Drumbeat: September 14, 2012

Japan Draws Curtain on Nuclear Energy Following Germany

Japan plans to scrap atomic power by the end of the 2030s, bowing to public pressure after the Fukushima nuclear disaster caused mass evacuations and left areas north of Tokyo uninhabitable for decades.

The country’s first post-Fukushima energy policy approved today by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda means the country will join Germany in abandoning the power source that helped both countries build world-beating economies and models for development from the destruction of World War II.

IEA lifts forecast for growth of global oil demand

Economic concerns in China and a nuclear outage in Japan are pulling global oil demand growth in opposite directions, said the International Energy Agency (IEA) yesterday in its monthly report.

The energy watchdog based in Paris lifted its forecast for global oil demand by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 89.8 million bpd this year and 90.6 million bpd next year. "Concerns about the health of the global economy are also rising in the wake of bearish economic indicators from the US, the euro zone and now, increasingly, the engine of oil demand growth of the last decade - China," wrote the agency.

Oil Rises to $100 for First Time Since May After Stimulus

Oil rose to $100 a barrel in New York for the first time since May as the Federal Reserve pledged further economic stimulus, while unrest in the Middle East and North Africa fanned concern that supplies will be threatened.

UK prompt gas gains on shortages, demand

LONDON/MILAN (Reuters) - British prompt gas prices rose on Friday, marking a fourth straight day of gains, driven by reduced supplies while cooler weather was expected to boost heating demand in some parts of the country.

Gas for Monday delivery increased over a pence to 61.75 pence a therm, gaining ground on a 19-week high achieved on Thursday, as the impact of maintenance in Norway and Britain continued to impact supplies.

Northeast Lukoil Franchisees Publicize $9 Gas in Protest

Drivers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania may be in for a shock if they pull into a Lukoil gas station.

About 57 franchise owners are protesting on Wednesday against the price of gas charged by Lukoil North America, a subsidiary of the Russian corporation, OAO Lukoil. The owners have posted gas prices over $8 at their stations to draw attention to what they claim are the high prices charged to them that they must pass on to consumers.

"We are doing this because we are dying," said Khaled Kezbari, owner of three Lukoil gas stations in New Jersey. "Lukoil is charging us costs higher than the retail market. How can you compete? You cannot compete in the market like that."

Gasoline prices push up U.S. consumer inflation in August

(Reuters) - U.S. consumer prices rose in August by the most in three years as the cost of gasoline jumped, but there was little sign of a pick-up in underlying inflation pressures, which should allow the Federal Reserve to stay on its ultra-easy policy path.

Industrial output drops most in three years on factories, storm

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Industrial output fell in August by the most in over three years as production slowed in factories and a hurricane temporarily shut down oil and natural gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Industrial production fell 1.2 percent, the Federal Reserve said on Friday. That was the steepest decline since March 2009. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected industrial output to be flat last month.

Commodities Post Longest Rally Since 2010 on Fed Boost

Commodities are set for the longest run of weekly gains since 2010 after the Federal Reserve said it will buy bonds until the U.S. jobs market recovers, fueling expectations raw-material use will rise.

Northeast facing acute cooking gas shortage

Agartala (IANS) Northeast India is facing a severe shortage of cooking gas since April after production in four Indian Oil refineries in Assam was hit.

Tripura Food and Civil Supplies Minister Manik Dey Friday said Indian Oil Chairman R.S. Butola has informed the state government that lower production of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas), and law and order problem besides flood in Assam are the key reasons behind the crisis.

Norway Rejects Oil Industry Pleas on Pay Boom Amid Strikes

Norway rejected pleas from the country’s oil industry to help contain wage growth that producers say is hampering competitiveness in western Europe’s largest crude exporter.

A government-appointed commission on oilrigs and drilling concluded last month Norway must cut labor costs and ease regulations to ensure petroleum isn’t left in the ground.

BASF Mothership Under Siege as Shale Forces Bock to Fight

BASF SE has spent almost 150 years expanding its German chemical mothership into an organism the size of Midtown Manhattan, whose intricate web of pipes and interlocking plants use every bit of oil and gas brought in.

The so-called Verbund approach is being put to the test. The boom in U.S. shale gas hands competitors Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. an 8 percent profit advantage because they pay less for natural gas, estimates Jeremy Redenius, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein Ltd.

Kurdistan to keep Sept oil output steady in Baghdad deal

(Reuters) - Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan said on Friday it would keep its oil production for export at 140,000 barrels per day this month before raising it to 200,000 bpd for the rest of the year, as part of a deal with Baghdad to end a dispute over oil payments.

Under the agreement, Baghdad will also pay 1 trillion Iraqi dinars or around $857 million for foreign companies working in the Kurdish region, the Kurdistan Regional Government said.

Are We Missing the Point on Peak Oil?

I believe the world has already entered an era where nearly all of the inexpensive oil has been found and that what remains—even if it’s a lot of oil—will be increasingly costly to produce. And, something few people consider, pulling this expensive oil out of the ground will consume ever greater amounts of oil.

Chesapeake loses bid to void Texas oil, gas rights award

Chesapeake Energy Corp., facing claims by mineral rights holders in multiple states over canceled oil and gas lease offers, lost a bid to reverse a $19.7 million judgment to a Texas lease owner.

EU says Gazprom should set equal gas price for all European buyers

Russia must agree to European Union requirements for an open natural gas market, the EU Energy Commissioner said, specifying that this implies that the price for imported Russian gas should be identical across the European Union.

"Our Russian partner understands our rules but doesn't accept them," Guenther Oettinger said at an energy conference in Lithuania. "It can't be that gas in some member states is 30% cheaper than in other member states," he said.

Concerns over oil price rigging will be investigated, says energy minister

Energy minister John Hayes is to write to the Financial Services Authority about the many concerns – including evidence of the rigging of international oil prices – raised in yesterday’s House of Commons debate on fuel prices.

Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign

WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.

As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.

Turkey to start oil exploration alone in eastern Med

Turkey's state-run oil firm TPAO plans to start offshore oil exploration on its own in 2013 in the Iskenderun-Mersin region of the eastern Mediterranean, after it failed to attract applications for joint exploration licences, officials said Reuters reported

China surveillance ships near islands disputed with Japan

(Reuters) - Six Chinese surveillance ships briefly entered waters near disputed islands claimed by Tokyo and Beijing on Friday, raising tensions between Asia's two biggest economies to their highest level since 2010.

Japan protested to China and urged that the situation not be allowed to escalate - an outcome neither side would welcome given the two countries' tight economic links.

Diplomats say Tokyo and Beijing would prefer to keep the row from spiraling out of control, but with China facing a once-in-a-decade leadership change, an election looming in Japan and mutual mistrust deep, managing the feud could be difficult.

Japan set to win extended waiver of U.S. sanctions on Iran oil

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Japan has made deeper cuts in crude oil purchases from Iran since it secured an exemption from U.S. sanctions in March, putting the country in a strong position to obtain a renewal when the United States reviews the six-month waiver.

Japan was the first of Asia's top four buyers of Iranian crude to receive a waiver from the United States of tough new sanctions aimed at reducing Iran's oil income and persuading it to halt a nuclear programme the West suspects is meant to build weapons. Tehran denies its nuclear work has a military purpose.

Egypt president: Protecting embassies an Islamic duty

CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptian riot police clashed with protesters angry over an anti-Islam film blocks away from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo as the president went on state TV and appealed to Muslims to protect embassies, trying to patch up strained relations with the United States.

Several hundred protesters massed in Cairo's Tahrir Square after weekly Muslim Friday prayers and tore up an American flag, waving a black, Islamist flag. When protesters tried to move toward the embassy, several blocks away, they were confronted by lines of police who fired tear gas.

Pro-al Qaeda group seen behind deadly Benghazi attack

(CNN) -- A pro-al Qaeda group responsible for a previous armed assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is the chief suspect in Tuesday's attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, sources tracking militant Islamist groups in eastern Libya say.

They also note that the attack immediately followed a call from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for revenge for the death in June of Abu Yahya al-Libi, a senior Libyan member of the terror group.

A Cautionary Tale for Regulated Industries

The lessons from BP's gulf explosion in 2010 took a dramatic turn for many regulated industries. Alleging a "culture of corporate recklessness," the Department of Justice recently said that BP was guilty of "gross negligence" and "willful misconduct" in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The company strongly disputed the allegations.

This new government charge has significance for BP because it could lead to triple damages under the Clean Water Act for each barrel of oil spilled. The penalties on this issue alone could total $21 billion, assuming, as the government does, 4.9 million barrels escaped from the Macondo Well (BP says 2.7 million barrels). But the charge has broader significance for companies facing gross negligence or willful misconduct allegations under a number of regulatory statutes that impose triple damages for such conduct.

Texas Posse Hunting for Halliburton’s Missing Radioactive Device

Texas may call out the National Guard in the hunt for a seven-inch radioactive rod used in drilling natural-gas wells, lost this week by Halliburton Co. somewhere in a 130-mile swath of the state’s western oil fields.

Why Osborne’s dash for gas is not all it is cracked up to be

The top priorities for Britain's energy policy should be safety and security - fracking fails on both counts.

Lost art? Teens taught to drive a stick shift

As teenagers lose interest in learning to drive -- why should they when they can just text their friends? -- the classic car industry is worried that it may run out of future customers.

After all, many among the young today may never have even ridden in a car with a stick shift and clutch, much less driven one.

An Expiring Tax Credit Threatens the Wind Power Industry

Mr. Sawyer and wind power companies are closely watching developments in Washington, where a tax credit benefiting wind farms is due to expire at the end of this year. The implications of that could be especially significant in Texas, the top wind power state, which contains about a fifth of the nation’s turbines and is building expensive transmission lines to support more growth.

An Argument Over Wind

With the wind industry facing the expiration of a production tax credit at the end of the year, the sector’s main trade association is facing off against Exelon, the big power generation company, over whether the tax break should be renewed. Last week, the Wind Energy Association expelled Exelon as a member because the company opposed a renewal of the credit.

Though Not Yet Open, a Huge Mine Is Transforming Mongolia’s Landscape

Even before its scheduled opening next month, the work on the huge Oyu Tolgoi mine project already accounts for roughly 30 percent of Mongolia’s annual economic output.

The sheer scale of the mineral wealth to be found here — an estimated 41 million pounds of copper and 21 million ounces of gold — on the dusty edges of the Gobi Desert has long attracted mining executives from around the world. Now, after a decade-long effort, Canada’s Turquoise Hill Resources, in a joint venture with the Mongolian government, is about to start pulling the mine’s riches from the ground.

U.S. Declares a Disaster for Fishery in Northeast

BOSTON — The Commerce Department on Thursday issued a formal disaster declaration for the Northeastern commercial groundfish fishery, paving the way for financial relief for the battered industry and the communities that depend on it.

To many here, the declaration underscored the urgency of a groundfish depletion that has become apparent to many scientists and some fishermen who work in New England’s waters.

Humans and Nature: Can the Gulf Be Bridged?

To be able to grieve for the loss of something, we have to first develop love and affection. It takes time. It takes a deep connection, cultivated emotions that emerge from knowing and experiencing a place or a person again and again. In his recent book, “Faith of Cranes,” Hank shares his thoughts on this matter, inspired by his lifetime of loving southeast Alaska and watching it change.

EPA to clean up lead in yard soil in N.J.

The Environmental Protection Agency will begin digging up dangerous lead contamination this month around a dozen homes in New Jersey, part of one of the largest state efforts yet to re-examine health risks posed by soil near hundreds of old factory locations identified by a USA TODAY investigation.

Plans for giant Antarctic marine sanctuary falter

The United States and New Zealand have spent two years trying to agree on an Alaska-sized marine sanctuary where fishing would be banned and scientists could study climate change. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took a strong interest in the outcome, regularly prodding diplomats, and New Zealand recently sent a delegation to Washington to hash out a tentative deal.

That compromise, over a region that accounts for less than 2 percent of New Zealand's fishing industry, turned into a flop this month when senior New Zealand politicians rejected it behind closed doors.

Russia will not cut emissions under extended Kyoto climate pact

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia confirmed on Thursday it would not make cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from 2013 under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, joining Canada and Japan in rejecting an extension of the plan for fighting climate change. The foreign ministry said Moscow would not join industrialised nations led by the European Union in signing up for cuts beyond a first round of commitments ending on Dec. 31, 2012.

Warming sign in the Arctic: Starving female polar bear challenges male for food

Wildlife biologist Ian Bullock is a seasoned visitor to the Arctic, but even he was surprised by what he saw last month: a thin female polar bear, shadowed by her cub, trying to challenge a much bigger, stronger male for food.

It wasn't much of a challenge, but it showed just how desperate she was, Bullock told NBC News on returning from his 10th straight summer cruise to the Arctic.

Is the government gas plan going to bust the UK's carbon targets?

The coalition's climate advisers say the UK is planning so much gas power it will be impossible to meet carbon targets; the government says it can have its cake and eat it. Who's right?

Critics warn Japan’s decision to phase out nuclear could be ‘climate disaster’

Today’s decision by Japan’s government to phase out Nuclear power by 2030 has been branded a potential ‘climate disaster’ by critics, who say it will leave the country relying heavily on coal, gas and oil.

White Roofs in Cities Could Reduce Rainfall

According to new research out of Arizona State University, efforts to improve the reflectance of Arizona's cities by painting roofs white may be reducing rainfall across the state.

Published recently in the journal Environmental Review Letters, the study finds that average rainfall statewide could drop by as much as 4 percent if roof painting efforts continue. The increased reflectivity of these roofs has been found to modify hydroclimatic processes in the region by reducing what's called evapotranspiration, or how much water evaporates back into the air from the land and its plants.

Melting glaciers key to greater reliance on hydroelectric power?

(Phys.org)—The great glaciers of the Alps are melting. Several climate change scenarios, some of which are based on an average temperature increase of +4°C, predict their complete disappearance by the end of this century. As they retreat, the glaciers uncover cavities; these fill with meltwater, becoming lakes.

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is funding a research project on the risks and possibilities of these new mountain lakes. Anton Schleiss, director of EPFL's Hydraulic Constructions Laboratory, is participating in the project. "Glaciers store water and transfer winter precipitation into summer runoff. Once they have disappeared, we will need to manage these new reservoirs, which will take over this water storage role."

Melting Himalayas May Magnify Water Scarcity

Many politically unstable areas of South Asia are "water-stressed," meaning the areas are facing water scarcity due to poor infrastructure or simply lacking enough water to meet demand.

The potential impacts of climate change on water scarcity could further inflame political tensions, finds a new report, "Himalayan Glaciers: Climate Change, Water Resources, and Water Security," released today (Sept. 12) by the National Research Council (NRC). Funding was provided by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Arctic sea ice melt 'may bring harsh winter to Europe'

The record loss of Arctic sea ice this summer may mean a cold winter for the UK and northern Europe. The region has been prone to bad winters after summers with very low sea ice, such as 2011 and 2007, said Jennifer Francis, a researcher at Rutgers University.

"We can't make predictions yet … [but] I wouldn't be surprised to see wild extremes this winter," Francis told the Guardian.

'Smart growth' strategies curb car use, greenhouse gas emissions: study

A new study finds that smart growth approaches to urban planning could substantially reduce the number of miles that residents drive in a year. The research was published this week in The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy.

Smart growth focuses on the development of compact, walkable cities with houses and jobs located close together. By shortening residents' commutes, this form of urban design aims to cut transportation-related energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. California is already pursuing smart growth in order to meet emissions reductions set by the state's Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).

U.S. Declares a Disaster for Fishery in Northeast

That article goes on to say that it is not just on the East Coast, it affects Alaska too:

The numbers indicate a sudden, stunning decline in recent years, about which scientists have not settled on an explanation. On the Yukon, for example, 1,488 pounds of salmon were harvested in 2011, down from more than 859,000 pounds in 2006, a state study found.

That Arctic drilling won't help calm the nerves of many observers I would guess.

It's obvious what the problem is - the lazy fishermen just need to fish harder before they're all gone. Duh.

In other words, blame the victim. Nice, humane approach there ty454.

that was humor, I believe ... it made me laugh, anyway.

Disappearance of fish is really disturbing.

Yes, it's a reference to a quote that has become something of a meme here. An earlier NY Times article about the fishery: “We’ve got to fish harder before it’s all gone.”

I suppose the real victims here would be the fish, I'm sure that's who you're referring to...right?

But anyway, you haven't been keeping up on your drumbeats. That reference is a throwback to an article featured on a drumbeat a few months ago. It illicited a rather humorous exchange on TOD.

edit: Leanan's got it: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8885

Some things are for crying, others for laughing.

The victims are the fish & ecosystem, no joke.

relief for the battered industry

I hope the incompetent bureaucrats responsible are grilled before Congress

heh...grilled bureaucrat

The industry has been lobbying for decades against quota, using ever bigger boats with bigger nets on declining stock etc. They have been warned about collapses AND history has shown fishermen before how an unrestricted rush to catch every last North Atlantic Cod leads to species collapse and misery for fishermen, and now the industry is 'battered'. Nope, they inflict it on themselves. It's hard to feel any sympathy with these hard working honest men.

If you've spent much time working around commercial fisheries and fishermen in this day and age, it's hard to see them as victims and very easy to see the tragedy of the commons. Avarice, shortsightedness, duplicity, hate... the fishing industry is a good place to see it played out.

There are a few environmentally-sane fishermen, but I don't consider them statistically significant. Now some nations have good conservation traditions, but usually it's a corrupt free-for-all in the USA and on the high seas.

Of course, sometimes fishermen have their fish intercepted by OTHER fishermen. But in general, fishermen take what they can get away with and complain later about the injustice of fish population declines.

Yair . . . All sorts of rumbles in out reef fishing industry. Reef fish such as trout, emperor and such like sell local at well north of thirty dollers a kilo for fillet.

I put it to a group of fishermen (bitching about fuel and refrigeration/ice costs and how they couldn't make a living) that a sailing catamaran or mono with live tanks could night fish shallow reef (no airbladder problems) and keep the fish alive. . .a solar powered snap freezer could process any gut hooked bleeders.

It went down like a lead balloon although such a concept is very doable and will eventualy become the norm . . . folks are too set in their ways and won't think outside the square.


It's important to look at the full quote to know which species they are talking about.

The Commerce Department also declared commercial fishery disaster relief for three regions in Alaska where Chinook salmon catches have plummeted — on the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers, both of which flow into the Bering Sea off Alaska’s west coast, and in the Cook Inlet southwest of Anchorage.

In asking for federal help this summer, Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican, described a ripple effect through an outdoor economy, and the simultaneous challenges for the deeply rural communities where subsistence fishing is an element of culture and survival.

The numbers indicate a sudden, stunning decline in recent years, about which scientists have not settled on an explanation. On the Yukon, for example, 1,488 pounds of salmon were harvested in 2011, down from more than 859,000 pounds in 2006, a state study found.

Still, something doesn't pass the smell test here. Salmon in Alaska are among the most carefully managed runs in the entire world. The harvest is managed to achieve escapement goals so that the harvest numbers can go to zero. Cherry picking two years and then talking about harvest rather than total run is more than just misleading.

For those interested, here is the Yukin River Salmon 2011 Season Summary and 2012 Season Outlook (pdf) published by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in March 2012.

Here is the abstract from that report:

The Joint Technical Committee (JTC) of the United States and Canada serves as a scientific advisory body to the Yukon River Panel. The JTC discusses harvest and escapement goals, management trends, postseason reviews and preseason outlooks, and results of cooperative research projects. This report summarizes the status of Chinook, coho, and summer and fall chum salmon stocks in 2011, presents an outlook for the 2012 season, and provides data on utilization of salmon species by commercial, subsistence, aboriginal, personal use, domestic, and sport/recreational fisheries. Summaries of Yukon River projects (e.g., mark–recapture, sonar, stock identification) and a review of salmon bycatch in the groundfish and pollock fisheries of the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska are provided. Recommended Yukon River escapement goals for Chinook, chum and coho salmon remained unchanged from 2011. Preliminary Chinook salmon escapement in Canada was 46,307 fish, which was within the 42,500– 55,000 escapement goal range and provided for the Canadian harvest share. By preliminary estimate, about 40,211 Chinook salmon were harvested for subsistence in Alaska, and in Yukon Territory, 4,550 Chinook salmon were harvested in aboriginal fisheries. For fall chum salmon, the preliminary 2011 Yukon River drainagewide total run size estimate was 1,000,000 fish, based on the postseason expanded escapement and estimated harvest. The border passage estimate was 212,000 fall chum salmon, and after subtracting harvests in Canada, the spawning escapement was approximately 205,930 fish, exceeding the upper end of the IMEG range of 70,000 to 104,000 fall chum salmon. The total commercial harvest of fall chum salmon in Alaska was 238,979 fish; the largest harvest since 1995, and by preliminary estimate, the Alaskan subsistence harvest of fall chum salmon was 79,887 fish. The Canadian commercial harvest was 5,312 fall chum salmon.

Deeper down in this document we find:

Due to the uncertainty concerning Chinook salmon run strength and the need to fulfill the Canadian border passage obligation, meet Alaska escapement needs, and provide for subsistence uses, management of the Chinook salmon commercial fishery continued to follow the conservative preseason management strategy. No commercial periods targeting Chinook salmon were allowed in 2011 in the Yukon River mainstem or in the Tanana River.

I guess it's not surprising that the harvest numbers go down when no harvest is allowed.

More details about Alaska salmon returns since 2006 are available at the Alaska Fish & Game Fish Counts database which has the following numbers for cumulative Chinook passage at Yukon River Pilot Station:

  • 2007 - 126K
  • 2008 - 131K
  • 2009 - 144K
  • 2010 - 120K
  • 2011 - 123K
  • 2012 - 107K

Numbers are down but it's not what I'd call a "stunning decline".

Then one could go to the Yukon River Chinook Salmon Stock STatus and ACtion Plan (pdf) put out by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in 2007. In it you can find this chart:

The total height of each bar is the number of salmon, the black base of each bar is the subsistence fishery and the tiny grey sliver on top is the "Other Harvest". Chinook numbers saw a "stunning decline" between 1998 to 2000 but they have rebounded since then.

I'll finish by saying that I do think we should manage our fisheries very conservatively. And it is clear that the east coast fisheries have been poorly managed for centuries and are truly in crisis. I would also encourage everyone reading this far to write their congressmen to Save Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine.

But I can still be offended by cherry picking numbers, using misleading statistics to provide excruciatingly contrived examples that "the sky is falling". Correcting the quote from the NYT I would say that "the Yukon, for example" [does not] "indicate a sudden, stunning decline in recent years".

Best Hopes for Better Journalism.

"The Commerce Department also declared commercial fishery disaster relief for three regions in Alaska where Chinook salmon catches have plummeted ..."

Most likely they do not declare a disaster when the fishermen don't go fishing then report no catches.

The "work of the fishermen plummeted, they played poker instead", therefore they get federal disaster relief would not be good journalism.

Re: "The total commercial harvest of fall chum salmon in Alaska was 238,979 fish; the largest harvest since 1995, and by preliminary estimate, the Alaskan subsistence harvest of fall chum salmon was 79,887 fish." Note that "Chum Salmon" (Oncorhynchus keta) are not the same as Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Chinooks are called "King Salmon" in Alaska

King/Chinook Salmon are much prefered, both by commercial fishermen and subsistance users. The Chum harvest has become larger, at least in part, because the King runs are down. Chums are sometimes called Dog Salmon. I believe this was because in the old days when dog teams were commonly used for transportation, they would feed the Chums to their dogs and keep the Kings for human consumption. Nowadays of course they tend to use snow machines for transportation, which are fed with gasoline.

Alaska Salmon runs are intensely managed. However, keep in mind that there are frequent, bitter fights between commercial fishermen, subsitance users, and sports fishermen. It is the same old story of trying to parcel out a finite resource. The political pressure on the fisheries management folks is intense. Decisions aren't always in the best interest of preserving the resource. Similar battles are now raging regarding Halibut.

On the mighty Yukon, Alaska chum salmon fuel an economic revival

King salmon, the larger of the species, is highly desired by villagers who rely on personal catches of salmon to survive. This year, due to conservations efforts and a weak run, there few opportunities to pull kings in, and the smoke huts are filled only sparingly with the cured, oily flesh of kings lined out to dry. Chum, sun dried and cut differently, will have to fill the void for fisherman and their families who rely on the river to provide. Conservation measures attempt to balance the needs of subsistence and commercial users alike.

Certainly, there are plenty of chums in the river – 2.1 million of them have passed a sonar 121 minutes upstream from the mouth of the Yukon River. That’s the biggest run in at least six years, and a successful rebound after the chum runs crashed in 1997, bringing the fishery to a stand still. By contrast, this year’s weak king run is only 5 percent of the chum run.

Re: Arctic sea ice melt 'may bring harsh winter to Europe'

Neven's blog about sea-ice has a longer discussion of this effect.

Sea ice loss 2012: what do the records mean?

He includes a link to another, more detailed, post with the same title. The article presents a photo of Arctic shore line retreat, which should be a warning for oil companies that intend to drill in these areas.

Most of the year-to-year variation in the weather is due to the El Nino cycle. In the past, one could usually expect that one year's winter would not be repeated the next year. However, such thinking may no longer apply...

E. Swanson

Looks like it will be record low by a wide margin this year. Of course next year when we don't break the record it will be used as proof that the arctic ice has ceased to melt and we don't need to worry about it anymore.


There was an interesting stament that means more than at first appears:

One could spend many words on the back-and-forth arguments between the two camps. But this year it became moot. The world saw records set--dramatically lower ones. The old marks from 2007 were not just eclipsed, they were (metaphorically) obliterated. The extent as of this writing is just over 3.6 million square kilometers—about half of typical values in the early 1980s—and still falling. No sane mind can argue any longer that the decline stopped in 2007.

(What do the records mean?). There is a naiveté problem when it comes to assuming that everyone dealing with the issue is sane. Those in the dirty oil business as well as government regulators can not be considered sane if they advocate denial or otherwise keep us heading in the direction of calamity as they are now in fact doing.

Is there even less Arctic sea ice than the satellites show?
Only 350 miles from the north pole, possibly 50% of the sea is covered in ice, yet data says there is ice cover at this latitude


I'm speculating here the satellite measurements are not designed to differentiate ice vs. water when the ice floes are in close proximity. Keep in mind the satellite is far away, unlike the ship sent to make visual observations.

Who knows what size gap between ice and water is needed to be picked up by satellite observation. Let's get someone up there to adjust it.


At the website link above click the satellite photo on the left which shows most ice as a big glob/s. Only massive areas of no ice are shown. But also notice the one open area not too far from the North pole, which is the closest I've ever seen that. Probably not a good sign.

I'd like to see a circle of 350 miles radius centred on the North Pole "x" on that map.

So would I. For those interested in how ice loss is affecting Walrus', here's a youtube video.


The long and short of it is they use to rest on ice floes then swim down to forage for clams. Now they have to rest on rocky beaches, which puts them in close proximity to one another. Then if anything spooks them like a polar bear, they stampede killing many others including their young.

In one case the ice floes had melted, the adults swam for land but the young could not make it so ended up crying out to people on a boat watching, which could do nothing. The young would later of course reach a point of exhaustion, sink and die.

Sorry folks, which it was a nicer story.

White Roofs in Cities Could Reduce Rainfall

- is the headline.

In the body it points out that this is one quarter the decrease if nothing is done. I've got to wonder if this is an intentionally misleading intro or just another sign of incompetent journalism.


Another ambiguous title ...

Parking Lot Science: Is Black Best?

In a typical city, pavements account for 35 to 50 percent of surface area, of which about half is comprised of streets and about 40 percent of exposed parking lots. Most of these streets and parking lots are constructed with dark materials. “It’s amazing how hot these pavements get and how we’ve let them cover most of our urban surfaces,” said Haley Gilbert, a researcher in the Heat Island Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). “Because dark pavements absorb almost all of the sun’s energy, the pavement surface heats up, which in turn also warms the local air and aggravates urban heat islands.”

To combat this problem, Berkeley Lab scientists have been studying “cool pavement” technologies. Like cool roofs, which are lighter-colored roofs that keep the air both inside and outside the building cooler by reflecting more of the sun’s energy, cool pavements reflect as much as 30 to 50 percent of the sun’s energy, compared to only 5 percent for new asphalt (and 10 to 20 percent for aged asphalt).

Since cool pavements benefit the community, the Heat Island Group is focusing much of its technical assistance and outreach efforts on local governments. To that end, the Heat Island Group held a Pavement Seminar in June for local officials to learn about the benefits of cool pavements. In addition, schoolyards are a particular target because of the negative health implications of hot blacktops for schoolchildren. “It was shocking for us to hear that here in Berkeley, which has a pretty mild climate, students are not allowed to go out and play on the blacktop basketball courts on certain days,” Gilbert said.

Another band-aid..
Better to tear up the Parking Lots or In-Build them for Transit-Oriented Development in the first place!
If we restored walkable community schools then schools would not need all that asphalt and kids would get some exercise.

Parking lot heat absorption problem solved: Trees. Cover them in trees, can still park cars under them if we must.

Pass a local regulation that every lot must have a programme of planting and care of a sufficient number of trees to provide an eventual summertime cover of the asphalt.

Helpfully this will also force better (ie higher) pricing of parking to help us all get off the driving drug and stimulate provision of alternatives and even lead to much more efficient land use.

No parking lot owner will be disadvantaged because all will have to comply, just like all cars must be made with seatbelts.

Happy side effect; more beautiful urban areas, happier safer people. More local low skill employment. Make em fruit trees if you like.....

Will also greatly assist in storm water management, overheating in parked vehicles.... The list goes on.



PV sun shades in the parking lot.

If the link doesn't work, google 'solar pv parking lots'

White roofs, and a cooler city ought to mean lower water usage as well. I bet the decrease in demand is bigger than any decrease in precitation.

Re: US Declares a Disaster for Fishery in Northeast

It seems like a lot of bad news is coming about fisheries now. The northeast fishery is not totally surprising, as it has been exploited for a long time, including with trawling. But the article is actually low on real info; disasters have been declared for Alaska (which they mention as well) and Mississippi (which they don't - it's crab and oysters there). The Alaska declaration is a real slap in the face, as it has long been held that the US salmon fishery in Alaska was one of the best managed anywhere. This may actually be a sign that river management is failing, since salmon start out in the rivers before going to sea. Perhaps this suggests that developing the Pebble mine is just a bad idea right now.

In any case, if this is the shape of the future... Nobody will be eating fish for long. It looks like it's time for large no-take reserves, stricter controls on fishing methods, and stricter standards of care for rivers. I just hope global warming and ocean acidification don't mean it's hopeless.

Ultimately, we rely on a healthy environment to survive. There is really not so much room for "compromise" which always seems to mean giving up the environment to further exploitation. We must protect it or lose it. It is better to err on the side of too much protection than have too little.


"it has long been held that the US salmon fishery in Alaska was one of the best managed anywhere"

It was long thought that the King Crab management was even better, however, something happened that surprised the scientists in that fishery too:

In 1980, at the peak of the king crab industry, Alaskan fisheries produced up to 200,000,000 lb (91,000,000 kg) of crab. However, by 1983, the total size of the catch had dropped by up to 90% in some places. Several theories for the precipitous drop in the crab population have been proposed, including overfishing, warmer waters, and increased fish predation. As a result the current season is very short and in the 2010 season only 24,000,000 lb (11,000,000 kg) of red king crab were "landed".

(Wikipedia, emphasis added). It may be true that the management is the best, but if so, it means that something is thwarting that excellent management, such as adverse global warming induced climate change as a result of promiscuous use of dirty oil, dirty coal, and other toxins.

When a species crashes there is no guarantee it will ever come back. If I recall correctly part of the problem with Atlantic cod stocks are that we took the pressure off, but only after jellyfish had filled the juvenile cod's ecological niche.

Evolution - not just a good idea, it's the law. We apply pressure to an ecosystem, it will adapt.

That's an excellent point. On the other hand, I do think the cod would theoretically come back it if had just population pressure through fishing - they beat the jellyfish before. But they were trawled for, which also destroys the habitat they need to grow up in. It's also possible we are fishing for what they would normally eat. That is to say, it is a complex interplay, with habitat, fishing methods, target species, etc., all in there.

Apparently there has been a decline in seals and sea otters, which is possibly due to a rebound in orcas. Every time you mess with one variable, the others get all messed up. I think we did at one point have a fairly large margin of error, but when we started cutting out species after species, reducing their numbers to 1% of their historic numbers, well, it has been wacky since. But then, there is no "stable". Something I read before which pointed out that we are aiming for a stable ecosystem, but ecosystems are by definition in constant flux. Nature is a system we neither understand or control.

That said, if we take our hands off of it for a while it does tend to come back surprisingly well in most cases. A network of small and large no-take reserves would probably help quite a bit.

That said, if we take our hands off of it for a while it does tend to come back surprisingly well in most cases.

That assumes that a tipping point has not somehow been reached. The 'Butterfly Effect' from Chaos Theory refers to changes on the micro level in a non linear system having long term effects on the macro level and furthermore practically guarantees that once these changes have occurred it is impossible to have the system return to its previous state. What you have then is a totally new ecosystem.

As you yourself said:

But then, there is no "stable". Something I read before which pointed out that we are aiming for a stable ecosystem, but ecosystems are by definition in constant flux. Nature is a system we neither understand or control.

I suggest it might be time for us to start thinking of ways to make jellyfish more palatable... cod fillet might not be on the menu of the future!

Bummer >:-(

"The Alaska declaration is a real slap in the face, as it has long been held that the US salmon fishery in Alaska was one of the best managed anywhere. This may actually be a sign that river management is failing, since salmon start out in the rivers before going to sea."

The problem could just as well be at sea. The rivers are well watched, and anything significant should be noticeable. Out in the ocean... Fukushima debris, dropping pH, continued bottom trawling, and just changes in water temperatures or currents.

Salmon runs have failed before if the fish for whatever reason just decide to spend another year at sea. Then the next year will be a whopper as two years of fish come in at once. So the best case is you get to spend a year worrying if the fish are just tardy or really gone. Not good for the old blood pressure, especially if the bank is expecting you to service the loan on your fishing boat.

Worst case is also obvious.


"The problem could just as well be at sea."

Excellent point.

Salmon spend ~7 years at sea before returning to the river of their birth.

While at sea, The Great Pacific Garbage Gyre, which has been around for many years, and is floating garbage twice the size of Texas, could affect their health.

There is also ocean warming and acidification to consider.

Japan Draws Curtain on Nuclear Energy Following Germany

Japan is going the way of Germany and that will mean burning a lot more coal and gas.

Despite Germany being one of the most enthusiastic supporters of renewables as this article shows.


It is coming up against very practical limits, with problems such as the sun don't shine at night time and even over large areas, wind output changes dramatically. Wind chart output towards the bottom.


Since those other than the most fanatical green exponents would rather burn coal and gas than freeze to death that is exactly what Germany intends to do. They will build 23 new coal plants in Germany over the coming years.


and have already finished several, anyone other than Greenpeace could have seen this coming.


A VERY biased, and wrong, projection.

Japan already has 25.5 GW of pumped storage installed, and another 1.6 GW waiting for turbines #3 to #6 to be installed. Add to this substantial hydroelectric and demand management - and more pumped storage that could be built.

Install wind and solar as fast as China & Italy, plus a little biomass & geothermal, and FF generation could be less than before Fukushima.

Japan has already done heroic demand reduction.

And Germany is replacing inefficient & inflexible coal plants with new coal plants that can ramp up & down quickly and burn much less (like -1/3rd) coal per MWh.

The carbon emitted from German coal plants will drop as their nukes are shut down. It is happening already.

Best Hopes for Fact Based Assessments,


German Electrical Generation & Demand the Last Ten Years

from a German poster a few days ago

German "Bruttostromproduktion nach Energietr�gern"), they are available in English, too, then you find again that you are talking nonsense as usual:

1)Germany is not building fossil plants like mad, there is no additional production from coal, the sum of coal and NG production is almost constant for 10 years now with an increasing share of NG (NG from 55 TWh to 85 TWh, sum of coal and NG: 2002 350 TWh; 2011 340 TWh).

2) The production of nuclear decreased from 165 TWh to 110 TWh (!) in the same span of time. Highest rate of change during the last 4 years.

3) Production of renewables increased by 75 TWh in the same decade, from 50 TWh to 125 TWh. Again highest rate of change during the last 4 years.

4) German domestic consumption increased slightly by 15 TWh, from 590 TWh to 605 TWh.

I may add that CO2 emissions in Germany have declined ever since 1990. Initially this may have been caused by deindustrialization in the eastern states (the former GDR) after 1990.

Indeed a new coal fired plant opened recently (and had to shut down only a few days later.)

By the way, more than 2 gigawatts went off line in a real short period of time when Neurath blocks BoA 2 and 3 failed. Quite luckily there were enough of those backup plants, allegedly required by renewable electricity generation, that stepped into the breach for these failed lignite coal blocks ..

So, the Germans are going the NG route to replace nuclear .Very good .But who is the big daddy in the NG park . Gazprom .The EU just started anti trust actions against Gazprom .You don't bite the hand that feeds you .Putin is corrupt but a nationalist(ex KGB) and also vindictive .For the next 5 years he is the boss . I think the political dimensions are going to takeover with all the stuff in the Middle East and MENA with the Prophet movie .Best of luck to Merkel and whosoever is in charge of this transition.

German NG use could well decline over the medium and longer term.

More renewables & negawatts could displace nukes & coal. It "depends".


No, they won't cut down NG use over the medium term if you don't define "medium term" as after 20+ years. What do you think North Stream is for.

"Could displace nukes and coal". Well, nukes first, apparently. So they've lost 25 years already CO2-wise, and have decided to lose at least another decade by replacing nuclear power instead of lignite. This is fact. What comes after 2022 remains to be seen.

The dump nukes action also increased the pressure to fastramp renewables. Its not as simple as just saying all the lost N production will be made up by fossil fuels, the gap will be made up by a combination of (fossils, renewables, and negawatts), neither of those three is 100%, so it isn't correct to ascribe all the lost power to go to coal.

You're right, in a way. But the urgency to fastramp renewables SHOULD be the same for a "dump lignites" action.

Alan,it depends ?? Germany is 100 % dependent on Russkie NG .Why do you think they are building the Northern pipe line bypassing the Baltic states and Poland direct to Deutschland ? Guess who is the top man ? Ex PM Schroeder . Putin knows he has Western Europe by the b***S on gas and he will have no second thoughts on tightening the vice especially since the Chinese pipeline is underway to completion. In my opinion your hypothesis is incorrect that NG "could well decline" .Wanna bet??

Germany is a main customer for Norwegian and Dutch NG.

And they are (AFAIK Vague memory) in-line to become customers of Turkmen NG.

German NG use will depend on:

1) How fast new renewables are added
2) German net exports of electricity
3) German demand
4) Coal fired generation phase down
5) Nuke phase down


If you study the routes from Turkmenistan to Europe they are all dependent on safe passage through the Caucasus. Nagorno-Karabakh is about to go off again of its own accord, and if anything happens with Iran I think the potential for trouble goes way, way up. Georgia, Ossetia, Chechnya - not everyone can find them on a map, but we recognize the names due to their simmering troubles.

We could well see a chain reaction in the region, just like we did in the Balkans a century ago.

Unless the pipeline goes through Iran to Turkey.


Early this week.


and Slochteren (the main dutch NG field) is in decline despite careful management.

Putin is corrupt but a nationalist(ex KGB) and also vindictive.

I was startled to hear an estimate that he has accumulated at least $150billion of net worth! Maybe more corrupt than nationalist? Definitely vindictive.

1) Where do you get the data that NG replaces nuclaer, that is wrong. NG has replaced during the last decade coal.

2) If you check the changed NG contracts then you will find, that Gazprom is loosing, due to the ability of German utilities to buy LNG.
Pipelines chain the supplier to his customer, if the customer gets alternnatives - we have indirectly due to the shale gas in the USA, we get capacities from Africa or Asia that went to the USA in the past - the supplier loose, this is seen in the last years when new contracts have been made or even claerer when a German utility has re-negotiated older contracts with huge losses for the Russians. There is no longer the coupling of NG to the crude oil price in industry contracts, but to spot market prices, clear advantage for the customers, esp. in the long run.

3)China is no real alternative for Russia, as constructing pipelines is expensive and China is in the current situation not willing to pay European prices (LNG is cheaper), Japan imports LNG, but Russia has not sufficient capacity for NG condensation. Gazproms economic future is not that shiny as sold in 2009.

What you're saying, Alan, with your four bullets, is that Germany has increased renewables generation a lot but forgot to use the added energy to displace CO2-intensive and particulates-heavy generation. So, they could just as well have saved their money, as they've accomplished nothing. And they've resolutely decided to keep doing just that, using lots of money to accomplishing nothing, for at least ten more years.

German national security has been enhanced by operating fewer nukes.

Germany does not have any land they can do without for a couple of centuries, not even in Bavaria.

And German CO2 has gone down.


German national security has been enhanced by operating fewer nukes.

And by replacing dwindling hard coal reserves with russian gas, I assume.

Germany does not have any land they can do without for a couple of centuries, not even in Bavaria.

Certainly, and I hope they use the land they can't do without by giving it to climate refugees from islands they are sinking into the sea with their CO2 emissions, such as the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, Micronesia, Cook Islands, Antigua and Nevis and the Maldives. Not to speak of coastal areas in general.

And German CO2 has gone down.

See my comment about russian gas. Fossil generation has not gone down.

Right, nuclear proponents care about Climate Change. No way.

They don't care about putting radioactive waste in the ground for thousands of years so why would they care about a little CO2? They don't. They just use it to make it seem like nuclear is good for the environment. That is crazy.

No matter, the nuclear industry is near death and will stay that way. Only governments that can dictate to their populations can build them in any significant numbers (China, anyone?).

Nuclear power plants cost too much to build and the capital is just not there. They are impossible to insure unless the government subsidizes them and bends the laws. Uranium is also a non renewable resource that is now mined using fossil fuel powered machines. Peak Uranium is project to hit in just a decade or two (assuming the low number of reactors now in service in the world - much less if everyone and their brother starts building them - they won't)

Yes, you are going to bring up the sea water but Japan still doesn't do that and this new super process has yet to power even one commercial reactor. So, excuse me if I wait for the final cost analysis. It will not be competitive. I am sure of this becasue current nuclear power is not competitive without massive government subsidies and "services" (security, insurance, military support, waste transportation and storage, etc.).

R.I.P. nuclear industry. All those unintended consequences were just too much for humanity to accept.

I have noted that the *ONLY* environmental concern that they have voiced has but one solution - many more nukes.

They are uniformly quiet about negawatts, solar power on islands too small for nukes, wind power to supplement nukes in winter (as EdF has found to be quite economic), demand side management and much more.

Nor do they post on Arctic Ice melting (unless it means "more nukes"), agricultural issues, solar cookers in the 3rd world, solar hot water, etc. etc.

Their "green" credibility is lacking.


They don't care about putting radioactive waste in the ground for thousands of years so why would they care about a little CO2? They don't.

You're painting with too broad a brush, I'd been pro-Nuke for decades because of AGW. After Fukishima I've given it up as hopeless. I still believe safe waste disposal is a political not a technical problem. There were many like me. There still are a few.

R.I.P. nuclear industry. All those unintended consequences were just too much for humanity to accept.

Someone obviously forgot to tell the Chinese, they are building 25 nuclear power stations as you write.


This publication says 28 and they plan to start building another 5 reactors.


China builds all the coal and nuclear power plants it needs, generating cheap electricity for their industry. They then sell their goods all over the world particularly in the US and Europe.

The mindless greenies have only succeeded in forcing firms in Europe to close down due to the high energy costs.
The same green environmentalists who think they are so clever, go into shops and buy Chinese goods made with the dirtiest electricity in the world. They are too dense to see the great irony of the situation they have created and they think they are clever!


If the greenies really were concerned about the planet go and protest in China, that is where the pollution is happening.

Germany consumption 189 million tonnes a year China consumption 3471 million tonnes a year.


Guess who the greenies demonstrate against?

No, you can find some very realistic greenies with deep understanding of this global situation: http://www.energiepolitik.de/

(Interestingly, you cite only the other kind :-))

The owner of that site makes very good contributions to the future of energy supply in China, i.e. the dominant role of coal power plant during the next decades and the low impact of renewables there. In this context (China + US + annual increase of coal in China) all changes in Europe are small spikes in the base line.

This is my reason why I do not give so much about the lost decade of CO2 emisison in Germany due to the premature shut down of nuclaer in Germany and hope that due to better coal technology, which is being developed in Germany because we run caol power plants, the overall effect is positive, i.e. export of improved technology brings much more savings than the earlier phase out of nuclear costs.

I'm frankly a bit saddened by yours and Al's apologetic, positive even, stance towards German new coal generation. And you hope that China will follow suit!? With friends like that, the climate needs no enemies.

Someone obviously forgot to tell the Chinese, they are building 25 nuclear power stations as you write.

Didn't the Chinese businessman also put lead in the paint of childern's toys and toxic chemicals in milk and dog food?

Ya got any links as to exactly how the Chinese are going to solve the graft/corruption problem in building and running these plants?

Didn't the Chinese businessman also put lead in the paint of childern's toys and toxic chemicals in milk and dog food?

They certainly did and their government can trample on their rights of liberty in an instant and often does, that is why I try not to buy ANY Chinese goods.
I do not want this country to become any more powerful than it already is or take any more jobs.

Greenies don't give a damn that hundreds of companies have closed in Europe and the US to move to China. If they worked at proper jobs rather than in political pressure groups like greenpeace they would have a more balanced perspective. Most who demonstrate outside coal power stations are unemployed and when interviewed admitted they did not have jobs.

China is building 28 nuclear power stations this is simply a fact and I don't care much if it's 28 or 2. The point being they are building lots of them and therefore nuclear is not dead.

The USA is building three nukes, France one, Finland one, Pakistan one, I think Romania, Slovakia & Bulgaria a couple each, about ten in Russia, a half dozen in India. Advanced preparations for more, including four in the UAE four in Turkey and two in the USA.

Outside China, there is not enough interest to justify support R&D for improved reactors (not that has ever stopped the Gov't subsidies), but enough to keep a few around for our grandchildren.


And as long as the war machinery needs power there will be interest in "small" reactors and these small reactors will end up in things like the icebreakers http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/09/08/breaking-the-ice/ and will end up in big cargo ships per Mr. Alan's past comments.

Jobs are lost in the U.S. and Europe because indoctrinated people support globalization. The price of crude oil is high because the world is near the peak in oil production. Natural gas is currently cheap in the U.S. so that can not be the explanation. U.S. coal is having a hard time because it can not compete with cheap natural gas. Europe has expensive natural gas because they are dependent on imports especially from Russia. Because they have used up most of their coal, Europe has to make due with the lowest, most expensive grade, lignite. Manufacturers of photovoltaic panels have been closing because they can not compete with China dumping them onto the world market below cost. You completely ignore the consequences of core meltdowns in nuclear reactors. Ukraine is still struggling with cleaning up Chernobyl.

Tariffs are the appropriate tool to address China's anti-environmental behavior. Yet, you seem to advocate for cheap goods and pollution before tariffs.

Your use of the insult, "greenies," identifies you as an anti-environmentalist spewing right-wing propaganda.

Pffft. Companies don't move to China because of electricity costs, they move because of labor costs. Electricity rates in the USA are quite competitive. Germany has very high rates yet they have lots of industry. Don't fall for such a bogus argument.

Your comment calls me and millions more "liars". Go ahead and tell me what our real motive is for advocating nuclear power!

Peak uranium in a decade or two is utter nonsense. And putting radioactive waste in the ground is no problem (oil and gas is oil and gas because it has stayed put for many millions of years).

No reference. here's one:


"...uranium reserves available at up to $100 per pound of U3O8 represented approximately 23 years worth of demand..."

Uranium spot price remains $49/lb

"...uranium reserves at up to $50 per pound of U3O8 represented about 10 years worth of demand."

... Or is continuing US dependence on foreign energy sources still preferred?

I wasn't talking of a US peak uranium, but a global. The latter is nowhere to be seen. Also, that US reserves is only doubled at doubled price shows that more would be found with more prospecting. Geological distribution hints we should have 5 times the reserves at twice the price (half the ore grade).

Protectionism is bad, mmkay?

No reference. Here's one and then another out of thousands more:

Global Uranium Supply and Demand

the overall amount of uranium is less important that the grade of uranium ore

Canada has a significant amount of ore above 1 percent--up to about 20 percent of the country's total reserves. In Australia, on the other hand, some 90 percent of uranium has a grade of less than 0.06 percent. Much of Kazakhstan's ore is less than 0.1 percent.

At current usage, this is equal to about seventy years of supply.

"It comes down to an issue of trust... today's good guy can become tomorrow's bad guy..."


Any forecast of the development of nuclear power in the next 25 years has to concentrate on
two aspects, the supply of uranium and the addition of new reactor capacity. At least
within this time frame, neither nuclear breeding reactors nor thorium reactors will play a
significant role because of the long lead times for their development and market penetration.

Eleven countries have already exhausted their uranium reserves. In total, about 2.3 Mt of
uranium have already been produced. At present only one country (Canada) is left having
uranium deposits containing uranium with an ore grade of more than 1%, most of the
remaining reserves in other countries have ore grades of below 0.1% and two-thirds of the
reserves have ore grades of below 0.06%. This is important as the energy requirement for
uranium mining is at best indirectly proportional to the ore concentration and with
concentrations of below 0.01-0.02% the energy needed for uranium processing – over the
whole fuel cycle – increases substantially.

...a shortage can at best be delayed until about 2050.

"I wasn't talking of a US peak uranium, but a global. The latter is nowhere to be seen."

Seems fairly visible from here. 4 million results in 0.24 seconds. ...took but a moment...

40-70 years at what cost? ...with nowhere to put the waste and the surety of more catastrophic failures.

Attempting to define energy independence as "protectionism" is certainly interesting.

Ah, the dogs want in... feeding time's over.

See for instance this MIT report.

"The cost of uranium today is 2 to 4% of the cost of electricity. Our analysis of uranium mining costs versus cumulative production in a world with ten times as many LWRs and each LWR operating for 60 years indicates a probable 50% increase in uranium costs. Such a modest increase in uranium costs would not significantly impact nuclear power economics."

This report goes into more depth if you're interested in details.

Peak uranium is nowhere to be seen. Nowhere. The amounts available at reasonable prices is simply staggering.

Attempting to define energy independence as "protectionism" is certainly interesting.

And very true. There is no point in energy independence, and if it were, nuclear would be one of the best choices. All you have to do is stockpile enough fuel for each reactors life time.

The United States has less than 4% of the world's uranium reserves. Australia has 31%, Kazakhstan has 12%, and Russia and Canada have 9% each. Dependence on foreign mines is not an option for the US, but countries like Australia and Canada will be more than happy to sell uranium to the US if the price is right.

Also, most other countries are much less explored than the US. I've bicycled the old uranium exploration roads in Utah, and while they make great mountain bike paths, the uranium there is history. Crusty mountain men with Geiger counters found and mined pretty much all the uranium deposits that were bigger than a fossilized tree (one of them WAS a fossilized tree - interesting geology). OTOH, in Northern Canada some remote explorer could stumble over a new uranium deposit at any time.

[Edit] And, as mentioned above, Canada's uranium reserves are much higher grade than the remaining reserves in other countries, with 20% of the deposits having a uranium concentration of greater than 1%.

Certainly, and I hope they use the land they can't do without by giving it to climate refugees from islands they are sinking into the sea with their CO2 emissions, such as the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, Micronesia, Cook Islands, Antigua and Nevis and the Maldives. Not to speak of coastal areas in general.

Its very nice you have a concern over these people.

Now, how about the people around the various nuke power plant failures?

How about the nuke plants along the coastlines?

Ignorance is bliss is the normal quote.

It’s wrong to educate children to be conscious about this level of radiation. There is a risk of being hit by car, there is also a risk of being stabbed by passerby. Should we teach students not to pass by anyone ?

I think climate refugees will exceed nuclear refugees by several orders of magnitude. I guess you don't agree?

Japan just needs to tap and store the energy when Mt. Fuji erupts.

I don't see what could possibly go wrong...

Or tapping into methane hydrates. They just have to solve the whole explosive, major greenhouse gas issues.

It's not biased and according to respectable sources it is not wrong.

coal consumption has risen 4.9%, a basic fact, what is it about that you cannot understand.



If I want proper facts I certainly will not be asking you.

All the best


Biased, cherry picked data.

From your own link "Longer term, they will be using more renewables and gas but this year and next, we should see a lot of support for coal burn."

So, per your link, just a two year blip on a longer term trend down in coal use (see last ten years above).


The Energy Export Databrowser has charts for coal:

Happy Exploring!

Japan fuel oil 2010 to 2011

444,000 b/d to 576,000b/d

Gas consumption in million of barrels of oil equivalent
85.1 to 95


Sorry if these facts upset you.

Sorry if these facts upset you.

Is it really necessary to add that kind of dig? Jonathan offered information neutrally, without any insults.

Keeping the discussion civil and respectful is a high priority here. If that's not your thing, this isn't the place for you.

You mean like

"Happy Exploring" kind of dig?

That's not a dig. It's how Jonathan usually ends his posts about his databrowser. It's meant sincerely, and he says it to everyone.

Soon to decline dramatically as Japan starts their "Rush to Renewables".


Japan's population will likely decline by about a third this century. The large, high-consumption 15-64 age group will likely decline by a third by 2050; this decline is already under way.[1]

Japan's number of dwellings is expected to peak in 2020, as population decline overtakes the trend to smaller household size.

Also, there is a global background trend of energy efficiency improvement of about 1% per year, which will likely accelerate with higher prices.

Just two things to keep in mind later on, before trumpeting the success of Japan's "rush to renewables."

fn 1. http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/country-profiles/country-profiles_1.htm . Select Japan from the drop-down below the charts, look at the chart at top right.

When we are talking about electricity production, then the picture is quite clear: Between 1991 and 2011, the consumption of coal decreased. If somebody makes other statements he/she is either stupid, lazy or dishonest - of course combinations of these work too. :-)

From your sources I can only conclude: Do not let bankers make these studies, they obviously get confused by the data provided by the utilities or found on the home pages of various departments of the German government. :-)

It is correct that the REDUCTION of CO2 release would have been larger if the nuclear power plants had worked longer, no dispute here. However, the claim that shutting down the nuclear power plants led or will lead to an increase of electricity production with coal is wrong.

You may have some modulations of coal imports by the changing production of steels, but this is a different story and does not really change the overall picture, as most coal is used for electricity generation in Germany.

Another factor is that the new German coal fired plants use roughly 30% less coal per MWh than the older, smaller coal fired plants that they replaced.

So future coal TWh is not a completely accurate view of coal CO2 emissions.


This means that their new, modern, lignite generation will be just as good for the climate as 1970-era hard coal generation! Who said human ingenuity can't create significant progress? I'm so thrilled!

Not easy indeed: http://notrickszone.com/2012/03/15/germanys-per-kilowatt-hour-co2-emissi...

Germany’s Per Kilowatt-Hour CO2 Emissions Jump 4%! Transformation To Renewables Flops
By P Gosselin on 15. März 2012

Steffen Hentrich of the liberty-oriented blogsite “Denken für die Freiheit” (Thinking for Liberty) writes a piece called “Climate-Killing Energy Transformation“ about how Germany’s energy transformation from nuclear and fossil fuels to renewable energies is not working out very well.

Instead of generating less CO2 per kilowatt-hour, Germany is emitting more!

The annual report “Energy Consumption in Germany in 2011″ confirms that Germany is going to have a difficult time reducing its share of CO2 emissions should nuclear power be stopped completely. Even though the total output of CO2 emissions is declining in Germany, more lignite (brown coal) is being burned (AGEB, S. 37) and the amount of CO2 emitted for each kilowatt hour of electricity jumped

Uuuh, that notrickszone web site is not really a reliable source. It's yet another one of these opinion-piece filled web sites, run by an outspoken climate denialist, and the prophetical statement (Germany will have a hard time ..) is typicial for these people. Serious information draws conclusions from data from the past instead of throwing around prophecies.

And when you look up that report (AGEP, S.34) linked by Mr Gosselin you find a couple of PDF documents in German from a group calling itself AGEP. Only one of these docs has more than 34 pages (S. 34 stands for "page 34" in German.) It contains no such statement about increased coal usage in Germany. No wonder - it's way to early to make such a statement for 2011 or 2012. Except when you're a prophet, of course.

Why this nonsense?! What is the efficiency of the new lignite power plant? 43%. What is the efficiency of new black coal power plants? 46%, however, older (1970) black coal power plants aound 35% and less.

The other issue you conviniently ignore is the fact that German companies export efficient coal power plant to China, where we will see the next two decades a huge demand of electricity, which in China will be provided by coal. So running a few coal power plants in Germany and allowing R/D that will be exported will provide very likely a better global result than shutting down German power plants, to see this, you have to change your "being more catholic than the pope attitude".

Are you aware of the fact that every time a more efficient technology was invented it led to more people using it.

When coal was mined in the UK in the 1700 mines used to flood and very little coal was produced.
The Newcomen engine got around this problem but was very expensive to run and only a few mines could afford it. UK coal production in 1700 was only 2.7 million tonnes and increased only to 10 million tonnes in 1800.
When cheaper and more efficient engines were built many smaller mines could afford them. Coal production went up to 50 million tonnes in 1850 and 250 million tonnes in 1900.

When cars were very expensive few people could afford them in 1900 in the united states there were 0.1 vehicles per 1000 people. Then cheap mass production was invented and by 1930 there were 217 per 1000 people and now 828 per 1000 people.

So cheap and efficient plants will not reduce China's consumption of coal, it will make electricity even cheaper so more people will use more.

Yes, I know the problem. However, if you check the coal consumption for electricity generation you will find a real decrease in Germany since 1991 :-)

In China you observe some real issues, that let our German problems look like pure luxus:

1) China's coal production will peak in a few years.

2) 70% of Chinas electricity goes into industry.

3) China need a 6-8% industry growth to keep people happy.

This gives at least an additional annual electricity demand in the range of 4% during the next decade. The only way to solve this dilemma is to increase the efficiency of the coal power plants and to build more nuclear power plants in China, NG plays no role (5%). In the long run renewables may play a role, not in the next years. With this background argueing about a few more or less coal power plants in Europe looks childish IMHO. I see Germany's role in showing that reneables work for countries with industry and few natural resources like biomass and hydropower, the CO2 reduction is a politically useful byproduct (=credibility) not my highest priority in Germany.

However, the claim that shutting down the nuclear power plants led or will lead to an increase of electricity production with coal is wrong.

It is reasonable to compare alternative futures, not compare one future with today. Shutting down nuclear plants instead of lignite will increase the electricity production with coal compared to the rational, opposite, alternative.

Your first good contribution! But if you remember we started this discussion with your claims that nuclear power in Germany is replaced with coal, i.e. you claimed an increase of coal, which is nonsense. It is correct that Germany could have shut down a few coal power plants earlier, however, politics does not this version which I support.

But if you remember we started this discussion with your claims that nuclear power in Germany is replaced with coal, i.e. you claimed an increase of coal, which is nonsense.

No, I didn't say that. This exists only in your fantasy. Easy to check, have made ~10 comments in this drumbeat.

Written by jeppen:
Shutting down nuclear plants instead of lignite will increase the electricity production with coal compared to the rational, opposite, alternative.

Not necessarily. Germany was exporting electricity prior to shutting some nuclear reactors. Now they export a little electricity. You have to look at the power generation of whoever was importing their electricity to determine what energy source replaced it.

Germany is doing a large scale build out of wind and photovoltaic generation which will contribute an increasing amount of electrical energy replacing the nuclear and displacing the coal fired generators.

Some of those nuclear plants were shut down in 2010 for repair and will not reopen after the decision in 2011 to eliminate nuclear power over the next decade.

You have to look at the power generation of whoever was importing their electricity to determine what energy source replaced it.

No, I really don't. I assume all neighbors are maximizing hydro, nuclear, solar and wind generation from their existing installed base already. The only things they can increase is fuel based sources, which is fossil and biomass generation. When Germany strangles exports, it will take years for anything new from the first group to come online in response. And it's quite likely the response will overwhelmingly be from the second group even in the medium term.

Negawatts and solar can take less than a year. I think Italy installed 11 GW of solar in one year recently (from memory). Wind can take two years.

That is one point of superiority of renewables vs. nukes.

In just the years of delay between when nukes were supposed to be completed and when they actually are (see Finland as a recent example, Watts Bar 1 & 2 for another), massive amounts of renewables can be installed.

And any delays are usually measured in weeks or months.


solar can take less than a year. I think Italy installed 11 GW of solar in one year recently (from memory). Wind can take two years.

Curious that you're very concious of supply chain bottlenecks in the nuclear arena, but disregard it in the renewables arena. You will NOT get more turbine factories and PV factories in just a year as a response to German nuclear panic!

In just the years of delay between when nukes were supposed to be completed and when they actually are (see Finland as a recent example, Watts Bar 1 & 2 for another), massive amounts of renewables can be installed.

Do you know that two Chinese EPRs had their domes installed in half the time of the Finnish fiasco? And, again, if you are the highest bidder, of course you can get a lot of solar and wind installed quickly, and then the other customers will have to wait. That doesn't mean it is quick to ramp global production.

And any delays are usually measured in weeks or months.

Swedens biggest planned wind farm is extremely slow to build. Nuclear would have been much quicker and cheaper.

There is idle capacity in wind & solar production. And another shift can always be added without building a new factory.

The biggest nuke bottleneck is people. The last American to supervise pouring a nuke foundation (a problem in Finland) and his assistants are either dead or very long retired as one simple example.

two Chinese EPRs had their domes installed in half the time of the Finnish fiasco?

No doubt with the quality and conscientious that Chinese civil works are noted for. If there some "minor" problems with the foundation, for example, they would not slow the project down to redo the work.

Nuclear would have been much quicker and cheaper.

LMAO !!! You REALLY believe that !?!

Please note that EdF is building wind for extra winter power because it is cheaper than more nukes (see Penly).


There is idle capacity in wind & solar production.

Perhaps temporarily, since growth in both areas seems to have crashed due to low subsidies in the wake of the financial crisis and due to integration problems in countries that have achieved double digit wind.

No doubt with the quality and conscientious that Chinese civil works are noted for. If there some "minor" problems with the foundation, for example, they would not slow the project down to redo the work.

Akin to racism, that. I would expect the engineers to make a reasonable cost-benefit analysis and go with that. Almost all members of China's ruling standing politburo are engineers, btw. Hu Jintao himself is a hydro engineer.

Nuclear would have been much quicker and cheaper.

LMAO !!! You REALLY believe that !?!

It's a simple fact. Look it up, it's called "Markbygden". 1100 wind turbines, 8-12 TWh of stochastic, dispatchable power-eating energy of low value, projected to cost a staggering €5 billion. So far only 12 turbines (2 MW each) have been built. In 2004, first planning/wind prospecting were done. Then in 2006, first consultation with affected external parties were performed. Then they have been applying for different permits for parts of the project. As a part of it all, they wanted to do a pilot project with big Enercon-126 (7 MW turbines) in 2009, and AFAIK got the permit in 2010, but haven't managed to pull it off yet. It's obvious that wind power is an industry fraught with delays, cost overruns and incompetent engineers. Swedish nuclear construction has had a much better track record.

A few months ago, the wind industry organization in Sweden sent a letter in panic to the government requesting increased subsidies, or a collapse of Swedish wind construction was imminent. In this letter, they cited a wind production cost of €0.08/kWh and a loss of some €200,000/year and turbine under current Swedish conditions regarding electricity prices and subsidies.

Please note that EdF is building wind for extra winter power because it is cheaper than more nukes (see Penly).

It seems it is built on EdFs PR budget, rather than on economical considerations.

It seems it is built on EdFs PR budget, rather than on economical considerations.

Not so ! 10 GW is serious money BTW.

German (and French) wind kept the lights on in France a couple of winters ago.

France has too much nuclear - it is simply above the economic point. EdF turns off reactors - above refueling needs - in the spring & fall. And France routinely sells base load power at just above the cost of fuel (or did a few years ago) - a Swiss utility bragged of buying French nuke power at night and then reselling it back to France for 5x the price.

50% is about the maximum nuke power a grid can take.

Wind peaks in the winter in France (and many other places). It often peaks when a cold front comes in. EdF has enough hydro and pumped storage to shift wind a few hours or days as needed. 10 GW of wind is nearly ideal for EdF. 15 and 20 GW would be better of course.

One need only look at falling bridges and high speed rail accidents to see how mindful China is of infrastructure. I would MUCH prefer a Japanese nuclear power plant - but see what happened there.

BTW, why are you not out protesting gov't delays for wind ?

Your "concern" for the environment appears to be limited to just building more nukes.

The Swedish engineers that built the old nukes are now dead or senile. Are the Swedes so much better than the Finns ?


Not so ! 10 GW is serious money BTW.

1200 MW added in 2011, if wikipedia is correct. That's not a lot. Don't know what EDFs share is.

German (and French) wind kept the lights on in France a couple of winters ago.

You mean that the lucky days that they had good wind generation, they didn't need to kickstart some standby fossil peaker plants?

France has too much nuclear - it is simply above the economic point. EdF turns off reactors - above refueling needs - in the spring & fall.

You shouldn't disregard the low historical cost France's rational, coordinated buildout. The marginal plant may not be as expensive as you think.

And France routinely sells base load power at just above the cost of fuel (or did a few years ago) - a Swiss utility bragged of buying French nuke power at night and then reselling it back to France for 5x the price.

France exports several times more than it imports, and the gross imports are very low (like 3% of total IIRC). This mean what you are talking about is not significant.

50% is about the maximum nuke power a grid can take.

Says the guy who, without joking it seems, argues that wind and solar penetration can be 80%. So despite the fact that France does 80% nuclear and nobody does wind+pv above 25%, and despite the fact that Denmark has a much bigger problem handling its puny 20% wind, you still have the gall to claim this? (But you do have a friend in Francois Hollandaise, though - I read today that he wants to get down to 50% nuclear. Don't know why - I guess he's playing politics.)

BTW, why are you not out protesting gov't delays for wind ? Your "concern" for the environment appears to be limited to just building more nukes.

If they get rid of wind subsidies and cuts down on stupid nuclear regulation, I will speak for streamlining wind regulation as well. The environment has little to do with this - Sweden had emissions-free (almost) generation for decades before wind became a semi-serious contender.

The Swedish engineers that built the old nukes are now dead or senile. Are the Swedes so much better than the Finns ?

We have 6 reactors from the first half of the 80-ies, that is, 27-32 years old. I would guess a number of the engineers active then has not even retired, much less gone senile or died.

And again, Swedish track record on nuclear power seems much better than that of wind. And Finns are doing ok with nuclear too (better uptime than Sweden, for instance), just a bit of perfect storm with the fifth reactor. Do you feel a single reactor is more significant than the equivalent Swedish Markbygden project? Should we start looking into costs and delays for seabased wind projects, btw? Just ask.

When we are talking about electricity production, then the picture is quite clear: Between 1991 and 2011, the consumption of coal decreased. If somebody makes other statements he/she is either stupid, lazy or dishonest - of course combinations of these work too. :-)

Have you lost the discussion?

Germany has only recently shut down some of it's nuclear power plants which could have continued to function. We are talking about the consequences of rapid and politically motivated closure of 8 nuclear plants in March 2011 despite no safety issues and all had years of life left.

This was done due to political hysteria and the result is an increase in coal consumption for the first time in a decade.


Page 33; 2010 production 76.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent to 77.6 which is about 1.4 million tonnes of coal extra than the previous year.

Now I would call that an increase and the shutting down of the nuclear plants is hardly a coincidence is it?

So which of the 3 adjectives fits you?

Page 33

This document has only 6 pages

2010 production 76.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent to 77.6 which is about 1.4 million tonnes of coal extra than the previous year.

And nearly 4 m tonnes less than 2008. And 8 m tonnes less than 2007 - at a time when all of those nuke plants were running.
(see page 5 in your document.)

The pages are numbered you wit minus a half. Look at the numbering usually found at the bottom of the page!

This discussion which you are obviously having problems grasping is about the effect on coal and gas consumption on Germany and Japan as they prematurely switch off their nuclear plants.

Germany did not switch off any prematurely until MARCH 2011 has that sunk in yet?

So talking about 2008 is irrelevant to the switching off of nuclear power stations early as it had no happened then. GOT THAT.

So only data after MARCH 2011 is of any value to this discussion. OK

NOW look again at page 33, numbered at the bottom, you will see coal consumption increased.

Another major fact is German electricity production fell in 2011 compared to 2010, so less electricity yet more coal burning.

These are the nuclear plants shutdown and the ones they will shut down early.


We will see what happens over the next few years, remember now only data from MARCH 2011.

So only data after MARCH 2011 is of any value to this discussion.

For the sake of your arguments, yes, but otherwise such short set of data is just meaningless. And that's what this AGEP paper says.

And may I again bring Leanans words to your attention:

"Keeping the discussion civil and respectful is a high priority here. If that's not your thing, this isn't the place for you."

Then take your own advice.

When a document pages are clearly numbered and the person refers you to a page then accept the data.
Childish comments such as a document only has 6 pages infers what exactly?

You want respect, treat people with respect.

This data I found is good and from several sound sources, yet the first response from you and others was was name calling such as lazy stupid etc.

So I don't need lectures in manners from you.

The fact remains since Germany turned off several of it's nuclear reactors due to the hysterics of the greens coal consumption has gone up. Even more damming is that electricity production fell at the same time. You may not like the data but petty little remarks and insults will not change the facts.

So I don't need lectures in manners from you.

I think that you do.
And so turning off a bunch of nukes, non-scheduled, increased coal consumption for a year ?

Not really a big deal.

Just more motivation for MORE renewables, and even less coal in the future.

The trend in German coal burning is quite clear - a one year blip {yawn}.


PS: After seeing them go off like a string of firecrackers, I think the USA should quickly shut down all GE Mark I reactors. Either a VERY major retrofit or permanently.

My original post correctly pointed out that closing down these nuclear power stations early had led to an increase in fossils fuel burning.

You set the tone with your sneering remarks claimed I was wrong and I was presenting false data.

I have now provided that data and if you had any manners you would apologize for your false aspersions.

The one year blip which you have now begrudgingly admitted to being correct is the central issue here.


You set the tone with your sneering remarks claimed I was wrong and I was presenting false data

Not so.

Post the link or retract.


no safety issues

They were all past their design life.

Lifetime extension is done for economic reasons, trumping safety.

It requires modern engineers to second guess dead or long retired engineers on how and why they designed components to last (usually) 30 years with a high degree of safety. Stretch that to 60 years with a narrower safety margin - but much higher profits.


The carbon emitted from German coal plants will drop as their nukes are shut down. It is happening already.

Alan , that is good news. Still they are number 7 in total amount:
Seems difficult to accurately estimate the CO2 from planes per country.

CO2 emissions in thousands of metric tons:

China (ex. Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong) 7,031,916 23.53%
United States 5,461,014 18.27%
European Union (27) 4,177,817 13.98%
India 1,742,698 5.83%
Russia 1,708,653 5.72%
Japan 1,208,163 4.04%
Germany 786,660 2.63%
Canada 544,091 1.82%
Iran 538,404 1.8%
United Kingdom 522,856 1.75%
South Korea 509,170 1.7%
Mexico 475,834 1.59%

'Best Hopes for Fact Based Assessments'

Now that is really rich.
You were the fellow who was 'assessing' nuclear the other day on the basis that it is technologically impossible to ramp nuclear power plants.

I then provided chapter and verse that all modern plants now being built can be powered up and down.

It is quite incredible that you do not pause to reassess when you find out that you don't actually know anything about the technology, but carry straight on outlining the same prejudices.

Since you have not troubled to find out any actual facts, and simply ignore their implications when they are thrust in your face, it is perfectly clear how fact based your own 'assessments' are.

You quoted theory - I looked at facts.

EdF does not load follow with their nukes in any meaningful way.

I believe that I have looked at, in detail, their nuke production and load for five days in toto and on only one of the five was their significant correlation between nuke generation and load.

And, the delta in nuke was 1/5th to 1/11th (from memory) of the delta in load - even on the "blind pig" day.

It is known that EdF just turns off nukes in the spring & fall and on weekends, because they do not load follow very well (at all).


I get irritated every time you claim that your investigation of a few measly days says anything.

*IF* EdF could load follow, they would be doing so almost every day of the year. Only under exceptional circumstances would they not (and those exceptional circumstances would likely result in 100% nuke generation - flat out).

So, if one expects something to happen 99+% of the time, and it happens in just 1 of 5 times, then 1) it is a good time to buy a lottery ticket, hoping your luck holds or 2) it does not happen 99+% of the time.

Since EdF would want to load follow with nukes, and they do not, I assume that they have "great difficulty" in doing so.


Your assumption is flat out wrong. Of course EDF wouldn't load follow every day just because they can. The cheapest option to load follow will do it, and only sometimes that would be nuclear. Your tiny peek is thus worthless.

You do not comprehend.

EdF load follows with all other generation sources except nuclear.

But why, on the highest demand hour of the day, would EdF have the 11th highest (of 24) nuke generation hour ? Why cut back nuke generation at the moment of peak demand that day ?


Again, your tiny peek is worthless. Accept it. Do a real survey using at least a year's worth of data and please, please stop trying to draw conclusions you cannot.

(Your question is irrelevant. Nothing can be inferred from your five days. Lots and lots of coincidences can be in play regarding why highest demand hour of the day has average nuclear demand, besides the fact that they perhaps didn't feel the need to use nuclear load following that day but did so other days/seasons.)


Your understanding of sampling is simply faulty. I HAVE proven my case - EdF cannot load follow with nukes in any meaningful way.

I took a random (close to random) sample. If EdF could load follow, they would almost all the time (at least 98% in my judgment). In my sample of 5, only one showed signs of load following.

The odds of 1) EdF load following almost all the time and 2) my selecting four (out of five days sampled) of the, say, 7 days of the year that they do not load follow for extraordinary reasons, are astronomical.

And the delta in nuke generation, high - low for the day, is a small fraction of the delta in demand for the day, high - low.

Logic and analysis supports my claim. I am sorry if you do not understand.


I've been thinking of how to tell you why you are wrong without insulting you. However, it would be too hard, I think, considering where the problem lie, so I'll just shut up.

(Btw, nobody has said that they load follow almost all the time. That's you moving goalposts.)

There are two economic choices in operating nukes.

One) All out - 100% all day, and often till the next refueling.

Two) Load following.

EdF does not do #1, although "kind of" close.

And EdF does not do #2 very well at all. Although they do not peak daily production between midnight and 7 AM in my observations.

My analogy is "Load following with a nuke is like playing a video game with mittens and dark glasses on". You can "kind of, sort of" do it, but not very well at all.


Again, your puny samples cannot be used for any conclusions. They are as worthless in proving your point as your analogies. DaveW's solid "theoretical" information is the only data we have.

I then provided chapter and verse that all modern plants now being built

Now being built - as in do not exist as working - right?

can be powered up and down.

So this claim isn't based on actual working data.

What, exactly are the "facts" being claimed in this discussion?

I did miss that point - only future nukes can load follow - but that point has no practical value for the foreseeable future. And I do not think the Russian VVER design can be ramped easily or quickly and I question if AP-1000s can be.

France is the only place with a surplus of nukes (Ontario used to be) above base load. So it is the only place that needs to load follow nukes.

France has exactly one EPR under construction (the second has been delayed indefinitely after Fukushima). France has significant renewable potential that is becoming ever more economic, and France is slowly joining the negawatts campaign.

EdF & Areva will use their political influence to build a second and third EPR in France (although not yet needed) when they have more political pull. The mass replacement of their 1970s nukes is still decades away, and the French replacement nukes will be few in number IMHO.

Negawatts, renewables and EPR II will likely be twice the size.

There is a place for a nuclear reactor that can ramp (see the German coal fired plant that can quickly ramp up & down).

My vision, around 2045, would be a Europe (excluding Russia) powered mainly by wind & sun, lots of pumped storage, hydro large & small, limited geothermal, more pumped storage (and longer term storage via hydrolysis & storage of hydrogen) plus two or three dozen or so Gen III & IV reactors that can ramp and a dozen or so legacy reactors that are about to be retired. And less than 1% FF generation.

My vision, around 2045,

I was happy about wind's global expansion rate of 30% a few years ago. I though it would make lots of countries hit an integration barrier quite soon, and then Greens would abandon this idea and accept alternatives.

Now I see the folly of believing such acceptance would come. Global year-over-year wind capacity increase has now fallen to 21%. Low double digit penetration countries such as Germany, Spain, Portugal and Denmark has had measly increases in their wind capacity by 3-10% during 2011. But nobody takes any notice!

And if they finally do take notice, Greens can shift their hope to solar being anti-correlated (but costing three times as much as wind), to pumped storage (that doesn't store much energy), to hydrolysis (which is like 40% efficient if you convert back to electricity again) and even to efficient, load-following coal!

There is no end to this.

Or, you know, maybe we could just actually use less power? Ramp up renewables at a war footing pace, and cut consumption like our lives depend on it. Because they do.

I guess that's too much to ask. Japan shut down every one of its reactors and life went on, and though natural gas in particular backstopped this, a large amount of it was simple not using as much power. A lot can be done quickly when it must be. Rich countries can easily pull off far greater efforts than they are currently.

If I am a fanatic for protecting the earth, I don't consider it a sin.

The problem we face is it's all one planet, with mind numbing amounts of interconnectivity. Can't make the math work, play with the numbers, take the US down to ZERO emissions. It only puts the inevitable off by a decade or two. I am not a doomer but whats going on has the "feel" that we are already past the point of no return. Start putting efforts in mitigation of the consequences. Mitigation might also have the effect of finding some common groud for the deniers. It's one thing to say humans are not at fault, another to say it's not happening at all.

Ramp up renewables at a war footing pace, and cut consumption like our lives depend on it.

adamx, you have my vote. Let us get started.

Mine too, adam. 3- that makes a majority! Let's go.

PS. I well remember the speed of the ramp up to tanks and machine guns after Pearl Harbor. Everybody was enthusiastic, and the no-new-cars rule didn't bother anybody I knew. Of course nobody I knew had any hope at all for a new car anyhow, or even for much of an old one.

I have a different view. In my opinion the collapse of the globalized industrial economy, and the popping of the human population bubble, will drastically reduce energy consumption. As a result, reserves of oil, gas, and coal in the ground should last longer than people expect.

They will be hard to extract, that's for sure, but naturally capital and labor will migrate to these sectors and away from the consumption sectors. The financial capital is of course provided by the central banks...it's fake, it's created out of thin air. But this is ok; the symbols still hold meaning as long as we socially agree that they do. Cost overrun will never catch up to these sectors, as they are in fact the basis for the economy. People will pay to eat and heat (or cool) their homes and move around, right? Meanwhile, cost overrun will likely decimate renewable energy.

This is reality, people. Not politics, not idealogy, not pie in the sky fantasy but reality. At some future point, we will of course be more dependent on renewables, but it's clear that by that point it won't matter...the planet will be cooked and there won't be enough people around to notice.

"In the long run, we're all dead." Keynes was right on this, at least.

In the case of Japan they also shut factories, shut down aircon units (in a country where air temps can often reach 35 deg C during the summer in urban areas), reduced street lighting leading to accidents and extra road deaths, and imported and burned expensive fossil fuel like there was no tomorrow, demothballing old inefficient and polluting thermal plants to burn imported bunker oil, crude oil, NG and coal to keep the lights on and maintain their place in the first world as an exporting manufacturer of quality goods at the cost of increasing their carbon emissions by 17% over the past year.

I don't think they will actively shut down their nuclear fleet as Germany is doing; indeed they brought two reactors back on stream a month ago and a few more are going through the process of being recertified after paper safety checks (aka stress tests). Building new GenIII reactors to replace their older reactors as they come to end-of-life is going to be more difficult and that is what could eliminate their non-CO2 power generating capacity by 2030; the newest reactor in Japan only came on stream in 2009 and it would have to be shut down specifically long before its effective end-of-life if that deadline was to be met.

However fossil fuel costs are not going to go down in the future and the recent 9% price rise for electricity by TEPCO at the beginning of September to cover the extra fossil fuel imports are only the start of the slope. The good news is that Australia has lots of brown coal they're willing to dig up and ship to Japan as long as the bills get paid.

But if you want to protect the earth, why not commit suicide?
Or, on a slightly more macro scale, why don't we (society at large) use all tose nukes to make a dent in the population - problem solved!

p.s. Vote with your feet!

Currently, new additional conventional power plants are not built, because the power prices are too low. You can see the prices here:


Right now,the price of base power is 37 EUR/MWh and the price of peak power is 42 EUR/MWh.

The following site shows the share of Wind and PV compared to conventional power.


TYS, please do us a favour and get hard data, they are avaible in English, no excuse for citing ****** publications :-)

If you read German the best you can get is: http://www.ag-energiebilanzen.de/viewpage.php?idpage=1&language=de

Greetings from Germany/Austria!


I hope you do not mind me quoting you above. I forgot your web ID.

I saved your list for a later eMail to the Sierra Club discussion list.

Best Hopes,


Please send me an eMail so I can contact you at a later date.

Hello Alan,

no problem for me, have sent you two emails!


Here is some more hard data

Increase from 43.7 to 44.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent.


If you have any further problems finding the right data let me know and I will gladly help.

'Vorsprung durch Technik'

Increase from 43.7 to 44.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent.

That is production, not consumption.

'Vorsprung durch Technik'

What has Audi to do with it ?

And how much of that increase was made into plastic or other forms that 'fixed' the Carbon?

I suspect this might be a less "sensationalist" assessment .....

But what’s not said is that the new coal burning plants are replacing (not adding to) the older plants that either have been or will soon be decommissioned. Moreover, by 2020, 18.5 gigawatts of coal power capacity will be decommissioned, whereas only 11.3 gigawatts will be newly installed.

Additionally .....

Importantly, they can ramp up relatively quickly, providing a flexible complement to intermittent renewables.




I have my doubts that Japan's plan is intended to shut down their nuclear power plants. The plan promises to shut them down after 20 to 30 years, long after the memory of events in Fukushima fade. It does not specify the fate of nuclear power plants currently under construction. It seems to me this plan gives the nuclear industry time to regroup, tighten their stranglehold on government, undermine the opposition and rake in profits.

Japan needs to shutter all of their nukes now and dismantle their nuclear industry. Anything less, I fear, will fail to terminate their nuclear juggernaut.

I agree completely.

2030 is 18 years away.

The Japanese I know will not forget so quickly.

Japan in 2030 will have a smaller population and a more energy efficient economy, massive renewables, likely over 30 GW of pumped storage and limited FF generation (just filling gaps).

Nuclear may simply not be needed. Four or six units would be "nice", if they could be throttled back on sunny days, but not necessary.

Best Hopes for a Phase Out of Japanese Nukes,


The article also discusses the rule of shutting down nuclear plants when they are 40 years old which would leave some of them still running after 2039. The law appears weakly worded allowing the government leeway in
choosing when to shut down the reactors.

Japan plans to scrap atomic power by the end of the 2030s

They will close in 18 to 28 years with some still running in the 2040's depending on what the government chooses to do. The government is making shallow promises to close them in the distant future.

Elsewhere on the web - claims are made that Japan has other reasons to keep plants running. Odds are the truth are far above my paygrade.


The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals.

eric blair, thank you so much for finding and posting that.

Editor’s Note: Beginning in 1991 reporters for the National Security News Service undertook an investigation into a covert Japanese nuclear weapons program. Our work has continued over the years. It gave NSNS unique insights into the reasons for the misstatements and secrecy that surround the ongoing tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This story represents the work of a team of current and former reporters, fellows and interns for NSNS.

Within a few weeks of the "issues" at Fukushima - there were claims of a covert weapons program. Good luck tracking those reports down however.

Yesterday there was an article with a very high cost green building, but super energy efficient does not have to be higher cost. It can be much lower cost over time. Tim Eian is a passive house architect here in Minnesota and he designed the "Synergy" house to be inexpensive to construct. He estimates the cost at $250k and it becomes net zero with a $20k solar array. That is not cheap housing, but it is not unreasonable for a new house. Especially with no heating or cooling bill. He has a customer pricing out building one now and I am looking forward to seeing the data.


Synergy is a high-performance system based on the integrated design of assemblies, details and energy. Its performance can be scaled to fit your ambitions. The base model meets the Passive House building energy standard, which means a 90% reduction of heating energy, and a 75% reduction of overall energy use. The majority of the energy input is provided by the sun for free. If desired, Synergy can be fit with renewable systems to become net-zero, or even carbon-neutral. Traditional furnaces or boilers are no longer needed. At the same time, Synergy raises the bar for comfort and health inside.

The passive house designers have come up with some very clever wall designs that need very little non-sustainable material. The 2x4 walls are sheathed, and then an exterior cavity is added using a plywood and 2x4 larson truss. The cavity is insulated with about R40 cellulose. The plywood wall sheathing becomes the vapor barrier (with edges sealed). Cork insulates the window frames and doors.

That's well and good if your only problem is winter heating. You may want something quite different (more windows, etc) if cooling in summer is a big issue. I guess we spend more on heat than cooling, but this last summer makes one think about how these comcepts might work in different climates.

Passive and/or net-zero design is very climate and location-dependent.

In Colorado, the features in our passive solar house that reduce winter heating loads(high envelope insulation levels, efficient windows and window coverings, interior thermal mass) also let our house stay cool passively in the summer too (aided by window overhangs to keep out the high elevation angle summer sun). Since Colorado has large night/day temperature swings, we can open up the house at night and close it during the day and comfortably coast without any mechanical cooling.

In higher humidity, lower diurnal swing climates like Florida it would be harder to get by without air-conditioning, but even there an efficient envelope would greatly reduce AC energy consumption.

I don't think passive features added more than 5% to our 1990 construction costs. Energy savings have long since paid back any additional costs for passive design.

Can you tell us more about your house design? Did it have super insulated walls? Do you use some form of shutter at night? I am curious to hear more about how people live.

Our house is a retrofit/second story addition to an existing pretty crappy 1940s stick-built one story.
When we did our second story addition, we added 2 inches of rigid insulation outside the existing 2x4 first floor walls, and the new 2x6 second story walls. Not really super-insulated or to PassivHaus standards. The attic has probably R-90, since I keep adding any fiberglass batts I can scavenge over the years. The windows were the best we could buy in 1990 (way below modern best) low-E, argon-filled, triple-glazed (I wonder how much of the argon is left after 22 years at 5000+ ft elevation). Our second story addition has a lot of south facing glass, with the eave extended but not enough to totally summer shade the south windows. We use simple honeycomb style Duette window coverings with no edge seal, both for night-time window insulation and summer-time solar gain reduction. Since most of our solar gain is on the second floor, we have a duct and fan to move warm air to the downstairs. Shear walls that our engineer recommended due to Boulder's crazy winds have double plywood under drywall, glued and nailed every 6" which also add interior thermal mass.

After we did our remodel, our heating bills were about 80% less than neighbors with comparable square footage, with a 95% efficient gas furnace. We do allow the house temperature to cost up and down a lot, storing energy from sunny days and letting nighttime temperatures drop via thermostat setback (some people call it sailing a house). We recently did an energy audit, subsidized by Boulder's Energy Smart program, and added some more perimeter insulation to our crawl-space and a crawlspace floor vapor barrier, plus air sealing. Blower door tests showed we were just above the air-changes-per-hour that would require forced ventilation. But we do have over-heating on some sunny winter days, so I just open windows for some venting on those days.

Most of our neighbors now use air conditioning, often running 24/7 for months, but we have not even turned on our swamp cooler for the last couple of years. On some hot days when I am working at home I use a small fan or a portable evaporative cooler sometimes. We added enough PV to produce more net kWh than we use annually a couple of years ago.

Our remodel in 1990 cost us about $65 a square foot for the addition, below average for Boulder Colorado construction at the time, while current costs are estimated around $200 square foot in Boulder( which I think includes higher quality finish than we used).

We also own 5 rental properties, on all of which we have done various energy upgrades, attic insulation at a minimum, although to a lower standard than our residence. So when people talk about how expensive and difficult it is to retrofit existing houses for energy efficiency, it is hard for me to take them seriously.

My house in the Denver suburbs isn't up to tommyvee's standard: we have good (but not great) windows and have filled in the odd void in insulation that the original construction left. Also helpful is that after 20 years of waiting, deciduous trees shade the east and west sides of the house. Even without any special design, our whole-house fan lets us take advantage of the big daily temperature swings. Most days during the summer we can keep the house within a 10-degree temperature range of roughly 66-76 °F. One of the keys to getting the most out of a whole-house fan is to take actions promptly. Start cooling the house as soon as the outside temperature falls below the inside temperature; there's a good deal of thermal mass -- walls, floors, furniture -- that you need to get cool. Close the windows promptly in the morning.

Many whole-house fans are not properly installed. To get the best results, you need large vents in the roof. Without them, you just pressurize the attic and never get the air flow that the fan is capable of providing. In conversations over the years, I've found that some people don't like using their fan because there are nights -- particularly in the spring and fall -- when the house gets too cold. My wife used to complain about that. My solution to that problem is the World's Most Sophisticated Whole-House Fan Controller™. The most common thing we do with the controller is set a target temperature and let the software decide how fast to run the fan.

As tommyvee notes, whole-house fans are useful across much of the Mountain West. The rest of the country, not so much.

Your World's Most Sophisticated Whole-House Fan Controller™ looks like a great idea, and I am sure similar products will eventually be commercialized. Actually I think whole house fans and night venting can be used effectively in much of the US to save energy during spring/fall swing seasons, where otherwise a lot of air conditioning energy might be used. But at the height of summer in the South East US, night venting would not accomplish much.

"But at the height of summer in the South East US, night venting would not accomplish much."

I grew up in Atlanta with no air conditioning, only the 'attic fan', or 'night fan'. I don't recall suffering so much. It was controlled by a simple timer, though some folk's had a mechanical thermostat. Of course, Atlanta being the huge heat island that it is today, it may not work for most people. Our current home has no central AC, only a very small window unit in the master suite which rarely gets used. Passive cooling, some fans, and good design keep things quite comfortable.

"Chesapeake Energy Corp., facing claims by mineral rights holders in multiple states over canceled oil and gas lease offers, lost a bid to reverse a $19.7 million judgment to a Texas lease owner."

Not that $20 million is chicken feed but this could be the beginning of hundreds of $millions if not $billions. I beleive they also had a $100 million claim upheld by the court. This particular action dealt with CHK's push into the dry gas shales in east Texas. The details will vary from lease to lease. A company may actually give the landowner a draft for the lease amount. Sometimes the wording allows the draft not be paid; sometimes it doesn't. The impression I got from the article was that CHK was in such a rush to tie up as much acreage as fast as possible they were sloppy with the paper work. So far the courts have not been very sympathetic to CHK's claims. As I've mentioned before even though the oil patch is a big player in Texas politics the land owners are an even bigger force.

It will be interesting to see if CHK was as sloppy in their paper work when they rushed into the Eagle Ford Shale play.

Y'all probably already saw this via Peak Oil News:

The Magic of Shales

It is certainly magic when you can pay a few hundred dollars for a lease, drill a handful of wells and proclaim that the field is “proved up” and flip it for $25,000 an acre.

But there is another word associated with magic…it is “poof”.

Is it possible the shale "game changer" will just turn out to be another massive pump 'n dump asset bubble? That does seem to be the preferred way to make money these days, although it appears to be the oil majors taking it in the shorts this time.


Jerry - You probably know that pump and dump has been a standard biz plan of many companies in the oil patch since before the days of Spindletop. In general it's not even considered unethical. We don't even call it P&D...it's simply a "land play". Everyone has most of the same data available to them so it's basically "buyer beware". I've known companies that since their inception decades ago have specialized in this type of operation and nothing else. Some of these companies have made small fortunes and have never drilled a well...not one. It is a rather technical process and has its risks. As soon as a new play begins to heat up (or at least appears to heat up) a speculator will take what info he has and makes a guess where the play is going and starts picking up leases cheap. Besides big trends like the shales it also happens on a small scale near a new field discovery. I've probably seen a dozen land plays (big and small) in my 37 years.

Sometimes it pays off...sometimes not. Guess wrong which way the play is going and poof...the speculator's investment becomes worthless. And yes: Big Oil is usually the buyer. The big companies have two problems: they tend to move slowly and they also tend to not take chances by moving too fast into a play. It's easier for them to convince their boards to pay a premium once the validity of a play is better established.

Thanks Rock, timely and informative, as always.

I just thought it was interesting that Chesapeake itself, the darling of the shale plays and poster child for the wildly optimistic estimates of reserves from here to eternity, may turn out to be little more than a land play, as you call it.

So now I'm wondering, should a significant number of these leases turn out to be uneconomical to produce, and it appears to be heading that way, then could the entire shale "boom" go poof? I guess we'll find out, and probably sooner rather than later.


Jerry – If you’re asking was the EFS trend a land play then yes it was. And everyone in the oil patch knew it was. Again, don’t take land plays as some sort of a con. The buyers (except for the truly ignorant outsiders) know exactly how the game is played. The pubcos actually use the hyped up acreage costs to get shareholders excited. Look back at some of CHK press releases about the huge lease costs: they weren’t so much complaining as bragging about the many $millions they paid for land. And it easily becomes a daisy chain: land speculator sells his position at a huge mark up to a company like Petrohawk who drills a few wells and then sells its position at to the next player at a huge mark up. And that player hypes its position to investors and potential share holders. BTW the folks behind Petrohawk have re-invented themselves as Halcon (a Mexican hawk, I’m told). They are using some of the $12 billion they made selling their EFS position to put together another new shale play north of Houston. Hey…worked so well the first time why not give it another try. Timing is everything, though.

Yes: it is a game of musical chairs. Always has been and all of the oil pitch knows it. It’s no different than timing the stock market: get it right and you make a bundle…wait too long and you lose. The problem with the current players is there a shrinking market of new players. Another big problems for the pubcos is the just can’t bail and sit back and wait. They have to find something else to drill so they can’t keep adding reserves to make Wall Street happy.

Like the old joke from the bayous: Man lying in the road wrestling with an alligators. A passerby asks if he needs help to hang on to the gator. His response: Hell no…I need help letting go! I don’t see any way for the pubcos to let go. We’ve seen what happened to the companies that went all in on the dry gas shales when prices dropped. If we have a sustained drop in oil prices I can easily imagine many of pubcos disappearing. They won’t be able to service debt, operate out of net cash flow or attract new investors. Typically the strong will buy up the crippled. The problem this time is the shales deplete so quickly there will be little value left to the company. And the hundreds of thousands of acres of undeveloped shake leases? Totally worthless if the drilling economics disappear.

Like the old joke from the bayous: Man lying in the road wrestling with an alligators. A passerby asks if he needs help to hang on to the gator. His response: Hell no…I need help letting go! I don’t see any way for the pubcos to let go. We’ve seen what happened to the companies that went all in on the dry gas shales when prices dropped. If we have a sustained drop in oil prices I can easily imagine hundreds of pubcos disappearing. They won’t be able to service debt, operate out of net cash flow or attract new investors. Typically the strong will buy up the crippled. The problem this time is the shales deplete so quickly there will be little value left to the company. And the hundreds of thousands of acres of undeveloped shake leases? Total worthless if the drilling economics disappear.

Research moves LEDs from the theatre stage to the greenhouse

... Even though plants evolved in full sunlight, they don't actually utilize all the wavelengths that sunlight provides. Depending on the plant species, they like blue, medium-red and far-red wavelengths. LEDs can focus the spectrum energy and intensity where it is most beneficial to plant growth. Conventional lighting provides a full spectrum and generates a lot of excess heat, especially in a small growth chamber. Since LEDs can supply only the wavelengths needed, the excess heat is minimized. Additionally, LEDs are ideal for research purposes because each wavelength can be controlled independently.

LED lighting benefits for greenhouses and growth chambers include:
70-percent energy reduction compared to traditional lighting;

•Stable chamber temperature and humidity;
•Spectrum control of blue, red and far-red wavelengths;
•Healthier plants and reduced need for herbicides;
•Less heat stress on plants;
•Reduced heat and less compressor maintenance;
•Reduced watering; and
•Increased food production through the control of light frequencies

Solar and Wind Energy May Stabilise the Power Grid

In a decentralized grid, power plants and consumers synchronize themselves

The Göttingen-based scientists have simulated a dense network of small generators and consumers. Their computer model calculates the grid for an entire country (for practical reasons, they chose Great Britain) and takes into account the oscillations of all generators and electric motors that are connected to the grid.

The simulations of the Göttingen-based team indicate that decentralized grids are much more robust when single lines are cut. This is because a dense grid always more often has neighbouring lines that can take on the extra load of a downed line. Unlike the case of large-meshed networks, they have few indispensable main links with the potential to cripple the whole grid.

Witthaut and Timme have also shown that a situation, known as Braess's Paradox, can be observed in power grids, specifically in decentralized networks. If such a dense network self-synchronizes, it might be assumed that synchronization would become easier with each new link; however, this is not always the case: the addition of a new line may actually disrupt self-synchronization.

If two machines in a power grid are to be synchronized, that is, if their fixed phase relationship is to be fulfilled, they must always reach minimum and maximum voltage at the same time. This means that they must not be out of phase, or only by a full wave train. Every line in the network now yields a fixed phase relationship, either directly or indirectly. If a new line is now built to link the two machines directly, their oscillations must conform to a new phase relationship; however, this may not be compatible with the old one. Because the latter is consistent with the other machines on the old line, there is a conflict between the shortcut and the old line, which has the potential to desynchronize the entire network.

More information: Martin Rohden, Andreas Sorge, Marc Timme and Dirk Witthaut. Self-Organized Synchronization in Decentralized Power Grids, Physical Review Letters, 9 August 2012;

Dirk Witthaut and Marc Timme. Braess' paradox in oscillator networks, desynchronization and power outage. New Journal of Physics, 29 August 2012

And if the whole main grid were HVDC, all those problems would be nonexistent, or at least easier to manage.

And if the whole main grid were HVDC, all those problems would be nonexistent...

Turnbull FL. unfortunately HVDC would cost through the roof.

Is there such a thing in either the supply or demand side of grid management that works like the self-driven 'Anti-rubberbanding' that drivers will do to ease the stop and go of Traffic Jams, where instead of being reactive to the start/stop of the vehicle ahead of you, a driver intentionally de-escalates or de-amplifies this wave for the drivers following, by allowing for a wide enough gap so that he/she may create a smoother speed for the lane following.. ?

It's always an interesting study in dynamics, when you have so many independent movers, and a little bit of effort or delay either way can escalate or dampen the outcome.

If a large part of the grid was supplied by inverters they could easily be synchronized by data signals or to UTC. Central timing control.


Britain to use spent nuclear fuel for batteries to power deep space craft

To reduce the cost of cleaning up nuclear waste at Britain's Sellafield nuclear reprocessing facility in Cumbria, workers from the British National Nuclear Laboratory have been harvesting americium-241, in hopes of using it as part of nuclear batteries for long range spacecraft built by the European Space Agency (ESA). It's all part of a £1 million pilot program designed to find ways to use existing fissionable materials for use in future space missions

OK, I haven't read it, and probably won't, nor do I intend to do a single calculation - but I will ask a crazy question anyway: How much nuclear waste is likely to be sent away into space this way? How could it ever possibly represent more than a tiny fraction of the accumulated waste? And if that guess is correct, what would be the point of this article?

The idea is to use reclaimed americium-241 as a substitute for plutonium-238 as a thermal energy source on spacecrafts and other things. Doesn’t really address nuclear waste; actually, probably makes more.

Plutonium-238 is only currently available from the United States and Russia and the U.S. stockpile is running low. Each nuclear battery would only need about 5 kg of americium-241.

OK - that wasn't really high on the list of things I worry about, but I suppose it keeps someone up nights.

Benefits of thorium as alternative nuclear fuel are 'overstated'

The benefits of an alternative nuclear fuel that could offer a safer and more abundant alternative to the uranium that powers conventional reactors have been "overstated", according a new government report on the potential of thorium.

The report says the UK should continue to be engaged with the technology but downplays claims by thorium proponents who say that the radioactive chemical element makes it impossible to build a bomb from nuclear waste, leaves less hazardous waste than uranium reactors, and that it runs more efficiently.

Oil prices risk pushing world back into recession -IEA economist

Current oil prices risk pushing back the global economy into recession, the International Energy Agency's chief economist said after U.S. crude rose above $100 a barrel on Friday, its highest level in four months.

"I see the prices today, in this economic context, as unbearable for consumers," Fatih Birol told Reuters by telephone. "High prices together with other factors could push the global economy back into recession," he added.

The two most vulnerable regions to high oil prices are Europe and China, he said

Does OPEC really have 80 percent of the world's oil? Maybe not.

Has OPEC misled us about the size of its oil reserves? The short answer is probably. The long answer is that currently, there is no way to know for sure.

The next question we should ask is: Does it matter? The answer is most definitely yes. OPEC, short for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, currently claims that its 12 members hold 81.3 percent of the world's oil reserves. And, with few exceptions the world believes them. Trouble is these reserves "are not verified by independent auditors," according to a study (PDF) done by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan investigative arm of the U.S. Congress. OPEC reserves are simply self-reported by each country. Essentially, OPEC's members are asking us to take their word for it. But should we?

... Captain Dathon: Sokath - his eyes uncovered.

The 0% Solution: Fed Strands Bank Savers, Retirees

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke: ... "On the second concern, my colleagues and I are very much aware that holders of interest-bearing assets, such as certificates of deposit, are receiving very low returns," Bernanke said. "But low interest rates also support the value of many other assets that Americans own, such as homes and businesses large and small. . Thus, while low interest rates do impose some costs, Americans will ultimately benefit most from the healthy and growing economy that low interest rates help promote."

In effect, Bernanke is telling bank savers and retirees that Federal Reserve policy is propping up the value of their homes, and that high bank-savings rates are an impediment to economic growth, and thus off the table in terms of policy.

Dear Seraph

Your link doesn't work (at least in Canada). It tries to link to an ad that won't load.

Thanks for all your interesting articles.

Yes... sometimes an advertising site won't work or cooperate properly and it hangs-up the loading of the page. Try disabling javascript and then attempt to load the page again. It should load much faster than usual and without most of the ads. Remember to turn javascript back on afterwards if you want the usual experience and wish to empower many viruses, much malware, and a site's ability to capture and prevent the closing of a window. In Firefox, it is under "tools" "content". If a site wont let you close a window, open another or go to another open window and disable javascript there. Now the offending window's dialog box can be Xed (closed) and then the page Xed.

The corporate-state oligarchy, if you will, will likely continue to twist, kick, writhe, flail and contort in its long-drawn out hemorrhaging struggle for survival in its attempts to balance the unbalanceable, or to achieve a new equilibrium that may only arrive as the result, in part, of its own death (or radical metamorphosis).

Questions remain as to who and what will it take down with it, how, and when?

May the so-called rich lose much of their stolen land.

To accumulate wealth, power, or land beyond one's needs in a limited world is to be truly immoral, be it as an individual, an institution, or a nation-state.
~ Bill Mollison, Permaculture: A Designer's Manual, second ed.

It's called a plantation, people.

Low housing prices are good, not bad. Low prices would allow inventory to clear and would allow struggling younger people to afford ownership, increasing genuine stake in communities, which would of course help the local democratic process.

High housing prices are only good for the banks, who draw interest for the life of the human being who works off the mortgage over the decades in a collapsing world.

Low, stable house prices are good. Where did this idiotic idea start that you could "invest" in real estate start? All you are "investing" in is the belief that someone down the line will be able to borrow even more than you to buy you out. This causes property prices to rise much faster than wages, to the point where banks stop loaning and prices collapse. Then the process starts all over again. Growth at all costs... with the energy supply peaking people have turned to imaginary sources of growth like this in lieu of real growth.

Lot of pent-up anger ...

Anti-American Protests Over Film Expand to More Than a Dozen Countries

... The broadening of the protests reflected what appeared to be a catharsis of rage at the Western powers and was unabated despite calls for restraint from world leaders including the new Islamist president of Egypt, where the demonstrations first erupted four days ago on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The widening unrest has challenged the Obama administration’s policy in the tinderbox region, where the Arab Spring uprisings have removed many of the pro-American strongmen who once kept public displays of Islamic passion in check.

Sounds like one of those above ground thingys we keep hearing about.

Yes, there's hatred against us. Why? In 1958, the US gov't faced-- we know from internal records-- 3 major crises in the world-- North Africa, Middle East, and Indonesia-- all with oil producing states, all Islamic states. President Eisenhower [who coined the infamous concern for the military industrial complex, and is subject of an excellent documentary film, The Fog of War], in an internal discussion, observed to his staff that-- I'm quoting it now-- there's a campaign of hatred against us in the Middle east, not by governments, but by the people. The National Security council discussed that question and said yes, and the reason is, there's a perception in that region that the US supports status-quo governments which prevent democracy and development and that we do it because of our interest in near east oil. Furthermore it's difficult to counter that perception because it's correct, and furthermore it ought to be correct. We ought to be supporting brutal and corrupt gov'ts, which prevent democracy and development, because we want to control Middle East oil. And it's true that leads to a campaign of hatred against us. Now until Bernard Lewis tells us that-- and that's only one piece of a long story-- we know that he's a just a vulgar propagandist, not a scholar... So yes as long as we are supporting harsh brutal governments, blocking democracy and development because of our interest in controlling the oil resources of the region, there will be a campaign of hatred against us...
~ Noam Chomsky

States are power-centers. The only thing that imposes constraints on them is either outside force or their own populations.
~ Noam Chomsky

One question I have is, 'when?'.

One question I have is, 'when?'.

Post obvious-drone war. The smartphones will be even smarter and there will be a 'killer app' who's purpose will be to allow "consumers" to make buying choices based on who is thought to get the profits.

The 1st round of the app will be whipped together via green/"real" tea party/libertairans and will only be easy enough with the near field communications so that the act of consumption won't need the taking of a snapshot of a barcode.

How fragile is the world economy/biggest producers if 5-10% of consumers shifted their buying habits?

US media angrily marvels at the lack of Muslim gratitude
NBC News, along with a leading US newspaper, insist that Egyptians should be grateful to the US for having 'freed' them


Here's the link to the youtube video 'Sam Bacile Muhammad Movie FULL HD - Innocence of Muslims':


Easy to notice the voice dubbing, and clear it's really poor film making. Can't imagine anyone would presume its intended use was for anything other than to incite a violent reaction in the ME.

"Blood and Oil - The Middle East in World War I"
The full version now safely removed from Google searches.
The whole movie is about 90 minutes as I recall.

The documentary makes it plain that exploitation of oil is the reason for our presence in the middle east. The history has been utterly vile.

Perhaps they are touchy about aspects of their culture because much of it has been compromised.

Then again, there's "No One Murdered Because Of This Image"
(Adult/NSFW, not a complete grouping,... and better just imagined)
... but perhaps that's because these cultures have been assimilated into the corporate mass.

The calls for gratitude are grotesque.

Shale gas won't make Europe energy-independent

It had been hoped that the controversial fracking technique could allow Europe to match the US's success in extracting natural gas from shale rocks. Now the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) says that, at best, Europe's shale gas will only compensate for its slowing production of conventional gas. Europe will still have to import 60 per cent of its needs, says the JRC's Unconventional Gas report.

The message is in line with a recent paper by Paul Stevens of Chatham House, the foreign affairs think tank in London, UK. He claims Europe's geology makes fracking more difficult, and says the effort faces major regulatory hurdles, at least in western Europe.

"... could allow Europe to match the US's success in extracting natural gas from shale rocks." For the EU's sake let's hope not. This report is so silly on a number of levels. First, the US has been the largest producer of NG on the planet for decades (occasionally swapping the title with Russia) and it's a tad of a push to think of us as energy independent. Second, they seem to be confusing the hype over the oily shales with the dry NG shales. Not only are the dry shales rather inactive, as the plummeting NG rig count would indicate, but put many dozens of companies out of business (almost including two of the largest companies: Chesapeake and Devon) when NG prices collapsed. And thanks to current low NG prices brought on by a combination of dry gas drilling activity and the recession, much conventional NG exploration, such as was being done by my company, has slowed tremendously. This ensures that if/when the economy heats up again NG prices will spike and shortages may appear. Perhaps it the language thingy or it just takes a while for the word to make it across the oceans but shale gas is, to a fair degree, a mute point in the US today. Even the great majority of the associated NG with the Bakken production is being flared and wasted. If the folks in the EU want to ride the hype with us they need to start frac'ng their oily shales...if they have any.

Not so sure, Rocky. Gas costs a whole lot more elsewhere, and they may have viable dry gas.

At 4x the current price, US dry gas would for sure be a hot play.

The larger issues, though, you hit already -- lack of gathering pipeline and infrastructure, and most of all the ownership landscape.

In the EU, there are people everywhere, and the notion of the state drilling in your backyard to get their gas is not going to be as palatable as you leasing your back sections to sell your gas.

I do think poorer nations (Eastern Europe?) will frack sooner, and all will eventually, but not for a while. By then, we'll see 5 or 10 mile laterals or such, probably, so that above-ground disruption will be centralized far more than in the US.

Infrastructure and technology will be imported, and pipelines can be built -- it just takes money and political currency. I'm sending people around the world educating people on the US approaches for my little niche now. I'm sure the other parts of the industry are doing the same. China, India, S. America, and E. Europe WILL produce their shale plays....EU, not yet.

Just my opinions.

Paleo – true that higher NG process will help. But still huge hurdles. First, they won’t need a few hundred SG wells but many thousand to make a difference and the continued drilling of thousands of wells. And they don’t have anything close to the equipment or personnel to get the job done. To build out or import will cost $billion. I’ll even ignore whether they have enough average to make it work. Who will make those huge capex investments unless they are very confident that the govts and citizens will fully support such a major expansion? There are EU countries that have banned frac’ng. And if they allow frac’ng one day and then ban it again at a later date? This is exactly what happened in NY state.

We’ll have to wait and see but I think the odds are greatly stacked against a major shale gas expansion in the EU.

The oil & gas industry doesn't seem to know the expression 'don't count your chickens before they are hatched'. Australia has one repeat one commercial shale gas well
Somehow this has been turned into claims of 6,000 years of supply. No need for coal, nukes or those pesky windmills. Elsewhere they hint that we should expect the east Australian gas price to double, noting that it could be sold as LNG to Japan for $15/GJ.

They do have a bunch of CBM wells. They are working to expand and enhance those, for sure. Haven't seen much shale interest yet, but I do suppose it'll come. Wide open spaces are probably a lot like Texas?

I'll check next week on the prospects my company hears from Aus.

If you put a limit of only one producing shale gas well at a time, it would easily last 6000 years. Best hopes for a restrained rate of consumption!

You are kind of missing the EU point. They are already importing lots and lots of gas from the very unstable and not to be trusted Russians. Shale gas, wet or dry, would smell of roses from an energy security and resilience standpoint. The actual market price is decidedly secondary to this aspect.

Ice still delays Shell Arctic offshore drilling in Chukchi Sea

Persistent sea ice will keep a Royal Dutch Shell drill ship off a prospect in the Chukchi Sea until at least Monday, a spokesman for Shell Alaska said Friday.
The ice slowed to just 0.2 knots, or about 1/4 of a mile per hour, earlier this week. A low pressure system in southwest Alaska is expected to change that over the next two days, Smith said.

"The winds that result will be the last driver to push the ice past the Burger prospect," he said.

(shamelessly ripped off from another place and just a reminder as 'answers' to two of the drumbeat topics. Carry on.)

“Fifteen years ago I thought solar power was impractical because I thought nuclear power was the answer. But I spent some time on an advisory committee on waste disposal to the Atomic Energy Commission. After that, I began to be very, very skeptical because of the hazards. That’s when I began to study solar power. I’m convinced we have the technology to handle it right now. We could make the transition in a matter of decades if we begin now.”


“Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources,” said Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. “It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will.”


A new analysis by Stanford researchers reveals that there is enough offshore wind along the U.S. East Coast to meet the electricity demands of at least one-third of the country.

And who was a dead man walking?

Between wind and tide one might be able to work with the fish biologists to make habitat for the finned.

I've seen Mark Z. Jacobson speak and he is quite passionate about these issues but a bit over-optimistic. But that is fine, as long as his papers are grounded in hard facts then the provide a nice view as to what is possible if we had the will to really go green.

But political and economic factors make it difficult to become reality. Except for Germany and few other places, most people just won't pay more for electricity to get it from a renewable source. They just want whatever is cheapest so they can use their money for whatever the consumer culture is telling them is the latest greatest fad.