China requires foreign companies that access their market to share their technology. The Chinese then learn the technology and set up a government run company that duplicates it.
In its 2014 Statistical Review of World Energy, BP provides the latest global oil production rates since 1965—and here they are.
There is absolutely no evidence that “a peak oil plateau is developing that could last the better part of two or three decades.”
In contrast, global oil production rates have increased linearly since 1983 and show no signs of downward curvature (i.e., peaking).
Remember the peak oil hysteria in the late 1970s when global oil production rates peaked in 1979 and then declined for a few years? Well, global oil production rates have increased by more than 31 percent since that supposed peak.
And despite our ever-increasing production rates, the reserves-to-production ratios continue to increase, meaning that both peak oil and the end of oil are still nowhere in sight.
There's a great graph with the study showing world oil production increasing in a straight line by 50% between 1983 and today. Peak Oil is a pernicious theory embraced by luddites who oppose economic growth and want to keep people poor, ignorant, and dependent on politicians.
According to the Energy Information Agency, “California is oil rich.” But public policy and access to cheap imported oil resulted in California's crude oil production declining by 60%, from 1.1 million barrels a day to 450,000 barrels per day in the past 25 years. Lacking any gas or oil pipelines west of the Rocky Mountains, California has been covering 16% of its shortfall by importing 130,600 barrels of Iraq oil per day.
In the last two weeks, Iraq has been imploding as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) captured over half of the country. In a new sign of the deteriorating environment, the United States began evacuating its Bagdad Embassy on June 15. Due to the speed of the collapse, California may now be cut off from Iraq oil.
Facing the cost of Middle East oil that has more than doubled in the last five years, California refiners have quietly been ramping up domestic imports of environmentally friendly light sweet crude oil (low sulfur) from Canada’s Tar Sands and the Bakken fields of North Dakota that are are “carried in tank cars that industry experts say are susceptible to puncture.”
In response to public concerns following Breitbart California’s June 1 report of “Protesters Fight 'Bomb Trains' Hauling Oil Thru California”, Kelly Huston, Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, told the Sacramento Bee that the State of California has decided to withhold the volumes and time schedules of oil trains from the public.
According to the California Energy Commission, oil train volume in 2013 rose from about 160,000 barrels per month to about 1.1 million barrels per month in December. That is a rise from about one oil train with a hundred tank cars each week, to one per day. To cover the loss of Iraqi oil, oil train volume would have to grow to 8 trains a day.
First Germany decided to phase out nuclear reactors at home; now it’s discouraging their use abroad. Reuters reports that the country is discontinuing credit guarantees to German exporters and banks that sell nuclear reactor equipment in risky foreign markets. Without that guarantee, exports are likely to go down. More:
For years, critics have called for a halt to Germany’s so-called Hermes guarantees for nuclear exports, such as those used in atomic plants in Brazil. China and India also want new nuclear plants to help fulfill their energy needs.
“Germany has moved away from nuclear energy because it is linked to significant, uncontrollable risks. These risks exist in equal measure abroad,” Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.
When Germany abandoned nuclear, a zero-emissions energy source, it became more reliant on coal and saw its emissions shoot up. For a country like Japan, which has a much more volcanically and seismically active landscape, this tradeoff might be worth it. But in Germany, the safety case against nuclear looks a lot weaker: It doesn’t lie along any major fault lines.
The same is true for many of the current and potential customers of German nuclear technology and know-how. And many of those countries are developing rapidly and desperately need an effectively zero-emissions energy source like nuclear. Safety will always be a factor, but nuclear remains an important part of a robust green energy mix.
Thanks, I hadn't heard of them. Per their website "Transatomic Power's innovative nuclear reactors turn nuclear waste into a safe, clean, and scalable source of electricity.". Maybe if we supported that we wouldn't need Yucca Mountain.
I'll do some reading.
Check out the triple leveraged energy ETF, ticker ERX. It's up 75% in the past year.
An expert commission appointed by the administration is looking for an alternative solution. On 13 May, at a public meeting in Washington DC, commissioners discussed some preliminary recommendations: create one or more centralized facilities at which waste would be temporarily stored in dry casks, while engaging with the public in a new process to identify a permanent repository for the piles of spent nuclear fuel accumulating at US reactors. But given the history of doubts about the site's geology and the state-wide opposition that has plagued Yucca Mountain since it was singled out by the US Congress nearly a quarter of a century ago, many are skeptical that a more palatable answer will emerge.
"It is important that there will be a consensus recommendation, but it is our view that most of the issues associated with used nuclear fuel have been considered for a long time," says Alex Flint, senior vice-president for governmental affairs at the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington DC.
Meanwhile, an 8 April report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent arm of Congress, says the Department of Energy should "develop a preliminary plan to restart the project".
Even after decades' worth of research on the site, costing more than US$15 billion, doubts remain over the technical suitability of Yucca Mountain, given factors such as seismic activity and water infiltration. But the politics were crystal clear when Obama promised to shut it down during his 2008 election campaign. In keeping with that promise, last year the energy department filed a motion to withdraw its application to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain — offering no technical reasons for the reversal, except to say that the project was "not feasible"
"Now that this administration has decided to ignore the law, our nation has no long-term storage plans for radioactive wastes," lamented Republican (Georgia) representative Paul Broun, chairman of the House Science Subcommittee
From Nature Magazine:
Back in 2000, when Kirk Sorensen was a NASA engineer looking at nuclear-power options for future colonies on the Moon, he came across a book that described the molten-salt reactor: an energy source in which the nuclear fuel was liquid.
It sounded bizarre, says Sorensen. Every reactor he had ever heard of used some form of solid uranium fuel — starting with the 'light-water' reactors that currently dominate the nuclear-power industry. But the book explained that the molten-salt technology had been demonstrated some three decades earlier at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee — and that the fluid uranium- or thorium-containing fuel offered major advantages. Molten-salt reactors would be impervious to catastrophic meltdown, for example, and instead of producing nuclear waste laced with plutonium and other long-lived radioisotopes, they could destroy those isotopes almost completely.
The list of advantages went on and on, says Sorensen: the molten-salt idea “had the potential to solve almost all the problems of nuclear energy in a far, far more elegant way” than light-water reactors. “So why didn't we do it this way in the first place?”
A lot of people have been asking that question in the past decade — and not just about the molten-salt reactor. That particular technology was abandoned in 1976 because of warring agendas within the US research program. But it was just one of several alternative technologies to be sidelined during the first rush to commercialize nuclear power. Others include 'fast' reactors that would also burn up nuclear waste, and high-temperature reactors that could take a huge bite out of greenhouse-gas emissions by generating zero-carbon heat for industry. Taken together, these alternative technologies could eliminate most or all of nuclear energy's drawbacks.
Warren Buffett briefly lost track of how many billions of dollars his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) is spending to build wind and solar power in the U.S. That didn't stop him from vowing to double the outlay.
Describing the company's increasing investment in renewable energy at the Edison Electric Institute's annual convention in Las Vegas yesterday, Buffett had to rely on a deputy, Greg Abel, to remind him just how much they'd committed: $15 billion.
Amendment No. 001 amends the ACTDO Agreement to provide for additional funds of $5 million, bringing total funding to $11.7 million. Amendment No. 001 also amended the milestone payment schedule to conform it to the due dates for monthly reports. The other terms and conditions of the ACTDO Agreement were not changed by the Amendment.
The ACTDO Agreement provides for continued cascade operations and the continuation of core American Centrifuge research and technology activities and the furnishing of related reports to ORNL. The agreement is a firm fixed price contract with a total price of approximately $33.7 million for the period from May 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014. The agreement provides for payments of approximately $6.7 million per month and is incrementally funded. Funds currently allocated to the ACTDO Agreement are expected to cover the work to be performed until June 22, 2014, and USEC expects that the balance of funds required to cover the month of June 2014 will be allocated to the agreement shortly. The agreement also provides ORNL with two options to extend the agreement by six months each. Each option is priced at approximately $41.7 million. ORNL may exercise its option by providing notice 60 days prior to the end of the term of the agreement. The total price of the contract including options is approximately $117 million.
The Company or its subsidiaries are also a party to a number of other agreements or arrangements with the U.S. government, as described in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.
Chamber of Commerce Warns Against Climate Regs
The EPA is preparing to unveil more debilitating regulations -- standards that have the Chamber of Commerce raising red flags. According to Bloomberg, "In an analysis released [Wednesday] ... the Chamber said that an ambitious pollution-control effort could force more than a third of the coal-fired power capacity to close by 2030, resulting in economic losses of $50 billion a year and the elimination of 224,000 jobs." That estimate is undoubtedly conservative. The EPA's plan even has some Democrats concerned. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) asserted, "There [are] a lot of people on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum that are going to die." Such a claim may sound like hyperbole, but really, how far from reality is it? "You have another polar vortex next year; how many people will lose their lives?" Manchin wondered. There may well be a higher price to pay than electricity rates that will necessarily skyrocket -- as promised by then-candidate Barack Obama.
An audit critical of cost projections and project management for the MOX nuclear fuel plant at the Savannah River Site has provided further ammunition for its critics as the Obama administration seeks to mothball the project.
The budget for the $7.7 billion plant intended to convert surplus plutonium into fuel for civilian reactors climbed $2.9 billion between 2007 and 2012 while its expected completion date slipped by more than three years. An audit released last week by the Department of Energy's inspector general placed much of the blame on a decision to develop cost estimates before the plant's design was finished. The audit found that the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration and contractor Shaw Areva MOX Services didn't follow standard DOE project management practices requiring design and engineering to be essentially complete before the start of construction. As a result, project assumptions significantly underestimated the amount of work needed to install piping, valves, cabling and other components. The expected extent of duct work installation, for example, tripled. Managers also underestimated the amount of materials required and did not anticipate a shortage of qualified construction personnel, which contributed to a turnover rate of about 20 percent in 2012. While the NNSA has taken steps to improve its oversight of the project, the audit concluded, "NNSA and MOX Services have been largely unsuccessful in controlling the cost and schedule for the MOX facility."
The audit comes as the administration and the plant's supporters in Congress debate whether to put the entire project on hold. In its 2015 budget request, the administration proposed that construction be suspended indefinitely while the DOE studies alternatives to meet a plutonium disposition agreement with Russia. Plant supporters accused the DOE of exceeding its authority by taking steps in that direction this year and reached an agreement to continue construction through September
Someone pointed out that the LA Times somewhat=confused article was from 2011. I ran across it in the course of researching a company that is attempting to commercialize the breakthrough. The company is Natcore (NTCXF). I'm not sure if the stock is undergoing a pump-and-dump right now, so I can't recommend it but some of the press releases are promising.
I like solar power although I don't like the current Administration's propensity to funnel taxpayer money into it in return for campaign contributions, while attacking oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power.
A new discovery from a chemist at the University of Texas at Austin may allow photovoltaic solar cells to double their efficiency, thus providing loads more electrical power from regular sunlight.
Not only that, but it’s way cheap. Chemistry professor Xiaoyang Zhu and his team discovered that an organic plastic semiconductor could double the number of electrons harvested out of one photon of sunlight. Yep, plastic.
An issue with regular photovoltaic panels is that much of the energy delivered by sunlight comes in the form of “hot” electrons, which are too high-energy to be converted to electricity in silicon and are instead lost as heat. For that reason, the max insolation-to-electricity efficiency of a silicon solar cell used today is considered to be about 31%. Capturing those hot electrons could boost it to 66%.
Zhu’s process involves absorbing the photon of sunlight in a plastic – in his experiments, pentacene – to produce a dark quantum “shadow state” from which two electrons can be retrieved, instead of just one.
Right now, his experiments use ordinary sunlight, and not focused sunlight, and he’s getting 44% efficiency. That’s a big boost in electricity, and it means it could be done with ordinary rooftop panels.
Breakthroughs in the solar industry seem to be coming fast of late. Just two weeks ago we heard about researcher Douglas Keszlar at Oregon State University in Corvallis, who is studying the photovoltaic potential of fool’s gold– pyrite – and discovered instead that some more ordinary materials could make improved photovoltaics, especially iron silicon sulfide. Once again, the advantage would be that it’s hyperefficient and cheap.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia plans to sign a contract with Iran this year to build two more nuclear reactors at its Bushehr power plant as part of a broader deal for up to eight reactors in the Islamic state, a source close to the negotiations told Reuters on Thursday.
It was not immediately clear how this might affect six global powers' talks with Iran addressing disputed aspects of its nuclear program. Iran has resisted demands for cuts in its uranium enrichment capacity, pointing to plans for a future network of nuclear power stations.
Western powers want any lasting agreement with Iran to put to rest suspicions that it could develop nuclear weapons-making ability through enrichment. Iran denies any such intent.
The talks ended last week with little progress; they are to resume in Vienna in June.
Russia, one of the six powers, built Iran's only operating nuclear power reactor, at Bushehr.
"Russia and Iran may sign an intergovernmental agreement this year on building from four to eight nuclear reactors, and, under the deal, the contract for the construction of the first two reactors as additions to Bushehr," the source said.
In the "old days" a good way to get rid of liquid rad waste was to soak it up with cat litter, made of porous clay. Then you could just scoop it up with a shovel. What got them in trouble was the current Administration's push to "go green". They switched to organic cat litter. Of course, organic materials are far more likely to react with other chemicals. The ensuing chemical reactions generated byproducts which breached the drums.
I haven't followed Silex in recent months. I have some technical questions on the process that may reflect on the difficulty of scaling it up to useful commercial levels. GE will continue giving cheerful progress reports right up to the day it succeeds or they decide to pull the plug, so I don't trust their press releases. If Silex fails, USEC has the next-best enrichment process out there. No news to account for the big drop but there's been some major sector rotation out of small-cap stocks with no earnings into large-cap dividend paying stocks.