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By Samuel R. Avro on Oct 12, 2011 with 36 responses

This Week in Energy: Gasification, China, Brazil, KiOR

This Week in Energy is a weekly round-up of news making headlines in the world of energy. Most of these stories are posted throughout the week to our Energy Ticker page.

The purpose is to stimulate discussion on energy issues. Community members should feel free to turn these into open thread energy discussions. Suggestions and news tips are welcome. I (Sam) can be reached at editor [at] consumerenergyreport [dot] com.

Reporting from the Gasification Technologies Conference

This week Robert Rapier attended the 2011 Gasification Technologies Conference. This conference covers developments for converting coal, natural gas, and biomass to power and liquid fuels via gasification. Robert provided some updates from the conference on Twitter (@RRapier), including:

  • Shell’s 140,000 bpd Pearl GTL facility has started up. During the project, Shell has gone an amazing 77 million man hours without a lost time injury.
  • At the conference, Shell predicted that in 2050 the world will use twice as much overall energy and 6-10 times as much renewable energy as today.
  • The U.S. is falling behind China in gasification. Since 2004, China has started up 35 gasification plants while the U.S. has started up zero.
  • Biomass to liquid (BTL) producer Rentech is scheduled to begin producing fuel from their 20 ton per day facility in Colorado by the end of this year.

Chinese Happenings

China’s demand for energy continues to climb, but the Chinese are increasing taxes on oil and gas to help reduce demand. On the supply side, it was revealed that China has ties to a major shale gas discovery in the UK, and they have launched an attempt to take over a London-listed uranium miner: China eyes shale gas and uranium firms in UK. As Robert’s recent post on carbon emissions showed, fossil fuel usage across the Asia Pacific continues a steadily climb, and China is attempting to lock up as many energy sources as they can. This includes the planned construction of more new nuclear reactors in the next few years than in the rest of the world combined, as well as attempts to secure patents from bankrupt solar firm Evergreen Solar.

The Emergence of Brazil

Robert has frequently touted Brazil as a country ideally positioned for strong economic growth even in a world in which energy supplies are tight (and in 2008 he invested in the Brazilian energy giant Petrobras as a result). This week the New York Times reported on the emerging power of Brazil (and Petrobras): In Brazil, Energy Finds Put Country at a Whole New Power Level:

Petrobras grew at its own impressive pace for decades, mixing progress with setbacks as Brazil struggled with drawn-out dependence on foreign oil. But Petrobras’s huge offshore oil discoveries in recent years now enable its leaders to contend that it could surpass Exxon Mobil — called Standard Oil in Walter Link’s day — as the world’s largest publicly-traded oil company.

Note: This next week Robert will be in Brazil for a firsthand look at how Brazil’s many energy options are reshaping the country’s future. Robert will be speaking at a seminar on sustainable urban development in Brasilia: Seminário Internacional Jornada Brasília +50: Mobilidade Sustentável

KiOR Overvalued?

This week Robert had an article published in the Christian Science Monitor: Clean energy falls short so far. It is a condensed version of an earlier article, in which Robert wrote that he had strongly considered shorting one of Vinod Khosla’s IPOs because he considered it grossly overvalued. That company happened to be KiOR. Following a downgrade of KiOR last week by one analyst, this week another analyst reported that he also considers the company overvalued:

KiOR: $1.7B Market Cap With No Revenue

The author, who did short KiOR, ultimately concludes “the point is that KIOR’s present fair value is less than 10% of the current market valuation.” On Monday an article on R-Squared will take a closer look at KiOR and explain why Robert ultimately decided not to short it. (On the topic of investments, in November Robert will discuss energy investing and due diligence at the annual ASPO Conference in Washington D.C.)

Keystone Pipeline, Solyndra (still)

  • In contrast to the New York Times editorial opposing the Keystone Pipeline, this week the Washington Post endorsed the pipeline, arguing that “rejecting the pipeline won’t reduce global carbon emissions or the risk of environmentally destructive spills.”
  • The bad news about Solyndra continues to trickle in, and will likely continue to be a political liability for President Obama as election season heats up. This week’s news focuses on e-mails that indicate that an Obama administration appointee at the Energy Department pressured White House analysts to sign off on the loan to Solyndra, despite a clear conflict of interest involving the appointee’s wife.
  1. By Benny BND Cole on October 13, 2011 at 1:02 am

    I just don’t see a doom picture in here. Gasification and shale, and Bakken and PHEVs and ICE’s that get 90 mpg.

    A couple lucky breaks–let us assume that Venezuela, Libya and Iraq all return to the the normal world–and we could see some old-fashioned gluts again.

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  2. By Kit P on October 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    “Chinese Happenings

    This includes the planned construction of more new nuclear reactors in the next few years than in the rest of the world combined, …”

    Not accurate, there are 30+ reactors in various stages of planning in the US alone. China is 40 years behind the curve and doing a very poor job of planning to meet the electricity needs of its citizens. Since 1990, improvements at existing US nuke plants is equivalent to all the nukes under construction now in China. The US needs to replace retiring nuke and coal plants to maintain capacity.

    I have recently mentioned South Korea but it should be noted that South Korea is already exporting 4 reactors with a superior design than old designs that China has copied. South Korea has twice as many operating reactors as China, has 7 under construction and 4 more planned. Construction time is estimated to be 51 months.

    The Chinese people do know how to make electricity with nukes. Taiwan has six nuclear power reactors operating, and two advanced reactors are under construction. Different form of government.

    I can keep going but China has a long way to go just to catch up with more progressive countries.  If the NYT discussed all planned reactors it would be a long article. 

    “The U.S. is falling behind China in gasification. Since 2004, China has started up 35 gasification plants while the U.S. has started up zero.”

    I would say that is more of an example of making better decisions in the US. Duke is building one in Indiana and I do not think that many are convinced it is the coal power plant of the future.

    Not being a leader in things that do not work very well is a good thing. I am skeptical of the ‘falling behind China’ argument. We have fallen behind China in the amount of coal being burned. So what? We use the amount of coal we need but do it better.

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  3. By rrapier on October 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Chinese Happenings

    This includes the planned construction of more new nuclear reactors in the next few years than in the rest of the world combined, …”

    Not accurate, there are 30+ reactors in various stages of planning in the US alone.


     

    China has more than 25 actually under construction, so unless you want to show that those U.S. reactors are under construction this would seem to be another instance of you making up facts on the fly based on your wishful thinking.

    Not being a leader in things that do not work very well is a good thing. I am skeptical of the ‘falling behind China’ argument.

    Yes, because after all it isn’t like we have fallen behind them on anything important. Silly Chinese don’t seem to understand that we are the leaders of themimportant things here and that they lead in the wrong areas. I just hope they keep using the money they are making off of us to loan us money to buy oil.

    RR

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  4. By Wendell Mercantile on October 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    …there are 30+ reactors in various stages of planning in the US alone.

    But how long does our planning, review, regulatory, licensing, and construction process take?

    China can probably have a new reactor up and running within no more than five years, while it might take us multiples of that.

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  5. By rrapier on October 13, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Wendell Mercantile said:

    …there are 30+ reactors in various stages of planning in the US alone.

    But how long does our planning, review, regulatory, licensing, and construction process take?

    China can probably have a new reactor up and running within no more than five years, while it might take us multiples of that.


     

    Kit has a few blind spots. One is over the New York Times. If they write it, Kit has to dispute it. Another is over China. They do most things wrong, and don’t understand that their place is to learn from our leadership. When they try to lead they screw everything up. Hence, if the NYT writes something like this about China, Kit is compelled to contradict it even if he just babbles.

    Kit downplays China at his own peril. Their GDP and oil consumption are growing at a much faster pace than ours over the past few years, and we are headed for a China-induced bind soon. In fact, you can pin part of our current economic woes directly on developments in China.

    RR

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  6. By robert on October 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    The US has zero new reactors that are going to be built.

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  7. By perry1961 on October 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Sure, China is kicking our butts in some areas. Not a problem with a command economy, and a willingness to game the system. The dollars they loan us aren’t out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s because they want to keep the artificially low value of the yuan artificially low. In order not to convert surplus dollars to juan, they use them to buy commodities (priced in dollars, of course) or Treasuries. And, there are other tools they use to manipulate trade, like export credits.

    Of course, regulatory approval for things like nuclear and gasification are much quicker in China too. It helps when you don’t have the same safety and environmental concerns of western nations. For example, gasification plants require carbon capture and storage in the US. Not in China.

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  8. By Kit P on October 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    “But how long does our planning, review, regulatory, licensing, and construction process take?”

    Think about it Wendell, are the properties of pouring concrete different in the US than China? Or for that matter, for a wind farm or a nuke? A well managed construction project will build a nuke in about 5 years from first safety related concrete pour to commercial operation. It does not matter what country, the steps are the same.

    In the US, our planning and regulatory process is open to the public. If you project that you need 1000 + MWe of new capacity in 10 years, then you better start now. It takes a many years for anything large enough to trigger an EIS and PUC involvement.

    I do not know much about the planning process in China. When China announces the bidding process, is when people start to care. Before that it is just so much hot air.

    The process that China is using we licensed nuke plants is how we did it 45 years ago. The regulatory agency would review a Preliminary Safety Analysis Report (PSAR) and give permission to start construction. When construction was complete, a Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR) would be issued along with an operating license for 40 years.

    Now the NRC can issue a combined construction and operating license (COL) that allows construction to star anytime for 20 years and operate for 60 years. Many countries rely on US NRC to do the safety review of reactor designs. Six of the reactors in China are under construction but do not yet have the design certification. This means that they are at risk of delays during construction just as many of our reactors were in the US after TMI. I would like to think that our current designs cover all the lessons from Japan but there could be surprises.

    “making up facts”

    The US has 104 operating reactors running better that design expectations by about 29 reactors producing 20% of our electricity. Bragging about what we have done does confuse RR when compared to what people say they will do.

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  9. By rrapier on October 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Kit P said:

    “making up facts”

    The US has 104 operating reactors running better that design expectations by about 29 reactors producing 20% of our electricity. Bragging about what we have done does confuse RR when compared to what people say they will do.


     

    Nah, what confuses me is when you simply start babbling information irrelevant to the subject at hand as if it is a rebuttal. I never know why you do that. But let’s review the statement that you deemed incorrect:

    This includes the planned construction of more new nuclear reactors in the next few years than in the rest of the world combined…

    So let’s break this down. How many years are a few years? Does 10 cover it? Yes, I think anyone would agree that 10 years is plenty to cover “next few years.” Now, do you believe the U.S. will build a fraction of the nuclear reactors China will build over that time period? No, I am sure you don’t believe that. Hence, your “rebuttal” to the statement is as irrelevant as most of the stuff you post. On the one hand we have China constructing, and you dispute because the U.S. is planning. Somehow, that planning has to turn into actual nuclear reactors in the next few years for your statement to be salvageable.

    Just another case of your typically befuddled arguments and your “need” to feel validated even though you have nothing substantive to add.

    RR

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  10. By takchess on October 13, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    An extremely sad commentary….

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011…..-in-china/

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  11. By takchess on October 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Note: There was only one bidder for this project.

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/…..tence.html

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  12. By Kit P on October 13, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    “Kit downplays China at his own peril.”

    Not at my peril. It is just an opinion but I never thought others having a high standard of living has anyway threatened my living standards. I may have to pay a little more for gasoline but then I do not buy a lot anyway.

    My present good economic situation is directly based on China no longer dumping slave labor coal on the world. Since the world price of coal has increased, if you are getting your coal from a ship and a country that pays a decent wage to coal miners maybe nukes are a better investment.

    I do think that environment regulations and increasing the demand for NG by making electricity has driven many jobs to places like China. I think that many of our problems are our own making. That is good because we can solve them. We can learn from the Chinese culture that value of saving more and spending less.

    “Does 10 cover it?”

    Here ia a case of moving the goal post. The US electricity generating industry plans on longer than a 10 year cycle. The current NRC COL process allows 20 years to start construction so we build plants when we need them. Currently 30+ reactors are planned and spending hundreds of million dollars each for the COL process. Currently there are 6 under construction schedule to be commercial by 2020.

    A large number of reactors in China under construction does not infer leadership but lack of it. Americans, French, and Russians are designing reactors for China. The reactors designed by China are based on 20 year old French design. Nothing wrong with that but it is not leadership.

    I have ready explain the leadership and new reactors in China’s tiny neighbors South Korea and Taiwan. Russia is China big neighbor with a long history and maybe dubious leadership in nuclear power. Russia is doubling capacity bring on 3-5 new reactors year to 2020. The hoot about this is that they are building reactors not because they need the power but so the can sell NG to Germany.

    Even India has more reactors than China.

    Here is the problem. Journalists do not fact check anymore and the just repeat what the heard from another journalist. Then it gets repeated in some loon colony like TOD. If anyone challenges what they have heard over and over, then that person must be wrong.

    There are 432 operating power reactors in the world with the US being the far and way leader with 104 reactors. Eight countries produce more electricity with nukes than China. There are 63 reactors under construction with 27 in China. There are 154 more reactors planned with 51 in China.

    http://world-nuclear.org/info/…..ctors.html

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  13. By moiety on October 13, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Kit downplays China at his own peril.”

    Not at my peril. It is just an opinion but I never thought others
    having a high standard of living has anyway threatened my living
    standards. I may have to pay a little more for gasoline but then I do
    not buy a lot anyway.

    My present good economic situation is directly based on China no
    longer dumping slave labor coal on the world. Since the world price of
    coal has increased, if you are getting your coal from a ship and a
    country that pays a decent wage to coal miners maybe nukes are a better
    investment.

    I do think that environment regulations and increasing the demand for
    NG by making electricity has driven many jobs to places like China. I
    think that many of our problems are our own making. That is good because
    we can solve them. We can learn from the Chinese culture that value of
    saving more and spending less.

    “Does 10 cover it?”

    Here ia
    a case of moving the goal post. The US electricity generating industry
    plans on longer than a 10 year cycle. The current NRC COL process allows
    20 years to start construction so we build plants when we need them.
    Currently 30+ reactors are
    planned and spending hundreds of million dollars each for the COL
    process. Currently there are 6 under construction schedule to be
    commercial by 2020.

    A large number of reactors in China under construction does not infer
    leadership but lack of it. Americans, French, and Russians are
    designing reactors for China. The reactors designed by China are based
    on 20 year old French design. Nothing wrong with that but it is not
    leadership.

    I have ready explain the leadership and new reactors in China’s tiny
    neighbors South Korea and Taiwan. Russia is China big neighbor with a
    long history and maybe dubious leadership in nuclear power. Russia is
    doubling capacity bring on 3-5 new reactors year to 2020. The hoot about
    this is that they are building reactors not because they need the power
    but so the can sell NG to Germany.

    Even India has more reactors than China.

    Here is the problem. Journalists do not fact check anymore and the
    just repeat what the heard from another journalist. Then it gets
    repeated in some loon colony like TOD. If anyone challenges what they
    have heard over and over, then that person must be wrong.

    There are 432 operating power reactors in the world with the US being
    the far and way leader with 104 reactors. Eight countries produce more
    electricity with nukes than China. There are 63 reactors under
    construction with 27 in China. There are 154 more reactors planned with
    51 in China.

    http://world-nuclear.org/info/…..ctors.html


    On on that point I can say that this is the best of kits posts not that I am an authorative judge. Agree or disagree this is now a debate.

    What I really liked

    I may have to pay a little more for gasoline but then I do not buy a lot anyway.

    I do think that environment regulations and increasing the demand for NG
    by making electricity has driven many jobs to places like China.

    I think that many of our problems are our own making

    The reactors designed by China are based on 20 year old French design. Nothing wrong with that but it is not leadership.

    Here is the problem. Journalists do not fact check anymore and the just repeat what the heard from another journalist.

    Essentially we use too much energy. That is our own problem and if we cannot elevate others to our position, then it is a humanitarian sacrifice. As I drink this uk pint of beer, I waste at least 4.5L of water. The others are simply there to read. I will say that RR has covered them all in some aspect (maybe fully) but the last one especially so.

    The problems

    Not at my peril.

    My
    present good economic situation is directly based on China no longer
    dumping slave labor coal on the world. Here s a case of moving the goal
    post.

    The US electricity generating industry plans on longer than a 10 year cycle.

    Energy
    issues are always at your or my or any persons peril. I invest in an
    oil burner now and I might find that in 20 years, I have no investment.

    Further China do dump slave labour. Visit Shanghai or Beijing or Baoding. Inhale the air even at the top of the grand plaza or whatever it is called. It smells just as full of phenol and toluene at the bottom also. Or so say my former solar collegues (BTW never worked in solar, renewable energy comapny).

    I definitely believe that. However where are those ten year supplies coming from definitely?

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  14. By rrapier on October 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Does 10 cover it?”

    Here ia a case of moving the goal post. The US electricity generating industry plans on longer than a 10 year cycle.


     

    Yet the claim was for the “next few years.” You disagreed. Now your argument is that “next few years” can mean more than 10 beause that’s how long the cycle is? LOL. You don’t even have any goal posts; you simply conjure them up if you need them. You seem to have a problem interpreting simple phrases like “next few years” and “under construction.”

    RR

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  15. By moiety on October 13, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Robert Rapier said:

    Kit P said:

    “Does 10 cover it?”

    Here ia a case of moving the goal post. The US electricity generating industry plans on longer than a 10 year cycle.


     

    Yet the claim was for the “next few years.” You disagreed. Now your argument is that if I specify that “next few years” can mean more than 10 beause that’s how long the cycle is? LOL. You don’t even have any goal posts; you simply conjure them up if you need them. You seem to have a problem interpreting simple phrases like “next few years” and “under construction.”

    RR


     

    10 years is taken out of context and the original statement is not about moving goal posts but you were talking in general…

    In any case Kp is good at reducing his own arguments despite himself.

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  16. By moiety on October 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    OT OT OT

    On a general point

    I don not like these posts. I like opinions and things I do not know. That may require more writers but I think that there can be a free alternative here. We are looking for open discussion but a theme can make it easier for a person to wrtie. Further more than one needs to write.

     

    OT OT OT

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  17. By Kit P on October 13, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    “As I drink this uk pint of beer ”

     

    It’s Miller time someplace! I am wasting less hops, I like my beer weak and my wine red.

     

    “It smells just as full of phenol and toluene ”

     

    We learned a long time ago that it only takes a small amount of solvent to poison ground water. It is lot easier to keep it out that clean it up. To be fair, we measure things to a lot lower level and cars did not have seat belts. Chain smokers were lucky to live long enough to get cancer.

     

    In the US, not following RCRA and CERCLA regulations will get you a jail term. It does not matter if you dump hazardous waste in the sewer outside your shop or send it to Africa to be dumped. If your paper work is not in-order, you need a lawyer.

     

    It is good that China has an improving quality of life, it bad that they are following the worse practices of our industrialization. I was researching issues with handling ammonia and nitric acid considering oil contamination. I ran across numerous tragedies where schools in China were turn into fireworks sweatshops. Sweatshops is one of the issues where any job is an improvement over no job. It looks like China is doing better because a recent search found no schools blowing up.

     

    “An explosion at the Safe Environment Friendly Fireworks Company Ltd in Changtu County, Liaoning Province, on 30 December 2003 killed 36 workers and left 32 others injured. The company owner, Chen Jicheng, was sentenced to death on 22 December 2004 for illegally producing explosives and causing the explosion, while the factory’s general manager, You Tao, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for illegally producing explosives. ”

     

    http://www.china-labour.org.hk…../node/9127

     

    You have love the title of the company. Must be marketing to the California green crowd. Our fire works are safe and good for the environment. Love the justice too. Shoot the rich owner, send the underling to jail.

     

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  18. By robert on October 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/i…..inf41.html

    There’s exactly one nuke under construction in the US. Watts Bar, Tn abandonned 80% complete in the 80′s and TVA decided to go back and finish the job. We may have as many as 4 new nukes by 2020 but they aren’t under construction. If natural gas stays this cheap, it’s going to tough for renewables to justify themselves as well.

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  19. By Walt on October 13, 2011 at 10:26 pm

     

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/1…..axes_2010/

    In a letter to Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp
    Tuesday, Buffett revealed that his adjusted gross income last year was
    $62,855,038 and that his taxable income was $39,814,784. Buffett said he
    paid $15,300 in payroll taxes.

     

    “People who make money with money are getting taxed at a far lower rate
    than people who make money by their own labor,” Buffett told CNNMoney.

    —————————–

     

    Gosh, I am trying to make money with money…and I paid a lot more of my income in payroll taxes by percentage than Mr. Buffett.

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  20. By Kit P on October 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    “There’s exactly one nuke under construction in the US. Watts Bar, ”

     

    Excellent Robert, you pass the test. Given a chance to fact check you changed your earlier answer. Let me educate you further. This is also why I hesitate to make statements about other countries bases on info gleaned from the internet.

     

    Now that TVA is finishing up Watts Bar 2, they have decided that Bellefonte 1 (Hollywood, Alabama) will be finished to replace old coal plants. The NRC just reinstated the construction permit. Almost all of the civil construction is complete but all the pumps and valves have to be refurbished. The wiring be pulled out and a new digital control system installed. A TMI action item requires each nuke to have a simulator and operators with time on the simulators before fuel load. This may be the critical path. TVA is likely scouting local high schools for future reactor operators and other technicians. An experienced shift supervisor can make $90k a year. That will go a long way in Hollywood.

     

    There are also 4 AP1000 (like the ones in China) under construction in Georgia and SC. Want the link to the video again. You must have missed.

     

    “If natural gas stays this cheap ”

     

    You must be confused. NG is not cheap. It cost less in the spring and fall when excess capacity is put in storage but in the summer and winter when CCGT are running the cost goes up, up, and up. How many nukes we build after the first six just discussed depends how fast demand rebounds which depends on the economy.

     

    “going to tough for renewables to justify themselves as well. ”

     

    The problem with renewable energy is not cost. There are a whole bunch of geothermal and biomass plants left over from the 70s energy crisis that are cheaper than NG. Of course there are a whole bunch that did not survive $2/MMBTU.

     

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  21. By Walt on October 14, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Kit P said:

    You must be confused. NG is not cheap. It cost less in the spring and fall when excess capacity is put in storage but in the summer and winter when CCGT are running the cost goes up, up, and up. How many nukes we build after the first six just discussed depends how fast demand rebounds which depends on the economy.

     

    “going to tough for renewables to justify themselves as well. ”

     

    The problem with renewable energy is not cost. There are a whole bunch of geothermal and biomass plants left over from the 70s energy crisis that are cheaper than NG. Of course there are a whole bunch that did not survive $2/MMBTU.

     


     

    If natural gas is not the solution as they believe in Europe, then it looks like a new solution will unfold soon:

     

    ——————————–

    ‘If the Commission can get it through the European
    Parliament and Council of Ministers in this form, it would do nothing
    less than revolutionise Europe’s energy system.’

    Thus spoke an energy researcher in Brussels to our Brussels
    correspondent, Sonja van Renssen earlier this week. With ’it’ he was
    referring to a new proposal that the Commission will unveil next week,
    but of which Sonja already managed to obtain a draft copy. This proposal
    is a follow-up to the so-called “infrastructure package” that EU Energy
    Commissioner Günther Oettinger presented in November last year.
    The proposal is meant to put flesh on the infrastructure package’s
    bones, so to speak.

    What it intends to accomplish, in a nutshell, is to have certain energy
    infrastructure projects (think of major gas and oil pipelines,
    “electricity highways”, smart grids and CO2-pipelines) recognised as
    being ‘of common (i.e. EU-wide) interest’ - and to establish an EU-wide
    legal regime under which these projects will get special treatment from
    national regulatory and executive authorities. This special treatment
    would extend for example to permitting processes, but also to financial
    incentives.

    http://www.europeanenergyrevie…..1&id=3
    ——————————

    I wonder if they will plan another major round of nuclear plants to support Kit’s vision of the future?  Except of course Germany.  We will have to wait to see the devil in the details.

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  22. By Walt on October 14, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Kit P said:

    We learned a long time ago that it only takes a small amount of solvent to poison ground water. It is lot easier to keep it out that clean it up. To be fair, we measure things to a lot lower level and cars did not have seat belts. Chain smokers were lucky to live long enough to get cancer.


     

    Actually the radiation fallout is really starting to be destroying drinking water supplies in Japan now.  Radiation is going to destroy many people’s lives both in Japan and in parts of the West Coast as more radiation is discovered.  It is amazing how one accident can literally start to destroy so many lives, their homes, their animals and the food and water they consume.  Amazing people don’t see the facts.

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  23. By Walt on October 14, 2011 at 7:32 am

    This is a very interesting video on the organization which says, “that no-one gets special treatment from government” (see 5:55 in video)

     

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v….._p6vAbsRCg

    This clip respresents one of the many stories of individual empowerment
    in Free To Choose Network’s The Ultimate Resource. Travel with us to
    Peru where peasant farmers and other humble people claim official title
    to land they’ve worked for generations. Economist Hernando de Soto
    explains how institutions like property rights can give rise to
    prosperity for the poorest people of the world.

    ——————–

     

    My question is why does not the US government apply these principles?  Why do you have to bribe/lobby politicians in order to get government grants, government loan guarantees and special rights for every group to do business in America without being at a severe disadvantage?

     

    The government does not need to own everything or control everything through lobby influence as the video shows in the end.

     

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  24. By Kit P on October 14, 2011 at 10:02 am

    “Actually the radiation fallout is really starting to be destroying drinking water supplies in Japan now. ”

     

    Walt why do you make up this stuff?

     

    “Radiation is going to destroy many people’s lives both in Japan ”

     

    A record natural disaster killed about 24,000 people but radiation has not hurt anyone. Radiation from the nuke plants has caused a temporary and costly inconvenience which is minor relative to the rest of the problems from the natural disaster.

     

    I taken Walt that you have never experienced a forest fire, flood, hurricane, tornado, earth, or volcanic eruptions? If you are lucky, inconvenience is all you suffer.

     

    “Amazing people don’t see the facts. ”

     

    Lots of people are making up stuff and Walt buys it. But Walt the actual facts are out there, if you want to be well informed. It is well informed people that make choices.

     

    Walt why do keep posting links to unimportant stuff in the EU? Do have some expertize in that area? It is not just a set of random facts but evaluating the significance. When the forest product industry in a country know for skill in producing energy with biomass, invests in 1600 MWe nuke plants, there is good reason. Walt can not figure it out.

     

    “My question is why does not the US government apply these principles? ”

     

    Who cares about Peru? The US follows the rules of law and is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. One of the traits of countries with high living standards is a process that sorts out criminals and puts them in jail based on evidence not gossip.

     

     

    What Walt like many who claim it is not fair fail to do is learn the process we follow in a democracy. Walt thinks it is not fair when he does get his way. Other like me, think at best Walt did not present his case well. Walt lobbies for something he believes while accusing other lobbyist corruption.

     

    Take the flare thing. Environmental regulation call for flares. Walt thinks we should do something with the energy. The problem is that using the is very expensive. It is stupid idea from both a business and environmental point of view. Walt claims that is not a stupid as other things we do. Maybe so but did the dog eat your home work.

     

    If you give a dairy farmer $500k grant he will put in a 1 MWe AD and ICE while reducing odor. Walt’s example was $6MM grant that produced 300 kw and will go out of business because it will not pay the O&M.

     

    The reason Walt is at a disadvantage is the merit of his idea. When you present gossip as facts, it makes it harder to hear the ideas,

     

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  25. By robert on October 14, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    So how many abandonned 88% complete reactors does the TVA have?

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  26. By Kit P on October 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    There is Bellefonte 2. The containment building and reactor vessel are just sitting there collecting dust, or mold because of the humidity. TVA had planned to build two AP1000 on the Bellefonte site which was originally had 4 units planned. This was years before the China thought about a huge increase in nuclear capacity.

    Reactor vessels are long lead time components. Why compete with China when you have two bigger reactor vessels sitting on site? TVA used Bellefonte like a parts warehouse which was not uncommon for unfinished nuke plants. It is also normal for any power plant to be overhauled every 20-30 years. While nuke plants were designed for 40 years, a new more efficient turbine rotor will produce lots of power in the plant runs 60 years. So there is a huge business manufacturing and replacing components.

    Making nuke plants last 60 years was not really a choice for US utilities. Ten years ago, replace an old plant with a new one would be political suicide. The French planned a new generation of reactors to replace theirs at 40 years. Then they looked at what we were doing in the US. EDF just ordered billions in replacement steam generators.

    Consider this, if it takes a 5 years to build a new nuke and it take 30 days extra during a refueling outage to cut a hole in the containment building roof and install new steam generators, it sure makes sense to put the new steam generators in the old building.

    The US is not building 27 reactors now like China because we were building 50 more than 40 years ago. Now that the US is showing the world how to make reactors last 60 years, we are investigating how to make them last 80 years.

    The new reactors were are building are designed for 60 years based on experience of the past particularly the metallurgy of steam generators tubes. A construction of the past was to set the reactor vessel and steam generators in place in the partially build containment building and then finish the containment build. Now both the reactor vessel and steam generators can be installed through the equipment hatch. You can see where this is going. In 60 years, a new reactor vessel and steam generators can be installed to allow the plant to run for 120 years.

    So you here how long it takes to build a new nuke. What you get is a power plant that will make 1600 MWe at a 95% capacity factor for 120 years.

    There is another plant similar to Bellefonte on the Hanford Reservation. WPPSS was another quasi federal government that tried to build 5 reactors at a time but only had the resources to finish one. When I joined GE after getting out the navy, GE has more than 20 reactors under construction and huge backlog. The US had four reactor designers, plus Russia, Germany, and other countries at nuclear designers. The world was building a lot of reactors. One of the lessons is to build few at time so you can finish what you start.

    We will see if China can finish what they start.

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  27. By moiety on October 14, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Walt said:

    I wonder if they will plan another major round of nuclear plants to support Kit’s vision of the future?  Except of course Germany.  We will have to wait to see the devil in the details.


     

    It could be nuclear but I reckon it is more like coal and gas.

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  28. By Walt on October 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Actually the radiation fallout is really starting to be destroying drinking water supplies in Japan now. ”

     

    Walt why do you make up this stuff?

     

    “Radiation is going to destroy many people’s lives both in Japan ”

    A record natural disaster killed about 24,000 people but radiation has
    not hurt anyone. Radiation from the nuke plants has caused a temporary
    and costly inconvenience which is minor relative to the rest of the
    problems from the natural disaster.


     

    I tried to find the article on drinking water issues in Japan, but have not found it yet.  It was focused on the concerns with radiation.

     

    Here is an article talking about spending money for radiation cleanup: “and appropriate 246 billion yen for decontaminating areas and disposing
    of waste in connection with the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the sources
    said.”

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews…..6000c.html

     

    I find your responses bordering on the insane and dilusional.  Are you saying that radiation contamination is not contamination or harmful at all?  I don’t think anyone knows yet the effects of all this contamination and the loss of lives from this nuclear disaster.  I’ve not been paying much attention to your posts here the past few months, so rather than go back and read them all, just to be clear…

     

    You are saying radiation from this nuclear disaster in Japan will not harm anyone, and nobody will die indirectly from this disaster?

    [link]      
  29. By Walt on October 14, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Kit P said:

    “Actually the radiation fallout is really starting to be destroying drinking water supplies in Japan now. ”

     

    Walt why do you make up this stuff?


     

    I found the article that I saw before.

    ————————————

    TOKYO, Japan — Vladimir Babenko is deputy director
    of the Belrad Institute of Radiation Safety in the former Soviet
    republic of Belarus. Babneko advised local residents after the meltdown
    at Chernobyl, just across the Belarus border in Ukraine.

    During a press conference in Tokyo he urged Japan to lower food radiation limits to “realistic” levels.

    Babenko “cannot understand the thresholds designated by the Japanese government for food and beverage products, saying they are much higher than Belarusian standards.”

    He noted that the allowable limit of 200 becquerels per kilogram of
    cesium in Japan drinking water is 20 times as high as the maximum
    allowable level in Belarus.

    SOURCE: Japan’s food radiation limits set too high: Belarusian scientist, Kyodo, October 13, 2011

    http://enenews.com/radiation-s…..-chernobyl

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  30. By drunyon on October 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    “…and in parts of the West Coast as more radiation is discovered.”

    Walt, I haven’t seen any articles referencing a radiation problem on the West Coast (I assume you mean USA) caused by Fukushima.  Do you have a reference for this?

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  31. By Kit P on October 15, 2011 at 5:33 am

    “You are saying radiation from this nuclear disaster in Japan will not harm anyone, and nobody will die indirectly from this disaster? ”

     

    That is correct. This is based on actual measured exposure. It is also what I would based on the design of the plant. Also what we learn in from disregard for life in the USSR. Evacuation is a precaution taken when if becomes apparent that there is going to be a release form the containment following emergency procedure. There was no fallout from an nuclear explosion because there was no nuclear explosion. Japan is different that the USSR.

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  32. By Ralph Hayes on October 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Kit P said:

    “You are saying radiation from this nuclear disaster in Japan will not harm anyone, and nobody will die indirectly from this disaster? ”

    That is correct. This is based on actual measured exposure. It is also what I would based on the design of the plant. Also what we learn in from disregard for life in the USSR. Evacuation is a precaution taken when if becomes apparent that there is going to be a release form the containment following emergency procedure. There was no fallout from an nuclear explosion because there was no nuclear explosion. Japan is different that the USSR.


     

    I visit this blog site to read and learn.  Repeatedly, I find it “taken over” by Kit P to argue the merits of nukes.  Please Kit, go start your own pro-nuke blog and those that wish to learn from your experience will follow you there. 

    RR, by your own public responses to this man, it is obvious that you yourself have had a belly-full.  Pull a switch somewhere and shut him off, perhaps he’ll originate his own discussion site.  This man is a major distraction to a worthwhile energy discussion site which is not his own.  Go away Kit!

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  33. By rrapier on October 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Ralph Hayes said:

    RR, by your own public responses to this man, it is obvious that you yourself have had a belly-full.  Pull a switch somewhere and shut him off, perhaps he’ll originate his own discussion site.  This man is a major distraction to a worthwhile energy discussion site which is not his own.  Go away Kit!


     

    The real irony, Ralph, is that when Kit first came here he told us all about his superior knowledge of all things energy-related, and then said he had no use for the site. That was more than two years ago, and he has never left. Seems like he did find that he has a use for it; or even more than that that it fills some void in his life.

    RR

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  34. By Walt on October 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Kit P said:

    “You are saying radiation from this nuclear disaster in Japan will not harm anyone, and nobody will die indirectly from this disaster? ”

     

    That is correct. This is based on actual measured exposure. It is also what I would based on the design of the plant. Also what we learn in from disregard for life in the USSR. Evacuation is a precaution taken when if becomes apparent that there is going to be a release form the containment following emergency procedure. There was no fallout from an nuclear explosion because there was no nuclear explosion. Japan is different that the USSR.


     

    Although I am not an expert in nuclear, it seems that those who live near the disaster (or in Toyko) do have concerns for their safety and those children.  You seem to argue nobody is at risk and we should all just let the government handle the testing, but frankly Kit I have worked all over the world…and with governments…and I do not trust them whatsoever.  I am not aware of any honest government, but rather find them to compromise their core values if they can protect their jobs and pay.  I recognize that is fairly negative, but when there is war conducted by government then there is a war propoganda defense machine implemented.  When there is a national disaster (as we have learned time and time again in this country) there is a propoganda machine implemented to insure everything is ok and the government is right on track.  Only later after all the dust settles in the crisis do we see a completely different picture, and usually it surrounds those who were silenced trying to speak out, or those who ignorned the evidence to keep their jobs.  In terms of nuclear, the people below testing are not as confident as you when their children are in harms way of the government (and your) denial that nothing is going to happen to anyone.

     

    It seems that potentially harmful radiation is of concern to families.

    ————————-

    http://www.the-dispatch.com/ar…..r-Problems

    Then came the test result:
    the level of radioactive cesium in a patch of dirt just yards from where
    his 11-year-old son, Koshiro, played baseball was equal to those in
    some contaminated areas around Chernobyl.

    The
    patch of ground was one of more than 20 spots in and around the
    nation’s capital that the citizens’ group, and the respected nuclear
    research center they worked with, found were contaminated with
    potentially harmful levels of radioactive cesium.

    It has been clear since the
    early days of the nuclear accident, the world’s second worst after
    Chernobyl, that that the vagaries of wind and rain had scattered
    worrisome amounts of radioactive materials in unexpected patterns far
    outside the evacuation zone 12 miles around the stricken plant. But
    reports that substantial amounts of cesium had accumulated as far away
    as Tokyo have raised new concerns about how far the contamination had
    spread, possibly settling in areas where the government has not even
    considered looking.

    The
    government’s failure to act quickly, a growing chorus of scientists say,
    may be exposing many more people than originally believed to
    potentially harmful radiation. It is also part of a pattern: Japan’s
    leaders have continually insisted that the fallout from Fukushima will
    not spread far, or pose a health threat to residents, or contaminate the
    food chain. And officials have repeatedly been proved wrong by
    independent experts and citizens’ groups that conduct testing on their
    own.

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  35. By Kit P on October 17, 2011 at 10:27 am

    “concerns for their safety and those children”

     

    I have concerns about the safety of my children. I worry mostly about things like car accidents. I have often lived near nuke plant and I am not worried about radiation because I know it will not hurt them.

     

    “You seem to argue nobody is at risk ”

     

    Never said that! Walt do you know the difference between risk and harm? My children are at risk from being harmed in a car accident everyday but have never been harmed. Part of the reason is being aware of our surroundings. When our oldest was in high school, we had a fight because I would not let him drive to school that morning but would take him on the way to work. He called be later and said that a friend had died when he went off the mountain on the same road that we took. He said he did not understand. Exactly, he did not understand black ice.

     

    “and we should all just let the government handle the testing”

     

    Never said that either. Generally speaking the utility does the monitoring and government monitors the utility with some spot checking. Then there is organizations that monitor the government. On a personal level, when I have been at nuke plants I have worn a personal self reading dosimeter that allows me to check my own exposure. This is independent of the dosimeter that the utility uses to track my exposure which is reported to the US NRC.

     

    Regulatory requirements of 10CFR50 and 10CFR20 specify that workers and the public must be protected. An arbitrary limit of 5 mrem/yr at the fence during normal operation as compared to 300 to 1500 mrem/yr from natural sources. I checked the actual measured value one year and it was too small to measure. From an engineering point of view, zero is what was read after subtracting background radiation.

     

    The point here is that the arbitrary limit limit is low but it does not mean the public is actually being exposed.

     

    Radiation workers have a higher arbitrary limit of 5 rem/yr during normal operation since their health is monitored. Again, most radiation workers do not get the allowed limit. My occupational exposure is much less than from natural background.

     

    In Japan, workers exceeded the arbitrary limit with some getting as much as 20 rem. The consensus of experts is that this level of exposure will not harm anyone. We know this because millions annually receive higher exposures from medical procedures. The effects of radiation on human is well studied.

     

    “It seems that potentially harmful radiation is of concern to families. ”

     

    So Walt let us look at the deceptive article you presented.

     

    “The patch of ground was one of more than 20 spots ”

     

    First thing we see Walt is that others beside the government are measuring to see if there is a hazard.

     

    In the navy the technicians that worked for me would take surveys, If either the radiation level or contamination level was above a arbitrary limit, I would do a calculation to evaluate what restrictions to place on the area. For example, if the dose rate was 0.1 mrem/hr:

     

    0.1 mrem/hr x 8760 hour/yr = 876 mrem/yr

     

    Since this is grater than 5 rem/yr, unrestricted access can not be allowed. This why the engine room of nuke ship is restricted to people who wear a dosimeter to monitor exposure.

     

    “played baseball ”

     

    So how long can little Koshiro be on the field before an arbitrary limit is exceeded.

     

    5 mrem / 0.1 mrem/hr = 50 hours

     

    Therefore post a sign that limits time at the ‘hot spot’ to 50 hours.

     

    Here is the really silly part. Playing baseball is dangerous. Get real!

     

    The reason the article is intentionally deceptive is that they reported contamination without telling us what the level is so that we can determine what restriction apply. If little Koshiro has to stand in the field 50,000 hours or eat 40 tons of grass to exceed an arbitrary limit, we would say that is not credible.

     

    “honest ”

     

    Walt do you think it is honest to cause people to be concerned for the safety their children using deceptive tactics? On occasion we send information to the US NRC. Either I sign as preparer or reviewer followed by a whole lot of managers with different responsible. If the US NRC even thinks we are trying to deceive them, the lot of us could go to jail. On the other hand, if you work for the UCS or such organizations you can tell the biggest bold face lie under oath to congress and it printed by AP.

     

    So Walt I understand why you are concerned but you have yet to provide any evidence of why I should be concerned. We have been making electricity in the US for more than 50 years without hurting anyone with radiation. I understand how we do it, which is why I am not concerned.

     

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  36. By OD on October 17, 2011 at 11:05 am

    This

    On the supply side, it was revealed that China has ties to a major shale gas discovery in the UK,

    doesn’t make sense to me. Doesn’t the UK already import a good chunk of natural gas (according to wiki 40%)? Why would they not use this gas for their own use? Can someone please explain.

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