THE GOVERNMENT COLLECTS TAXES FOR NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL FROM CONSUMER ENERGY BILLS EVERY MONTH, YET IT FAILS TO MANDATE THE VERY CREATION IT ENACTS.
The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has just released its recommendations on how to resolve America’s nuclear waste dilemma. The Blue Ribbon Commission has provided some sound analysis and introduced some new ideas, but overall, it has focused more on the symptoms of America’s failed approach to nuclear waste management than addressing the system’s structural deficiencies. U.S. nuclear waste management must transition to a more market-oriented system. Moving the responsibility for nuclear waste management away from the federal government will be difficult, but it is necessary for an economically rational and sustainable resolution to America’s nuclear waste dilemma.
There are three fundamental problems with nuclear waste management in the United States:
- No long-term geologic storage. Deep geologic storage like that proposed for Yucca Mountain, Nevada, provides a safe, long-term solution and thus is critical to any comprehensive nuclear waste management plan. To date, despite having spent approximately $15 billion in electricity rate payers’ and taxpayers’ money on Yucca Mountain and a statutory mandate to do so, the U.S. still has no functional geologic repository for nuclear waste.
- Waste producers are relieved of their responsibility for waste management. Private nuclear plant operators produce waste, but under current law the federal government is responsible for managing it. This removes the incentive for those who financially depend on waste production, the nuclear utilities, to have any interest in how the waste is managed because the federal government is wholly responsible. Washington, however, has proved unable to implement anything close to a workable solution. This outcome is predictable given a structure that fundamentally misaligns incentives, responsibilities, and authorities. The nuclear industry, which is fully capable of running safe nuclear power plants, is likewise fully capable of managing its own waste and should have the responsibility to do so.
- No specific price for specific services rendered. Under the current system, nuclear utilities produce waste, and then pay the federal government a flat fee for an undefined, not-rendered service. Accurate pricing is critical to any efficient market place. Prices provide suppliers and purchasers a critical data point to determine the attractiveness of a product or service, and gives potential competitors the information they need to introduce new alternatives.
The BRC’s recommendation to create a federal corporation could facilitate that transition to private-sector responsibility. Though the objective should be to remove federal responsibility for nuclear waste management and disposal, near-term privatization is likely not practical. This is because the federal government is obligated by virtue of signed contracts to take responsibility for the disposal of nuclear waste produced at existing plants and the nuclear industry, through fees levied on nuclear power users, and has already paid $38.5 billion (about $750 million annually) for that service. The result is that the federal government is currently responsible for disposing of a total of about 70,000 tons of waste. A federal corporation, limited in scope, could be the correct entity to take responsibility for disposing of that waste.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–Nuclear fusion suffers from an image of being too good to be true. But researchers here say they are already doing nuclear fusion on a small scale and it’s just a matter of time–decades, realistically–before it becomes practical.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology houses an active research lab for nuclear fusion, which many consider the answer to weaning the world from its costly dependence on fossil fuels. A tour of the Plasma Science and Fusion Center last week, organized by the TEDx Boston conference, offered a crash course on nuclear fusion, a field of research which continues largely outside daily discussions of energy.
Nuclear fusion–where two atoms fuse to form a new element–is the energy source for the blazing hot sun and other stars.
At MIT and other centers, such as the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility, the route to fusion is most definitely through very high heat in giant reactors, not tabletop chemical reactions. And therein lies one of the biggest challenges with nuclear fusion: just performing fusion tests is extremely expensive and takes years.
The magnetic nuclear fusion studied at MIT uses an abundant energy source (a form of hydrogen found in seawater), power plants would pack a lot of energy in a much smaller footprint than solar or wind, and any radioactive material could be handled relatively easily. The waste from today’s nuclear power plants, which split atoms (nuclear fission) to get usable energy, should have storage designed for tens of thousands of years while fusion would need 50-year repositories.
Despite the long time scales for development, nuclear fusion has started to attract the kind of funding start-ups normally get. British Columbia-based General Fusion earlier this year received an investment from by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and venture capitalists to demonstrate “magnetized target fusion” where pneumatic pistons larger than people compress plasma–a state of matter similar to a gas–to cause fusion to occur.
The end goal of civilian fusion efforts is a power plant that uses the heat from nuclear fusion to make steam which is converted into electricity in a turbine, just as today’s power plants do. But rather than burn fossil fuels or split uranium atoms, magnetic-fusion researchers intend to produce energy by fusing two isotopes of hydrogen–deuterium, which has one neutron, and tritium, which has two neutrons. The result is a heavier substance–helium–and a huge release of energy.
Mastering nuclear fusion requires deep understanding of plasma and materials science, but a functioning magnetic-fusion power plant would also require nuclear-power engineering to harness the energy reliably.
When deuterium and tritium are fused together, an atom of helium is produced and a neutron is fired off. The kinetic energy from that neutron–”imagine a Ping-Pong ball bouncing around,” Whyte said–is the energy source to both generate usable heat and produce tritium.
The basic idea of nuclear fusion: two atoms–in this case hydrogen isotopes–fuse to form a new atom, helium, and excess energy. The energy from helium production would be used to heat the fusion process and the neutron carries energy that would be converted into electricity.
RESUMING THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE GUARANTEES AMERICA ITS FUTURE OIL DEMANDS.
The Transportation Department has given TransCanada Corp. permission to restart its Keystone oil pipeline, just a day after blocking resumption of operations on the line that has suffered two recent leaks.
The department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), in a letter Saturday, told the company that it had approved its restart plan and that the restart could commence today.
(THE DOTTED LINE #17 IS THE PROPOSED KEYSTONE PIPELINE CONNECTING TO THE LOUISIANA REFINERIES.)
NEW OIL FIND IN TEXAS by fracking:
CATARINA, Tex. — Until last year, the 17-mile stretch of road between this forsaken South Texas village and the county seat of Carrizo Springs was a patchwork of derelict gasoline stations and rusting warehouses.
Now the region is in the hottest new oil play in the country, with giant oil terminals and sprawling RV parks replacing fields of mesquite. More than a dozen companies plan to drill up to 3,000 wells around here in the next 12 months.
The Texas field, known as the Eagle Ford, is just one of about 20 new onshore oil fields that advocates say could collectively increase the nation’s oil output by 25 percent within a decade — without the dangers of drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the delicate coastal areas off Alaska.
There is only one catch: the oil from the Eagle Ford and similar fields of tightly packed rock can be extracted only by using hydraulic fracturing, a method that uses a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hazardous chemicals to blast through the rocks to release the oil inside.
WASHINGTON – An Interior Department report to be released Tuesday says more than two-thirds of offshore oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico are sitting idle.
According to the report, obtained by The Associated Press, those inactive swaths of the Gulf could potentially hold more than 11 billion barrels of oil and 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The report also shows that 45 percent of all onshore oil and gas leases are inactive.
President Barack Obama ordered the Interior Department review earlier this month amid pressure to curb rising gas prices. The White House says Obama will address his plans for the country’s energy security during a speech in Washington Wednesday.
This new drilling is expected to raise U.S. production by at least 20 percent over the next five years. And within 10 years, it could help reduce oil imports by more than half, advancing a goal that has long eluded policymakers.
Within five years, analysts and executives predict, the newly unlocked fields are expected to produce 1 million to 2 million barrels of oil per day, enough to boost U.S. production 20 percent to 40 percent. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates production will grow a more modest 500,000 barrels per day.
By 2020, oil imports could be slashed by as much as 60 percent, according to Credit Suisse’s Morse, who is counting on Gulf oil production to rise and on U.S. gasoline demand to fall.
At today’s oil prices of roughly $90 per barrel, slashing imports that much would save the U.S. $175 billion a year. Last year, when oil averaged $78 per barrel, the U.S. sent $260 billion overseas for crude, accounting for nearly half the country’s $500 billion trade deficit.
YUCCA MOUNTAIN REVIVAL
THE MAIN SOURCE OF ENERGY THAT CAN PROVIDE FOR JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE BEING DRAINED AWAY FROM EXISTENCE THANKS TO THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION. THIS IS NOT SOUND POLICY WHEN ITS THE DELIBERATE ACTS OF DESTRUCTION OF THIS COUNTRY’S ECONOMIC WELFARE. THE 111TH CONGRESS CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO THIS TOO FOR THEIR OWN INACTION.
1. In October 2010, former Reid advisor and current NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko ordered a stop to all Yucca-related NRC activities. He argued that his authority to close out the Yucca program was derived from President Obama’s 2011 budget request. The problem is that neither the House nor the Senate passed that proposed budget. Further, the order ignores the fact that the NRC’s own Atomic Licensing and Safety Board agreed unanimously that the DOE lacked authority to withdraw the application. The chairman’s actions were so unusual and contentious that fellow NRC commissioners were compelled to publicly denounce the decision.
THE VERY ACT OF USURPING CONGRESSIONAL POWERS IN AN OUTWARD DISPLAY OF DISRESPECT OF LAWS IS AT THE HEART OF THIS GRIEVOUS ACT.
The Obama Administration’s anti-Yucca policy destroyed this progress. It ignored existing statute, such as the NWPA and the Yucca Mountain Development Act of 2002, which state clearly that Yucca Mountain shall be the location of the nation’s nuclear materials repository. It unilaterally requested the withdrawal of the DOE’s permit application for Yucca to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Questions over the legality of this policy are currently under review by the courts.
2. The oil industry has much to contribute to America’s energy needs — particularly in light of rising gas prices. The American Petroleum Institute, in its “State of American Energy” report, estimated the industry supports more than $1 trillion in annual contributions to the U.S. economy. Creating additional access to areas currently closed to development would lead to even more domestic production, new jobs and billions in government revenue.
The American people deserve better. With energy needs on the rise — and gas prices inching higher — now is a time for solutions. The first step is putting an end to the Obama administration’s anti-drilling policy in the Gulf of Mexico. Just two new deep-water permits have been issued since the politically motivated moratorium ended three months ago. That’s down 88 percent from the historical average. Shallow-water permits, which weren’t even subjected to the moratorium, are down 11 percent.
Ongoing delays in the Gulf of Mexico are only part of the problem, however. Offshore drilling bans currently prevent exploration in about 85% of our coastal waters. Those bans are crippling job creation and making America more reliant on foreign sources of oil.
THE ADMINISTRATION FOOT DRAGGING IN PROVIDING LEASES CREATES UNCERTAINTY IN THE MARKET ALREADY SHOWING MOVEMENT TOWARD PRICE INCREASES of $100 a barrel. FOREIGN OIL SOURCES WILL NOT HELP TO LOWER THIS PRICE.
BHO ADMINISTRATIONS ANSWER TO ENERGY IS TO TRIPLE ENERGY BILLS IN THE MIDWEST.
European countries, Russia, India, and Japan already reprocess nuclear fuel — the actual materials used to make nuclear energy — to separate and recover the unused uranium and plutonium, reduce waste and safely close the nuclear cycle.
THE COST TO THE UTILITIES AT UNDER $3.00 PER KILLOWATT-HOUR IS VERY ATTRACTIVE FOR INVESTING IN THIS ENERGY.
From greenhouse gases to green agenda: 5 energy issues to watch
All eyes are on the new Republican House and energy and enivornment committee chairmen: Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.) will chair the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Doc Hastings (Wash.) will chair the Natural Resources Committee and Rep. Ralph Hall (Texas) will chair the Science and Technology Committee.
Attempts to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate regulations:
The EPA made two major announcements in its efforts to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The agency laid out a timetable for phasing in emissions standards for power plants and refineries, and announced it would issue greenhouse gas permits in Texas, where the governor had refused to align with federal rules. On top of that, beginning in January the EPA will, on a case-by-case basis, begin phasing in rules that require large new industrial plants and sites that perform major upgrades to curb emissions.
The continuing fallout from the Gulf oil spill:
Next year, Kenneth Feinberg, the administrator of BP’s $20 billion oil spill compensation fund, will continue to determine how best to dole out money to victims.
(THE FEDERAL GOV JUST CAN”T KEEP ITS HANDS OFF THE COOKIE JAR)
Under current law, the penalties go back to the federal government, but both Gulf state officials and President Obama have called for some of that money to go to restoration in the region. To that point, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) told The Hill recently that she wants 80 percent of the penalties to flow back to the Gulf.
(MEANWHILE GAS PRICES HAVE SOARED DUE TO FOOT DRAGGING ON NEW LICENSE TO DRILL AGAIN IN THE GULF)
Obama and Congress: Is compromise possible? And watch those prices:
With this year’s death of cap-and-trade, and in recent months, both Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have talked up the prospect of bipartisan deals on boosting nuclear power, electric vehicles and natural-gas development.
Lawmakers including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) are eyeing negotiations next year. And don’t forget Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who lead the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Will they thread the needle again and move a big bill through the panel? That’s what they did in 2009, only to see it stall and never reach the floor.
(WHEN IT’S A HALF DITCH EFFORT AND WITHOUT YUCCA AS A SOLUTION TO THE NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY THIS WILL ONLY STALL ANY ATTEMPT TO BUILD UP NUCLEAR ENERGY – PROVEN TECHNOLOGY IN THIS COUNTRY. THE HONORABLE LISA MURKOWSKI WILL BACKSTAB ALASKA ON OIL DRILLING AND THE HONORABLE HARRY REID WILL KILL JOBS IN NEVADA BY BLOCKING YUCCA)
Greens try to regroup:
2010 was a disappointing year for environmental groups that poured resources into lobbying for climate legislation only to see it hit a brick wall in the Senate. Now, with emissions caps more vilified than ever on Capitol Hill, look for green groups to defend state and EPA climate programs.
Conflict and collaboration with China:
The energy relationship will probably get some high-level White House attention soon. Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to visit Jan. 19.
THE HONORABLE OBAMA WILL GIVE EVERYTHING AWAY TO CHINA IN JOBS:
See how the Honorable Sen Reid is already touting this relationship.
A BIG SUCKING SOUND IS PENDING IN REGARDS TO MORE JOBS LOST IN THIS COUNTRY)
(THE REPUBLICANS HAVE A TREMENDOUS WORK AHEAD TO RESTORE SANITY IN ENRGY)
SHELL HAS BEEN DRILLING IN THIS AREA FOR AS LONG AS THE PIPELINE HAS BEEN IN ACTIVITY. HOW MUCH MORE SCIENCE DO YOU NEED WHEN HISTORY ALREADY PROVES YOU CAN DRILL SAFELY IN THIS AREA. THIS IS ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO CURTAIL JOB CREATION AND NEEDED ENERGY CREATION IN THIS AREA. CONSIDER THIS A LAST DITCH ATTEMPT OF THE 111th CONGRESS. STOP THE FOOT DRAGGING. BYE BYE ALREADY.
See SHELL’S SCIENTIFIC STUDIES:
House Dems to Interior: More science needed before Shell can drill off Alaska
By Ben Geman – 12/21/10 01:06 PM ET
More than three-dozen House Democrats are urging the Interior Department not to approve Royal Dutch Shell’s request to drill in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast next year until more scientific information is available. states the letter spearheaded by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) and James Moran (D-Va.).
“Considering the obstacles to cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico, it is clear that we are completely unprepared to respond to a spill in the Arctic. Gale-force winds, temperatures below freezing and persistent storms are routine in the Arctic. The Department does not know what the effects of an oil spill in the Beaufort Sea would be and Shell’s plan to respond to an oil spill is untested,” the lawmakers write.
Washington, DC, Dec 10 – Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), incoming Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today welcomed the 12 new Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee as well as the return of former Committee member Representative Greg Walden (R-OR). “We have a great team with diverse backgrounds to deliver what the American people expect and demand – we will repeal Obamacare, cut spending, eliminate rampant, job-killing regulations, fortify our energy security, and help create jobs. I look forward to working with all of our members to put the country back to work and back on track.”The new Republican Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in alphabetical order, are:Charlie Bass (NH)
Brian Bilbray (CA)
Bill Cassidy (LA)
Cory Gardner (CO)
Morgan Griffith (VA)
Brett Guthrie (KY)
Gregg Harper (MS)
Adam Kinzinger (IL)
David McKinley (WV)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA)
Pete Olson (TX)
Mike Pompeo (KS)
Greg Walden (OR)
THE GREAT SENATOR ATTEMPT TO MAKE NUCLEAR ENERGY THE FORE-FRONT SOURCE FOR THIS COUNTRY. BUT WITHOUT A NUCLEAR REPOSITORY THIS IS NOTHING BUT RHETORIC WITHOUT MAJOR BACKING.
Graham Plans to Revive Push for Energy Bill
The farm’s backers also have close ties with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who, at the height of his hard-fought re-election bid this fall, helped blunt congressional criticism over stimulus dollars possibly going to create jobs in China by endorsing a proposal by the Chinese company to build a factory in his home state. Although his campaign received thousands of dollars in donations from the wind farm’s backers and Reid stood on stage with them at a campaign event they hosted, his office declined to answer any questions about the wind farm’s organizers or their plans for Nevada.
The wind farm, first announced more than a year ago, would consist of 300 2-megawatt wind turbines, each perched atop a 26-story-tall steel tower and spinning three blades — each half the length of a football field. The farm would span three counties and 36,000 acres in West Texas land best known for its oil. Dubbed the Spinning Star wind farm, the project’s 600-megawatt capacity is, theoretically, enough to power 180,000 American homes and would be the sixth-largest wind farm in the country.
Sen. Reid and Obama donors back company seeking $450 million in U.S. money
- The 104 nuclear reactors in America today provide the United States with 20 percent of its electricity and 73 percent of its carbon-free electricity, yet no new reactors have been ordered since 1978. This bill establishes a national goal to bring 100 new nuclear reactors online over the next 20 years to strengthen America’s commitment to clean, reliable energy.
Canada has roughly 180 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia. More than 95 percent of these reserves are oil sands deposits in Alberta.
Access to America’s Natural Resources. The federal government owns and controls 650 million acres of land in the United States, including large portions in the western U.S. For instance, the federal government owns approximately 85% of the land in Nevada, 69% of Alaska, 57% of Utah, and 53% of Orego
ALL THAT HAS TO GO……Sanity is about to return to OUR ENERGY POLICY…. mmmm, mmmm, goood,…….construction work in energy infrastructure (NUCLEAR ENERGY YES YES YES) which will create/results in lower energy bills. LET US work for AMERICA NOT AGAINST HER.
HOW MANY JOBS CAN YOU CREATE WITH SOCIALISM??? BIG FAT ZERO…
BUT BRING CAPITALISM AND YOU CAN HAVE 35,0000 RIGHT NOW BY OPENING DRILLING IN ALASKA. HOW ABOUT BUILDING MORE ENERGY THROUGH CONSTRUCTION OF NUCLEAR FACILITIES. WHAT JACKASSES…… SCREW THE SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS GROW THE ECONOMY WITH ENERGY STUPID
A must read why our Constitution stated that Congress and only Congress can legislate laws:
In 1987, Congress amended the NWPA by designating Yucca
Mountain as the only option for a longer-term storage site by a vote of 237-181 in the House of
Representatives and 61-28 in the Senate. Congress reaffirmed Yucca Mountain’s designation as the only option for a long-term storage site in 2002 by a vote of 306-117 in the House of Representatives and 60-39 in the Senate.
But, the NRC is preventing this law in acted. See the memo from the Select Committee on Energy