A Change of Heart on Secession

Monday, July 9, AD 2012

Those who have been reading me for some time know my feelings on secession. So you will be surprised to learn that I have had a change of heart. No I am not now of the opinion that states should be able to secede for light and transient causes. Rather, it is time we should forcibly make states secede. And we should start with California.

Despite deepening doubts about the cost and feasibility of a $70 billion high-speed rail proposed to cross California, the State Senate on Friday narrowly approved legislation to spend $8 billion in federal and state money to begin construction, starting with a 130-mile stretch through the rural Central Valley.

The vote came as the federal government threatened to withdraw $3.3 billion in financing for the 520-mile project if the Legislature did not approve the release of state bond money to begin construction. Democrats and Republicans expressed fear that the project could be remembered as a boondoggle passed when the state is struggling through a fiscal crisis.

So the state’s almost bankrupt – what’s a another $70 billion for a project that the citizens desperately want. They do want it, right?

Polls suggests that voters have turned against the project after voting for it in 2008. Several Democrats, in arguing against the expenditure, warned that voters would be less likely to approve a tax package on the ballot this fall that Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, said was necessary to avoid more cuts in spending on education and other programs.

But at least high speed rail is itself a necessary public works project that will reduce traffic congestion and provide millions with a low-cost means of travel.

Weeellllll . . . .

While these criticisms all have merit, we can’t lose sight of the fact the biggest reason high-speed rail won’t work in the U.S. is that it doesn’t make sense as a project funded from general tax revenues. High-speed rail is not a public good and it’s not mass transit. It is corridor transit. At best, it’s a niche market serving a highly specialized, relatively wealthy, and narrow customer base (high-income business travelers with expense accounts and tourists). It won’t relieve urban traffic congestion and its contribution to improving air quality (or reducing carbon dioxide emissions) will be negligible because it won’t carry enough riders to make a big difference. These factors undermine high-speed rail justificatons based on public good arguments.

That said, a more important factor may be more straightforward and direct: Certain preconditions are necessary for corridor transit to work, and they don’t exist in the U.S. Most fundamentally, intercity rail needs to connect major urbandowntowns or large employment centers that are close together–withing a couple hundred miles of each other. (In this respect, the emphasis on density per se is misplaced; the key is the density of the destinations.)

We simply don’t have that many large downtowns in the U.S. We have several midsize metro areas, but the downtowns are mere shadows of their former selves and contain a very small minority of the region’s job base. High-speed rail is doomed to failure under the best of circumstances because it simply can’t generate ridership. Spain and Europe is an interesting case in point: high-speed rail connects very large urban centers with populations in the millions that are closely connected as the “bird flies”: London-Paris, Paris-Brussels, Paris-Lyon, Hamburg-Berlin, Florence-Rome, Madrid-Barcelona. Many of these cities are also very large: London and Paris both boast populations greater than 10 million. Rome, Berlin, Madrid, and Barcelona have populations between 2 million and 5 million.

To recap: the state is bankrupt, the voters don’t want to fund the high speed rail project, and the project would very likely have nowhere near the benefit its proponents suggest it will have.

Why of course it only makes sense to proceed.

Meanwhile, the state is cutting out a few things which might be a tad more critical.

California may very well sink into the ocean one day. Can we just cut it off before it sinks the rest of us?

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32 Responses to A Change of Heart on Secession

  • California can take Chicago with it! I hereby announce the foundation of a movement for the sane part of Illinois to secede from Chicago! They can even keep the name Illinois. We will be the Land of Lincoln! Our State Song:

  • I have long driven people from the room or my end of the bar by stating my case that we should trade Canada everything east of New York for everything west of Ontario. They would actually gain 3-4 million in population and be rid of those pesky, independent-minded west-provincial cowboys, and, while it might cost us New Hampshire, we’d be rid of Vermont, Connecticut and, most importantly, Massachusetts.

    Whoever’s left after that diatribe then gets to hear my plans to shrink Washington DC to an area bordered by K street on the north to 2nd Street on the east, south along that line to the rivers and then down, around and back northwest up to where the Rock Creek & Potomac meet K again just southeast of Georgetown. Maybe shoot east along M Street on the south to the river, to keep the Navy Yard.

    The rest reverts to Maryland which we can sell back to the Indians along with Delaware.

  • Common’ the Government is on a roll subsidizing projects that go bellyup before the ink is dry on the check. Why stop now? Monopoly money is part of the game.

  • “I hereby announce the foundation of a movement for the sane part of Illinois to secede from Chicago!”

    So where does the “sane part of Illinois” officially end and Chicago begin? At the city limits? At the Cook County line? Somewhere in the ‘burbs? At I-80 and/or I-39? Or somewhere else?

  • We can put it to a county by county plebiscite Elaine! Judging from last year’s gubernatorial results I suspect that only Cook would be left to “Rump Illinois”!

    http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?year=2010&fips=17&f=0&off=5&elect=0

  • Illinois of course has a tradition of secession movements:

    “In 1925, Cook County, which contains Chicago, considered seceding from Illinois as a new state named Chicago.[15] This proposal was revived in November 2011 by State Representatives Bill Mitchell and Adam Brown, who felt that all of Illinois outside of Cook County should become a separate state due to Chicago “dictating its views” to the rest of the state.[16]

    In 1861, the southern region of Illinois, known as Little Egypt, made a proposal to secede from the rest of Illinois due to cultural and political differences from Chicago and much of Central and Northern Illinois.[17]

    In the early 1970s residents of Forgottonia in western Illinois protested what they felt was a lack of concern for its needs, sparking a secession proposal.[18″

  • “Judging from last year’s gubernatorial results I suspect that only Cook would be left to ‘Rump Illinois'”

    I dunno about that. It wasn’t that long ago that Illinois was a genuine highly coveted swing state that in presidential elections could go either way — in the 1960s and early 70s it had a status similar to Florida or Ohio today. Only in about the past 20-25 years has it become “blue,” and that isn’t because of Cook County alone; it’s because the suburbs or “collar counties” that used to be reliably GOP have swung the other way. So in order to truly purge Illinois of Chicago Democrat/liberal influence, you might have to lop off all or part of several collar counties, most likely including Lake (Waukegan) and Will (Joliet).

    Personally I would suggest using the following formula: communities in which the primary Major League Baseball rivalry is Cubs-White Sox are part of Chicago while communities in which the primary baseball rivalry is Cubs-Cardinals belong with Downstate.

  • “it’s because the suburbs or “collar counties” that used to be reliably GOP have swung the other way.”

    Largely due to refugees from Cook County who brought their Dem ways with them. I hate to say it, but the large Catholic population in Cook County votes like Catholic populations in the Northeast of the country: heavily Democrat. The heavy Hispanic influx into the Chicago area in recent decades has also tilted the scales to the Democrats.

    However, without Cook County, most years, Illinois would be strongly Republican with the Democrats elected usually being far more conservative than the Democrats elected from Cook County.

  • Truth.

    My commie, ex-twin brother (I refer to him as the wife’s brother-in-law) and his maoist, live-in girlfriend moved to New Hampshire because they refuse to pay Taxachussetts taxes. Such infiltrators are wrecking the “Live Free or Die” state.

    Superannuated commies are so “gay.”

  • If high speed rail works only for connecting large urban centers a couple hundred miles apart, then it would make more sense someplace like Texas. Connecting Houston, Dallas, San Antonio (with a stop in Austin) seems to fit the bill. Of course, we already have Southwest Airlines that pretty much was born for that very reason, and would likely take a huge hit were such a rail to exist. There has been talk of the rail, and maybe even a vote or poll IIRC, but we can’t afford it any more than California.

  • If we voted one state out of the union, reality-show style, I wonder who would get the boot? My bet is Texas, because enough non-Texans hate it, and a good number of Texans would vote to leave. Then again, nearly every New Yorker and Pennsylvanian would vote against New Jersey, so you can’t rule them out either. Maybe Cali would come in third.

  • If we voted one state out of the union, reality-show style, I wonder who would get the boot?

    Not quite the same, but Public Policy Polling earlier this year did a state popularity contest, looking at party affiliation:

    http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2011/PPP_Release_US_022112.pdf

    California did worst because Democrats don’t like it very much and Republicans absolutely despise it; Texas ended up nearer the middle of the pack because people tend either to love it or to hate it, enough that the two tend to balance each other out. Hawaii wins the contest because Democrats absolutely love it and Republicans think it’s at least OK; I imagine that’s more because of hula dancers and beaches rather than cost of living or politics. Colorado and Tennessee finished second and third most popular and Illinois and New Jersey finished second and third most unpopular.

    The numbers, of course, are standing for so many things that they don’t really mean much. And, of course, not all states are equally in public eye — if I recall correctly there were both more people in the poll who hate (or hate) Texas than had any opinion at all about West Virginia. But it’s fun to look at.

  • Why do people hate Texas ? I don’t think we hate the rest of you. We just ignore you. P.S. I though California had already seceded and rejoined Mexico.

  • Not too many Texas haters around these parts, Mrs. B. I’d happily flee to the great republic when the rest of the Union is torn asunder.

  • Why do people hate Texas ?

    Hurricanes, Tornadoes, 100-degree heat, Lyndon Johnson, and harboring Rod Dreher for 10 years.

  • Massive, massive, MASSIVE cities, all built for automobiles bearing human cargo. Incomprehensible tangles of limited access highways. The bats on that bridge in Austin.

  • It has always bugged me how difficult it is to get the shy, retiring and modest Texans to speak up on behalf of their state. 🙂

  • El Lay and New Yawk are small?

  • Pinky said, “If we voted one state out of the union, reality-show style, I wonder who would get the boot? My bet is Texas.”

    Give us some tips! Many of us in here will happily engage in whatever behavior will help us get booted! (Within the bounds of morality, of course.)

  • Art Deco said, “The bats on that bridge in Austin.”

    Avian chauvinist…

  • California can make this work! Declare mass transit a right and tax anyone not particpating in it. Thank you John Roberts and your corn flake legal mind.

    Obama will fix unemployment in a similar way. Declare employment a right and tax anyone not employed.

    The light of liberty burns a little dimmer these days.

  • Along these lines, here are some humorous maps of the U.S. collected from the interwebs:

    — The Map of America As Seen By A New Yorker :

    http://www.funnyordie.com/articles/a106c8188f/the-map-of-america-as-seen-by-a-new-yorker

    — The Chicagoan’s view of the U.S.: Downstate Illinois is marked “Here be dragons” and the “cult of Illiniwek HQ” has been moved south to somewhere around Mt. Vernon:

    http://chicagoist.com/2011/10/25/map_bares_truth_as_to_how_chicagoan.php

    — The Texan’s Map of the United States:

    http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/172-a-texans-map-of-the-united-states

    — And finally, the Californian’s Map of the United States:

    http://www.delphine-ephemera.com/delphine-ephemera/2011/3/30/map-of-the-usa-from-a-californians-perspective.html

  • Elaine, I have encountered Chicago attorneys for whom the state south of Joliet might as well have been marked Here Be Dragons!

  • Growing up in New York City we pretty much viewed anything north of the Bronx as “upstate,” that faraway land of unattached housing and probably cows and stuff.

  • Radio show had an interesting hypothetical. What if the U.S. agreed to split and make two countries, one run by democrats and the other by republicans? Which one would people move to? Why? Which one would be the most successful? Why?

  • that faraway land of unattached housing and probably cows and stuff.

    The boundary is around Peekskill and dairy farming was important up until comparatively recently.

  • Oh, I know Art, I’m just offering the perception of the average City boy.

  • As some have intimated, it makes no difference to evict a state if the residents can move to the remainder, Puerto Rico like. Leftists have no cognitive dissonance in fleeing a leftist disaster and then voting for another one where they relocated.

  • The big divide in the US isn’t between states; it’s rural vs urban. Or rural/small-town versus urban/commuters. It’s an odd thing, but Austin has more in common with Philadelphia politically than either city has with people who live an hour away. There’s the occasional Republican city, and there are small-town hippies in Iowa and Oregon, but for the most part the pattern holds. You couldn’t create a Republican and a Democratic US by dividing “red” and “blue” states like Kyle mentioned. It’s a good thing too, or else a lot of people would be pushing for it.

    I wonder if that’s a cause or an effect of our current political climate? We don’t have North vs South any more, or frontier vs civilization. Instead we have a hostile standoff in nearly every state capitol. It seems like every state has a good 40% of the population who can’t stand the rest of the state.

  • Many large cities contain liberals because flies are attracted to honey. If you like powerful government and entitlements, you need to be close to the bureaucracy. However, their population can be easily outnumbered by the more conservative burbs and rural areas.

    This is not country vs. city. There is a philosophical divide. My hypothetical asks what would happen if the nation divided in two, one with a conservative governance headed by the republicans and the other containing the liberals. Where would most people move? Which would be more successful?

    Given the path the liberals have taken America, I would not object to the hypothetical becoming reality. The only problem is how to keep the liberals out of conservative country when they begin to migrate from their self-destruction. And, would citizens of conservative country be able to stomach watching liberal country become third world?

  • Kyle – Two points. First of all, the conservatives don’t overwhelmingly outnumber the liberals, at least if voting is any indication. The last several presidential races have been dead heats, and both houses of Congress have been remarkably close in composition since 1994, except for the Democrats’ wins in the Senate in 2006-2008. More people self-identify as conservative than as liberal, but self-identification doesn’t mean much.

    Secondly, while I agree that there is a philosophical divide, it does mirror the urban/rural divide pretty closely. In every state I can think of, the metro areas’ Democratic vote is countered by the outlying areas’ Republican vote.

  • Maybe it wasn’t just pop malarky when Barbra “Liberals Did Wonderful Things During WW2” Streisand sang “People . . . People who need people . . .”

    It seems that’s the kind of people who live in cities. Country folks don’t need anything but their guns and their religion.

Green Jobs and other Myths

Wednesday, November 30, AD 2011

 

 

 

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.

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8 Responses to Green Jobs and other Myths

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    Folks,

    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
    http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/japanese-quakes-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.”

  • I’m glad I bothered to ask for clarification on that half-remembered point. ^.^

    *sticks link in pile of things to refer to in response to stock arguments*