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We had an October snow storm here in New Jersey last week, and for much of the weekend following I was without power, and my boys thought it was just great to not have electricity, water or heat.  

My oldest, who at his high school Democratic Club just watched "Gasland" and now understands something about my energy ravings - although the truth is that I missed having access to the gas and was more concerned about it than he was since it's important at my job that I at least seem to have had a shower - is now running around insisting that we all wear sweaters around the house and keep the thermostat down.

I address him as "Mr. Carter," as in Jimmy Carter.

As I found myself in an argument with him on this topic, I was reminded of my own father - who died before his grandson was born - and how I learned about rhetoric from my old man, who often took a position that was opposed to my position because it was my position.  

I miss my dad still, and wish like hell he could see me with my son.   God he'd laugh like hell at me, and I'd just have to hug him, to let him know that I did, in my own way, turn out to be him.

We never had the New York Times in my house, which my father referred to as the "Uptown Daily Worker" with "Uptown" being anything in Manhattan that was north of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Until I was in my late teens, and bought the paper myself (which I often caught my father secretly and then openly reading) we lived on low brow papers like the Daily News.

My dad, before he died, finally confided that for a communist newspaper (his words), The New York Times had some interesting stuff in it.   Sigh...

Interestingly I have changed my mind about the New York Times post Judith Miller and regard it as a right wing rag, with a decidedly anti-science bent.   It's coverage of nuclear issues (including those articles of coverage which were published under Miller's byline) is just stupid.

But some people, not me necessarily, think of the New York Times as high brow.

Whatever.

The article to which I will refer to today comes from a British low brow paper, The Daily Mail, and might be thus taken with a grain of salt, except that what is contained in the article is very real:  

In China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale.

Um, um, um...

The US will be reopening its lanthanide mines at Mountain Pass, California, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.   Lanthanide mining can be made to have a lower external cost than it does have, but that does not address the fact that there is enough lanthanide elements on the entire planet to do all the stuff that ignoramuses insist will magically solve all of our problems.

There is not enough lanthanum on the planet to make ten million hybrid cars, and not enough neodymium to ever make wind energy a truly significant, never mind dominant and economic form of energy.

The Daily Mail addresses not this point, but the point of the external costs of "clean, green" wind energy, and the job they do - when one considers the ignorance one encounters in the New York Times when covering scientific issues, isn't all that bad.

Even with the facts laid out for all to see, some people don't get it.

Consider this remark by a fellow working to fill Scotland up with wind turbines in spite of the fact that some people actually like the Scottish countryside the way it is:

Many environmental pressure groups share Salmond’s view. Friends of the Earth opposes the Arctic being ruined by oil extraction, but when it comes to damaging Scotland’s wilderness with concrete and hundreds of miles of roads, they say wind energy is worth it as the impact of climate change has to be faced.
‘No way of generating energy is 100 per cent clean and problem-free,’ says Craig Bennett, director of policy and campaigns at Friends of the Earth.

‘Wind energy causes far fewer problems than coal, gas or nuclear.

The bold is mine.

This remark is irredeemably stupid and is a clear way to evoke the phrase of the right wing (and otherwise irredeemably stupid)comedian P.J. O'Rouke  that "some people will do anything for the environment except open a science book."

Wind energy will never be as clean as nuclear energy, and the idea of lumping nuclear with coal and gas - particularly since the entire wind industry is nothing more than a fig leaf for the gas industry - is morally and intellectually disgusting.

No amount of rote dogmatic mindless crap can ever change the fact that nuclear energy is the only sustainable form of energy.   If nuclear energy is not clean, then nothing is clean.

But there's are some people who do get it, or might get it.

Again, from the article:

But Helen McDade, head of policy at the John Muir Trust, a small but feisty campaign group dedicated to protecting Scotland’s wild lands, also points out that leaving aside the damage to the landscape, nobody is really sure how much carbon is being released by the renewable energy construction boom. Peat moors lock up huge amounts of carbon, which gets released when it’s drained to put up a turbine.

One of the side products of lanthanide mining is, interestingly, thorium, which has excellent potential as a nuclear fuel.   That's right folks, lanthanide tailings are most often, um, radioactive.

Stick that in your Prius gas tank and flush it out with your carbon dioxide.  

To once again discuss Jimmy Carter - my son's new energy hero, he of the sweater wearing (which is not to say that wearing a sweater is a bad idea) - Jimmy Carter was ceremonially called upon to start up the first commercial nuclear reactor in the world to run on thorium, the reactor that was also the very first commercial nuclear reactor in the United States, the Shippingport reactor.

The reactor was a thermal breeder as operated and actually produced more nuclear fuel than it consumed.   It was a light water reactor.

Jimmy Carter was not by the way a trained nuclear engineer, and his plutonium policy has proved to be an environmental disaster.   Apparently he was not as good at taking advice from Glenn Seaborg as were all of the other Presidents that Seaborg advised.

The Shippingport reactor is now long gone as it was decommissioned, dismantled, and the ground where it stood is now a park.   The U-233 that it bred is still available, however the intellectual conversation about energy in this country has fallen so low that people are actually considering dumping the stuff.

Ow.

Have a nice day tomorrow.

Originally posted to NNadir on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Nuclear dkos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Radioactive mining tailings having any radioactive (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gzodik, palantir, bryfry, raoul78

    stuff in them, unless the radioactive stuff is connected with my bright new shiny hybrid Lexus RX450h that cost as much as the per capita income of 500 Cambodians, the radioactive mines at Mountain Pass, California, out in the desert, the discovery by Darlene Hoffman that some of the thorium in these mines actually contained primordial plutonium-244, plutonium, hidden radioactivity connected with wind turbines, ordinary acid leached hide rates, and pure recycled nitric acid based sustainable lanthanide alloy magnetic troll rates all go here.

  •  more information is good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, northsylvania

    The requirement for very specific minerals is an important point, as is the environmental footprint turbines can cause.

    I still support wind and solar and tidal &c, but I appreciate your helpfulness in pointing out some drawbacks.

    www.dailykos.com is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 05:08:04 PM PST

  •  In a sense, I have to agree. Nuclear is the only (4+ / 0-)

    'renewable' resource.  The nuclear energy produced by the sun, which is what powers not only solar and wind, but was key to all fossil fuel production as well, as well as all of the bioenergy sources, from plain old photosynthesis upwards.

    Ultimately, every other energy resource we've got apart from radioactive decay of terrestrial materials and geothermal is nothing more than solar power that's been converted in one way or another over time.  And the sun produces far more energy than we'll ever use.  We'll never wind up trying to create a Dyson sphere or even a Ringworld.

    But if there's one thing I've learned, it's that technology changes, and that getting all worked up about how one particular element (or series thereof) is used in current technology is no indicator of how or even whether it will be used in future technology.

  •  Thanks for the diary and the link (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NNadir, Neuroptimalian, bryfry, raoul78, gzodik

    There's a very interesting new study up at Brave New Climate that looks at the intermittancy of wind even on a super-wide scale: the author added the power created by windfarms in Ireland, Australia, and the US, and found that you still need ~80% spinning reserve with wind, even with global-scale wind smoothing.

    Which means wind (and solar) will never allow us to turn off the fossil plants!

    Nuclear is the only way to solve the climate crisis, and the sooner we realize that, the better.

    We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

    by Keith Pickering on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 05:56:23 PM PST

    •  Nice to meet you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raoul78

      There was an interesting study published by some analysts from Estonia showing that wind power would increase and not decrease Estonian dependence on gas.

    •  Because you do not rely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      limpidglass, ozsea1

      on one or even two technologies. You also rely on innovative trans-national solutions.

      There is not only wind and PV solar power which all American studies appear to be based on. The Dessertec Foundation has a comprehensive plan for the EUMENA area involving onshore and offshore wind farms along the Atlantic coasts; tidal, wave and tidal flow generators in the appropriate areas; bio generation using human and animal waste passed through digesters to produce gases and concentrated solar power plants in North Africa and the Middle East.

      CSP plants are far more preferable to PV solar for large scale generation. For a start, the generation is done by completely conventional turbines as used in fossil fuel and nuclear stations. They do not require the use of exotic materials which you assume necessary and continue to work long into the night if heat storage is incorporated into the design.

      You also ignore the possibilities of CHP plants burning all of the cities' trash that either cannot be easily recycled or it is too carbon inefficient to transport huge distances to recycling plants.  The USA also has considerable geothermal resources. Iceland runs almost entirely on it and even heats its city streets all winter to keep them completely clear of ice or snow.

      Fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:53:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  so (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      (here we go again)

      Let's follow your logic.

      1. Wind (and solar) need "some" spinning reserve "which means [they] will never allow us to turn off the fossil plants!"

      2. Nuclear is the only way to solve the climate crisis.

      However:

      If a technology is capable of load following (cf natural gas) it is capable of patching up the holes left by intermittents.

      Question:
      Is Nuclear capable of load following?

      Alternatives:
      1. If nuclear is capable of load following, then it can patch up the holes in intermittents and your statement regarding the intrinsic link of fossils and wind/solar is false.

      2. If nuclear is not capable of load following, then nuclear is not capable of completely capable of supporting the grid and thus your statement that it is able to "solve the climate crisis" is false.

      So, which of your statements is false?

      Additionally, electricity only accounts for about 40% of CO2 emissions. How do you propose to deal with the other 60% using nuclear?

      Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

      by jam on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 12:40:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Logic? (0+ / 0-)

        Is that what you call it?

        1. If nuclear is capable of load following, then it can patch up the holes in intermittents and your statement regarding the intrinsic link of fossils and wind/solar is false.

        It is, but how about

        3. Why bother messing around with the inefficient, expensive "intermittents" to begin with?

        Cut them out of the picture and your "alternatives" become moot.

        Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
        -- Albert Einstein

        by bryfry on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 12:56:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joieau, mahakali overdrive

          you are stating definitively that there is no intrinsic link between wind and fossil fuels. Excellent. Thank you.

          Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

          by jam on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 01:20:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're welcome (0+ / 0-)

            But apparently you don't understand. I'm stating that "intermittent" (a nice way of saying "unreliable") sources like wind are mostly worthless. They cause more problems than they solve. Just last weekend, the New York Times carried a story about the some of the ridiculous measures that are being put in place to deal with the problems caused by the wind capacity that has been installed in the Northwest in the past few years.

            The need for spinning reserve is only half of the problem. The other side of the coin is that these worthless contraptions sometimes generate too much electricity, and thus, BPA is trying pilot measures to "use" this unneeded energy. Even with all of the hydro resources they have, they still can't handle the weather-related fluctuations in the generation by wind turbines. In the past, BPA has ordered wind producers to shut down their turbines during these times, but the wind-turbine owners are starting to complain that BPA is cutting into their tax-credit income.

            Besides, there's the practical aspect. Nowhere in the world is wind power not backed up by either hydroelectric or gas-generated power. So you can talk about "intrinsic links" until you're blue in the face, but real-world experience says otherwise.

            Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
            -- Albert Einstein

            by bryfry on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 02:00:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think I understand what you are saying (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              indycam, Joieau

              When someone that is pro-wind says something positive about nuclear load following capability you are concerned about the practical aspect that nowhere in the world is it actually happening and that hydro and gas are the predominant forms of energy. You know, "real world experience".

              But if someone were to say that it couldn't happen, well then they are liars because it is theoretically possible.

              That would be having your cake and eating it, too.

              and then the canard about too much electricity. If all the capacity on any system were to run full out then there would be too much energy. um, so? that's pretty fucking obvious, even for you, bryfry... something, somewhere needs to be curtailed.

              And those fucking capitalist pig wind-owners are complaining that BPA is cutting into their profit margins? Bastards! What was it that you told me about nukes? They lose a million dollars a day they don't run? I'm sure they would never complain about being curtailed and losing a million dollars a day. (nice erroneous swipe about "tax-credit income" btw.)

              I love how when anyone, no matter what their background - even when they admit in the article that they don't know what they are talking about

              an amateur like me [in energy analysis]

              says something bad about wind you eat it up like it is Chicken Soup for the Soul. If that clown tried to say something bad about nukes, you guys would rain holy hell on him. I imagine it would sound something like this:

              Since you don't know or care a fucking thing about the two million people who die each year according to the World Heath Organization, there's not a fucking chance that you know a fucking thing about health or medicine, just like you don't know a fucking thing about history, about ethics, physics, chemistry or any other science.

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 05:41:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh you do? (0+ / 0-)

                Eh .. there's theoretical and then there's practical. Personally, I prefer to remain pragmatic (read my description).

                That would be having your cake and eating it, too.

                Not at all. That's your strawman.

                First of all, there's a difference between "load following" (i.e., following the demand for electricity due to usage) and trying to match both the change in demand and the change in supply from such opportunistic sources of electricity as wind and solar. The latter is more complicated because the two contributing factors do not mesh very well.

                and then the canard about too much electricity. If all the capacity on any system were to run full out then there would be too much energy. um, so? that's pretty fucking obvious, even for you, bryfry... something, somewhere needs to be curtailed.

                Of course! When it comes to electricity production, the US has more natural gas capacity than both coal and nuclear combined. I never said that all capacity should be running at all times. That's your second strawman. The difference between a natural-gas burning plant and a wind farm is that it's much easier to turn off (and then turn back on) the natural gas plant than it is to control the wind farm.

                You just fail to understand very simple concepts of electricity production.

                And those fucking capitalist pig wind-owners are complaining that BPA is cutting into their profit margins? Bastards! What was it that you told me about nukes? They lose a million dollars a day they don't run? I'm sure they would never complain about being curtailed and losing a million dollars a day. (nice erroneous swipe about "tax-credit income" btw.)

                Well, personally, I wouldn't call them "capitalist." "Rent seekers" is a more accurate description of these folks. These "bastards" can still make a buck selling their electricity at a loss (as Denmark has done selling its electricity to Norway), since they can still make money off of the production tax credits.

                If you disagree with my assessment, then feel free to advocate that the production tax credits for wind end next year and never come back. I'll be right with you. Do you have any idea what that would do to the wind industry in the US? When was the last time you heard someone complain that a nuclear plant was producing too much electricity?

                I love how when anyone, no matter what their background - even when they admit in the article that they don't know what they are talking about ... says something bad about wind you eat it up like it is Chicken Soup for the Soul. If that clown tried to say something bad about nukes, you guys would rain holy hell on him.

                Project much, Mr. Pot? Please leave the kettle alone. I'm not the one hanging around in other people's diaries and posting twisted "logic" to support my views. Nor am I the one who is beating other people over the head with words that they never wrote.

                That's your third strawman.

                Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                -- Albert Einstein

                by bryfry on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 09:05:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Wind energy will never be as clean as nuclear (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Werewolf Prophet, pot, Joieau

    Never???

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Awesome diary, NNadir. You just keep on keepin' on.

    Thanks !

    Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." ~ Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1790

    by ozsea1 on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 06:04:46 PM PST

    •  Right. Never. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bryfry, gzodik

      One would need to understand science to understand this, and frankly the anti-nuke cults are very, very, very, very, very, very weak at understanding even the most primitive scientific concepts, and thus do little more than giggle insipidly.

      There are many thousands of publications of LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) in the scientific literature - one of my favorites is a paper by Paul Denholm - wind advocate who says that nuclear is superior to wind in terms of GHG emissions, but nuclear has a big draw back inasmuch as the public finds it scary.

      Strange how cults didn't arise to ban Steven King's movies.

      •  Once again (4+ / 0-)

        you haven't, to date, address the waste disposal issue.

        Its a huge problem, your silence nothwithstanding.

        Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." ~ Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1790

        by ozsea1 on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 09:23:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But even the Chinese don't willy nilly (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gzodik, Joieau

          dump it all over the neighborhood like they do with all other types of industrial waste.

          In other words, operationally it is by far the safest and has harmed far fewer people than any other type of energy . . .

          •  so (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, mahakali overdrive

            because "even the Chinese" are so scared of it that they don't dump it willy nilly, this is, um, A Good Thing?

            Jesus, man. You are almost making an argument that is going to turn this mildly pro-nuke supporter into an anti-nuke right here on the spot.

            Seriously? Your argument is that it is so much worse than lanthanide tailing that they are careful with it so it must be safe?

            Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

            by jam on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 05:43:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I never said the Chinese were so scared of it (0+ / 0-)

              I just said (and I have no idea what the psychology behind this might be - I'm not Bill Frist who can diagnose that type of thing over the internet) they don't dump their nuclear power plant waste into the environment  . . . .

              Therefore, operationally, it is a much safer form of energy that harms many fewer people.

        •  it's not actually. Just dig a deep, deep hole (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryfry

          put 'em in there, cover it up, and don't dig it up

          Je regretez tout. How's me French?

          by Mark B on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 01:22:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  True! Those turbine blades can melt down (6+ / 0-)

      and when a wind turbine has completed its useful life, the blades have to be safely stored for thousands of years.

  •  ??? (13+ / 0-)
    Jimmy Carter was not by the way a trained nuclear engineer, and his plutonium policy has proved to be an environmental disaster.

    Carter was chosen by Hymie himself for nuclear training (submarine) and did his graduate work at Union in reactor technology and nuclear physics. Was senior officer of the Seawolf. But it was his experiences as officer in charge of the U.S. team charged with dismantling the experimental Chalk River reactor in Canada after it melted and exploded in late 1952 that 'informed' his opinion on nuclear power. Meltdowns have a way of souring attitudes on all things nuclear.

    How many years did you spend in Rickover's Navy? Where'd you go to nuke school, where was your DOE/DOD reactor training? Where did you do your graduate work in reactor technology and nuclear physics? Which nuclear powered submarines were you CO/XO on? I ask, because most reasonable people would take your obvious disdain for Jimmy Carter's nuclear engineering credentials (as compared to your own, I suppose) as indicative of a rather nasty case of authoritarian narcissism.

    Of course all people who dare to oppose nuclear power - or just dare to support wind, solar, tidal, etc. - are to be dismissed in your eyes because they don't believe what you believe. But when you dismiss those who do have nuclear training and experience if they aren't as in love with nuclear power as you are, it makes you look petty and magnifies your dismissibility.

    •  ??? Indeed (2+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Mcrab, Roadbed Guy
      Hidden by:
      The Werewolf Prophet
      Carter was chosen by Hymie himself for nuclear training (submarine) and did his graduate work at Union in reactor technology and nuclear physics. Was senior officer of the Seawolf.

      Carter was a senior officer of the Seawolf? Really?

      That's pretty impressive considering that Carter was discharged from active duty in the Navy on 9 October, 1953. Meanwhile, USS Seawolf (SSN-575) wasn't launched until 21 July, 1955. It wasn't commissioned until 30 March, 1957.

      Another "brain fart" Joy?

      Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
      -- Albert Einstein

      by bryfry on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 10:07:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And of course, the HR abuse (0+ / 0-)

        begins with "Werewolf Prophet." I guess it should be expected from people who can't deal with facts.

        This person had better hope that Kos is not watching.

        Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
        -- Albert Einstein

        by bryfry on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 10:24:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You appear to be correct that Carter (0+ / 0-)

        was not actually ever an officer on the Seawolf, according to Navy records:

        http://www.history.navy.mil/...

        But still I don't think the discrepancy justifies the level of your attack.

        And now that I have my neck out like that again for her, I hope she will come here and give some kind of explanation for that clear error.

        "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." -- last words of Steve Jobs.

        by Timaeus on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 12:07:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sources (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Celtic Pugilist, ozsea1

          Biography of the 39th President of the United States -

          He was educated in the public school of Plains, attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. In the Navy, he became a submariner, serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rising to the rank of lieutenant. Chosen by Admiral Hyman Rickover for the nuclear submarine program, he was assigned to Schenectady, N.Y., where he took graduate work at Union College in reactor technology and nuclear physics, and served as senior officer of the pre-commissioning crew of the Seawolf, the second nuclear submarine.

          Jimmy Carter: Life Before the Presidency -

          About this time, the Navy was attempting to construct its first nuclear-powered submarines. The program was headed by the brilliant, tough Captain Hyman Rickover. Today regarded as "the father of the nuclear Navy," Rickover was slight, intense and a demanding taskmaster. Carter was assigned to Rickover's research team, and the young lieutenant was pushed mercilessly by the uncompromising captain. "I think, second to my own father, Rickover had more effect on my life than any other man," Carter would later say. One of the two new submarines being built was the Seawolf, and Carter taught nuclear engineering to its handpicked crew.

          Now, NNadir probably doesn't think that teaching nuclear engineering to the "handpicked crew" of the Seawolf at the beginning of Rickover's Navy counts as knowledge or experience in nuclear engineering. But that would make him wrong.

          •  Not quite (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mcrab

            Carter spent less than a year in "Rickover's Navy." He did not "teach nuclear engineering." In fact, most his year-long stint in naval reactors was spent getting instruction. He did not complete nuclear power school, however, because he resigned his commission after the death of his father in July 1953.

            He did help to set up the training that the enlisted men serving on the Seawolf would eventually receive, but that's not the same thing as "teaching nuclear engineering."

            Carter was not the "senior officer of the Seawolf." That would be Captain Richard Boyer Laning, who was the first commanding officer of that boat.

            16 OCT 1952 - 08 OCT 1953 -- Duty with US Atomic Energy Commission (Division of Reactor Development, Schenectady Operations Office) From 3 NOV 1952 to 1 MAR 1953 he served on temporary duty with Naval Reactors Branch, US Atomic Energy Commission, Washington, D.C. "assisting in the design and development of nuclear propulsion plants for naval vessels." From 1 MAR 1953 to 8 OCT 1953 he was under instruction to become an engineering officer for a nuclear power plant. He also assisted in setting up on-the-job training for the enlisted men being instructed in nuclear propulsion for the USS Seawolf (SSN575).

            source

            Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
            -- Albert Einstein

            by bryfry on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 10:11:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Joieau, I'm a great fan of yours, (0+ / 0-)

            and I've almost always opposed NNadir.

            But I think you're doing yourself no favors by being so unreasonably obstinate here.

            You claimed Carter was THE senior officer on the Seawolf, clearly implying that he was the commander of a nuclear submarine.

            That's just plainly not true, but you keep doubling down on it.  All of us can read.

            I'm a great fan of Jimmy Carter.  I agree that he knew more about nuclear engineering than any other president, and he really was deeply involved in many aspects of the nuclear navy.

            But NNadir is technically correct that he never commanded a nuclear submarine and he is not, in fact, a nuclear engineer, in the narrow sense of having a degree in that field.

            You're kind of highjacking HIS diary here, you know.

            "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow." -- last words of Steve Jobs.

            by Timaeus on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 05:11:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't say THE (0+ / 0-)

              senior officer, did I?

            •  And I'm hijacking nothing. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karl Rover

              I merely posted a defense of Democratic President Jimmy Carter, who was grotesquely attacked. All could have ignored my defense, and since this is the pro-nuclear corner of DKos no one would have noticed or cared.

              But because it was me, the pro-nuclear apologist contingent felt it necessary to comment, and comment upon comments, and... Well, that's the way of things, n'est ce pas? Sort of reminds me of what happens way too often in the Nuclear Free DKos group when the apologists insist on logging in despite the futility of their never-ending insults.

              I have not been insulting here. I've merely launched some sorely needed apologetics for our eldest living Democratic ex-POTUS. Because some shills here desire to paint him as entirely ignorant of all things nuclear, when he was the MOST cognizant POTUS this country ever had per all things nuclear.

              I've done that, this diary's way past its prime. Don't forget to tip your bartenders and waitresses... §;o)

        •  Additionally, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1

          the story of Carter's life before, during and after his term as POTUS is one of the more inspiring real-life examples of a committed and involved morality/ethics that appears rare in our modern world. For Nadir to claim that...

          ...they are all scientifically illiterate bourgeois lightweights who lack education, moral depth, educations and a shred of a mote of a fragment of intellectual insight...

          ...using an "all" that here includes President Carter, is disgusting. Because said 'they' are not pro-nuclear enough. That's MY "morality/ethics" talking.

          •  Except his human rights 'campaign' was a sad (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roadbed Guy

            joke and full of hypocrisy, saying nothing about the Shah's brutal dictatorship, A. Samoza's kleptocracy and E. Gary's UFO cult ruling over Granada...all of which were supported by Prez. Carter until it became politically impossible to do so for him. The rest is history, thanks to Carter's foreign policy (nothing exceptional here except that he continued Fords and Nixon's policies down to just about everything).

            D.

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 09:45:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Correction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bryfry

      "But it was his experiences as officer in charge of the U.S. team charged with dismantling the experimental Chalk River reactor in Canada after it melted and exploded in late 1952"

      The NRX reactor was not dismantled, it was refurbished & ran for decades after the damaged from the accident was repaired.

      BTW the US team was not 'charged with' dismantling or repairing the reactor. They came to both help the Canadians in charge of the operation & learn from the experience in case the US had any similar problems.

      •  Best I can figure, (0+ / 0-)

        the task was to remove the nuts/bolts securing the core (and apparently fittings for the assemblies), because he's talking about being lowered "into the reactor" rather than ON to the reactor, where they'd have been if they were just removing the head. I'm not familiar enough with the incident to know if they ever replaced the vessel. Would depend on how badly it was weakened by melting, and how much of the internals became "one with" the molten mess.

        When Jimmy Carter Faced Radioactivity Head On -

        “It was the early 1950s … I had only seconds that I could be in the reactor myself. We all went out on the tennis court, and they had an exact duplicate of the reactor on the tennis court. We would run out there with our wrenches and we’d check off so many bolts and nuts and they’d put them back on … And finally when we went down into the reactor itself, which was extremely radioactive, then we would dash in there as quickly as we could and take off as many bolts as we could, the same bolts we had just been practicing on.

        “Each time our men managed to remove a bolt or fitting from the core, the equivalent piece was removed on the mock-up,” he wrote.

  •  Why do wind turbines require lanthanide? (4+ / 0-)
    •  Finally a sensible comment. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      farmerchuck, gzodik, ozsea1, Egalitare

      I would like to know that myself.

      "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

      by northsylvania on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 04:55:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  High powered permanent magnets (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, gzodik, bryfry, ozsea1, Timaeus, Egalitare

        in the generator are made with rare earths, same with EV's. Solar PV panels (most, possibly all in current production) are made by doping silicon with rare earth metals. The rare earth's used to be labeled (maybe still are...) the lanthanide series due to their position on the periodic table.

        I was once a treehouse, I lived in a cake, but I never saw the way the orange slayed the rake... The Llama Song.

        by farmerchuck on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 05:27:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          farmerchuck

          "Bootstraps are a fine invention as long as they are attached to boots." blueoasis

          by northsylvania on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 07:25:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The worst case... (0+ / 0-)

          ...scenario is having to rely on less efficient magnets and build a greater number of wind harnessing devices.

          Is that really so bad?

          Occupy Wall Street AND K Street!!!!

          by Egalitare on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 04:20:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  wasn't making a judgement (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Egalitare

            just providing a definition...I believe in innovation.

            I was once a treehouse, I lived in a cake, but I never saw the way the orange slayed the rake... The Llama Song.

            by farmerchuck on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 05:33:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I get that (4+ / 0-)

              And I probably should have replied to one of the diarist's posts.

              But now that you mention it, definitions matter. It seems that much of the "wind and solar can't make up the difference" argument is very closely tied to the availability of certain rare earth metals (some of which are not really that "rare"). The fact is that our energy future should not be simply a matter of what is scientifically/technologically possible. There are multiple constraints, some of which are social and moral,  on our choices.

              I am all for whatever can get us off of Carbon-based fuel, and I am even willing to keep an open mind about Thorium Nuclear (or any other "better nuclear" processes, so long as all the costs and consequences are discussed and evaluated openly and honestly) processes as an option. But the solution will not be we'll just replace coal and oil with "x" and "y." It must be the entire range of alternatives, and we will have to sacrifice some "optimal efficiency" in some systems to meet other equally important objectives as we make decisions and resource commitments.

              Occupy Wall Street AND K Street!!!!

              by Egalitare on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 06:42:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  They don't. The diarist is very confused/ignorant (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, Joieau, ozsea1, tytalus, mythatsme

      when it comes to the economics of energy.  It's almost impossible to have a rational discussion about these issues in which this particular diarist is involved.  Of the many vast gaps in his knowledge, the biggest and most debilitating is his lack of understanding of basic economics.

      So here is the issue.  As you know wind turns the turbines and the turbines generate electricity in a generator.

      You may also know from physics classes, that basically a generator generates electricity by spinning a magnet over a coil of wire.  

      The better the magnet, the more efficient the generator.  Rare earth metals when combined with other metals make very strong permanent magnets -- better than conventional magnets.

      But that doesn't mean that you can't have a generator without a rare earth magnet.  It just means that the generator will be less efficient and the energy produced will cost more, and the power company will make less money.

      Also, the diarist doesn't seem to understand the limits on Chinese supply and the fact that Chinese production is very dirty, doesn't mean that all rare earth production is limited and dirty.  There are deposits in the US but because the US has environmental regulations, it is cheaper to buy it from China.  When/if Chinese supplies become limited or too costly, US production will be started again -- and withing our environmental regulatory framework.  And materials scientists are presently trying a wide variety of other materials to make equally strong permanent magnets.  

      The diarist tends to think in rigid fixed categories, rather than in terms of marginal costs, so he can't understand basic concepts like economic substitution effects.

      Trying to discuss energy with the diarist is somewhat like trying to discuss evolution at the Creationism Museum.  

      •  Not sure we entirely agree (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, gzodik, ozsea1, mythatsme
        Also, the diarist doesn't seem to understand the limits on Chinese supply and the fact that Chinese production is very dirty, doesn't mean that all rare earth production is limited and dirty.  There are deposits in the US but because the US has environmental regulations, it is cheaper to buy it from China.  When/if Chinese supplies become limited or too costly, US production will be started again -- and withing our environmental regulatory framework.  And materials scientists are presently trying a wide variety of other materials to make equally strong permanent magnets.

        First, not all of the Chinese mining and refining of REEs has the same environmental impact, but the illegal fraction, which the government is trying to end and/or regulate to get the situation under control is very polluting, hazardous to the environment/people and a sizable portion of the whole so a very significant problem and the reason it must be stopped.

        Second, Chinese mines still supplies more than 90% of the REEs produced (including the significant fraction smuggled to Vietnam for refinement and sale to Japanese customers) so despite the fact other mines are being developed in the the US, Canada and Australia, they do not yet produce and will not produce very significant quantities any time soon.

        The major consumers of REEs do not actually have the resources to exploit as simply as you suppose and mining and refining them safely and cleanly not as simple and cheap either - after all, the last REE mine in the US was sold off to get rid of environmental liability and the US was only too happy to export the problems to China as long as they could get a cheap price on the materials (and quick to accuse Chinese of profiteering as soon as regulation raised the cost and limited the supply).

        Furthermore, the major known deposits of certain REEs are concentrated in China and Mongolia, the latter of which the just the latest poor country being overrun by Western mining companies rushing to exploit their mineral resources without much regard for either the environmental damage it produces or the economic havoc.

        So it's very necessary to accelerate recycling of REEs, to find alternatives and to regulate mining and refining.

        In fact, since I published this diary the Chinese export regulations have had a beneficial effect since, faced with rapidly increasing prices and short supplies, the major industrial users have had a moment of reckoning and started to recycle REEs, reduce use and work on alternatives that are not so environmentally harmful.

        It's amazing what putting a real price on finite resources can do to motivate change and innovation, maybe the same should be done with fossil fuels (wink, wink, nod, nod).

        I do suggest you track-back to my old diary and the debate in the comments, it may broaden your understanding of the issues.

        What about my Daughter's future?

        by koNko on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 06:41:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The rigid insistence (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, koNko, mythatsme

          that humanity is incapable of ever refining its technologies or discovering new ways to generate and extract energy is frustrating, but usually comes from corners where this or that antiquated mid-20th century technology has been embraced so thoroughly the person simply cannot imagine anything more.

          The cited pro-nuclear hero of this diarist - Glenn Seaborg, using NNadir's favorite authoritative resource Wikipedia - was peripherally famous for accomplishing the Alchemist's dream of transmuting lead (actually bismuth) into gold. Unfortunately, this nifty ability cost so much more than simply mining gold in the usual ways, it ended up as a mere footnote in this man's entry in the annals of radiochemistry.

          I'd suggest that current intensive research into high-temp superconductivity might have some pertinence to developing highly efficient magnets for electrical generation. Or maybe the atom-smashing 'industry' could use that technology so as not to consume so much of the rare earth elements that obtaining it is so expensive and polluting. Or hell, maybe the atom-smashing 'industry' could go to work for something practical/useful (for a change) and produce these elements to order at an equivalent cost just like Seaborg produced gold (at vastly inflated cost).

          I do not believe humanity is done discovering, inventing and creating needful things. There is not enough wealth on this planet to cover the monetary costs of going 100% nuclear. Never will be, no matter how much worthless paper the banking/trading systems create for their gambling tables. There is not enough arable farmland on this planet to sustain even a reasonable sub-total of the world's population as huge tracts of it are rendered into "dead zones" following inevitable nuclear oopses. And there is not enough geological stability anywhere on this planet to 'safely' dispose of immense amounts of radioactive waste that remains deadly for hundreds of thousands of years.

          There has to be a better way. I fully expect humans to find it if we look for it hard enough.

          •  Actually (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Joieau, mythatsme

            I expect a lot of very useful scientific knowledge and also practical technique to come out of building and operating CERN, including the really huge one time demand for a lot of REEs to fabricate the equipment.

            For once, the world has managed to pool resources quite effectively to collaborate on a global platform.

            And I do hope that eventually, we find a productive solution to use the existing inventory of extracted nuclear materials to do something better than sit around like a neglected time bomb, which is exactly what it is.

            But that doesn't mean we need to extract more if it is avoidable and it is.

            Interesting thing with REEs is some alternative solutions are coming along pretty quickly for some of the strong magnet applications requiring these materials in bulk, which is pretty important to improve energy efficiency and generation.

            When the Chinese government announced it's export limits it was kind of a shot heard round the world but a good one because it brought one simple fact to light: even if the government had not imposed quotas, at the rate consumption was accelerating, the amount forecast to be consumed within the next 5 years was nearly equal to 20 years production at the annual rate of extraction (legal and illegal) for 2008-2009 (then base of calculation).

            There were 2 factors quoted by the Chinese government to justify the limits, regulating the industry to get the pollution under control and conserving a limited natural resource.

            I believe the latter might have been ultimately the stronger motivation although I would have it otherwise.

            Funny thing was, within 6 months recycling and R+D programs magically appeared, and within one year 2 Japanese companies (Hitachi and Sony) announced breakthroughs to eliminate REEs form some products and, I must add, some technology developed to eliminate REEs from pv Solar developed by IBM got a more serious look.

            We need to use our brains.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 10:19:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with koNko here. I think that's (0+ / 0-)

              exactly what happened in the decision by the PRC to restrict exports. Their long term planner (the US has none outside the DoD) see that the material is of strategic importance for their economy and defense industry.

              Also, not talked about is that the PRC extends its reach outward and is buying up mines around the world, including the U.S. It gives them form of control over prices and supplies.

              Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

              by davidwalters on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 08:25:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Not much disagreement (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, koNko, mythatsme

          I agree that the existing supply is a hard limit in the short run.  The diarist, however, tends to equate existing production supply and total possible supply.  So while our disagreement is over how quickly and cleanly North America can get back into production, the diarist seems not to have contemplated how prices can cause production to increase.

          Btw, I enjoyed the older diary you linked to.  From my experience in China, there is a titanic struggle going on over environmental regulation within elite circles, but in the US people tend to think of China, especially the government, as monolithic.  So I stand corrected and acknowledge that I'm sure there are newer, better plants and mines producing this stuff while semi-illegal enterprises continue their outrageous environmental crimes -- something I've seen in other industries.

          •  This is actually true for all REE and heavy metals (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko

            including uranium and thorium. Mostly prices have been low enough to keep investing in new prospecting to almost nil. I think supplies could increase. Wish for an increase in prices to see this happen.

            Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

            by davidwalters on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 09:42:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Prices have sea-sawed (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mythatsme

              In the period of the announcement, panic buying cause a significant spike in pricing but a slow-down in expected demand due to the economic recession has had a moderating effect.

              In any case, just as with oil, REEs are a finite resource and pricing should reflect not just the cost for environmental management and remediation (both are dirty, hazardous and accident prone) but also a premium to retrain use, promote recycling and promote replacement technology.

              Unlike oil, REEs used in solar or wind power generation are not lost and can be recycled, so there is actually an incentive to threat them as an investment with residual value not a consumable.

              An awful lot of this boils down to economics.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 10:27:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Refine, recyle, re-invent (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, Joieau, mythatsme, Karl Rover

          No tech is ever optimized. Nuclear power could contribute to needed baseload; I never asserted otherwise. Thorium fuel cycle reactors, anyone?

          However, the glaring and planet-threatening problems with disposing of waste and 'accidents' makes the current engeneering and business model of nuke power generation unacceptable.

          The diarist again and again deflects, obfuscates or just flat-out "misstates" what's happened and what's happening in Fukushima Daiichi.

          The signal to noise ratio makes for some excellent entertainment; if that's your thing. But no real credibility.

          Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws." ~ Mayer Amschel Rothschild, 1790

          by ozsea1 on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 09:53:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm actually open (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1

            To the possibility of small, modular reactor technology that can utilize existing, extracted or spend inventory productively.

            Because, otherwise, we only have non-productive waste that continues to be a burden and I wonder how that gets managed for thousands of years after the energy it produced is long forgotten.

            But the bar to validate safety has to be set very high and the industry reformed because it is a mess and has been for decades.

            What about my Daughter's future?

            by koNko on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 10:31:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Probably a matter of weight at altitude. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, bryfry

        The heavier the generator, the stronger the system has to be that holds it up. You'd probably end up with a considerably more massive, expensive, and material-consuming system if the generator was significantly bigger and heavier.

        This article says rare earths are used to help reduce weight in direct drive designs, which are possibly being used to avoid gearboxes because they are failure-prone. The manufacturer quoted says otherwise, that the objective is to get the weight down to lower the cost for a given energy production capacity.

        Moderation in most things.

        by billmosby on Sat Nov 12, 2011 at 06:06:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They don't. (0+ / 0-)

      Both hybrid cars and wind turbines will happily work with asynchronous mortos/generators, which don't use permanent magnets. The Tesla Roadster uses asynchronous motors as one example.
      AFAIK, the main appeal of permanent magnet synchronous machines for cars and wind turbines is size and weight. IIRC, the efficiency of asynchronous motors is a bit higher, but both are >90%.

      All this does not change the fact that wind power is still unreliable and expensive, and the plug-in hybrids are a better match for nuclear than wind or solar.

      Iterestingly, if the price for neodymium becomes high enough, it can be recovered from spent nuclear fuel. Nd is one of the most abundant fission products, and the longest lived radioactive isotope, Nd 147, has a half-life of only 11 days, so it will have decayed to virtually nothing before the fuel is reprocessed.

      •  You mean variable or non-dispatchable (0+ / 0-)

        not "unreliable". Wind turbines are very reliable.

        and expensive by what metric? Using a low cost of capital at a high wind site, wind is the cheapest form of new electricity that can be constructed.

        Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

        by jam on Thu Nov 17, 2011 at 07:14:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unreliable, variable, intermittent, non-dispatchab (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bryfry

          Same shit, different wrapping.

          The reliability of the turbines themselves is probaly not that grat either. In the Land of Lutefisk, where I'm from, wind has consistently delivered 25% less than expected based on actual wind data, partially blamed on higher than expected downtime. The article in Teknisk Ukeblad didn't give any hard numbers for reliability, unfortunately. I welcome any data you may have.

          Regarding wind being cheapest, is that based on installed capacity or delivered energy? Remember that wind (and solar) has very low capacity credit, so it's mainly a competitor with fuel, i.e. you need pretty much the same installed capacity of nuclear, hydro or fossil whether you have wind or not, it's only your fuel use that goes down.

          The best match for wind is hydro, but even here in Norway with >95% electricity from hydro and a long a windy coastline, wind is not being built without subsidies.

          •  reliability (0+ / 0-)

            95-98% uptime guarantees are standard.
            Europe has a fleetwide uptime of 97%
            North America somewhat less (95%)

            Delivered energy. levelized cost of energy over the lifetime of the project in $/MWh.

            Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

            by jam on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 09:23:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Reliability (0+ / 0-)

            He/she means that a high percentage of the turbines are not down due to maintenance issues. Nevertheless, for a figure of a "95% uptime" that was quoted above, that means that at the Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas, a large facility with 627 wind turbines, you would expect that 31 of its turbines would be down, at any one time, due to some sort of mechanical or electrical problem.

            Still, that's a pretty good availability, considering that generating electricity is not an easy job. As an owner of a wind farm, wouldn't it make you feel proud to know that 95–98% of your wind turbines are ready to go on a still day when the wind isn't blowing? ;-)

            Regarding wind being cheapest ...

            What he/she is saying is that when to take the most optimistic assumptions (i.e., game the analysis), you can eke out a cost analysis that makes wind the "cheapest" option. Of course, this kind of gaming the system can be done for any form of electricity production (except possibly oil or solar) if you choose the right assumptions.

            But as you point out, the real world consistently disappoints in that it often doesn't adhere to such hopeful projections.

            Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
            -- Albert Einstein

            by bryfry on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 10:44:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  he n/t (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bryfry

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 12:27:40 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry about the confusion (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jam

                By the way, there's a place in your profile where you can specify which gender should be used for pronouns that refer to you.

                I try not to offend anyone (unless they deserve it), so if I have no prior knowledge, or at least the basis for a decent guess, I usually try to include both possibilities (which can be tedious).

                Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                -- Albert Einstein

                by bryfry on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 12:46:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  gaming the system (0+ / 0-)

              by quoting the EIA?

              National Averages
              Onshore wind - $97.0/MWh
              Advanced Nuclear - $113.9/MWh

              As mentioned above, the costs shown in Table 1 are national averages. However, there is significant local variation in costs based on local labor markets and the cost and availability of fuel or energy resources such as windy sites (Table 2). For example, regional wind costs range from $82/MWh in the region with the best available resources in 2016 to $115/MWh in regions where the best sites have been claimed by 2016. Costs shown for wind may include additional costs associated with transmission upgrades needed to access remote resources, as well as other factors that markets may or may not internalize into the market price for wind power.

              Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

              by jam on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 12:47:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh please (0+ / 0-)

                Jesus, this is weak, even for you.

                Here's your original claim:

                Using a low cost of capital at a high wind site, wind is the cheapest form of new electricity that can be constructed.

                Now you claim:

                by quoting the EIA?

                How wrong can you be?! Your own source indicates that the EIA considers conventional CC natural gas to be 32% cheaper than wind. Even Advanced CC with Carbon Capture and Sequestration is cheaper than wind in their estimates ($89.3/MWh vs. $97.0/MWh). Conventional coal is cheaper too. Even if we use the most favorable estimate for wind (in Table 2), it is still 24% more expensive than the average estimate for conventional CC natural gas.

                This is what I mean about gaming the system. If you take the analysis from the EIA in Table 2 and use their worst case for wind and their best case for nuclear, then nuclear is cheaper than wind by $5.3/MWh.

                These calculations depend completely on the assumptions used.

                Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
                -- Albert Einstein

                by bryfry on Fri Nov 18, 2011 at 01:10:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  sigh... (0+ / 0-)

                  yes, I over-reached. I wasn't nearly as precise as I should have been in my throw-away comment on diary on a blog on the internet.

                  What I should have said is that wind is one of the least expensive forms of low-carbon emitting, non-fossil fuel forms of energy.

                  But for you to come back with the utterly brilliant rejoinder that

                  These calculations depend completely on the assumptions used.

                  oh, really? How very insightful of you. That's pretty obvious, even for you, my friend. Every estimate is based on the assumptions used. My, god, man. How simplistic can you be? By your pedestrian definition, every single cost estimate on the planet is "gaming the system".

                  In any event, you fail to see the forest for the trees, as usual. Taking the worst case for wind and the best case for nuclear and nuclear is only 4.6% cheaper? You have shown, and i thank you, that wind is on par with nuclear even by gaming the system in favor of nuclear. Thus, to describe wind as "expensive" is to describe nuclear as "expensive". I leave it to you and Speedy to make value judgments on whether $100+/- MWh is expensive or not.

                  Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

                  by jam on Sat Nov 19, 2011 at 07:09:29 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau
    The US will be reopening its lanthanide mines at Mountain Pass, California,

    it's already happened . . .

  •  My diary on REEs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, ozsea1, mythatsme

    Here raised some interesting debate, including aspects of the situation we probably agree on.

    Obviously I do not advocate reckless and unregulated mining and exploitation of REEs, if only for selfish reason of not wanting to live in a nuclear polluted world, which in this case is probably NIMBYism I'll admit to.

    But you hardly make a credible case against Wind Generation, and the problems of dependency on REEs have available solutions such as recycling (which, due to the Chinese export regulations are suddenly economically attractive now that a real value has been put on the materials) and to engineer work-arounds, which is also happening.

    And comparatively speaking, uranium mining to support just the existing inventory of reactors creates far more radioactive pollution not to mention the increasing inventories of waste materials.

    Try again.

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 06:16:28 AM PST

  •  Ah, the J.C. breeder. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau

    That's what the guys at ZPPR called it when they were tasked with building a ZPPR model of its core. The ZPPR reactor was typically loaded with a full scale mockup of the real thing, using standard sized clad plates of SNM, diluents (polyethylene in place of water, but real sodium in the case of sodium coolant), and structural material. The materials were in small enough sizes that neutrons couldn't tell the difference between the model configuration and the actual configuration being modeled. The reactor was then run at powers up to 5 kw to measure the neutronic characteristics of the core to fine tune the design, investigate its dynamics, and so forth.

    The U-233 used in this case was hot enough from the thallium 208 gamma ray that a shield block was fabricated to slip the tray and the fuel plates into while loading them.

    Much later, after 1986, when I came along the shield block was still being used as a final barrier to the SNM vault. It took a forklift to move it and they left the forklift in another fairly secure location as an extra precaution.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 10:49:37 AM PST

  •  NNadir - do know any more details about volumes? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau

    They leave out a key component. This mine is obviously an environmental disaster. The extracts from this mine are used in wind turbines. Any idea of the percentage? Is it 100% of the ore or 1%?

    Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

    by jam on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 07:37:28 AM PST

  •  Sprechen sie Deutsch? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau

    Enercon

    Aurich, 29. April 2011. ENERCON Windenergieanlagen erzeugen ohne das umstrittene Element Neodym umweltfreundlichen Strom. Das allen Anlagentypen - von der E-33/330 kW bis zur E-126/7,5 MW - zugrunde liegende getriebelose Anlagenkonzept arbeitet mit einem fremderregten Ringgenerator. Die zur Stromerzeugung erforderlichen Magnetfelder im Generator werden dabei elektrisch erzeugt. Permanentmagneten, mit denen die meisten Wettbewerber arbeiten und für deren Herstellung Neodym benötigt wird, kommen bei ENERCON Anlagen konstruktionsbedingt nicht zum Einsatz.

    Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

    by jam on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 11:42:08 AM PST

    •  auf Englisch (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joieau

      Enercon

      ENERCON wind energy converters (WECs) generate electricity in an environmentally friendly way without the use of the controversial element, neodymium. The gearless WEC design on which all WEC types – from the E-33/330 kW to the E-126/7.5 MW – are based includes a separately excited annular generator. The magnetic fields required by the generator to produce electricity are created electrically. By design, and unlike the majority of competing products, ENERCON WECs do without permanent magnets whose production requires neodymium.

      Causation was, is, and ever shall be a slippery bitch, so we're best sticking with noting the facts

      by jam on Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 11:57:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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