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ALEC Wants to Define Toxic Waste as Renewable Energy

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a wing of corporate America that writes model legislation, has convinced one of its members, Michigan legislator Aric Nesbitt, to submit a bill to make toxic petroleum cake and other solid waste eligible for tax credits for clean and renewable energy.

ALEC worked for years to get legislatures to kill the entire idea of renewable energy tax credits, but now that they’ve failed they want to redefine the terms to boost the profits of their corporate benefactors — and screw the environment.

Michigan currently defines a renewable energy resource as energy that is ultimately derived from solar power, water power or wind power, and is naturally replenished over a human time frame. This is a definition based on science, not on political interests. But right now a bill is making its way through the Michigan House of Representatives that would gut the existing definition and allow burning industrial waste and petroleum byproducts to classify as renewable energy.

This attack on clean energy is especially glaring given the recent controversy surrounding petroleum coke storage in Detroit. Last year, four-story high piles of petcoke plumed black clouds of toxic dust over the Detroit River, polluting surrounding communities and our Great Lakes. Unbelievable as it may seem, if this bill passes, burning petcoke – the dirtiest byproduct of the oil refining process – would qualify as clean, renewable energy.

Incinerating hazardous waste and calling it clean is downright indefensible. The incineration process emits carcinogenic toxins and harmful air pollution that put the health of Michiganders and our air and water on the line. Per a 2009 study commissioned by the Michigan Environmental Council, pollution from existing coal plants already cost Michigan residents more than $1 billion annually in health care costs and damages. We simply cannot afford to incentivize incineration of hazardous waste. We cannot allow Michigan legislators to gerrymander a definition of clean, renewable energy to make room for more pollution.

As EclectaBlog put it, the bill would “hijack our state’s clean energy mandate in order to fatten the pocketbooks of the Big Oil/Big Energy companies and utilities by greenwashing their operations with the net result of INCREASING carbon emissions.” And since Republicans control massive majorities in both houses of Congress, I certainly won’t be surprised if it passes.

Comments

  1. comfychair says

    How much electricity could we generate by stuffing ALEC into the incinerator instead? Wait- I mean, stuffing ALEC into the incinerator with votes

  2. pixiedust says

    I hate to say it but I think we’ve already done something similar here in Maryland.

    There is a proposed trash incinerator where I live that would also produce a modest amount of electricity. “Waste to Energy.” The proposal includes the idea of importing tires from all over the state to burn. Our Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley, certified this project as some sort of renewable energy project.

    Perhaps not coincidently, the guv is thinking hard about throwing his hat into the 2016 campaign for prez.

  3. says

    I’m waiting for ALEC to craft model legislation subsidizing vegetables for school lunches in poor neighborhoods. Ideally, the legislation would classify tobacco as a vegetable when served with ethanol-deisel dressing.

  4. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Michigan currently defines a renewable energy resource as energy that is ultimately derived from solar power, water power or wind power, and is naturally replenished over a human time frame. This is a definition based on science, not on political interests.

    No, that is based on politics. It excludes another form of energy just as plentiful as the named ones – nuclear.

  5. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Is it just me or do Rethuglicans sound more and more like an evil Bond villain?

    That’s not quite cartoony enough. How about the villains from Captain Planet who seem to want to pollute for no other reason than to pollute.

  6. comfychair says

    Yes, nuclear is not only plentiful but also never goes away. Win/win, amirite?

  7. matty1 says

    I was not aware that uranium is naturally replenished over a human time frame.

    More seriously, while the proposal is clearly a bad idea I do think there is a case that for some waste (maybe not petcoke) burning for energy is a less environmentally damaging option than landfill. Of course producing less waste is optimal followed by recycling* but there is no need to make the perfect enemy of the good.

    *Except where the recycling process causes more pollution that waste disposal would.

  8. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @matty1

    I was not aware that uranium is naturally replenished over a human time frame.

    Does the sun “replenish” over a human time frame? What a silly question. Does rock “replenish” over a human time frame? Also a silly question.

    Granite is the most common constituent of the continental crust of our planet. I’m talking literal rock. It is economical to mine literal granite rock for the uranium and/or thorium content (when burned in breeder reactors). We’ll never run out of rock in the same sense we’ll never run out of sun. Pedantically, both are limited, but practically both are limitless.

    PS: There’s also sea water extraction. Similar idea. Of course, that’s a long way off, for even low grade deposits of a few hundred ppm are economical with conventional reactors, and those kinds of “ore” will last for a long, long time.

  9. Jordan Genso says

    @10 EnlightenmentLiberal

    I do think there is a difference between the passive aspect of “renewing” energy from water/wind/solar vs. the very active aspect of trying to “renew” nuclear energy.

  10. says

    “Does the sun “replenish” over a human time frame? What a silly question. Does rock “replenish” over a human time frame? Also a silly question.”

    Try going without the sun for a year or two, dumbfuck.

    Ed, corporatistshill cleanup needed on this thread.

    Fuck off, troll.

  11. matty1 says

    I actually do think there is a reasonable argument to be had about including nuclear in the energy mix, if we are talking about the safest and cleanest of the new reactor designs. However to include it in renewable stretches the meaning of the word so far from what most people understand as to make it useless. Kind of like what the original proposal from ALEC does come to think of it.

  12. D. C. Sessions says

    Waste burning is not always a bad thing. For instance, human waste (sewage etc.) produces methane — a gas we would be well-advised to keep out of the atmosphere. Burning it for power beats other ways of disposing of it and would certainly be a good investment in a genuinely renewable energy source.

    Of course, ALEC is not exactly proposing that kind of “waste burning.”

  13. ethanol says

    @Enlightenment Liberal

    At current levels of nuclear power use (not that high) there are enough worldwide uranium reserves to keep going for about 200 years, which makes nuclear power about as renewable as coal. Now if you talk about switching to a completely different nuclear infrastructure; such as thorium or fusion, that changes. However, nuclear power in its present form is appropriately classified as non-renewable.

  14. says

    The more I see things like this, the more I want to see bodies like the government and media get free speech limitations similar to corporations that want to make medical claims, and individuals that want to use slander and libel.

    If the proposal or story does not match with reality, and a simple investigation without bias would reveal that, (renewable in a human context) there should be sanctions for what is a de facto attempt to decieve.

  15. matty1 says

    I agree that attempts to deceive should face some kind of negative repercussions but I’d be very cautious about exactly how you word those rules with regards to politicians and the media. Remember the people who will be enforcing this are also ‘the government’ and done badly this could be a recipe for Republican Judge* ruling that all statements by Democrats are false.

    *Worst reggae act ever

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    … Republicans control massive majorities in both houses of Congress…

    Eh what huh? After trying to analyze this, I come up with three possibilities (listed in decreasing order of likelihood):

    1) They just held a snap national election, and I missed it. Who’s President now?

    2) Michigan calls its state legislature “Congress”. This would be rude, but much nicer than what I call the Florida state legislature.

    3) Our esteemed host has made a mistake. Antipossible!

  17. says

    Does the sun “replenish” over a human time frame?

    Yes. The sun will continue to provide us with energy for the next 4-5 billion years. That qualifies as “over a human time frame.”

    Does rock “replenish” over a human time frame? Also a silly question.

    Well, you’re right there. It is a silly question. The fact that granite contains traces of uranium does not make it a renewable source of energy. First of all, only about 0.7% of all the uranium in the world is fissionable U-235. The vast majority is U-238, which cannot be used for nuclear power. Those tiny traces of uranium in granite which contain even tinier amounts of usable fuel are not viable as a source of energy. It would cost far more energy to separate the U-235 out than you could ever get from it using it as nuclear fuel.

    And that’s even before we consider the fact that granite does not renew itself in a human time frame.

  18. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @ethanol
    @d.c.wilson
    Simply false.

    CANDU reactors, which we have right now, can and do run on unenriched uranium. At 100 ppm, it would be economical to mine that “ore” for the uranium content. In the US in the 80s or 90s, we did get about 20% of our uranium from low grade “ores”. This is nothing new. The numbers you cite about remaining supplies refer only to conventional uranium ore, which are roughly on the order of 200,000 ppm. Once we remove that artificial cutoff line and include all usable “ore”, we’ll never run out.

    You’re basically repeating a blatant lie and misinformation, which is rather common in the media concerning nuclear. (Just like the blatant lie that nuclear cannot load follow, or that nuclear is dangerous, or that Fukushima will be uninhabitable for hundreds of years, and so on and so forth.)

    Next, let’s talk about breeder reactors, which will work once we build one. All of the physics has been demonstrated. We just need to solve a couple eminently solvable engineering problems. With those in place, the uranium or thorium content of a single cubic meter of rock (granite) has more useful energy content than the same volume of coal. We can extract this uranium and thorium and use it. This is not a pipedream. This is all well demonstrated engineering. I want you to think in those terms. Again, granite rock, the most common constituent of our continental crust, might as well be coal – except far less polluting than coal, safer than coal, and no CO2 emissions.

    The sun is going to run out. The sun does not replenish. By that definition, solar is not renewable. In the same sense, rock is going to run out. Rock does not replenish. By that same definition, nuclear is also not renewable. In the strict sense because of the laws of thermodynamics, nothing is renewable. What we should care about is whether the supplies are practically limitless, and nuclear and solar are both practically limitless. We’re never going to run out of rock.

  19. comfychair says

    Until there’s a reality-based way to make the shit that comes out of a nuclear reactor (of whatever whiz-bang technoorgasmic flavor) inert, nuclear is a non-starter. Give me a solution to what you do with the waste and I’ll happily rethink my position on nuclear. Until then you might as well try pissing up a rope.

  20. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @comfychair
    Why? Why do you feel that way? What’s wrong with sticking waste in concrete casks like we do now?

    Further, you do know that normal operation of a coal plant creates more radiative waste than a nuclear plant, and there’s no rules for containing it unlike a nuclear plant?

    I’m asking for some perspective, and for you to reevaluate the actual risks of nuclear waste. I suspect an honest examination will show that the risks are highly overblown, and that the risks are preferable to all other alternatives: Safer and cleaner than coal. Will work unlike solar and wind (barring some radical breakthroughs in battery technology or similar).

    I’m interested in ending the very real deaths from normal coal plant operation, in fixing climate change, in providing energy security, and allowing the rest of the world to join the western world’s standard of living, plus more. Nuclear is the only option to do that.

  21. freehand says

    See, you almost sound like you’re trying to be sensible and then you say something like this:
    Will work unlike solar and wind (barring some radical breakthroughs in battery technology or similar).
    .
    You really need to get hold of Germany and warn them, then, because they produced half of the energy they use via solar last week:
    http://www.thelocal.de/20140619/germany-produces-half-of-electricity-needs-with-solar-power
    .
    Such dishonesty or ignorance makes it clear that you’re a industry shill, and not simply someone who thinks nuclear is getting a bad rap. A few points:
    1. If there are no breeder reactors running yet, then you can’t be sure we have the bugs worked out.
    2. Nuclear waste isn’t the only issue. To avoid future Fukushimas, we need appropriate locations and passive safety devices. If it needs river water to cool, or electrical power from outside, or staff, I guarantee the day will come when the power goes out, when the river runs dry, or when the staff are isolated by flood and can’t get there.
    3. While you blithely dismiss grinding granite as trivial, many of us can’t help but think of Appalachian strip mining. What’s the difference?
    4. If you have to lie about current solar and wind tech (“doesn’t work yet”, “expensive”, “etc.), then why should we trust you (or anyone like you) when you tell us not to worry?
    .
    Personally, while I do not loathe the word nuclear as some do, I am extremely put off by any complicated technology that requires a big corporation’s control, heavy government involvement, central location and production, and almost inevitable social costs, social risk, and private profits.

  22. comfychair says

    There is no conceivable containment/disposal/storage method that will outlast the nuclear waste you put in it. If you believe there IS a viable method for dealing with it, that says a lot more about your gullibility than it does about mine.

    Nuclear is the one thing we do that cannot be fixed when it goes wrong, and since it depends on technology made by humans it will go wrong, inevitably. For something that is impossible to fix there is no level of risk that’s acceptable. Zero. And it will never be zero risk.

    ‘Safe Nuclear’ is just as much utter bullshit as ‘Clean Coal’.

  23. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @comfychair
    Now, I mentioned the facts of the matter is that coal plants release more radioactive into the environment than nuclear for normal operations. Do you accept this? If you’re worried about release from normal operations, then why are you not up in arms about coal plants too?

    If you are only up in arms about nuclear because of accident scenarios, what do you think the worst scenario is? Do you think the worst accident could be worse than Fukushima? Let me remind you that no one outside the plant will die from radiation poisoning from Fukushima. Zero. Let me also remind you that the radiation levels in nearly all parts around and inside Fukushima prefecture have radiation levels that are quite safe for human life.

    Maybe you’re worried about waste disposal than accidents? To be provocative, more people would die if we dumped all of our coal waste into the oceans than if we dumped all of our waste from nuclear plants into the oceans, and yet again coal gets a clean pass.

    Perhaps you’re worried about scenarios where the waste “gets out” a thousand years from now. I want you to describe what you think would happen, and how many people would die.

    Also, remember: Radiation is not magic. It doesn’t stay dangerous forever, and the more dangerous (radioactive) it is, the less it will last. It’s called “half-life”.

    Finally, especially with newer technologies, we can do nuclear whose waste will decay to be less radioactive than uranium ore in only 300 years. We know how to build containers that can last 300 years, and after that it’s no more dangerous than the uranium ore which is already in the ground.

    You seem to have some misinformation which is leading to some bad judgments about nuclear. I’d like to correct that misinformation, and I’ll provide citations as needed, but I cannot correct that if you don’t start being specific.

  24. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @freehand
    The misinformation is all yours.

    Point by point.

    You can cherry pick information on Germany and make it look good, but when the facts all come out it looks abysmal. Let’s look at some numbers.

    In 2012, the nameplate capacity of solar and wind in Germany was about 32 GW, which is about 84% of the total needed generation of 70.4 GW. However, in that year, solar and wind produced only 11.9% of the total electricity in that year.

    Consider your phrasing: “[Germany] produced half of the energy they use via solar last week”. That sounds almost like half of the production of electricity in Germany for a whole week was from solar. Actually, the link says that for less than an hour, half of production was from solar. Want to guess what the production was at night? Zero. Want to guess what the production was even 3 hours later? I’m guessing about 1/4 of that. Want to take a guess what the total solar production was for that week? I’d bet that solar was around 10% to 15% of production for the week.

    And that is in the middle of summer. Want to guess what that production will be in winter for Germany? About 0%. IIRC, Germany gets less than 1% nameplate capacity from solar for daily average in winter months.

    The fundamental problem with solar is that it does not work when the sun does not shine, and there is no workable solution for energy storage, and none are likely in the near future. Storing energy, electricity, for later use is a very, very hard problem.

    Your cherry picked and IMHO misleading statement does nothing to back up your argument.

    1. If there are no breeder reactors running yet, then you can’t be sure we have the bugs worked out.

    The catch 22. We don’t have a working one yet because it won’t work, and it won’t work because we don’t have a working model yet.

    For some breeder concepts, work done in places like ORNL over 40 years ago demonstrated all of the basics of the physics, chemistry, and engineering. All we need to do now is build the damn thing. We know what we’re going to do. People now can tell you what they want to build, and that it will likely work.

    Compare that to wind and solar, where no one can tell you how it’s going to work. We don’t have the necessary technology to make it work now, and there’s nothing on the horizon to make it work. The energy storage problem is killer.

    You seem to imply that we need to avoid Fukushimas at all costs? Why? What was so bad about Fukushima? More people died from the tsunami than will die from radiation poisoning. More people died from the radiation evacuation than will die from radiation poisoning. (Evacuations are not risk free.) (Of course, at the time, the evacuation was probably sensible. I’m being purposefully provocative in order to make a point.)

    Yes, I agree that such accidents are bad and we should work to make them rare, and minimize the impacts when they happen, but you act as though Fukushima was the end of the world. Need I remind you that currently the land in Fukushima (minus at the plant site itself) is safe to live on now.

    It is a fact that a single rare earths mental mine will produce enough nuclear fuel for the entire US as a byproduct of its operation (when used with a breeder reactor).

    You want to talk strip mining when you want to build all of that solar and wind? Where do you think that those materials will come from? When the energy density of nuclear compared to wind and solar is on the order of a billion to one, yours is the plan that will result in massive strip mining compared to nuclear.

    For a very long time to come, nuclear can involve absolutely no dedicated mining at all (if and when we finally build some of these breeders). Even then, seawater extraction is looking promising too. (I don’t know enough about seawater extraction, but I have it on good sources.)

    4. If you have to lie about current solar and wind tech (“doesn’t work yet”, “expensive”, “etc.), then why should we trust you (or anyone like you) when you tell us not to worry?

    I’m not lying. The wind and solar people are lying, or hopelessly deluded.

  25. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    “What’s wrong with putting it in concrete casks?”

    Speaking as someone raised in the shadow of the Hanford nuclear site, I can say I have a few issues with how we dispose of waste at this point. Every year there is some kind of a leak or another, and the cleanup funding is not exactly coming at a rapid rate. My dad has had to get the wire brush treatment when his dosimeter went off. Have you?

  26. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @spamamander, internet amphibian
    Have you ever had a family member die from cancer caused by airborne particulates from coal plants? Or how about a heart attack from mercury from coal plants?

    “Anecdote” is not a synonym for “data”. Coal plants kill far more than nuclear plants. The historical record is unambiguous.

    All options are bad. All options involve undesirable human death. I’m advocating for the least bad option. I’m advocating for the option with the least number of undesirable human deaths.

  27. says

    “All options are bad. All options involve undesirable human death. I’m advocating for the least bad option. I’m advocating for the option with the least number of undesirable human deaths.”

    There’s another option.

    STFU.

    You, you lying fuckbag, apparently have yet to figure out that there are NO people on this blog gullible enough to accept the horseshit that you’ve been dishing out for the past several months, particularly on the safety, efficacy and economic feasibility of nuclear power.

    Just because others on this thread don’t call you the lying piece of shit that you are should in no way be taken for their implied approval/agreement with your bald, unsupported (and unsupportable) assertions presented as facts/data.

    The sooner you realize that you’re bottomless well of bullshit is not going to swamp the brains of people who KNOW that you’re wrong the better.

    Fuck off, troll.

  28. says

    ““Anecdote” is not a synonym for “data”. Coal plants kill far more than nuclear plants. The historical record is unambiguous.”

    Source? If it’s the same SINGLE study that you’ve touted in the past, well, it was bullshit then, it still is.

    BTW, fucknozzle, you’re a bit like interntroll gunzloon, sabrekgb; you rely heavily on outdated studies and cherry picked ones at that.

    The fact that nuclear power plants, the NRC and the various state and federal departments who “work” with them are reticent to declassify or release the documents on nuclear accidents or, in many cases, even inform the local populace of leaks and the like is pretty much the smokin’, radioactive gun.

    Fuck off, troll.

  29. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Splitting into multiple posts because otherwise a filter will eat it IIRC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_accidents

    Coal mining accidents resulted in 5,938 immediate deaths in 2005,

    In the US alone, more than 100,000 coal miners were killed in accidents over the past century,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_the_coal_industry

    In 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations calculated that coal particulates pollution cause approximately one million deaths annually across the world,[5] which is approximately one third of all premature deaths related to all air pollution sources.[34]

  30. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_and_radiation_accidents_by_death_toll

    A UNSCEAR report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests it could reach 4,000 civilian deaths, a figure which does not include military clean-up worker casualties.

    A Greenpeace report puts this figure [deaths from Chernobyl] at 200,000 or more.

    The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster has no confirmed casualties from radiation exposure.

    The rest of the accidents from nuclear plants total up to less than a hundred.

    You sir are the liar who is unable to recognize simple facts when shown to you. Nuclear is immensely safer than coal by several orders of magnitude. Nuclear power has killed maybe 5,000 people in the last century. Coal kills 1,000,000 every year! Even if we use the ridiculously anti-scientific numbers from organizations like Green Peace, nuclear still has killed less people in the last century than coal kills in a single year.

  31. says

    “Coal mining accidents resulted in 5,938 immediate deaths in 2005″

    You are one durably indignorant motherfucker.

    COAL is not an alternative form of energy, fucktard.

  32. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    Derp.

    Of COURSE more people die from coal. For one thing, there’s a LOT more active coal mines and plants than nuclear facilities at this point in time. For another, we know breathing in particulate is BAD.

    But coal isn’t an “alternative”. We’re trying to get AWAY from that shit. Which is exactly why you are pushing your pet power source, and most others are looking at wind/ solar etc. To be honest it didn’t even occur to me that places still used coal for power until I moved to Ohio for seven years- I was so accustomed to hydroelectric being the norm (and, yes, a small amount of nuclear on the grid, but plant 2 went into mothballs). Now up here in WA we have quite a few wind farms contributing as well, but they certainly aren’t perfect (the effect on raptors, for one. We’re losing a lot of birds of prey to the windmills). I would love to see solar cells become more efficient and affordable, since out here in the desert half of the state we have 300 days of sun a year.

    Again I wasn’t responding to why nuclear power was bad in and of itself. I was talking about why the way we contain it now is bad. EVERY year something else leaks out on that damn site. There’s an entire crapped-up freight train buried out there. We don’t have good ways to dispose of the waste at this point in time.

    Anecdote may not equal data, but it also doesn’t bring my mother’s dad back. He died in his 30′s from full systemic cancer starting in his kidneys- a hallmark of radiation exposure. He like a lot of other young Mormon men moved up here from Utah to work out at the Hanford site in the 40′s.

    So yes, I’ll admit to personal bias. But until someone comes up with an amazing way to dispose of the waste from fusion reactors, just no.

  33. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @spamamander, internet amphibian

    Of COURSE more people die from coal.

    You would think, yet democommie is being difficult. I was responding to that point in particular. I’m sorry for stating the obvious, but it’s not obvious to some.

    For one thing, there’s a LOT more active coal mines and plants than nuclear facilities at this point in time.

    Not so much this. There’s a lot of nuclear. Maybe not as much as coal, but there’s a lot of nuclear. We’re talking maybe a 5x generation difference off the top of my head. For example, US electricity is about 20% nuclear IIRC.

    The deaths are staggeringly different, 5,000 in 50 years to 1,000,000 in 1 year.

    For another, we know breathing in particulate is BAD.

    Mostly this.

    About coal still being in use. You know Germany is one of the biggest users of coal, especially lignite coal, one of the dirtiest forms of coal? Direct result of them shutting down their nuclear plants. Germany is near the top of the list of CO2 producers per capita because of their energy policy insanity.

    Again I wasn’t responding to why nuclear power was bad in and of itself. I was talking about why the way we contain it now is bad. EVERY year something else leaks out on that damn site. There’s an entire crapped-up freight train buried out there. We don’t have good ways to dispose of the waste at this point in time.

    Anecdote may not equal data, but it also doesn’t bring my mother’s dad back.

    You should stop at “anecdote is not data”. Don’t identify the fallacy, and then commit the fallacy.

    Unlike you, I just spend a few hours educating myself on the topic, looking for statistics, and so on. This is a difficult endeavor when most google hits are fearmongering news sites, without citations, without statistics, and so on. Eventually, I found enough reliable sites to learn the following.

    The leaking waste at the Hanford site is not light water reactor waste. It’s not nuclear power plant waste at all. It’s waste from nuclear weapons manufacture.

    The waste at the Hanford site is some kind of liquid sludge which is contained in tanks. If the tanks spring a leak, then the waste can leak into the ground, and eventually into ground water.

    Waste from light water reactors is a solid. It is quickly encased in steel vaults or above ground concrete and steel containers. Because this waste is a solid, leaks are not a risk to anywhere near the degree that the leaks at the Hanford site are risks. These containers are built quite solidly, and will last a long, long time. Even if the container were to split in half, the waste is solid, and it’s not going to leak like the waste at the Hanford site.

    There’s also the water used as coolant which picks up some radioactivity, but IIRC this isn’t that bad and quickly gets to safe levels, unlike the spent fuel itself of the plant which does require longer care.

    Furthermore, the tanks at the Hanford site were only designed to last 20 years, and they were built like 60 years ago. It’s no surprise that mismanaged dangerous waste from nuclear weapon generation is dangerous.

    Keep in mind that the process they used to create nuclear weapons had little thought towards fuel efficiency, environment impact, etc. They were focusing on one target only – getting nuclear weapons as fast as possible. Just another reason why this comparison between Hanford and nuclear power is completely unfounded.

    Using the Hanford site as a negative for nuclear power is incredibly ignorant or dishonest.

    One good link:
    http://www.nei.org/Master-Document-Folder/Backgrounders/Fact-Sheets/No-Similarity-Between-Commercial-Reactor-Fuel-Stor

    So yes, I’ll admit to personal bias. But until someone comes up with an amazing way to dispose of the waste from fusion reactors, just no.

    Wait what? Who’s talking about fusion? I hope that was a typo. I hope you are educated enough to know the difference between fission and fusion. If you don’t, then you need to shut up and read a book, because someone that ignorant would be completely incompetent to take part in this conversation.

  34. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Err, I missed the most important points: Again, solar and wind cannot power our economy with current technology. Nuclear, coal, and nat gas can. I take it as a given that we’re not going to revert to a non-industrial economy. I take it as a given we’re going to have lights on during the night. That means we need baseload power, and only nuclear can do that without climate change, millions of deaths per year, and with energy security and fuel that will last practically forever.

    The fact that sometimes there are nuclear accidents should be compared to the risks of competing technologies. Even with the nuclear accidents of history, nuclear is amazingly safer and cleaner than coal. Also safer than nat gas. With climate change taken into account, also much cleaner than nat gas. Sometimes accidents happen. Sometimes radiation will be released into the environment. Better than the massive release of poison into the air on a regular basis from coal and nat gas, esp coal.

    When you take the whole manufacture cycle into account, studies show that solar and wind are not as clean as you think they are. When you have to build on the order of millions or billions to the scale of a nuclear plant due to the incredibly diffuse nature of wind and solar, you find that all of those little bits add up when multiplied by a million. For example, wind mills use lots of steel, which requires lots of mining – strip mining or otherwise – to get all of that needed steel. A lot more steel than is needed fora nuclear plant. All of the pollution of making those windmills and solar cells may be relatively small, but again multiply it by a million, and it becomes compare to a single nuke plant manufacture. Solar and wind only seem clean. They are not.

    What we have here is a complete inability by some people, such as democommie and spamamander, to put the risks into proper proportion, and to compare it to the alternatives in a rational, cool-headed, evidence-based way.

  35. says

    “You would think, yet democommie is being difficult.”

    You are still being the lying fuckbag that you’ve been since your first comment on this blog.

    After being told, more fucking times than I can count, that COAL:and PETROLEUM are NOT alternatives you keep nattering on about them being vewy, vewy dangewous.

    And this:

    “How about nuclear, coal and gas kill less than hydro, solar and wind? How does that one wind up? I’m not blaming just the idiots who run nuke plants. Exxon, BP, Duke Energy and the rest of them are culpable as well.”

    is from 3/27/14, asswipe. When some piece-of-shit chancre (that would be you, honeybunny) on the cock of humanity gets on a thread, it’s always a good idea to bookmark shit.

    You’re a shitstain.

  36. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @democommie
    You seem to be quoting yourself. In fact, you seem to be quoting an earlier instance where you strawman my position, in order to strawman my position here. You are quoting your own strawman of me to strawman me again.

    You must know that’s not position, after I have explained it to you numerous times. In this thread, I have made convincing argument and citations that coal kills far far more than solar and wind (assuming wind and solar kill less than a million a year – a fair assumption.)

    You have to know that you’re lying when you say I said that thing. Have you no decency sir?

    Now, of course I said watt-hour to watt-hour, nuclear kills less than solar, wind, and hydro. But saying that coal also kills less? That’s just extremely ignorant or stupid.

    Here’s the link to the conversation which I think he’s talking about. Like this one, it’s rather one-sided.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2014/03/27/bp-refinery-leaks-oil-into-lake-michigan/#comment-310928

  37. says

    “@democommie
    You seem to be quoting yourself. In fact, you seem to be quoting an earlier instance where you strawman my position, in order to strawman my position here. You are quoting your own strawman of me to strawman me again. ‘

    Are you clinically insane?

    My comment on THAT thread was in rebuttal to this:

    “Nuclear kills less people per watt-hour than coal, gas, hydro-dams, solar, and wind. Look it up. Even if you count Chernobyl. We don’t need further “safety features”. The safety features of a modern plant is enough. What else do you need besides being the safest option out there?”

    You moronic asshole.

    You’ve been told by me and several other people that lumping coal, gas and other traditional forms of energy used in the power generation energy AS IF they are “alternatives” is dishonest and stupid. I know that you’re dishonest and stupid but, holy fucking shit, do you work at being even more of a fucking moron than you were before.

    Your data is cherrypicked and you’re a piece of shit. I would make my level of disdain for you clearer if I was sitting across a table from you, fucktard.

  38. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @democommie
    You’ve entirely lost me. I’ve said many times that nuclear was safer than hydro, solar, and wind. I have never said that coal and nat gas are safer than hydro, solar, and wind. I’ve tried explaining this to you many times. Yet, you continue to post that “quotation” insinuating that I’ve said that coal and nat gas are safer than hydro, solar, and wind. Where I come from, doing that is called flagrant dishonesty.

    Simply saying “It’s in response to that” doesn’t make any sense. You added things to your “quotation” which I simply never said. It’s still flagrant dishonesty.

    I am completely lost. What are you trying to accomplish here? Can you agree that I’ve never said coal and nat gas are safer than hydro, solar, and wind? Will you please stop posting anything which implies to the contrary?

  39. says

    As stated previously, you’re a fucking liar.

    Your comment, quoted @40:

    “Nuclear kills less people per watt-hour than coal, gas, hydro-dams, solar, and wind. Look it up. Even if you count Chernobyl. We don’t need further “safety features”. The safety features of a modern plant is enough. What else do you need besides being the safest option out there?””

    Puts two fossil fuels and hydro-power which have been developed (and over exploited and proven to be NOT inexhaustible) with solar and wind power.

    When told that COAL and GAS (you did not say, “Natural gas” dipshit–not that the source of the gas is all that big a deal) are certainly NOT alternatives and therefore their “safety” records should not be lumped in, you steadfastly continue to do so.

    Fuck you, you stupid fucking asshole. Go back to whatever ALEC handler you report to and tell his you need re-training.

  40. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @democommie
    So, can we agree that I never wrote that coal and nat gas are safer than hydro, solar and wind? Can we agree that you made a mistake when you wrote that “quote” of me where you strongly implied that I did state that? Can I get an apology please, and an agreement that you will not invent quotes of me again?

  41. says

    Sure we can agree, fuckface. We can agree that you’re a lying piece of shit who thinks that weaseling out of a previously held position is possible on the intertoobz.

    Go fuck yourself, you lying scumbag.

  42. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I’ll be here when you’re willing and capable of having a rational, honest conversation rather than just name calling, ad homing, and inventing false quotes of me. Given our past experience, unfortunately it seems that you are pathologically incapable of doing so.

  43. says

    Just saw @46:

    “Given our past experience, unfortunately it seems that you are pathologically incapable of doing so.”

    Of what? Having a “discussion” with a cherry picking asshole who wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him in the ass?

    Fuck you, you lying sack of fact aversive shit.

  44. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Please admit that you invented a false quote of me where I said something I did not actually say. Please apologize for doing so. Please agree to never do so in the future.

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