Late night, late-breaking news...military bases as sites for refineries and nuclear plants?

You know all of those military bases that the US has closed over the past few years? The government owns that property and can do pretty much whatever it wants with it (or I believe that's the case anyway...the federal gov't doesn't have to worry about local zoning, only certain environmental laws...).

Guess what, those towns where people have been hurting and property values have been depressed because of the closures are about to get new businesses that fit the low property values quite well.

(here's a link to the article...)

The Bush administration is about to propose that those closed military bases be used by both uber-NIMBY industries: refineries and nuclear plants.

Here's some money quotes from the article:

"Under pressure over high energy prices, President Bush on Wednesday will propose tackling the root causes of the problem by encouraging new oil refineries be built at closed military bases and jumpstarting construction of new nuclear power plants.

In a speech, Bush will also propose giving federal regulators the lead authority to decide where to locate terminals for processing imported natural gas. States have increasingly been taking the lead on this issue.

And the president will propose adding vehicles that use clean-burning diesel fuel to the list of automobiles eligible for $2.5 billion in tax credits over 10 years to encourage further use of this technology. Other eligible vehicles are hybrids powered by gasoline and electricity and fuel-cell vehicles."

Yeah, er, ok. Wow.

Also, this piece was on the other day, now it's on EB. The title is: "Production theory could make $100 oil a reality"

A very interesting read. Here's a money quote:

"The man (the article is about Henry Groppe, an industry insider in his late 70s) knows a thing or two about oil production and prices and what he will tell you in his charming Texas drawl isn't pretty: The "peak oil" theory is no theory, son -- it's happening."

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IMHO, as an oil industry engineer, is that unless the Feds actually force oil companies to build refineries with legislation, or with government-backed loans, it will be nuclear plants. And thanks to Jimmy Carter outlawing plutonium, it will be the old, dirty kind of reactors, not the cleaner breeder reactors like the French have been building.

NIMBY will pull people together like nothing else I know. It is the reason we haven't been able to drill for oil off CA, FL or the East Coast. Maybe this is what it will take for people to wake up and actually think instead of falling asleep to the same news stories on every channel.

Since the government owns the land, and a lot of it is problematic due to prior pollution issues, old bases are a logical choice. Wonder if they will build the first reactor where they have used DU for target practice?

The French don't use breeders, they use a standard pressurized water uranium reactor. And no reactor has been built in the U.S. because they're too expensive in capital and operating costs for an industry that wants 5 year paybacks, not because they can't find anywhere to put them. Here we build natural gas power plants and go for peak power. In France it took the government to have enough of a long-term vision to build nuclear plants.

Well, we could certainly use something long term in our electrical grid......but as to how you get any corporation to look out more then a few years...I have no idea. But I do know the power of NIMBY will certainly stir the pot.

Here's a good description of France's nuclear program I've seen, done by a French banker/writer, who also knows a lot about the oil business.

As much as it's a drop in the bucket, and as much as I hate George Bush with the soul-searing hatred of a galactic hate supernova, it's encouraging that we're going to try to build more nuclear plants.