Half the word’s plastic trash ending up in the ocean comes down the Yangtze river. A Limerick.

There’s trash in the river Yangtze

It’s making its way to the Sea

For the Chinese pollute

and they don’t give a hoot

One wonder, how bad can it be?

How bad is it?

It turns out that 93% of all the plastics that reach the oceans come from just 10 rivers, eight in Asia and two in Africa. Of them the Yang-Tse river contributes about half. All other rivers combined from Africa, America, Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America contribute about 7% (Source Scientific American 2018)

Thanks, China!

 

 

 

My response to the Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal has been proposed.

Co-sponsors Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez (NY) and Sen. Ed Markley (Mass)

Presidential candidates supporting the bill: Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen Corey Booker, Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen Elizabeth Warren and many more to come.

My comments are in italics. This warrants a thorough evaluation

116TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION H. RES. ll

Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Ms. OCASIO-CORTEZ submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal. Whereas the October 2018 report entitled ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment report found that—

(1) human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century;

The IPCC document is more of a political than a scientific document. It presumes that the dominant factor in climate change is the rise in CO2, while the most important greenhouse gas is water vapor and the many forms it takes. It assumes that with rising CO2 the temperature will rise which will evaporate more water and these greenhouse gases would add up to a larger temperature rise than with CO2 rising alone. That would be true unless something else changes. The assumption that they are additive is only true if they are of the same magnitude which is the case in the polar regions in the winter and in the upper atmosphere near the thermopause. In fact there is a strong temperature stabilizer in the ecosystem. It is called clouds. A one percent difference in the average cloud cover has more influence on temperature than the CO2 rise since the beginning of industrialization. At the equator the average temperature stays constant regardless of the CO2 concentration. Where is the proof? It is in the absence of the so called hot-spot in the troposphere:

 

 

 

 

 

How well do the models do?

That is why the IPCC assessment is a political, not a scientific document. No true scientist would accept a model if contradicted by physical evidence.

(2) a changing climate is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities, and critical infrastructure;

The sea level rise has hit a temporary plateau and is not rising at a faster pace than before CO2 started to rise,

https://lenbilen.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/sea-level-nasa-1993-present.jpg?w=660

as to wildfires, see (3) (C). Droughts are not increasing

Image result for worldwide droughts

tornadoes are decreasing,

Image result for u.s tornadoes

so are hurricanes.

Image result for hurricane statistics

 

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(3) global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrialized levels will cause—

(A) mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change;

This is a problem in the 10-40 latitude where most people live. Some countries like Mexico and Iran are using up their ground water at an alarming rate, and it will only get worse. But climate change is not the cause of it. Overuse of water is.

(B) more than $500,000,000,000 in lost annual economic output in the United States by the year 2100;

That will only happen if we implement the plan and become a socialist country like Venezuela. 500 billion dollars in an economy of what is now around 20 trillion dollars a year is a lot of money.

(C) wildfires that, by 2050, will annually burn at least twice as much forest area in the western United States than was typically burned by wildfires in the years preceding 2019;

Image result for wildfire statistics

Smokey the bear policies worked well in the 1950’s through 1990 but recent environmental policies hindering cleaning of underbrush are slowly reversing earlier trends.

(D) a loss of more than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth;

Temperature is only a minor cause of the coral reef stresses. Overfishing, destructive fishing, water pollution from raw sewage and other dumping is a larger problem.

(E) more than 350,000,000 more people to be exposed globally to deadly heat stress by 2050; and

The tropics has found its temperature and nearly all temperature rise is confined to the polar regions, partly due to increased snowfall. When it snows it is not as cold as when the sky is clear in the (Ant)arctics. But it is still below freezing, so the snow accumulates.

(F) a risk of damage to $1,000,000,000,000 of public infrastructure and coastal real estate in the United States; and

Related image

While nominal losses are up, as a percentage of GDP they are going down.

(4) global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate, which will require—

(A) global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030; and

China is already producing 50% more CO2 than the U.S and is on track to further triple its output by 2030. This was the agreement President Obama hailed as a breakthrough

(B) net-zero emissions by 2050; Whereas, because the United States has historically been responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions, having emitted 20 percent of global green-house gas emissions through 2014, and has a high technological capacity, the United States must take a leading role in reducing emissions through economic transformation;

While not accepting the Tokyo protocol, U.S. was the only country in recent years to adhere to its goal of reducing CO2 emissions.

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Whereas the United States is currently experiencing several related crises, with— (1) life expectancy declining while basic needs, such as clean air, clean water, healthy food, and adequate health care, housing, transportation, and education, are inaccessible to a significant portion of the United States population;

Don’t forget the opioid crisis, the new killing fields.

(2) a 4-decade trend of economic stagnation, de-industrialization, and antilabor policies that has led to—

(A) hourly wages overall stagnating since the 1970s despite increased worker productivity;

True, but the last two years real salaries have stared rising again

(B) the third-worst level of socioeconomic mobility in the developed world before the Great Recession;

Since? Yes it decreased under Clinton, stayed level under Bush and declined drastically under Obama, but is now rising again, especially for women, for Blacks and for Hispanics.

(C) the erosion of the earning and bargaining power of workers in the United States; and

True, Union power is decreasing except for public service unions.

(D) inadequate resources for public sector workers to confront the challenges of climate change at local, State, and Federal levels; and

(3) the greatest income inequality since the 1920s, with—

(A) the top 1 percent of earners accruing 91 percent of gains in the first few years of economic recovery after the Great Recession;

Which recession are we referring to? 1929? 2009?

(B) a large racial wealth divide amounting to a difference of 20 times more wealth between the average White family and the average Black family; and

You are using the wrong average. An example: The average wealth of an Amazon employee is $1800 more if one is to include Jeff Bezos than if not.

(C) a gender earnings gap that results in women earning approximately 80 percent as much as men, at the median;

This time the median is used, and it has to do more with career choices than not. It is worthy of attention though.

Whereas climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic racial, regional,

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social, environmental, and economic injustices (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘systemic injustices’’) by disproportionately affecting indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-in-come workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities’’);

Yes, but the goal of Agenda 21 is to depopulate rural areas and to force people to migrate into cities

Whereas, climate change constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States—

(1) by impacting the economic, environmental, and social stability of countries and communities around the world; and

Maybe unstable and uncivilized governments have something to do with that

(2) by acting as a threat multiplier;

?

Whereas the Federal Government-led mobilizations during World War II and the New Deal created the greatest middle class that the United States has ever seen, but many members of frontline and vulnerable communities were excluded from many of the economic and societal benefits of those mobilizations; and

Whereas the House of Representatives recognizes that a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal is a historic opportunity—

(1) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States;

? Give an example how.

(2) to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States; and

? Give an example how.

(3) to counteract systemic injustices: Now, therefore, be it

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Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

(1) it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal—

(A) to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;

What is net-zero? If you emit, you emit.

(B) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;

The Federal Government does not create jobs. They may enable or hinder job creation.

(C) to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;

This is a good goal.

(D) to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come—

(i) clean air and water;

No argument there. CO2 however is not a pollutant. It is the life-giving gas, without which no plant life would be possible.

(ii) climate and community resiliency;

Increasing CO2 helps climate resiliency by greening the earth.

https://lenbilen.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/increase.png?w=660

(iii) healthy food;

Increasing CO2 helps increasing food supply. This is good for both people and animals. As a side benefit photosynthesis is more efficient and uses less water as CO2 increases.

(iv) access to nature; and

I love nature. I would never put i earphones as I take a nature walk or run.

(v) a sustainable environment; and

We must work towards a sustainable environment. The best way is to let CO2 rise until we develop a better energy policy until a new nuclear power effort using Thorium or eventually Fusion power.

(E) to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural

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communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities’’);

(2) the goals described in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1) (referred to in this resolution as the ‘‘Green New Deal goals’’) should be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization (referred to in this resolution as the ‘‘Green New Deal mobilization’’) that will require the following goals and projects—

(A) building resiliency against climate change-related disasters, such as extreme weather, including by leveraging funding and providing investments for community-defined projects and strategies;

See above

(B) repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including—

(i) by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as techno-logically feasible;

Pollution, yes; CO2 is not a pollutant.

(ii) by guaranteeing universal access to clean water;

This is the number one problem in many countries, as well as in the U.S. southwest. Lake Mead is slowly being drained.

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(iii) by reducing the risks posed by flooding and other climate impacts; and

Rain will be increasing, but interestingly enough major floods will decrease. Good news all around.

(iv) by ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change;

This will slow down development. When I came to America many years ago Congress finally got around to promoting George Washington to a 5 star General.

(C) meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including—

(i) by dramatically expanding and upgrading existing renewable power sources; and

It is a tall order to replace fossil fuels. 85% of the world’s energy consumption is still based on fossil fuels.

(ii) by deploying new capacity;

Thorium based nuclear power is the best alternative.

(D) building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and ‘‘smart’’ power grids, and working to ensure affordable access to electricity;

The problem with the grid is that energy produced is not where energy is consumed. Maxwell’s equations are what they are, so transmission losses are a fact of life. In addition solar and wind power are not continuous sources so they still need the same replacement generation capacity to do the job. In addition the present grid is vulnerable to terrorism.

(E) upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;

All existing buildings? Dream on.

(F) spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from

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manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry;

(G) working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including—

(i) by supporting family farming;

cowbackpacks

This is a cow recycling methane gas. Methane gas can be used to heat stoves as is done in North Korea since the mid 1800’s. A futurist’s dream.

 

 

(ii) by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and

The Chesapeake bay Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission are doing a valiant effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. This is a regional effort, tailor made for the intricate ecology and special challenges facing the bay. Even the Amish have adopted environmentally safe farming practices.

(iii) by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food;

Again this is best accomplished at a regional and local level by education and individual initiatives. The heavy handed Federal Government tend to think that national polices will solve the problem

(H) overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in—

(i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing;

A promising development is hybrid trucks. They charge the batteries instead of using the jake breaks, and provide a much better acceleration out of a stop sign or a traffic light. Then in loading areas they use only the batteries.

(ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transportation; and

Some cities are better suited for public transportation than others. State College, PA has an excellent public transportation system, but Houston and Los Angeles among others are a nightmare.

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(iii) high-speed rail;

It is expensive and nowhere near as efficient as people think.

(I) mitigating and managing the long-term adverse health, economic, and other effects of pollution and climate change, including by providing funding for community-defined projects and strategies;

What are community-defined projects and strategies?

(J) removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing pollution, including by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as preservation and afforestation;

Increasing CO2 makes afforestation possible in otherwise too arid areas since more CO2 means less water to do the photosynthesis.

(K) restoring and protecting threatened, endangered, and fragile ecosystems through locally appropriate and science-based projects that enhance biodiversity and support climate resiliency;

This part I love, let’s go for it.

(L) cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites to promote economic development and sustainability;

The one has very little to do with the other. Cleaning up hazardous sites is already law.

(M) identifying other emission and pollution sources and creating solutions to eliminate them; and

Yes I remember when Argon was proposed to be regulated. Federal Government at its best.

(N) promoting the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, funding, and services, with the aim of making the United

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States the international leader on climate action, and to help other countries achieve a Green New Deal;

China, Russia, Australia and even India are far ahead of us in Thorium Nuclear Power Development. Our Patent law is in the Constitution.

(3) a Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses; and

Why labor unions? What are frontline communities? Do they mean border states communities overrun by drug smugglers and sex traffickers?

(4) to achieve the Green New Deal goals and mobilization, a Green New Deal will require the following goals and projects—

(A) providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment, adequate capital (including through community grants, public banks, and other public financing), technical expertise, supporting policies, and other forms of assistance to communities, organizations, Federal, State, and local government agencies, and businesses working on the Green New Deal mobilization;

Who is the public? Do they mean politicians and government bureaucrats?

(B) ensuring that the Federal Government takes into account the complete environmental

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and social costs and impacts of emissions through—

  • existing laws;
  • new policies and programs; and
  • ensuring that frontline and vulnerable communities shall not be adversely affected;

Emissions: Pollution, yes, CO2, the more the better up to 1000 ppm.

(C) providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities, so those communities may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization;

Better still, do a partnership with business for a better and more complete trade school education without union interference.

(D) making public investments in the research and development of new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries;

A Manhattan project to leapfrog the world in Thorium based Nuclear power would be nice.

(E) directing investments to spur economic development, deepen and diversify industry in local and regional economies, and build wealth and community ownership, while prioritizing high-quality job creation and economic, social, and environmental benefits in frontline and vulnerable communities that may otherwise strug-

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gle with the transition away from greenhouse gas intensive industries;

A very inefficient way.

Private enterprise is better and faster.

(F) ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level;

Sounds like an expensive boondoggle for the benefit of lobbyists and politicians.

(G) ensuring that the Green New Deal mobilization creates high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages, hires local workers, offers training and advancement opportunities, and guarantees wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition;

What does the unions have to do with that?

(H) guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States;

What does guaranteeing  a job in a changing world mean? Shall we still guarantee the job of a railroad brakeman or a flight engineer? In a changing world retraining is to prefer such as mandatory retraining for the unemployed.

(I) strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment;

Likewise let the employers organize to facilitate lockouts. (This is done in Sweden).

(J) strengthening and enforcing labor, workplace health and safety, antidiscrimination, and wage and hour standards across all employers, industries, and sectors;

Wage and hour standards is a recipe for stagnation.

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(K) enacting and enforcing trade rules, procurement standards, and border adjustments with strong labor and environmental protections—

What is a border adjustment?

(i) to stop the transfer of jobs and pollution overseas; and

Exactly how are you going to accomplish that?

(ii) to grow domestic manufacturing in the United States;

This is one of Trump’s main goals.

(L) ensuring that public lands, waters, and oceans are protected and that eminent domain is not abused;

Eminent domain is in the constitution and must not be abused.

(M) obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous people for all decisions that affect indigenous people and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous people, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous people;

Isn’t this already law?

(N) ensuring a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies; and

You mean no more trade with China?

(O) providing all people of the United States with—

(i) high-quality health care;

What do you mean with provide? Free? Does people include illegal aliens?

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(ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing;

Good luck with that.

(iii}economic security; and

Nothing is as elusive as economic security. Just look at  Zimbabwe and now Nicaragua.

(iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.

Free access?

A cold and snowy winter ahead? The signs (Ice and snow) are accumulating

It’s snowy and cold here up north.

True Climate Change starts to come forth.

It’s more clouds and more snow

Chills us down, just to show

it’s negative feedback henceforth.

This picture was taken Nov 15 from our porch in Boalsburg, PA. It was a very early snowfall.

Last night it was 11 F in Boalsburg, a new low for this date, and tomorrow night may set a new all time low for November since records begun.

This is of course local weather, but looking at the whole picture it seems to get colder in the Northern Temperate Region and in the Arctic in spite of temperature readings showing higher than average temperatures.

Let me explain: Everybody knows that in the Summer clouds cool by day and warm by night. Up North in Winter clouds containing snow, warm the atmosphere both day and night, and yet they cool down by depositing snow.

We are having earlier snowfalls in the Northern Hemisphere

This chart is from yesterday and is from the Canadian department of  ‘Environment and Climate Change’, so we can rest assured that the amount of snow cover is not over-estimated.

From Rutgers University climate lab comes this chart of fall snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere. This year’s snow cover is about 5% larger than last year at the same day, so we can clearly see that the increasing trend is not broken; if anything, it is accelerating.

From sunshinehours.net comes this chart, showing the Arctic ice cover has grown from being the lowest on record in October to the highest in the last seven years for Nov 21.

This is confirmed by the Danish Ministries for Energy, Utilities and Climate. The charts can be found at polarportal.com.

The

confirms that it was not just a flash-over of ice on a calm ocean, but real ice accumulation at a record clip since October.

This trend of increasing Fall snow and ice accumulation has not been well published. The earlier Spring arrivals with heavier than normal snow-melts have, but the reason for early Springs is not primarily increasing CO2. A bigger impact comes from the brown clouds emanating from mostly China.

The soot from these clouds make its way all the way up into the Arctic and is deposited on the snow, changing the albedo, leading to an earlier snow-melt.

When it comes to reporting of results from valid research, what is published is often cherry-picked to satisfy political agenda. True climate research is by no means settled, and the future is, at some time we will enter into the next ice-age, which is the normal state of the Earth. The negative temperature feedback from clouds limits the temperature rise. The Tropics has found its temperature, no amount of increasing CO2 will change that, the lack of increase in the tropospheric hot-spot in the tropics as the CO2 level increased from 320ppm to 410 ppm proves that. The insrease, if any is less thas 1/7 of what the models predict. In the Arctic there will be a winter temperature rise, mostly because of increased snowfall, and to a minor degree from increased CO2. The increased snowfall in the Arctic make the winters warmer (about 5 C), but the Summers cooler (about 1/2 C)

(From the Danish Meteorological Institute)

Climate Studies are fascinating, the Science is far from settled, we are still at the beginning of understanding the major temperature regulator of the world: Clouds.

 

 

 

 

People, raw material and energy, the trade war with China, and will tariffs solve anything?

We are in a pickle. At least we were until President Trump stirred the pot and decided to address the trade war with China that has been going on for more than a decade, encouraged and abetted by former President Obama and his religious belief that the biggest threat to civilization is not nuclear holocaust, chemical poisoning of people and the earth or super-volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural phenomena, but climate change, all man-made of course.

Let us compare the economies of China and the U.S. in raw numbers.

1. Concrete. China produced 51.4% of the world’s cement in 2015, USA produced 1.8%. China’s production was almost 30 times larger.

It takes a lot of concrete to build artificial islands so they can take control of the South China Sea.

2 Steel production. China produced 50.3% of the world’s crude Steel in 2015, USA produced 4.9%. China’s production was over 20 times larger. Some of this steel was dumped below production cost to crush our domestic low end steel industry. An example: Rolled steel to make steel cans were exported at about $200 a ton, the production cost in the U.S. is more like $400 a ton.

3. Aluminum (or Aluminium as the British and IUPAC call it) China produced 41% of the world’s raw aluminum in 2010, USA produced 4.5%. China’s production was nearly 10 times larger.

This is easily rectified. Aluminum is produced where electricity is abundant and cheap, like in Norway and Iceland. Aluminum is produced whenever there is excess electric capacity, never on peak hours. Even here China dumps their excess Aluminum.

4. Coal. China burned 51.2% of the world’s coal in 2012, USA produced 12.5%. China’s production was more than four times larger.

This of course with the Paris accord in mind. U.S. and the European countries are to limit their emissions and slowly diminish them, down to a per capita emission comparable to the mid 1800’s, while China, being a developing country is allowed to increase their emissions until 2030, and then stabilize them, not decrease them.

If this seems like we have already sold out to China, it is nothing compared to

5. Rare Earth Metals. First, rare earth metals re not rare at all, they exist in small quantities together with Thorium and sometimes Uranium wherever other metals are mined.

The Lanthanides occur in quantity in Monazite, a byproduct of mining Phosphates, but also as a byproduct of mining Titanium, and even from some Iron ores. The rare earth metals are free to begin extraction if it was not for one thing, they also contain Thorium, and Thorium is radio-active, so in the mid 1980’s the NRC and IAEA reclassified Monazite and anything containing Thorium as a “Source Material” and after that it became too costly to comply with all the regulations for nuclear material, so all production of rare earth minerals ceased in the U.S.

China saw an opportunity to grab the world market for Rare Earth Metals and is now controlling about 94% of the supply of all rare earth metals.

So what are rare earth metals used for?

China now has a de facto monopoly on all usages of rare earth metals, and in the case of war or an embargo, not only are our precious cell phones and computers in jeopardy, so is our defense, night vision goggles, aircraft engines, navigation systems, laser guidance, just to name a few uses.

And not only that, we import the completed parts from China, even for our most sophisticated military equipment, such as the F35 aircraft, after telling the Chinese how to make the components. The very same components are now in China’s version of the F35, still under development, but in a year or so China will have their faithful copies made!

This is clearly unsustainable, so in 2014  Congress tried to pass HR 4883 and         S 2006 to remedy the situation, but the bills got killed in review by none other than the defense department, citing National Security!

We are no longer under the Obama “Strategic Patience” doctrine, so an updated version of these bills need to be introduced ASAP, or we will be on the hook from China forever!

After all this, the current spat with North Korea seems like a nuisance.

 

And then there was one. U.S. alone fights climate change the right way.

At the climate conference in Bonn, Germany, Syria signed the so called Paris Accord on Climate Change, leaving the United States alone as a non-signer.

Our European friends are quite upset about this. After all, countries like Denmark and Germany have the highest residential electricity rates in the world to pay for their wind and solar power installed. Here are the countries with reduced CO2 emissions this century:

But if one looks at the absolute decline in CO2 emissions, the U.S. leads the pack hands down:

So, who is the biggest CO2 villain? It is China by 6500 million tons of oil equivalent increase since 2000.    According to the Paris accord China is allowed to emit 6 times as much CO2 as the U.S. And not only that, the U.S. would pay them as one of the “developing” countries to do that!

Humor in China? You must be kidding. Even Winnie the Pooh is now banned, a Limerick.

Now China banned Winnie the Pooh.

Not much that a small bear can do.

For the Pooh is a thing

Too much like Xi Jinping,

he nixed Twitter humor, boo-hoo.

Twitter is limited to very few characters, so the best use of it is to include pictures. This is what led Winnie the Pooh to be banned in China. The pictures are really pretty good. Like this:

This one is from 2013

And this:

Here the Japanese Prime minister i portrayed as Eeyore

And this is just too cute:

It is clear that banning Winnie the Pooh now after having enjoyed it for four or more years can only mean that China is tightening the screws on free speech even further. Are they ready to go even more totalitarian?

 

Twenty-two reasons to rapidly develop Thorium based Nuclear Power generation.

We need badly to develop a Thorium based molten salt fast breeder nuclear reactor to develop our energy needs in the future. Lest anyone should be threatened by the words fast breeder, it simply means it uses fast neutrons instead of thermal neutron, and breeder means it produces more fissible material than it consumes, in the case of Thorium the ratio is about 1.05.

Here are 22 good reasons for Thorium:

1. Cheap and unlimited raw material.

2. Much less TRansUranium waste, 0.01% waste products compared to a Uranium-235 fast breeder.

3. Produces Pu-238 as one of the final TRans Uranium products, in short supply and much in demand for space exploration nuclear power.

4. Radioactive waste decays down to background radiation in 300 years instead of a million years.

5. Does not produce Plutonium 239, which is the preferred material used in nuclear bombs.

6. Produces isotopes that helps cure certain cancers.

7. Thorium Nuclear Reactors are earthquake safe.

8. No risk for a meltdown, the fuel is already molten.

9. Very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control.

10. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions.

11. Virtually no spent fuel problem, no storage or transport.

12.  Scales beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants.

13. No need for evacuation zones, can be placed near urban areas.

14. Rapid response to increased or decreased power demands.

15. Lessens the need for an expanded national grid.

16. Russia has a Thorium program.

17. China is having a massive Thorium program.

18. India has an active Thorium program.

19.Lawrence Livermore Laboratories is developing a small portable self-contained Thorium reactor capable of being carried on a low-bed trailer.

20. The need for a Yucca Mountain nuclear storage facility will eventually go away.

21. Produces electricity at a cost of about 4 c/kWh.

22. Can deplete some of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

1. Cheap and unlimited raw material. There is enough Thorium around for a million years at today’s worldwide energy generation level , and not only that, it is a by-product of mining heavy metals and rare earth metals. The price is the cost of extracting and refining, which can be as low as $40/Kg. No extra mining required for extracting the Thorium.

2. Much less TRansUranium waste, 0.01% waste products compared to a Uranium-235 fast breeder. The Thorium process has a much higher efficiency in fission than  the Uranium process. See the figure below.

3. Produces Pu-238 as one of the final TRans Uranium products, in short supply and much in demand for space exploration nuclear power.

NASA relies on pu-238 to power long-lasting spacecraft batteries that transform heat into electricity. With foreign and domestic supplies dwindling, NASA officials are worried the shortage will prevent the agency from sending spacecraft to the outer planets and other destinations where sunlight is scarce. Thorium reactors produce PU-238 as a “free” byproduct.  In 2009 Congress denied a request to produce more Pu-238 by traditional means, instead relying on Russia to sell us the plutonium. (Remember the Russian reset?) Russia made their last delivery in 2010.

4. Radioactive waste decays down to background radiation in 300 years instead of a million years. Initially a Thorium reactor produces as much radioactivity as other nuclear reactors, since fission converts mass to heat, but the decay products have a much shorter half-life. See the figure below.

5. Does not produce Plutonium239, which is the preferred material used in nuclear bombs. The higher Plutonium isotopes and other TRansUraniums are about as nasty as they get, and need expensive protection against terror attacks, and need to be stored for a very long time.

6. Produces isotopes that helps cure certain cancers. For decades, medical researchers have sought treatments for cancer. Now, Alpha Particle Immunotherapy offers a promising treatment for many forms of cancer, and perhaps a cure. Unfortunately, the most promising alpha-emitting medical isotopes, actinium-225 and its daughter, bismuth-213, are not available in sufficient quantity to support current research, much less therapeutic use. In fact, there are only three sources in the world that largely “milk” these isotopes from less than 2 grams of thorium source material. Additional supplies were not forthcoming. Fortunately, scientists and engineers at Idaho National Laboratory identified 40-year-old reactor fuel stored at the lab as a substantial untapped resource and developed Medical Actinium for Therapeutic Treatment, or MATT, which consists of two innovative processes (MATT-CAR and MATT-BAR) to recover this valuable medical isotope.

7. Earthquake safe. Thorium reactors have a very simple and compact design where gravity is the only thing needed to stop the nuclear reaction. Conventional Nuclear reactors depend on external power to shut down after a SCRAM, where poison rods fall down to halt the reaction.  The next figure shows the concept of a Thorium reactor.

The idea is to empty the fissile U-233 core through gravity alone. Since the fuel is already molten, it can run out into channels like pig-iron into cooling heat exchangers with  water supplied through gravity alone.

As we can see the reactor hardened structure is compact, and can be completely earthquake and tsunami proof. What can be sheared off are the steam pipes and external power, but the shutdown can complete without additional power.

8. No risk for a meltdown, the fuel is already molten. The fuel in a Thorium reactor is U-233 in the form of UraniumFluoride (UF4) salt that also contains Lithium and Beryllium, in its molten form it has a very low vapor pressure. The salt flows easily through the heat exchangers and the separators. The salt is very toxic, but it is completely sealed.

9. Very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control. This is another beauty of the molten salt design. The temperature coefficient is highly negative, leading to a safe design with simple and consistent feedback. What does that mean?  It means that if temperature in the core rises, the efficiency of the reaction goes down, leading to less heat generated. There is no risk for a thermal runaway. In contrast, Chernobyl used graphite moderated Uranium , and it suffered a thermal runaway as the operators bypassed three safety circuits trying to capture the last remaining power during a normal shut-down. The reactor splat, the graphite caught fire and the rest is history. Five days later two nuclear installations in Sweden shut down their reactors due to excessive radiation, but it took a while before they could figure out what had happened. First then did the Soviets confess there had been an accident.

10. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions. Materials subjected to high radiation tend to get brittle or soften up. Thorium reactors operate under atmospheric conditions so the choice of materials that can withstand both high temperatures and high radiation is much greater, leading to a superior and less expensive design.  There is no high pressure gas buildup and the separation stage can be greatly simplified.

11. Virtually no spent fuel problem, no storage or transport. I am following the events at Fukushima Nuclear Power plants with great interest. How ironic that the greatest risk is with the spent fuel, not with the inability to shut down the working units. The spent fuel issue is the real Achilles’ heel of the Nuclear Power Industry. Thorium power works differently as nearly all fuel gets consumed as it is generated. When the process shuts down, that is it. Only the radioactivity that is en route so to say will have to be accounted for, not everything generated thus far in the process. The difference is about 10000 to one in the size of the problem. Time to switch over to Thorium.

12.  Scales beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants. One of the first applications was as an airborne nuclear reactor.

 Granted this was not a Thorium breeder reactor, but it proves nuclear reactors can be made lightweight. Thorium reactor may be made even lighter as long as they are not of the breeder type.

13. No need for evacuation zones, can be placed near urban areas. Thorium reactors operate at atmospheric pressure and have a very high negative temperature coefficient, so there is no risk for a boil-over. They are easily made earthquake-safe since no pressure vessel is needed.

14. Rapid response to increased or decreased power demands. The increase in power output to increased power demand is faster than in coal-fired power plant. All you have to do is increase the speed of flow in the core and it will respond with raised temperature.

15. Lessens the need for an expanded national grid. The National Electric grid is at the breaking point. It needs to be expanded, but neighborhood resistance is building in many areas where they need an expansion the most. The grid is also sensitive to terrorism activities.

 As we can see the national grid is extensive, and under constant strain. A way to lessen the dependency on the national grid is to sprinkle it with many small to medium sized Thorium Nuclear Power generators.  They can be placed on barges in rivers and along the coast, giving the grid maximum flexibility to respond in  case of an emergency.

16. Russia has a Thorium program This is a self-contained Thorium Nuclear Reactor on a barge. Coolant readily available. Hoist it a couple of cables and the town will have all the power it needs.

17. China is having a massive Thorium program. The People’s Republic of China has initiated a research and development project in thorium molten-salt reactor technology, it was announced in the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) annual conference on Tuesday, January 25. An article in the Wenhui News followed on Wednesday. Chinese researchers also announced this development on the Energy from Thorium Discussion Forum. Led by Dr. Jiang Mianheng, a graduate of Drexel University in electrical engineering, the thorium MSR efforts aims not only to develop the technology but to secure intellectual property rights to its implementation. This may be one of the reasons that the Chinese have not joined the international Gen-IV effort for MSR development, since part of that involves technology exchange. Neither the US nor Russia have joined the MSR Gen-IV effort either. A Chinese delegation led by Dr. Jiang travelled to Oak Ridge National Lab last fall to learn more about MSR technology and told lab leadership of their plans to develop a thorium-fueled MSR.The Chinese also recognize that a thorium-fueled MSR is best run with uranium-233 fuel, which inevitably contains impurities (uranium-232 and its decay products) that preclude its use in nuclear weapons. Operating an MSR on the “pure” fuel cycle of thorium and uranium-233 means that a breakeven conversion ratio can be achieved, and after being started on uranium-233, only thorium is required for indefinite operation and power generation.

18. India has an active Thorium program. • India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power program and expects to have 20,000 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020 and 63,000 MWe by 2032.  It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050. • Because India is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty due to its weapons program, it was for 34 years largely excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials, which has hampered its development of civil nuclear energy until 2009. • Due to these trade bans and lack of indigenous uranium, India has uniquely been developing a nuclear fuel cycle to exploit its reserves of thorium. • Now, foreign technology and fuel are expected to boost India’s nuclear power plans considerably.  All plants will have high indigenous engineering content. • India has a vision of becoming a world leader in nuclear technology due to its expertise in fast reactors and thorium fuel cycle. • India’s Kakrapar-1 reactor is the world’s first reactor which uses thorium rather than depleted uranium to achieve power flattening across the reactor core. India, which has about 25% of the world’s thorium reserves, is developing a 300 MW prototype of a thorium-based Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR). The prototype is expected to be fully operational by 2011, following which five more reactors will be constructed. Considered to be a global leader in thorium-based fuel, India’s new thorium reactor is a fast-breeder reactor and uses a plutonium core rather than an accelerator to produce neutrons. As accelerator-based systems can operate at sub-criticality they could be developed too, but that would require more research. India currently envisages meeting 30% of its electricity demand through thorium-based reactors by 2050.

19.Lawrence Livermore Laboratories is developing a small portable self-contained Thorium reactor capable of being carried on a low-bed trailer. A Democratic member of the United States House of Congress (Joseph Sestak) in 2010 added funding for research and development for a reactor that could use thorium as fuel and fit on a destroyer-sized ship.  Lawrence Livermore national laboratories are currently in the process of designing such a self-contained (3 meters by 15 meters) thorium reactor. Called SSTAR (Small, Sealed, Transportable, Autonomous Reactor), this next-generation reactor will produce 10 to 100 megawatts electric and can be safely transported via ship or truck.  The first units are expected to arrive in 2015, be tamper resistant, passively failsafe and have a operative life of 30+ years.

20. The need for a Yucca Mountain nuclear storage facility will eventually go away. Since Thorium consumes the fissile material as it is getting created, the need for a long term storage facility of the Yucca Mountain type will eventually go away. In remote locations there can be built Thorium Nuclear Power generators that consume spent material from other nuclear processes. The need to do it in remote locations is the hazard of the already existing nuclear wastes. It should be possible to reduce the existing stockpile of nuclear wastes and nuclear bombs by about 90% and make electricity in the process. The cost to do this is higher than the normal process due to the additional cost of security.

21. Produces electricity at a cost of about 4 c/kWh.  The cost to produce electricity with Thorium generators should be about 40% less than Advanced Nuclear and about 30 % less than from Coal (with scrubbers). Solar generation is about 4 times more expensive (without subsidies) Wind power is cheaper when the wind blows, but the generation capacity has to be there even when the wind doesn’t blow, so the only gain from wind power is to lessen the mining or extraction of carbon.  Even if we double the renewable power we will only go from 3.6% to 7.2% of total energy needed.  Hydroelectric  power is for all practical purpose maxed out, so all future increase must come from Coal, Natural Gas, Petroleum or Nuclear. Thorium powered Nuclear Generators is the way to go.

Many of the pictures are from a slide presentation given by David Archibald in Melbourne Feb 5 2011. He posted it “for the benefit of all” which I have interpreted as waving the copyright of the pictures

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/12/david-archibald-on-climate-and-energy-security/