Showing posts with label Nuclear Power. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nuclear Power. Show all posts

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Deal

The United States has negotiated a treaty with Iran regarding its nuclear program. These are elements of the deal reached Sunday between Iran on one side and Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany on the other, according to a fact sheet issued by the White House. The initial agreement will be valid for six months.

URANIUM ENRICHMENT.  Iran is allowed to continue enriching uranium to a level of 5 per cent, but will stop enriching at higher levels. Uranium enriched to higher levels will be diluted in order to prevent its use in nuclear weapons. Stocks of lower-enriched uranium will be immediately converted into material that makes it more difficult to turn into weapons material. Enrichment plants will not be expanded, and no new plants will be built.

ARAK REACTOR.  Construction will stop at the Arak reactor, which is of concern because it would produce plutonium as a side product. Work on making fuel for the reactor will stop Iran will not build a reprocessing facility, so that no plutonium can be separated from the reactor's spent fuel and can thus not be used for a nuclear warhead.

INSPECTIONS.  Inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency will get access to additional sites in order to monitor implementation of the agreement. Iran will grant daily access to its uranium-enrichment sites.

SANCTIONS.  The six powers will not impose new sanctions. Embargoes will be suspended for the sectors of precious metals, car production, petrochemical exports. The group of six will also allow purchases of Iranian oil at low levels. Tuition fees by Iranian students abroad will be unfrozen. The six nations will improve Iran's access to imports of food and medicines.

Based on these terms, it's pretty clear how desperate the Iranians were to rejoin the world economy. From a financial standpoint, they are really in a bad way and had no choice. As I have said many times, the most powerful weapons the world has are democracies and free markets. There's just too much money to be made.

Obviously, this would have not happened if Iran had not just elected a new leader,President Hassan Rouhani. And, while this isn't cause to run out and declare warming trend between our two countries, it is an important first step towards normalization. Kudos to John Kerry and his team for getting the job done on this one!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Energy News A Go Go

There is quite a bit to talk about in energy news so let's get to it!

 First up is a call for nuclear power that I have been waiting for a long time. Check out the source!

Four scientists who have played a key role in alerting the public to the dangers of climate change sent letters Sunday to leading environmental groups and politicians around the world. The letter, an advance copy of which was given to The Associated Press, urges a crucial discussion on the role of nuclear power in fighting climate change. 

Environmentalists have the same problem with emotions and instransigence as the Right does in terms of their views on...well...just about everything:) Nuclear power is clean and much safer than the worry warts will have you believe. The letter signers are James Hansen, a former top NASA scientist; Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution; Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Tom Wigley, of the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Speaking of climate change, a report on the effect of climate change on world food supplies has been leaked and the news is not good.

The warning on the food supply is the sharpest in tone the panel has issued. Its previous report, in 2007, was more hopeful. While it did warn of risks and potential losses in output, particularly in the tropics, that report found that gains in production at higher latitudes would most likely offset the losses and ensure an adequate global supply. 

The new tone reflects a large body of research in recent years that has shown how sensitive crops appear to be to heat waves. The recent work also challenges previous assumptions about how much food production could increase in coming decades because of higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The gas, though it is the main reason for global warming, also acts as a kind of fertilizer for plants.

For a closer look at this problem and all the data, click here. 

Will this be enough to convince people? I think when you start messing around with the food that Americans eat, they tend to react!

Finally, for the "Drill, Baby, Drill" crowd, it looks like we have a way around the northern section of Keystone.

Since July, plans have been announced for three large loading terminals in western Canada with the combined capacity of 350,000 barrels a day — equivalent to roughly 40 percent of the capacity of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that is designed to bring oil from western Alberta to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Over all, Canada is poised to quadruple its rail-loading capacity over the next few years to as much as 900,000 barrels a day, up from 180,000 today. 

Rail..uh oh! Republicans hate choo choos! Speaking of oil, why is the price of it so low right now? Because the dollar is stronger. How can that be? I thought we were heading for apocalypse! Also...

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said it expects demand for its crude oil to fall to 29.2 million barrels a day in 2018 from 30.3 million barrels a year this year. OPEC said rising supplies from other sources, such as Canadian oil sands, crude from Latin America and the increased use of biofuels would contribute to the fall in demand for its own output. 

Demand has fallen? Wait...I thought demand had nothing to do with price. And increased biofuels? What pinko nonsense!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Serious Commitment

Lost in all the political news over the last few weeks was this announcement.

NRC approves first new nuclear plant in a generation.

It's actually two nuclear reactors that will be located in Georgia. Thomas Fanning, Southern Co.'s chief executive Officer, called the license a "monumental accomplishment" and said the new Vogtle plants would provide cheap, reliable power to Southeast residents for years to come.

The Obama administration has offered Southern and its partners $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees as an incentive. Fanning said he expects the U.S. Energy Department to finalize the loan in the second quarter of 2012. For those of you keeping track, that's 16 times the amount that was loaned to Solyndra and ultimately lost.

I'd say that represents a more serious commitment to nuclear power and energy overall considering that this plant will be the first since 1979.