Friday, November 8, 2013

Time to Count the Carbon: Guest Post by Donb

Pandora's Promise

Yesterday's CNN presentation of Pandora's Promise went very well, with lots of great pro-nuclear comments around the Internet.  I was particularly pleased to see so many pro-nuclear comments on the #pandoraspromise Twitter stream.

Cumberland Power Station
From Wikipedia
One of the fundamental messages of Pandora's Promise is that nuclear power can help to slow climate change.  Nuclear power is the  only abundant, reliable, low-carbon source of electricity.

Counting the Carbon

With that prologue, I go back to the guest posts I promised. There were wonderful comments on We are not Spock: Emotion and Nuclear Power. I am using some of these comments as guest posts on this blog.

Donb's comment was short and to-the-point.

On the day that VY shuts down, you need to start a counter on the ‘Yes VY’ website that shows the extra tons of CO2 being generated because the VY plant is not making its megawatts.

Don B frequently comments on energy blogs.  He always has something relevant and cogent to say.

Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues has a carbon counter on his blog. Actually, he has several. Steve and I are among the few pro-nuclear bloggers that cover just one geographic area.  (Or at least, most of the time we blog about one geographical area.)

I am stealing a screen shot from Canadian Energy Issues to use on my blog. Okay, Steve?  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that?

Meanwhile, all my readers---visit Canadian Energy Issues!


jim said...

Good Work Meredith!

Tell me I'm wrong, but do any of the socially conscious environmentally concerned big media or press outlets post such carbon gauges even under the obits?

Jumping the gun, but I didn't think so!

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Meredith Angwin said...

Wow. Ethical dilemma time.

I received a comment from "Robert" with some interesting questions, worth sharing. However, it also contained egregious comments about some nuclear workers and their choices. What to do?

As I have said before, comments that attack nuclear workers are not welcome on this blog. So...first my choice was--- just dump Robert's comment. But his comment had some excellent questions, before it went off into criticisms.

So...I am editing it. No words changed, but words left out. I think this is the ethical choice here. I hope so, anyway.

From Robert (Some sentences and sections left out, marked by "...")

Meredith maybe you or one of your friends can answer my opinion: The nuclear industry itself is "shooting itself in the foot" I will explain:

Everyone even me is saddened about the loss of VY and that it is impossible to restart a shut down nuclear plant. One reason is because to keep the license, all the operators have to have continous training. Why couldn't operators train at another reactor of the same brand? If the NRC won't allow that, why doesn't the industry try to change that? Entergy, for example, must have another GE reactor of theirs. I would think some operators would be willing to relocate if a plant reopened.......Also, I read that a license is plant specific. Why is that? Why can it not go by maybe brand? That is like you get a drivers license but you can only drive 1 car. Again, why did the industry let that happen? Why is your industry taking this closures "lying down"? Maybe if opponents knew that a plant could "come back" they would not be so happy to see it close. Also, an expensive asset would not have to be wasted. No other profession seems to be like this. Doctors can work at any hospital they want to and the hairdresser who does your perms can likely work in any salon in Vermont......

Meredith Angwin said...


There's an old saying that France has one variety of nuclear plant and 100 varieties of cheese, while America has one variety of cheese and 100 varieties of nuclear plants. That is the main problem.

Even "sister" reactors are not totally alike. Though being a qualified operator on one reactor definitely gives you a leg up on being qualified on a similar reactor, you still have to go through a lot of training for that second reactor.

I was at EPRI during part of the ten years just after TMI. At that time, reactor training went from "generic" to very plant-specific simulators. This was a Good Thing for training and safety.

That said, airplane pilots face this problem of the "new plant" all the time. (For a while, my husband worked at a company that did software for airplane simulators.) Anyhow, for a pilot qualified on a 727, after a certain number of hours in the simulator for a 737--and that pilot can get into the cockpit of a 737, with passengers behind him.

It would be good if the nuclear industry had something similar. People get too locked into their jobs IMHO. Maybe the nuclear industry does have I say, I don't work in a plant and I am not an expert on nuclear simulator training.

However, you make a good point that such operator flexibility would be good for the industry.

I encourage people who work at nuclear plants to enter this conversation.

jim said...

Meredith, I don't see any attacks or scurrilous mentions here, just good logical sensible questions you could utter in church or workplace and probably everyone and his brother wondered about in this issue. Robert should proudly come clean in the open and assert these notions which enacted long ago could spared a lot communities and worlds a lot of grief. Hell, I'd back him up the hilt in a heartbeat to the edge of a cliff as I hope other nuke supporters would! This thing with nuclear proponents hailing and cheer-leading the cause from their closets while antis roar at cowering pols has got to go! Yes, it's long high time to question and protest these archaic NCR regulations, especially if you've lost your livelihood and homes by them! The antis sure know how to tweak them against us long enough!

Keep up the great work!

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Meredith Angwin said...


That's why I posted this comment. I agree with you. These questions MUST be raised. It takes comparatively minimum training for a pilot to re-qualify. What's the deal with NRC regulations?

But, in Robert's comment...You didn't SEE the parts I omitted, because, of course, I omitted those parts! In the posted comment, those parts are "..."

Robert had read an article in which a specific worker at VY was quoted. Robert made comments about this worker's decisions, and this worker's family...and these were not flattering to the man or his family. That's the section I omitted.