Comments by Charles Barton Subscribe

On Were the Japanese Engineers Who Built Fukushima Incompetent?

Ed, an alternative would a simple carbon tax which would rise every year.  The carbon tax would be paid at the purchas of carbon fuel.  It should be made possible to recover the carbon tax at the time of purchase of carbon control technology.  Thua if onw purchas a reactor to replace a coal fired power plant, the entire amount of the tax, up to the full value of the reactor should be recoverable at the time f the retirement of the coal fired power plant. 

August 1, 2011    View Comment    

On Were the Japanese Engineers Who Built Fukushima Incompetent?

Paul, I have been arguing since I started examining the energy question, that it is highly desirable to identify all energy related costs, whether or not those costs are reflected by energy markets, and seek ways of lowering them.  My preference for nuclear over solar and wind is based on the fact that nuclear is dispatchble, and nuclear power will cost a whole lot less than dispatchable solar or wind.  Having decided that Nuclear is the lowest cost dispatchable energy alternative, i then set out to find ways to lower the cost of nuclear power and heat.  I have made numerous forward looking suffestions on lowering nuclear costs.  Trying to estimate future costs is highly problematic, thus what I look for is not a number figure, but suggestions that if we do x, we are likely to increase or lower costs.  Thus I have paid careful attention to materials and labor inputs into future energy related construction and manufacturing projects. 

August 1, 2011    View Comment    

On Were the Japanese Engineers Who Built Fukushima Incompetent?

So Ed we should just ignore the cost of treating fossil fuel related health problems?  We should not attempt to place a monitary value on the human suffering which butning fossil fuels cause.  We should not consider the lives of people who die from fossil fuel related causes to be of any economic value? 

August 1, 2011    View Comment    

On Were the Japanese Engineers Who Built Fukushima Incompetent?

Ed We can calculate the Carbon cost of fossil fueles by calculating the health related costs of burning fossil fuels.  For example we know that living near a coal fired power plant adversly effects both health and the lifespan of people.  We can calculate the health related costs, and place some value of theshortened lives.  Secondly we know that farmers near coal power plants suffer  crop losses due to coal related acid rain.  Forrest are also damaged.  Natural Gas contains radon, a radioactive gas.  Using radon in the home exposes residents to ionizing radiation.   As many as 10,000 people may die every year from causes related to radon in natural gas, again we can calculate the costs by placing a value on human lives.   We can also include the lives of people injured and killed in coal mining accidents, in coal transportation accidents, and in gas pipeline accidents, and other natural gas related accidents. 

August 1, 2011    View Comment    

On Wind Energy is Expensive

Stephen, Saying "your analysis is wrong" does not demonstrate errors in the analysis, that requires identification of demonstrably incorrect statements of facts, and/or errors in logic.   

July 26, 2011    View Comment    

On Heat, Public Health, And Air Conditioning

Nathan yjank you for pointing this information out.  Unfortunately wind advocates seldom point out the problems.  In East Tennessee, the wind capacity factor for August, a peak demand month, is less than .10.   

July 21, 2011    View Comment    

On Meat: Bad For You, Bad For The Climate

Mark, it is definately open to question whether a red meat diet is sustainable.  Cattle are a major source of atmospheric methane, a greenhouse gas.

July 19, 2011    View Comment    

On Nuclear Industry Must Be Transparent on Uranium Mining, Carbon Output Before New Plants

Thorium.  In order to build enough windmills to give the people of Earth electricity at night, we would have to mine an awful lot of rare earths.  When you mine rare earths you mine a lot of thorium as well.  Thorium is radioactive and has a half life of 14 billion years.  The NRC says that thorium has to be treated as if it is nuclear waste.  You can either treat thorium as nuclear fuel and dispose of it in reactors, after which 80% of the fission products will no longer be radio active in 300 years, or you will have a huge nuclear waste disposal problem.  In thew long run we don't need uranium at all.  We will be mining rare earths whether or not we build windmills.  We need rare earths in the electric motors of electric powered vehicles.

July 19, 2011    View Comment    

On “Green Nukes” An Important Climate Change Mitigation Tool

Rod, In fact many Thorium advocates also favor short rum uranium fueled MSRS, because they can be brought on line more quickly and at a lower cost than LFTRs.  It is now clear that there will be plenty of U-235 at least in the near term.  And the MSRs can be built more cheaply than the huff and puffers.  The U-235 MSRs can eitherbe powered by super critical steam or super critical CO2, and will problably come in with an efficiency some where between 40% and 50%.

July 5, 2011    View Comment    

On Nuclear Industry Subsidies Part III: The Military Connection

Tim, the military-industrial complex is the economy?  You need to justify that statement.  As for hearing about the nuclear lifecycle, I have written extensively about it, and have reviewed the role that technology and fuel choices play in the lifecycle as well as the role that innovation can play. You should read what I have written before you judge it. 

July 2, 2011    View Comment    

On Do We Need Energy Subsidies?

Marc, ever since the facultyy of Glasgow University, including Adam Smith, subsidized the energy research of James Watt, energy related Industries have received subsidies.   In some cases the subsidies were politically motivated, in others in others they were motivated by "national security" or "the general well being." 

The Latter two justifications might well suggest that there are some valid reasons for subsidizing industries.  In the case of energy, the notion that some energy forms may require replacement in the near future, may justify subsidies if "the market," is not offering substitutes at a pace that will bring about the replacement within the required time frame, subsidies may be justified to increase the pase of desired transformations. 

Another justification might be found in risk.  Potential risk, may inhibit industrial development of new technology, even if those risks are for the public benefit. Risk taking may be seen as bad financial policy by private enterprises, especially if the risk taking does not bring rewards in a relatively brief period of time.  The society, as a whole may benefit long term from risks taken on new technology, but those long term public benefits may not be enough to justify the business risk. 

June 25, 2011    View Comment    

On Oversimplifying A Complex Topic - Measuring The "Sustainability" Of Renewable Energy

Carl, I have some complaints that are strictly about style issues, and some about substance.  In addition, I have complaints about your referencing of authority.  First, your methos of linking sources to your text definately could be improved.  You tend to link each word to a seperate text.  Frequently you offer a phrrase, each word of which is linked to a different source.  This is confusing, to say the least, because some times the links lead to a definition or explanation, and some times the links lead to data.  You overwealm your readers and then express suprise that they did not catch on to the links that provided real data. 

I have a second major complaint, that is the use of a paper by Amory Lovins which you appear to treat as authoritative.  I have posted numerous critical posts on Mr. Lovins, but the most important of which is one titled, Amory Lovins Discredited.  My reason for describing Amory Lovins as discredited, is that David Bradish had published a six part critique of Amory Lovins work, in which Bradish documented numerous flaws and mistakes in Lovins work.  Lovens undertook to respond to Bradish's critique, but some what less than half way through the debate, Lovins dropped out.  In his last comment before he Dropped out of the Debate, Lovins promised to finish responding to Bradish.  Lovins failure to respond to Bradish is a serious laps in scientific professionalism, and his failure to respond to other serious and distinguished scientists critics marks him as no scientist.

I concluded my account of Lovins failure to respond to cogent criticism with this observation:

"This has been a very long post and I am by no means finished with my account of Amory Lovins failure to answer his critics. I will review other criticisms of Lovins in a future post and then offer some thoughts on Lovins reputation as an innovative thinker, and his motives for ignoring his critics. There can, however, be no doubt that Lovins, by his refusal to respond to numerous critics, and his failure to provide promised responses, has damaged his credibility."


June 14, 2011    View Comment