Elizabeth Cotten was born Jan. 1893 in Carrboro N.C. She died Jun. 1987. Before she died, at age 92 she performed her song ‘Freight train’, which she had composed at age 11. She got inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame On Nov 7 2022.
No, Joe Biden, it is not age, it is talent, health and a clear mind that makes you able to perform until old age. Let’s begin to count Joe’s blunders. one by one. Here is the first verse: (To the tune of freight train).
In 1868, 1883, 1887, 1912, 1922, 1936, 1941, 1948 and 1952 the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire. Here is a picture of the 1948 fire.
( Cleveland Press Collection, Cleveland State University Library)
The river caught fire a few more times, but nobody cared until 1969, the last time it happened. I remember in 1965 hearing thee song ‘Pollution’ by Tom Lehrer
In the second World War the oil refineries dumped the unwanted products from the refining process in the Delaware River, and things got so bad it stripped the protective paint from the hulls of ships coming in to the Philadelphia harbor.
We tend to forget how bad things were before there were any substantial environmental regulations. Factories solved their exhaust problems by building higher chimneys, spreading the poison over a larger area.
The content of the derailed tank cars.
There were five tank cars in the derailed part containing Vinyl Chloride. Vinyl Chloride is a gas, stored under pressure ( 3,5 atmospheres at room temperature). When the cars derailed, there was fire from burning and Norfolk Southern were afraid the cars would overheat and explode, so they drained them and dumped the vinyl chloride in a trench and set fire to it rather than hosing down the cars with water to lower the temperature. Vinyl Chloride when burning produces hydrochloride and carbon monoxide. Combined with water vapor it produces hydrochloric acid, which causes instant emphysema among other things. In addition it is a known carcinogen.
One tank car contained Ethylene Glycol Mono-butane Ether. It is a known health hazard but not a carcinogen as far as I know.
One car contained Ethylhexyl, Acrylate and the tank was breached and the content spilled. There should be no particular health hazard from this tank car.
One car contains Isobutylene, a flammable gas. Most of it is still in than car.
One tank car contained ButylAcrylate and al its content was spilled on the ground. It is now being leached into the soil and has now been detected in the Ohio river just upstream from Cincinnati. It is not particularly toxic in the small concentration moving down the Ohio River, but yet.
And there was to tank cars containing benzene, a known carcinogen, but none of the benzene has leaked out.
The question is:What are the long term effects of this major spill and fire. Time will tell. It sometimes takes decades for cancer and respiratory diseases to develop.
Oh, and by the way, it is simpler, safer, much cheaper and more efficient to use pipelines. With a thousand derailments a year it is a wonder these types of catastrophies do not disrupt the supply chain more than they do.
The Earth has warmed 1.1 to 1.2 degree Celsius since the little ice age, coinciding with the beginning of the industrial age and the rate of increase increase is increasing. To better understand how much of this warming is due to greenhouse gases look at this chart:
From this chart we can see that water vapor is by far the most important greenhouse gas, followed by CO2 with Methane and Nitrous oxide far behind. Oxygen is part of the atmosphere, and so is Nitrogen and their concentrations are assumed to be constant. Ozone concentration is too small to have any effect. Raleigh scattering is why the sky is blue and it is constant regardless of other factors.
Before we go any further let’s examine one absorption band for CO2, the 14,9 μm band. at a concentration of 400 ppm it is fully saturated from 14 to 16 μm and tapers off from there, see picture:
The white area under the shaded area is the absorption at 280 ppm. The shaded area is the additional absorption at 400 ppm, an increase of 6%. The reason it is not more is that it is impossible to absorb more than 100% of the total energy available for that wavelength. Therefore between the wavelengths 14 and 16 microns all energy was absorbed regardless of CO2 concentration.
. But the top chart is deceiving, for it does not fully explain the net effect on radiation, from the sun or from the earth. The chart below is much better:
The incoming solar radiation includes ultraviolet radiation, visible light and near infrared radiation. This is all the heat incoming to the earth, except the heat that is radiating from the earth’s core. All area under the curves of the right halves represent greenhouse gases absorption, except the blue area which represents energy radiated into space under a cloud-free sky. The all dominant geenhouse gas is water vapor but CO2 contributes with 2 absorption bands, at 4.3 microns and 14.9 microns. The 4.3 micron absorption is of almost no importance since it occurs at a wavelength where very little radiation is available, neither from the sun, nor from the earth’s blackbody radiation, but water vapor absorbs nearly all radiation anyhow. The only wavelength that counts for CO2 absorption is at 14.9 microns, because it occurs in the so called atmospheric window and the blackbody radiation is near its maximum.
Let us take a closer look at the outgoing blackbody radiation and the atmospheric window:
The first thing to notice is that no absorption exceeds 100% , so at 14.9 micron wavelength CO2 absorbed 100%, and water vapor absorbed another 80%, the total sum is still 100%. It is impossible to absorb more than 100% of the total energy available for that wavelength. Therefore between the wavelengths 14 and 16 microns all energy was absorbed regardless of CO2 concentration and water vapor concentration. The olive area represents the extra absorption of CO2 at 280 ppm when the water vapor is taken out (you cannot absorb more than 100%). The small yellow slivers represent the extra CO2 absorption at 400 ppm. The white area between the brown total absorption area and the red earth emission line is the total emitted energy through the atmospheric window. Methane and N2O gas greenhouse absorption occur at wavelengths where water vapor already absorbs nearly 100%, so their contribution to greenhouse gases is negligible. Likewise Ozone absorption occurs where O2 also absorbs. From the picture below (thanks, NASA) we can see that the total amount of energy escaping through the atmospheric window from clouds and from the ground is on average (29.9 + 40.1) = 70 W/m2. In pre-industrial times the value would have been around 70.7 w/m2.
NASA has made a good estimate of the earth’s energy budget. Total incoming energy is 340.4 W/m2 and escaping through the atmospheric window is 70 W/m2, or 20.56%. Before the industrial age the value was about 70.7 W/m2 or 20.77%, an increase of 0.24%. A black body radiation is proportional to the fourth power of absolute temperature (Kelvin). The current average temp on earth is 287 degree Kelvin, so the temperature rise since pre-industrial times from the sum of increasing CO2, Methane, Nitrous oxide and ozone is 287 * fourth root of (1-0.0024) = 286.83 K, or 0.17 degree Celsius less.
This is but a small portion of the temperature rise experienced, and it so happens that there exists a good measuring point, where the all dominant greenhouse gases are CO2, Methane, NO2 and O3. At the South Pole in the winter the air is clean, there is almost no water vapor and the winter temperature at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station between April and September 2021, a frigid minus-78 degrees (minus-61 Celsius), was the coldest on record, dating back to 1957, and the trend is 1 C colder per century. In the summer the trend is increasing temperatures.
In the rest of the world the dominant greenhouse gas is water vapor, H20 and is responsible for most of of the greenhouse effect, and some of it can be attributed to the warming caused by increasing CO2 levels that warmed the world 0,17C, and if the relative humidity stays the same this leads to an increase in water vapor of about 1 % on average. The increase of absorption occurs in the atmospheric window, and in some bands of the incoming sunlight in the near infrared region. The bands are 0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 1.1, 1.4 and 1.9 μm. Together, when water vapor increases by 1% on average the total absorption of water vapor increases by 0.2 W/m2, mostly by shrinking the atmospheric window. This amounts to 0.06% 0f the total incoming solar radiation. The current average temp on earth is 287 degree Kelvin, so the temperature rise since pre-industrial times from increasing H2O levels is 287 * fourth root of (1-0.0006) = 286.95 K, or 0.05 degree Celsius less.
The temperature increase from increased greenhouse gases total only 20% of the temperature increase since pre-industrial times, so something else must have caused the increase, and the answer lies in looking to the skies. Water vapor is a condensing gas, and when water vapor is saturated and there are enough aerosols (air pollution) in the air clouds will appear. How much can be attributed to changing cloud patterns?
2. The effect from decreasing cloud cover.
This is a world map showing the average cloud cover in August 2009. It shows the cloud free areas of the earth in blue. Another way to look at it is to see how much total water vapor there is in the atmosphere:
Nowhere on earth can it rain out more than two inches without more humidity being transported in from another place. Over the ocean humidity gets replenished by evaporation, over land only areas that has vegetation or swamps or lakes will replenish humidity by evaporation. keep these charts in mind for later. For now concentrate on the decreasing average cloud cover. It has only been measured for the last 40 years, but here are the results:
There are many different clouds, low, mid-level and high clouds, and they have changed differently over the same time span:
Of these clouds, the low level clouds are reflecting the most, so the 2.4% loss in average cloud cover is an assumption on the low side on the loss of reflection.
In 1984 the average cloud cover was 63.7%, in 2019 it was 61.1%, a loss of 2.6%. The total reflection from clouds and atmospheric scattering is 77 W/m2, of which 60 is from cloud reflection. A 2.6% loss of area of reflection leads to a decreasing of incoming energy of 60 * 0.026 = 1.56 W/m2. This results in a temperature increase to 287 * fourth root of (1- (1.56 / 340)) = 287.33 K, or 0.67 degree Celsius.
When temperature increases by 0.67C water vapor increases by 4% on average; the total absorption of water vapor increases by 0.8 W/m2, mostly by shrinking the atmospheric window. This amounts to 0.24% 0f the total incoming solar radiation. The current average temp on earth is 287 degree Kelvin, so the temperature rise since pre-industrial times from increasing H2O levels is 287 * fourth root of (1-0.0024) = 286.83 K, or 0.17 degree Celsius less.
3. The effects from air and water pollution. . a. The warming of the Northern Arctic region.
North America has great rivers, none greater than the mighty Mississippi. It used to be a meandering river with frequent floods that resulted in depositing its silt over large areas and thus fertilizing the land. The Indians living by the river moved to its new location after the water receded, and they could use the newly fertilized land. After the Louisiana purchase river traffic grew rapidly, but shifting sandbars and the excessively winding river became a problem, so the Mississippi river was converted to be the main transportation artery of the middle USA, the river banks were reinforced and the course of the river straightened. This meant that more of the silt was transported out into the Mexican Gulf, some of the silt that used to fertilize the soil instead fertilized the Mexican gulf. In addition, the Mississippi river used to be very polluted, but is now clean enough that it can be used for drinking water after treatment all the way down into Louisiana. There remains elevated concentration of nitrogen compounds so the Mexican Gulf suffers from excessive algae blooms and even red tide from time to time. This leads to more cloud formation and more rain in the United States east of the 98th meridian. This also occurs in Northern Europe, especially in the North Sea; the rivers flowing into the North Sea are rich in nutrients. The Baltic Sea was near oxygen death, but after the Baltic countries and Poland joined the EU, their rivers got partially cleaned up. In the far East the Yellow Sea and the South China sea are suffering major pollution. All these regions produce more clouds, and through prevailing winds some end up in the Arctic, where they snow out, except in the Summer when they rain out except on Greenland where it snows 12 months of the year. This leads to increasing winter temperatures of about 5.5 C above the 80th latitude, 2.5 C in spring and fall and a decrease of about 0.5 C in the summer (it takes a long time to melt that extra snow). This affects about 4% of the earth’s surface, so the total temperature increase from over-fertilizing the rivers is 0.04 * 2.5 = 0.1 C. No such effect occurs in the Antarctic. To illustrate the current yearly temperature trend in the Arctic, see this current polar temperature chart:
Even more illustrative is the development of ice on Greenland. In 2012 it looked like all of Greenland was going to melt in less than 1000 years, and the polar ice cap would be gone altogether in late summer of 2020. The ice over Greenlnd is now growing ever so slightly again:
b. The effect of various air pollution.
The major effect from air pollution is that it generates aerosols that act as condensation points for cloud formation if the air is oversaturated with moisture. In the last 40 years the air has gotten cleaner in the industrial west, not so much in China, India and Africa. The net result was a 2 % drop in cloud cover and the resulting temperature rise is already accounted for. There are no good worldwide analyses of ancient cloud cover, but air pollution was rising rapidly until the clean air act, enacted in 1963 was beginning to show results in the 70’s. However, ancient method of heating with coal, wood, peat and dried cowdung was far more polluting and harmful to your lungs. If U.S is eliminating all remaining coal plants the CO2 will still be rising since China is planning to build another 1070 coalburning power plants, ane their coal is inferior to ours and their pollution control is far less strict than ours resulting in more aerosols over China and some of the soot to be transmitted all the way to the Arctic, resulting in a black layer of soot on old snow and old ice.
This is the official IPCC AR5 assessment of forcing factors, and we can see that CO2 is over-estimated by a factor of 2.5 and Methane by a factor of 10. When this is taken into account the net forcing from all other factors is neutral within the margin of uncertainty.
c. The effect of greening of most of the earth.
There is one great benefit of increased CO2, the greening of the earth.
Thanks to this greening, done with only the fertilizer of CO2, the earth can now keep another 2 billion people from starvation, not to mention what good it does for plants and wildlife.
The greening of the earth should cause temperature to increase, but if there is enough moisture in the earth the evapotranspiration from the leaves have a cooling effect and more than offsets the lower albedo from green leaves versus dry earth. In addition, with rising CO2 levels the leaves need less water to perform the photosynthesis, so the net result from lowering the albedo by 0.05 % over 17% of the world leads to a cooling down. The average albedo of the earth is 30%, and 17% of the earth lowers the albedo by 5% this lowers the total albedo of the earth by 0.25%.
The total reflection of sunlight from the earth is 22.9 W/m2, so 0.25% of that is 0.057 W/m2, which translates to a net temperature increase of 287 * fourth root of (1- (0.057/ 340)) = 287.33 K, or 0.012 degree Celsius.
d. The areas that are becoming more like a desert.
Most of the earth displays an increase of leaf area, but there are areas in red that are becoming less green. The areas are: The American Southwest, The Pampas area of South America, a 100 mile band in Southern Sahara, part of East Africa, Madagascar, South East Africa, Western Australia, Part of the Volga region, Kazakhstan east of Lake Aral and various parts of China, and the Mekong river. These areas have this in common, the aquifers ate being depleted, the rivers are diminishing and some of them no longer reach the ocean, lakes are almost disappearing, but people still move to those areas “for the good climate”.
The areas so affected are about 900,000 sq miles of the American Southwest and about 3 million square miles total to suffer from becoming more like a desert. The common theme of all these areas is depletion of the aquifers, rivers diminishing, lakes drying up and soil erosion.
The only part of the world US can control directly is The American Southwest. It can expect more frequent and longer droughts, since there is no amplification of clouds from the relatively cool and clean Pacific ocean, and the long term temperature trend is cooling. The Colorado River no longer feeds the Gulf of California with nourishment. The Colorado river used to all the water allocation for all the participating states, but around 2000 the water use had caught up with supply, and since then it has become much worse with demand far outstripping supply.
In addition the Great Salt Lake is now less than a third of the size it was in the 1970’s. A second level water shortage has been issued and for example Arizona will get a million Acre-feet lass per year from the river. The aquifers will be further depleted leading to less rainfall and the few remaining springs will dry out. If nothing is done, the American southwest will become desertified.
Ironically, deserts have a higher albedo than green soil, so letting the American Southwest become a desert would have a cooling effect by the increasing albedo, but the effect from the disappearing clouds would have a far greater heating effect, so letting the American Southwest become a desert is not a solution to the problem.
However, the area subject to desertification is about 0.6% of the world’s land area and rising the albedo by 0.05 leads to a cooling down. The average albedo of the earth is 30%, and before desertification the albedo was 25%, this rises the albedo of the earth by 0.03%. The total reflection of sunlight from the earth is 22.9 W/m2, so 0.03% of that is 0.007 W/m2, which translates to a net temperature decreasee of 287 * fourth root of (1- (0.007/ 340)) = 286.9995 K, or a cool down of 0.0005 degree Celsius.
Summary of all causes for climate change:
Direct effect from rising CO2: 0.17C
Secondary effect from increasing water vapor from rising CO2: 0.05C
Effect from rising Methane: less than 0.01C
Effect from N20 and Ozone: less than 0.01C
Temperature rise from decreasing cloud cover 0.67C
Secondary effect from increasing water vapor from temperature rise from decreasing clouds: 0.17C
Temperature increase from greening of the earth 0.12C
Temperature decrease from areas of desertification 0.0005C
TOTAL TEMPERATURE RISE: 1.2C and that is about where we are today.
What congress is doing to solve the problem.
Congress has passed the anti-inflation bill that included over 300 billion to fight climate change, and it included more solar panels and wind turbine motors to be imported from China. The experience from Europe is that electricity from solar panels and windmills is 5.7 times as expensive as conventional power generation.
This analysis was done for 2019, before COVID. The situation is much worse now, with electricity rares up to 80 c/kWh, topping $1 /kWh this winter in some countries.
Even at the current increased European Gas prices, the estimated excess expenditures on Weather-Dependent “Renewables” in Europe is still very large: $~0.5 trillion in capital expenditures and $~1.2 trillion excess expenditures in the long-term.
These simple calculations show that any claim that Wind and Solar power are now cost competitive with conventional fossil fuel (Gas-fired) generation are patently false. The figures give an outline of the financial achievements of Green activists in stopping fracking for gas in Europe, close on to $1.2 trillion of excess costs.
It would be better not to import any solar panels and wind power generators from China and let them pay for the extra cost rather than building more coal burning plants. After all they were planning to build over a thousand new plants between now and 2030, all legal under the Paris accord. This would benefit the world climate much more, since Chinese coal plants are far more polluting, since China has far less stringent environmental regulations than U.S.
U.S. uses 13.5% of the world’s coal, and eliminating U.S. CO2 emissions would in time reduce the world temperature by 0.023C, providing no other country, such as China and India would increase their use of Coal, which they are, to the total of 1300 new coal plants between now and 2030. This would raise global temperature by more than 0.06 C.
What congress should do instead.
a. What congress should do immediately.
Immediately stop downblending U 233 and pass The Thorium Energy security act SB 4242a. See more here.
2. Remove Thorium from the list of nuclear source material. The half-life of Thorium232 is 14 billion years, so its radioactivity is barely above background noise. More importantly, while Thorium is fertile, it is not fissile and should therefore not be included in the list. This would make it far easier to mine rare earth metals, as long as the ore consists of less than 0.05% Uranium, but any amount of Thorium is allowed without classifying the ore “Source material”.
3. Separate nuclear power into 3 categories. a. conventional nuclear power. b. Thorium breeder reactors that make more U233 than it consumes, and c. Thorium reactors that reduce nuclear waste.
4. Stop buying solar panels from China. Stop buying wind turbine generators from China. Let them install those in China and pay 5 times as much for their electricity.
5. Immediately form a commission led by competent people, not politicians; to decide how to best expand the electric grid and to best harden it against electro-magnetic pulses, whether solar or nuclear and to safeguard it against sabotage.
6. Remove all subsidies on electric cars, solar panels and wind generators, but continue to encourage energy conservation.
7. Encourage research and development of Thorium fueled reactors, especially liquid salt reactors by drastically simplifying and speeding up the approval process. President Trump issued an executive order in the last month of his presidency EO 13972 specifying that the United States must sustain its ability to meet the energy requirements for its national defense and space exploration initiatives. The ability to use small modular reactors will help maintain and advance United States dominance and strategic leadership across the space and terrestrial domains. This EO should be expanded to include civilian small modular reactors, including Liquid salt Thorium reactors less than 200 MW, which are the only valid reactors for space exploration.
b. Longer term developments, but extremely urgent.
Of the long term warming of the globe of 1.1 C since the beginning of industrialization only 0.17 C is attributable to rising CO2, NH4 and NO2 levels, of which United states is currently responsible for 13.5% and decreasing, or 0.023C. The disappearance of clouds is responsible for twice as much globally or 0.33 C of which probably 1/6 is occurring in the American Southwest, causing an increase in temperature of 0.055C. However, the temperature rise in say the Grand Canyon has been in excess of 2 C,, and in the urban areas it has been even more. These are my long term suggestions:
Build a TransContinental Aqueduct. A realistic way to save Lake Mead and reverse the desertification of the American SouthWest.Build a TransContinental Aqueduct. A realistic way to save Lake Mead and reverse the desertification of the American SouthWest.
Lake Mead will be emptied in less than 10 years with the current usage pattern. Then what?
The hydroelectric power from Lake Mead (and Lake Powell) is diminishing as the lakes are emptied.
The aquifers in Arizona, especially in the Phoenix and Tucson area, and to some extent New Mexico and the dry part of Texas are being drawn down and are at risk of being exhausted.
The Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley of California is maybe the most polluted lake in all of U.S.A. It is even dangerous to breathe the air around it sometimes. The area contains maybe the largest Lithium deposit in the world.
The Colorado River water is too salty for good irrigation .
The Colorado river no longer reaches the Gulf of California. Fishing and shrimp harvesting around the Colorado River Delta is no more.in less than 10 years with the current usage pattern. Then what?
The hydroelectric power from Lake Mead (and Lake Powell) is diminishing as the lakes are emptied.
40 million people depend on the Colorado River for drinking water. The population is still rising rapidly in the West. Will they have water in the future.
Except for California there is not much pumped Hydro-power storage in the American Southwest.
Texas has plenty of wind power, but no pumped hydro-power storage. This makes it difficult to provide peak power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Nuclear power is of no help, it provides base power only. Peak power has to come from coal and natural gas plants.
New Mexico has some ideal spots for solar panels, but no water is available for pumped storage.
Arizona has a surging population, wind and solar power locations are abundant, but no pumped hydro-power storage.
Arkansas and Oklahoma have a good barge traffic system. This proposal will increase flood control and improve barge traffic by increasing the maximum barge draft from 9 feet to 12 feet and during dry periods reverse the flow of the Arkansas River. The Arkansas river yearly water flow is nearly double that of the Colorado River.
Build a transcontinental aqueduct from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River capable of transporting 12 million acre-ft of water yearly through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. It will be built similar to the Central Arizona Project aqueduct, supplying water from the Colorado river to the Phoenix and Tucson area, but this aqueduct will be carrying four times more water over four times the distance and raise the water nearly twice as high before returning to near sea level. The original Central Arizona Project cost $4.7 billion in 1980’s money, the Transcontinental Aqueduct will in Phase 1 cost around $200 Billion in 2022 money applying simple scaling up principles.
The Mississippi River has a bad reputation for having polluted water, but since the clean water act the water quality has improved drastically. Fecal coli-form bacteria is down by a factor of more than 100, the water is now used all the way down to New Orleans for drinking water after treatment. The lead levels are down by a factor of 1000 or more since 1979. Plastic pollution and pharmaceutical pollution is still a problem, as is the case with most rivers. The Ph is back to around 8 and salt content is negligible. Mississippi water is good for irrigation, and usable for drinking water after treatment. The Arkansas River is used as a drinking water source.
But the aqueduct will do more than provide sweet Mississippi water to the thirsty South-west, it will make possible to provide peak power to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In fact, it is so big it will nearly triple the pumped Hydro-power storage for the nation, from 23 GW for 5 hours a day to up to 66 GW when fully built out.
The extra pumped hydro-power storage will come from a number of dams built as part of the aqueduct or adjacent to it. The water will be pumped from surplus wind and solar power generators when available. This will provide up to 50 GW of power for 5 hours a day. If not enough extra power has been generated during the 19 pumping hours, sometimes power will be purchased from the regular grid. The other source of pumped hydro-power storage is virtual. There will be up to 23 GW of LFTR (Liquid Fluoride salt Thorium Rector) power stations strategically stationed along the waterway providing pumping of water for 19 hours and providing virtual hydro-power output for the remaining 5, when the aqueduct is fully built.
These 43 GW of hydro-power capacity will be as follows: Oklahoma, 0.2 GW; Texas, 18,5 GW (right now, Texas has no hydro-power storage, but plenty of wind power); New Mexico, 10.5 GW; Arizona 13.6 GW. In Addition, when the Transcontinental Aqueduct is fully built out, the Hoover dam can provide a true 2.2 GW hydro-power storage by pumping water back from Lake Mojave; a 3 billion dollar existing proposal is waiting to be realized once Lake Mead is saved.
The amount of installed hydroelectric power storage is:
Most hydroelectric pumped storage was installed in the 70’s. Now natural gas plants provide most of the peak power. This aqueduct will more than 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.
What follows is a description of each leg of the aqueduct. Each leg except legs 9 and 10 ends in a dam, which holds enough water to make each leg free to operate to best use of available electricity and provide peak power on demand.
The Transcontinental Aqueduct will serve the Lower Colorado River Basin, Southern New Mexico and Western Texas. It will pump up to 12 million acre-ft of water annually from the Arkansas river and Mississippi river all the way to southern Colorado River.
The total electricity needed to accomplish this giant endeavor is about 60 billion kWh annually. or about one and a half 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 give 600 cfs of water to Tucson, 3,100 cfs to the Phoenix area and 3,900 cfs to the lower Colorado River in Phase 1. I phase 2 it will add 3,100 cfs to Lake Havasu and an extra 4,700 cfs to the lower Colorado River. It will also also add 28 GW of hydro-power storage capable of adding 140 GWh of electric peak power daily when it is fully built out in Phase 3.
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 and Arkansas River 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.
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 and Arkansas River 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.
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 13.5 GW of pumped storage power 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. 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 a previous year’s cold snap. This proposal will give the Texas electric grid 8.8 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, and to reverse the decline of the Great Salt Lake that is now shrunk to less than a third of the size it had in the 1970’s.
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 350 billion dollars in 2022 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 important 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. Without pumped 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 eminent domain access. The Federal government will need to approve LFTR as the preferred Nuclear process and streamline approval process from many years to less than one year.
Some of the power will come from solar panels and wind turbines, which will reduce the need for LFTR’s. One tantalizing idea is to cover the aqueduct with solar panels. This will do many things, it will not take up additional acreage, water needed to keep the panels clean is readily available, and can even be used to cool the solar panels if economically beneficial. The area available is 152 feet times 1100 miles = 1.6 billion square feet, and one square foot of solar panel produces around 1 W, which means covering the aqueduct with solar panels would produce 882 MW of power. It would also reduce evaporation. The second source of energy will be 165,000 5kW vertical wind turbines producing 825 MW when the wind is blowing. The rest of the power will cme from LFTRs. This idea requires further analysis. Here is one possible implementation of the idea:
C. Further developments to save the American Southwest.
When the Transcontinental aqueduct is well under way it is time to start the Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct. in a few years the population growth will require again to save Lake Powell and Lake Mead, and rejuvenate the American South-west.
Lake Powell and Lake Mead will be emptied in less than 10 years with the current usage pattern. Then what?
The hydroelectric power from Lake Mead (and Lake Powell) is diminishing as the lakes are emptied.
the aquifers are drawn down everywhere in the Southwest, but also the Ogallala Aquifer in Colorado and Kansas, and are at risk of being exhausted.
The Colorado River water is too salty for good irrigation .
The Colorado river no longer reaches the Gulf of California. Fishing and shrimp harvesting around the Colorado River Delta is no more.
40 million people depend on the Colorado River for drinking water. The population is still rising rapidly in the West. Will they have water in the future? Think 20 million future population growth in the next 40 years, people want to move there even with the current water problems.
Build a Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct from the Mississippi River to the San Juan River. In the first 391 miles the aqueduct joins the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System by adding the capability of pumping 7,500 cfs of water through 16 dams that service the locks. This will lead to reversing the flow of water during low flow. This also facilitates the navigation channel to be deepened from 9 feet to 12 feet to service fully loaded barges, a step authorized but not funded by Congress. The Arkansas river will then be capable of transporting 8 million acre-ft of water yearly through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico, supplying water from the Colorado river to Lake Powell. All that is needed to do in this stage is provide the dams and locks with a number of pumps and pump/generators to accommodate this, at a cost of less than 2 billion dollars. The next phase is pumping up water in the Arkansas river for 185 miles. To accommodate this there will be 17 small control dams built that are closed when normal pumping occurs and open during flood conditions. The cost for this segment, including pumps will be less than 3 billion dollars. The third segment is a 465 mile aqueduct to cross the Rocky Mountains much like the Central Arizona project but this aqueduct will carry three times more water 1.27 times the distance and raise the water four times higher. The original Central Arizona Project cost $4.7 billion in 1980’s money, the aqueduct part of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct will cost around $50 Billion in 2021 money applying simple scaling up principles.
Power requirements for the 3 stages are 310 MW for the canal stage, 600MW for the river stage and 6.2 GW for the aqueduct stage. The aqueduct stage can be controlled by the power companies to shut off the pumps and provide 6.4 GW of virtual peak power for up to 5 hours a day on average, and each leg can be controlled individually since they are separated by large dams. There will be 64 one hundred MegaWatt LFTR (Liquid Fluoride salt Thorium Rector) power stations strategically stationed along the waterway providing pumping of water for 19 hours and providing virtual hydro-power output for on average 5 hours. There will also be 910 MW of power needed that is controlled by the river authorities.
The building cost of providing LFTR power should be around $2.50 per Watt of installed energy if a plant is built to manufacture via an assembly line a standardized version of 100 MW LFTR reactor core vessels assemblies capable of being transported on truck to the installation point. The total power cost should then be 16 billion dollars to build, and 5 cents per kWh or about 2.5 billion dollars a year to provide power.
The Mississippi River has a bad reputation for having polluted water, but since the clean water act the water quality has improved drastically. Fecal coli-form bacteria is down by a factor of more than 100, the water is now used all the way down to New Orleans for drinking water after treatment. The lead levels are down by a factor of 1000 or more since 1979. Plastic pollution and pharmaceutical pollution is still a problem, as is the case with most rivers. The Ph is back to around 8 and salt content is negligible. Mississippi water is good for irrigation, and usable for drinking water after treatment. The Arkansas River water quality is pretty good, good enough in Kaw Lake to be used for municipal water supply. Nitrates and phosphates are lower than in most Eastern rivers, Ph is around 8 and coli-bacteria low.
Most hydroelectric pumped storage was installed in the 70’s. Now natural gas plants provide most of the peak power. This aqueduct will add 6.4 GW to 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.
What follows is a description of each leg of the aqueduct. Legs 3, 4, 5 and 6 ends in a dam, which holds enough water to make each leg free to operate to best use of available electricity and provide peak power on demand.
Leg 1 of The Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From the Mississippi river to Webbers Falls lock and dam. Total length 15miles of aqueduct and 335 miles of river. Cost of water 333 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 2 of The Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From Webbers Falls to Keystone Dam, a distance of about 75 miles that is river and 25 miles, which is canal. Cost of water 593 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 3 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From Keystone Dam to Kaw Dam.The Keystone Lake is 38 miles long and the river part is about 110 miles. Cost of water 901 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 4 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From Kaw Lake to John Martin Reservoir, a distance of about 200 miles. Cost of water 4,446 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 5 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From John Martin Reservoir to Trinidad Lake, a distance of about 120 miles. Cost of water 7,300 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 6 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From Trinidad Lake to Abiquiu Reservoir, a distance of 90 miles. Cost of water 7,910 kWh per acre-ft.
Leg 7 of the Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct. From the Abiquiu Reservoir to the San Juan River, a distance of 55 miles. Cost of water 7,395 kWh per acre-ft.
Once these two aquifers are completed and running successfully filling the rivers again it is time to refill the aquifers. This requires a change in the water rights laws. The rain water is a property of the land and can be locally retained via small catch basins and ditches. This will restore the aquifers, reduce soil erosion and rejuvenate vegetation as has been successfully done in the dry parts of India. They needed to capture the monsoon rains, and so does Arizona and New Mexico.
One more thing:
Build aSouth Platte River aqueduct. This will solve the water needs for the greater Denver ares and help preserve the northern Ogallala aquifer.
The rise in CO2 is on balance positive, it has already helped to keep 2 billion people from starvation. With food famine coming the very worst thing we can do is declare a climate emergency and unilaterally reduce our electric supply eliminating much of our fossil fuel source to produce electricity and at the same time push electric cars.
This cannot be solved unless there will be a deep commitment to Nuclear power, streamline government permit processes and let private industry find the best solutions without government playing favorites and slowing down the process. Regular U235 power is not sufficient for this, Only Thorium power will do, and there are many reasons for it. Here are 30 of them:
My favorite Thorium power plant would be a 100 MW Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR). It is also called a Small Modular Reactor (SMR). It is small enough that all core elements will fit in three standard truck containers and be made on an assembly line. It can be constructed many ways, one is a normal fast breeder reactor, another is adapted to burn nuclear waste. The cost for these reactors, when built on an assembly line will be less than $2 per Watt. They can be placed anywhere, since they are inherently safe, no need for an evacuation zone. Since they are operating at 500C temperature with either gas or liquid lead as heat transfer media there is no need for water as a cooling medium. When mass produced it will be able to produce electricity at 5 c per kWh and the mining to produce the materials is a fraction of what is needed for solar, and wind power, especially when taking into account the intermittent nature of these power sources.The only thing better would be fusion power, but that is at least 20 years away as a power producing source, but it is coming. These are exciting times!
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:
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:
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
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
Clean up rivers, lakes and oceans from pollution. This is a priority.
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.
Do not build large solar concentration farms. They too kill birds.
Solar panels are o.k. not in large farms, but distributed on roofs to provide small scale backup power.
Exploit geothermal energy only in geologically stable areas.
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.
Add peak power storage dams, even in wildlife preserves. The birds and animals don’t mind.
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..
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
The fascination for hyperinflation and its consequences has been with me since childhood. In third grade I went to a small school in Sweden with only two classrooms, one for grade 1 and 2, and one for grades 3 to 6. One boy had a very large stack of old German money, and we used to play with them. Many were hundred mark bills, stamped over with a cheap ink stamp 1ooooo Marks or 1 Million Marks. I collected stamps in those days also, from a 2 Pfennig stamp to 20 Milliarden Marks (That is 20 Billion Marks) stamp.
How did this hyperinflation happen? Germany lost the great war (WWI) and as a punishment were forced to pay large war reparation penalties. My own grandfather had a fishinf ketch, named Majblomma (Mayflower). They ysed to go fishing on Doggers Banks and land the catch in Aberdeen or Hull, then catch some more fish on the way home. One day a German u-boat came up and one officer informed them to go into the life boat, for they were ordered to torpedo the fishing boat. So they did. After the war my grandfather got compensated for his loss, and he bought a much larger schooner, and his team could aontinue fishing in the North Sea. These war reparations sank the German economy, and the Weimar Republic solved the problem by printing money. This worked for a whils, and then hyperinflation set in. This was in my opinion the major reason for Hitler’s rise. He got Germany back on strong economic footing, and being the Master Race, Germany was going to rule the world, after they had won the war. (WWII). With great sacrifice that didn’t happen.
Did it happen again? A few days ago, Nikki Haley sent a real 100 bolivar bill in the mail to my wife. There was probably a message in that, I for one grabbed the bill to see how much it is worth today. It was printed in August 2014, and was then worth on the official exchange 6,3 bolivars to the dollar, so the official value was over 15 dollars, but the real black market value was about one dollar. Then real inflation set in, and in 2018 they made a new bolívar soberano (sovereign bolívar) each worth 100,000 bolívar fuerte (strong bolívar), so the old 100 bolivar bill was then worth 0.1 cents. But it didn’t stop there. The March 7 exchange rate is 1,889,000 bolivars to the dollar, so the 100 Bolivar bill Nikki Haley gave my wife is now worth 0.000000053 cents
That is hyperinflation.
Could it happen here? I used to think never, but now i am not so sure. There are warning signs in the money supply, especially the M1 money supply. The Fed has stopped using it as an indicator of the nation’s fiscal state. Here is a chart of what is going on:
“As announced on March 15, 2020, the Board reduced reserve requirement ratios to zero percent effective March 26, 2020. This action eliminated reserve requirements for all depository institutions.“
If I understand this right, the FED reduced the denominator in the equation for the velocity of money, meaning that the gain in the system can now be infinite.
This is a remake of verse 95of the Obama impeachment song.
Obama and all his cabinet and active generals called ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) ISIL (the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant). This must mean he did send a signal to all his Muslim friends that Israel is part of the Islamic interest sphere. Take a look at the Geographic area called the Levant:
This leads to verse 95 of the Obama impeachment song (as if sung by former President Barack Hussein Obama to the tune of “Please release me, let me go”)
An old British saying used to be: “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” We may not be able to do much about the weather, but at least we can try to save the world from the “Climate Crisis”. The term used to be Climate Change, but with the new administration the term has been upgraded.
When I grew up a long time ago in Sweden the old folks used to say “If you make it through February, you will make it another year.” This was of course before electricity and central heating”.
There is a saying in Norway: “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.” Here is an example, the souwester” It works well in freezing rain.
The long term weather forecast for February, issued January 21 by the weather channel looked like this:
Great, no need to buy that extra sweater, and Texans can go another season with thin t-shirts and designer pre-torn jeans.
But the weather forecast three weeks later looked like this:
But the windmills don’t work in freezing rain, so the electric grid was challenged when over half of the windmills froze just as the demand spiked. Normally coal and natural gas electrical plants would have kicked in, but many of the coal plants had been shut down due to environmental regulations, and the emergency request to restart them were denied due to environmental concerns. The natural gas plants ran full bore until the natural gas pressure in the pipelines started dropping below safe levels. This lead to rotating power-outs to preserve gas line pressure. But in the wisdom of the authorities the gas line pressure compressors had been switched from natural gas to electricity (environmental concerns), so if the compressors were in an area of electric blackout, there went the gas pressure, causing a chain reaction, and the whole power grid came within hours of a total collapse. Only nuclear power hummed along as if nothing had happened, but nuclear power is a base load and cannot increase the power above a certain level. Back in 2017, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry proposed paying Coal and Nuclear Power Stations to keep at least 90 days worth of coal onsite, for disaster resilience. At the time the resilience proposal was widely criticized as being a thinly disguised Trump scheme to pump government money into the coal and nuclear industries. So the plan was rejected by the bureaucracy. But in hindsight, a bit more resilience might have saved Texas from days of painful electricity blackouts, and even deaths.
The bill for these monumental miscalculations is yet to be paid. The cost of electricity for these 2 weeks off horror is yet to be paid. The Texans who were fortunate enough to have power have to pay the bill for intermittent electricity at a cost of two dollars per kilowatt-hour. A retired veteran on social security got a bill for over 16,000 dollars for part of February.
Since weather is so hard to predict, do we have any hope of being able to predict future climate? People keep trying. And they keep developing climate models. Here is a chart of most of them:
Not much has changed since this chart was first published. While the IPCC confidence in their climate models keep increasing, so does the difference between model prediction and actual temperature.
Climate finance continues to be the central issue in how the global community proposes to follow through with implementation of the Paris Agreement, which Joe Biden has decided to rejoin by executive fiat. This is in the opinion of his advisors, such as John Kerry appropriate in the context of the last IPCC report showing a USD 1.6-3.8 trillion energy system investment requirement to keep warming within a 1.5 degree Celsius scenario to avoid the most harmful effects of climate change (IPCC, 2018).
Ever since the election there have been loud voices proclaiming that the election was stolen. Most of the media have claimed that it was the greatest lie ever told by candidate Trump.
over 70% of Republican voters still believe that the election was stolen. Even about 30% of the Democrats believe so also, but many of them don’t mind, since it was for a greater purpose.
This is no way to try to unite the nation. There is a good way to resolve it, by conducting a forensic analysis of at least 6 states, all battleground states.
These are the allegations in the form of a handy chart.
In addition, such as the allegations from Antrim County in Michigan seem to question the validity of the whole voting system, with machines connected to the internet during counting and numerous other problems, and if these questions are not further investigated I will never believe in an election again.
If all of the allegations will be proven false, I stand corrected.
It is to be noted that the switched votes, from Trump to Biden and from Jo Jorgensen to Biden is not a complete list. It involves only six states, and the confessed vote switching that occurred in Italy is not yet included.
At the very least we should conduct an audit, involving manual recount. The audit done in Antrim County, Michigan where over 60% of the votes went for adjudication – over the internet is as big a red flag as I have ever seen.
If, after a manual audit and recount of all valid votes the reported numbers are correct I stand corrected, but if not I am convinced the election was stolen – by many foreign powers no less. I am not alone in this assertion, over 70% of Republicans believe the election was stolen and even 30% of Democrats believe so also.