Green Jobs and other Myths

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Thank you Cartoon Klavan!  Green jobs aren’t quite as rare as unicorns, but they are quite expensive.  The notorious right wing rag, The Washington Post, has reported that the Obama administration has spent 19 billion of our money creating a grand total of 3, 545 green jobs.  One cannot say of course that the White House has not been trying to create green jobs.  For example, just look at the Solyndra company, now in bankruptcy.  The Obama administration sent that company 535 million of taxpayer money, and agreed to a restructuring plan for the company’s debt which allowed two private investors to move ahead of the taxpayers.  Then when the company began to imitate the Titanic, Energy Secretary Steve Chu had his minions thoughtfully contact Solyndra and had them hold off on employee layoffs until after the mid-term elections last year, lest voters be unduly alarmed at another half a billion down a green rathole.

Green jobs would appear to be a great punch line for a political speech, but are an absolute disaster in the real world, if the goal is to produce something that people want to buy, without the government heavily subsidizing the product:

One of the fallouts of our current debt crisis is that it gives us an opportunity to get rid of truly foolish government spending.  Subsidies for green jobs should be among the first types of idiotic government expenditures that should be eliminated.


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  1. I can’t listen to the You Tube videos right now, but I do note with interest that 19 billion dollars would be about five 1600 MWe worth of non-polluting ESBWR nuclear power plants from the corporation headed by Obama’s job czar, GE CEO Jeff Immelt.

    In the meantime, how many megawatts of green power has Obama created? And how many jobs has Jeff Immelt created. I’ll wager the answers are the same.

    There are rotten fish, and not just in Denmark!

    PS, No, an ESBWR could not have failed in the way that the BWR 3 reactors with Mark I containments failed at Fukushima after the earthquake and resulting tsunami. CAN NOT. Anti-nuke kooks (who are not nuclear engineers and haven’t worked at BWRs) need not voice disagreement. I can’t distill 30 years of nuclear training and experience into a blog comment. BUT what is interesting is this: the oil and natural gas fires and explosions resulting from the earthquake and tsunami burned for 10 days, dumping billions of tons of chemical toxins into the enviroment that will never ever decay away. They got NO news publicity. And Obama’s solution is more wind mills and solar cells whose capacity factors are never above 30% (which means that 70% of the year you and I are without electicity). These by their nature therefore REQUIRE spinning reserve in the form of natural gas, oil and coal because YOU and I require 100% availability of electicity. Even 99% availability is intolerable because that means 3.65 days per year without electrical power. Remember, cloudy days, night time, and short winter days means no or greatly reduced solar power. Windless or too windy days mean no wind power. So we make ourselves MORE suspceptible to natural disaster by relying on green energy. Yup, green power, black death.

  2. Did the Obama regime “punt” on the Keystone (Canada oil) pipeline because there are more Solyndras out there dependent on high oil prices and Alberta oil threatens to lower the price enough to put more of them out of business? The OWS movement should be jumping on this.

    In his 2008 campaign, Obama said his environmental policies would make energy costs (for you and me) sky rocket. But, BUT, soaring food/fuel prices hit low-to-moderate income peoples de hardest.

    So, why are genius Obama and his high-IQ regime striving 24/7 to raise fuel prices? I suppose it’s another one of them high-level concepts we ignorant, self-supporting idiots just cannot comprehend.

  3. Paul-
    isn’t there some kind of reactor that works off of the nuclear waste, too? Something about Jimmy Carter outlawing them (effectively) because it makes stuff that can be weaponized easily?

    I *like* the idea of nuclear power…then again, I grew up with a chunk of rock from a (iirc) uranium mine as part of the fireplace, so radiation isn’t an instant boogyman.

  4. Foxfier,

    You are correct. It’s called a fast neutron burner. Today’s light water cooled and moderated reactors consume only five percent of the energy available in the fuel. Why? because they are thermal neutron reactors. Fast neutron reactors can consume the long lived actinides produced within thermal neutrons reactors and, depending on design, run for 30+ years on a single refueling.

    Now to the subject of weapons proliferation. First, you have to understand something about neutron kinetics and radioactive decay. U-233, U-235 and Pu-239 are each fissile with thermal neutrons (that’s what bombs use). But there’s no U-233 or Pu-239 in nature, and only 0.7% of all Uranium in nature is U-235; the rest is U-238. So to fuel a light water reactor, we enrich the uranium to 5% U-235 with the 95% being U-238. Now a fission bomb needs 92+% U-235 to undergo a nuclear explosion; anything less and it fissiles out (no pun intended). The same would be true were the bomb fueled with U-233 or Pu-239.

    Now where do we get U-233 or Pu-239 from if they don’t occur in nature? Why, from fertile Th-232 and U-238. When Th-232 absorbs a thermal neutron, it becomes Th-233 which immediately beta minus decays to Pa-233. That isotope has a half life of 27 days after which it turns into fissile U-233.

    In the case of Pu-239, when U-238 absorbs a thermal neutron, it becomes U-239 which immediately beta minus decays to Np-239. That isotope has a half life of 2.4 days after which it turns into fissile Pu-239.

    Now the problem with producing either U-233 or Pu-239 is this: the intermediary products (Pa-233 and Np-239 respectively) have an affinity for absorbing thermal neutrons also, but when that happens, they transmutate into radio-isotopes that are non-fissile with thermal neutrons. Thus, either U-233 or Pu-239 made in a light water reactor will also produce too many bomb-dampening isotopes. Thus, the product of making either U-233 or Pu-239 in a light water reactor is unsuited for bomb material. That’s why the North Korean plutonium bomb fissiled out as a dud (no pun intended). And that’s also why the Iranians are pursuing uranium enrichment instead of following the North Korean route. They won’t stop at 5% U-235. They’ll go right to 92+% U-235.

    Jimmy Carter, a former nuclear submarine officer, KNEW all this (that reactor fuel can’t be used for bombs), so why he banned fuel reprocessing / recycling is beyond my understanding. I can only conclude “Liberal – Progressive – Democrat.”

    Now let’s go back to fast burner reactors. These don’t use light water, heavy water or graphite neutron moderators. usually they are metal cooled (sodium, lead-bismuth, etc.)They go critical (i.e., chain reaction self-sustaining) on fast neutrons. Yes, critical is a GOOD thing – it means the reactor is operating in a self-sustaining change reaction; the number of neutrons inducing fission at the beginning of the neutron life cycle equals the number produced at the end. Because of fast neutrons, it doesn’t matter if the fast burner reactor fuel contains U-238 or Am-240 or whatever. They can consume the material and leave left-over only short lived isotopes that make Harry Reid’s opposition to the Yucca Mountain million year spent fuel repository a moot point. Indeed, we have enough spent fuel in these United States to fuel the electric grid for hundreds of years using fast neutron burners.

    Furthermore, if we don’t want to go to fast neutron burners right away, then with only minimal reprocessing, existing light water reactor spent fuel in the US can be cut up and put in canisters for use in Canada’s CANDU heavy water reactors. Heavy water is a better moderator of thermal neutrons because while its scattering cross section for neutrons isn’t as good as light water, its absorption cross section is a whole lot less, so the Canadians don’t have to enrich their fuel: they can use natural uranium or we could sell them our spent fuel. Now there’s an idea!

    We do NOT have an energy crisis. We have a crisis of greed for money and greed for power. We have corrupt croney capitalists / corporate socialists making a mint off of fossil fuel while the Obama government deliberately stymies new nuclear build with money for useless wind and solar energy. If wind energy were so darn great, then why don’t we still use sailing ships to transport goods across the ocean? If solar power were so darn great, then why don’t we still bake mud and straw into bricks the way that the Sumerians did so long ago? It’s all horse crap. God gave us enough uranium and thorium in Earth’s crust to fuel nine billion people at the same level of energy consumption as the average American uses each year for tens of thousands of years into the future. And we can do it safely. Only SIX people died from the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi (and those were a bad design anyways); but 1800 people died from drowning in a nearby dam collapse. Green hydro-electric power! Hah! Green energy / black death. It’s but one small part of the culture of death. Think about it.

  5. Folks,

    As long as I am on a roll, I may as well continue. (Yes, I teach a training class on this, but I shall be merciful and just give you the high points.)


    Under the Global Nuclear Energy Program of the previous Administration at 1600 Pnnesylvania Avenue, there was much work being done in the Department of Energy for several different styles of Generation IV reactors, among them the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR). The kind of reactor that was being developed for producing hydrogengas for use in motor vehicles was a graphite moderated and helium cooled reactor with a thermal neutron spectrum. It was designed to be a high-efficiency system, which can supply electricity and process heat to a broad spectrum of high-temperature and energy-intensive processes.

    The reference reactor was intended to be a 600 MWth core connected to an intermediate heat exchanger to deliver process heat. The reactor core can be a prismatic block core or a pebble-bed core according to the fuel particles assembly. Fuel particles are coated with successive material layers, high temperature resistant, then formed either into fuel compacts embedded in graphite block for the prismatic block-type core reactor, or formed into graphite coated pebbles. The reactor supplies heat with core outlet temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Celsius, which enables such applications as hydrogen production or process heat for the petrochemical industry. As a nuclear heat application, hydrogen can be efficiently produced from only heat and water by using thermochemical iodine-sulfur process, or high temperature electrolysis process or with additional natural gas by applying the steam reformer technology.

    Thus, the VHTR design offered high-efficiency electricity production and a broad range of process heat applications, while retaining the desirable safety characteristics in normal as well as off-normal events. Solutions to adequate waste management were intended to be developed (e.g., recycle into fast neutron burner reactors). The basic technology for the VHTR has been well established in former High Temperature Gas Reactors plants, such as the US Fort Saint Vrain and Peach Bottom prototypes (both decommissioned) , and the German AVR and THTR prototypes. The technology was at one time being advanced through near- or medium-term projects lead by several plant vendors and national laboratories, such as: PBMR, GT-HTR300C, ANTARES, NHDD, GT-MHR and NGNP in South Africa, Japan, France, Republic of Korea and the United States. Experimental reactors: HTTR (Japan, 30 MWth) and HTR-10 (China, 10 MWth) support the advanced concept development, and the cogeneration of electricity and nuclear heat application. Right now there are no US plans to proceed along these lines.


    So enough of the training material. Guess who HATES the idea of producing hydrogen using nuclear energy!

    Exxon/Mobil, Shell, British Petroleum (can you spell “Gulf spill” – a disaster equal to or greater than Fukushima), Citgo, etc. And the coal companies. Those corporations WANT wind mills and solar cells because those things necessitate spinning reserve from coal and natural gas, and with 52% of all electricity in America being produced from the coal, vast quantities of petroleum has to be used to transport that coal from mines to power plants. Think on this:

    “Uranium-235 is the isotope of uranium that is used in nuclear reactors. Uranium-235 can produce 3.7 million times as much energy as the same amount of coal. As an example, 7 trucks, each carrying 6 cases of 2-12 foot high fuel assemblies, can fuel a 1000 Megawatt-electrical (MWe) reactor for 1.5 years. During this period, ~ 2 metric tons of Uranium-235 (of the 100 metric tons of fuel – uranium dioxide) would be consumed. To operate a coal plant of the same output would require 1 train of 89-100 ton coal cars each EVERY day. Over 350,000 tons of ash would be produced AND over 4 million tons of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides would be released to the environment.”

    Green power / black death. Remember that phrase because wind mills and solar cells necessitate fossil fuel as spinning reserve for the 70% of the time you can’t get electricity from wind or solar.

  6. Paul,

    Let me just say that I for one love it when you get into details about the nuclear industry. Because of the nature of my work I’m hesitant to speak too much about electricity related issues, but you are a great resource on this topic.

  7. Well, thanks, Paul Z. But I think we in the nuclear industry have to be very humble, too. I wrote the following at my blog site a few weeks ago and it bears repeating. If we think that we can create a new Tower of Babel to save us – nuclear power – then God will knock that down just as He did the last one.


    Japan’s Bishops: Close All of Nation’s Nuclear Power Plants


    I am very disappointed to report that Japan’s Roman Catholic Bishops have issued a statement calling for the closure of all the nuclear power plants in that country in the aftermath of the events at Fukushima Daiichi. UCA News reports on this in its article, “End Nuclear Power Now, Say Bishops.” I have neither the time nor the willingness to do a detailed comparison that would demonstrate that while less than a dozen people were killed outright from the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, tens of thousands died from dam failures, oil refinery explosions, toxic chemical releases, etc., as a result of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. If anything, that disaster demonstrates that accidents happening at petro-chemical sources of energy are far, far more injurious to human life than those happening at nuclear power plants. Furthermore, the calls to find alternative sources of energy are useless because there are none: renewable energy’s unreliability make it demonstrably unsuited to supplying any highly technological society with a continuous and reliable supply of electricity. Finally, even given the environmental impact of the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, it pales in comparison to the adverse environmental impact that dumping into the ecosystem millions of metric tons of fly ash and sludge from coal-fired power plants (which supply greater than 50% of the electricity consumed in the United States), and from the emission of pollutants off of natural gas fired power plants (which supply much of the electricity consumed in Japan).

    Nevertheless, all that being said, I respect the Roman Catholic Bishops in Japan because it is human pride that causes us to think we can erect something impervious to the action of God. No, I am not saying that God caused the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami; rather, when the people of the world reject God’s benevolence, then being a true Gentleman, He removes His hand of protection and the inevitable happens. The story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11:1-9 is a case in point. We are NOT the “God Species,” and when we place science (or I should say the religion of scientism) ahead of the Divine, then we can expect the inevitable to happen. For this is Luke 13:1-5 written:

    There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

    I do not agree with the Bishop of Japan regarding nuclear energy, but on reading what liberal progressive Democrats at NEI Nuclear Notes, and at Atomic Insights advocate, then all one can say is this: the Church was here for 2000 years before there was nuclear energy, and if the good Lord should tarry, the Church will be here 2000 years after nuclear energy is buried and gone. The goal is NOT a man-made Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and it is utter hubris to think we can build a Tower of Babel to create such a man-made paradise. The goal is conversion and repentance before the King of kings and Lord of lords, and until we as a country – indeed, as a planet – do that, then we can expect more events like the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. No amount of nuclear energy can save us. Indeed, God won’t stay were He isn’t wanted, and with our world-wide embrace of the infanticide of the unborn and the filth of homosexual perversion, we show Him that we don’t want Him.

    Now some will say that this is all unscientific, superstitious nonsense. Yet the Catholic News Agency reports that the epicenter of the Tohoku earthquake was located near the site of an apparition in which the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Our Lady of Akita,” warned about a worldwide disaster that could afflict humanity:

    Japanese Quake’s Epicenter Located Near Marian Apparition Site

    EWTN TV gives a good summary of the Messages of Our Lady of Akita to Sr. Anes Sasagawa. The messages state in part:

    “As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead.”

    I don’t know if there is a connection between the messages of Our Lady of Akita and Fukushima Daiichi or not, but God will NOT let unrepentant, defiant mankind use the power of the atom – or any other power, for that matter – to build for himself a man-made paradise that murders the unborn and sanctifies the filth of homosexual sodomy. There is one and only one solution: repent. While I may disagree with the stance of the Bishop’s of Japan against nuclear energy, if their message is that, then I fully support them.

    As Jesus said so long ago, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

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