By Robert Bryce: Why is the world market suddenly awash in oil? Over the past few years the U.S. has added the equivalent of one Kuwait and one Iran to its domestic oil and gas production.
Since 2004, U.S. oil production is up 56 percent, or about 3.1 million barrels a day, about the same as Kuwait produced last year. The dimensions of the boom in natural gas can be seen by looking solely at the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, where output has jumped eight-fold since 2010 and is now about 16 billion cubic feet per day, a volume roughly equal to Iran’s current natural-gas production.
U.S. oil and gas numbers are soaring because of an abundance of rigs. More than half of all the drilling rigs on the planet are operating in the United States. We have about 1,900 active rigs. The rest of the world combined has about 1,300.
OPEC is on its heels because of America’s rednecks, and I use that term respectfully. The men (and some women) who work on drill rigs and hydraulic-fracturing teams are highly skilled. Our oil-patch workforce has been trained over a period of decades and is unmatched anywhere else in the world. Sure, lots of other countries have large shale deposits, but they can’t effectively tap their shale because they don’t have the expert labor needed to operate the drilling rigs, maintain the mud pumps, or analyze the well logs.
Rights is the last of the three Rs. The U.S. is anomalous in that it allows the private ownership of mineral rights. People who own mineral rights have a huge financial incentive to exploit them, as they will get at least one-eighth of the value of the oil or gas produced, and perhaps significantly more.
It’s no doubt true that access to federal land is essential to the U.S. oil and gas sector, but the shale revolution has happened almost entirely on private land, and that drilling has occurred because we Americans count mineral rights among our enforceable rights.
Exelon Corp. is seeking a pricing model in Illinois that recognizes the societal benefits of nuclear power, as it considers closing the Quad Cities, Byron and Clinton power stations prematurely, due to the negative economic environment.
Byron Generating StationFollowing a Nuclear Energy Institute report that tallied the economic impacts of the 11 commercial power plants in the state, which was released in early October, a company official said Exelon was not seeking a financial bailout. But policy makers should find a pricing plan that reflects nuclear power's pristine greenhouse gas emissions track record and its influence on grid stabilization, Quad Cities Generating Station's Senior Communications Manager William Stoermer said.
Nuclear power provides Illinois with 48 percent of its electricity and the three at-risk plants provide the power for three million homes, the Daily-Journal reported Tuesday
But pricing support has deteriorated. Stoermer said prices at times have fallen into negative territory with profit margins in the red. State lawmakers, he said, should support a pricing model that recognizes the discrete benefits of nuclear power, which generates $8.9 billion in annual economic output in Illinois.
Nuclear power employs 5,900 people in the state in carbon emissions-free jobs. The Quad Cities power plant alone generates $1.4 billion in annual economic impact, employs 900 people and paid $7.4 million in property taxes this year, the newspaper said.
You're talking about the Pons-Fleischman announcement and it wasn't proved to be false, but it wasn't able to be repeated, which is different. Basically, they hadn't worked all the bugs out of the process and there was an X-factor involved that they were unaware of.
The European Union (EU) has released a document that recommends more research be done into Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) and, significantly, the Pons and Fleischmann effect. The document was created by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation Directorate G Industrial Technologies of European Commission (part of the European Union).
The document called “Forward Looking Workshop on Materials for Emerging Energy Technologies” was edited by Dr. Johan Veiga Benesch. A section of the document deals with LENR in Condensed Matter and asks for “the study of the Fleischmann and Pons Effect through Materials Science Development.”
Although it perhaps falls short of the sort of vindication that many followers of cold fusion feel is justified, the document admits that large amounts of heat that cannot be attributed to chemical reactions are produced during electrochemical loading of palladium cathodes with deuterium. It also says that this can only be ascribed to a nuclear process. Specifically a nuclear reaction between deuterons in palladium, it even goes so far as to call this deuterium-deuterium a nuclear fusion process.
The Commission is effectively admitting that Pons and Fleischmann may have been right and their work should be studied.
gojeera is right, though. There are a lot of scam artists claiming they have found the "secret" to cold fusion. That doesn't necessarily mean there is no "there" there.
Today we learned that it has been impossible to reach an agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons program. Even a short "framework" agreement or one-pager was beyond reach. And this, despite the extension of the talks from the original deadline last spring.
It should be clear now that there will be no comprehensive agreement with Iran. Today's announcement says the talks will be extended, again, this time through to next summer. But all sides know what the key issues are, and there will be no deal merely because extra months pass by. The only way to get an agreement is for the United States to give more and more concessions, beyond the dangerous concessions already made to Iran. It may be that the president and Secretary Kerry would be willing to do this, given the concessions already made (starting with the abandonment of the critical demand that Iran stop enriching uranium). But the election results portend a tougher line in Congress and among Democrats, and reality has a way of setting in. The truth is that the Islamic Republic has, and demands to retain, a nuclear weapons program, and will not agree to a deal that forces it to abandon this program. Our negotiators and theirs can, no doubt, imagine what a compromise would look like, but it cannot be reached without the United States or Iran abandoning positions that neither wishes to sacrifice.
From The Economic Times
On November 6, the United States Patent Office published an application for a patent that made a disarming claim: that its inventor has a small reactor device that produces more heat than is put in, and this heat is also more than what is produced through a chemical reaction. The inventor, an American-Italian called Andrea Rossi, never mentions that nuclear fusion has happened in his vessel, but the implication is nothing less.
Rossi has no standing in the academic community. The topic of nuclear fusion at room temperature – called cold fusion sometimes – has no academic credibility either. But undeterred by criticism and disregard, a small community of researchers continues to work on this topic, and they are excited by Rossi’s purported invention. Rossi has not made vital disclosures and is thus unlikely to get a patent this time, but his work suggests a shift in the way the cold fusion community now works.
“We gave up trying to science this into something,” says Michael McKubre of Stanford Research Institute (SRI), “and so we are now trying to build commercial products.” There are cold fusion research groups in the University of Missouri, Texas Tech University, several Japanese and Chinese universities and Italy.
Private companies in the US, Israel and a few other countries are still pursuing cold fusion, which now goes by the name Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR). Recently, Bill Gates visited the Italian technology agency ENEA, which also works on cold fusion, and had supposedly expressed interest in funding LENR research. India’s Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) had started an LENR project in 1989, but gave up in the mid-1990s when official support became difficult to obtain.
The anomalous effect, in terms of unexplained and substantial excess heat, is not produced in every experiment. But it is now seen more frequently. Those who are sympathetic to cold fusion research say that the anomaly needs to be investigated.
The deadline for the Joint Plan of Action ended it seems without a final agreement between the P5+1 and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. It’s not yet clear what happens next.
Obama and Kerry
“There will be some kind of extension,” says Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says Dubowitz, with parties reconvening in December to continue to negotiate. "Iran has 'hooked the fish' with Western negotiators so committed to negotiations that they will do whatever it takes to keep everyone at the table."
It’s useful then to see exactly what, for better or worse, has been resolved so far, either during the course of these talks or previously. According to Omri Ceren at the Israel Project, a pro-Israel public affairs organization that focuses on the Middle East, there are several issues on the table, many of which the Obama administration has already caved on.
—Sanctions. The White House is offering upfront sanctions relief that the administration says it can "snapback" if the Iranians fail to comply with their end of the bargain. However, as Dubowitz explained in congressional testimony last week, the idea that it will possible to re-impose sanctions once Iran is opened for business, is politically and economically unrealistic.
—Sunset clause. The Jerusalem Post reported that the administration has offered Iran a 10-year sunset clause, meaning that after ten years, whatever so-called permanent deal is reached comes to an end, constraints go away, and Iran is a normalized nuclear power despite the fact that, for instance, the Islamic Republic is a state sponsor of terror.
“If this is true it’s shocking,” says Dubowitz. “Congress has been talking about many decades, and the administration said 20 years. Iran asked for 3 to 7, 10 would be a significant climb down. And it means that within a decade most of the constraints would disappear and Iran will be well-positioned to develop a massive industrial-size program, w
TOKYO (AP) -- A strong earthquake struck central Japan on Saturday night, causing at least one building to collapse and injuring several people, according to Japanese media reports. No tsunami warning was issued.
The magnitude-6.8 earthquake hit parts of Nagano city and surrounding areas the hardest, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake's magnitude at 6.2.
The earthquake struck at 10:08 p.m. Japan time (1308 GMT) at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), but since it occurred inland, there was no possibility of a tsunami. An apparent aftershock with a magnitude of 4.3 followed about 30 minutes later.
Japan's Kyodo news agency, citing fire officials, said several people reported injuries, and at least one building collapsed. It wasn't clear whether the injured were at the building.
National broadcaster NHK reported that a landslide blocked a road after the quake struck. NHK also said 200 homes were without power, and that Shinkansen bullet train service in the area was temporarily suspended.
© 2014 The Associated Press.
Lockheed Martin is claiming a breakthrough in hot fusion and believe it or not there is significant work being done in cold fusion (now called Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR)). Bill Gates is working on travelling wave reactors and small modular reactors. We've got thermal power, wave power, tidal power, solar power satellites beaming power to the ground, magnetohydrodynamics, etc.
What we really need is an efficient energy storage system which would go a long way towards making intermittent power sources (wind and solar) more practical. There are several promising research areas in battery storage.
The biggest threat to progress is government distorting the market in an attempt to pick winners and losers.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The largest solar power plant of its type in the world - once promoted as a turning point in green energy - isn't producing as much energy as planned.
One of the reasons is as basic as it gets: The sun isn't shining as much as expected.
Sprawling across roughly 5 square miles of federal desert near the California-Nevada border, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System opened in February, with operators saying it would produce enough electricity to power a city of 140,000 homes.
So far, however, the plant is producing about half of its expected annual output for 2014, according to calculations by the California Energy Commission.
It had been projected to produce its full capacity for 8 hours a day, on average.
"Factors such as clouds, jet contrails and weather have had a greater impact on the plant than the owners anticipated," the agency said in a statement.
It could take until 2018 for the plant backed by $1.6 billion in federal loan guarantees to hit its annual peak target, said NRG Energy Inc., which operates the plant and co-owns it with Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy.
"During startup we have experienced ... equipment challenges, typical with any new technology, combined with irregular weather patterns," NRG spokesman Jeff Holland said in a statement. "We are confident that Ivanpah's long-term generation projections will meet expectations."
The technology used at Ivanpah is different than the familiar photovoltaic panels commonly used for rooftop solar installations. The plant's solar-thermal system - sometimes called concentrated-solar thermal - relies on nearly 350,000 computer-controlled mirrors at the site, each the size of a garage door.
The mirrors reflect sunlight to boilers atop 459-foot towers - each taller than the Statue of Liberty. The resulting steam drives turbines to create electricity.
When the $2.2 billion complex opened, Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz called it a "symbol of the exciting progress"
President Obama has officially announced the U.S. will contribute $3 billion to a international pool of money aimed at helping developing countries deal with the impact of climate change.
In a speech delivered at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, Obama said the money would paid into the "Green Climate Fund" and used to help “vulnerable communities,” build early warning systems, storm surge defenses and other “climate-resilient” infrastructure.
The Washington Examiner reported Friday that Obama was expected to make the announcement in order to increase support from other countries in advance of next year's climate talks in Paris, France.
A Spanish renewable energy company under investigation by at least two federal agencies unveiled a new biofuel production facility on Friday that will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal subsidies.
Former employees of the company have alleged that it routinely engages in violations of U.S. immigration, environmental, and workplace safety laws and uses taxpayer funds to hire foreign workers in violation of federal regulations.
The company, Abengoa, received a $132.4 million loan guarantee and a $97 million grant to build a new biofuel plant Hugoton, Kansas. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback attended its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.
The announcement of additional subsidies came even as U.S. Customs and Immigration Service and the Department of Labor conduct investigations into potential legal violations by the company.
Both agencies have policies against commenting on ongoing investigations.
In addition to direct taxpayer support for the company, Abengoa benefitted tremendously from federal mandates for biofuels, according to CEO Manuel Sanchez Ortega.
“This would have been simply impossible without the establishment of the Renewable Fuel Standard,” Ortega said, referring to a federal regulation that mandates the use of certain levels of bio energy in transportation fuels.
“This is a proud and pivotal moment for Abengoa and for the larger advanced bioenergy industry—and further demonstrates our longstanding commitment to providing sustainable energy alternatives in the United States,” Ortega said.
An historic first! Jack Spencer in Michigan Capitol Confidential writes:
…the Board of Health in Brown County, Wisconsin, where Green Bay is located, has declared a local industrial wind plant to be a human health hazard. The specific facility consists of eight 500-foot high, 2.5 megawatt industrial wind turbines.
The board made its finding with a 4-0 vote (three members were not present) at an Oct. 14 meeting after it had wrestled with health complaints about the wind plant for more than four years. Ultimately, the board’s ruling was based on a year-long survey which documented health complaints and demonstrated that infrasound and low-frequency noise emanating from the turbines was detectable inside homes within a 6.2-mile radius of the industrial wind plant.
Jay Tibbetts, a physician and a member of the Brown County Board of Health, said the board based its position that the turbines constitute a health hazard on the weight of evidence.
“I can tell you that we are absolutely not an anti-wind energy board,” Tibbetts said. “We worked on this for four and a half years before making this decision. Three families have moved out. I knew all of them. We also know that this isn’t only happening here. In Ontario 40 families have abandoned their homes to get away from the effects of wind turbines.”
According to Tibbetts, micro barometers were placed in homes located in the area surrounding the industrial wind plant. The purpose of this was to detect acoustic emissions, including infrasound and low frequency noise emanating from the turbines.
“They found that there were tones of infrasound and low frequency noise as far away as 6.2 miles from the nearest wind turbine,” Tibbetts said. “There were no complaints associated with the home that was 6.2 miles away, but there were complaints associated with one 4.2 miles away.
“We have 80 people on record who have made health complaints, including a nurse who is going deaf,” Tibbetts continued. “We can’t just ignore this.”
Japan's Green Glut (AP)
Traumatized by the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl and encouraged by the highest rates for renewable energy in the world, Japan has been undergoing a green boom. It's now rapidly turning into a fiasco as the cost proves prohibitive and utilities anticipate putting some nuclear reactors, shuttered since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster, back online. The unfolding green glut in Japan echoes similar experiences in Germany and Spain.
The number of applications for solar facilities with Kyushu Electric jumped to 72,000 in March, about the same for the entire previous year. People were trying to beat the April 1 lowering of the government-set tariff that utilities pay renewable energy producers to 32 yen (30 cents) a kilowatt hour from 36 yen (34 cents). The regular cost of electricity in Japan is about 23 yen per kilowatt hour.
If all the planned solar panels in Japan were installed, their capacity would equal 8 percent of overall energy demand. At the 32 yen tariff, a whopping 3 trillion yen ($30 billion) would be added to electricity bills.
Experts debating policy at a government committee are pushing for an immediate end to the guaranteed rates for solar power.
If you are correct and they couldn't make Silex work, then GE may buy out the next best enrichment technology, which happens to be the ACP. Of course, to keep the price low GE will never admit Silex is dead until the deal is done.
GE got a $2 bill grant from Obama a few years back for some crazy renewable project, so they can buy Centrus out of their petty change.
Of course, if Lockheed is right about solving fusion then fusion may become the new darling of the politicos.
California and Hawaii are beginning to see a problem that has long been predicted related to intermittent renewable generating sources.
Intermittent renewable generating technologies (i.e. wind and solar) are causing havoc with electric grid operations because these technologies cannot be controlled by the operators of the electricity grid due to the fact that their generation depends on the wind blowing and the sun shining. Thus, the independent system operator in charge of running the grid must be ready to either drive down the generation of traditional technologies (i.e. natural gas and coal) when intermittent renewable generating capacity starts producing power or ramp up generation from more reliable technologies when intermittent renewable generating capacity shuts down. This means that the independent system operator needs an arsenal of flexible generating technologies to come to the rescue in order for electric consumers to receive electricity at the touch of a switch as they have been accustomed to.
Some countries, such as Germany, have built such a great deal of intermittent renewable generating capacity that their traditional generating technologies are not bringing in enough revenue to survive, which means either consumers will need to make adjustments regarding how they use electricity or government regulators will need to make adjustments regarding how electricity is priced to pay for the flexibility needed. Regardless, electric customers should expect changes in the future—either in price or in availability of electricity—or both—to deal with the increased advent of intermittent renewable generation.
IER has discussed this issue with respect to wind power whose construction largely preceded solar power due to its lower cost. But, now system operators are preparing for the advent of increased solar power and its potential havoc on the grid, including solar on residential rooftops and businesses.
The big question is why did GE shut down Silex construction? If Silex is nonviable, Centrus owns the most efficient enrichment process in the world. If Silex does work, as GE continues to claim, then the ACP is worth far less.
NRC Chairwoman Macfarlane to Step Down In January
Nuclear Street News Team Wed, Oct 22 2014
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane said Tuesday she would resign her position on Jan. 1, having competed the mission she set out for herself when she took the top agency post in 2012.
Macfarlane said her goals at the agency were to steady the helm “after a tumultuous period for the Commission,” which was marked by conflict among the five commissioners, which lead to the departure of Macfarlane's predecessor, Dr. Gregory Jaczko.
Macfarlane's second goal involved reassuring the U.S. public that the type of accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan in March 2011 after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake would not happen in this country.
Among her top accomplishments, Macfarlane said that during her tenure the agency “implemented a number of safety improvements including the addition of protective equipment at reactor sites and at regional centers around the country, seismic and flood protection enhancements at power plants, and progress on hardening venting systems at plants of similar design to those at Fukushima.”
Among the more volatile nuclear power issues is the potential construction of a national radioactive waste repository under Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., adamantly opposes Yucca Mountain as the location for a repository. Any nominee for the next chair of the NRC could find their position on Yucca Mountain a pivotal focus of their confirmation process.
In a press statement, Macfarlane said was taking a position as director of George Washington University's Center for International Science and Technology Policy, where she would continue to work on nuclear safety and policy.
That's a pretty big discrepancy!
I don't always trust Yahoo.
Shortsqueezedotcom has the following:
Centrus Energy Corporation $ 8.09
Daily Short Sale Volume view
Short Interest (Shares Short)
Days To Cover (Short Interest Ratio)
Short Percent of Float
Trading Volume - Today
Yahoo says 48% of LEU shares are short!
This is very dangerous for short sellers who have to cover once a squeeze starts.
I may buy more shares.