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Energy Secretary Steven Chu Not to Serve a Second Term

by Greg Bernhardt
Tags: energy, secretary, serve, steven, term
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rootX
#19
Feb2-13, 02:05 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
Both China and India have big nuclear energy programs, and China is aggressively building nuclear plants.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf63.html
But isn't China's wind energy beating nuclear? (http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-Ne...gy-Source.html). I read earlier about future nuclear ambitions of China but they suffered a setback after Japan incident.

As for India, I read they don't have sufficient raw materials. They have thorium but not uranium. Many also question Indian tendency to building nuclear weapons rather than producing energy. (I will link to article about India's nuclear problems as soon I find it)

In addition both countries appear to have poor safety measures and suffer from inefficiencies like bureaucracy that prevent them from doing much.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Quote Quote by aquitaine View Post
The other problem is that environmentalists don't like them.
They don't like anything not even wind
Astronuc
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Feb2-13, 02:18 PM
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Wind power is now China’s third largest energy resource, behind thermal power and hydropower, according to data released recently by the China Wind Energy Association (CWEA).

This development comes after wind power surpassed nuclear power. During a congress held last weekend, it was also announced that wind-generated electricity in China amounted to 1,004 billion kilowatt-hours in 2012.
. . .
However, China’s current proportion of nuclear power, 2 percent, is set to double by 2020. . . .
For years, China’s wind power capabilities developed at a blistering pace. However, this slowed dramatically in 2012.
. . .
http://asiancorrespondent.com/96579/...china-for-now/

http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Ene...6591358360261/
rootX
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Feb2-13, 02:40 PM
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Yes, wind energy suffered because it was pure madness to build so many wind farms without having enough transmission system in place. Most of the energy from wind is not being used. However, I was arguing that China's nuclear energy must be too weak right now if wind can beat it. From the article I am linking below, it appears that even by 2020 wind will be ahead of nuclear (nuclear going upto 6%). Coal is to play a big role in China at least until 2050.

Here are some interesting articles. This was really good edition because it has energy articles related to important world countries including the US. But the access to these articles is limited. I am just linking them here if anyone's interested.

Challenges Ahead: Currents Status and Future Prospects for Chinese Energy
Yunhe Hou; Jin Zhong
Power and Energy Magazine, IEEE
Volume: 10 , Issue: 3
Topic(s): Power, Energy, & Industry Applications
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/MPE.2012.2188670
Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 38 - 47

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/sta...number=6185783


Growing Pains: Meeting India's Energy Needs in the Face of Limited Fossil Fuels
Parikh, J.; Parikh, K.
Power and Energy Magazine, IEEE
Volume: 10 , Issue: 3
Topic(s): Power, Energy, & Industry Applications
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/MPE.2012.2188671
Publication Year: 2012 , Page(s): 59 - 66

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/sta...number=6185786
mheslep
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Feb2-13, 04:31 PM
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Quote Quote by rootX View Post
But isn't China's wind energy beating nuclear? (http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-Ne...gy-Source.html). ...
Apparently about a third of installed Chinese wind capacity is not connected to the grid, i.e. installed to look good on paper. If your link is correct in that 60GW of wind towers are standing as of 2012, then per Forbes 40GW pk is in use, with 13GW average power. Sixteen standard 1GWe nuclear reactors running all the time, as they usually do, should still be ahead of wind generation in China.
OmCheeto
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Feb2-13, 07:29 PM
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Quote Quote by Greg Bernhardt View Post
http://energy.gov/articles/letter-se...sion-not-serve



Hopefully the next SoE will also have a strong scientific background.
hmmm... How much does it pay?

He sounds a lot like me.
In a wide-ranging and sometimes defiant letter to staff announcing his resignation on Friday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, while highlighting his agency's achievements over the last four years, blasted critics of the administration's investments in the renewable energy market, suggesting that opponents were living in the "Stone Age."

"In the last two years, the private sector, including Warren Buffett, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Google, have announced major investments in clean energy," Chu wrote. "Originally skeptical lenders and investors now see that renewable energy will [be] profitable. These investors are voting where it counts the most -- with their wallet."
Get out Stone Age: Check!
Attract private money: Check!

I watched a blip of Senator Kerry at his confirmation hearing:

fast forward to 2:59:00
Quote Quote by John Kerry
Confirmation Hearing for Sen. John Kerry as Secretary of State

I will be a passionate advocate based not on ideology, but on facts and science. This is a six trillion dollar clean energy market – and we better go after it.
....
... the opportunity of a new energy policy so vastly outweigh the downsides that you are expressing concern about – and I will spend a lot of time persuading you and other colleagues otherwise,” he said.

We’ve gotta get into the clean energy race – in Massachusetts one of the fastest growing parts of the economy is clean energy, and it’s the same in California.

It’s a job creator – I cannot emphasise this enough. We reckon the energy market is a 6 trillion dollar market with 4-5 billion users going up to 9 billion in the next 20-30 years.

There are extra opportunities in modernising US’s energy grid – we don’t even have a grid – we have a great big hole in the middle.
I believe I said something to the effect, that I would prefer no one get in this guys way. Too bad Chu is leaving. I think they would have been a great tag team.
OmCheeto
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Feb2-13, 07:52 PM
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Secretary Chu has a Facebook page.

He has a link there to his letter of resignation:

Quote Quote by Steven Chu
Dear Colleagues:

Serving the country as Secretary of Energy, and working alongside such an extraordinary team of people at the Department, has been the greatest privilege of my life. While the job has had many challenges, it has been an exciting time for the Department, the country, and for me personally.

I’ve always been inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, who articulated his Dream of an America where people are judged not by skin color but “by the content of their character.” In the scientific world, people are judged by the content of their ideas. Advances are made with new insights, but the final arbitrator of any point of view are experiments that seek the unbiased truth, not information cherry picked to support a particular point of view. The power of our work is derived from this foundation.

This is the approach I’ve brought to the Department of Energy, where I believe we should be judged not by the money we direct to a particular State or district, company, university or national lab, but by the character of our decisions. The Department of Energy serves the country as a Department of Science, a Department of Innovation, and a Department of Nuclear Security.

.....
Wow. I really like this guy. Why do people not like him, I wonder.
russ_watters
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Feb2-13, 09:30 PM
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Quote Quote by OmCheeto View Post
Attract private money: Check!
Massive government subsidies will do that, regardless of if it really is a good idea.
OmCheeto
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Feb2-13, 10:35 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
Massive government subsidies will do that, regardless of if it really is a good idea.
He kind of addressed that in his letter.

Quote Quote by Steven Chu
Through the Recovery Act, the Department of Energy made grants and loans to more than 1,300 companies. While critics try hard to discredit the program, the truth is that only one percent of the companies of the companies we funded went bankrupt. That one percent has gotten more attention than the 99 percent that have not.

The test for America’s policy makers will be whether they are willing to accept a few failures in exchange for many successes. America’s entrepreneurs and innovators who are leaders in global clean energy race understand that not every risk can – or should – be avoided. Michelangelo said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
bolding mine

Ha! And I see the boss linked directly to the letter with the OP. I should click on links once in a while.
aquitaine
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Feb3-13, 12:06 AM
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Quote Quote by OmCheeto View Post
He kind of addressed that in his letter.

bolding mine

Ha! And I see the boss linked directly to the letter with the OP. I should click on links once in a while.


Some of us consider 20%-60% product subsidies to be massive.
OmCheeto
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Feb3-13, 12:34 AM
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Quote Quote by aquitaine View Post
Some of us consider 20%-60% product subsidies to be massive.
Yes. Perhaps we should all sit back, ignore Mr. Chu, and watch China take over. I wonder what their subsidies are.

Never mind. Their pseudo-private corporations are doing it already.

American R&D investments are commonly transferred to foreign nations. In this case, taxpayers provided $124 million to A123, and now China will ultimately manufacture and sell any technologies that may have been derived from this investment.
Not too bright America. You should have never let this happen. But god knows we'll do everything in our power to try and make Obama look like a failure.

So who are we going to replace Chu with? Paul Brown maybe? He seems to be more in line with our collective judgement.

Science educator Bill Nye questioned Broun's ability to serve on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, stating, '"Since the economic future of the United States depends on our tradition of technological innovation, Representative Broun's views are not in the national interest"' and that '"He is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology."
Perfect! Idiocracy, here we come.
Astronuc
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Feb3-13, 09:41 AM
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Quote Quote by OmCheeto View Post
Yes. Perhaps we should all sit back, ignore Mr. Chu, and watch China take over. I wonder what their subsidies are.
But China has been making advances under Chu's watch. Putting a stop to Yucca mountain has harmed the nuclear industry as utilities have backed away from new projects because the absence of a final solution is a major liability for the utilities.

China can afford to make huge subsidies as the have a huge trade surplus.

The Obama administration has had some problems with their subsidies of 'green companies'. Of course, part of the problem is that China undercut those companies by offering lower cost products.

China has a near monopoly on heavy rare earths. That's a geographic issue and beyond the control of the US government.
atyy
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Feb3-13, 09:49 AM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
But China has been making advances under Chu's watch. Putting a stop to Yucca mountain has harmed the nuclear industry as utilities have backed away from new projects because the absence of a final solution is a major liability for the utilities.
What was Chu's role in this - unsuccessful advocacy of Yucca as a repository, neutral, or against?
Astronuc
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Feb3-13, 09:51 AM
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Quote Quote by atyy View Post
What was Chu's role in this - unsuccessful advocacy of Yucca as a repository, neutral, or against?
He facilitated it. If it had been me, I would have resigned rather than facilitate an improper action.
russ_watters
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Feb3-13, 10:09 AM
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Quote Quote by OmCheeto View Post
He kind of addressed that in his letter.

bolding mine
You misunderstand my objection: It has nothing to do with bankruptcy, it is about getting value for money spent. I work on energy projects where companies see the need for a 5 year payback of an investment before considering a project to be economically viable. Rarely, it may be as high as 8 years. Rooftop solar panels pay back in about 20 years*, but if the government provides a 60% subsidy, it pays back in 8 years. So we pretend solar is viable, when the reality is that the government is just forcing us to pay for projects that have no economic benefit for anyone but the people who built them. That's a waste of government (our) money.

*And oops -- the SREC market dried-up so that payback ends up being much longer.
Not too bright America. You should have never let this happen.
Why not? Why waste our money on a project/company that isn't economically viable? I'm all for letting China do it!
Wow. I really like this guy. Why do people not like him, I wonder.
Because he's lying. His DOE is a pure political entity. Decisions are made based on politics, not science -- or, rather, decisions were handed to him by Obama rather than him helping Obama make good decisions. The Yucca Mountain repository was closed because Obama's favorite senator is from Nevada. The working group commissioned to study the problem that created was explicitly forbidden from investigating whether that was a good idea. And then when they released their findings, the report was buried/ignored.
russ_watters
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Feb3-13, 10:19 AM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
He facilitated it. If it had been me, I would have resigned rather than facilitate an improper action.
That's why I don't like him. By credentials, he should have been a good energy secretary. But what really happened is that his credentials tricked people like OmCheeto into thinking that he was making good, scientific decisions when the reality was he was just executing Obama's policies, regardless of if they made any scientific (or economic) sense. He's sabotaged his own reputation/legacy by doing this.
OmCheeto
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Feb3-13, 11:34 AM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
But China has been making advances under Chu's watch. Putting a stop to Yucca mountain has harmed the nuclear industry as utilities have backed away from new projects because the absence of a final solution is a major liability for the utilities.

China can afford to make huge subsidies as the have a huge trade surplus.

The Obama administration has had some problems with their subsidies of 'green companies'. Of course, part of the problem is that China undercut those companies by offering lower cost products.

China has a near monopoly on heavy rare earths. That's a geographic issue and beyond the control of the US government.
Given that you've been in the industry longer than I've been out of it, let me be the first fool to rush in and argue on Chu's side.

Of course, everything I know about Chu, I learned yesterday. And Everything I know about Yucca, I learned 30 minutes ago reading the wiki article.

Yucca study started in 1978. Chu announced its cancelation in 2009. So it was in the works for 31 years.

Cancellation of project
Quote Quote by Secretary Steven Chu
May 2009
Yucca Mountain as a repository is off the table. What we're going to be doing is saying, let's step back. We realize that we know a lot more today than we did 25 or 30 years ago. The NRC is saying that the dry cask storage at current sites would be safe for many decades, so that gives us time to figure out what we should do for a long-term strategy. We will be assembling a blue-ribbon panel to look at the issue. We're looking at reactors that have a high-energy neutron spectrum that can actually allow you to burn down the long-lived actinide waste. These are fast-neutron reactors. There's others: a resurgence of hybrid solutions of fusion fission where the fusion would impart not only energy, but again creates high-energy neutrons that can burn down the long-lived actinides. ...
Sounds ok to me.

Background
Quote Quote by wiki
Following the 2006 mid-term Congressional elections, Democratic Nevada Senator Harry Reid, a longtime opponent of the repository, became the Senate Majority Leader, putting him in a position to greatly affect the future of the project. Reid has said that he would continue to work to block completion of the project, and is quoted as having said:
Quote Quote by Harry Reid
Yucca Mountain is dead. It'll never happen.
Harry Reid on Yucca, ca 2012
Quote Quote by Harry Reid
Most importantly, this report makes abundantly clear that no state, tribe, or community should be forced to store spent nuclear fuel or high-level waste without its consent. Yucca was originally selected because of a flawed, non-scientific and political process, and it failed because Nevadans, with good reason, overwhelmingly opposed it.
So it appears to me that Chu was up against a lot. Law suits, the Senate Majority Leader, a more than 30 year old feasibility study, etc. I'd have shut down the project also.

And what's this?

Feb 9, 2012
First new nuclear reactors OK'd in over 30 years
Did we really stop building nuclear reactors for 30 years because Yucca Mountain was in limbo?

Can't argue the China stuff, except for the rare earth monopoly.

The Mountain Pass rare earth mine is an open-pit mine of rare earth elements (REEs) on the south flank of the Clark Mountain Range, just north of the unincorporated community of Mountain Pass, California, United States. The mine, owned by Molycorp Inc., once supplied most of the world's rare earth elements.
Except for, um, I'm currently wrong:



Except that:

Known remaining reserves were estimated to exceed 20 million tons of ore as of 2008, using a 5% cutoff grade, and averaging 8.9% rare earth oxides.
and

Current activity
The mine, once the world's dominant producer of rare earth elements, was closed in large part due to competition from REEs imported from China, which in 2009 supplied more than 96% of the world's REEs.
What I think I'm trying to say here is that it needn't be so.

Go MolyCorp*!!!!

-----------------------------
*I do not have any money invested in said company. I simply like rare earth magnets.
Astronuc
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Feb3-13, 12:21 PM
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Spent fuel at reactor site is a significant liability for a utility, because they have to maintain security, assuming the US DOE doesn't step in a buy the facility (and assume all liability) once it stops generating power.

Ideally there would be a DOE facility, a central interim storage site, somewhere where spent fuel could be shipped (away from the NPP sites) and stored while awaiting final disposition. There was an idea for a MRS (monitored retrieval storage) facility, but that was nixed in the Clinton years, IIRC.

I've heard, but not verified, that Reid supported Yucca mountain when he though he could personally financially benefit from it, but when he could not, he became decidedly opposed to it. Reid is a dubious character in my book.

There are alternative sources of REE to China, e.g., Lynas in Australia. There are significant environmental issues, e.g., the presence of thorium and other decay products from actinide elements, that must be properly disposed, as opposed to dumping in tailings ponds or piles.

http://finance.ninemsn.com.au/newsco...on-rare-earths

And of course, the Chinese industry is attempting to manipulate the market, and the US has little leverage.
OmCheeto
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Feb3-13, 12:22 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters View Post
That's why I don't like him. By credentials, he should have been a good energy secretary. But what really happened is that his credentials tricked people like OmCheeto into thinking that he was making good, scientific decisions when the reality was he was just executing Obama's policies, regardless of if they made any scientific (or economic) sense. He's sabotaged his own reputation/legacy by doing this.
As I said earlier, I haven't followed Chu at all, until yesterday.

You may see him as a political puppet, and a liar, but I still see him as a Nobel laureate, stuck in Washington, with a congress, heels firmly planted in the stone age.



I wouldn't apologize for Solyndra either.

Quote Quote by russ_watters
Why not? Why waste our money on a project/company that isn't economically viable? I'm all for letting China do it!
I'm still not sure how a bankrupt company(A123), with a final day on NASDAQ market cap of $12.3 million, can be worth $250 million to the Chinese. I know I wasted $4000 for every $1 in taxes that went to A123. hmm... Maybe I'm just stupid.


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