07:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The VT Senate is a Policy Making Body (0+ / 0-)

          The Vermont Senate doesn't answer "Technical" questions; it asks them, and answers policy questions. It is a policy making body, not an engineering firm or scientific research institute. It's their job to make policy - to say "here's the state of the art; and here's the policies that we, as citizens want and need.

  •  Couple things ... (0+ / 0-)
    1. What is basis for your cost estimates?
    1. What are the associated costs?
    1. Of course, need to include 'negawatts' (energy efficiency) in this investment pattern as well.
    1.  So, how to invest so that this electricity can displace oil?

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 08:02:05 PM PDT

    •  Basis of cost estimates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Thanks for asking.

      Purgen Coal with Carbon Sequestration plant: NJ Star Ledger, NY Times, Sierra Club.  It will be a 750 MW plant, for $7 billion, with additional 3 billion of taxpayer subsidies over 30 years. However, 25% of power will be used to capture and sequester the carbon dioxide. Hence it is a 562.5 mw plant. The plan is to capture the CO2 and then pump it about 70 miles south east along the floor of the Atlantic, then bury it in limestone formations about a mile beneath the ocean floor, about 20 miles east of Avalon, south east of Atlantic City. As the Deepwater Horizon proves we're real good at deep sea operations.

      Solar: full retail at residential scale, conversations I have had with solar installers in NJ, including Trinity Solar, NJ's biggest installation comnpany. That's without any incentives.

      Wind: news reports from various papers and conversations with people in the industry.

      Most of this is reported at

  •  Keep putting the facts out there (0+ / 0-)

    Maybe someday it will sink in that there is a better way to generate electricity.

    There should never be a tax benefit for companies that screw over American workers.

    by bear83 on Wed Jun 16, 2010 at 10:07:56 PM PDT

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