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News Energy Secretary Steven Chu Not to Serve a Second Term

  1. Feb 1, 2013 #1
    http://energy.gov/articles/letter-s...t-employees-announcing-his-decision-not-serve

    Hopefully the next SoE will also have a strong scientific background.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 1, 2013 #2

    russ_watters

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    My hope is that the next will treat nuclear power seriously.
     
  4. Feb 1, 2013 #3

    lisab

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    Me too.
     
  5. Feb 1, 2013 #4
    +1
    oops, too short, "me too"
     
  6. Feb 1, 2013 #5

    turbo

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    Perhaps the most unrewarding job in government. Between the relentless attacks from the power-company flacks and the PR push from the right, what can get done? I believe Chu had his heart in the right place, but that doesn't translate well to combating attacks n the media.
     
  7. Feb 1, 2013 #6

    Astronuc

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    The current administration has been promoting 'renewable energy' technology and jobs - wind and solar. Of course, coal and natural gas are strongly supported.

    Nuclear is handicapped at the moment because of the suspension at Yucca Mountain, the repository that was supposed to have accepted fuel a decade ago or so. Utilities have had to sue the Federal government to recover the cost of dry storage at their respective sites.

    I was trying to find an article that I read this past week. The article was critical of the DOE and they have too often changed/cancelled mission/programs. Apparently the Gen-IV program has been interrupted or deferred indefinitely.

    With changes in administrations, big research programs can be (and have been) suspended and efforts and funds redirected to other technologies.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  8. Feb 1, 2013 #7

    russ_watters

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  9. Feb 1, 2013 #8

    russ_watters

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    Nonsense. The media has barely made a peep about the burying of the Blue Ribbon Commission report and the lawsuits against the Obama administration for violating federal law in his burying of the Yucca repository itself. I doubt most people are even aware of these issues.

    Part of the reason for the silence is that most of the lawsuits were temporarily suspended due to the way the Obama administration buried the repository: The Obama administration announced years ago it was shutting the repository, but the federal law wasn't changed and the NRC hadn't actually ruled on the application to open the repository. The DOE tried to cancel their application, but they don't have the power to do that. Without an NRC ruling to cancel it, there technically hasn't been a violation of the law yet, so the lawsuits can't proceed. He basically put it in a limbo that isn't technically a violation yet, despite the fact that the site has been essentially been dismantled and sabotaged.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/s...-for-nrc-decision-on-yucca-mountain.html?_r=0

    Think of it like trying to prosecute a shooter while the bullet is still in the air. But this particular gun was fired 4 years ago and the bullet is still flying. Everyone knows where it's going to hit, but nothing apparently can be done about it yet.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  10. Feb 2, 2013 #9

    I hope this as well, but I wouldn't count on it. Renewables still have a major political force behind them and I think we're going to have to waste a lot more money on them before people start to realize how useless most of them are. When I see things like this starting to be officially abandoned then I'll know it's finished.
     
  11. Feb 2, 2013 #10

    russ_watters

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    In the short term (<10 years) I think we're actually in pretty good shape regardless of that politicization due to the resurgence of the US petroleum industry. A few years ago, I thought the only way to get rid of coal was to build nuclear plants, but natural gas is doing a pretty good job of it right now. So we might be in for another decade of spending tons of money on renewables without significant benefit because the replacement of coal with natural gas makes the issues less immediate. Riding the shale oil/gas wave for the next decade will be an improvement over where we are today, it just isn't a long-term solution and it shouldn't be squandered on electricity.

    And that's about the timeframe for when proposals like the one you linked become clear failures.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  12. Feb 2, 2013 #11

    turbo

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    Political pressure brought the end to Maine Yankee. My older second-cousins' family leased off their land to allow the construction of the plant, and were allowed to graze their cattle on the land that was outside the perimeter fence. It was a pretty nice place to visit. Never got inside the plant, but it was good to see a plant that could produce that much energy and not see plumes of smoke and rail-cars full of fossil fuels.
     
  13. Feb 2, 2013 #12
    "Renewables" is a sloppy word. 61.7% of energy in my country, Canada is produced from renewable source - Hydro (www.electricity.ca/media/pdfs/economic/canada_us_affairs/CEA_NAReport_Web_E.pdf). My province 98% energy is from Hydro and they have the cheapest energy price in NA 6.76 cents/kwH (http://www.hydroquebec.com/pdf/en/comparaison_prix_2012.pdf). With global warming up in the north, we might even see further drop in electricity prices.

    Wind and solar cannot compete with those prices but still in certain situations like in remote communities you can build a good business case. They can beat diesel prices. And, they might be able to compete with major energy sources if we continue investing in R&D including storage technologies. And, renewable research generally also focuses on things like demand side management or smart grids which will help us consume energy more efficiently.

    As for future, I am seeing mix of everything rather than having all energy coming from wind (which is just ridiculous). There is no one solution. Shale is good for short term but some are saying shale prices might also go up soon.
     
  14. Feb 2, 2013 #13

    atyy

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    me too (and I'm not a US citizen).
     
  15. Feb 2, 2013 #14

    jim hardy

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    Future of fossil fuel is assured.
    There's just too much money to be made from carbon tax.
     
  16. Feb 2, 2013 #15
    There are big coal-friendly countries like China and India willing to buy those fossil fuels :tongue2: And, both have trouble getting nuclear to work.
     
  17. Feb 2, 2013 #16

    You'd think so, but if Denmark is any indication the RE propaganda machines will brainwash people into thinking it was somehow a success. Their wind farms were a clear failure a decade ago but even today people still hold them up as an example of what should be done. An example was a chapter in sustainability in a BA101 textbook I read last year actually had a caption beneath a wind turbine picture that said "Someday wind energy will be developed enough to free us from dependence on foreign oil".

    And even within Denmark itself, despite this failure they still haven't accepted the need for nuclear power, so they're going to stick with coal and RE.
     
  18. Feb 2, 2013 #17

    When I say renewables don't work I generally don't refer to hydro and geo. They are inexpensive, reliable, and depending on the scale fairly abundant. In other words everything we need from our electricity production sources. Except it has two problems, one is that they are geographically limited. There are some places like the Pacific Northwest (where I live) or Canada that have the "right" geography to get most energy needs from it, but most places do not.

    The other problem is that environmentalists don't like them. They are correct to say that dams are ecologically disruptive, but the problem is people want to live in the modern world and not have to pay any price for it, part of that is by convincing themselves that wind and solar somehow don't have major side effects both in terms of production as well as manufacturing. There is a movement that is gaining steam here to remove the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, like here. While these dams are old, many were built in the Great Depression (really one of the few net positive public works projects that came out of it), they still provide 3/4 of our electricity and the plan seems to be to replace them with wind, solar, and wave. A plan that, as Russ correctly pointed out, is doomed to fail.
     
  19. Feb 2, 2013 #18

    Astronuc

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    Both China and India have big nuclear energy programs, and China is aggressively building nuclear plants.

    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf63.html

    http://www.aec.gov.tw/webpage/info/files/index_04-16-2.pdf [Broken]

    China bought Western technology at a steep discount. It is expect that they will become a global supplier in the next decade in competition with Korea and Russia, and perhaps India. The US isn't very competitive in the global market.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  20. Feb 2, 2013 #19
    But isn't China's wind energy beating nuclear? (http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-N...-Become-Chinas-3rd-Largest-Energy-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.

    They don't like anything not even wind :smile:
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
  21. Feb 2, 2013 #20

    Astronuc

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    http://asiancorrespondent.com/96579/wind-power-overtakes-nuclear-in-china-for-now/

    http://www.upi.com/Business_News/En...ind-power-amid-challenges/UPI-96591358360261/
     
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