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Earth Power

The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins? 268

Lasrick writes: Mark Cooper with one of the best explanations of some of the most pressing details on the new EPA rule change: 'The claims and counterclaims about EPA's proposed carbon pollution standards have filled the air: It will boost nuclear. It will expand renewables. It promotes energy efficiency. It will kill coal. It changes everything. It accomplishes almost nothing.' Cooper notes that although it's clear that coal is the big loser in the rule change, the rule itself doesn't really pick winners in terms of offering sweet deals for any particular technology; however, it seems that nuclear is also a loser in this formulation, because 'Assuming that states generally adhere to the prime directive of public utility resource acquisition—choosing the lowest-cost approach—the proposed rule will not alter the dismal prospects of nuclear power...' Nuclear power does seem to be struggling with economic burdens and a reluctance from taxpayers to pay continuing subsides in areas such as storage and cleanup. It seems that nuclear is another loser in the new EPA rule change.
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The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins?

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  • by Langalf ( 557561 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @06:11PM (#47285275)

    I think you can be sure no matter how this plays out, power is going to be more expensive. In addition, if the coal-fired plants are removed from the equation before replacement sources of power are in place, there will be power shortages.

  • Oy You! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @06:22PM (#47285355)

    Nuclear reactors stand and fall mostly on their own, what the government does is determine if you can open one. Because of our dear presidents own stance, we will not be opening new nuclear plants until he's gone. Nuclear is the cheapest per megawatt power source we currently have. Renewable are nice, but they cannot provide base load, they take a far longer payback time period than nuclear, they continue to advance(meaning the new stuff will be out dated before it pays for itself), they are only usable in certain areas, etc. You want to tell me that the government screwing nuclear power by making reprocessing illegal is a subsidy? If they were allowed to reprocess then the amount of nuclear waste would drop dramatically, costs would drop further, we wouldn't have such a shortage of medical isotopes, etc. The problem is that nuclear power has been demonized and made to seem useless. You think that if nuclear couldn't compete it would be the heart of all of the most effective warships on the planet, the reasons it isn't used in satellites are mostly treaties and laws, the other is mass and heat dissipation from higher power plants. Hell, nuclear is the most viable option to reduce environmental impacts in a manner which preserves quality of life, requires minimal governmental interference, and does not require that researchers create regular miracles just to keep society working.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @07:28PM (#47285747)

    The rule change doesn't help (or hurt) nuclear power and so therefore nuclear power loses? That's an interesting line of reasoning. I suppose FIFA, dirigibles, and panda bears are also losers in this rule change too, then.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @07:38PM (#47285805)

    If you ignore external costs, yes.

    Those "external costs" are unproven and in fact highly questionable. You don't get to just assume they are there, any more than others may assume they're not. Prove the case if you want us to take you seriously.

    Many economists have said that even if those external costs are all true, that's still not the real question here. The real question is: how much will mitigation cost in proportion to how much good it does, and versus how much harm it causes. Because make no mistake: there will be harm.

    If electricity will be priced below market equilibrium, yes.

    "Market"??? Either you're a fool or you think we are. This isn't "market". This is government fiat. It would remove any remaining pretense of free market.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:02PM (#47285983)

    Do you have some reason to believe that anything happening in Australia could possibly have any affect on global anything?

    Yes. The countries that actually matter (China and India) use the inaction of rich countries as an excuse for their own inaction. So Australia needs to set an example, along with the rest of the rich world. Also, solutions developed by scientists in rich countries can be applied in poor countries too. Nothing has done more to reduce CO2 emissions than the American development of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which is now being applied around the world to replace coal with gas.

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:06PM (#47286367)

    The countries that actually matter (China and India) use the inaction of rich countries as an excuse for their own inaction.

    Unless, of course, they'll use the "action" of rich countries to take advantage of and ruthlessly surpass them. I think "setting an example" here is economic suicide for whoever does it. Anthropogenic global warming simply has not been shown to be urgent or dire enough to where this sort of demonstration is necessary.

    And in the absence of that urgency, China and India have no reason to go along with the game aside from getting economic opponents to commit to crippling positions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:27PM (#47286443)

    Your source for an economic study is CSU Fullerton? You do understand that each state has a governmental electricity commission that authorizes prices. Call it what you want but it's already government Fiat and with half the country forced to shutdown their primary source of electricity you can imagine how this will punish everyone, especially the poor, as I've mentored previously.

  • by niftymitch ( 1625721 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:37PM (#47286487)

    Winner..... China

    The actions of the EPA are unilateral and do not address the
    global issue set. Worse they make it harder for US companies to
    react even at the glacial slow rated that global climate change
    implies. Because they are regulatory and not legislative the entire
    foundation of the EPA must be demolished, both good and bad, to
    address problems. The EPA has no constituency to be accountable
    to. The EPA could well be infiltrated by foreign agents.... we
    are learning abut the subtle NSA plans that corrupted some of
    the encryption standards... foreign agents which include corporate
    agents cannot be dismissed out of hand.

    The corporate agents like some international terrorist organizations
    are dispersed, work against a global plan and have no national
    allegiance. Some are concerned about the reach of Chinese companies
    into Africa and to many it appears that the wealth of African resources
    is highly coveted by many. The agents from China seem to be much
    better organized toward the economic goals of China than the Peace Core
    and 100 other US funded plans.

    Perhaps this is a good thing.... especially in the light of Walmart's reach.
    So who is watching Walmart....?

  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:38PM (#47286901) Homepage Journal


    So you're OKAY with coal plants just chucking tons of radioactive crap into the air ON A DAILY BASIS. Stuff that's going to KEEP on being radioactive in the environment for thousands of years.

    But because there's some infinitesimally off chance that in a planet-shattering catastrophe, a little bit of material that'll decay in a few years gets into the environment that we just SHOULD NEVER?

    So, you live in a cave right? These huts and house things are just frickin' unproven technology and they'll never catch on. Right?

    And we should just revert to a hunter-gatherer society because this centralized food production thing just is SO iffy!

    And cars, planes and trains man! We need to WALK everywhere! Better exercise! We could crash in one! We could crash someplace and spill a bit of gas/oil/etc on the ground and have NO WAY to EVER clean it up!

    Sorry, but the whole "Just one mistake" crowd needs to grow the hell up and stop expecting to be coddled. The argument is a childish cop-out that forswears any and all progress in the falacious pursuit of "perfect safety". Dude, you're living on a ball of rock, water and gas with in a 10 minute travel time of a giant fusion reactor. Get your perspective here.

    And we're talking about a molten salt reactor. NOT a typical solid fuel reactor. With cooling, there IS no mistake to be made. It's a 100% PASSIVE system, The plug in the reactor melts if the system gets too hot. Gravity then takes over and dumps the molten salt into a dump tank to cool off.

    Or are you saying that gravity and precise temperature control of a plug so that it does NOT melt are suddenly going to stop being constants.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Saturday June 21, 2014 @05:08AM (#47287541) Homepage Journal

    the truth is use of fossil fuel has increased human lifespan, health, and driven civilization forward, far outweighing the downsides.

    False dichotomy. Had we fully understood the consequences of so much fossil fuel use from the start we could have developed cleaner alternatives early on, and still had all of the benefits.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson