Jim Conca

The Coronavirus Pandemic And The Long-Term Energy Outlook

Jim Conca

Contrary to conventional wisdom, this pandemic may well result in a more prosperous America in a few years. A boom in telecommuting, a new growth in U.S. manufacturing, another surge to the suburbs, changes in mass transit, and a small baby boom will change our energy use and our society

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Nuclear Steps Up Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Jim Conca

As COVID-19 spreads, thenuclear field is stepping upwith a unique diagnostic technique calledRT-PCR, whichhelps detect and identify this coronavirus accurately within hours in humans, as well as animals that can host it.It can tell us a lot about exposure and transmission paths of the virus

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Nuclear Power Does Slow Climate Change

Jim Conca

Why are we trying to close nuclear plants that have been relicensed as safe for another 20 yrs? To save a penny to spend on renewables and say that helps climate change? As all climate scientists agree, prematurely closing nuclear plants is bad for the climate. And it doesn’t save any money at all

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Shows Dry Cask Storage Is Safe – Yet Again

Jim Conca

The NRC made a recommendation that there are no environmental impacts that would preclude it from issuing a license for Holtec's proposed SNF interim storage facility. Holtec would begin with 500 canisters holding over 9,500 tons of spent nuclear fuel at the proposed New Mexico site near Carlsbad

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Carbon Engineering - Taking CO2 Right Out Of The Air To Make Gasoline

Jim Conca

Extracting CO2 from air is the best way to reverse global warming without resorting to expensive technologies, convoluted tax schemes or preventing billions from getting sufficient energy. If you then make gasoline from it, then you’d kill two birds with one stone. That stone is Carbon Engineering

It's Really OK If Japan Dumps Radioactive Fukushima Water Into The Ocean

Jim Conca

Slowly releasing Fukushima tritium-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean is a very good idea. No other radioactive elements are in the water and tritium just isn’t very radioactive - it self-dilutes in water really quickly, even in our bodies, making it impossible to harm anyone or anything

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Bitter Cold Stops Coal But Nuclear Excels

Jim Conca

Through thick and thin, extreme hot or extreme cold, Bomb Cyclones and Polar Vortexes, this nuclear plant never seems to stop producing over 9 billion kWhs of energy every year, enough to power Seattle. The same with all other nuclear plants in America. Not so much with coal and gas

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The World Begins To Slowly Cooperate On New Nuclear Energy

Jim Conca

US and Canada entered into an agreement on nuclear power cooperation to collaborate on advancing new nuclear reactor designs, especially small modular reactors. This follows recent previous agreements with Canada, Japan, Russia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Poland, Argentina and Romania

Net Zero Natural Gas Plant -- The Game Changer

Jim Conca

An actual game changing technology is being demonstrated as we speak by Net Power. The Allam cycle involves burning gas with oxygen instead of air to generate electricity without emitting any CO2 or NOx. It also produces pipeline-ready CO2 and even water. At a cost below any other energy source

So You Think We're Reducing Fossil Fuel Use? Think Again.

Jim Conca

If you think we’re doing a good job of curbing fossil fuel use, you're mistaken. Oil production is exploding in America. Growth in coal in the developing world shows no sign of slowing, and gas has kicked into high gear most everywhere. Renewables are increasing slower. Nuclear and hydro are flat

Shutting Down All Of Japan’s Nuclear Plants After Fukushima Was A Bad Idea

Jim Conca

By now, more Japanese have died from the closing of Japan's nuclear power plants following the 2011 Tohoku quake than from the tsunami and the earthquake combined, which was about 20,000 people. But no one has died from any radiation released by the crippled reactors

Nuclear Power And The 2020 Presidential Candidates

Jim Conca

14 candidates support nuclear in some way, 9 do not, and 1 is unclear. Leading climate scientists say we can't address climate change without nuclear power. Supporting nuclear power is a clear signal about how serious a candidate is about climate change and how serious they are about science

How HBO Got It Wrong On Chernobyl

Jim Conca

I was hoping HBO would have the courage and integrity to do their homework about radiation and consult even 1 nuclear scientist or radiobiologists. Or even read the U.N. Chernobyl Forum Report. But nooo…they decided that talking to journalists, historians and antinuclear activists was much better

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Energy's Future - Battery and Storage Technologies

Jim Conca

Battery technologies have to catch up with other new low-C tech, and V-flow batteries may be the breakthrough we need. They are fully containerized, nonflammable, compact, reusable over semi-infinite cycles, discharge 100% of the stored energy and do not degrade for more than 20 years

Democrats’ Green New Deal Becomes The CLEAN Future Act

Jim Conca

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce released a climate plan to achieve net-zero GHG pollution by 2050. The CLEAN Future Act is a comprehensive proposal to address the climate crisis that doesn’t stipulate which energy sources or strategies qualify so isn’t pushing a renewables-only mix

ThorCon Advanced Nuclear Reactor -- More Than Worth Its Weight In Salt

Jim Conca

ThorCon is a nuclear reactor with molten salt fuel containing thorium+uranium that is walk-away-safe. ThorCon would be completely manufactured in 150 to 500 ton blocks in a shipyard, assembled and towed to a site, with order of magnitude improvements in productivity, quality control, and build time

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How 1,500 Nuclear-Powered Water Desalination Plants Could Save The World From Desertification

Jim Conca

Many plans have been hatched to bring more water to CA, but it’s better to build desalination plants. And even better to power them with small nuclear reactors. Thirty desal plants produces a billion gallons/day and would cost the same as a water pipeline stealing water from the Pacific Northwest

Nature On The Eve Of Destruction -- The UN Extinction Report

Jim Conca

Let’s face it. Nature is losing against humans. A new U.N. report shows one million species are close to extinction, threatening our own existence. And while it’s not too late to recover, we must start transformative changes, the type that the Nations of the world can’t seem to make on anything

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A Very Fast, Very Safe, Very SLIMM Nuclear Reactor

Jim Conca

The SLLIM is a liquid sodium nuclear fast reactor that generates 10 to 100 MW for many years, even decades, without refueling. It can’t meltdown, can operate without water, is factory fabricated and shipped to the construction site where it is installed below ground in a seismic-resistant cocoon

How Will The Coronavirus Affect Energy Use In America?

Jim Conca

Recessions lower energy use, and this one may be a whopper. energy use breaks down as Industrial (32%), Transportation(29%), Commercial(18%) and Residential(20%), the first three being heavily affected by this pandemic, losing up to 15 quadrillion BTU, ~$400 billion, in just 3 months

America’s Nuclear Navy Still The Masters Of Nuclear Power

Jim Conca

America’s Nuclear Navy is one of the oldest and largest nuclear organizations in the world, and has the world’s best safety record of any industry of any kind. There are over a hundred nuclear reactors, which are actually small modular reactors, that power 86 submarines and aircraft carriers

The Iran Nuclear Deal And The Killing Of Soleimani

Jim Conca

The assassination of Soleimani is just the latest escalation in hostilities with Iran since President Trump scuttled the Iran Nuclear Deal. Even if things de-escalate, we seem to be back to the drawing board with few prospectsfor convincing Iran not to develop an atomic bomb

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The Uber Of Solar

Jim Conca

One small solar company in Washington State decided to approach the problematic business model of the solar industry by building a decentralizedservice platform in the otherwise centralized and old fashioned construction market - think the Uber of Solar

Which Industry Offers The Safest Jobs In America: Nuclear Or Logging?

Jim Conca

The most dangerous job in America is logging, with over 132 fatal injury per 100,000 workers. The safest job in America is the commercial nuclear industry, with less than 1 fatal injury per 100,000 workers. This huge difference results from a hyper-awareness of safety in the nuclear industry

Oil & Gas Leaks Crocodile Tears Over Nuclear Waste Storage

Jim Conca

The obvious path forward for spent nuclear fuel is to put it all into dry cask storage at a single centralized storage facility. Two companies, Holtec and Waste Control Specialists, are vying for such a site but some local Oil & Gas companies are pushing back with fear

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Marco Rubio Knows America's Future Depends On Rare Elements

Jim Conca

Rare elements like neodymium, niobium and cerium are critical to every aspect of our modern society from smart phones to electric cars. But China has a strangle-hold on the industry, so we need legislation to level the playing field like Marco Rubio’s Rare Earth Coop 21st Century Manufacturing Act

Deep Borehole Nuclear Waste Disposal Just Got A Whole Lot More Likely

Jim Conca

Deep Isolation announced partnering with nuclear giant Bechtel to bring their technology for nuclear waste disposal to fruition. It uses fracking to put nuclear waste in two-mile-long tunnels, a mile below the Earth’s surface, where they’ll be surrounded by a very tight rock called shale

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World Water Week -- Can We Provide Everyone With Clean Water?

Jim Conca

4 billion people live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least one month of the year. We struggle to put programs in place to solve this problem, so NGOs and private companies, like PepsiCo, are essential, but we need so much more

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Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant Shuts Down After 40 Years

Jim Conca

Three Mile Island Nuclear Station shut down after generating over 240 billion kWhs over 40 years because the state refused to provide a penny/kWh subsidy, less than half of what renewables get in subsidies, even though renewables generate a fraction of the low-C electricity that nuclear does

The Feds Try Yet Again To Sell Off BPA And TVA

Jim Conca

The 2021 budget aims to sell off assets like BPA in the Northwest and TVA in the Southeast, two not-for-profit, self-funded government agencies that provide the cheapest most reliable power in America. Privatizing them would be a huge mistake, although it might make a few new American billionaires

As Ohio Decides To Save Its Nuclear Plants, Big Oil Is Displeased

Jim Conca

Ohio passed legislation to create subsidies to avoid the early shutdown of the state’s two nuclear power reactors. Which is good since nuclear generates over 90% of the state’s clean energy, its 600 MW of wind notwithstanding. But it also helps coal die more slowly and hurts renewables just a littl

How Does Everyone Feel About Climate Change?

Jim Conca

Countries in Europe and the U.S. agree climate change is happening, but don’t really believe it will dramatically impact their lives. The rest of the world feels the opposite, especially in the East and Middle East. Of course, these latter countries are the least able to deal with those changes

Why Closing Ohio's Nuke Plants Will End Up Killing More Ohioans

Jim Conca

Debate continues to rage in the Ohio Legislature over legislation that would help nuclear plants continue to produce low-carbon electricity, while also supporting renewables. But failure to enact Bill 6 would also lead to more deaths as coal and gas would be replacing the nuclear power

Natural Gas And Renewables Will Rule America’s Electricity Future

Jim Conca

As much as wind and solar are increasing, natural gas is increasing more. And gas will continue to grow faster than all other sources in the United States for some time. By mid-century, gas should exceed 50% of our generation, with renewables in second at over 25

Russian Uranium One Deal And Hillary Clinton In The News Again

Jim Conca

Senator Chuck Grassley (R- IA) wants to resurrect the sale of Uranium One to Russia that occurred under Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State, and thinks something fishy is going on with the FBI and one of their former contractors. But this deal never was much of a scandal

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Mining The Ocean Bottom – Is This A Bad Idea?

Jim Conca

Mining manganese nodules on the ocean floor is a great source of rare metals, but even though you don’t generate toxic mine tailings like on land, there are certainly some major downsides, like killing millions of square miles of organisms if you’re not careful, some we don't even know exist yet

How Well Is The Nuclear Industry Protected From Cyber Threats?

Jim Conca

Nuclear reactors are operational islands almost wholly disconnected from the Internet, so hackers can’t affect a nuclear power plant operations or safety systems – from the outside. However, there are many ways an inside hostile actor could insert malware into the isolated systems

Fake News And Nuclear Weapons Don’t Play Well Together In The South China Sea

Jim Conca

A story flooded the internet last month about a nuclear explosion in the South China Sea. Of course, it was nonsense. But this “silly fiction” did catch Putin’s Russia, the King of Fake News, off-guard

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Nuclear Power Always Ready For Extreme Weather

Jim Conca

As more Polar Vortices, Bomb Cyclones and massive hurricanes pummel America, nuclear plants keep putting out max power when other sources can’t. Last month, the Pacific Northwest’s onlynuclear plantwas ordered to keep the heat during record cold and snow because wind and gas couldn’t keep up

Nuclear Power - Where's The Uranium Coming From?

Jim Conca

Mostly from Canada and Australia. The bottom line is that there’s lots and lots of U in the world, and more keeps being discovered. U resources increased about 25% over the last decade, which has kept prices low. As long as we don’t go to war with Canada, we should be OK for a long time to come