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Russell Lowes
Research Director for www.SafeEnergyAnalyst.org
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It is shameful that the Arizona Daily Star endorsed this mine in their editorial today. They tout 400 good-paying jobs, taking the word of the company. Augusta/Rosemont claimed 300 jobs before they arbitrarily went up to 400. Then when they scaled back a major component of their proposed mining practice, they never adjusted the jobs down. Robotics will probably cause the real number to be closer to 100. Then, on top of that, they don't highlight the number of jobs lost in the tourism sector. Many more jobs would be lost than gained with this mine, in the tourism sector (see the Power report at SSSR's website). Rosemont = net job loss. Tourism in 2010 brought in $10 billion in AZ, with mining at $5B. Mining is on the decline and tourism is on the rise.
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Thanks for the article. The utilities will continue fighting the decentralized types of solar tooth and nail until the ACC restructures the way they get the utilities' profits. Currently, they make money in two main ways, from kilowatt-hour sales and capital investment. A third minor way is through the basic monthly fee, which Arizona Public Service (sic.) is trying to get the ACC to increase. It could then become a third major source. The higher the fee, the less it makes sense to do solar. The lower fees promote alternatives to the current coal/gas/nuclear dominance. Solar energy investments actually save money for even non-solar homes and businesses by decreasing the amount of power-plants to be built and by reducing the peak energy production from gas generation. Solar energy production patterns have a fairly good match with peak energy patterns. Without solar our bills would go higher per kilowatt-hour than with them. Of course, under the current profit structure, APS will lose with decentralized solar; their loss is the customers' gain. Let's decouple their profit from product and re-couple it with service. For example, they would get more profit if the average household reduces their consumption by 100 kilowatt-hours. Another example and approach would be for the ACC to increase APS profit if the per capita service area energy use per GDP (gross domestic product) goes down.
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This will be great for the environment over the ages, as less nuclear waste is generated. It will also be great for the economy as Southern California (and really the West's grid, as we are all connected) will now tend to replace this uneconomical power with economical energy efficiency and solar energy. Sure, some of the power will be replaced with natural gas. However, that is only for now, as natural gas prices are slowly moving toward an inevitable surge in price.
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2013 on California nuke plant closing at Blog For Arizona
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Russell Lowes is now following mbryanaz
Mar 30, 2013
I guess they've never heard of conduit or proper panel construction. There are so many idiotic things you hear about with nukes. From major reactor components being installed backwards (with the 'north' sign pointing south!) to operators ignoring visible corrosion on reactor heads, the industry is just one error away from disaster. The wrong error will ruin your day. And the region around you. A small collection of such errors is at the subsidiary blog of this one, at: http://www.blogforarizona.com/safeenergyanalyst/2008/05/nuclear-safety.html
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Thanks for the good article! Relentless attacks on our public schools and promotion of absurd energy options like nuclear power are Melvin's main career paths.
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. . .Nuclear bailouts have cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The Shoreham nuclear plant, of Long Island, alone cost over $10 billion to bail out, in 1980s dollars!
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Vermont Yankee is on the short list, also, as will Indian Point soon be, by my estimation. Nukes have been in favor ever since Presidnet Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program. A great study by Union of Concerned Scientists is available at http://earthtrack.net/files/uploaded_files/nuclear%20subsidies_summary.pdf which shows nukes have in the past cost 6 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity and still cost 6 cents/kWhe and will in the foreseeable future cost 6 cents/kWhe. This is double the subsidy per kWhe that solar gets, or coal, or natural gas. Nukes need it continually, as they cannot stand on their own, after 60 years at the pork barrel.
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Monsanto should really top the list. Followed by Goldman Sachs.
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Russell Lowes is now following Will B. Greene
Dec 22, 2012
Having read about many of the bills the Congress would like to pass, I am thinking it's a good thing they haven't passed so many bills this last year or so! With such a whacked out House (and Senate) the inactivity has spared us some really bad bills.
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SunZia: The Making of a Slave State, First Power then Transmission Why does Arizona tolerate it? Why do its citizens tolerate it? Who benefits by creating a slave-state status for Arizona? This unnecessary transmission line has been touted as a renewable energy line, while every map option for this line connects with the Bowie Natural Gas facility, owned by the same owners of SunZia. Energy Efficiency is the best way to spend dollars to meet energy needs in Arizona, followed by a mix of efficiency and solar and wind energy. Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2012 at Blog For Arizona
The term "recycling" is greenwash. You start the nuclear cycle by mining and milling what is called "yellowcake." This yellowcake is enriched into three isotopes of U-238, U-235 and an incredibly small portion of another uranium isotope. Basically new nuclear fuel is about 96% U-238 and 4% U-235. When that is run through the reactor, you get spent fuel. This consists of over 150 isotopes of elements like uranium, cesium, strontium, plutonium, etc. The spent fuel will never be recycled, as aluminum is recycled. Aluminum cans, once recycled, have the same product in them before and after: aluminum. Spent fuel cannot ever be converted to the same product, as it is so polluted with so many isotopes. Spent fuel is re-processed into a whole new product of mixed oxides, a fuel called for short, "MOX." They essentially put the spent fuel in a chemical stew and migrate certain isotope groupings out of the stew to make this MOX. Atomic Al likes to manipulate words and facts to get to where he wants to go. He has greenwashed the term reprocessing into recycling. The right wing likes to manipulate the words we use to make their projects attractive and to help pass the costs of their boondoggles onto other people.
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Uranium mining, like copper mining, is going more and more into robotics, reducing the jobs here that used to be provided. The robotics are being produced in counties with cheap labor, and peculiarly, Australia. However, if you know Australia's mining history, it is not so peculiar. It has been a powerhouse of mining for the earth for decades. While they have been largely anti-nuclear, Australians have produced a fairly large percent of the world's uranium, as well as other metals. Most of the mining companies with claims in the Grand Canyon area are foreign. The ore would be milled and then sent mostly overseas where they have better more efficient centrifuge enrichment technology. Here in the U.S. we have outdated government-run gaseous diffusion enrichment, technology from the 1950s. Yet, there is really no need to replace it though, as the world can provide cheaper labor anyway, and because nukes are so economically risky and impractical anyway. The thing that is driving the nuclear technology is a sort of religious conviction. Nuclear energy: -- is not economical; -- uses the most water; -- encourages black market sales of fissile materials for bombs, increasing terrorist potential for harm; -- sets up conditions to infringe upon our civil liberties because of that; -- reduces our national security because of black market sales of bomb materials; -- creates waste streams that will have to be in check for over a million years; -- increases global warming directly with 18 of 20 steps of the fuel cycle producing CO2; -- exposes the public to routine emissions from the fuel cycle steps; -- creates more and more mining destruction as uranium is running out; -- I could go on.
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The improvement in energy efficiency since 1973 has saved more energy than all the additional energy expansion since that year. This will continue on into the future, and negate the need for additional power plants and oil consumption for transportation and more. Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2011 at Blog For Arizona
Thanks for the alert on this. The answer with what we should do with our nuclear waste will definitely, "be with us a long, long time," as you say in your closing. Regarding nuclear waste storage from reactors, the courts have ruled that instead of the Environmental Protection Agency having to design waste disposal for 10,000 years, as it had previously ruled, the EPA will instead require that waste disposal be designed for 1,000,000 years. However, nuclear waste from reactors is only one waste step. There is waste from mining, which is primarily in the form of U-238 (half-life of 4.5 billion years), from milling, also primarily U-238. There is waste from the conversion, enrichment and reconversion processes, also primarily U-238. Although the wastes of these steps are primarily in the form of U-238, there are also other many other isotopes to be concerned with, each with their own half-lives and associated problems. On top of all that scheming for dumping on Arizona with the nation's nuclear waste (and as Al said, the world's), there is no real way to compensate the state government with $5 billion per year. That claim is sheer boosterism. The state has no mechanism for such collection of fees or taxes. And any such law designed to raise that much money would be a good candidate for a law suit under the Interstate Commerce Clause.
Toggle Commented Jun 20, 2010 on LD-26 Senate race goes nuclear at Blog For Arizona
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Hi Tomm, It is not my intent to tear the prior commenter apart. It is my intent to present an accurate analysis of energy in America and the world. I want to help steer us away from a frivolous energy course like nuclear and coal energy for electricity, while burning up money that could be used to guide us toward an economically and environmentally sustainable energy future. The person who goes by "Can't. . ." is perhaps misguided by the industry dis-information campaign. Or they are perhaps paid by the nuclear industry to do just that, "tear" people apart. Dis-information is disseminated by many nuclear companies, trade groups and governmental agencies. Areva, for example, is the world's largest nuclear company. The mostly French-owned nuclear giant has more public dis-information than perhaps any other. By itself, and through the trade organizations like Nuclear Engineering International, World Nuclear Association, and its governmental organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency, Areva is able to impose its self-serving perspectives, fabricated and not. Areva has spent $663 million -- enough to fund a successful U.S. presidential campaign -- in known money on lobbying and campaign contributions in the last 10 years promoting nuclear energy in many sorts of ways. (See: http://investigativereportingworkshop.org/investigations/nuclear-energy-lobbying-push/story/nuclear-energy-working-hard-win-support/). Thanks for the comment.
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Renz was not only a Commissioner of the AZ Corporation Commission, he was the Chair for a number of years. He has a good record on solar and energy efficiency, and on being a watchdog for the public. He seems like a great candidate.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2010 on SWAG Update at Blog For Arizona
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Hi Ken, Good anthology. Thanks for the tip. Indeed, the whole system of support and subsidy is well in place for nuclear energy -- more than for any other energy source. There is a great report at http://www.earthtrack.net/files/legacy_library/FiscalFission.pdf By the way, Earthtrack is a website dedicated to tracking subsidies of energy industries. They are open-source oriented, and invite contributors to help build up the site. Very cool.
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I think it is humorous to read that you think someone doesn't really have the room to comment on this issue if they haven't been to a nuclear plant. That is your own thing. It has nothing to do with reality. The several plants I have been to, including one in France a couple years ago, did nothing to enlighten me about uranium reserves or any of the information I wrote in the article above. If you have learned a way to morph this information into your mind while at a nuclear plant, you should patent it. Addressing your points: 1) The rate of proven ore discoveries has gone down radically over the last few decades, as shown in many of the 103 studies that Sovacool analyzed that I refer to in SafeEnergyAnalyst.org. These other resources (like tailings)are included in the uranium reserves of many of these studies. When I was fighting a uranium mine in the Sierra Anchas in Arizona in the 1970s, they used dixie cups, turned them upside down, put them on the ground and anchored them. They then waited for a few days and flew over the area with a special camera to see the radon that collected in the cups. The company then knew, after doing additional analysis, whether they had mineable reserves. Uranium is more easily detected due to this off-gassing than many other energy reserves. However, the Red Book, which some call the Red Face Book due to its non-scientifically verified approach, is simply a collection of how much each country says it has, based largely on unverified company claims. Companies want to promote their investments so they use high sales projections. 2) Reprocessing is heavily subsidized in France, as it used to be here. Commercial reprocessing has been generally illegal in the U.S. over the course of six U.S. presidents. In France, even with their massive subsidy masking true costs, the reprocessed-based fuel is over two times the price of imported yellowcake. 3) Commercial breeders have been an economic failure worldwide. As far as I can tell, there are no breeders that have registered net energy sales in any Energy Information Administration report ever. Breeders are a pipe dream, as in cement, vessels and pipes dream. 4) Thorium was not chosen over uranium in the mid-1900s because it was less economical than uranium. Uranium has never been able to hold its own without massive subsidy. Uranium-based nuclear energy is an economic dud. Thorium could do worse. Wind energy expanded last year more than any other energy source in the world. That is the field to get into if you are an MIT student. Or perhaps into nuclear waste management. The tail end of the nuclear industry will be a hot field for many years to come;)
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Thanks for the additional references. For a good read on how cap & trade tax (CTT) evolved, see: http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2009/08/13/scrap-cap-and-trade-emissions-trading-inventors-now-leery/ There were two main authors to the original CTT, which covered part of the Northeast U.S. and part of Canada. One is still favoring CTT and one has become opposed to it. There is an eloquently-written petition against this energy giveaway bill, at Physicians for Social Responsibility, at: https://secure2.convio.net/psr/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=399
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The focus here is not physics. The focus in this article is on the depletion of uranium and the resulting CO2 output. Uranium energy output is tied to ore content/assay level. If the ore content drops from 3000 parts per million (0.3%) to 1500 ppm, as it has since the 1980s, then energy input for mining and milling more than doubles. Uranium is projected to go down to 400 ppm by 2040 or so, unless there is a increase in nuclear capacity, in which case that date will be sooner. The stormsmith.nl study does not overly focus on coal, but there are many studies that cover coal emissions. They all seem to hover around 1000 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour for coal. Coal should be phased out, of course, along with nuclear, as we bring in new technologies for the 21st Century. We currently use about 100 quads (quadrillion btus) of energy in the U.S. Nuclear energy provides about 8 of those quads. Coal is at about 22. See: https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/energy/content/energy/energy_archive/energy_flow_2008/LLNL_US_EFC_20081.png The stormsmith.nl study shows (if you use the tables to project the new CO2 output) that by 2040, nuclear will surpass natural gas in CO2 output. This is less than the half-way point of production for any new nuclear plant. That is, if a nuke is completed in 2022, more than half of its lifespan will be producing energy at over the level of natural gas, because of deteriorated uranium assays. If you count the legally required 1 million years of waste management, nuclear CO2 output will exceed natural gas and coal today. With coal and natural gas we are talking about a multi-generational pollution problem. With nuclear energy, we are talking about a multi-epoch pollution problem.
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Hi Lowly MIT Student, AKA Can't stand the stupidity, It would be nice to use your real name but those are the two you have given me. All three of the links you listed in your comment are the same link. Thus, the single reference you have is a Powerpoint presentation of one page in length. It lists the greenhouse gas emissions in grams equivalents for CO2 per kilowatt-hour of electricity, per Life-Cycle Analysis. In this Powerpoint picture, it lists 2-59 grams per kilowatt-hour for nuclear. While it is good of one of the largest cheerleading entities (NEI) to admit that nuclear is not greenhouse-gas free in this page, they are way under what the best studies indicate is the current CO2 emission. www.stormsmith.nl indicates currently 120 grams, as a study in Australia indicates over 100. The two problems with all of these studies is (1) that they include only the current assay level of ore, and (2)that they do not count the legally required period of waste management, and all the associated CO2 production from that. Ore assay level, or in lay terms, uranium content level as a percent of ore, has gone from 0.3% to 0.15% from the early 1980s to today. It is expected by the site listed above to go down to around 0.04% by about 2040, and 0.01% by about 2060. Those figures assume the current level of world nuclear capacity stays constant. If there is a full nuclear relapse, and hundreds of nuclear plants get built, the decline will happen much earlier. As you might imagine, when the ore content goes down, CO2 from mining and milling goes up. The second issue, restated, is that these studies don't count what the courts have ruled as the legally required 1 million years of waste management. How can you count that, you may ask, when you don't know what technologies will be out there in the future. However with LCC, you must project to the best of your ability. It is important to see how nuclear waste has been handled to-date. When you look at the waste programs we have had, like Hanford, Rocky Flats, WIPP, etc., you find that there has been much more migration than projected. You find that there has been much higher missing or unaccounted for materials at these sites. You then have to project that kind of management and misconduct will exist in the future. When you do that, you will find that the costs to repair environmental systems and perhaps even cities or portions of cities will add huge amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere. This CO2 will be produced in the reconstruction, re-isolation, and also simply in the monitoring and management of wastes for thousands of generations. Respectfully, Russell Lowes
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Thank you for the excellent coverage of this extremely important issue. Tucson is in a similar place to where Phoenix was when the Phoenix Area grew to 1 million. At that time, the conservative Phoenix Area was besieged by a push to turn this Area into an extreme right-wing Mecca. They used all sorts of tricks similar to this initiative to push the Phoenix Area to mesh with their ideological bent. The Phoenix 40 was set up and then its efforts were increased, referendums were put forth to rally the right-wing base, and scare tactics were used in many of those campaigns, just as the pro-200 campaign keys in on scare tactics. To protect Tucson from these assaults (which includes the Legislature's recent mandate to Tucson to change its city-wide ward election process), many more citizens need to get involved, and the lines of media, like Blog for Arizona need to open up full-bore.
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Hello, I had read back in 2005 that McCain's "anti-torture" bill actually indemnified all future military personnel from torturing others. Is this true? If so, then it was a pro-torture bill. I would try to decipher the bill myself, but I am afraid I'd never be able to adequately demystify the language of mystery in this bill. Your view on this indemnification issue?
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