Two days before Christmas the Obama administration moved unilaterally toward two go-it-along policies little noticed by the public and most likely timed to be missed by most Americans pre-occupied in preparing for Christmas Day:  1) Directives on greenhouse emissions and 2) the repeal of the Bush era’s policy limiting wilderness protection. 

It was EPA administrator Lisa Jackson who on December 23 issued a directive for new power plants and oil refinery emission standards over the next year to better cope with pollution contributing to climate change.  Claims were made by Jackson that power plants and oil refineries were constituting about 40% of greenhouse gas pollution in this nation.

While the new EAP directive is of great concern and represents a back-hand approach to getting what the administration wants without Congressional approval, it was not at all surprising.  in 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court gave the agency the authority to regulate heat-trapping gasses. 

Frustrated that “cap and trade” was stalled in the Senate, President Obama two days after the midterm elections served notice that “Cap-and trade” was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way.  I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”

What closely followed on November 10th were EPA state-directed guidelines which became the first-ever federal guidelines for reducing greenhouse emissions from industrial sources.  

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gRb2CA1DnQdPvlWmI5ADfjTz-lTw?docId=328b30b21ef54b97a51fdacdcbeb06dc

 

In light of the extremely cold weather during the Christmas holiday season in Europe and here in the U.S., which caused havoc with holiday travelers, it would seem reasonable for the Obama administration to reexamine its mad dash to limit greenhouse gas pollution for the purpose of curtailing global warming through the reduction of CO2.  But will this nation do so?

This year Great Britain is experiencing its coldest winter and the heaviest snowfalls since seasonable records began.   Despite the winter of 2008 registering as the coldest in a decade and 2009 topping 2008 as the coldest in 30 years, Meteorological Office scientists published a map predicting a 60% to 80% chance of a warmer-than-average winter on its 2010 website.

It has been suggested that the snow and cold blindness of the past three winters in Great Britain resulted from reliance of the Met Office on a $50 million supercomputer in which assumptions were fed in from suspect global-warming models. 

What global warming modelers forget is that climatic data is of too short a duration (Actual record keeping has a very short history.) to rely on for determining future weather trends.  Suspect also are methods used in the past for predicting earth’s temperatures. 

Notwithstanding, Great Britain is building an energy policy around a global warming policy which will bring more cold and darkness to the British people in order to save them from getting too warm. 

If this nation goes down the British road with an equivalent carbon tax, likewise applied to transportation, it could result in raising the average household energy bills of the American people by about $2,200.   http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/22/global-warming-goes-gaga/

Climate on Earth has changed in many ways, many times.  In the last half million years vast expanses of glacier ice have grown on land and then melted away again four times.  Instead of standing at attention, animals and plants have gone with the flow, moving along.

Lucian B. Platt, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Geology at Bryn Maur College, had this to say in a copy of a spiral-bound article he personally sent me titled “Climate Changes I Have Known And Loved” which he finished this year.

“Alarmists predict doom on the basis of a short curve of temperature on Earth.  Nevertheless, the facts about the past, available in abundance for years, demonstrate big and small changes in climate repeatedly, even periodically.  There recognized causes were not in Earth’s atmosphere, and they will come again without our help or hindrance.”

On September 9,1999, Dr. Platt presented these common sense nuggets about global warming as in an Emeritus paper at Bryn Maur College:

“To summarize, the globe is warming. But unlike what the alarmists would tell you, the warming has been going on for 180 centuries, not just the 180 years of the industrial revolution. The changes have been fast and slow, some quite fast indeed, but certainly not caused by us. And if the doomsters are right that 2°-3° temperature change causes irreversible damage, we have had constant catastrophe for half a million years. We cannot go back to some idealized yesteryear. Anyway, what year would you pick?

http://www.brynmawr.edu/emeritus/gather/Platt/platt_1.html

It would be foolish to cripple this nation with Global Warming policies that would enrich a few financially while substantially reducing the standard of living of the American people.

2,500 years ago Confucius is reported to have said, “Study the past if you would define the future.” 

http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/29259.html

Global warming alarmists are leaving out the past with their doom and gloom predictions.

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9/11 Health Care Bill: Compassion admirable, but future bills demand scrutiny

Nancy Thorner

The Lame-Duck session of the 111th Congress was anything but lame as Congress was able to pass several major pieces of legislature before its adjournment.

In its wrap up session on Wednesday, December 22, the lame-duck Congress approved a nuclear arms treaty with Russia and a bill to aid Sept. 11th first responders. 
The 9/11 Health Care legislation is demanding of a review, as it is indicative of what must be done in the 112th Congress when legislating future spending bills. 
The debate preceding the 9/11 Health Care vote was fraught with emotion.  After all people were sick, some had even died, and financial help was called for.  Surely first responders were our heroes on 9/11?  Who could deny them payments for their heroic deeds?
Legislators were naturally anxious to pass the $8 billion, 9/11 Health Care bill so compensation could at last begin for the 71,000 first responders.
Even so, typical of monies handed out by the government, there have been no investigations as to why first responders are being compensated or whether their illnesses or deaths was even related to heroic action on 9/11.   
Thanks to Republican Senator Colburn of Oklahoma, the final bill was cut down to $4 billion.  Despite a 50% reduction in funding, first responders will still receive the best care in the world.  It is trial lawyers who will no longer be the beneficiaries of a $4 billion pot of gold of taxpayer money.
Whether talking about millions, billions and now trillion, eyes often gloss over when observing the number of zeros at the end of figures and what the zeros represent in dollar values.  But it makes no difference if the amount of money needed is in the millions, the billions, or the trillions, this nation does not have the money.  It is broke.  We must either print money or borrow it from China. 
As a compassionate nation and people, 9/11 first defenders do deserve to be remembered.  This leads to a question about future spending bills.  There is reason to believe that every spending bill in the 112th Congress could be cut by 40 or 50%..
Of more immediate concern is the money this nation is borrowing from China to fund its many programs which many Americans have come to believe they are entitled to.  
Consider this.  In several years the interest we pay China on our national debt will be more than this nation spends on its military.  Might it be that as today’s super power, we are funding our successor?
There will come a time when our nation will reach a point of no return with its overhanging debt.  Like Ireland and Greece, the U.S.A. is heading the way of Ireland and Greece if she fails to get serious about her spending.  With it will come the failure of the great American experiment as perceived by our Founding Fathers.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/12/911_health_care_bill_compassio.html at December 26, 2010 – 07:08:48 PM CST

New military policy resurrects long-held concerns

by Nancy Thorner

“As in 1993, allowing gay to serve openly prompts the same discussion”

If all goes as planned, President Obama will sign legislation today to repeal the military ban on homosexuals often referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” 

It was President Bill Clinton who pledged to end the military’s ban against homosexuals.  Compromise legislation was passed in 1993, dubbed as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which permitted homosexuals to serve in the military if they kept their lifestyles private. 

In a Heritage report published on July 1, 1993, John Luddy warns of three detrimental effects of lifting the ban of homosexuals serving in the military through compromise legislation.

1.  “Unit cohesion is weakened.

2.  Professionalism is undermined.

3.  Risk of AIDS in the services is increased.”

John Luddy goes on to say on to say that “the military is to win wars, not to conduct liberal social experiments. . . The issue is not one of fairness, but of military effectiveness.”

Further stated by Luddy, “War is fought by units, not by individuals.  Units function best when differences among individuals are kept to a minimum.  It is not fair to risk the lives of American soldiers and sailors merely to accommodate the sexual lifestyles of certain individuals.”  http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1993/07/em359nbsp-the-military-gay-ban?query=The+Military+Gay+Ban:+Why+Don%252527t+Ask+Don%252527t+Tell+Don%252527t+Work

Also published in 1993 was a Pentagon report which concluded that homosexuality was incompatible with military service. 

Existing for the past 17 years is a contradiction of a policy that allows homosexuals to serve as long as they keep their sexual activity private, in contrast to the findings of the 1993 Pentagon report.

The implication of ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will not be immediately known.  There are already predictions of a shortfall in recruiting and retention by those contemplating enlistmentment or who are already in the military and who believe that the promotion of homosexuality, which is anti-family, is contrary to the law of God. 

Recently a special Defense Department group appointed by Defense Secretary Robert recommended that the military should expressly prohibit heterosexuals from using separate showers, bathrooms and bunking facilities when the repeal goes into effect.

Now that the Lame Duck Congress has repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” might patriotic alumni who were so in favor of ending DADT now write to their college presidents to insist on quick action to allow the ROTC on their college campuses.  “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was given as the excuse offered by Harvard, Yale and Columbia in recent years to keep the ROTC at arm’s length. 

The three detrimental effects of sanctioning gays to serve in the military as listed in John Luddy’s 1993 Heritage report also hold true today.  Regarding the spreading of AIDS, the assumption behind “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was that military personnel will abstain from sexual activity.  How naive an assumption!

Political correctness and the the desire to placate those who wish to promote the homosexual lifestyle both inside and outside the military is irresponsible and detrimental to our society. 

My newly elected Illinois senator, Mark Kirk, was one of six Republicans who voted to homosexualize our military.  As such Senator Kirk voted to take a giant step in transforming the Armed Forces through social engineering as a forum to promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle. 

Is this a time to promote social engineering in the military?  In a time of war, the main concern of legislators should be to rally around what it will take to win the war. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Republican Assembly of Lake County hosts DeMonte at annual Christmas event

Demontetrue by Nancy Thorner

The Republican Assembly of Lake County, under the leadership of Chairman Raymond True, held its Annual Christmas/Holiday Party on Saturday, December 11, at the White Deer Run Country Club in Vernon Hills. 

More than one hundred guests, including  Melissa and Bob Cook, Chairman of the Lake County Republican Central Committee and RALC member; Kris and Dan Duffy, State Senator; Helene and Joe Walsh, US Congressman elect and RALC member; Irene and Mark Curran, County Sheriff and RALC member; Maureen and Dave Stolman, President of the County Board; Tom and Bonnie Thompson Carter, County Board Member and former President of the Forest Preserve; Michelle and Arie Friedman, Republican National Committee Physician Advisor and RALC member; Jane and Gene Dawson, 8th Congressional District State Committeeman; Lake County Young Republican Officers:  Lauren Fleming, President; Michael Carbone, Vice President; and Geri Atleson, Treasurer; Township Chairmen and precinct committeemen, and other organization leaders attended the event.
 
Chairman True warmly greeted the gathering, after which RALC Chaplain Rev. Glenn Stewart gave the invocation; followed by the “Pledge of Allegiance.”

Bob Cook, LCRCC Chairman, thanked everyone for their hard work during the 2010 election cycle, and informed all that he was looking forward to working with them in preparing for the 2012 elections. 

Following an outstanding buffet, Chairman True introduced the Guest Speaker of the evening, Demetra DeMonte — highlighting her background and past accomplishments. Demetra was elected Republican National Committeewoman for Illinois at the State Convention in Decatur in June 2008.  She served as a George W. Bush delegate from IL to the 2004 National Convention; is in favor of SB-600; and spoke at the “Right Nation” event featuring Glenn Beck on September 18th in Hoffman Estates.
 
After expressing what Demetra could only describe as an incredible victory for the Republican Party — “As wonderful as it was for Republicans, it was better for this nation.” —  she spoke of America being blessed at its founding with the coming together of our Founding Fathers from 13 diverse colonies. Why?   Because they believed in freedom. 
 
Born and raised in Chicago, Demetra spoke of her heritage as the granddaughter of immigrants from Greece.  Her grandparents were proud to vote and to be Americans.  Her father served as a Democrat precinct captain and secretary to a Chicago Alderman and Ward Committeeman until his death in 2003 at the age of 88. 
 
It took Ronald Reagan, Demetra’s hero, for her to switch her energy and allegiance to the Republican Party.  The words of Ronald Reagan rang true to her.

What especially impressed Demetra was how Ronald Reagan was able to win freedom for millions of people behind the Iron Curtain.  To Demetra, President Reagan’s greatest legacy was his belief that it was morning again in America and that America was facing a new day.  President Reagan’s optimism helped Americans believe in themselves again. 

A homemaker before entering the political arena, Demetra spoke of how she became actively involved twelve years ago after living through the Clinton scandals and the impeachment trial that followed.  Before that she had talked a good talk but had not walked the walk. While walking in a parade prior to the 1994 election of George W. Bush, she agreed to chair an event for him.  The event was a success, drawing over 1,000 participants. Thus began her love affair with the political arena.  Demetra went on to become a precinct committeeman, a County Chair, a member of the State Central Committee, and currently the Republican National Committee Woman for Illinois.
 
In conclusion, Demetra stressed the need for candidates in 2012 and beyond, who are willing to fight, who are visionary, and who have integrity and character.  She challenged and encouraged all RALC members and guests to get involved and take our Country back. “It is not about us any more, or the Republican Party,” she said, “It’s about our Country, and future generations.” 

Following Demetra’s presentation, Michael Carbone, Vice President of the Lake County Young Republicans, honored seven Teenage Community Organization members who volunteered the most hours for candidates in the November elections.  Each member was presented with $100 for their outstanding voluntary work and one of the youths won an I-Pod.

 
Santa Claus was not able to be present; however, he left a table full of beautifully wrapped gifts which were distributed to those whose ticket stubs matched the numbers called out by Chairman True.

RALC member Amy Evans ended the evening by singing “God Bless America.”
 
Bob Bednar, campaign advisor to the Joe Walsh campaign and an RALC member, announced a fundraising event to be held on December 31 to help Joe Walsh retire his campaign debts. Bob also thanked Chairman True and Doreen for making the 2010 RALC Christmas/Holiday Party and enjoyable event for all!

 

This article was first published in the Pioneer Press  – Lake Forester under the title:  “Lake County should reject wind turbines” on Thursday, Dec. 16.  When posting at Freedom Pub, I expanded the title to include all counties in Illinois.

http://www.pioneerlocal.com/lakeforest/news/forum/2962706,lake-fore…

 

Recently when driving to Springfield via Route 57, I observed field after field of wind turbines that conjured up in my mind a Picasso-like contorted image of the passing landscape.  I noticed that none of the turbines were moving on what was a windless and sunny day.

Here in Lake County a Wind Energy Task Force has been set up for the purpose of drafting rules and regulations to address wind facilities. Even so, it is not smooth sailing in Lake County for proponents of wind energy projects.

It was reported in the Pioneer Press Libertyville Review on Nov. 18 that the Lake County Board delayed a vote on the proposed wind energy regulations by the Lake County Wind Energy Task Force despite months of public hearing and meetings.

Because of the County Board vote delay, the proposed Sexton Wind Farm commercial project calling for the location of 10 large turbines on a 388-acre site on Russell Road west of Interstate 94 can’t go forward.

But what does the future hold for wind power here in Lake County, throughout Illinois, or nation-wide? Might wind power be better described as the flavor of the day?

Many Illinois legislators actually believe that wind is a viable and dependable source of power to fuel our state’s future engine of economic growth.

Three years ago the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation mandating that 25 percent of electricity be produced from renewable energy by 2025, meaning that 7,500 to 8,000 megawatts of renewable energy must be generated in Illinois 15 years from now. Seventy-five percent of the renewable energy would need to come from wind energy, as solar power is four times more costly to generate than wind.

Ironic is that the same Illinois legislators have not questioned Exelon Corporation’s decision to waste forever The Zion Nuclear Plant, a relatively young plant when shut down in 1998, with its potential to produce 2,100 megawatts of green (like wind), non-polluting, low-cost, and safe electricity, and which had years left to generate electricity with equipment replacements and upgrades. Nuclear plant operating licenses are routinely extended for another 20 years to their normal 40-year expected operating lifetimes.

Drawbacks of wind turbines include:

1. Wind power from turbines cannot be called up when needed during peak load periods, because wind power can’t be stored and depends on when the wind blows for its generation.

2. Wind turbines experience wear and tear, must be maintained and must eventually be replaced after 20 years. In comparison, nuclear plant licenses routinely are being extended another 20 years when plants are nearing their expected lifetime of 40-years.

3. Wind turbines are expensive to install for the small amount of energy they produce and the amount of money they save the user: A 2.4 KW small unit costs from $17,000 – $24,000 to install. 10 KW wind turbines range from $70,000+ installed. Most turbines are produced in China (green jobs?).

4. The footprint per turbine is around 0.25 acres of land taken out of production, which does not include the 5 – 10 turbine diameters of spacing required between wind turbines.

5. Because the cost of investing in wind turbine energy is high, the government (state and federal) must sweeten the pot for investors by awarding them substantial subsidies to construct wind facilities.

What might Lake County residents conclude about wind energy? Hopefully my factual presentation about wind power will be helpful to concerned citizens who rightly oppose wind turbines.

For those of you who believe in Nuclear Energy as a viable and dependable power sourse of the future, I would advise that you check out Atomic Insights published by Rod Adams.

 

On his  Atomic Insights Blog, Rod Adams discusses energy supplies, energy technology, and energy politics from an atomic point of view. This blog is closely associated with Atomic Insights at www.atomicinsights.com.

 

From reading my previous blog postings, you are well aware of my one-woman crusade to reopen the The Zion Station just north of where I live in Lake County, IL.

 

Rod Adams is likewise a player in the Zion/Exlon saga in his continuing effort to get the truth out about the Dual Zion Nuclear Plant with its 2,100 megawatts of clean energy, which has now been slated for decommissioning long before before its operational life time has ended.

 

Below is a profile of Rod Adams’ experience in the Nuclear Energy field.

 

Rod Adams tells a story in his blog post, “Confusion and bitterness about corporate decision making that is bad for America,” about David A Hollein, Sr. of Barrington Hills, IL, who was my inspiration for my continuing mission to restart and operate The Zion Plant in my home county of Lake.

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Name: Rod Adams
Location: Annapolis, Maryland, United State
Pro-nuclear advocate with extensive small nuclear plant operating experience. Former Engineer Officer, USS Von Steuben. Founder, Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. Host and producer, The Atomic Show Podcast.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Confusion and bitterness about corporate decision making that is ba…

by Rod Adams

I had an opportunity to chat with David Hollein, a man who has been campaigning to reopen the Zion Nuclear Power Plant for more than a dozen years. His efforts were the initial inspiration for Nancy Thorner, a lady who is working hard to convince Exelon to operate a nuclear plant in her hometown. David has been bending as many ears as he can find at Rotary Clubs, local community events, and inside local news rooms, trying to find anyone who will listen and take action to correct what he sees as a huge, wasteful injustice.

He has worked so hard for so long that he has become bitter and disappointed. His health is also failing – he is no longer able to walk due to a long and inevitably unsuccessful battle with MS. From personal experience, I know that feeling like you have failed can be debilitating and can lead to rants and writings that can be dismissed as coming from a kook, even when those works and words contain a lot of valuable information inside an emotional package.

David was a Pittsburg area native who earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and landed a job with Westinghouse in 1968. At that time, the US was building a dozen or more ships or submarines powered with nuclear reactors each year and there were several dozen commercial nuclear plants under construction. The industry was growing rapidly and Westinghouse was a proud, dominant American manufacturing company that was leading the entire world with a newly developed and powerful technology. The company and its subsidiaries employed about 28,000 people in David’s hometown – the Pittsburg area.

During his career with Westinghouse, David led a number of projects and became acquainted with some powerful people. At one point, he was in charge of Westinghouse’s Commonwealth Edison projects and had the lead for at least three two-unit power stations – including the one at Zion. He was intimately familiar with the quality of the plants’ construction and their first couple of decades of operation.

David also experienced the decline of Westinghouse’s nuclear business. He was with the company for 22 years, from 1968 – 1990. When David left his engineering job with Westinghouse to pursue a career in real estate, it had been almost 20 years since the last order had been placed for a new unit in the United States – though its overseas sales were still quite healthy.

Westinghouse had lost track of its industrial roots and started a program of diversification into media enterprises, defense, soda bottling operations and financial services. The company’s leadership had struggled for a decade in court with a lawsuits from its uranium customers and a countersuit against uranium suppliers. It was also being sued by customers who claimed that the company had not properly designed and built its steam generators.

The steam generator story is part of the Zion story because one factor in its initial shutdown was the fact that both units had four steam generators that had begun experiencing tube leaks and were deteriorating to the point of needing to be replaced. They had been in operation for about 25 years, but there were only 15 years remaining on the initial operating license. Replacing steam generators is not easy or cheap, so the company had to weigh the projected cost of a little less than half a billion dollars against the revenue that the plant could earn in its remaining operating life.

That decision was complicated from a financial perspective because the electrical power market in the mid to late 1990s was soft and well-supplied with power coming from burning really cheap natural gas. At that time, the going price for 1000 cubic feet of gas was less than $2.00. Nuclear plants receive no credit, no value and no love for the fact that they produce power without producing any pollution – natural gas had already been well marketed and branded as “the cleanest burning fossil fuel.”

When David moved into the Chicago area in the late 1990s, he learned that Commonwealth Edison had decided to permanently close the Zion units. Though he had not worked in the nuclear industry for a few years, he was pretty sure that the plants that he and his team built still had a lot of life left in them, so he began his vocal questioning of the decision process. No where else in the country is there an example of a large, completed, relatively modern, two unit pressurized water reactor that was shut down with so much potential operating life remaining. One of the slow-moving events that kept David focused on questioning the Zion decision was the inexorable rise in natural gas prices throughout the period from 1998-2008.

David discovered that there had been some non-public agreements about Zion’s steam generators between Commonwealth Edison and Westinghouse that settled the ongoing suits. He found out that some local political leaders had been invited to closed-door meetings about the plant’s fate and later swore that they would never reveal what had been discussed. He received a letter from Exelon that dismissed his inquiry with a cryptic sentence that stated that Northern Illinois did not need the power that the plants could produce.

As an engineer with a questioning attitude, David simply could not believe that he was being told the truth. He spoke to operators and managers with first-hand knowledge of the plant’s actual conditions and determined that there was nothing wrong that could not be fixed with a bit of money and elbow grease. The total investment required would almost certainly amount to far fewer resources per unit of power output than those necessary to build new wind turbines or continue to operate high pollution coal plants needing significant modifications to meet Clean Air Act standards.

David has received personal phone calls of encouragement from old friends who are still leaders within the electrical power industry, but those friends are reluctant to support his efforts in public. After all, there is an unwritten rule within the boardroom circuit – you do not question the already “settled” financial decisions of companies that provide a significant portion of your sales volume.

After my conversation with David, which admittedly rambled a bit from topic to topic, I promised him that I would try to tell his story. I also promised to find out as many answers as I could to the questions that have bothered him for so many years. Why does Exelon refuse to revisit its decision to close Zion in the light of a different market, a different understanding of the environmental impact of burning fossil fuel and a different political situation? Why won’t Exelon offer the plant for sale if it considers restoring it too much of a deviation from its current capital investment strategy? Why shouldn’t the customers who paid for the facility have a say in its future?

I have one more question that David has not really asked – why are American businessmen so focused on short-term money making instead of long term strength building? I saw a quote at the bottom of an article about the Chinese wind industry that I want to share. I hope it makes some people think about the importance of focusing on the long term good when you are in a position of responsibility.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government is intent on turning its wind energy industry into the global leader, helping manufacturers coordinate export strategies and providing various sorts of technical assistance.

Mr. Li, the overseer of the Chinese renewable energy industry, publicly exhorted the leaders of the nation’s biggest wind turbine makers at the China Wind Power conference, a three-day event that drew hundreds of executives from around the world.

“You cannot be called a winner if you are the leader for three or five years,” Mr. Li told the Chinese executives. “You can only stand on the top line if you are the leader for 100 or 200 years.”

The Chinese presidents sat quietly and respectfully, chins down. Senior executives from the foreign manufacturers — including Vestas, G.E. and Gamesa — sat alongside them, staring straight ahead in stony silence.

Why is it that American business and political leaders think that taking action now that will provide almost certain benefits in 10-20 years is too hard? It is a darn good thing that the parents of future doctors, concert pianists, Olympic athletes, and research engineers who are in elementary school today do not take such a short term view of the world.
Labels: Exelon, Zion

 

posted by Rod Adams at 6:37:00 AM

Comments (17) Previous Posts
Saturday, December 11, 2010

About six weeks ago, I wrote about Nancy Thorner’s relatively lonely effort to encourage Exelon, the largest owner/operator of nuclear power facilities in the United States, to operate a nuclear plant in her backyard. Nancy’s effort has a giant advantage over those of several other groups around the country who are trying to attract the investments and local jobs that nuclear energy facilities can bring along with their clean energy production. In Nancy’s case, the desired facility is already complete and tested – the Zion Nuclear Power Plant was built in the early 1970s. For 25 years, Zion operated at about the same level of reliability as all of the other nuclear plants in Commonwealth Edison Fleet, providing emission free, affordable electricity.

The big and immediate challenge for Nancy is that Exelon has already transferred the ownership of the Zion Nuclear Power Plant to a newly formed limited liability company called ZionSolutions, LLC whose sole purpose is to dismantle the plant and turn what is now a completed power plant into just a long term storage site for 25 years worth of used nuclear fuel. (The company is telling people that the site will be returned to a greenfield status, but that is not likely under our current methods of storing used nuclear fuel.)

In the six weeks since I published Nancy’s story, she has been quite busy. She has published a number of letters to the editor, talked to various activist and community groups and engaged in discussions with local politicians. Her persistence and reasoned arguments have captured the attention of Illinois State Senator Christopher Lauzen, who has decided to formally ask Mr. John Rowe, the CEO of Exelon, to provide his side of the story. So far, Exelon has not responded to that letter, which is dated November 24, 2010.

In addition to those efforts, Nancy has been participating in as many Internet discussions as she can find that relate to electricity production in her state and region. Like many atomic energy advocates that are concerned about the environment, she wonders about the disconnect between corporate rhetoric about future investments in unreliable power sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and corporate action to permanently eliminate a large, existing, and potentially reliable and affordable source of emission-free electricity. One example of her questioning attitude about corporate energy choices can be found at Wind Power Promoted, Even as Subsidies Dry Up and the World Nukes Up published by American Thinker.

Background

There were some “issues” that caused Commonwealth Edison to shut the plant down and then decide that it was “not economical” to start it back up again. However, all of the issues at Zion also existed in a number of other nuclear electricity production units at the same time. For number of reasons, Commonwealth Edison, and later Exelon, decided to focus their corporate resources on fixing the issues at other plants while keeping Zion in a “mothballed” state.

All sources that I have found indicate that the plant has been well cared for. Nancy Thorner has talked to many more people than I have, and she has told me that the people with direct, first-hand knowledge of the plant’s current condition agree – there is no technical reason why the plant could not be restored and operated for at least another couple of decades. Since its pressure vessel, the main component that may eventually limit the life of nuclear generating plants, has only 25 years worth of neutron exposure, the plant is quite young compared to many facilities in operation today.

Zion is a 2100 MWe facility that could be restored to operation with the investment of perhaps $2-4 billion – that is a wild guess based solely on scaling and inflating the numbers that the Tennessee Valley Authority has released about its recent restoration of a similarly aged and formerly mothballed plant at Browns Ferry.

The process of getting a license from the NRC for a plant whose owner has permanently ceased operations or construction has been tested – it is not easy or “cheap”, but then neither is owning or operating any nuclear energy facility in the US. There are reasons to suspect that Exelon’s decision to destroy Zion as soon as possible have something to do with a desire to limit supplies of electricity in order to maintain higher selling prices for the power that is produced at the other 17 nuclear heated electricity factories that it operates. Senator Lauzen wants Exelon to explain its decision process and share the assumptions and numbers used in the analysis.

Exelon’s market driven behavior is not uncommon or illegal in commodity industries, where concerns and actions to prevent the price destructive situation of “over capacity” are a major topic. However, this case is special. The United States needs all of the emission free electricity it can produce. In addition, the facility that Exelon wants to destroy was initially built under the old system of monopoly electricity suppliers.

Commonwealth Edison’s CUSTOMERS paid prices set by a regulator based on covering the utility company’s cost for building the facilities required to supply reliable electricity plus a guaranteed profit. The customers had no choice about paying – the only alternative available for them was doing without electricity. The balancing part of those protected monopoly agreements on the part of the profit-making utility company for this rather sweet deal was that they promised to make prudent decisions and undertook an obligation to serve their customers.

Though shutting down Zion instead of investing in needed repairs and work force improvements may have been prudent at the time it was made, a decision to permanently destroy the plant should be made with currently available information. That decision is not a purely commercial one, it should include the interests of not just the company, but the customers who bought the plants.

If Exelon does not want to invest the time or human resources required to complete what is admittedly a challenging restoration process, then it should explain why it has never even attempted to offer the plant to any of the other half dozen or so experienced nuclear plant owner operators in the United States. It is that part of the whole process that most clearly indicates that Exelon’s economic interest is not the same as the economic interest of the other involved stakeholders. Labels: ,

A test vote will happen this coming Monday, December 13, on the 74-page tax deal worked out between Democrat and Republican leadership.    Sixty votes are needed in the Senate for debate to begin.

This past Friday President Obama brought former President Bill Clinton into the White House to try to persuade wayward Democrat legislators to support the tax compromise.bill as the best deal Democrats could hope to get, where he upstaged Obama.  But are Democrats really satisfied?

Similar to what happened with Obamacare, much horse trading is going on behind the scenes to bring home recalcitrant Democrats.  Many Democrats, unhappy with the worked out deal between Republicans and President Obama, are rebelling noticeably about having the richest Americans avoid having their taxes hiked on January 1st.

As such, dissatisfied Democrats are being appeased by lobbyists who through extensive campaigning have succeeded in adding perks desired by hold-out senators to the compromise tax bill. There is this problem:  The added appeasement perks represent taxpayers money.  In many cases the perks are a waste of money.

According to Heritage Foundation, Senator Harry Reid added cash subsidies for wind and solar corporations — originally part of Obama’s first failed stimulus — to buy the votes of Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Barbara Boxer (D-C).   Another senator, Tom Harkin (D-IA) was able to trade his vote for more ethanol subsidies.  There are also perks for Hollywood studios, subsidies for energy-efficient appliances and mass-transit benefits for employees, among many others.

The compromised tax bill is starting to resemble a Christmas tree of goodies.  The perks are peripheral items and types of wasteful expenditures that add up to hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.

Weren’t Republicans elected in November to return our government back to the constitution, as well as getting it to practice fiscal austerity?  By adding these peripheral perks to a larger piece of legislation, and some are just a total waste of money, these perks assist government in picking the pockets of taxpayers.

In addition to all the Christmas tree perks being added to cater to Democrats, here are additional reasons presented by Heritage why Republicans should reject the tax compromise legislation:

1.  “The temporary two-year nature of the arrangement did not provide the long-term certainty that businesses need to make long-term investment plans that create substantial economic growth and jobs.

2.  Allowing the death tax to return, even at a lower rate, did not give small businesses the relief that a permanent repeal would provide.

3.  The original deal provided a costly $57 billion 13-month extension of unemployment benefits that was not paid for, now the Left is adding more spending subsidies into it.”

Unlike the Democrats, Republicans can most likely negotiate a better deal after the Lame Duck Session when the House swings to Republican control.  At that time the continuation of the the Bush tax cuts for all could be enacted retroactively.

Democrats realize that it is now or never to have unemployment compensation extended for a three-year period.  And to top it all off, paying people not to work, according to Democrats, will stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Didn’t conservatives across the country campaign on promises not to allow Democrats to raise taxes on anyone on January 1st?  This is a promise Republicans cannot afford to break to their base of support.

Please call Illinios Senators Kirk and Durbin immediately and object to the wasteful addendums.  Senator Kirk should be encouraged to push for a better deal.

By Nancy J. Thorner  –  Published at the American Thinker on Saturday, December 4th, 2010

 
The need to question wind power and its ability to meet future energy needs has taken on added importance, given the ongoing U.N. Climate Change Conference now taking place in Cancun, Mexico through December 10. 

Wind power has long been promoted as a viable form of clean energy in the U.S. and among world leaders. For unlike fossil fuels, wind does not emit CO2, classified as a greenhouse gas by the Obama administration EPA, even though CO2 is essential for plant life and life in general.
The issue of wind power will most likely not be outwardly discussed at the U.N. Cancun Conference, but it will remain as an undercurrent of thought throughout the conference as CO2 is vilified by participants as an agent of world destruction.
During opening talks at the Cancun Conference on Monday, November 29, the U.N. predictably called for action to avoid raising damage from floods, droughts, heat waves, and rising sea levels. 
According to Raajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists, “[d]elays in action would only lead to impacts which would be much larger and in all likelihood more severe than we have had to far.” 
Mexican President Felipe Calderón warned in a speech to fifteen thousand delegates, business leaders, activists, and journalists how “[i]t would be a tragedy if our inability to see beyond our personal interest, our group or national interests make us fail [to fight global warming].”
At last year’s fifteenth U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which ended in a deadlock, President Obama committed the U.S. to the nonbinding goal of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 17% of 2005 levels by 2020. This nation avoided what could only be catastrophic results when, during 2010, Obama failed to convince the U.S. Congress to pass his greenhouse gas emissions reduction scheme.   
States are not waiting to receive their instructions from Washington, D.C. Instead, mandates for wind power production are being legislated. County and community boards are likewise drawing up rules and regulations for wind turbines projects per state mandates.
In the state of Illinois, three years ago, the Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed legislation mandating that 25% of electricity must be produced from renewable energy by 2025, which adds up to 7,500 to 8,000 MW of renewable energy coming from wind. Why wind? Because solar power is four times as expensive as wind to produce.  
It’s ironic that these same Illinois legislators are unconcerned that Exelon Corporation’s CEO, John Rowe, has made the decision to decommission the Zion Nuclear Plant, a relatively young plant when shut down in 1998, with a potential to produce 2,100 megawatts of green, non-polluting, low-cost, and safe electricity, and which had years left to generate electricity through equipment replacements and upgrades.
Why is it that according to the 2009 Energy Information Agency Report on Electricity Generation, wind power provides only 70.8 billion kWh out of the U.S. total of 3.953 billion kWh at a time when wind power has been promoted by politicians and environmentalists, new construction of coal-fired plants face opposition, and no new nuclear plants have been allowed to proceed from the drawing board since the 1979 and Three-Mile Island? 
There have been plenty of published reports that discredit the use of wind power for wide-scale production of power. Nevertheless, wind and solar power are received favorably by the public due to the propaganda that has been spewed by the media, extreme environmentalists, and global warming alarmists.
But might wind and solar power be more aptly described as the flavors of the day
The First International Symposium on the Global Wind Industry and Adverse Health Effects, using the current state of knowledge, published these facts which contradict wind industry’s claims: “That sounds heard from wind turbines are no louder than whispers or a refrigeration; that they do not produce low-frequency sound; that people cannot detect infra sound; that wind turbine noise doesn’t go above annoyance; that wind turbine noise affects few people seriously; that wind development serves the public good; that wind development saves lives by closing coal-burning electricity plants; and that Wind Energy Development is a solution to the Need for Electricity.”
Additional drawbacks of wind turbines include the following:
  1. Wind power from turbines cannot be called up when needed during peak load periods, because wind power can’t be stored and depends on when the wind blows for its generation.
  2. Wind turbines experience wear and tear, must be maintained, and must eventually be replaced after twenty years. In comparison, nuclear plant licenses routinely are being extended another twenty years when plants are nearing their expected lifetime of forty years.
  3. Wind turbines are expensive to install for the small amount of energy they produce and the amount of money they save the user: A 2.4 KW small unit costs from $17,000 – $24,000 to install. Ten-KW wind turbines start at $70,000 to install. Most turbines are produced in China (green jobs?). (Information received from a personal inquiry into turbine costs.)
  4. The footprint per turbine is around 0.25 acres of land taken out of production, which does not include the five to ten turbine diameters of spacing required between wind turbines. 
  5. Because the cost of investing in wind turbine energy is high, the government (state and federal) must sweeten the pot for investors by awarding them substantial subsidies to construct wind facilities. But what will happen when generous government subsidies are withdrawn as incentives to develop wind facilities and farms? It’s already happening in other countries and even here in the United States, despite the state mandates on the books to drastically increase the use of wind power for electricity generation.
Until the American people open their eyes and realize that they have been hoodwinked into wasting taxpayer money on wind turbines that eventually will be toppled like the statue of Saddam Hussein, they and our nation will be the losers. 

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/12/wind_power_promoted_even_as_su.html at December 06, 2010 – 08:27:58 PM CST

Celebrations followed the approval of civil unions for gay couples by the Illinois Legislature (32-24) on Wednesday, December 1st, but are gay rights activists completely satisfied with this achievement?

Editorials in the Tribune, Sun-Times, Daily Herald and Lake County News-Sun shamefully reflected pride in the approval of civil unions here in Illinois.

Many gay activists are in sync with Mayor Daley who welcomed the Illinois General Assembly into this new century and urged lawmakers to move faster and  legalize gay marriage.   Daley also advised Governor Quinn to sign the civil union bill as quickly as possible.

Having lived in Illinois for close to forty years, and being familiar with its progressive political leanings, is not unreasonable to expect that marriage for gays will follow closely on the heels of civil unions, whereby the sanctity of marriage will be challenged.

Considered old fashioned by some because of my age, I am old enough to remember a time — and it wasn’t a time of innocence —  when the news media respected Christian values and beliefs as the foundation of a civil society before coarse behavior dominated the air waves, TV, and media publications to influence impressionable minds into embracing unacceptable and questionable behavior as the norm after having seen it blatantly played out all around them.

Many Illinoisans, young and old, resent being called intolerant when questioning the premise of gay marriage.  It is with regret that gays demand acceptance, yet tolerance is lacking among many gays in their understanding of how their life style conflicts with those who believe that biologically and Biblically men and women are supposed to be together.

Where such a noticeable division exists, a referendum should have been employed.  It should not fall to the General Assembly to decide what is best for the citizens of Illinois.

I was not surprised that my state Democrat representative, Karen May, voted yes to civil unions, but I thought my Democrat state senator, Susan Garrett, would do what was right and break from the almost party-line vote to approve civil unions.