Gas Burning Bright As Nuclear Renaissance Melts Down

Newsbytes:

Throughout the history of Japan, its cities have been destroyed again and again by war, fire and earthquake. After each catastrophe, the Japanese have rebuilt, bigger and better. One hopes and expects that they will do the same again. –Lesley Downer, The Daily Telegraph, 15 March 2011

The Japanese disaster “will put new nuclear development on ice,” said Toronto energy consultant Tom Adams, the former executive director of Energy Probe. He said the nuclear industry was already facing challenges, noting that vast shale gas resources in North America and other parts of the world were starting to make cheaper gas-fired plants the electricity generators of choice. – Eric Reguly, The Globe and Mail, 15 March 2011

Neither new nuclear, coal with carbon capture and sequestration, wind nor solar are economic. Natural gas is queen. It is domestically abundant and is the bridge to the future. – John Rowe, The Globe and Mail, 15 March 2011

Obama’s energy plan relies heavily on nuclear power to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions harmful to the climate as well as to reduce dependence on imported oil. The president proposed tripling federal loan guarantees to $54.5 billion to help build new reactors in the 2012 budget plan he sent to Congress. — Jeremy van Loon and Mark Chediak, Bloomberg 15 March 2011

President Barack Obama’s energy agenda appears to be jinxed. While Japan’s nuclear meltdown may be an ocean away, the industry has quickly become the latest example of a policy in peril not long after the White House embraced it. –Darren Samuelsohn, Politico, 15 March 2011

New data suggests Israel may not only have much larger gas resources than believed, but also the 3rd largest deposit of oil shale in the world. As a consequence of these new estimates, Israel may emerge as the third largest deposit of oil shale, after the US and China. –Dore Gold, The Jerusalem Post, 11 March 2011

The world is about to enter a no-fly zone for energy policy, a period where nothing gets off the ground. Here we have a globalized economic system filled with unprecedented energy options, but where all options appear to be politically off-limits. If it comes to that extreme, as seems probable in the short-term wake of the Japanese nuclear meltdown, the battle will be fought with mind-spinning claims and counterclaims, distortions, lies, exaggerations, misrepresentations. At the end of the battle, the most likely winner will be the energy source that is cheapest, works best and offers the lowest risks. It will be hard to beat the fossil fuels we know and trust.-–Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, 17 March 2011

Not only is gas cheap, gas plants themselves are relative bargains. Mr. Hess said a typical nuclear plant takes 10 years and $6-billion to build, while a coal-burner takes thee years and $3-billion. A gas plant?: Two years and $1-billion. There is no denying that shale gas has radically altered the economics of power production virtually overnight. The Japanese disaster is not killing the nuclear industry, gas is, and it’s taking grubby coal down with it. That’s good news. –Eric Reguly, The Globe and Mail, 17 March 2011

Even if someone were to get the approvals to build a new nuclear facility tomorrow, or within the next five years, getting financing will be next to impossible and it’s not like there are many governments with the political will or the chequebooks fat enough to fund these kinds of projects. What can only be termed a Black Swan event in the nuclear power world today is going to prove to be a positive inflection point for the natural-gas industry in the coming months and years. –Deborah Yedlin, Vancouver Sun, 17 March 2011

 

From the Global Warming Policy Foundation

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U.S. nuclear plants store more spent fuel than Japan’s

By Renee Schoof | McClatchy | March 17, 2011

WASHINGTON — U.S. nuclear plants use the same sort of pools to cool spent nuclear-fuel rods as the ones now in danger of spewing radiation at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, only the U.S. pools hold much more nuclear material. That’s raising the question of whether more spent fuel should be taken out of the pools at U.S. power plants to reduce risks. … Full article


China suspends nuclear building plans

By Michael Bristow | BBC | March 17, 2011

China has suspended approval for new nuclear power stations following the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

It will also carry out checks at existing reactors and those under construction. … Full article


Germany to speed up nuclear energy exit

First reactor to go off shortly

BBC – March 17, 2011

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced a “measured exit” from nuclear power in response to the crisis affecting four reactors in Japan.

Defending the temporary closure of Germany’s seven oldest reactors, she said the Japanese disaster meant it could no longer be “business as usual”. … Full article


Venezuela’s Chavez Halts Nuclear Energy Program following Japan Crisis

By Juan Reardon – Venezuelanalysis –  March 16th, 2011

Mérida – Yesterday President Hugo Chávez put a freeze on Venezuela’s nascent nuclear energy program as a result of the crisis underway at Japan’s earthquake-stricken nuclear reactors.

In the aftermath of last Friday’s tragic earthquake, Chávez sent his condolences to the Japanese people and announced his decision to halt a bi-lateral nuclear development agreement signed between Venezuela and Russia in October of last year.

The announcement came just hours after new flames engulfed one of Japan’s damaged nuclear plants and forced authorities to evacuate the last remaining technicians.

“What has been taking place in the last few hours represents an enormous risk and threat to the entire world,” said Chávez late Tuesday evening.

“Even with all of the great technology and advances that the Japanese have…just look at what is happening with some of those nuclear reactors,” he said. … continue

 

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