April 13, 2010

We Don't Need No Stinking Giant Fans

More people have been killed by Oregon's windmills than died at Three Mile Island;

Today, 20 percent of America's electricity, and 69 percent of its carbon-free generation of electricity, is from nuclear plants. But it has been 30 years since America began construction on a new nuclear reactor.

France gets 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear power; China is starting construction of a new reactor every three months. Meanwhile, America, which pioneered nuclear power, is squandering money on wind power, which provides 1.3 percent of the nation's electricity: it is slurping up $30 billion of tax breaks and other subsidies amounting to $18.82 per megawatt-hour, 25 times as much per megawatt-hour as the combined subsidies for all other forms of electricity production.

Wind power involves gargantuan "energy sprawl." To produce 20 percent of America's power by wind, which the Obama administration dreamily proposes, would require 186,000 tall turbines—40 stories tall, their flashing lights can be seen for 20 miles—covering an area the size of West Virginia. The amount of electricity that would be produced by wind turbines extending the entire 2,178 miles of the Appalachian Trail can be produced by four reactors occupying four square miles of land.


h/t Eric Anderson

Posted by Kate at April 13, 2010 10:03 AM

Ya but think of the millions of birds those turbines will kill . . . that's free food for the "road kill" people out there.

There's an upside to every dumbass, stupid massively subsidized government sponsored lame brained idea.

Posted by: Fred at April 13, 2010 10:09 AM

Hmmmm, what to do with all that Uranium. Let's see; we could sell it to the Iranians or the North Koreans or, or ....

Posted by: larben at April 13, 2010 10:31 AM

From President Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address (

"But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America."

From the President's 2011 budget (

"$36 billion in new loan authority – for a total of $54.5 billion – to expand support for DOE loan guarantees for nuclear power facilities"

In sum, a balanced and diversified approach for US energy policy -- investments in nuclear, clean coal, offshore oil and gas, and, yes, alternate renewables like wind and solar.

It may be easier for some to think otherwise, to insist that both Obama and his administration's policies are radical and unhinged and beholden to far-left interests, but the mundane facts speak for themselves.

Posted by: Davenport at April 13, 2010 10:34 AM

"But it has been 30 years since America began construction on a new nuclear reactor."

And the first new nuclear reactors to begin construction in the US in 30 years is happening on Obama's watch:


Bet that sticks a bit in the craw, huh?

Posted by: Davenport at April 13, 2010 10:45 AM

Well, the facts on the ground speak for themselves. If and when we see any actual new nuclear plants being built, then I'll believe the Obama administration believes in nuclear power.

Posted by: Daniel Ream at April 13, 2010 10:46 AM

Daniel Ream
[...Well, the facts on the ground speak for themselves. If and when we see any actual new nuclear plants being built, then I'll believe the Obama administration believes in nuclear power.]

Yeah the rest of humanity realizes CO2 AGW is a hoax but OBOZO still babbles about "Green House Gases" and "emissions".

Remember this crowd believes a nuclear reactor can morph into an H-bomb by the same process an air-soft toy morphs into a machine gun.

Yeah like that Continental Shelf "exploration" while drilling/production leases are cancelled elsewhere.

Davenport BTW didja brush your teeth and gargle?

Posted by: sasquatch at April 13, 2010 11:05 AM

Davenport at April 13, 2010 10:45 AM

"it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America."

The last sentence as above is probably the only that the big O has a real committment to see through and it is scary as it means profits based on subsidy from good ole everyday tax schemes.
His track record isn't exactly stellar in regard to keeping promises. Further his off shore oil is shallow at best.


Posted by: reildeil at April 13, 2010 11:07 AM

His offshore exploration announcement closed more access than it opened.

Posted by: Kate at April 13, 2010 11:23 AM

Why don't we ask the Europeans how many jobs this wind turbine scam has generated? The largest wind turbine manufacturer in Europe shut down its manufacturing and assembly facilities and moved the whole operation to China.

Posted by: Powell Lucas at April 13, 2010 11:26 AM

The future is here.

Posted by: xiat at April 13, 2010 11:32 AM

My comment to the wind energy fans:
"Let them eat yellow cake!"

Posted by: Al the thawing fish in Manitoba at April 13, 2010 11:37 AM

Think of all the green jobs we could create picking up all those bird corpses!

Posted by: Strathclyde at April 13, 2010 11:44 AM

The Dane Quixotes.

Socialism & AGW: Collapsing Pyramid Frauds.

"PM: Lean years ahead"

"“We have never had as much public spending as we currently have,” the prime minister remarks"

"The main theme of a government seminar next week is that Denmark’s politicians are going to have to take the difficult decisions about where cuts are to be made, according to the prime minister in his weekly press briefing.

“There must be courage to also put priorities on a cake that is not growing,” Lars Løkke Rasmussen says.

“We must prepare ourselves that for two or three years we will have to keep public spending down,” he says."

"Wind power sector forecasts more jobs"

"2009 was a difficult year for the wind turbine industry in Denmark, but export figures seem to be positive."

"“2009 was much better than we had expected, and the figures show that the industry has been a major contributor to the national economy,” says Danish Wind Industry Association CEO Jan Hylleberg."
(Lookee at the pic of the immobile Dane Quixotes)

Posted by: maz2 at April 13, 2010 12:00 PM

Those aren't bird corpses, those are Food Banks for the Future. When the bills come due after the next mortgage crisis...Manna from the heavens.

Posted by: Speedy at April 13, 2010 12:00 PM

I say there's money to be made building nuke plants, loading them up with Canadian uranium and selling power to the Americans.

Mr. Harper, Iggy, Smilin' Jack, any comments?

Thing about wind power is, its a kickback scheme not an energy policy. Pretty obvious one too. Corruption in high places. Scratch a liberal, find a thief.

Posted by: The Phantom at April 13, 2010 12:05 PM

This happen more often than is reported in the LSM

Posted by: cappy at April 13, 2010 12:11 PM

To Davenport and Daniel Ream,

(Did not read your references.)
I know for sure that 9.6B of the announced loan guarantees have been allocated to 2 new reactors that are being built in Georgia, in someplace near Atlanta. They are supposed to be completed in 2016 and 2017. This was announced sometime in February. State, industry and investors are pretty risk adverse when it comes to this kind of money and so they need guarantees. They are risk adverse because next generation nuclear stuff costs a lot when you are only building a couple of plants because of the huge R&D costs which can be incurred and one-off construction of the plants and turbines and various components. However, the US needs, at a minimum, 50 new nuclear plants and probably more like 100. This actually then creates a viable real industry, defrays costs, actually creates additional innovation, and greatly reduces costs in the building or these new plants. The problem that Obama has (and Bush before him) is that it is extremely hard politically because you have to deal with every State and their politics, you have to deal with extreme left wing greenies, and you also have to deal with extreme right wing guys with big support from the coal industry and the oil and gas industry. However it is the right thing to do for the US. (I wish McGuinty would get a clue.)

Posted by: cconn at April 13, 2010 12:37 PM

" have to deal with extreme left wing greenies, and you also have to deal with extreme right wing guys with big support from the coal industry and the oil and gas industry. However it is the right thing to do for the US."

Indeed, cconn. A good rule of thumb in governance: when you're catching flak from both sides of the aisle, you're probably doing something right.

Posted by: Davenport at April 13, 2010 12:46 PM

I'm with phantom, smart politicians and businesses should prepare to exploit the energy production crisis that is about to happen. Plan and begin the process to build nuclear, hydro and coal projects now and reap the benefits in about 10 years. I would be surprised if even a fraction of the proposed nuke plant in the US get built. Too many NIMBYs and BANANAs (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) supported by progressive organizations. If California can't even get a solar plant built then you can forget about nuclear power plants. Via planet gore:

Squirrels Might Bury Solar Project
by Lindsay Riddell Apr 13 2010

Government concerns over the habitat of an endangered Mojave Desert squirrel threaten to scrap plans for Solar Millennium’s biggest utility-scale project in the California desert.In a report released March 26, advisers to the California Energy Commission recommended an alternative “superior to the proposed project,” which would put a solar thermal plant of 250 megawatts on a California Desert Conservation Area.

That “superior” alternative? Not building the project at all.

Posted by: LC Bennett at April 13, 2010 12:50 PM

Could you explain what you mean by "extreme right wing guys with big support from the coal industry and the oil and gas industry."

Posted by: LC Bennett at April 13, 2010 12:57 PM

Phantom, that was the intention behind the 1990 Demand/Supply Plan. The traditional model of Canadian crown utilities has always been to build power plants optimized for production even if the province couldn't use all the power at that time and export the surplus to the US.

The NDP canceled it.

During the 1980s, Ontario's electricity rates were about 7% lower than they would otherwise have been, such was the value of electricity exports.

The only province in Canada with a US border for which it doesn't work is Saskatchewan. There's really no point in trying to sell electricity into Montana and North Dakota.

As for Davenport, he seems to neglect the fact that it was the previous administration which put the loan guarantee legislation into place in 2005. It's a testament to the efficiency of the DOE that it only took them until 2009 to finalize the application forms. The current administration has only taken one action on nuclear energy; it ordered DOE to withdraw its licence application for Yucca Mountain. For the rest, it's simply coasting on the achievements of the previous administration.

Finally, the loan guarantee program is not a subsidy. The US government is charging a fee, just as CMHC charges a fee to guarantee your house mortgage. In fact, if the administration gets the numbers right, it will be a significant source of revenue.

Posted by: cgh at April 13, 2010 12:57 PM

cconn makes an excellant point about investor/finance aversion to nuclear.
Currently the Federal loan guarantees are 80%, and investors/Wall street lender insist on 100%.
This is a reflection of the enviro/NYMBY effect on delays/costs.
OBOZO knows this....80% loan guarantee in practice is a non-starter.....hence OBOZOs endorsement of the nuclear option is just more BS.

Posted by: sasquatch at April 13, 2010 1:02 PM

Nuclear power is every bit the rent-seeking, totally dependent on government subsidy industry that the 'renewable' energy sources are. The US nuclear industry was basically a creation of the US government; it is horrible. And the waste represents a non-trivial environmental problem. Lawrence Soloman wrote a good article about this a while ago.

Posted by: Cytotoxic at April 13, 2010 1:17 PM

I'll believe in nuclear when the greenies get out of the way and they can figure out a way to dispose of the waste. The environmental reviews alone will take years, then a decade to build. Yup pretty efficient. How about clean coal plants and retrofit older plants.

Posted by: Rick Rae at April 13, 2010 1:26 PM

cgh, I never said the loan guarantee program was Obama's idea; I said the first nuclear reactors to break ground in three decades was happening on his administration's watch.

Anyway, my point in any case was simply to suggest that Obama isn't quite the far-left radical that some, here and elsewhere, try to mischaracterize him as. Were you to judge by the standard rhetoric alone, you'd have expected him to overturn Bush's '05 EPA the first chance he got.

Obviously, he didn't. In fact, he campaigned on expanding nuclear energy. And speaking of that, might not tripling the DOE's original loan authority from $18B to $54B count as a second "action on nuclear energy"?

Posted by: Davenport at April 13, 2010 1:29 PM

cytotoxic says: "Nuclear power is every bit the rent-seeking, totally dependent on government subsidy industry that the 'renewable' energy sources are."

With the one single distinction: they actually produce energy! Even better, they produce it where you want it and when you want it.

Plus if I remember correctly, there hasn't been -any- power generation built in Ontario since after WWII that didn't partake of government subsidy.

That's what socialism means, cyto old bean. Rent seeking. That's why we oppose it. Why don't you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?

Posted by: The Phantom at April 13, 2010 1:35 PM

McGuinty's own agency, the Ont. Power authority in a 2007 report, listed alternative energy sources other than wind/solar and nuclear. One was development of northern Ont. hydro projects, which they identified. The other was simply to purchase electricity from Man. and Quebec. Their estimates showed that this would be cheaper and cleaner than going down the wind power route. For those who would be reluctant to depend on Quebec for electricity needs, how would you fancy a deal with South Korea? McGuinty seems to think it is a good deal, but most of his deals have proven to be otherwise.

Posted by: Martin at April 13, 2010 2:41 PM

Now, all together now children:

"And every single watt of wind and solar energy has to be backed up by a fission or thermal plan anyway"

Just that makes the whole idea stupid.

Power plants: Thermal and Nuke powerplants come in efficient quanta, that is there are proven size designs at known price points that make sense, and they last a long time, so it makes sense to build bigger quanta than you need for you immediate needs so long as you have a export market.

This power trading makes sense, you get big efficient plants, buyers can postpone investments until their needs justify the next plant, sellers can build efficient units in stages and sell power, people with hydro power can use them to meet peak loads (at peak prices, hydro is awesome at being able to rapidly modulate output), leaving the thermal plants to handle base-loads where they run efficiently.

That being said if the US wants to be efficient at make nukes they needs a couple of standard designs and then they need to build them in series.

Also congress has to get it's act otgether and set up the regulatory framework to deal with nuke waste. Yucca Mountain - just GET IT DONE.

Posted by: Fred2 at April 13, 2010 2:44 PM

@Phantom: Okay, so nuclear generates power. Its business model is still totally dependent on government guarantee. I'm not sure what 'team' you want me to join. Team nuke? I was on that team, but left after it became apparent that the fossil fuels can do it better without subsidy, and that there are still very legitimate concerns over nuclear waste. Nuclear vs renewable is not a choice; they have many of the same problems.

Posted by: Cytotoxic at April 13, 2010 3:01 PM

Davenport, I wouldn't necessarily agree that he campaigned on nuclear. My recollection is that he was silent on it at the time. I would agree that tripling the size of the guarantee program would indeed constitute a significant contribution.

Phantom, not entirely. The electricity system in Ontario was entirely funded out of customer rates. The only advantage Ontario Hydro received was its use of government interest rates instead of commercial rates, which allowed capital to be amortized over 40 years or so. Even so, Ontario Hydro paid a debt guarantee fee to the Ontario government. In 1990, Hydro Chairman Bob Franklin testified to the legislative committee that the debt guarantee fee was probably not worth its cost, with the unstated context being that Ontario's credit had slipped badly from the 1990 recession and soaring provincial debt.

Rick Rae, the nuclear waste issue is old news solved technically a long time ago. If there are problems they are political only, not scientific or technical.

Martin, the problem with Ontario buying from Manitoba or Quebec is that Ontario would then pay the marginal rate that the US pays for Canadian electricity. The last thing that Ontario should do is bid against New York State for electricity. All right, the next to last thing; with the green power initiative, Ontario has already committed to the worst thing. As for northern Ontario, the hydraulic survey is pretty clear, there's capacity but not much energy in the remaining potential, and it's expensive; well north of 10 cents a lot of it.

Posted by: cgh at April 13, 2010 3:04 PM

As cgh says, there are a number of technologically sound ways to deal with nuclear waste and a number of new reactor designs that generate less waste (fast breeder reactors) with a shorter half-life. The problem is a NIMBY political problem, which has resulted in a shakedown mentality among those who are willing to take the waste, which is part of the high cost of nuclear power.

Davenport, I specifically listened for Obama to include nuclear power in any of his clean energy talk during the campaign and he very specifically never mentioned it. If any new nuke plants come on line in the U.S. in the next 20 years, I will eat a piece of uranium.

Posted by: marc asmus at April 13, 2010 6:14 PM

Cyto, its Team Free Enterprise you need to join.

More than half the costs of a nuclear generating plant are -regulatory-, meaning the government has to front money to companies because its going to take all that money back again in fees, taxes, inspections, platinum plated specifications, and etc.

All for which regulation has not prevented Pickering from a variety of radiation leaks over the years. OTOH nothing bad ever happened and that thing's been there a long time, so maybe there's a whole awful lot of regulating going on that could be dispensed with. Friends of mine in the nuclear biz tell me the sheer waste of time and money involved in doing the smallest thing would make your head explode.

Like two weeks of engineering time to re-spec an exterior stair on a -temporary- scaffolding structure. For routine maintenance. Of something not attached to the reactor.

Furthermore coal fired plants are not without their costs and subsidies for same. Or waste issues. If you've ever seen the funky crap they dig out of Nanticoke station and haul away by the ship-full to be buried (somewhere, God only knows where) you might give another thought to nuclear.

Myself, I'm all for coal fired generators so long as they are clean ones. To date Ontario's record on coal is bad. It ain't clean. Not because of idiot global warming, but because of actual poisonous emissions.

Why do you think the Chicoms are building nuke plants? Because coal is literally killing their rivers. They also want to be able to enrich uranium on a large scale of course.

Yet another reason to build nuke plants. And missile factories. MAD worked once, no doubt it'll keep working.

Posted by: The Phantom at April 13, 2010 6:14 PM

If you think that governments subsidizing the effects of ostensible overregulation is 'free market', then one of us does need to join team free market and it's not me it's you. Two wrongs don't make a right. Nuclear is still an expensive bust, and weapons manufacturing all the more so since we are under America's nuclear shield and China is no threat to us.

Posted by: Cytotoxic at April 13, 2010 7:11 PM

Everybody wants cheap power, but nobody wants it in their backyard. Simple solutions, make an offer that everybody within a 20 mile radius of the nuclear plant gets free electricity and they will be lining up to get in their backyard.

Posted by: Matt at April 13, 2010 8:50 PM

The future is here.
by: xiat @ April 13, 2010 11:32 AM

Yes, Xiat,

Thank you for the link. Smaller, truck portable Nuke gen-plants look very promising.

The references to nuke units powering Russian submarines was good also.

We know Nuke subs on all sides work very reliably. Power on site... no gold-plated infrastructre....for miles..and miles. Looks good.

Posted by: TG at April 14, 2010 12:02 AM

Phantom, it's more than just environmental problems in China. Their coal is mostly in Manchuria. Their greatest regions of economic development are primarily from Shanghai south. There's quite literally no way to get the coal into southern China in the quantity required. So, it's southern China where nearly all the nuclear projects are located. Same geographic problem prevails in India as well.

TG, Canada had such a system, called Slowpoke. There's about half a dozen such reactors out there, all used by universities for research. Any commercial application was killed by regulation; the government regulator insisted that all such systems had to meet the same level of regulatory requirements as reactors thousands of times their size.

Posted by: cgh at April 14, 2010 9:47 AM

A demonstration is being planned at Queen's Park against McGuinty's insane Green Energy Act. Every taxpayer/ratepayer should be there. If you're interested, contact

Posted by: M Anderson at April 14, 2010 2:59 PM

Every politician that stands up claiming to support the "Green" agenda should be fired.

They are abandoning their responsibility to look after the public welfare.

Posted by: Leda at April 14, 2010 7:33 PM

To Davenport
BO and his cohorts are unhinged or do you mean to suggest they know exactly what they are doing driving this country to the brink of bankruptcy?

Posted by: Thom at April 15, 2010 8:05 PM