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Sun Oct 2, 2016, 12:29 PM

Reflections on this year's CO2 minimum at the Mauna Loa observatory.

This will be my 20,000th post on this site; maybe I shouldn't have bothered with the internet all all.

Whatever. As Macbeth remarked, "What is done cannot be undone."

The Mauna Loa Observatory each week releases a data point comparing carbon dioxide concentrations in a recent week with the same week of a previous year and the value of the week ten years before.

Each year, carbon dioxide concentrations almost always reach a minimum for the year as a whole in the well into September or early October. In 2015, this point was September 27, at 397.20 ppm; in 2014, it was on September 21, at 395.31 ppm; in 2013, it was on September 8, at 392.06 ppm; for 2012, it was September 16 at 390.73 ppm; for 2011, it was on September 18, at 389.08 ppm.

For September 27, 2016 - the likely minimum this year - the value was 400.72 ppm

The average value for the increases, as compared to the previous year of these weekly data points recorded at Mauna Loa since their inception in 1975 for all data points, - not just those at minimums - is 1.77 ppm. Of those points recorded in the 20th century, the average was 1.54 ppm. For points recorded in the 21st century, the average increase over the previous year is 2.10 ppm.

For 2014, the average was 2.09 ppm, for 2015 - which proved to be the worst year ever recorded, 3.05 ppm over 2014 - the weekly average increases were 2.26 ppm.

For 2016, the average thus far is 3.52 ppm.

The worst 30 such increases recorded of the 2122 such data points, 15 have been recorded in 2016, including the two worst ever recorded, 5.04 ppm on July 31 of this year, and 4.78 on June 12.

All of our efforts to address climate change have failed.

I have taken some flack over the 14 years I've been writing here for my support for nuclear energy. Everything I have ever written on the topic here and elsewhere may have been a complete waste of time - I spent too much of it calling out, in harsh terms, the complete idiots who despise nuclear energy because they get their information from cartoons and uneducated thugs rather than from science and engineering texts. It was a different approach from the polite attempts to be reasonable, like say those of the great scientist who once headed the Atomic Energy Commission, Glenn Seaborg.

It seems likely everything I have ever said or did about energy has failed; but so did everything that Glenn Seaborg said or did about nuclear energy has also failed.

And we are another kind of minimum, the time when we are doing the minimum to address the crisis before all future generations.

The world is investing heavily is so called "renewable energy." Like my less than important efforts on behalf of nuclear energy, and the work of many highly educated - many great - scientists and engineers who worked on behalf of nuclear energy have failed, so has renewable energy failed, and so, as the data above shows, it is failing, and so the laws of physics require that it will fail.

I did what I could in my thousands of posts here and elsewhere, sometimes at the cost of being shut up, as was the case some years ago when I was banned at Daily Kos by the scientifically illiterate journalists who run the place, for um, telling the truth:

The great climate scientist Jim Hansen has published in the primary scientific literature a paper with something called scientific references, data that shows that nuclear energy 1.8 million lives. (Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (9), pp 4889–4895) Hansen shows that were it not for fear and ignorance, nuclear energy might save 10 million lives more, with just a minor tech.

It follows that anti-nukes are not merely enemies of the people, they are murderers, pure and simple, murderers whose weapons are fear and ignorance.

Have a nice of evening.

Comment in: GETTING TO ZERO: Is renewable energy economically viable?

20,000 posts is a milestone, not an accomplishment. I noted in an earlier post here that we will never see a value at Mauna Loa under 400 ppm in our lifetimes, if ever.

Paper in Nature Climate Change: We will never again see monthly readings less than 400 ppm...in our lifetimes.

The author of the paper cited therein, wrote the following about the 400 ppm figure:

...A point of interest is the passing of 400 ppm in the Mauna Loa record. Although there is nothing physically significant about this concentration, it has recently become an iconic milestone in popular discourse regarding the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 (for example, ref. 15). In the last two years, CO2 has fluctuated around 400 ppm through the annual cycle, which has amplitude of approximately 6–7 ppm at Mauna Loa. 2014 was the first year that monthly CO2 concentrations rose above 400 ppm, and in 2015 the annual mean concentration has passed 400 ppm for the first time, but the monthly mean concentration fell back below 400 ppm for three months at the end of the boreal summer, reaching a monthly mean of 397.50 ppm in September. Adding the recent mean growth rate of 2.1 ppm yr−1 to this value would suggest a 2016 September concentration of 399.60 ppm. However, on the basis of the observed and forecast Niño 3.4 SSTs as of November 2015, we predict a Mauna Loa CO2 concentration in September 2016 of 401.48 ± 0.53 ppm (Fig. 3)...

...In the longer term, a reduction in CO2 concentration would require substantial and sustained cuts in anthropogenic emissions to near zero. Even the lowest emissions/concentrations scenario assessed in the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report projects CO2 concentrations to remain above 400 ppm until 2150. This scenario, RCP2.621, is considered amongst the lowest credible emissions scenario, and relies on assumed development of 'negative emissions' methods whose potential is considered limited22. Indeed some argue that RCP2.6 is now beyond reach without radical changes in global society23. Hence our forecast supports the suggestion24 that the Mauna Loa record will never again show CO2 concentrations below the symbolic 400 ppm within our lifetimes.

El Niño and a record CO2 rise (Richard A. Betts, Chris D. Jones, Jeff R. Knight, Ralph F. Keeling & John J. Kennedy, Nature Climate Change 6, 806–810 (2016))

If you're young, I'm deeply ashamed of what my generation has done for yours, but as old man in the waning years of life, looking back, let me say that the wasted time is the time you will regret when you run out of it.

May we chat again, but if not, as Spike Lee put it, "Do the Right Thing."

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend.

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun Oct 2, 2016, 04:22 PM

1. "there is a niche application for nuclear power"

SEP 22, 2016 @ 12:32 PM
We Could Power The Entire World By Harnessing Solar Energy From 1% Of The Sahara

Could the world feasibly switch to all-nuclear power generation? If so, would that be a good counter to global warming?originally appeared on Quora: the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Mehran Moalem, PhD, UC Berkeley, Professor, Expert on Nuclear Materials and Nuclear Fuel Cycle, on Quora:

I have taught courses in Nuclear Engineering and a few seminar courses in alternative energies. I also worked for two years starting up six solar factories around the globe. In spite of my personal like for nuclear engineering, I have to admit it is hard to argue for it. Here is the simplified math behind it.

The total world energy usage (coal+oil+hydroelectric+nuclear+renewable) in 2015 was 13,000 Million Ton Oil Equivalent (13,000 MTOE) – see World Energy Consumption & Stats. This translates to 17.3 Terawatts continuous power during the year.

Now, if we cover an area of the Earth 335 kilometers by 335 kilometers with solar panels, even with moderate efficiencies achievable easily today, it will provide more than 17,4 TW power. This area is 43,000 square miles. The Great Saharan Desert in Africa is 3.6 million square miles and is prime for solar power (more than twelve hours per day). That means 1.2% of the Sahara desert is sufficient to cover all of the energy needs of the world in solar energy. There is no way coal, oil, wind, geothermal or nuclear can compete with this. The cost of the project will be about five trillion dollars, one time cost at today’s prices without any economy of scale savings. That is less than the bail out cost of banks by Obama in the last recession. Easier to imagine the cost is 1/4 of US national debt, and equal to 10% of world one year GDP. So this cost is rather small compared to other spending in the world. There is no future in other energy forms. In twenty to thirty years solar will replace everything. There will still be need for liquid fuels but likely it will be hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of water and that powered by solar. Then tankers and pipelines will haul that hydrogen around the world. One can also envision zirconium or titanium batteries that store large quantities of hydrogen.

By the way, note that the cost of a 1 GWe (Gigawatt electric) nuclear plant is about three billion dollars. the cost of 17.3 TW nuclear power will be fifty-two trillion dollars or ten times that of solar even if all the other issues with safety and uranium supply are resolved.

All that said, there is a niche application for nuclear power....

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun Oct 2, 2016, 04:25 PM

2. Industry study: Microgrids to become ‘fundamental building block’

Industry study: Microgrids to become ‘fundamental building block’

David J. Unger
10 hours ago

PHOTO BY Sandia National Laboratories

...Used primarily to ensure reliability and access in military and other critical applications, microgrids have emerged in recent years as a niche interest for utilities and communities looking to bring more renewables online and increase resilience in the face of extreme weather. Despite the heightened profile, microgrids – islandable networks of generation and distribution – remain a small part of the U.S. energy system, making up a fraction of a percent of the nation’s total power generating capacity.

That is poised to change, according to a report released earlier this month by the National Electrical Manufacturing Association (NEMA), an industry group representing electrical, medical imaging, and radiation therapy manufacturers.

“[The grid is] moving away from a passive to an active grid,” said Steve Griffith, an industry director at NEMA. “You can actually have distributed generation based on renewable resources – solar, wind and electrical storage devices – power that not only flows from the utility to the customer, but now from the customer back to the utility.”

Microgrids help manage these reverse power flows by addressing the technical challenges of variation in voltage and frequency. It’s why NEMA envisions a future where microgrids play a foundational role in the way the broader power system operates, working in tandem with the existing power structure.

“From 2025 onwards, fully controllable, independent microgrids interconnected with [direct current] links will allow for full decoupling from the alternating current (AC) electric power system.” the report concludes. “They will also facilitate the segmentation of the distribution system, a new paradigm for electric grid management.”...

If interested, you can find your way to the study through NEMA's press release. Enrolling is required to download.:

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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun Oct 2, 2016, 04:28 PM

3. Utility's efforts to guarantee income for coal and nuclear are part of broader trend

Coal and nuclear, nuclear and coal: two sides of the same centralized generation coin

Report: ‘Around market’ moves by Ohio utilities are part of larger trend

Efforts by Ohio utilities to guarantee income for affiliated coal and nuclear operations are part of a broader trend, according to a new report by legal analysts.

Starting in 2014, FirstEnergy, American Electric Power (AEP) and other companies sought to impose added fees on all customers of their Ohio utilities, in order to guarantee sales for certain power plants owned by affiliates of those companies. After federal regulators said they would require strict scrutiny of any power purchase agreements under those plans, FirstEnergy and AEP changed their proposals.

Both companies also announced an interest in seeking re-regulation of electricity generation in Ohio. If successful, that effort would reverse a 1999 law that gave customers the right to choose their own electricity generation supplier. That law also forbade utilities from favoring their own generation affiliates.

The Ohio companies’ actions are among the more aggressive “around market” efforts in a nationwide trend noted by report authors Raymond Gifford and Matthew Larson of Wilkinson Barker Knauer in Denver, Colorado. Those efforts coincide with the exit of multiple coal and nuclear plants from the market.

“This has gone from somewhere simmering on the back burner to a very broad trend,” ...


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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun Oct 2, 2016, 04:44 PM


From Greenpeace:
In late 2014, AREVA notified Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) of the results of material tests carried out on a component manufactured at the Creusot Forge. These tests were undertaken by AREVA as part of the much-delayed Qualification Technique (QT) of components for the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) presently under construction at the Flamanville 3 (FA3) nuclear power plant (NPP). The part tested was a supernumerary equivalent of each of the two components, the upper and lower head shells, that had already been incorporated into the FA3 reactor pressure vessel (RPV) now installed within the nuclear island at the NPP site.

To much consternation the test results revealed that the material characteristics, particularly the impact or fracture toughness, did not conform to the design-basis specification and, moreover, it arose from a small but nevertheless significant increase in the carbon content across a large zone of macrosegregation present throughout most of the thickness of the equivalent head shell – this is the so-called ‘carbon anomaly’.

In the macrosegregation zones of excess carbon the toughness or resistance of the steel to tearing and cracking is lowered, rendering forged components vulnerable to abrupt and catastrophic failure via rapid crack propagation and fast fracture – the fracture toughness is a particularly important material characteristic of the through-life components of the nuclear primary pressure circuit for which ‘break preclusion’ (ie no opportunity for catastrophic failure) is an absolute prerequisite of the design-basis and nuclear safety case. When applied to the already installed FA3 RPV, such was the seriousness and potential implications of these test results that ASN required AREVA to i) undertake a further test and analysis programme evaluating the risk and acceptability of the FA3 RPV for nuclear power service and ii) review quality assurance practices at the FA3 component manufactory, Le Creusot Forge.

i) AREVA’s Further Test and Analysis Programme of the Carbon Anomaly: The immediate implication of this non-conformity against the design-basis specification of the nuclear safety critical FA3 RPV is certain to stall the analysis and reporting of the test programme of i) until mid-2017, if not later, and quite possibly it will set back the ultimate delivery date for the FA3 NPP – if the non-compliance of the material properties of the FA3 RPV is unacceptable to ensure future, tolerably safe operation then its replacement in the virtually completed nuclear island containment at Flamanville NPP could result in several additional years of delay and involve many millions of Euros to effect remediation.

The present status of the FA3 RPV is that it does not have an ASN issued Certificate of Conformity, meaning that it neither complies with European Pressure Equipment Directive 97/23/EC É quipements Sous Pression Nucléaire of December 2005 (ESPN); nor satisfies the ASN prerequisite of January 2008 that all new components require a Certificate of Conformity before production begins. Moreover, ASN has not made clear whether it has received a request from AREVA for it to evaluate the Creusot manufacturing route(s) in preparation for a retrospective Certificate of Conformity and that, if it has, if this evaluation has been set back by ASN’s recent (June 2016) deprioritisation of the FA3 carbon anomaly investigation.

It is unclear if other AREVA delivered forged components of the FA3 primary pressure circuit (ie the pressuriser, steam generators, etc) also do not have their respective Certificates of Conformity, irrespective of whether these components were sourced from Creusot or an overseas forge such as the Japanese Casting and Forging Company (JCFC) and/or the Japan Steel Works (JSW).
ii) AREVA’s Review of Past Quality Assurance Practices – the Irregularities: The outcome of AREVA’s review of past practises at Creusot, revealed that not only was quality assurance and component conformity unsatisfactory, particularly in that the manufacturing route for the FA3 upper and lower heads had never been subject to QT and thus had not obtained a Certificate of Conformity, but also that these uncertainties involved components that had been manufactured as far back as 1965 – ASN refers to these uncertainties as ‘irregularities’.

The consequences of the irregularities are now coming to light in dribs and drabs, extending back in time to around 400 flawed components produced at Creusot from 1965. When first announced, in April 2016, around about 50 so-called irregularities were identified to be presently installed in operating NPPs across France and, quite possibly, there are others installed in overseas NPPs. Now, late September 2016, the number of irregularities potentially impinging on the safety of French NPPs has risen to 83, 23 of which ASN has evaluated on safety grounds finding that 2 NPPs need to be held in enforced outage for further investigation. The status of the remaining 60 yet to be evaluated irregularities is not known....
Full study at: http://www.greenpeace.org/france/PageFiles/266171/Note_LargeAndAssociates_EN_26092016.pdf

Hinkley builder admits defective parts may be found in nuclear plants around the world
by Zachary Davies Boren June 18, 2016

The EPR “anamoly;” what’s at stake for Areva

Areva aware 'as early as 2006' of serious fault in nuclear reactor destined for UK
French state-owned nuclear giant Areva has been aware for almost a decade of critical anomalies in its new generation EPR plant in Flamanville, the same model sold to Britain


07/04/2015 11:30 am Communiqué de presse

ASN has been informed by AREVA of an anomaly in the composition of the steel in certain zones of the reactor vessel head and reactor vessel bottom head of the Flamanville EPR.

EPR reactor vessel

The nuclear pressure equipment regulation requires that the manufacturer limits the risks of heterogeneity in the materials used for manufacturing the components most important for safety. In order to address this technical requirement, AREVA carried out chemical and mechanical tests on a vessel head similar to that of the Flamanville EPR. The results of these tests, in late 2014, revealed the presence of a zone in which there was a high carbon concentration, leading to lower than expected mechanical toughness1 values. Initial measurements confirmed the presence of this anomaly in the reactor vessel head and reactor vessel bottom head of the Flamanville EPR. ASN received a proposal from AREVA for a further detailed test campaign on a representative vessel head, starting in April 2015, in order to precisely identify the location of the zone concerned and its mechanical properties.

ASN will make a decision on the acceptability of the test programme, check its correct performance and examine the file to be submitted by AREVA to demonstrate the robustness of the Flamanville EPR reactor vessel. It will also call on the services of its technical support organisation, IRSN (Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety), and the Advisory Committee of Experts for Nuclear Pressure Equipment.

ASN has informed its foreign counterparts which are concerned by the construction of an EPR.

The vessel of a pressurised water reactor is an equipment that is particularly important for safety. It contains the fuel and takes part in the radioactivity second containment barrier.

The reactor vessel head and reactor vessel bottom head of the Flamanville EPR are partially spherical forged steel parts.

Learn more:
Technical clarifications concerning the manufacturing anomalies on the Flamanville EPR reactor pressure vessel
1. Toughness is an indicator of the ability of a material to withstand the propagation of cracks. For a reactor vessel, this property is in particular significant regarding thermal shock, for instance following the injection of cold water in the primary circuit of the reactor. http://www.french-nuclear-safety.fr/Media/Files/Technical-clarifications-concerning-the-manufacturing-anomalies-on-the-Flamanville-EPR-reactor-pressure-vessel


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Response to NNadir (Original post)

Mon Oct 3, 2016, 06:44 AM

5. "All of our efforts to address climate change have failed."


That means ALL efforts: yours, James Hansen's, Amory Lovins', Mark Jacobson's, kristopher's, Bill McKibben's, Naomi Klein's and the Pope's. All proposals and advocacy have been manifest, utter, abject failures.

Electricity from any source has shown itself to be simply a fossil fuel extender.

As I have said here repeatedly in the past, the only thing that is guaranteed to address climate change is a reduction in aggregate human activity.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Mon Oct 3, 2016, 11:10 AM

6. Well, I wouldn't be glib about WHY particular strategies have failed. There is a difference...

...things which are technical failures for physical reasons, and things which fail because of ignorance.

Irrespective of your need to gloat...

It is technically impossible for so called "renewable energy" to support the world population at a decent standard of living, and the reason is physics, specifically the energy to mass ratio. So called "renewable energy" failed to support humanity after the early 19th century, which is why it was abandoned.

I have convinced myself after many years of study that it is technically feasible to double the per capita energy consumption of human beings on this planet - which would amount to an average continuous power consumption of about 5000 watts - if the criteria is simply engineering. It is technically feasible to do this on a scale of centuries with the elements already mined and isolated.

However the reach of science and engineering have often been ignored by appeals to ignorance - it's more the exception than the rule actually, and the 21st century is merely consistent with the past - and what is technically feasible is not what is socially feasible. After all, in the time of the bulbonic plague, there were certainly a few people who thought that cleaning up the garbage piles that drew rats might be a good idea, but the culture as a whole decided prayer would work better.

I am well aware of your contention that everyone needs to either wear a sack cloth or die, and I'm aware that the circumstances under which that situation is inevitable is becoming more and more likely - but there is no physical reason that this outcome needed to be obtained. With a little more vision, and a lot less whining, including the "Nothing can work!" type of whining, we might have done better with the platform this planet has been for seeing to the edges of the universe.

Your equivalence between the "renewables will save us" fantasy and nuclear technology is frankly, absurd and not supportable. A comparison between Mark Jacobson and Glenn Seaborg is, if not obscene, then certainly specious. One is a tiresome clerk with a mysterious and unjustified academic appointment repeating mindless cant that 50 years of experience has shown to be useless, and the other won the Nobel Prize, was discoverer or co-discoverer of 10 elements in the periodic table, the head of the AEC when more than 80 nuclear reactors were constructed, and perhaps one of the most important weapons limitations negotiator ever, among other things.

Nuclear energy prevented the dumping of two years worth of carbon dioxide - we'd now be closer to 410 ppm or higher without it, given that we're now going up at more than 3.00 ppm a year and accelerating while dumping carbon dioxide at a rate of more than 30 billion tons per year.. No other form of energy has done as much as nuclear energy has done, and no other form of primary energy has been subject to a discovery in the last one thousand years. Of course there are dipshits complaining that somewhat might die from radiation as a result of Fukushima, but if one can count, one can do simple comparisons.

If one can't count, one makes specious generalizations. We see that a lot, but my contention is that it is morally bankrupt to do so.

Have a nice day.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #6)

Mon Oct 3, 2016, 02:18 PM

7. Another serving from your crock of BS?

There is no reason rooted in physics or any other discipline by which you can prove this statement. It is, categorically, bull-crap.
"It is technically impossible for so called "renewable energy" to support the world population at a decent standard of living, and the reason is physics, specifically the energy to mass ratio. So called "renewable energy" failed to support humanity after the early 19th century, which is why it was abandoned."

People don't pay attention to you because you routinely make false claims supported only by illegitimate appeals to your self delusional authority.

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