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January 24, 2022

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Emphasis on 'potentially'.
Unfortunately, humans seem to be incapable of taking the risks of the technology serious longterm, always cutting corners, 'saving' money, ignoring safety procedures because they are inconvenient etc.
There is also notorious collusion between the industry and the state everywhere to dissimulate and lie.
I used to say that the only way to make nuclear power safe is to force all those who have a stake in it to stay on site at all times, so they would be among the first victims, if something goes horribly wrong.
But after reading more about Chernobyl, I doubt that even that would work since many of those people WERE on site and would not admit for days what had happened even to themselves (and did not try to leave even given the opportunity).

Which means it is time to give him a face-saving exit.

Apparently they're working on it - US/UK playin the bad cop, France/Germany the good cop (though the UK is a hypocritical laughingstock by now).

http://click1.crm.foreignpolicy.com/ViewMessage.do;jsessionid=D5DDD0CFFDDF085F2930EA6F767A0460

Energy poverty is a systemic problem that predates the shift to renewables - just look at the UK right now with its dismal housing standards and widespread poverty. The EU is well aware that temporary effects on prices have to mitigated during the shift, but in the long run renewables will lead to more energy security.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/europe-can-eradicate-energy-poverty-by-quitting-fossil-fuels-eu-official/

Most importantly this is the way forward for
the so called "developing countries" and has been proven there on the local and regional level already:

https://www.newstatesman.com/spotlight/energy/2021/11/renewable-energy-tackling-poverty-developing-countries

It's of course important to be realistic and pragmatic about all this, but I really don't get the defeatism, especially since there is no alternative way forward and time is short.

That's interesting, something that has come up here is four former Japanese PMs (Kan, Koizumi, Hatoyama and Murayama) sending a letter to the EU complaining about plans to label nuclear energy green.

Unfortunately, this is the only English article and it is behind a paywall
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/01/27/national/koizumi-kan-nuclear/

Former prime ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Naoto Kan called on the European Union on Thursday to pursue a path toward zero nuclear power, with the bloc planning to designate it as a form of “green” energy in achieving net-zero emissions by midcentury.

Both Koizumi and Kan were proponents of nuclear power generation while in office, but they have become prominent antinuclear voices in Japan since the 2011 Fukushima disaster triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami. Kan was prime minister when the disaster struck northeastern Japan.

“As a result of the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 (plant), we’ve learned nuclear power was not safe, cheap and clean energy,” said Koizumi, a reformer who held office from 2001 to 2006, during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

“Even if we do not rely on nuclear power and not use fossil fuels, there are enough renewables to supply the needed power. This is true in Japan as well as other countries in the world,” added Kan, who held office between 2010 and 2011.

In the EU classification to guide and mobilize private investment in activities necessary to achieve climate neutrality in the next 30 years, it is proposed that energy from nuclear fission and natural gas be labeled as “green.”

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, believes there is a role for natural gas and nuclear power in transitioning toward a future based predominantly on renewable energy.

Some EU members such as Austria, Germany and Spain oppose or remain skeptical of the proposal, while France has led the drive for nuclear power to be included in the green category of the classification.

The regulation is expected to come into force in 2023, allowing for nuclear power and natural gas to join renewable energy on a list of technologies approved for private investment and EU financial support.

Some things related to the Japanese nuclear industry, which I think is why the 4 are weighing in, but I'm hoping renewables get more of a foothold.

Germany is up un arms about that and I doubt it will go through, lj.

Macron has elections coming up...

Interestingly, apparently no current reactors qualify for the green label under the current criteria, lol

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/misunderstanding-could-block-nuclear-from-claiming-green-eu-label-industry-warns/

As a result of the 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 (plant), we’ve learned nuclear power was not safe...

No. We've learned that nuclear power stations are not safe when inundated by a tsunami.

Don't forget that Germany has a new government that has not yet sorted itself out fully. It looks rather weak and undecisive at the moment
(our 'support' for Ukraine amounts to 5000 helmets). If the nuclear and gas lobby acts decisively and makes use of the German (in particular SPD) sentimental attachment to the Baltic Sea pipelines, the official German protests will not have much of an effect. And Macron's desire to become the de facto European leader after Merkel's retirement will meet Scholz' lack of the same. We are not the 'good cop' but one major reason why Putin did his gamble right now.

Btw, I personally think that it would have been insipid not to finish the pipeline. To do so would have been as if Britain and France had decided not to finish the Euro Tunnel with about a hundred meters still to build. The question is, whether to use it or not. And given the choice between cheap Russian gas that could open us to blackmail and overpriced US gas (delivery not guaranteed either) that has its own diverse problems, what is one to do? We will still need the stuff for some time, green or not. At the moment geologists do overtime to somehow find some in-country overlooked until now to get out of that dilemma.
From what I know the German companies that used to be the nuclear industry have very little desire to go back. They wanted to keep the old plants running as long as possible but do not think that new ones would be viable (politically and otherwise) and thus would not invest a cent (unless the state takes all the risks and most of the costs and maybe not even then).

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/arrival-of-russian-medical-units-near-would-be-ukraine-front-sends-signal-to-west-11643410870?mod=mw_more_headlines

If they were sent by DeSantis' genocidal conservative movement Florida Department of Health, Ukraine and Allied forces can use chemical and biological warfare to wipe out the Russian republican party forces because the latter will not be inoculated nor will they be supplied with gas masks, though they should be sufficiently de-wormed.

As a temporary stop-gap measure, we could stack the bodies of the hundreds of thousands, and counting, of Covid-19-denying conservative suicides and whatever Kennedys would like to join them to shore up and sandbag the Great Lakes coastlines the very same ignorant, malignant lunatics who deny the Great Lakes are filling up because of the global climate change hoax.

https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.4589

If you lined up all of the dead conservatives end to end, we would have a path to Hell.

Conservative man on the street (hopefully that guy Trump shot on 5th Avenue): "Lazy damned layabout'murricans refusing to work and callin it the great resignation for hoax reasons like the China flu and insufficient wages and jagoff bosses and collecting welfare on top of it, and don't tell me it's because the Biden economy is givin' them choices they never had before ... our understaffed corporations and small companies is sufferin becuase of their greed ...why we oughta ... say what?"

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-great-resignation-hits-u-s-state-and-local-governments-11643389772?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

.... good riddance!! They been overpaid, underworked, and stealing my money forever. Too bad they aren't being fired and prosecuted to boot. They can take them all day lunch breaks now on the street! Three cheers for understaffing, longer waits and lost productivity!

For every one dead piece of shit conservative, three illegal votes by white conservative pig fuckers will be enabled by corrupt vote-stealing gerrymandering, election commission skullduggery, and racist voting restrictions.

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2022/01/the-virus-dont-care-about-your-feelings

The blood banks had better save up for what is coming.

No. We've learned that nuclear power stations are not safe when inundated by a tsunami.

Or perhaps the lesson is that, if you are going to site something on the coast, in an area subject to tsunamis, you need to design for that. Just like the need to design stuff to withstand earthquakes, which the Japanese are surely aware of.

Except for Chernobyl, which was an accident waiting to happen, harm from nuclear power plants has been extremely low compared to other energy sources.

I'm no energy expert, but I would throw this hypothesis out there: We don't have nuclear power because the "free market" does not capture all the cost externalities of carbon energy. This market failure makes nuclear prohibitively expensive in relation....requiring massive public investment in something the "free market" would not otherwise undertake.

Thus I would opine plumping for more nuclear power is piling one mistake on top of another.

Somebody set me straight. Thanks.

I would throw this hypothesis out there: We don't have nuclear power because the "free market" does not capture all the cost externalities of carbon energy. This market failure makes nuclear prohibitively expensive in relation....requiring massive public investment in something the "free market" would not otherwise undertake.

Hydro (which pretty much everybody agrees is green power) has some of the same problems. Note that, for example, Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam are both owned by the US government. Because of how much they cost to build, they were public investment.

Would building more of those amount to piling one mistake on top of another?

Would building more of those amount to piling one mistake on top of another?

1. Unlike the case for nuclear, I am not aware of a current public push to 'build more dams' to solve the climate crisis...but I don't know everything.

2. Considering how many have already been built, I would say yes. I mean if a river system is already a string of reservoirs behind other dams, where are you going to build more? The law of diminishing marginal returns would seem to apply.*

And again...it would be substituting public investment to cover up a possibly existential market failure that would continue to go largely unaddressed.

*See also Snake River Dams controversy. Also see Elwha River dam removal.

Even dams are potential time bombs, if maintenance is treated as an expensive nuisance that is better put on the next owner. Failing hydro dams have the one advantage that the catastrophe is short term. Quite different for dams used to store liquid waste from mining or coal or chemical plants behind.
And how green hydro can be depends heavily on location. Many South American ones are put into rather flat areas of landscape leading to giant but flat reservoirs with the sunken forests rotting away releasing huge amount of greenhouse gases.
Climate change can also ruin it by changing the flow and flood pattern of rivers. Too much water at one time (so it can't be stored) and then too little for the rest of the year, so the reservoir content gets used up too fast.
Climate change also meddles with existing fossil fuel and nuclear plants that need cooling water. Numerous have to be switched of in the summer because the rivers they rely on get too warm or carry too little water.
So, climate change makes even some rather good and reasonably 'green' energy sources more difficult to exploit.

The Banqiao Dam collapse in 1975 was far worse than anything involving a nuclear power plant.

The Three Gorges Dam has looked a bit precarious during recent flooding.

how green hydro can be depends heavily on location. Many South American ones are put into rather flat areas of landscape leading to giant but flat reservoirs with the sunken forests rotting away releasing huge amount of greenhouse gases.

As with any system, putting it in the right place is important. You can make a solar electric facility a big net carbon cost by simply insisting on putting it somewhere which is heavily cloudy all the time. Or close to the poles. You never do make back the cost of manufacturing. It's not really valid to fault the mechanism just because somebody put it in a wrong place.

Somebody set me straight.

The market can never fail, it can only be failed.

Those who actually have faith in The Free Market would tax carbon at source and let The Invisible Hand sort everything else out.

Alas, taxation is anathema to Free Market worshipers. And don't "tell people what to do" with efficiency regulations either.

So, subsidize nukes, but don't regulate them too much, and call it a Free Market solution. The Economy will thrive. The Environment ... who cares?

--TP

The local biosphere is doing great in the area around Chernobyl.

Seems like it's 'humans' that are the big environmental threat, not 'radiation'.

It's not really valid to fault the mechanism just because somebody put it in a wrong place.

You may have a point. If somebody built a dam in the middle of the Sahara Desert, I would not blame the dam.

However, the damned removal of the damned dams is possibly a damned good thing.

It's not really valid to fault the mechanism just because somebody put it in a wrong place.

I hear that a lot when people talk about capitalism.

Jesus, have just seen weather report on East coast. Really hoping that russell, Janie and any others are OK.

I worry somewhat less about the folks in Maine and Massachusetts (where they are at least somewhat structured for massive snow fall) than the guys in North Carolina (e.g. cleek). Not that it is being easy times for any of them, of course.

We had a storm last night and to-day here too. No snow in sight though (far too warm for that already). No visible damage in view in my neighbourhood but I hear on the news that other parts of town have been hit far harder.
Still nothing to compare with the situations that have become typical for the US.

Unlike the case for nuclear, I am not aware of a current public push to 'build more dams' to solve the climate crisis...but I don't know everything.

Across the American West, there are a substantial number of large pumped hydro storage facilities at various stages of planning/permitting. Each of them would require building one or two dams.

As an example, the power authority that generates my electricity owns a piece of a coal-fired plant that will be retired by 2030. Most of their replacement capacity will be wind and solar. While resource and geographic diversity addresses some of the intermittency problem, storage is going to be necessary. A group of investors has proposed building a 600 MW pumped hydro station near the existing plant, in order to take advantage of the existing transmission network and a portion of the coal plant's water rights.

Across the American West, there are a substantial number of large pumped hydro storage facilities at various stages of planning/permitting. Each of them would require building one or two dams.

I have the impression that, across the flatter parts of the country (i.e. most of it), people have real trouble wrapping their heads around the feasibility of pumped hydro storage. The geography to allow sufficient storage mostly doesn't exist there, the was it does routinely in the West.

I have the impression that, across the flatter parts of the country (i.e. most of it), people have real trouble wrapping their heads around the feasibility of pumped hydro storage.

Interestingly, the largest (by face plate) pumped hydro facility in the US is in Michigan, uses Lake Michigan as the lower reservoir, and has less than 400 ft of head. The largest currently proposed new pumped hydro station is in Ohio, about 20 miles from Lake Erie, and would use an abandoned limestone mine for the lower reservoir. The mine is at a depth of 2,200 ft, covers about a square mile, and has an average floor-to-ceiling height of 45 ft. (I find the idea of a square mile of room-and-pillar mine really strange.) The same mine has been proposed for a pumped-air energy storage system.

Thanks, GftNC and wj -- all is well here in central Maine. We had 14-16 hours of horizontal snow and howling wind on Saturday, but our power never went out, and I don't do the plowing/shoveling, so I had a quiet day indoors. It was by far not the biggest storm I've ever seen, but definitely the biggest in a couple of years.

and howling wind on Saturday

Part of it probably packs of angry Inhofes howling 'Snoooow! Noooo waaaaarming! Hooooax! Hooooax!'

Really hoping that russell, Janie and any others are OK.

All good here. Same as Janie, about 16 hours of wind and snow going in 5 different directions at once. A bad storm but not unusually so. Probably 18 inches to 2 feet overall, but drifts up to about 4 feet. Power stayed on, so that was good.

We don’t have a snow blower, but our neighbors to either side do, and are very enthusiastic about using them. Between them, they cleared us out. I’m officially old, now, so I guess I’m eligible for the “help the geezer out” treatment. Later in the day I delivered a bottle of a nice red to each.

One or two of these a year is not so bad. It’s when we get a series of them that it becomes problematic, like back in ‘15. It can get to the point where there just isn’t a place to put the snow when you clear it.

I checked in chez cleek. He says all good there, three weekends of comparatively light snow, and almost nothing this time.

Dr. Fauci channels Donald Rumsfeld:

“The cautious are being cautious a lot because the uncautious are not being cautious. And the uncautious resent the caution of the cautious.”

We Need to Talk About Covid, Part 2: A Conversation with Dr. Fauci (Spotify: 33:50)

I watched the SpaceX launch this afternoon. Another flawless flight. Remarkable video coverage as well. This time they managed a live telephoto shot in which you could see the second stage separation, second stage ignition, and the booster turn and start its burn for return. Then all the rock steady live shots from the second stage and the booster on their separate ways. Couldn't have asked for better footage than the booster landing in the Florida twilight. SpaceX has another scheduled Falcon 9 launch from Florida tomorrow, and another from California on Thursday.

I only bring it up because NASA has delayed the Artemis 1 launch from February until March or more likely April. Due to some sort of glitch, they replaced one of the engine control computers and have to repeat a whole raft of assembly and testing. I think there's a huge amount of pressure on NASA and the United Launch Alliance. Not only do they need a near-perfect flight, but they need to provide some remarkable video feeds throughout. And when the press asks when the next Artemis launch is scheduled, they're stuck with the answer, "Two years." SpaceX has really raised the bar on what people expect.

I was surprised to see no mention of the Webb telescope here in the comments. That is an impressive feat of engineering.

An overview of the development history of the telescope, what it can do that previous telescopes couldn't, and the types of projects it will be used for.

What might the new Webb telescope discover? (YouTube)

Here is Where is Webb for anyone interested. Updates are slow but very interesting.

I was surprised to see no mention of the Webb telescope here in the comments.

It has gone miraculously well. So far. But I'm holding my breath until it's actually up and running.

Next winter storm system is cranking up. Forecast here (Front Range Colorado) is 6-8" of snow over the next 48 hours and a low of -7 °F Wednesday night. Big impact looks to be a few states farther east, with up to a half-inch of freezing rain. That's more than enough to play merry hell with the power and communications in places where the cables are pole-mounted.

Ukraine:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/wagner-group-mercenaries-pull-out-of-africa-ready-for-ukraine?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

The Wagner Group: a selection

https://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+the+wagner+group&tbm=nws&source=univ&tbo=u&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjJ3pH62t71AhXKoFsKHZCbApgQt8YBegQILhAG&biw=2400&bih=1171&dpr=1.6

From Wikipedia:

"The Wagner Group itself first showed up in 2014, along with Utkin, in the Luhansk region of Ukraine. The company's name comes from Utkin's own call sign ("Wagner"), which he allegedly chose due to his admiration for the Third Reich."

No doubt the sub-Christian Buchanan fascists at the American Conservative, who are dissing Joni Mitchell and Neil Young and Tony Fauci and all things human, while fellating the already self-fellated Joe Rogan (Dreher's Benedict Option enclaves will accept self-fellating onanist into their monastic midst as long as the founders of the groups are permitted to watch) and defending Putin, are about to choke up a bolus of admiration for the Wagner Group as a model for home grown Oaf Keeper and racist subhuman republican militias getting ready for savage violence.

Red States, infested with conservative vermin in their governing bodies, like Texas, Arizona, Virginia, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, Kansas, Florida, we know the list of fucking killers, are contemplating the formation of similar bands of murderers to control and track down those whose votes they want to disappear, election and school board members, women who seek abortions, school teachers who mask and teach any sort of history about the murderous racist past and future present of America, all liberals, LGBT leaders, BLM leaders, RINOs .... all whom the conservative movement wants fucking dead.

The mealy-mouthed Susan Collins and Joe Manchins and Krysten Sinemas of our elite so-called moderate, pragmatic, leadership class are taking a wait and see attitude, brows furrowed with "concern". They probably won't back such armed fascist constabularies on American soil but they'll have to see, depending on what their marginal tax rates are as we approach election season and the severity of the threats from murderer Donald Trump as he wields his Stalinist ice pick.

Sounds more like the plot of "Omen", or "The Boys From Brazil".

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/morning-memo/gop-candidate-argues-pregnant-rape-survivors-should-be-inspired-by-situation-god-put-them-in

This can't go on.

I no longer support that individual's right to his opinion (he can shut his fucking mouth) under the First Amendment, unless now the First is merged with the Second Amendment and bullets in flight are protected free speech as well.

I'm sure Ginny Thomas and her various fake legal entities are getting just a test case ready for Clarence's fascist vermin delectation in front of the Court.

Always remember who has broken everything in America these last 40 years:

https://prospect.org/economy/how-we-broke-the-supply-chain-intro/

Subhuman Texas, yup:

https://digbysblog.net/2022/01/31/extremists-in-the-schools/

https://news.yahoo.com/missouri-republican-bill-killers-immunity-110000384.html

My trigger finger twitches in mortal self-defensive fear every time I'm in the vicinity of any republican conservative movement garbage on account of they threaten me and mine at every turn, and there's 80 million of the vermin looking at me wrong.

Let's hope this law goes national and we can take care of business without interference from the effing gummint .. wait a sec ... we hates on the gummint, but it turns out the enforcement armed arm of gummint is also conservative garbage but we and Trayvon Martin can't defend ourselves against them?

Don't fuck with my steak, neither!

There's not enough dead meat for the serving, well, let me fix that for ya.

I don't understand why restaurant workers can't be armed to the teeth at all times to put one in the noggin of that fat conservative eff when he's hogging the creamed corn.

https://news.yahoo.com/wanted-steak-watch-massive-golden-144251541.html

More guns. More violence, more killing.

It's just what the Constitution ordered for this piece of shit fascist excuse for a country.

This gives me some ideas on how to deal with this riffraff:

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/michigan-gop-governor-candidate-says-rape-victims-shouldn-t-have-n1288338

"Mom, tell me agin bout our Daddy."

"Well, child of God, he was a rapist, not one of them Cossack ones, but one of them that has "President of these here United States" written on every one of his sperm, and I killt him for the blessed thing he done to me, since no other man would, 'cept for my uncle back in the day, and, well, now here you is, close to my bosum as the Lord meant you to be, but don't you go gettin' any ideas, Mr President."

"Gee, Mom, if God enabled ma daddy to defile you against your will, though many conservatives sez you wanted it, how come God wasn't charged as an accessory to rape? And, now that we're on the subject, what if in Missouri you had shot ma daddy dead BEFORE he done his dirty on ya, well then, I wouldn't be here to become President, would I?"

"Kiddo, God rapes in mysterious ways, but the basic rule is, if it's one of them Democrat brown trash that's a gettin all up in there, shoot to kill, but if it's the conservative lurker neighbor candidate for office doing the deed, hold yer fire until his seed is planted, because thataway we will be assured of conservative Republican Presidents for the duration, or untils we need to fix the elections once and for all."

"And pardon my incipient theology here, mumsy, but don't this clear up the whole Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus controversy, since it seems God has been running a rape camp since the getgo, though at least back then he moved in mysterious ways his own self, instead of contracting the job out to we two-legged forked rapists. I mean, why can't we shoot God too for holding ya down while Daddy got his rocks off and blessing you with me, the next President of the United States, Andrew Jackson Putin?"

Yep, more guns, more killing. It's the punchline guaranteed by that joke, the Constitution.

They say Nietzsche killed God, but I think he merely reported the rapist's execution in an overdue obituary.

There are lawsuits headed for our fascist Supreme Court that'll subject me to lawsuits for libeling the rightwing rapist God and his conservative minions down here in the United States of Hell, so's I thought I'd get the insulting done before they shut me up for good in pig vermin minority republican America.

When I consider the state of the nation and of the world, I increasingly find that I simply have nothing intelligent to say.

I'm baffled.

Washington Football Team is now the Washington Commanders. That after the Cleveland Indians became the Cleveland Guardians a couple months ago. With these names and all the restrictive abortion laws being passed in certain states, not to mention the 1/6 coup/riot, I'm getting way too much of The Handmaid's Tale vibe.

The professor fulminating about open borders in the digbysblog piece linked to above is my half cousin. His father's parents were immigrants to England from the Pale of Settlement in the early 20th Century, and his father was an immigrant to the USA from England.

No, we don't talk about politics.

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