The inflationary aspects of the “Inflation Reduction Act”. The “Green New deal” is wrong. There is a better way to do clean energy.

Below is the experience from the European union of retail cost of electricity in all member nations from the year 2019, the last year to make any meaningful analysis, Covid and the Ukraine war has made worthless any newer analysis.

This slide tells it best. The real cost for Solar and Wind electricity is 5.7 times that of the average of coal, gas, nuclear and hydro-electric power. The real reason is that you still need all the generating power for when the wind doesn’t blow enough or too much, and the sun doesn’t shine, which is most of the time. In addition, solar panels and windmills require mining of rare earth metals, and are as such highly mining intensive. Then there is the cost of disposal, which has already begun for first generation wind mills and solar panels.

The solution is simple: Do not buy any more solar panels from China! Let them use them themselves, they may then only have to build a thousand new dirty lignite coal fired power plants instead of 1171 between now and 2030

The other inflationary thing is the rising cost of Lithium and rare earth metals. In 2020 the price of LiCO2 was around 40,000 yuan/ton (yes, Lithium and rare earth metals are traded in Chinese currency). The price since then has more than twelve-folded and is now close to half a million yuan/ton.

China produces three-quarters of all lithium-ion batteries and is home to 70% of production capacity for cathodes and 85% for anodes (both are key components of batteries).

Over half of lithium, cobalt and graphite processing and refining capacity is also located in China. The U.S has a high quality rare earth metal mine in Mountain Pass, CA.,

but the refining is done in China. In June 2022 Amarillo, Texas had a groundbreaking ceremony for a rare earth metals refinery, so refining capacity will finally return to the U.S. See more here. Below is a chart of the worldwide mining of rare earth metals. Notice the prominent role Myanmar plays in rare earth metals. China is positioning itself to dominate Myanmar for their metals and to build an oil import pipeline to avoid the Malacca strait choke point.

In 2016, Hunter Biden’s Bohai Harvest RST invested in China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL), the world’s largest lithium ion battery producer.

Remember this every time you hear Joe Biden talk about Green new deal and electric vehicles.

So, my suggestion is simple: Do not buy any solar panels from China, let them install them in China at 4.7 times the price of coal power. this is a much cleaner global investment. China was planning to build 1171 new coal plants polluting more than our clean coal could ever do. Likewise do not buy any more wind mill generators from China, let them install them in China. Wait to promote electric vehicles until the grid is built up to handle the additional demand for electricity.

This would save about 430 billion dollars from the inflation reduction act. What can we do instead and achieve an even better outcome? Check this video.

What shall be done? Congress must immediately pass SB4242. Ten years ago I made the same observation, see here. At that time there was 1400 kg U-233 remaining at Oak Ridge. A ton has been downblended since then. It is late, but not too late to save the rest. Here is a very illuminating video:

I agree totally with this video. Molten salt Thorium reactors can produce electricity for less than 5 cents per kilowatt-hour, comparable to coal and five times less than wind and solar when mass produced as SMR’s (small Modular Reactors. ) A 100 MW reactor can be built on an assembly line, and the vital parts can be shipped in 3 standard containers over road. They require much less mining to produce than the corresponding windmills and solar panels, and Thorium is already mined as a byproduct of mining rare earth metals. The only cost is therefore the cost of extracting the Thorium.

How is China dealing with Thorium nuclear power? They recently approved starting up their own molten Salt reactor, (source here.

In January 2011, CAS launched a CNY3 billion (USD444 million) R&D programme on liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs), known there as the thorium-breeding molten-salt reactor (Th-MSR or TMSR), and claimed to have the world’s largest national effort on it, hoping to obtain full intellectual property rights on the technology. This is also known as the fluoride salt-cooled high-temperature reactor (FHR). The TMSR Centre at SINAP at Jiading, Shanghai, is responsible.

Construction of the 2 MWt TMSR-LF1 reactor began in September 2018 and was reportedly completed in August 2021. The prototype was scheduled to be completed in 2024, but work was accelerated.

“According to the relevant provisions of the Nuclear Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China and the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on the Safety Supervision and Administration of Civilian Nuclear Facilities, our bureau has conducted a technical review of the application documents you submitted, and believes that your 2 MWt liquid fuel thorium-based molten salt experimental reactor commissioning plan (Version V1.3) is acceptable and is hereby approved,” the Ministry of Ecology and Environment told SINAP on 2 August.

It added: “During the commissioning process of your 2 MWt liquid fuel thorium-based molten salt experimental reactor, you should strictly implement this plan to ensure the effectiveness of the implementation of the plan and ensure the safety and quality of debugging. If any major abnormality occurs during the commissioning process, it should be reported to our bureau and the Northwest Nuclear and Radiation Safety Supervision Station in time.”

The TMSR-LF1 will use fuel enriched to under 20% U-235, have a thorium inventory of about 50 kg and conversion ratio of about 0.1. A fertile blanket of lithium-beryllium fluoride (FLiBe) with 99.95% Li-7 will be used, and fuel as UF4.

The project is expected to start on a batch basis with some online refueling and removal of gaseous fission products, but discharging all fuel salt after 5-8 years for reprocessing and separation of fission products and minor actinides for storage. It will proceed to a continuous process of recycling salt, uranium and thorium, with online separation of fission products and minor actinides. The reactor will work up from about 20% thorium fission to about 80%.

If the TMSR-LF1 proves successful, China plans to build a reactor with a capacity of 373 MWt by 2030.

As this type of reactor does not require water for cooling, it will be able to operate in desert regions. The Chinese government has plans to build more across the sparsely populated deserts and plains of western China, complementing wind and solar plants and reducing China’s reliance on coal-fired power stations. The reactor may also be built outside China in Belt and Road Initiative nations.

The liquid fuel design is descended from the 1960s Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the USA.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News.

As of yet China does not have any U233, so they have to use U235 as a start fuel. This will produce PU239 as well as U233, so the separation step is far more complicated. The U.S. still have 450 kg of U233, so the separation step can be made clean, and we can make a clean, breeding reactor with 0,01 % of the nuclear waste if conventional reactors.

The conversion of Thorium 232 to Uranium 233, leading to fission looks like this:

To remain pure, the protactinium mist be separated from the neutron bombarding environment as soon after it is generated as possible to avoid it to be transfered to U 234, which is non fissible, but radioactive. The breeding coefficient is 1.03, which means that 3% more U233 is generated than consumed. The half-life of the Protactinium is 27 days, so it will take up to 900 days for the U233 to double, which is two and a half years.

There is no time to spare. Pass SB4242 immediately, build a clean Molten salt Thorium reactor as soon as possible, remove Thorium as a source material and streamline the permit process so permits can be issued in weeks instead of years.

The thorium energy is the future clean energy until fusion is perfected, not solar panels or windmills, which do far more damage to the environment than Thorium nuclear plants!

The biggest cause of climate change is not rising CO2 levels but land use change, such as the desertification of the American Southwest.

Fear spreads up on Capitol Hill

The Climate change will break their will.

AOC: In Twelve years

our world disappears!

She acts as a Green New Deal shill.

Quote from Alexandria Occasio-Cortez in January 2019: “Millennials and Gen Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up, and we’re like, ‘The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’ ” she said. Congress has now finally put together a bill that will address climate change and add new taxes, so that it can be called the “Inflation Reduction Act”. While it will increase long term inflation, reduce growth, increase taxes and regulations, it’s attempt to solve climate change is particularly misplaced and will do more harm than good and ignore the real causes of climate change.

Let me explain.

We live in only one world. As a concerned citizen I realize we have immense environmental challenges before us, with water pollution; from plastics in the ocean, excess fertilizer in the rivers, poison from all kinds of chemicals, including antibiotics, birth control and other medicines flushed down the toilet after going through our bodies, animals fed antibiotics, pest control, weed control and so on. Increasing CO2 is not one of the problems, it will in fact help with erosion control, and allow us to feed more people on less agricultural land with proper management, and require less fertilizer and water to do so. In fact, proper water management is a larger problem, with some rivers no longer even reaching the ocean. All water is already spoken for, especially in the 10 to 40 degrees latitude, where most people live.

Allow me to be somewhat technical and give the background to why I know we will never experience the thermal runaway they are so afraid of.

Many years ago I worked at Hewlett Packard on an Atomic Absorption Detector. It was a huge technical success but a commercial failure, as it was too expensive to use for routine applications. However it found a niche and became the detector of choice when dismantling the huge nerve gas stockpiles remaining from the cold war. I was charged with doing the spectrum analysis and produce the final data from the elements. One day two salesmen came and tried to sell us  a patented device that could identify up to 21 different elements with one analysis. They had a detector that divided the visual band into 21 parts, and bingo, with proper, not yet “fully developed” software you could now analyze up to 21 elements with one gas chromatography analysis. What could be better? We could only analyze correctly four or five elements simultaneously. It turns out the elements are absorbing in the same wavelength bands, scientifically speaking they are not orthogonal, so software massaging can only go so far. It turned out that the promised new detector was inferior to what we already had and could only quantify three or 4 elements at the most. If elements are absorbing in the same frequency band they are called non-orthogonal, if they only absorb in unique bands they are orthogonal.

In the atmosphere the two most important greenhouse gases are water vapor and CO2 with methane a distant third. Water vapor is much more of a greenhouse gas everywhere except near the tropopause high above the high clouds and near the poles when the temperature is below 0 F, way below freezing. A chart shows the relationship between CO2 and water vapor:

Image result for h20 and co2 as greenhouse gases

Source: http://notrickszone.com/2017/07/31/new-paper-co2-has-negligible-influence-on-earths-temperature/

Of particular interest are the round dots representing the South Pole. We have really good global data for over 60 years. The Amundsen Scott – South Pole weather station, the average temperature of Winter season 2021 (April 2021 – September 2021) reached only -61,0°C / -78°F, and at this temperature CO2 is the dominant greenhouse gas by more than a factor of ten more important than water vapor. We have reliable measurements for the temperature change at the South Pole since 1957. During this time CO2 gas increased 31% to 413ppm, Methane increased 16% to 1.85 ppm and Nitrous oxide decreased, but this is a gas mostly confined to urban areas, and is now below 0.05 ppm worldwide. With CO2 increasing by 31% and water vapor negligible one would expect a temperature rise over 64 years of 0.65 C, or one degree Celsius warmer per century according to extrapolated lab measurements. This is the observed trend:

With 2021 value included the temperature trend is two degrees Celsius cooler per century!

At the South Pole snowfall is negligible in the winter, and for the whole year it is only 1.3 inches. No model would have predicted the cooling trend, so there must be other factors that are are more important, since real measurements beat models every time.

Even in Barrow, Alaska water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. Only at the South Pole (And North Pole) does CO2 dominate (but only in the winter).

All Climate models take this into account, and that is why they all predict that the major temperature increase will occur in the polar regions with melting icecaps and other dire consequences. But they also predict a uniform temperature rise from the increased forcing from CO2 and the additional water vapor resulting from the increased temperature.

This is wrong on two accounts. First, CO2 and H2O gas are nor orthogonal, that means they both absorb in the same frequency bands. There are three bands where CO2 absorbs more than H2O in the far infrared band, but other than that H2O is the main absorber. If H2O is 80 times as common as CO2 as it is around the equator, water vapor is still the dominant absorber, and the amount of CO2 is irrelevant.

Secondly gases cannot absorb more than 100% of the energy available in any given energy wavelength! So if H2O did absorb 80% of the energy and CO2 absorbed 50%, the sum is not 130%, only 90%. (0.8 + 0.5×0,2 or 0.5 + 0.8×0.5). In this example CO2 only adds one quarter of what the models predict.

How do I know this is true? Lucky for us we can measure what increasing CO2 in the atmosphere has already accomplished. For a model to have credibility it must be tested with measurements, and pass the test. There is important evidence suggesting the basic story is wrong. All greenhouse gases work by affecting the lapse rate in the tropics. They thus create a “hot spot” in the tropical troposphere. The theorized “hot spot” is shown in the early IPCC publications. (Fig A)

Fig. B shows observations. The hotspot is not there. If the hotspot is not there, the models must be wrong. So what is wrong with the models? This was reported in 2008 and the models still assume the additive nature of greenhouse gases, even to the point when more than 100% of the energy in a given band is absorbed.

How about Methane? Do not worry, it absorbs nearly exclusively in the same bands as water vapor and has no measurable influence on the climate.

But it will get warmer at the poles. That will cause melting of the ice-caps? Not so fast. When temperature rises the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, so it will snow more at higher latitudes. While winter temperatures will be higher with more snowfall, this will lower the summer temperatures until the extra snow has melted. And that is what is happening in the Arctics

As we can see from this picture, the winters were about 5 degrees warmer, but starting from mid April through early August temperatures were lower. It takes time to melt all the extra snow that fell because of the less cold air, able to contain more water vapor.

These are my suggestions

  1. Do not worry about increasing CO2 levels. The major temperature stabilizer is clouds, and they will keep the earth from overheating by reflecting back into space a large amount of incoming solar radiation. Always did, and always will, even when the CO2 concentration was more than 10,000 ppm millions of years ago. Ice ages will still come, and this is the next major climate change, maybe 3,000 years from now, probably less. Do not buy any more solar panels from China! China is by far the world’s largest polluter of real air pollution. They are planning to build
  2. Clean up rivers, lakes and oceans from pollution. This is a priority.
  3. Limit Wind turbine electric energy to areas not populated by large birds to save the birds. Already over 1.3 million birds a year are killed by wind turbines, including the bald and Golden Eagles that like to build their aeries on top of wind turbines. Above all, do not import any more wind turbine motors from China. They have severed all climate change cooperation with the U.S. Let them build a few less very polluting coal fired electric plants between now and 2030. China was planning to build 1171 additional coal plants.
  4. Do not build large solar concentration farms. They too kill birds.
  5. Solar panels are o.k. not in large farms, but distributed on roofs to provide small scale backup power.
  6. Exploit geothermal energy only in geologically stable areas.
  7. Where ever possible add peak power generation and storage capacity to existing hydroelectric power plants by pumping back water into the dams during excess capacity.
  8. Add peak power storage dams, even in wildlife preserves. The birds and animals don’t mind.
  9. Develop Thorium based Nuclear Power. Russia, China, Australia and India are ahead of us in this. Streamline permit processes. Prioritize research. This should be our number one priority, for when the next ice age starts we will need all the CO2 in the air to sustain life..
  10. Put fusion power as important for the future but do not rush it, let the research and development be scientifically determined. However, hybrid Fusion -Thorium power generation should be developed.
  11. When Thorium power is built up and has replaced coal and gas fired power plants, then is the time to promote electric cars, not before.
  12. Standard Nuclear Power plants should be replaced by Thorium powered nuclear plants, since they have only 0,01% of the really bad long term nuclear waste. For the time being do not decommission any nuclear plants before their time of obsolescence
  13. Start thinking about recovering CO2 directly from the air and produce aviation fuel. This should be done when Thorium power has replaced coal and gas fired power plants.
  14. But most important, reverse the real climate change, the desertification of the American Southwest. This can only be done by adding Thorium small modular reactors to the electric energy mix. Wind and solar will not do it, since they only provide power when the wind blows and the sun shines, not according to the electricity demand. My proposal is
  15. https://lenbilen.com/2022/04/09/the-transcontinental-aqueduct-a-realistic-way-to-save-lake-mead-and-reverse-the-desertification-of-the-american-southwest/ This aqueduct will cost about the same, or around 350 Billion dollars, and solve the water needs for the lower American Southwest, triple the hydroelectric power storage capacity for the nation and go a long way to save the rapidly depleting aquifers. If this is not done American Southwest will become a desert in the not too distant future. We are getting close.
  16. When the Transcontinental aqueduct has begun to provide water to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Mexico it is time to build the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. The Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct will save Lake Powell and Lake Mead, and rejuvenate the American South-west. This solution is expensive, but when all costs are included, it can deliver 3.6 to 6 Million acre-feet / year at a cost of $2,290 per af, high, check the calculations here. This is the solution that can be done in the shortest time.
  17. To help save the Ogallala aquifer and provide water to the thirsty Platte river watershed it is time to build a South Platte River aquifer. It is drying up. This is a recent picture of the bone dry Platte River near Columbus Nebraska:

Something must be done. The wet areas are getting wetter because of pollution of land, air and rivers, and the dry areas are getting hotter and drier because of desertification.

The Thorium Energy security act SB 4242a

This is insanity. In 2011 the Oak Ridge Laboratories had a stockpile of 1400 kg U 233. They have been busy downblending it into depleted uranium to render it useless, and there is now only about 450 kg left.

The bill is introduced. It should be immediately passed in the Senate, and be passed in the house without amendments. Any delay is critical. It is that important. We gave the technology to the Chinese so they can build up their naval fleet with molten salt Thorium nuclear power. Meanwhile we still have some u-233 left, worth billions as a National Security asset. At the very least, we must stop downblending immediately, even before the bill is passed.

Here is the bill itself. The summary is not yet written, but the bill is introduced.

117th CONGRESS
2d Session

S. 4242

To provide for the preservation and storage of uranium-233 to foster development of thorium molten-salt reactors, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 18 (legislative day, May 17), 2022

Mr. Tuberville (for himself and Mr. Marshall) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To provide for the preservation and storage of uranium-233 to foster development of thorium molten-salt reactors, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Thorium Energy Security Act of 2022”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress makes the following findings:

(1) Thorium molten-salt reactor technology was originally developed in the United States, primarily at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the State of Tennessee under the Molten-Salt Reactor Program.

(2) Before the cancellation of that program in 1976, the technology developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory was moving steadily toward efficient utilization of the natural thorium energy resource, which exists in substantial amounts in many parts of the United States, and requires no isotopic enrichment.

(3) The People’s Republic of China is known to be pursuing the development of molten-salt reactor technology based on a thorium fuel cycle.

(4) Thorium itself is not fissile, but fertile, and requires fissile material to begin a nuclear chain reaction. This largely accounts for its exclusion for nuclear weapons developments.

(5) Uranium-233, derived from neutron absorption by natural thorium, is the ideal candidate for the fissile material to start a thorium reactor, and is the only fissile material candidate that can minimize the production of long-lived transuranic elements like plutonium, which have proven a great challenge to the management of existing spent nuclear fuel.

(6) Geologic disposal of spent nuclear fuel from conventional nuclear reactors continues to pose severe political and technical challenges, and costs United States taxpayers more than $500,000,000 annually in court-mandated payments to electrical utilities operating nuclear reactors.

(7) The United States possesses the largest known inventory of separated uranium-233 in the world, aggregated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

(8) Oak Ridge National Laboratory building 3019 was designated in 1962 as the national repository for uranium-233 storage, and its inventory eventually grew to about 450 kilograms of separated uranium-233, along with approximately 1,000 kilograms of mixed fissile uranium from the Consolidated Edison Uranium Solidification Program (commonly referred to as “CEUSP”), divided into approximately 1,100 containers.

(9) The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board issued Recommendation 97–1 (relating to safe storage of uranium-233) in 1997 because of the possibility of corrosion or other degradation around the storage of uranium-233 in a building that was built in 1943.

(10) In response, the Department of Energy published Decision Memorandum No. 2 in 2001 concluding that no Department of Energy programs needed uranium-233 and directed that a contract be placed for disposition of the uranium-233 inventory and decommissioning of its storage facility.

(11) The Department of Energy awarded a contract for the irreversible downblending of uranium-233 with uranium-238 and its geologic disposal in Nevada, which downblending would create a waste form that would pose radiological hazards for hundreds of thousands of years, rather than to consider uranium-233 as a useful national asset.

(12) All 1,000 kilograms of CEUSP uranium-233-based material have been dispositioned (but not downblended) but those containers had little useful uranium-233 in them. The majority of separated and valuable uranium-233 remains uncontaminated by uranium-238 and suitable for thorium fuel cycle research and development. That remaining inventory constitutes the largest supply of uranium-233 known to exist in the world today.

(13) The United States has significant domestic reserves of thorium in accessible high-grade deposits, which can provide thousands of years of clean energy if used efficiently in a liquid-fluoride reactor initially started with uranium-233.

(14) Recently (as of the date of the enactment of this Act), the Department of Energy has chosen to fund a series of advanced reactors that are all dependent on initial inventories and regular resupplies of high-assay, low-enriched uranium.

(15) There is no domestic source of high-assay, low-enriched uranium fuel, and there are no available estimates as to how long the development of a domestic supply of that fuel would take or how expensive such development would be.

(16) The only viable source of high-assay, low-enriched uranium fuel is through continuous import from sources in the Russian Federation.

(17) The political situation with the Russian Federation as of the date of the enactment of this Act is sufficiently uncertain that it would be unwise for United States-funded advanced reactor development to rely on high-assay, low-enriched uranium since the Russian Federation would be the primary source and can be expected to undercut any future United States production, resulting in a dependency on high-assay, low-enriched uranium from the Russian Federation.

(18) The United States has abandoned the development of a geologic repository at Yucca Mountain and is seeking a consenting community to allow interim storage of spent nuclear fuel, but valid concerns persist that an interim storage facility will become a permanent storage facility.

(19) Without a closed fuel cycle, high-assay, low-enriched uranium-fueled reactors inevitably will produce long-lived wastes that presently have no disposition pathway.

(20) The United States possesses enough uranium-233 to support further research and development as well as fuel the startup of several thorium reactors. Thorium reactors do not require additional fuel or high-assay, low-enriched uranium from the Russian Federation.

(21) Continuing the irreversible destruction of uranium-233 precludes privately funded development of the thorium fuel cycle, which would have long term national and economic security implications.

SEC. 3. Sense of Congress.

It is the sense of Congress that—

(1) it is in the best economic and national security interests of the United States to resume development of thorium molten-salt reactors that can minimize long-lived waste production, in consideration of—

(A) the pursuit by the People’s Republic of China of thorium molten-salt reactors and associated cooperative research agreements with United States national laboratories; and

(B) the present impasse around the geological disposal of nuclear waste;

(2) that the development of thorium molten-salt reactors is consistent with section 1261 of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (Public Law 115–232; 132 Stat. 2060), which declared long-term strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China as “a principal priority for the United States”; and

(3) to resume such development, it is necessary to relocate as much of the uranium-233 remaining at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as possible to new secure storage.

SEC. 4. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) CONGRESSIONAL DEFENSE COMMITTEES.—The term “congressional defense committees” has the meaning given that term in section 101(a) of title 10, United States Code.

(2) DOWNBLEND.—The term “downblend” means the process of adding a chemically identical isotope to an inventory of fissile material in order to degrade its nuclear value.

(3) FISSILE MATERIAL.—The term “fissile material” refers to uranium-233, uranium-235, plutonium-239, or plutonium-241.

(4) HIGH-ASSAY, LOW-ENRICHED URANIUM.—The term “high-assay, low-enriched uranium” (commonly referred to as “HALEU”) means a mixture of uranium isotopes very nearly but not equaling or exceeding 20 percent of the isotope uranium-235.

(5) TRANSURANIC ELEMENT.—The term “transuranic element” means an element with an atomic number greater than the atomic number of uranium (92), such as neptunium, plutonium, americium, or curium.

SEC. 5. Preservation of uranium-233 to foster development of thorium molten-salt reactors.

The Secretary of Energy shall preserve uranium-233 inventories that have not been contaminated with uranium-238, with the goal of fostering development of thorium molten-salt reactors by United States industry.

SEC. 6. Storage of uranium-233.

(a) Report on long-Term storage of uranium-233.—Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the heads of other relevant agencies, shall submit to Congress a report identifying a suitable location for, or a location that can be modified for, secure long-term storage of uranium-233.

(b) Report on interim storage of uranium-233.—Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chief of Engineers shall submit to Congress a report identifying a suitable location for secure interim storage of uranium-233.

(c) Report on construction of uranium-233 storage facility at Redstone Arsenal.—Not later than 240 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Chief of Engineers shall submit to Congress a report on the costs of constructing a permanent, secure storage facility for uranium-233 at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, that is also suitable for chemical processing of uranium-233 pursuant to a public-private partnership with thorium reactor developers.

(d) Funding.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, amounts authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for the U233 Disposition Program for fiscal year 2022 or 2023 shall be made available for the transfer of the inventory of uranium-233 to the interim or permanent storage facilities identified under this section.

SEC. 7. Interagency cooperation on preservation and transfer of uranium-233.

The Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Army (including the head of the Army Reactor Office), the Secretary of Transportation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and other relevant agencies shall—

(1) work together to preserve uranium-233 inventories and expedite transfers of uranium-233 to interim and permanent storage facilities; and

(2) in expediting such transfers, seek the assistance of appropriate industrial entities.

SEC. 8. Report on use of thorium reactors by People’s Republic of China.

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Administrator for Nuclear Security, shall submit to Congress a report that—

(1) evaluates the progress the People’s Republic of China has made in the development of thorium-based reactors;

(2) describes the extent to which that progress was based on United States technology;

(3) details the actions the Department of Energy took in transferring uranium-233 technology to the People’s Republic of China; and

(4) assesses the likelihood that the People’s Republic of China may employ thorium reactors in its future navy plans.

SEC. 9. Report on medical market for isotopes of uranium-233.

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, after consultation with institutions of higher education and private industry conducting medical research and the public, shall submit to Congress a report that estimates the medical market value, during the 10-year period after the date of the enactment of this Act, of actinium, bismuth, and other grandchildren isotopes of uranium-233 that can be harvested without downblending and destroying the uranium-233 source material.

SEC. 10. Report on costs to United States nuclear enterprise.

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, after consultation with relevant industry groups and nuclear regulatory agencies, shall submit to Congress a report that estimates, for the 10-year period after the date of the enactment of this Act, the costs to the United States nuclear enterprise with respect to—

(1) disposition of uranium-233;

(2) payments to nuclear facilities to store nuclear waste; and

(3) restarting the manufacturing the United States of high-assay, low-enriched uranium.


Just what we need to combat food and fuel inflation. Make more ethanol and make more CO2!

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions and boycotts that followed launched retail gasoline prices to record highs, a vulnerability for Biden’s fellow Democrats in November’s congressional elections. Ukraine has been called the breadbasket of Europe since before WWI, and this war will greatly reduce the worldwide corn supply by 15%, Wheat supply by 8%. and the sanctions on Russia will reduce the supply of fertilizer by 12%. The world was already in a precarious food situation, and this may result in hunger worldwide will increase sharply.

Faced with this looming catastrophe in the November elections the Biden administration decided to act decisively to improve its chances in November, so on Tuesday Biden went to Iowa and promised to remove the prohibition to use the ethanol blend E15 even in the summer. The summertime ban on E15 was imposed over concerns it contributes to smog in hot weather, though research has shown that the 15% blend may not increase smog much more than the almost mandatory 10% blends sold year-round.

Is blending ethanol in the gasoline a good idea in the first place? It might be if the price of corn is low relative to gasoline. On April 14, 2022 the wholesale contract price of corn is $ 7.84 a bushel. A year ago, the price was below five dollars per bushel.
One bushel of corn makes 2.8 gallon of ethanol in the most efficient stills.
That makes the feed-stock price to produce ethanol $2.80 a gallon. Add to that 50 cents to make the stuff and distribute it and the price per gallon is $ 3.30
Since the heat content of ethanol is 67% of regular gasoline (no ethanol), the gasoline equivalent price of ethanol is $ 4.93 per gallon.
Nearly five bucks a gallon for ethanol! And that is before profit, blending, selling and taxes!
That’s the good news.
For the people that are worried about CO2 the bad news is:
To make corn you have to use 150 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per acre. It takes the equivalent of 0.15 gallons of gasoline to produce one pound of nitrogen fertilizer. That comes to the equivalent of 22.5 gallons of gasoline to fertilize one acre. One acre of corn yields about 150 bushels of corn.
The fuel spent to produce one bushel of corn is therefore more than 0.15 gallons of gasoline. Since it also involves sowing, preparing the soil, cultivating, pesticides, phosphate fertilizer and harvesting it takes 0.25 gallons of fuel to produce one bushel of corn.
Here comes the kicker: When you ferment sugar into alcohol half the weight disappears as CO2! Let us examine the formula: C6H12O6 + Zymase → 2C2H5OH + 2CO2
The molecule weight of C2H5OH is 46 and the molecule weight of CO2 is 44.
Well almost half anyway.
Let us assume you have a car that gets 25 miles to the gallon and you drive 100 mile on pure gasoline. You have used 4 gallons of gasoline.
Now take the same car and drive 100 miles with a 10% ethanol mix, mandated by the EPA. Remember, they are concerned about CO2.
The ethanol has only 67% of the heat content of gasoline so the gas mileage will be lower. It will be consuming 0.04 x 0.9 +0.1 x 1.5 x 0.04 = 0.042 gallons per mile, 5% more or a total of 4.2 gallons for the 100 mile trip. With E15 it will be 4.3 gallons per trip.
So you consumed 3.78 gallons of gasoline and 0.42 gallons of ethanol, for a total of 4.2 gallons. We have all experienced this increase in gas consumption. And this is best case. With E15 you will consume 3.67 gallons of gasoline and 0.63 gallons of ethanol.
What about CO2 up in the air? In the pure gasoline case we produced 4 gallons worth of CO2.
In the ethanol mix case we produced 4.2 gallons worth of CO2.
Add to that another .4 gallons equivalence of CO2 from the fermentation, and another .04 gallons worth of CO2 to produce the corn in the first place.
The sum total is 4.64 gallons worth of CO2, or about 16% more than in the gasoline only case for the 10% mix. With E15 you produced 4.96 gallons worth of CO2.
But corn does absorb CO2 when it grows! Doesn’t that count?
Corn is one of the worst crops for soil erosion and uses up other nourishment that will not be used if you make ethanol from it. Granted the cattle are happy for the cakes that are left when the sugar and oil is removed.
In this age of looming food shortages nearly any other use of available tillable soil is to be preferred over ethanol production.
Oh, and one more thing. Assume that pure gasoline is 4 dollars a gallon at the pump, which includes 50 cents in taxes.
Unsubsidized ethanol should be $4.93 a gallon, before taxes
But we subsidize the ethanol production so the price of E15 is $3.90 a gallon at the pump.
If we used pure gasoline the hundred mile trip would cost sixteen dollars.
If we paid full price for the 10% ethanol blend we would pay $ 17.19 for the trip and produce 16% more CO2. And in the case of E15 we would pay $17.78 for the trip and produce 24% more CO2
We are really paying $ 16.59 for the trip, produce 16% more CO2 and leave a bill of $ 0.60 for our grandchildren to pay, the subsidy of 0.42 gallons of ethanol. In the case of E15 we would pay $16.77 for the trip, produce 24% more CO2 and leave a bill of $1.01 for our grandchildren.
This is EPA legislation at work, trying to combat the coming “climate catastrophe.”

There is a better way. Remove ethanol subsidy guarantees and let the corn be used to produce more chicken and pork, and use some of the acreage to produce grain for a hungry world. This will help to reduce food prices inflation.

The best new green deal ever. Save the American South West and make it green! This is how.

President Biden had the U.S. join the Paris accord and we are once again in accord with the IPCC and UN. Unfortunately, if we comply with all the requirements of the Paris accord we will lower the temperature increase by only 0.05C by 2030, and by only 0.17C by 2100. See the reasons why this is so here. How can that be? It is because the real climate change is not mainly caused by increasing CO2 and Methane. No, these are only minor players compared to land use changes such as deforestation, aquifer depletion, urbanization, erosion and so on.

One of the worst consequences of government controlled land use changes is the disappearance of Lake Aral in Asia, the fourth largest lake in the world. It provided a sensitive, but functioning Eco-system for a large portion of South East Soviet Union and western Afghanistan. Then the central planners wanted to improve the productivity of the area through irrigation and changing land management. In the 1960s and 1970s the Soviets started using the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya rivers to irrigate extensive cotton fields in the Central Asian plain. The results can be seen in these 6 Satellite photos

Disaster is a mild word. The lake was the source of the rains that fell up-stream. With the lake gone, the rivers dried up completely, and the whole upland became desert-like. There has been efforts to restore the upper part of the lake with a dam, but that will do nothing to reverse the desertification.

Another land use change is urbanization. This produces an urban heat island that can increase the temperature in the city by as much as 4C compared to forested surroundings.

Yes, there is significant climate change for the people living in the downtown areas. It is called urbanization. The globe as a whole does not experience it, but the people living in the asphalt jungles surely do. One could turn off the air conditioners, but their contribution is less than one degree on average. Far bigger is the fact that the albedo changes, the ground dries up, and when it rains it all gets flushed out in the streams or simply evaporates on the burning hot asphalt or concrete. One hour after the rain it is as hot as before.

Another climate change occurs when forested land is cleared but not replanted, or when land is overgrazed down to the roots. In these cases the streams dry out hillsides and floodplains, and flash floods occur instead of steady streams, and erosion causes major damages. And so it is with much of the American Southwest. The average temperature increase from deforestation and overgrazing is usually around 1C. This video explains it much better than may words. There is still hope, but it will take work

Why can’t this be done here in the dry American southwest? It involves water rights. Unless the property owner owns the water rights to the land the owns he has no right to harvest any of the rain that falls on it. If he improves the land with a road or a structure with a roof, all the rain that falls on it must be going to the river, and eventually to Lake Mead to prevent it from going dry. In the Eastern United states water rights are automatic, they are in fact water responsibilities. If you improve the land and build a road, parking lot or a structure with a roof, you must build a catch basin big enough to capture all the extra runoff generated by the rain falling on the improved land. Farmers are encouraged to build swales to minimize erosion and runoff of fertilizer and pesticide. This should also be done in the dry parts of the country, there their erosion problems are even worse. The way to do it is determined by local factors and should be decided at the local or regional level. When the federal government gets involved they tend to mandate one solution for all, and the needs for Arizona is quite different from the needs for Louisiana when it comes to water.

Here is the suggestion: Give this challenge to all local Universities and High School biology departments. Make a competition to come up with the best local solutions to restore the American Southwest if the water rights belonged to the land. The only limits are; you can not dam established creeks and you cannot draw water from the aquifers. The indigenous people once knew how to do it. Unfortunately, the American Southwest can suffer multiyear droughts, and, unlike in India, the monsoons can fail. The greening that occurred in the five projects mentioned in the video above should act as an inspiration. The greening that will occur will lower the temperature, drastically reduce erosion, provide a more permanent water flow in the rivers, and reduce flooding.

When the Hoover dam was built the population in the American south west was around seven million. Now the population dependent on the water from the Colorado river is over 40 million, and growing. Not only is the Colorado River water supply insufficient, but the aquifers are being depleted, and the desertification is starting to set in. Looking at a precipitation map of the U.S. there is one obvious solution.

Green areas have enough water, orange, brown or red areas are water sparse.

Bring water from the east to the west! There is only one big problem: The Rocky Mountains are in the way. The water must be lifted around 8,000 feet before it will start to flow downhill again. To lift one acre-ft of water one foot requires about 1.08 kWh. Some energy is regained on the way down, but the net energy needed is around 5,000 kWh per acre-ft of water delivered to the thirsty American South-west.

This proposal is to deliver up to 23.75 million acre-feet of water annually to the thirsty American South-west. It will consist of three aqueducts:

The first one is called the South Platte Aqueduct and will serve Eastern Colorado and help save the High Plains Aquifer, also called the Ogallala Aquifer. It is sketched out here. It is quite modest, only up to 750,000 acre-ft pumped annually, and while the aqueduct will be built to this capacity only 375,000 acre-feet will be initially needed. For now, it will serve about 5 million people.

The second is the Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct. It will serve the upper Colorado River Basin and the upper Rio Grande Basin. When fully used it will pump 8 million acre-ft yearly from the Mississippi/Arkansas River. It is more fully described here .

The third is the Transcontinental Aqueduct. It will serve the Lower Colorado River Basin, Southern New Mexico and Western Texas. It will pump up to 15 million acre-ft of water annually from the Atchafalaya river (Mississippi river bypass) all the way to southern Colorado River. It is described more fully here.

The total electricity need to accomplish this giant endeavor is about 120 billion kWh annually. or about three percent of the current US electricity demand. In 2020 the US produced 1,586 billion kWh from natural gas, 956 from coal, 337.5 from wind and 90.9 from solar.

For this giant project to have any chance of success there has to be something in it to be gained from every state that will be participating. Here are some of the benefits:

Arizona: Arizona needs more water. The water from Mississippi is less saline and better suited for agriculture and the people growth makes it necessary to provide more water sources. Right now the aquifers are being depleted. Then what? One example: The San Carlos lake is nearly dry half the time and almost never filled to capacity. With the aqueduct supplying water it can be filled to 80 +- 20% of full capacity all the time. In the event of a very large snow melt the lake level can be reduced in advance to accommodate the extra flow. Likewise during Monsoon season the aqueduct flow can be reduced in anticipation of large rain events. Arizona together with New Mexico has the best locations for solar power, but is lacking the water necessary for hydro-power storage. This proposal will add 13.6 GW of hydro-power storage capable of adding 68 GWh of electric peak power daily.

Arkansas: The main benefit for Arkansas is better flood control and river control of the Arkansas River and allowing it to deepen the draft for canal barges from 9,5 feet to 12 feet, which is standard on the Mississippi river.

California: The water aqueduct serving Los Angeles will be allowed to use maximum capacity at all times. Additional water resources will be given the greater San Diego area. The Imperial valley will be given sweet Mississippi water, which will improve agriculture yield. The polluted New River will be cut off at the Mexico border. There will be water allocated to the Salton Sea. There is a proposal to mine the world’s largest Lithium ore, mining the deep brine, rich in Lithium. (about a third of the world supply according to one estimate). This requires water, and as a minimum requirement to allow mining in the Salton Sea the water needs to be cleaned. This requires further investigation, but the area around the Salton Sea is maybe the most unhealthy in the United States. It used to be a great vacation spot.

Colorado: The future water needs from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs metropolitan area will be met. In addition the Pueblo area will be allowed to use more of the Arkansas River water, since the John Martin Reservoir will be filled by the Trans-Rocky Mountain aqueduct.

Kansas: It will get a reliable water supply to serve Wichita and all towns along the Arkansas River in times of drought and to serve additional water needs at all times. It will also improve flood control along the river.

Louisiana: The main benefit for Louisiana is: By siphoning off up to 23.75 million acre-ft/year from the Mississippi river it will lower the flow through the lower Mississippi, especially New Orleans, reducing flood risk. By making these aqueducts the whole Mississippi/Missouri watershed will be incentivized to make sure the river waters are clean enough to be able to use as water supply. This will positively affect 40% of the continental United States landmass.

Mexico: During the negotiations about who was going to get the water in Lake Mead Mexico did not get enough water, so they have been using all remaining water for irrigation, and no water is reaching the ocean anymore. In addition the water is too salty for ideal irrigation. This proposal will provide sweet Mississippi water to Mexico, ensure that some water reaches the Colorado river delta. This will restore the important ecology and restore aquatic life in the delta and the gulf. The town of Mexicali will get some water in exchange for shutting off New River completely.

Nebraska: One of the benefits for Nebraska is that it will help save the Ogallala aquifer. The farmers close to the aqueduct will use pumped water from Missouri rather than draw from the aquifers.

Nevada: Las Vegas is a catastrophe waiting to happen unless Lake Mead is saved. With this proposal there will be ample opportunity to make the desert bloom.

New Mexico: The state is ideally suited for solar panels. In addition to give much needed water to communities along the length of the aqueduct, it will provide 10.5 GW of hydro-power storage to be made available at peak power usage for up to 5 hours a day.

Oklahoma: The main advantage for Oklahoma is a much improved flood control, especially through the City of Tulsa. It will provide the same advantage for river barge traffic as benefits Arkansas.

Texas: The state has a big problem. It has already built up too much wind power and can not give up their coal burning power plants until the electricity is better balanced. They have no hydro-electric power storage at all, and we saw the result of that in last year’s cold snap. This proposal will give the Texas electric grid 18.5 GW of hydro-electric power for up to 5 hours a day.

Utah: The state will no longer be bound to provide water to Lake Mead, but can use all of its water rights for Utah, especially the Salt Lake City region.

Wyoming: The state will be free to use the water in the Green River and all the yearly allocated 1.05 million acre-feet of water can be used by the state of Wyoming.

The cost to do all these aqueducts will be substantial, but it can be done for less than 400 billion dollars in 2021 money, and that includes the cost of providing power generation. Considering it involves 40 million people dependent on the Colorado River now and another 10 million east of the Rocky Mountains, it is well worth doing, much more importand to do than other “green” projects, since it will save the American Southwest from becoming an uninhabitable desert.

This proposed solution cannot be made possible without changing our approach to power generation. The mantra now is to solve all our power needs through renewables. Texas has shown us that too much wind power without any hydroelectric power storage can lead to disaster. In addition, windmills kill birds, even threatening some species, such as the Golden Eagle and other large raptors that like to build their aeries on top of the generators. Solar panels work best in arid, sunny climate, such as Arizona and New Mexico, but the panels need cooling and cleaning to work best, and that takes water. They are even more dependent on hydro-power storage than wind. The transcontinental aqueduct will triple the hydro-electric power storage for the nation, and the Trans-Rocky-Mountain will add to it. Without hydro-electric power storage we still need all the conventional power generation capacity for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Conventional Nuclear power plants doesn’t work in most places since they depend on water for their cooling, and most of these aqueducts pump water in near deserts, and there would be too much evaporation losses to use water from the aqueducts for cooling.

The only realistic approach would be to use LFTR power plants. (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors). There are many advantages for using LFTR. Here are 30 reasons why LFTRs is by far the best choice.

For this project to succeed there must be developed a better way to build SMRs (Small Modular Reactors, less than 250 MW) more effectively. The price to build a LFTR plant should be less than $2.50 per watt. While the LFTR science is well understood, the LFTR engineering is not fully developed yet, but will be ready in less than 5 years if we get to it. In the mean time there should be built one or more assembly plants that can mass produce LFTR reactor vessels small enough so they can be shipped on a normal flatbed trailer through the normal highway system. My contention is that a 100 MW reactor vessel can be built this way and the total cost per plant will be less than 250 Million dollars. To save the American Southwest we will need about 350 of them, or 87,5 billion dollars total. This cost is included in the total calculation. There will be many more of these plants produced to produce all the electric power to power all the electric vehicles that are going to be built. This is the way to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Just switching to electric vehicles will not do the trick. The electric energy must come from somewhere. To convert all cars and trucks and with unchanging driving habits will require another 600 GW of generating capacity by 2050, our present “net zero emissions” goal.

To do this project we need cooperation from all states in providing dominant domain access. The Federal government will need to approve LFTR as the preferred Nuclear process and streamline approval from many years to less than one year.

Let’s get going!

The greening of the drying American South-West. Yes, it can and should be done.

Ever since beginning of time the battle has been about water. The garden of Eden was watered by four rivers, but ever since Adam and Eve were exiled from it, water has been the major concern. In the Middle East the first treaty between Abraham and Abimelech was about water and who was to control it. In Exodus 7:19 (NIV) The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs—and they will turn to blood.’ In Ezra 8:15 concerning the return to Jerusalem Ezra wrote: I assembled them at the canal that flows toward Ahava, and we camped there three days. In Daniel 8:2 Daniel wrote “In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam; in the vision I was beside the Ulai Canal.” And in Isaiah 19:6 Isaiah Prophesied “The canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up.” This means the Nile River would still flow, but the intricate canal system would fail.

The Romans built many aqueducts. Rome had 11 aqueducts to supply it with water. One of the most impressive aqueducts is the Segovia Aqueduct in Spain.

This aqueduct has been maintained through the centuries and supplied Segovia with water as late as the 19th century.

Even in the dry American south-west canals have been built for irrigation in the past, check out this video from the Arizona State University:

When the Hoover dam was built the population in the American south west was around seven million. Now the population dependent on the water from the Colorado river is over 40 million, and growing. Not only is the Colorado River water supply insufficient, but the aquifers are being depleted, and the desertification is starting to set in. Looking at a precipitation map of the u.s there is one obvious solution.

Green areas have enough water, orange, brown or red areas are water sparse.

Bring water from the east to the west! There is only one big problem: The Rocky Mountains are in the way. The water must be lifted around 8,000 feet before it will start to flow downhill again. To lift one acre-ft of water one foot requires about 1.08 kWh. Some energy is regained on the way down, but the net energy needed is around 5,000 kWh per acre-ft of water delivered to the thirsty American South-west.

This proposal is to deliver up to 23.75 million acre-feet of water annually to the thirsty American South-west. It will consist of three aqueducts:

The first one is called the South Platte Aqueduct and will serve the Eastern Colorado and help save the High Plains Aquifer, also called the Ogallala Aquifer. It is sketched out here. It is quite modest, only up to 750,000 acre-ft pumped annually, and while the aqueduct will be built to this capacity only 375,000 acrefeet will be initially needed. For now, it will serve about 5 million people.

The second is the Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct. It will serve the upper Colorado River Basin and the upper Rio Grande Basin. When fully used it will pump 8 million acre-ft yearly from the Mississippi/Arkansas River. It is more fully described here .

The third is the Transcontinental Aqueduct. It will serve the Lower Colorado River Basin, Southern New Mexico and Western Texas. It will pump up to 15 million acre-ft of water annually from the Atchafalaya river (Mississippi river bypass) all the way to the southern Colorado River. It is described more fully here.

The total electricity need to accomplish this giant endeavor is about 120 billion kWh annually. or about three percent of the total US electricity demand. In 2020 the US produced 1,586 billion kWh from natural gas, 956 from coal, 337.5 from wind and 90.9 from solar.

For this giant project to have any chance of success there has to be something in it to be gained from every state that will be participating. Here are the benefits

Arizona: Arizona needs more water. The water from Mississippi is less saline and better suited for agriculture and the people growth makes it necessary to provide more water sources. Right now the aquifers are being depleted. Then what? One example: The San Carlos lake is nearly dry half the time and almost never filled to capacity. With the aqueduct supplying water it can be filled to 80 +- 20% of full capacity all the time. In the event of a very large snow melt the lake level can be reduced in advance to accommodate the extra flow. Likewise during Monsoon season the aqueduct flow can be reduced in anticipation of large rain events. Arizona together with New Mexico has the best locations for solar power, but is lacking the water necessary for hydro-power storage. This proposal will add 13.6 GW of hydro-power storage capable of adding 68 GWh of electric peak power daily.

Arkansas: The main benefit for Arkansas is better flood control and river control and allowing to deepen the draft for the canal barges from 9,5 feet to 12 feet, which is standard on the Mississippi river.

California: The water aqueduct serving Los Angeles will be allowed to use maximum capacity at all times. Additional water resources will be given the greater San Diego area. The Imperial valley will be given sweet Mississippi water, which will improve agriculture yield. The polluted New River will be cut off. There will be water allocated to the Salton Sea. Proposed will be the to mine world’s largest Lithium ore, mining the deep brine, rich in Lithium. (about a third of the world supply according to one estimate). This requires water, and as a minimum requirement to allow mining in the Salton Sea the water needs to be cleaned. This requires further investigation, but the area around the Salton Sea is maybe the most unhealthy in the United States. It used to be a great vacation spot.

Colorado: The future water needs from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs metropolitan area will be met. In addition the Pueblo area will be allowed to use more of the Arkansas River water, since the John Martin Reservoir will be filled by the Trans-Rocky Mountain reservoir.

Kansas: It will get a reliable water supply to serve Wichita and all towns along the Arkansas River in times of drought and to serve additional water needs at all times. It will also improve flood control along the river.

Louisiana: The main benefit for Louisiana is: By siphoning off up to 23.75 million acre-ft/year from the Mississippi river it will lower the flow through the lower Mississippi, especially New Orleans, reducing flood risk. By making these aqueducts the whole Mississippi/Missouri watershed will be incentivized to make sure the river waters are clean enough to be able to use as water supply. This will positively affect 40% of the continental United States landmass.

Mexico: During the negotiations who was going to get the water in Lake Mead Mexico did not get enough water, so they have been using all remaining water for irrigation, and no water is reaching the ocean anymore. In addition the water is too salty for ideal irrigation. This proposal will provide sweet Mississippi water to Mexico, ensure that some water reaches the Colorado river delta. This will restore the important ecology and restore aquatic life in the delta and the gulf. The town of Mexicali will get some water in exchange for shutting off New River completely.

Nebraska: One of the benefits for Nebraska is that it will help save the Ogallala aquifer. The farmers close to the aqueduct will use pumped water from Missouri rather than draw from the aquifers.

Nevada: Las Vegas is a catastrophe waiting to happen unless Lake Mead is saved. With this proposal there will be ample opportunity to make the desert bloom.

New Mexico: The state is ideally suited for solar panels. In addition to give much needed water to communities along the length of the aqueduct, it will provide 10.5 GW of hydro-power storage to be made available at peak power usage for up to 5 hours a day.

Oklahoma: The main advantage for Oklahoma is a much improved flood control, especially through the City of Tulsa. It will provide the same advantage for river barge traffic as benefits Arkansas.

Texas: The state has a big problem. It has already built up too much wind power and can not give up their coal burning power plants until the electricity is better balanced. They have no hydro-electric power storage at all, and we saw the result of that in last year’s cold snap This proposal will give them 18.5 GW of hydro-electric power for up to 5 hours a day.

Utah: The state will no longer be bound to provide water to Lake Mead, but can use all of its water rights for Utah, especially the Salt Lake City region.

Wyoming: The state will be free to use the water in the Green River and all the yearly allocated 1.05 million acre-feet of water can be used by the state of Wyoming.

The cost to do all these aqueducts will be substantial, but it can be done for less than 400 billion dollars in 2021 money, and that includes the cost of providing power generation. Considering it involves 40 million people dependent on the Colorado River now and another 10 million east of the Rocky Mountains, it is well worth doing, much more than other “green” projects, since it will save the American Southwest from becoming an uninhabitable desert.

This proposed solution cannot be made possible without changing our approach to power generation. The mantra now is to solve all our power needs through renewables. Texas has shown us that too much wind power without any hydroelectric power storage can lead to disaster. In addition, windmills kill birds, even threatening some species, such as the Golden Eagle and other large raptors that like to build their aeries on top of the generators. Solar panels work best in arid, sunny climate, such as Arizona and New Mexico, but the panels need cooling and cleaning to work best, and that takes water. They are even more dependent on hydro-power storage than wind. The transcontinental aqueduct will triple the hydro-electric power storage for the nation, and the Trans-Rocky-Mountain will add to it. Without hydro-electric power storage we still need all the conventional power generation capacity for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

Conventional Nuclear power plants doesn’t work either since they depend on water for their cooling, and most of these aqueducts pump water in near deserts, and there would be too much evaporation losses to use the aqueduct’s water for cooling.

The only realistic approach would be to use LFTR power plants. (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors). There are many advantages for using LFTR. Here are 30 0f them.

For this project to succeed there must be developed a better way to build small nuclear plants more effectively. The price to build a LFTR plant must be less than $2.50 per watt. The LFTR technology is not fully developed yet, but will be ready in less than 5 years. In the mean time there should be built one or more assembly plants that can mass produce LFTR reactor vessels small enough so they can be shipped on a normal flatbed trailer through the normal highway system. My contention is that a 100 MW reactor vessel can be built this way and the total cost per plant will be less than 250 Million dollars. To save the American Southwest we will need about 350 of them, or 87,5 billion dollars total. This cost is included in the total calculation. There will be many more of these plants produced to produce all the electric power to power all the electric vehicles that are going to be built. This is the way to reduce fossil fuels. Just switching to electric vehicles will not do the trick. The energy must come from somewhere.

Let’s get going!

The Transcontinental Aqueduct; Will it pay for itself?

The goal of the Transcontinental Aqueduct is to save Lake Mead, save the American Southwest from becoming a desert, provide Hydroelectric peak storage for Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, provide sweet Mississippi water for irrigation, provide water to the Colorado river so it again can reach the ocean, revitalize San Carlos lake, provide more and better drinking water to 30 million people, to name just a few benefits.

The cost is substantial. The biggest problem is that the aqueduct must be substantially completed at full capacity before any benefits from the water will materialize. The cost to bring the aqueduct to half capacity is 300.5 billion dollars in construction cost only. This includes the cost of half the pumps or generators needed for full capacity, but not the cost of the power plants. Add to this the cost of filling the aqueduct and the 11 dams. The aqueduct itself will contain 1 million acre-ft of water when filled, the 11 dams will contain about 800,000 acre-ft when half full. To pump 1.8 MAF an average of 5000 feet requires about 10 TWh, when losses are included. Th filling stage water will be pumped, using excess wind and solar power at bargain rates, about 4 c/kwh , the same as the LFTR will produce when fully installed. This is about 320 million dollars in “liquid investment” The electric cost of moving one acre-ft from the Mississippi to the Colorado River is 6 MWh. This power is initially bought from off-peak wind and solar power, but as the aqueduct is completed with true hydropower storage up more and more the power will be generated with 100 MW LFTR power plants, the hydropower storage will be filled with excess wind and solar power.

In short: assuming a 50 year amortization plan for the aqueduct, and money available at 2%, , it will cost 12.5 billion a year in capital cost to deliver 7.5 MAF water from the Mississippi River to the Colorado river or any point in between, or $1,670 per acre-ft. Add to that $240 for electricity and another $50 per acre-ft in overhead and maintenance, the cost will be $1960 per acre-ft

When the aqueduct is fully built up, it will cost $13.4 billion yearly in capital cost to deliver 14.5 MAF of water from the Mississippi River to the Colorado river or any point in between, or $ 925 per acre-ft. The other costs stay the same, so the total cost of water will be $ 1,215 per acre-ft.

I have not yet mentioned the other major benefit of the Transcontinental Aqueduct. If I wanted the lowest cost of water possible, I would have used the lower route, going through the Texas lowlands to El Paso before routing it through New Mexico and Arizona. I routed it through the high and dry parts of Texas and New Mexico, at extra altitude penalty. The intent is to provide Hydropower storage at select places. These places are ideal for wind and solar power, but they need to store the energy when the sun is not up or doesn’t shine, or the wind doesn’t blow. Right now that is provided by coal and natural gas. Conventional nuclear power is best for use as base power only, so this transcontinental aqueduct will provide up to 23 GW of pure hydropower storage for 5 hours a day, but the LFTR nuclear stations providing the energy pumping the water in the aqueduct will shut off the pumps for five hours a day, or when the need arises, and instead provide another 20 GW of virtual hydropower power.

These 43 GW of hydropower capacity will be as follows: Louisiana, 0.4 GW; Texas, 18,5 GW (right now, Texas has no hydropower storage, but plenty of wind power); New Mexico, 10.5 GW; Arizona 13.6 GW. In Addition, when the Transcontinental Aqueduct is fully built up, the Hoover dam can provide a true 2.2 GW hydrostorage poser by pumping water back from Lake Mojave, a 3 billion dollar existing proposal waiting to be realized once Lake Mead is saved.

The amount of installed hydroelectric power storage is:

U.S. operating hydroelectric pumped storage capacity

Most hydroelectric pumped storage was installed in the 70’s. Now natural gas plants provide most of the peak power. This aqueduct will double, triple the U.S. pumped peak storage if virtual peak storage is included. By being pumped from surplus wind and solar energy as well as nuclear energy it is true “Green power”. Some people like that.

Apocalypse in China. Two dams in inner Mongolia burst! Like catastrophic flooding in Europe, blame climate change first!

Two dams collapsed in the Hulunbuir proince on Sunday, July 18.

6,660 people were affected; 53,800 acres of farmland was flooded; 22 bridges, 124 culverts, and 15.6 kilometres of highway were destroyed….Casualties are unknown.

On July 20 was reported heavy rains in the Henan province caused flooding of the Yellow river and its tributaries. The yellow river normally does not even reach the ocean for 3 months of the year!

In Europe flooding occurred in at least 7 countries. It started with heavy rains in the beginning of July, some areas received 4 inches of rain, over three times the normal rainfall for all of July, then on July 14 fell another 4 inches. The dams were already full to the brim, so many areas were flooded.

Here is a very good summary of the events in Europe, and as you expected, climate change is blamed.

What did he mean by “We are now officially in the era of climate change.”

Europe and China have always had floods. In fact, casualties have gone down substantially in the last hundred and fifty years. Here is a chart from Europe:

Dams has always been important since the beginning of industrialization, first as water wheels to provide power, then with electricity the rivers were really exploited to provide hydroelectric power. Flood control was also important, and there is a trade-off, which is more important, electric power or flood prevention? To maximize electric output you want to have the dams filled to the brim at all times, for flood control you want to have the dams at half full, to always be ready to absorb the next rain. The problem is that in so doing the dams only produce 70% of maximum energy. To complicate matters, the last ten years there has been a large investment in wind and solar energy, and when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, the hydro-electric power storage will have to fill in the gaps, if we are to have any clean energy at all times.

This was the case in Europe in July. The early rains had filled up the dams to within a foot of maximum, and there had not been any controlled releases to prepare for the additional rains expected. Bureaucrats hate to do controlled releases, they see billions of Kilowatt hours go to waste. The bureaucracy failed, these decisions must be made with no delay, but if politicians rather than technically competent people are to make the decisions, the time delays inherent in any bureaucracy will make disasters like these happen again and again.

The solution to the water shortage in the South-West, and Texas hydro-electric storage problem, eliminating carbon fuel dependence at the same time.

The Hoover dam water is being depleted. We are running out of water in the South-West United States. The water used for irrigation is too salty. The rapidly growing population requires more and more water. Texas needs hydro-electric storage to supplement the power when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

First let us assess the size of the problem. The rainfall reaching the streams in the Colorado River basin is about 15 million acre feet per year, and is not increasing. See figure:

Now let us look at water allocations:

The total allocations come to 16.5 Million Acre Feet per year. This is clearly unsustainable, Lake Mead will be drained by 2 MAF per year and is now at 34% of full pool of 32.3 MAF. If nothing is done it will be drained in 5.5 years. Draining Lake Powell will give us another 4 years, so something must be done in the next 9.5 years.

Texas has a problem, all too well displayed in the big freeze of last winter. The wind farms froze, the sun didn’t shine and the coal fired plants had been shut down for environmental reasons. The only thing that saved the grid from total collapse was Nuclear Power. Even the Natural Gas powered plants ran out of supplies since some pipelines had lost power. And Texas has virtually no hydroelectric storage capacity.

This is my proposal: Build an aqueduct from the Mississippi river to Yuma California, about 1650 miles long, capable of carrying 15 MAF/year of water It will start and end near sea level, and pump water in Texas and New Mexico to more than 4000 feet elevation until it reaches the Gila river near Duncan, NM, then follow the Gila river all the way down to Yuma, AZ. On the way down the Gila River it will generate hydroelectric power, and recover much of the power spent pumping the water upstream in Texas and NM. You may wonder, what would a canal like that look like? Some of the way it would look like this, but be 30% larger, here is the All American canal under construction:

It will have many pumping stations. The size will be about 10 times the capacity of the ones used in the Colorado River aqueduct, shown here. (This aqueduct made it possible for Los Angeles to grow to a megalopolis.)

To pump all this water 4500 feet up will require twenty-two 500 MW electric power generators. The ideal power source for this is Liquid Fluor Thorium Reactors that provide power at all times, most of the time they pump water, but about 6 hours a day they stop pumping and provide peak power, thus functioning as a virtual hydroelectric battery. As all nuclear generators they generate no CO2, and LFTRs are so safe they do not require evacuation zones. If the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, or it is excessively cold or hot, they can even stop pumping water altogether and provide all the power to the grid. With the water on the downhill leg the opposite is true. It releases most of its water during times of high demand, acting as a normal peak water storage generator facility. Since both start and end points of this aqueduct is near sea level, about 90% of the power is recovered in this way except for the water that is diverted at high altitudes.

Who is going to get all this extra water? Check the current allotment and the new proposed allotment.

There will be no changes to the allotments for the states in the upper Colorado River basin in this proposal.

California will get its allotment increased from 4.4 MAF to 6.4 MAF, all water coming from the new aqueduct.

Arizona will get its allotment increased from 2.8 MAF to 4.3 MAF, all from the new aqueduct.

Nevada will get its allotment increased from 0.3 MAF to 1.3 MAF, the increase will be taken from Lake Mead.

Mexico will get its allotment doubled, to 3.0 MAF. The Colorado river should again be reaching Baja California with a flow of 0.5 MAF. This may restore a modest fishery.

New Mexico will be allotted 1.0 MAF for high elevation irrigation from this new aquifer.

The aqueduct will supply California, Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico with water from the Mississippi river, much better suited for irrigation than the present water which is high in salinity.

This will reduce the outflow from the Hoover dam by 6.9 MAF, and the new aqueduct will supply 10.4 MAF downstream from Lake Mead.. With this reduction in outflow Lake Mead will recover quite well.

When the Hoover dam is near full pool, we should start using it as a peak power supplier by pumping water back from Lake Mohave to Lake Mead during off peak demand.

If there ever was a project worthy of consideration in the Infrastructure bill, this is it. Look what it does:

  1. Saves Lake Mead from being emptied and secures its refilling over time.
  2. The 22 LFTR plants in Texas and New Mexico will provide up to 8 GW of peak power for 5 hours a day, and all 11 GW of power can be commandeered for emergency use for a week.
  3. The downstream dams in Arizona will provide up to 6 GW of peak power.
  4. Once the project is finished, the Hoover dam is converted to a peak power storage with 2 GW peak power available.
  5. the addition of 10.4 MAF water will add 40% to the water supply for over 40 million people.
  6. The Mississippi water is better suited for irrigation than Colorado River water due to much less salinity.
  7. By increasing irrigation by at least 3.5 MAF it will provide a 40% increase in food production from the greater imperial valley and a 40% increase in food production from Mexico.
  8. The electric energy generated by the Nuclear power plants is all carbon free, and because of the peak power generated on the downhill leg, we can build another 19 GW peak power of renewable wind and solar generators. This will allow us to retire 19 GW of Coal fired power plants once the aqueduct is completed

The new name for this canal would be the Transcontinental Aqueduct.

Time to rethink ethanol mandates for gasoline.

I just checked the price of corn. On May 7, the May 21, 2021 contract closed at $ 7.72 a bushel. A year ago, the price was a little over three dollars per bushel.
One bushel of corn makes 2.5 gallon of ethanol
That makes the feedstock price to make ethanol $3.08 a gallon. Add to that 50 cents to make the stuff and distribute it and the price per gallon is $ 3.58.
Since the heat content of ethanol is 67% of regular gasoline (no ethanol), the gasoline equivalent price of ethanol is $ 5.34 per gallon.
Over five bucks a gallon for ethanol! And that is before profit, blending, selling and taxes!
That’s the good news.
For the people that are worried about CO2 the bad news is:
To make corn you have to use 150 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per acre. It takes the equivalent of 0.15 gallons of gasoline to produce one pound of nitrogen fertilizer. That comes to the equivalent of 22.5 gallons of gasoline to fertilize one acre. One acre of corn yields about 150 bushels of corn.
The fuel spent to produce one bushel of corn is therefore more than 0.15 gallons of gasoline. Since it also involves sowing, preparing the soil, cultivating, pesticides, phosphate fertilizer and harvesting it takes 0.25 gallons of fuel to produce one bushel of corn.
Here comes the kicker: When you ferment sugar into alcohol half the weight disappears as CO2! Let us examine the formula: C6H12O6 + Zymase → 2C2H5OH + 2CO2
The molecule weight of C2H5OH is 46 and the molecule weight of CO2 is 44.
Well almost half anyway.
Let us assume you have a car that gets 25 miles to the gallon and you drive 100 mile on pure gasoline. You have used 4 gallons of gasoline.
Now take the same car and drive 100 miles with a 10% ethanol mix, mandated by the EPA. Remember, they are concerned about CO2.
The ethanol has only 67% of the heat content of gasoline so the gas mileage will be lower. It will be consuming 0.04 x 0.9 +0.1 x 1.5 x 0.04 = 0.042 gallons per mile, 5% more or a total of 4.2 gallons for the 100 mile trip.
So you consumed 3.78 gallons of gasoline and 0.42 gallons of ethanol, for a total of 4.2 gallons. We have all experienced this increase in gas consumption. And this is best case.
What about CO2 up in the air? In the pure gasoline case we produced 4 gallons worth of CO2.
In the ethanol mix case we produced 4.2 gallons worth of CO2.
Add to that another .4 gallons equivalence of CO2 from the fermentation, and another .04 gallons worth of CO2 to produce the corn in the first place.
The sum total is 4.64 gallons worth of CO2, or about 16% more than in the gasoline only case.
But corn does absorb CO2 when it grows! Doesn’t that count?
Corn is one of the worst crops for soil erosion and uses up other nourishments that will not be used if you make ethanol from it. Granted the cattle are happy for the cakes that are left when the sugar and oil is removed.
In this age of looming food shortages nearly any other use of available tillable soil is to be preferred over ethanol production.
Oh, and one more thing. Assume that pure gasoline is 3 dollars a gallon at the pump, which includes 50 cents in taxes.
Unsubsidized ethanol blend should be $5.34 a gallon, before taxes
But we subsidize the ethanol production so the price is still 3 dollars a gallon at the pump.
If we used pure gasoline the hundred mile trip would cost twelve dollars.
If we paid full price for the ethanol blend we would pay $ 13.79 for the trip and produce 16% more CO2.
We are really paying $ 13.79 for the trip, produce 16% more CO2 and leave a bill of $1.79 for our grandchildren to pay, the subsidy of 0.42 gallons of ethanol.
This is EPA legislation at work, trying to combat the coming “climate catastrophe.”

There is a better way. remove ethanol subsidy guarantees and let the corn be used to produce more chicken and pork, and use some of the acreage to produce grain for a hungry world. This will help to prevent food prices inflation.