Monday Book Pick: Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy

Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy by Gwyneth Cravens

In honor of Lenin’s birthday, I’m going to repeat the Monday Book Pick from May 11, 2009. An environmentalist opposed to Nuclear Energy did some honest research and came to the conclusion that only Nuclear Power can provide the base load of clean electricity needed. Actual science trumps rhetoric.

Monday Book Pick Archive

History is not a friend of the left

You must have noticed this before, leftists are bad at history.  Even when they are “good” with most historical items, they selectively edit history to line up with their political views.  Views with tend to run at odds with reality.

An example I’ve listed before is where one leftist accused President Reagan of reinstating draft registration as part of his ‘war mongering.’  He was not happy when I pointed out that it was Jimmy Carter, the worst president of the latter half of the 20th Century, who did that.

Here is a new example, a very smart fellow, whom I know is a more than mildly serious history buff, rattled off a very clear, concise and accurate, summary of the failure of Solyndra.  It was however, missing some key facts that didn’t fit his political world view.

The facts missing completely change the narrative, which is what he objects to.

The facts in question are:

  • Solyndra applied for federal loans/grants during the G.W. Bush administration, which turned them down.  The reason stated was that they did not have a solid business plan that showed a path to profitability, no matter how much money was dumped their way.
  • After our Dear Leader, Barack Hussein Obama, occupied the White House, Solyndra reapplied, and where quickly approved as part of the Obama regime’s “Green Jobs” program.
  • The CEO of Solyndra was a major “bundler” to both the DNC and Barack Hussein Obama.

In the world of the left, Solyndra failure was ‘not their fault’ and had nothing to do with Obama paying off his political donors with tax payer money.

If this was the only case of a company, which happens to be run by a big DNC/BHO donor, receiving millions of taxpayer dollars as part of BHO’s “Green Jobs” program, and then “unexpectedly” went bankrupt, I’d be willing to buy into this particular leftist fantasy.  It is a leftist fantasy because there have been multiple other companies that fit this same profile.

Inserting reality into Obama’s spin on Solyndra

“It is true that “Republicans and Democrats” approved a green energy loan guarantee program. But “Republicans and Democrats” did not approve this loan guarantee program. As FactCheck.org reminds us, the program under which Solyndra was handed $500 million in taxpayer money was authorized in the Obama/Reid/Pelosi partisan “stimulus” bill of 2009. Zero House Republicans voted for that law. Also, a previous Solyndra loan application was explicitly rejected by Bush-era actuaries because of its inherent soundness problems. Some of Obama’s bookkeepers continued to warn against its approval, but they were overruled by the White House political team because the president’s allies were determined to make the company the “poster child” of his green vision. That’s also why Obama ignored internal worries and held a big presidential photo-op at Solyndra’s (now-defunct) factory. The list goes on: Obama DOE officials sat in on Solyndra board meetings. One of Solyndra’s top investors, George Kaiser — who just happened to be a major Obama campaign donor — also just happened to make a flurry of White House visits right before the doomed loan was given the thumbs-up. Kaiser and the White House claimed they didn’t discuss Solyndra during those meetings. They lied. We also know that even after Solyndra defaulted on its initial loan, Obama’s Energy Department conveniently restructured the loan terms, assuring that investors like George Kaiser would be first in line to get paid if (when) the company went belly-up. Obama owns this mess, and he knows it. But he’s obfuscating and dissembling to save his own skin.”

Guy Benson writing at Townhall.com.  Read the whole thing.

Can we learn from history?

First, let’s review a post I made back in July 2008:

Oil down, dollar up since Bush rescinded drilling restrictions

Remember the leftist mantra about how “if we started drilling now, it wouldn’t effect prices for 10 years.” Well, they got that wrong too, just like Barak Obama’s predictions about the Troop Surge in Iraq. 100%, flat out wrong again. Yes, there is a pattern here.

Then, lets review the current President’s energy policy of restricting domestic energy production and the results of those polices, i.e. steadily rising gas prices and the dollar losing value.

I’m pretty sure those lefties who called GW Bush “the worst President ever” got it seriously wrong.  Our Dear Leader has clearly claimed that title.

Obama’s EPA will shut down 28 GW of American Electrical Production

Can you say “rolling brown outs” boys and girls?

Our Dear Leader is once again keeping one of his campaign promises and shutting down electrical power plants that use abundant domestic fuel sources (i.e. coal).

Don’t worry though, as our Dear Leader also promised, there will be plenty of alternative energy brought on line by technological breakthroughs that will more than make up for the 28 GigaWatts being removed from the American electrical grid.

Oh, what’s that?  President Obama isn’t keeping that promise?  Well, at least he tried. OK, wasting a half billion of Tax Payer dollars on the predicted failure of Solyndra doesn’t really count as “trying”, but it did funnel that money in to the hands of big Obama donors!

Use that thought to keep you warm as your electricity cuts out on regular basis because your local power grid can’t sustain a base load.

 

Good advice from Dr. Pournelle

Dr Pournelle writes the following words of wisdom.

we must expand domestic energy production, and we ought not a priori rule out any of the methods: coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and yes, wind, solar, and biofuels. However, we need to have some priorities here. The urgent need is massive amounts of energy now, both for static installations — factories, homes, street lights, and so forth — and transportation. For static installations the primary fuel now is coal, followed by oil (for heating homes). For transportation we burn oil, much of which must be imported. We don’t import coal.

The first order of business, then, is to increase domestic oil production and refining, but that’s a temporary measure, and has environmental consequences. We can tolerate some smog better than we can tolerate bankruptcy, but we’d prefer to avoid both. Over time we can phase in natural gas, which is also a good source for electric generation. Note that it takes energy to develop and produce sustainable energy sources: with cheap enough energy, the price of solar cells will fall. Solar cells produce low voltage energy, good for supplementing central power grids. Solar electric is very useful for home lighting and air conditioning and other on-site uses, and leaving out the conversion systems for putting that trickle into the grid makes the initial installation cheaper as well. If the overall cost of solar cells is low enough, there will be more such uses.

And of course when we mention electric power, the gorilla in the parlor is nuclear: we have the technology, and we ran the most expensive destructive test in history at Three Mile Island, where we learned that even when everything goes wrong the costs are economic, not a public health disaster. France and Japan have demonstrated nuclear’s long term cost effectiveness.

Our first order of business ought to be to reverse Jimmy Carter’s disastrous stoppage of spent fuel recycling, and start building nuclear power plants. Cheap electricity won’t free us from the billion a day we export to buy oil, but it will go a long way toward letting us develop the means to use natural gas and domestic oil to make us North America energy independent. Once we’re on that path we can have a good look at how biofuels fit into the pattern of sustainable energy; but that, I would say, is nowhere near the top of the priority list. In A Step Farther Out I showed that biofuels can be useful. I fear I didn’t make it clear enough that it wasn’t the top priority. Of course when I wrote that I didn’t know just how much energy trouble we would be in, although I should have: After all, those were the times when I wrote my major series “Our Looming Energy Crisis.”

Cheap energy is good for the economy. The 90’s economy was floated on cheap oil (around $20-$25 a barrel), and a new economic boom could be floated on cheap electricity. The trick is that you need much more than solar & wind can produce. For that you have to go nuclear.

If anyone is concerned about the environmental impact of increasing the number of Nuclear Power plants, get thee to a library and read Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy by Gwyneth Cravens.  This book is by an environmentalist opposed to Nuclear Energy, but  did actual, honest research on the subject and came to the conclusion that only Nuclear Power can provide the base load of clean electricity needed. Actual science trumps rhetoric.  This was my Monday Book Pick for May 11, 2009 BTW…

Biofuel from Coffee grounds

Amazing stuff coffee. In addtion to it’s other amazing properties, including being good for the roses, the grounds can be used to produce biofuel.

The estimates are the coffee ground biodiesel industry could generate as much as $8,000,000 in profits annually using waste from Starbucks stores here in the United States  alone.  Ok, probably less given falling crude oil prices, but I’m still a big fan of any domestic fuel souces.

To add to the overall awesomeness of coffee, at the end of the biodiesel extraction and conversion process, the leftover grounds can be turned into fuel pellets for wood stoves and boilers.

Not only does coffee keep you moving, it can keep your car moving and heats your home!

Originally posted at Urbin Technology

Update: Crude prices have reversed the downward trend that was in place when this article was first posted (December 2008).  They are now pushing $100 a barrel and don’t show any signs of slowing down.  Starbucks brand biofuel made right here in the USA is starting to look like a good business opportunity.

China is building over 200 hundred new nuclear power plants

Given the huge number of horrifically dirty coal plans the Communist Chinese government has built, this is a good step for the environment.

What we should be doing in the US.  As Dr. Pournelle pointed out:

I have to say it again: cheap energy will cause a boom. The only cheap energy I know of is nuclear. Three Hundred Billion bucks in nuclear power will do wonders for the economy. We build 100 1000 MegaWatt nuclear power plants — they will cost no more than 2 billion each and my guess is that the average cost will be closer to 1 billion each (that is the first one costs about 20 billion and the 100th costs about 800 million). The rest of the money goes to prizes and X projects to convert electricity into mobility.

It’s the Green thing to do. Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore thinks so too:

I am not alone among seasoned environmental activists in changing my mind on this subject. British atmospheric scientist James Lovelock, father of the Gaia theory, believes that nuclear energy is the only way to avoid catastrophic climate change. Stewart Brand, founder of the “Whole Earth Catalog,” says the environmental movement must embrace nuclear energy to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. On occasion, such opinions have been met with excommunication from the anti-nuclear priesthood: The late British Bishop Hugh Montefiore, founder and director of Friends of the Earth, was forced to resign from the group’s board after he wrote a pro-nuclear article in a church newsletter. … Over the past 20 years, one of the simplest tools — the machete — has been used to kill more than a million people in Africa, far more than were killed in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings combined. What are car bombs made of? Diesel oil, fertilizer and cars. If we banned everything that can be used to kill people, we would never have harnessed fire. … the 103 nuclear plants operating in the United States effectively avoid the release of 700 million tons of CO2emissions annually — the equivalent of the exhaust from more than 100 million automobiles. Imagine if the ratio of coal to nuclear were reversed so that only 20 percent of our electricity was generated from coal and 60 percent from nuclear. This would go a long way toward cleaning the air and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Every responsible environmentalist should support a move in that direction.

Let’s review that last line again.

Every responsible environmentalist should support a move in that direction.

If you find a so-called “environmentalist” who is against Nuclear Power, they are either ignorant on the subject matter or a watermelon.