This is insanity. Stop downblending our remaining U233 NOW!

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.

Check out this video and see if you will get as upset as I did.

There is one minor error in the video. The Thorium-U233 reactors also produce Plutonium, but it only produces Plutonium238, which is needed for space exploration. We are out of Pu238, only Russia has some left.

The situation:  The Department of Energy had 1400 Kg Uranium-233 stored at Oak Ridge National Lab. They are in process of downgrading it to natural uranium by downblending it with depleted uranium. They need 200 tons of depleted uranium to do the task, rendering it unusable for anything.

The decommissioning was approved in 2003 and in 2012 130 million had been spent, before the actual downblending started.

Stop the decommissioning immediately. Build our own Liquid Fluoride Thorium Nuclear Reactor and over time get 600 million dollars worth of electric power and 45g of Plutonium-238. We are out of Pu-238 and can do no more planetary exploration satellites.

The deep space satellites all had Pu-238 power sources. Only Russia has Pu-238 left, and the U.S. was banking on getting it for a friendship price. In addition there are significant unique medical applications in treatment of cancer that can be obtained by radiation from the byproduct of the Thorium process. Below are pictures of the Thorium process and what a Thorium Power plant might look like. (4)

The Plutonium in the Uranium cycle is PU239 and higher, all nasty stuff.
The LFTR does not use water, can be deployed everywhere, even in space.

The Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct; Cost estimates. Will it pay for itself?

To begin cost estimates, the model used is the cost for the Arizona central project. The waterway was constructed 1974 to 1993 at a cost of 4.7 billion dollars. In 2022 dollars that would be about 13.5 billion. The cost for the canal would be about 12.6 billion and 900 million for the pumping stations. The average size of the aqueduct in its beginning is 80 feet across the top and 24 feet across the bottom and the water is 16.5 feet deep. The concrete is 3.5 inches thick and, in some areas, it is reinforced with steel rebars. It is 336 miles long from Lake Havasu City to Tucson with a total lift of over 2,900 feet. The capacity starts out at over 2.2 million acre-ft per year, diminishing as the drop-off point occurs, and the total pumping of 1.4 million acre feet of water is lifted by up to 2,900 feet by 14 pumping stations using 2,500 GWh of electricity each year. The pumping stations have a total pumping capacity of 240 MW. It has a 7 mile long, 22 feet diameter tunnel from Lake Havasu to the beginning of the waterway.

The Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct is much bigger: The The average size of the aqueduct in its beginning is 160 feet across the top and 80 feet across the bottom and the water is 35 feet deep. The concrete is 4 inches thick and, in most areas, it is reinforced with steel rebars. The concrete used is 4,500 cu yd per mile. It will cost about 2.5 times as much per mile as the ACP, so the total cost for the Trans-Rocky-Mountain Aqueduct will be ((12.6x 2.5 : 336) x 480) = 45 billion dollars. Like the CAP, it will have an 8 mile tunnel, and its diameter will be 48 feet. This cost estimate is probably high, since eminent domain costs will be minimal; all the dams already exist and are paid for, the Arkansas river is there, complete with dams; and land for all the reservoirs are already litigated and settled. The canal will go through sparsely inhabited land.

The cost of building 17 additional small dams in the Arkansas River will be on the order of $120 million per dam, for a total of $2 Billion.

There will be a total of 7.4 GW of pumped energy needed and 200 MW of base power generated. To get the aqueduct operational at 6 MAF/year it requires 7.4 GW of energy. Pumping cost capital is about $ 1.30 per watt, so the minimum pumping capital cost is 9.6 Billion dollars.

The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors proposed is 100 MW units. so called Small Modular Reactors (SMR) The reactor core assemblies are small enough so they can be produced on an assembly line and delivered via truck. There are 3 assemblies needed, the reactor, the safe shutdown unit and the reprocessing and separation unit. The whole building can be built for $ 230 million. To complete the installation costs, add another # 30 million per unit. The aqueduct needs 74 units. The initial capital cost for grid access and minimum flow is $19 billion.

To sum it up,the capital cost for a flow of 6 MAF is (45 +2 + 9.6 + 19) = 75.6 billion dollars. The amount of water in the aqueduct when filled is 230,000 acre-feet and will take 1.1 TWh of electricity to fill, or about $35,000dollars at 3 c/kWh base rate.

When the electricity demand requires peak power, the pumps are turned off, and electricity will be sold back to the grid, at peak rate.

Solar power and wind power will also power the pumps, and they will lessen the demand for nuclear reactors. But the remaining reactors will still be needed, or peak power will still have to be supplied by natural gas, or coal when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

In short: assuming a 50 year amortization plan for the aqueduct, and money available at 2%, , it will cost 3 billion a year in capital cost to deliver 6 MAF water from the Mississippi River to Lake Powell or any point in between, or $2,000 per acre-ft. Add to that $240 for electricity and another $50 per acre-ft in overhead and maintenance, the cost will be $2,290 per acre-ft.

The Rocky Mountains places are ideal for wind and solar power, but they need to store the energy when the sun is not up or doesn’t shine, or the wind doesn’t blow. Right now that is provided by coal and natural gas. Conventional nuclear power is best for use as base power only, so this Trans-Rocky-Mountain aqueduct will provide up to 7.4 GW of pure virtual pumped power storage, the LFTR nuclear power plants will provide the energy by shutting off the pumping of water in the aqueduct when the need arises, and instead provide another up to 7.4 GW of virtual pumped storage power. The beauty of this is that the pump response is instantaneous, so the grid can be really finetuned to meet the exact power needs.

Leg 2 of the Transcontinental Aqueduct: From the Robert S. Kerr Lock and dam to the Eufaula Dam on the Canadian River.

The length of Leg 2 is 20 miles on the Robert S Kerr reservoir and 22 miles on the Canadian river.

Elevation 458′

The Robert S Kerr reservoir has an area of 43,000 acres and its elevation is regulated by the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. This means that the water can be pumped up or released as long as it is coordinated for the whole canal system. This also means that the water flow can be stopped and the power normally used to pump up water can be used as peak power, which can come in handy on a hot humid day with no sun and no wind and every air conditioner in the area is going full blast to take out the oppressive humidity.

The part of the aqueduct going up the Canadian river will have 3 20 ft dams with concrete spillways, each with a 20,000 cfs reversible flow pumping station. The map:

The dam will have a 20,000 cfs pumping station added lifting water 87 ft.

The Eufaula Dam.
The Eufaula dam
Riverbed at 498′ conservation pool at 585′

The total power consumption in this stage will be up to 265 MW. The preferred power plant will be 3 100 MW LFTR SMRs.

30. We have to switch from Uranium to Thorium as nuclear feed-stock. We are running out of domestic Uranium.

Uranium is the feed-stock for nuclear power. It is also the material necessary to make nuclear bombs and making isotopes for medicinal and industrial uses.

The United States has 245,000 tons of Uranium reserves recoverable at less than $100 per kilogram, 1.9% of the world total. The price of uranium oxide is today about $80 per kilogram. This is about 12.5 years worth of domestic production, and as the great conservationist Sarah Palin used to quip, “when it is gone, it’s gone.”

The United States has, as of 2019, mined 444,500 tons of Uranium, or about 13% of the world total.

The United States consumed in 2019 19,570 tons of Uranium, about 23% of the world total, about 99.6% of which was imported. This is a great strategic vulnerability.

Which brings up the following question: Why did the Obama administration sell 20% of our proven reserves of this strategically important material to Russia?

It is of utmost importance to immediately restart the development of nuclear reactors that use Thorium as its feed-stock. Uranium based nuclear power can never fill our long term energy needs

China, Myanmar, U.S.A. and rare earth metals. This may be serious.

In early May, 2019, President Xi and Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top trade negotiator, visited a rare earth metals mine in Jiangxi province. This has led to the rumor that China is seriously considering restricting rare earth exports to the US. China may also take other countermeasures in the future. The trade negotiations between U.S. and China got a lot more serious. It extended far beyond tariffs and intellectual property, it began to involve control of strategic materials.

The first thing we must realize is that rare earth metals are not all that rare. They are a thousand times or more abundant than gold or platinum in the earth crust and easy to mine, but a little more difficult to refine. Thorium and Uranium will  also be mined at the same time as the rare earth metals since they appear together in the ore.

Related image

U.S. used to be the major supplier of rare earth metals, which was fine up to around 1984. Then the U.S. regulators determined that Uranium and Thorium contained in the ore made the ore radioactive, so the regulatory agencies decided to make rare earth metal ore subject to nuclear regulations with all what that meant for record keeping and control. This made mining of rare earth metals in the U.S. unprofitable, so in 2001 the last domestic mine closed down. China had no such scruples, such as human or environmental concerns, so they took over the rare earth metals mining and in 2010 controlled over 95% of the world supply, which was according to their long term plan of controlling the world by 2025.

Rare Earth Element Production

The U.S. used to have a strategic reserve of rare earth metals, but that was sold off in 1998 as being no longer cost effective or necessary. Two years later the one U.S. rare earth metals mine that used to supply nearly the whole world, the Mountain Pass Mine in California closed down, together with its refining capacity. From that day all rare earth metals were imported.

The U.S. used to have a strategic reserve of rare earth metals, but that was sold off in 1998 as being no longer cost effective or necessary. Two years later the one U.S. rare earth metals mine that used to supply nearly the whole world, the Mountain Pass Mine in California closed down, together with its refining capacity. From that day all rare earth metals were imported. In 2010 it started up again together with the refining capacity but went bankrupt in 2015, closed down the refining but continued selling ore to China. They restarted  refining again late 2020.

 

So, why is this important? Just take a look at all the uses for rare earth metals. The most sought after pays all the cost of mining and refining, and the rest are readily available at nominal cost.

The Chinese almost got away with it, and that is but one reason the trade negotiations were so complicated and hard fought, but necessary. Donald Trump fought for reciprocity and fair competition.

For example, according to a 2013 report from the Congressional Research Service, each F35 Lightning II aircraft requires 920 pounds of rareearth materials. Who is making the most critical parts to this airplane? You guessed it – China, from our drawings and according to our specifications.

Here is  a picture of the F-35

Image result for f-35

And here is a picture of the Chinese clone, the J-20, stealth capacity and all.

Image result for chinese j-20 vs f-35

It is a lot cheaper to steal technology than to develop your own.

Not all rare earth metals are of equal importance, and this is reflected in their price. The rare earth metals mined in Myanmar are high in the most sought after metals, such as neodymium and dysprosium 

November saw the prices of all major Chinese-sourced rare earths spike, but especially those used in magnets. In particular, the research note mentioned neodymium, which is the most common rare earth used in making magnets, which rose by 27% since early in November, up over 50% year to date. Several other key rare earths also increased in value last month, including dysprosium (+17%), gadolinium (+9%) and terbium (+27%).

Another factor in the price surge is a new law that came into force in China on December 1, Hamilton noted. Known as the Export Control Law, it creates new regulations that give the government more control over such exports as technology and rare earths.

It turns out that Myanmar provides half of China’s need for neodymium and dysprosium, so any disruption in the supply would be most unwelcome for China.

China has been hard at work trying to keep a near monopoly on rare earth metals, by securing patents> Here is a chart of recently issued patents

https://cdn.i-scmp.com/sites/default/files/d8/images/methode/2021/02/03/8e8a1524-65dd-11eb-bc00-908c10a5850a_972x_175322.jpg

Yogi Berra once said: Predictions are hard, especially about the future Here are the predictions for rare earth metals prices:

On February 1 there was a coup in Myanmar, and the military took over power. Prices of some rare earth metals spiked to more than estimated 2025 levels.

China has been quietly exploring the economic damage it could inflict to US and European companies – including defense contractors – if they were to impose export ‘restrictions’ on 17 rare-earth materials, according to a report in the Financial Times.

FT added that “[t]he Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last month proposed draft controls on the production and export of 17 rare earth minerals in China, which controls about 80% of global supply.”

Before being voted out of office, President Trump and his administration sought to take steps that might help the US limit China’s resource dominance in this area, including signing an executive order declaring a “national emergency” in the US mining and minerals industry (much of which remains focused on digging coal out of the ground). China has been widely acknowledged as dominant in the rare-earth minerals market for decades.

But with Trump out, and a much more China-friendly administration back in power in Washington, it looks like Beijing is already considering playing hardball to get what it wants.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is considering sanctions against Myanmar, a country that is poorer than Bangladesh.

China is the world’s dominant producer of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used in consumer electronics and military equipment. But it relied on Myanmar for about half its heavy rare earth concentrates in 2020, says Adamas Intelligence managing director Ryan Castilloux.

Myanmar is therefore an “exceptionally critical supplier of … feedstocks that are essential ingredients in high-strength permanent magnets for electric vehicle traction motors, wind power generators, industrial robots and a wide array of defense-related applications”, he said.

There has been no sign of disruption for now, since Myanmar’s rare earth mines are under the control of autonomous militia groups, but the test will come after the Lunar New Year holiday, which has just ended.

 

 

 

Wind power failed the environmental test. There are better alternatives.

Brr, it is cold in Texas, over 3.5 million people are out of power, freezing rain is knocking out power lines and half of the wind turbines are out of commission until they thaw out. The wind chill is way below zero F, and in Galveston they had a snow thunderstorm on the beach!

Maybe wind power is not the best way to go.There are better ways.

That is not all. Efficient wind turbine generators use a lot of rare earth metals to achieve maximum efficiency on the magnets among other things. China still controls over 80% of all rare earth metals mining and refining. This is a national security risk.

How stupid can you get? Here is an example. To de-ice a 747 aircraft costs about 40,000 dollars. Add to this the cost of flying the helicopter, and the fuel it consumes while transporting the glycol from its base to the wind farm.

The rest of the quote: “And I am not sure about the universe.”

There are better solutions to our energy problem:

The many cases why Thorium Nuclear Power is the only realistic solution to the world’s energy problems.

Lest anyone should think: At least solar panels work well.  Not in this storm!

 

Clouds, water vapor and CO2 – why nearly all climate models fail. – and a Limerick.

 

Fear spreads up on Capitol Hill

The Climate change will break their will.

AOC: In Ten years

our world disappears!

She acts as a New Green Deal shill.

Quote from Alexandria Occasio-Cortez in January 2019: “Millennials and Gen Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up, and we’re like, ‘The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’ ” she said.

I beg to differ.

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 chromath 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.

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

Image result for h20 and co2 as greenhouse gases

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

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 late May through early August temperatures were lower. It takes time to melt all the extra snow that fell because of the less cold air, able to contain more water vapor.

These are my suggestions

  1. Do not worry about increasing CO2 levels. The major temperature stabilizer is clouds, and they will keep the earth from overheating by reflecting back into space a large amount of incoming solar radiation. Always did, and always will, even when the CO2 concentration was more than 10000 ppm millions of years ago. Ice ages will still come, and this is the next major climate change, maybe 10000 years from now, probably less.
  2. Clean up rivers, lakes and oceans from pollution. This is a priority.
  3. Limit Wind turbine electric energy to areas not populated by large birds to save the birds. Already over 1.3 million birds a year are killed by wind turbines, including the bald and Golden Eagles that like to build their aeries on top of wind turbines.
  4. Do not build large solar concentration farms. They too kill birds.
  5. Solar panels are o.k. not in large farms, but distributed on roofs to provide backup power.
  6. Exploit geothermal energy in geologically stable areas.
  7. Where ever possible add peak power generation and storage capacity to existing hydroelectric power plants by pumping back water into the dams during excess capacity.
  8. Add peak power storage dams, even in wildlife preserves. The birds and animals don’t mind.
  9. Develop Thorium based Nuclear Power. Russia, China, Australia and India are ahead of us in this. Streamline permit processes. Prioritize research. This should be our priority, for when the next ice age starts we will need all the CO2 possible.
  10. Put fusion power as important for the future but do not rush it, let the research and development be scientifically determined. However, hybrid Fusion -Thorium power generation should be developed.
  11. When Thorium power is built up and has replaced coal and gas fired power plants, then is the time to switch to electric cars, not before.
  12. Standard Nuclear Power plants should be replaced by Thorium powered nuclear plants, since they have only 0,01% of the really bad long term nuclear waste.
  13. Start thinking about recovering CO2 directly from the air and produce aviation fuel. This should be done as Thorium power has replaced coal and gas fired power plants.
  14. This is but a start, but the future is not as bleak as all fearmongers state.

John Kerry, the climate Czar, a Limerick.

John Kerry in private jet flies

all over our God-given skies.

Carbon neutral he ain’t;

not my only complaint.

Spews out all the climate scare lies.

Yes, John Kerry must have been the only choice for environmental Czar. After all, he already has six houses, twelve cars, a yacht and his own private jet.

He will promote off-shore wind power, except outside one of his homes, solar power, but no new power lines anywhere near one of his homes, anddo away with coal.

I too want to limit coal consumption, but for an entirely different reason. I want to save some for future generations, and especially when we enter the next ice-age, which may be nearer than most people think.

Now, much better than spend all our natural resources on building wind and solar power is to rapidly develop Thorium Nuclear power for most electricity production. It is the only realistic power source for a Moon colony, and in the last few days of the Trump administration small portable nuclear power stations were promoted for military use. As far as I know, President Biden has not yet rescinded that executive order. Let’s hope he won’t.

 

 

 

29. President Donald J. Trump on Jan. 5 2021 issued an Executive Order on Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration. Only Liquid fluoride thorium reactors can meet all the needs.

Executive Order EO 13972.

Section 1.  Purpose.  Nuclear energy is critical to United States national security.  That is why I have taken a series of actions to promote its development and facilitate its use.  On June 29, 2017, I announced an initiative to revive and expand the nuclear energy sector and directed a complete review of United States nuclear energy policy to help find new ways to revitalize this crucial energy resource.  On July 12, 2019, I signed a Presidential Memorandum entitled “The Effect of Uranium Imports on the National Security and Establishment of the United States Nuclear Fuel Working Group,” with the goal of examining the current state of domestic nuclear fuel production and reinvigorating the nuclear fuel supply chain, consistent with United States national security and nonproliferation goals.  On August 20, 2019, I signed National Security Presidential Memorandum-20, entitled “Launch of Spacecraft Containing Space Nuclear Systems,” calling for development and use of space nuclear systems to enable or enhance space exploration and operational capabilities.

The purpose of this order is to take an important additional step to revitalize the United States nuclear energy sector, reinvigorate America’s space exploration program, and develop diverse energy options for national defense needs.  Under this action, the United States Government will coordinate its nuclear activities to apply the benefits of nuclear energy most effectively toward American technology supremacy, including the use of small modular reactors for national defense and space exploration.  This work is critical to advancing my Administration’s priorities for the United States to lead in research, technology, invention, innovation, and advanced technology development; its mission to promote and protect the United States national security innovation base; its drive to secure energy dominance; and its commitment to achieving all of these goals in a manner consistent with the highest nuclear nonproliferation standards.

The United States was the first nation to invent and develop the technology to harness nuclear energy.  Since the 1950s, the United States Navy has been operating and advancing transportable nuclear reactors, resulting in powerfully enhanced marine propulsion for its aircraft carriers and allowing nuclear-powered submarines to remain submerged for extended periods of time.

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.

Sec. 2.  Policy.  It is the policy of the United States to promote advanced reactor technologies, including small modular reactors, to support defense installation energy flexibility and energy security, and for use in space exploration, guided by the following principles:

(a)  A healthy and robust nuclear energy industry is critical to the national security, energy security, and economic prosperity of the United States;

(b)  The United States should maintain technology supremacy for nuclear research and development, manufacturing proficiency, and security and safety;

(c)  The United States Government should bolster national defense and space exploration capabilities and enable private-sector innovation of advanced reactor technologies.

Sec. 3.  Demonstration of Commercial Reactors to Enhance Energy Flexibility at a Defense Installation.  (a)  Micro-reactors have the potential to enhance energy flexibility and energy security at domestic military installations in remote locations.  Accordingly, the Secretary of Defense shall, within 180 days of the date of this order, establish and implement a plan to demonstrate the energy flexibility capability and cost effectiveness of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed micro‑reactor at a domestic military installation.

(b)  If the demonstration is successful, the Secretary of Defense shall identify opportunities at domestic military installations where this capability could enhance or supplement the fulfillment of installation energy requirements.  In identifying these opportunities, the Secretary of Defense shall take into account considerations that are unique to national defense needs and requirements that may not be relevant in the private sector, such as:

(i)    the ability to provide resilient, independent energy delivery to installations in the event that connections to an electrical grid are compromised;

(ii)   the ability to operate for an extended period of time without refueling;

(iii)  system resistance to disruption from an electro‑magnetic pulse event; and

(iv)   system cybersecurity requirements.

Sec. 4.  Defense Capabilities.  (a)  The Department of Defense is one of the largest consumers of energy in the world, using more than 10 million gallons of fuel per day and 30,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year, nearly all of which is provided through civilian electrical grids.  Fuel demands for a modern United States military have dramatically grown since World War II and are anticipated to continue to increase in order to support high-energy-usage military systems.  In this context, nuclear power could significantly enhance national defense power capabilities.

(b)  The Secretary of Defense shall, in consultation with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Energy, and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA Administrator):

(i)    determine whether advanced nuclear reactors can be made to benefit Department of Defense future space power needs;

(ii)   pilot a transportable micro-reactor prototype;

(iii)  direct an analysis of alternatives for personnel, regulatory, and technical requirements to inform future decisions with respect to nuclear power usage; and

(iv)   direct an analysis of United States military uses for space nuclear power and propulsion technologies and an analysis of foreign adversaries’ space power and propulsion programs.

Sec. 5.  Space Exploration.  (a)  Nuclear power sources that use uranium fuel or plutonium heat sources are essential to deep space exploration and in areas where solar power is not practical.  NASA uses radioisotope power systems, such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators and radioisotope heater units, to provide power and heat for deep space robotic missions.  Nuclear power sources in the kilowatt range may be needed for demonstrating In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) and robotic exploration of permanently shadowed craters on the Moon that contain frozen water.  Nuclear reactors up to 100 kilowatts may be needed to support human habitats, ISRU, other facilities, and rovers on both the Moon and Mars.  Power sources in the megawatt range would be necessary for efficient, long‑duration deep space propulsion.  Affordable, lightweight nuclear power sources in space would enable new opportunities for scientific discovery.  The sustainable exploration of the Moon, Mars, and other locations will be enhanced if small modular reactors can be deployed and operated remotely from Earth.

(b)  Within 180 days of the date of this order, the NASA Administrator, in consultation with heads of other executive departments and agencies (agencies), as appropriate, shall define requirements for NASA utilization of nuclear energy systems for human and robotic exploration missions through 2040 and analyze the costs and benefits of such requirements.  In defining these requirements, the NASA Administrator shall take into account considerations unique to the utilization of nuclear energy systems in space, such as:

(i) transportability of a reactor prior to and after deployment;

(ii) thermal management in a reduced- or zero-gravity environment in a vacuum or near-vacuum;

(iii) fluid transfer within reactor systems in a reduced or zero-gravity environment;

(iv) reactor size and mass that can be launched from Earth and assembled in space;

(v) cooling of nuclear reactors in space;

(vi) electric power requirements

(vii) space safety rating to enable operations as part of human space exploration missions;

(viii) period of time for which a reactor can operate without refueling; and

(ix) conditioning of reactor components for use in the space environment.

Sec. 6.  Domestic Fuel Supply.  (a)  A thriving and secure domestic nuclear fuel supply chain is critical to the national interests of the United States.  A viable domestic nuclear fuel supply chain not only supports defense and national security activities, but also enables the success of the commercial nuclear industry.  Many advanced reactor concepts, however, will require high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU), for which no domestic commercial enrichment capability currently exists.  The United States must take steps to ensure a viable United States-origin HALEU supply.

(b)  The Secretary of Energy shall complete the Department of Energy’s ongoing 3-year, $115 million demonstration of a United States-origin enrichment technology capable of producing HALEU for use in defense-related advanced reactor applications.  Within funding available for the demonstration project, the Secretary of Energy should develop a plan to promote successful transition of this technology to the private sector for commercial adoption.

(c)  The Secretary of Energy shall consult with the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the NASA Administrator regarding how advanced fuels and related technologies can best support implementation of sections 3, 4, and 5 of this order.

Sec. 7.  Common Technology Roadmap.  (a)  The Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Energy, and the NASA Administrator shall develop a common technology roadmap through 2030 that describes potential development programs and that coordinates, to the extent practicable, terrestrial-based advanced nuclear reactor and space-based nuclear power and propulsion efforts.  Agencies shall remain responsible for funding their respective mission-unique requirements.  The roadmap shall also include, at a minimum:

(i) assessments of foreign nations’ space nuclear power and propulsion technological capabilities;

(ii)   pathways for transitioning technologies developed through Federally supported programs to private-sector activities; and

(iii)  other applications supporting the goals provided in section 1 of this order.

(b)  The roadmap shall be submitted to the President by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and the Executive Secretary of the National Space Council before submissions of budget proposals by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Energy, and the NASA Administrator.

Sec. 8.  Definitions.  For purposes of this order:

(a)  The term “small modular reactor” refers to an advanced nuclear reactor of electric generation capacity less than 300 megawatt-electric.  Because of the smaller size, small modular reactors can generally be designed for factory fabrication and modular construction to take advantage of economies of serial production and shorter construction times.

(b)  The term “micro-reactor” refers to a nuclear reactor of electric generation capacity less than 10 megawatt-electric that can be deployed remotely.  Micro-reactors are a subset of small modular reactors and are also known as “very small modular reactors.”

(c)  The term “transportable micro-reactor” refers to a micro-reactor that can be moved by truck, ship, or large military transport aircraft and is capable of both rapid deployment and teardown or removal, typically with safe teardown or removal less than 1 week after 1 year of full-power operation.

(d)  The term “space exploration” refers to in-space scientific and resource exploration, in-space economic and industrial development, and development of associated in-space logistical infrastructure.

(e)  The term “national defense” refers to the protection of the United States and its interests from foreign attack or other natural danger, including phenomena occurring on Earth and in space.

Sec. 9.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 5, 2021. WhiteHouse.gov

Climate change and the Paris climate agreement. A Limerick.

Re-enter the Paris accord?

A folly we ill can afford.

We’ll help China pollute,

they won’t still give a hoot.

Re-sign is a Damocles sword.

I am a climate realist, that means I look at the totality of what is happening to the climate with increasing CO2 levels, and what it means for our future.

Climate alarmists and IPCC believe that the thermal response to increasing CO2 is a feedback gain from increasing water vapor that results from higher temperatures, leading to much higher temperatures. Current climate model averages indicate a temperature rise of 4.7 C by 2100 if nothing is done, 4.65 C if U.S keeps all its Paris commitments and 4.53 C if all countries keep their part of the agreement. In all cases, with or without Paris agreement we are headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.

As the chart indicates, implementing all of the Paris agreement will delay the end of mankind as we know it by at most 4 years.

The cost is staggering. The developing countries want at least 100 billion dollars a year to implement the Paris accord, all paid for by the developed countries. The most infuriating thing about that is that China is considered a developing country, and being a developed country The U.S., while reducing their CO2 footprint will be paying China until the year 2030 to further develop their coal burning electric plants until the China CO2 output is six times our output. They had plans to add 65 GW  (+6.5%) of coal-burning power plants this year alone to their grid. The china-virus delayed that by a few months, but their intent is still to dominate the world by 2025. They already consume 48% of the world’s output of coal, produce over half of the world’s steel and cement (it takes a lot of reinforced concrete to create multiple islands in the South China Sea).

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Myself and quite a few scientists, meteorologists, but mostly engineers believe the feedback loop in nature is far more complicated than what the climate models suggest, in fact, there is a large negative feedback in the system, preventing a temperature runaway, and we have the observations to prove it.  The negative feedback manifests itself in 2 ways:

Inorganic feedback, represented by clouds. If there were no clouds, the tropics would average a temperature of  140 F  thanks to the greenhouse effect. The clouds reflect back up to 300 W/m2 into space rather than the same energy being absorbed into water or soil. Clouds are highly temperature dependent, especially cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. The figure below shows temperature at the equator in the Pacific Ocean.

Cumulus clouds are formed in the morning, earlier the warmer it is, and not at all if it is cold, thunderstorms appear when it is warm enough. The figure shows how temperature in the equatorial Pacific rises until about 8:30 a.m, then actually declines between 9 and 12 a.m. even as the sun continues to rise. The feedback, which was positive at low temperatures becomes negative at warmer temperatures, and in the equatorial doldrums, surface temperature has found its equilibrium. No amount of CO2 will change that. Equatorial temperature follows the temperature of the ocean, warmer when there is an el niño, cooler when there is a la niña. Here is a chart of temperature increases since satellite measurements began as a function of latitude.

The tropics follow the ocean temperature closely, no long term rising trend, the extra-tropics are also stable.

Not so at the poles. the temperature record indicate a noticeable warming with large spikes up and down, up to 3 degree Celsius difference from year to year, especially the Arctic. So, how much has the Arctic melted? Here is a chart of Arctic ice cover for 31 May for the last 39 years.

If this trend continues, all ice may melt in 300 to 400 years, faster if there is further warming and nothing else is changing. Let’s take a look at the Arctic above the 80th latitude, an area of about 3,85 million square kilometers, less than 1% of the earth’s surface, but it is there where global warming is most pronounced. Here are two charts from 2016 and 2017.

meanT_2017

Starting at summer 2016, the Arctic was melting quite normally, but something else happened that is not shown in the chart. Every 5 years or so, the Arctic suffer a large storm with full hurricane strength during the summer. In 2016 there was no one, but two such storms, and as they happened late in the season when the ice is rotten they result in a large ice loss, making the ice minimum the lowest on record, and the ice volume nearly 4,000 Gigatons (Gt) less than the 30 year normal. Then the temperature from October thru April did run 7 degree Celsius warmer than normal with a spike as high as 20 degrees warmer. Yet today the deficit is down to 2,500 Gt. What happened? It snowed more than normal. In the Arctic, it gets warmer under clouds, warmer still when it snows. Take a look at Greenland and what happened during the freezing season. It snowed and snowed and Greenland accumulated 150 Gt more ice than normal. So, at that point in the season we were a total of 1650 Gt ahead of previous year, and this was with Arctic temperatures being seven degrees warmer than normal during the cold season. The counter-intuitive conclusion is that it may very well be that warmer temperatures produces accumulation of snow and ice, colder temperatures with less snow accumulates less. What happens during the short Arctic summer? With more snow accumulated it takes longer to melt prevous year’s snow, so the temperature stays colder longer. In 2017 the Arctic temperature was running colder than normal every day since May 1. If this melting period ended without melting all snow, multi year ice will accumulate, and if it continued unabated, a new ice age would start.

 

The second feedback loop is organic. More CO2 means more plant growth.  According to NASA there has been a significant greening of the earth, more than 10% since satellite measurements begun. This results in a cooling effect everywhere, except in areas that used to be treeless where they have a warming effect. The net effect is that we can now feed 2 billion more people than before without using more fertilizer. Check this picture from NASA, (now they can publish real science again) showing the increased leaf area extends nearly everywhere.

In addition, more leafs changes the water cycle, increases evapotranspiration, and more trees and vegetation reduces erosion and unwanted runoff. Good news all around.

In short, taking into account the negative feedback occurring the earth will warm up less than 0.5 degrees from now, not at all in the tropics, and less than 3 degrees at the poles. Without the Paris agreement there will be no increase in the death rates in the cities, except from the slight increase of city temperatures due to the urban heat effect. With the Paris agreement we will have to make draconian cuts in our use of electricity, meaning using much less air conditioning and even less heating, and life expectancy will decline.

We need energy. It takes a lot of energy to clean up the planet. Developing nations should be encouraged to use electricity rather than cooking by dried cow-dung. Coal is limited, and we should leave some for our great great grandchildren. Oil and gas should be preserved for aviation, since there is no realistic alternative with a high enough energy density. Therefore I am an advocate for Thorium based nuclear energy, being safer than Uranium based nuclear energy, and, properly implemented will produce about 0.01% of the long term radioactive waste compared to conventional nuclear power plants. And there is a million year supply  of Thorium available. Once the electricity power plants have fully switched away from coal and gas, then and only then is it time to switch to electric cars. The case for Thorium generated electric energy can be found here.