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October 24, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Strip should take lead on green power

Let’s get rid of all the fossil fuel, go solar and use wind power.

Our state has sunshine, wind and a supply for geothermal energy. We just need the infrastructure to carry the thermal energy from the northern part of the state to the southern part. What’s the problem, people?

Want jobs and a renewable source of energy at the same time? This is not your grandfather’s planet anymore; we’ve changed.

The hotels and casinos of Las Vegas could be leaders in the world of solar energy. Where on earth are there so many huge resorts on one street, in the middle of a sunny desert that would make a prime opportunity for green energy?

All the CEOs out there, follow the lead of Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, and become trailblazers into a new frontier.

We here in Las Vegas could be the leaders of the world when it comes to modernizing our future and going green.

The world is not flat, Darwin was a genius and we’re just being stupid.

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  1. The problem with renewable forms of energy is the same as money. When you need it, you don't have it and when you have it, you don't need it. Regardless of all the time, effort, and money spent on renewable energy sources they will never completely replace conventional energy sources. The U.S. is and/or quickly becoming completely self-sufficient for it's gas, coal, and oil reserves for centuries into the future despite all the rhetoric to the contrary by the green energy lovers. And 40 percent of our power is nuclear and, like it or not, it's here to stay.

    Carmine D

  2. The more interesting question is why do the resorts insist on lighting up the night in the first place. For that matter, why do cities insist on wasting energy resources lighting up the night. Is it really worth the cost and what benefits are derived?

    Next month the Perseid meteor showers can be seen at night. Local television stations will advise viewers to remove themselves from the city lights for the best view. This means finding an isolated spot about 100 miles out of town.

  3. Actually, nuclear power contributes 19% to the electrical power grid and, although three plants are under construction, the low price and availability of natural gas has placed nuclear in a financially uncompetitive situation [source: American Nuclear Power Association}. Solar is nor really well-suited as a source of centrally produced and distributed electric power. It is better adapted to single homes and buildings and as a passive source in building codes. Wind requires space, which we have in many places here in the western US, for extensive wind farms. A new wind farm opened up in the Palouse of Eastern Washington which will supply power sufficient for Pullman, WA, about 30,000 homes and businesses. It requires, though, about 4000 acres of land for siting. Most of that is farmland which, except for the footprint of the tower, can remain as active farmland. There are, of course, indirect costs. Some in the environmental community are concerned over bird loss, others over the effects of low frequency vibrations on animal and human health. Interestingly, wind generation creates ground level micro-climates raising temperatures and preventing damage to fruit crops. Geo-thermal, in the traditional sense, is brutally nasty as hot water sources often contain extremely corrosive compounds which damage infrastructure on a regular basis. Low temperature geo in which temperature gradients are tapped can work well but, again, those are more suited to single units. My own preference is for hydro, both riverine and tidal. Our experience with river based is that, properly designed and implemented, hydro can generate a lot of round-the-clock electrical power and maintain fisheries and other riverine uses. No source of electrical power is without negative costs, direct and indirect. I would rather accept those costs which can be mitigated and addressed than the ones which cannot.

  4. "Actually, nuclear power contributes 19% to the electrical power grid"

    Pat:

    That's based on 2008 usage, i.e. old data usage. It's higher now. Perhaps not 40 percent but not that far away and increasing all the time.

    Carmine D

  5. "Nuclear Power in the US - Industry Market Research Report

    IBISWorld
    January 23, 2013
    33 Pages - SKU: IBSS5006504

    Nuclear Power in the US

    Growth for the industry will remain strong, despite concerns about the safety of nuclear power plants. An increase in demand for electricity will boost industry revenue, while plants will increase their capacity through uprates. Furthermore, new nuclear plants will likely be built, supporting consistent growth over the next five years.

    This industry consists of firms that operate nuclear-powered, electric-power generation plants. The power plants use nuclear fuel to generate steam, which in turn is used to power turbines that generate electric power. The electricity reaches end-users via transmission or distribution systems.

    This report covers the scope, size, disposition and growth of the industry including the key sensitivities and success factors. Also included are five year industry forecasts, growth rates and an analysis of the industry key players and their market shares."

    Carmine D

  6. "Nuclear Power Market Research Reports, Analysis & Trends

    The energy generated by using sustained nuclear fission which is either a nuclear reaction or a radioactive decay process to generate heat and electricity is known as Nuclear Power. Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world's energy and 13--14% of the world's electricity, with the U.S., France, and Japan together producing about 50% of nuclear generated electricity."

    Carmine D

  7. "Ann Bisconti, president of Bisconti Research, commented: "In the surveys conducted this year and the latter part of 2011, we see not only significant and steady support for nuclear energy overall but confidence that nuclear power plants are being operated safely. Confidence in the safe operation of the plants and recognition of their benefits is the linchpin to public support."

    Carmine D

  8. "Renewable energy in the United States accounted for 13.2 percent of the domestically produced electricity in 2012."

    Nuclear power is higher.

    Carmine D

  9. First of all, we all need to conserve, and not waste energy. With the resorts and casinos, since they have NO intention to turn off their razzle dazzle lights, they should be adapting to green energy and continue to conserve (they do in several ways--it just was not mentioned in this letter).

    All forms of energy generation has its plusses and minusses. Hydroelectric generation has been useful, but, as we have come to realize, it impacts habitats and displaces affected individuals.

    Tidal/wave power generation is the most promising. As some Commenters suggested, transitioning into green energy takes steps at a time, and some of its direction may be influenced by costs of alternative energy sources. The less the United States of America is dependent upon foreign fuel and products, the better and healthier our economy and lives will be.

    We should be promoting the new careers in the technology and power generation industries, and it really is not happening to the levels that it should. Maybe our military can provide such job training to returning servicemen and servicewomen.

    Our lives revolve around energy and our consumption of it. It is a subject worthy of attention and action.

    Blessings and peace,
    Star

  10. China will take the lead on this one. They recently passed a law that allows for the execution of polluters. Millions of Chinese are suffering respiratory distress and cancer from fossil fuel pollution.
    They are spending massively on alternative energy. If a major break through comes it will be from the Chinese or Germans. The Germans will be done with nuclear power by 2022.

    If you drive through the western US you will find cars have not completely replaced horses. But horse poop is not the problem it used to be.

  11. Wharfrat - Congratulations on catching CarmineD making up numbers AGAIN. It's fun to watch him squirm and try to come up with some way to wring a drop of truth from a statement he's made.

  12. The logical solution is not ONE solution. Some hydro, some geo-thermal (Reno's doing fairly well on that one. Smug pat on back...), some solar in some areas (like Nevada, particularly for small installations), some wind (again, a potential for small installations) some nuke, some yet unknown (can coastal areas capture the up-down energy of the waves?? Or the ocean's temperature gradient? Theoretically, yes.)

    Regardless, the time to start is about 15 years ago - while we have the time in which to maneuver. And yes, it WILL take government investment - just like oil needed to get off the ground, and STILL receives! (I wonder, will they manage to get off the ground before their resource runs out??).

  13. "And where do you think all of the nuclear waste
    is going to go, Carmine?"

    If Reid pulls the nuclear option, and the GOP takes control of the Senate, take a guess!

    Carmine D

  14. Jim:

    You can argue the numbers back and forth, but you can't fight the trend. It's nuclear power in the future here and around the world. It's is inevitable.

    Carmine D

  15. Germany has see-sawed on nuclear power and changed since 2011 when it proclaimed 2022 would be the end. The majority of Germans still support it [nuclear power]. In 1990 when east and west united, the Soviet nuclear plants in East Germany were problematic. These had to be phased out and taken offline for safety and security. Germany is not well positioned geographically for solar and wind energy. It gets 11 percent now and hopes to double by 2020.

    "Public Opinion

    German public sentiment has been split in relation to support of nuclear energy. A poll late in 1997 showed that some 81% of Germans wanted existing nuclear plants to continue operating, the highest level for many years and well up from the 1991 figure of 64%. The vast majority of Germans expected nuclear energy to be widely used in the foreseeable future. The poll also showed a sharp drop in sympathy for militant protests against transport of radioactive waste.

    After the crucial October 1998 election a poll confirmed German public support for nuclear energy. Overall 77% supported the continued use of nuclear energy, while only 13% favoured the immediate closure of nuclear power plants.

    In November 1998 Germany's electric utilities issued a joint statement pointing out that achievement of greenhouse goals would not be possible without nuclear energy. A few days later the Federation of German Industries declared that the "politically undisturbed operation" of existing nuclear plants was a prerequisite for its cooperation in reaching greenhouse gas emission targets. Nuclear energy then avoided the emission of about 170 million tonnes per year of carbon dioxide, compared with 260 Mt/yr being emitted by other German power plants.

    A poll early in 2007 found that 61% of Germans opposed the government's plans to phase out nuclear power by 2020, while 34% favoured a phase out. Another poll in mid 2008 (N=500) showed that 46% of Germans want the country to continue using nuclear energy; another 46% said they support the nuclear phase out policy, and 8% were undecided."

    Carmine D

  16. China is looking to nuclear power to replace coal.

    "Future projects[edit]

    Currently, this is one of the most ambitious programs [nuclear power] in the world with plans to have over 80 GWe (6%) of installed capacity by 2020, and a further increase to more than 200 GW (16%) by 2030,[22] as agreed in the 22 March 2006 government "Long-term development plan for nuclear power industry from 2005 to 2020".[19] The State Council Research Office (SCRO) has recommended that China aim for no more than 100 GW before 2020 (built and building), in order to avoid a shortfall of fuel, equipment and qualified plant workers. It expressed concern that China is building several dozen more Generation 2 reactors, and recommended shifting faster to Generation 3 designs such as the AP1000.[23][24]"

    Carmine D

  17. Carmine refers to a poll taken in 2007 about the feelings of Germans on nuclear power. Why so out of date? Has any major disaster happened involving nuclear power since then? You know it has readers.

    Meanwhile:
    http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2013/0...
    "A report from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says climate change and the rising temperatures associated with it can affect water levels and temperatures at power plants and affect demand on the power grid, according to Electric Light & Power/POWERGRID International.
    The report, released as part of President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan, states that no area in the U.S. will be unaffected by rising temperatures, though its affect will vary across the country. For example, higher temperatures and drought conditions can affect cooling water temperatures needed at natural gas- and coal-fired power plants. Around 60 percent of the nation's thermal power plants that require water for cooling are located in water-stressed areas that have been hit by droughts.
    Other examples include:
    Less water for hydropower: Lighter snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 2012 caused an 8 percent drop in California's hydropower capacity. At Hoover Dam, low water levels at Lake Mead fell caused a 23 percent drop in that dam's power generation.
    Less nuclear capacity: At Connecticut's Millstone Nuclear Power Station, a reactor had to be taken offline because the temperature of the water in Long Island Sound was too warm to be used to cool the plant.
    More demand on the grid: In hotter weather, customers use more electricity to cool their housing and businesses. A study by the DOE Argonne National Laboratory found that peak demand during hot weather could require the power output of 100 additional power plants.
    Weather can affect power delivery: Power lines, transformers and electricity distribution systems face increasing risks of physical damage from the hurricanes, storms and wildfires that are growing more frequent and intense, according to the DOE.
    To read the report, click here."

    Just keep insisting on buying incandescent bulbs Carmine and you too can contribute to the problem.

  18. "Carmine refers to a poll taken in 2007 about the feelings of Germans on nuclear power. Why so out of date? Has any major disaster happened involving nuclear power since then? You know it has readers."

    There are more recent German polls, the point is the trend for nuclear power is on the rise globally.

    If you are interested, look at the polls in Japan which along with France and America are among the leading users of nuclear power in the world. Japan is where there was the most recent and worst nuclear holocaust. Post the poll results before and after the holocaust. You might be surprised with the results in Japan.

    The other point is that Germany, despite all the rhetoric, can't utilize wind and solar energy as much as it wants. It's just not geographically positioned to do so. It's major thrust is nuclear for reducing dependence on coal and carbon emissions.

    If you disagree with my 2 points, post your proof.

    Carmine D

  19. Here's an excerpt from July 2013 for Japan from Christian Science Monitor:

    "Japan to give nuclear power another chance
    Japan announces new nuclear standards, but public skepticism remains after Fukushima.

    By Justin McCurry, Correspondent / July 10, 2013

    "Japan appears poised to give nuclear power another chance, just over two years after the reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant forced it to rethink its enthusiasm for atomic energy.

    The earthquake and tsunami that triggered the triple meltdown on March 11, 2011, rocked Japan's confidence in the safety of its nuclear facilities, forcing it to abandon plans to raise its dependence on nuclear from about a third of its total energy needs to more than 50 percent by 2030.

    Now, all but two of the country's 50 working reactors stand idle; none will be able to resume operations unless they meet strict safety standards introduced this week by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, a new industry watchdog agency formed to help win over a deeply skeptical public."

    Carmine D

  20. Excellent article rusty57 on Germany staying the course on coal.

    BTW the author is Dr. Kelvin Kemm a nuclear physicist and business strategy consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa. A member of the International Board of Advisors of the Washington, DC-based Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), Dr. Kemm has been awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievers Award of the National Science and Technology Forum of South Africa.

    Carmine D

  21. "Carmine.. Nuclear power is on the decline in Germany."

    "The cost of replacing Germany's nuclear power generation with renewable energy has been officially estimated by the German Ministry of Economics at about 0.01/kWh (about 55 billion for the next decade), on top of the 13 billion per year already devoted to subsidizing renewables. However, unofficial estimates of the ministry, and of the Rhenish-Westphalian Institute for Economic Research (RWI), German Energy Agency (DENA), Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV), and the government-owned development bank (KfW), put the cost several times higher, at about 250 billion ($340 B) over the next decade.[30][31]

    In March 2013, the administrative court for the German state of Hesse ruled that a three-month closure imposed by the government on RWE's Biblis A and B reactors as an immediate response to the incident was illegal.[32] The state ministry of the environment acted illegally in March 2011, when an order was issued for the immediate closure of the Biblis units. RWE complied with the decree by shutting Biblis-A immediately, however as the plants were in compliance with the relevant safety requirements, the German government had no legal grounds for shutting them. The court ruled that the closure notice was illegal because RWE had not been given sufficient opportunity to respond to the order."

    In the final analysis, and when all is said and done, the decision to go nuclear all comes down to do-re-me.

    Carmine D

  22. It was 130 in Death Valley several days ago. 119 at my pad. 134 is the highest temperature ever recorded.
    You need people, machines, technological advancement and natural resources to produce output. Many of the most productive regions of the country are suffering severe drought conditions.
    We better figure out a way to get water to the places that need it or these topics will prove meaningless. Without water you have no output.

  23. Good article Mark. Thanks for posting the link. I recall reading it recently. Here's the conclusion:

    '"Time is our friend, here on the nuclear side," Harding said. "The longer you wait, the less activation there is in the structure. You don't have to treat it as low-level waste: It goes straight to a landfill." '

    Carmine D

  24. As someone who monitored the use of radioactive materials in labs at UNLV I can tell you your quote is not only out of context but that Harding is spreading nonsense. Now why didn't you quote this part of the article?
    "EON SE and RWE AG (RWE) are leading the biggest decommissioning project by European utilities ever, an effort to tear down 12 reactors in Germany over two decades. Edison International (EIX) said June 7 it will never restart its idled two-unit San Onofre Generating Station outside Los Angeles, bringing the number of U.S. reactors permanently closed in a year to a record four.

    The global utility industry faces its biggest test to prove enough money was saved for shutdowns, having undergone numerous cost-overruns building atomic plants. A cautionary tale can be seen with government-owned facilities. In Britain, where taxpayers are on the hook to retire the Sellafield complex's seven reactors and fuel-reprocessing stations on the Irish Sea during the next 100 years, the U.K. government this year doubled its estimate for the work to 67.5 billion pounds ($106 billion)."

  25. I excerpted and posted the article's conclusion. The article is 3 pages long.

    Many old nuclear plants do not meet new and stricter government standards. These should be taken off-line as soon as possible. That [decommissioning] does not equate to the end of nuclear power. It means the old plants must, and will, be replaced with newer and compliant ones.

    Carmine D

  26. The tragedy of the Japanese nuclear plant meltdown was sparked by natural disasters: Earthquake and tsunami. The plant was built on a known fault line. The upside of the tragic events is that it focused worldwide attention on improving the safety, security and operations of existing nuclear power plants, or decommissioning them if beyond doing so, and building new ones.

    Carmine D

  27. Nice cost for decommissioning. What does this do to the cost per kilowatt hour?

  28. This paragraph precedes yours:
    "Another eight reactors are cooling in a state of long-term hibernation, emptied of fuel, reducing radiation to safe levels that will simplify demolition and lower costs. The NRC allows decommissioning to take 60 years. Duke and Dominion Resources Inc. plan this approach for the Crystal River and Kewaunee reactors closed permanently this year."

    What is the opportunity cost (assuming the time period isn't an underestimate) of giving up land for 60 years and what is the half life of the spent fuel?

  29. "Nice cost for decommissioning. What does this do to the cost per kilowatt hour?"
    _________________________________
    The cost per kilowatt hour is reduced by the depreciation for the plants over the useful life of the facility. It's a wash.
    _________________________________
    "What is the opportunity cost."

    This is an economic theoretical cost not a practical cost of doing business. It has no effect on the cost per kilowatt hour.
    __________________________________

    The Wall Street Journal has an article in the Monday July 15 edition under "World News" called " Bioenergy Revs Up in Germany." It hasn't hit the internet yet. When it does, I'll post the link.

    I'll synopsize: In 2000, Chancellor Schroder, a center left government leader, ordered the phase out of nuclear by 2022 for renewable. Merkel threw it out in 2010. Why? Cost. Germany pays more than 3 times the U.S. for electrical power and the highest in Europe. Germans were outraged. Then 2011 and Japan's disaster. Cries for Schroder's effort came back. Merkel succumbed to popular opinion. What happened? Now, rising electricity costs are a political issue for the September elections in Germany. Germans are outraged again. Germans are encumbered with energy surcharges on their bills to pay for renewables [government subsidies]. Germany is concerned the high costs can undermine their economy, the best in the EU. And diminish Germany's standing as an international economic power. The German economy has saved the EU and euro from total bankruptcy. Most believe and say it is important for the Germans to keep the electricity costs down to stay in the game. Hello nuclear energy and welcome back again!

    Carmine D