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lewis_whokeyser 27 posts  |  Last Activity: Apr 25, 2016 1:33 PM Member since: Oct 6, 1999
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  • The United Nations Paris agreement to stop dangerous global warming could cost $12.1 trillion over the next 25 years, according to calculations performed by environmental activists.

    “The required expenditure averages about $484 billion a year over the period,” calculated Bloomberg New Energy Finance with the assistance of the environmentalist nonprofit Ceres.

    That’s almost as much money the U.S. federal government spent on defense in 2015, according to 2015 spending numbers from the bipartisan Committee For Responsible Federal Budget. The required annual spending is almost 3.7 times more than the $131.57 billion China spent on its military in 2014.

    Bloomberg’s estimates are likely low, as they exclude costly energy efficiency measures. The amount spent to meet global carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals could be as high as $16.5 trillion between now and 2030, when energy efficiency measures are included, according to projections from the International Energy Agency. To put these numbers in perspective, the U.S. government is just under $19 trillion in debt and only produced $17.4 trillion in gross domestic product in 2014.

    President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package contained $51 billion in spending for green energy projects, including funding for failed solar energy companies such as Solyndra and Abound Solar.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Feb 9, 2016 6:54 AM Flag

    Portsmouth Daily Times:
    At the Thursday meeting of the Scioto County Commissioners, Bryan Davis said he’s been in recent contact with Centrus Energy officials and remains hopeful the American Centrifuge Plant will stay open.

    “The Centrus Energy had an all hands meeting yesterday with (Daniel) Poneman, (CEO of Centrus Energy). Poneman declared they are still working the issue,” Davis said.

    The United States Department of Energy (DOE) announced it will end the American Centrifuge Test Demonstration and Operation (ACTDO) activity at Piketon, potentially resulting in the layoffs of 200 Energy Corp. employees. With a reduction of funding by the federal government, Centrus Energy Corp. announced their new reduced contract with Oak Ridge National Laboratory will not include continued operations of America’s only operating cascade of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in Piketon.

    The Scioto County Commissioners have been advocates to keep ACP in Piketon. In 2015, the commissioners along with a delegation from southern Ohio, traveled to Washington D.C. to lobby law makers and officials on the importance of ACP and a number of other issues.

    Davis said the situation is very fluid, but Centrus has not given any employees definitive departure dates, yet.

    In late 2015, federal lawmakers approved a $1.1 Trillion Omnibus Budget Bill to fund government operations and programs. Included in the bill was $50 million to keep ACP running in Piketon.

    Allocation of the funds provided in the spending bill would be up to DOE to allocate.

    According to the Scioto County Commissioners, it does not look like DOE will allocate the funds.

    When asked about the situation a DOE spokesperson said, “We will honor our obligations to ensure public safety is maintained and items of national security interest are properly protected.”

    Davis along with Scioto County Commissioners Doug Coleman and Mike Crabtree said their main concerning is retaining the more than 200 jobs at ACP.

  • Reply to

    Commissioners optimistic about ACP

    by lewis_whokeyser Feb 9, 2016 6:54 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Feb 9, 2016 12:00 PM Flag

    Yahoo! cut off the last couple of paragraphs:
    Davis along with Scioto County Commissioners Doug Coleman and Mike Crabtree said their main concerning is retaining the more than 200 jobs at ACP.

    “There are a lot of people for this and we need to do something about it. When we were in D.C. they acted like they did not want to fund it and I want them to fund it,” Coleman said.

    Crabtree said this ultimate fate of ACP in Piketon comes down to the DOE.

    “It comes down to DOE and ultimately they are going to do what they are going to do. Unfortunately their decision is going to affect a lot of people. We’re hopeful DOE does the right things, but that remains to be seen,” Crabtree said.

    The commissioners said they have not ruled out the possibility of making a return trip to Washington D.C.

    “We’re hoping everything will work out and they (Centrus and DOE) will find a solution to this issue. At this point, we’re just waiting to see,” Davis said. “We’re hoping for the best outcome, which is to maintain operations as they are and to move this project forward.”

    My observation: Hope springs eternal?

  • Reply to

    Commissioners optimistic about ACP

    by lewis_whokeyser Feb 9, 2016 6:54 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Feb 9, 2016 7:36 PM Flag

    Centrifugal enrichment is the current preferred technology, so we know it works.The ACP works like all the other centrifuge plants but purportedly has somewhat higher efficiency.

  • (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday delivered a major blow to President Barack Obama by blocking federal regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the centerpiece of his administration's strategy to combat climate change.

    On a 5-4 vote, the court granted a request made by 27 states and various companies and business groups to block the administration's Clean Power Plan. The move means the regulations will not be in effect while litigation continues over whether their legality.

    The brief order from the justices said that the regulations would be on hold until the legal challenge is completed. The court's five conservatives all voted to block the rule. The order noted that the four liberals would have denied the application.

    A U.S. appeals court in Washington had turned away a similar request on Jan. 21.

    The states, led by coal producer West Virginia and oil producer Texas, and several major business groups in October launched the legal challenges seeking to block the Obama administration's plan.

    More than a dozen other states and the National League of Cities, which represents more than 19,000 U.S. cities, filed court papers backing the Environmental Protection Agency's rule.

    The appeals court still must hear oral arguments on June 2 and decide whether the regulations are lawful.

    Note: This is very good news for the economy in 27 states.

  • How sensitive was the instrument that detected the gravitational waves from two colliding black holes?

    Gravitational waves are akin to sound waves: they make things vibrate. Our detectors are our bionic ears that allow us to listen to the universe. The signal from the pair of black holes started two octaves below middle C, and rose up to middle C in one tenth of a second.

    The signal itself was detected as a vibration of the distance between mirrors four kilometres apart. They changed their spacing by about a billionth of the diameter of an atom.

    Even so tiny, the signal stood well above the noise, and arrived at the two LIGO detectors, which are 3,002km apart, just 6.9 milliseconds apart, which is characteristic of a wave travelling at the speed of light and coming in at an angle of about 45 degrees.

    Black hole binary merger signals encode their distance, their masses and their spins. The signals matched predictions very closely, showing no sign of any deviation from Einstein's theory.

    Our observation of the gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes simultaneously represents our first glimpse of the first stars in the universe, and a direct observation of the final end point of stellar evolution. We have seen the vibrations of the shimmering event horizon of a newly formed black hole, where time comes to an end.

    It is hard to overstate the significance of this discovery. It is our first direct contact with our first stellar ancestors. It is our first direct view of a place in the universe where matter loses all its identity and time comes to an end. It is the first of many messages that will tell us how many black holes are out there and how much of the mass of the universe they can account for.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Feb 14, 2016 5:13 PM Flag

    The federal government plans to spend $80 million assessing whether its hottest nuclear waste can be stored in 3-mile-deep holes, a project that could provide an alternative strategy to a Nevada repository plan that was halted in 2010.

    The five-year borehole project was tentatively slated to start later this year on state-owned land in rural North Dakota, but it has already been met with opposition from state and local leaders who want more time to review whether the plan poses any public danger.

    "It should be a statewide decision," said Jeff Zent, spokesman for North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, adding that a resolution from state legislators is a possibility.

    The Department of Energy wants to conduct its work just south of the Canadian border on 20 acres near Rugby, North Dakota — in part because it's in a rural area not prone to earthquakes — but is prepared to look elsewhere if a deal can't be reached. Some sites in West Texas and New Mexico have expressed interest in becoming interim sites for above-ground nuclear waste storage, but it's not clear if they would be considered for borehole technology.

    Project leaders say the research will require months of drilling deep into the earth but will not involve any nuclear waste. Instead, dummy canisters without radioactive material would be used in the project's third and final phase.

    "It's to confirm the viability and concept," said Robert J. MacKinnon, a technical manager on the project at DOE's Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

    The research team will look at deep rock to check its water permeability, stability, geothermal characteristics and seismic activity — a central concern with burying the hot radioactive waste deep underground.

    If nearby earthquakes occur, the crystalline rock could slip and allow for water and radioactive material to migrate away from the site, said Stephen Hickman, director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Science Center.

  • Although stellarators are similar in principle to tokamaks, they have long been dark horses in fusion energy research because tokamaks are better at keeping gas trapped and holding on to the heat needed to keep reactions ticking along. But the Dali-esque devices have many attributes that could make them much better prospects for a commercial fusion power plant: Once started, stellarators naturally purr along in a steady state, and they don’t spawn the potentially metal-bending magnetic disruptions that plague tokamaks. Unfortunately, they are devilishly hard to build, making them perhaps even more prone to cost overruns and delays than other fusion projects. “No one imagined what it means” to build one, says Thomas Klinger, leader of the German effort.

    W7-X could mark a turning point. The machine, housed at a branch of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) that Klinger directs, is awaiting regulatory approval for a startup in November. It is the first large-scale example of a new breed of supercomputer-designed stellarators that have had most of their containment problems computed out. If W7-X matches or beats the performance of a similarly sized tokamak, fusion researchers may have to reassess the future course of their field. “Tokamak people are waiting to see what happens. There’s an excitement around the world about W7-X,” says engineer David Anderson of the University of Wisconsin (UW), Madison.

    Wendelstein 7-X, the first large-scale optimized stellarator, faces the same challenge as all fusion devices: They must heat and hold on to a gas at more than 100 million degrees Celsius—seven times the temperature of the sun’s core. Such heat strips electrons from atoms and it makes the ions travel fast enough to overcome their mutual repulsion and fuse. But it also makes the gas impossible to contain in a normal vessel.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Feb 20, 2016 4:27 PM Flag

    There's a chart put out by Ux Consulting Company, LLC that shows SWU spot prices continueing to decline from a high of $162/SWU in 2009 to a current value of $60/SWU.

    New sources are coming on line even as demand wanes due to plant closures.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Feb 24, 2016 9:15 AM Flag

    Scientific American:
    Five years ago this month a devastating tsunami engulfed Japan's northeastern coast, triggering the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. Washing over a 10-meter-high seawall, the waves knocked out electricity at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing cooling systems to fail and half of the facility's uranium cores to overheat and melt through their steel containers. Hydrogen explosions in the next few days damaged three of the reactor buildings, venting radioactive materials into the air. That plume of airborne contamination forced some 160,000 people to evacuate from their homes.

    Today the disaster site remains in crisis mode. Former residents will not likely return anytime soon, because levels of radioactivity near their abodes remain high. Even more troublesome, the plant has yet to stop producing dangerous nuclear waste: its operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), currently circulates water through the three melted units to keep them cool—generating a relentless supply of radioactive water. To make matters worse, groundwater flowing from a hill behind the crippled plant now mingles with radioactive materials before heading into the sea.
    TEPCO collects the contaminated water and stores it all in massive tanks at the rate of up to 400 metric tons a day. Lately the water has been processed to reduce the concentration of radionuclides, but it still retains high concentrations of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Disputes over its final resting place remain unresolved. The same goes for the millions of bags of contaminated topsoil and other solid waste from the disaster, as well as the uranium fuel itself. Health reports, too, are worrisome. Scientists have seen an increase in thyroid cancers among the children who had lived in Fukushima at the time, although it is too early to tell if those cases can be attributed to the accident.

    Nevertheless, Japan's government announced plans to recommit to nuclear power.

  • Reply to

    OT: Fukushima Still Leaking

    by lewis_whokeyser Feb 24, 2016 9:15 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Feb 24, 2016 2:56 PM Flag

    I remember reading once "the solution to pollution is dilution.' Sure, they were able to detect Fukushima radiation in Alaska, but that is a testament to the sensitivity of the measuring devices, not an indication of chemical or radiological danger.

    Japan has no alternative to nuclear energy and the shrewd politicians probably realize that but politically you couldn't point that out. Politically you had to call for shutting down the plants for an extended period and call for building wind and solar. Eventually electricity bills would skyrocket and people would tire of going without air conditioning. Then the voting public would become more amenable to cheap, reliable nuclear power.

    That's what's playing out now.

  • Centrus Energy Corp. is shutting down its American Centrifuge demonstration facility at Piketon, Ohio, and plans to issue layoffs at the end of the month, but the company's Oak Ridge workforce — totaling about 120 — is reportedly safe at this point.

    Centrus announced last week that it had completed operations at Piketon and would "demobilize" the uranium-enrichment cascade and start decommissioning and decontaminating the site.

    Corporate spokesman Jeremy Derryberry said Centrus would continue research and testing activities at two Oak Ridge sites, the K-1600 facility at the East Tennessee Technology Park and the company's testing and manufacturing facility off Highway 62.

    He confirmed that no layoffs are planned at Oak Ridge.

    "With ongoing funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Centrus plans to continue advancing the technology for national security and energy security purposes at the company's state-of-the-art research and testing facilities in Oak Ridge," the company statement said.

    ORNL also has a research team working on the centrifuge technology for enriching uranium, which concentrates the amount of fissionable U-235.

    DOE developed the centrifuge technology decades ago as a possible replacement for the power-sapping gaseous diffusion plants, but never fully deployed it for production purposes.

  • Reply to

    OT: Fukushima Still Leaking

    by lewis_whokeyser Feb 24, 2016 9:15 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Feb 26, 2016 12:21 PM Flag

    "Alarming lay persons benefits no one."
    Actually, sounding the alarm sells newspapers, hence the saying "If it bleeds, it leads".

    Alarming the public is also a great way to gain political power. Remember Kennedy talking about the "missile gap" with Russia? (or am I showing my age?)

    Look at the Global Warming Industry, which is a trillion-dollar industry based largely (IMHO) on flawed computer modelling that scares people.

  • From Energy & Environment Daily:
    The Department of Energy's relationship with uranium enrichment company USEC Inc. will be under the microscope this week, when Secretary Ernest Moniz visits Capitol Hill to defend the agency's budget request.

    Nicknamed the "United States Earmark Corporation" by critics in Congress, USEC has engaged in hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of financial transactions with DOE since it was privatized in 1998, including funding for the $5 billion American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) project in Piketon, Ohio.

    The facility laid off 60 employees this week as Centrus Energy Corp., USEC's successor following bankruptcy, demobilized. Centrus started winding down operations last year after the Obama administration cut its contract.

    Republicans who represent the job-hungry area have blasted President Obama for walking away from that project. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) accused the president of "nuclear negligence" when he shunned funding for the facility in his fiscal 2017 proposal for the second year in a row.

    But bigger questions loom about a new proposal for covering the cleanup costs associated with DOE's Cold War-era uranium enrichment program.

    DOE has for years bartered stockpiles of excess government-owned uranium in exchange for cleanup at the nearby Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and the down-blending of highly enriched uranium in Erwin, Tenn., but lawmakers who represent uranium-rich states say the barters hurt mining efforts (Greenwire, April 22, 2015).

    Moniz will be pitching a new plan to appropriators that would continue the controversial transfers while making cleanup funding mandatory. USEC grabbed attention on Capitol Hill last year when it picked former DOE Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman as its next president and CEO. During a budget day briefing earlier this month, Moniz promised a serious discussion with lawmakers "in terms of really coming to grips with" how DOE uses the USEC funds.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Mar 8, 2016 9:08 AM Flag

    Centrus Energy announces it has signed new sales contracts in the last nine months; contracts have an aggregate value of ~$165 mln w/ deliveries through 2022 (LEU) :

    Co announces several new sales contracts in the last nine months to supply its utility customers with enriched uranium fuel.

    In aggregate, the contracts have a value of ~$165 mln with deliveries through 2022.

  • Reply to

    Centrus Announces New Contracts

    by lewis_whokeyser Mar 8, 2016 9:08 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Mar 10, 2016 5:18 PM Flag

    Well that was fun to watch. Congrats to longs who made some money this week, but this news doesn't change the basic fact that barring government assistance which is unlikely, Centrus can't complete it's new plant and get back into the enrichment business. For those who chased the short squeeze at the top, Always do your homework before investing!

    The recent surge in oil prices should benefit alternative energy stocks. There was a nice short squeeze in SunEdison this week as well. Also watching the short squeezes in Seadrill and Linn Energy.

  • Reply to

    Centrus Announces New Contracts

    by lewis_whokeyser Mar 8, 2016 9:08 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Mar 14, 2016 10:36 AM Flag

    I made a lot of money shorting oil through SCO and DWTI in Jan-Feb, but when oil started rallying I got out and watched. Fundamentally, there is still an oversupply of oil, so today's prices make no sense. Goldman Sachs just put out a report raising their target price range for oil to $25-$45 from $20-$40, and in the report they listed their recommendations for various oil stocks. I may take a look at CRZO today.

    Keep in mind "the cart always travels the fastest just before the wheels come off."

  • Reply to

    Centrus Announces New Contracts

    by lewis_whokeyser Mar 8, 2016 9:08 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Mar 15, 2016 10:55 AM Flag

    You are correct that cheap natural gas is one of the major factors in making new nuclear plants uneconomical. Already built plants are cash cows. I don't know what caused the nat gas decline in 1986, but that was before hydraulic fracturing was invented so it is non germane to today's energy outlook.

    Jimmy Carter famously predicted the world would run out of nat gas by the year 2000. He was the second worst energy-policy president in my lifetime. He was also strongly anti-nuclear and cancelled the breeder reactor program.

  • Not good for LEU since they use thorium rather than enriched uranium:
    U.S. Department of Energy engineers propose replacing water inside the reactor with molten salt, which doesn't need to be pressurized. The new and improved design would be much safer and more efficient.

    Waste from a molten salt reactor would decay to safe radioactive levels in just 10 years, according to Test Tube. And molten salt reactors that use Thorium as their fuel source would use almost 100% of that fuel. They'd even be able to generate more thorium in the process. In fact, engineers have designed a way for these reactors to be self-regulating and meltdown-proof.

    China is already building one, and it hopes the technology will be commercially available worldwide within the next five years.

    It won't be easy. It will be difficult to convince people that nuclear power is safe. Disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima captured international attention, and for good reason. But in reality, nuclear power is already much safer than it seems. It's arguably safer than fossil fuels when you consider air-pollution-related deaths caused by emissions, according to NASA.

    "We found that despite the three major nuclear accidents the world has experienced, nuclear power prevented an average of over 1.8 million net deaths worldwide between 1971-2009," the report reads. "This amounts to at least hundreds and more likely thousands of times more deaths than it caused."

    With a meltdown-proof reactor, the choice between nuclear power and fossil fuels seems like a no-brainer.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Mar 23, 2016 10:09 PM Flag

    Nitro Zeus comes to light as the world is just now fully understanding the first time an advanced cyber weapon was used, and on a much smaller scale. That would be the Stuxnet worm developed by the U.S. and Israel and deployed deeply into the heart of the industrial control software that ran Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges.

    The story of this landmark moment in military and technological history is best told by the book Countdown To Zero Day. Not only does it go over Stuxnet’s development, deployment and eventual discovery in painstaking detail, but it also explains how these weapons are created and unveils the murky marketplace on which so called zero-day exploits, the back door vulnerabilities in existing software that make cyber attacks possible, are traded on.

    The revelations about this much more expansive cyber attack plan aimed at Iran comes from an upcoming documentary about zero-day exploits and cyber warfare in general dubbed aptly Zero Days. The movie is directed by celebrated documentary maker Alex Blibney (We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks, Going Clear) and is premiering at the Berlin Film Festival this week.

    According to the film, another contingency operation was also planned should Iranian nuclear talks have failed that focused directly on disabling the Fordow nuclear enrichment site buried deep under a mountain near the Iranian city of Quam. This attack plan was not designed to be used only in response to Iranian aggression like the Nitro Zeus, instead it could have been executed at anytime the White House thought it necessary.

    The plan would have seen a worm injected into the Fordow’s main computer system, frying it with the goal destroying Iran’s centrifuge cascade operations in the process. This plan would have been a more aggressiv

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