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PostPosted: Nov 09, 2016 1:45 am 
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It appears that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. Let's talk about it.


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PostPosted: Nov 09, 2016 2:26 am 
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I believe this is a good thing for energy. The Republicans are at least not hostile to nuclear power, at least not to the extent of the Democrats. This could be a new nuclear renaissance. This is also a much more likely for a natural gas growth, which is also good for nuclear power since an abundance of inexpensive energy makes construction costs of a new nuclear plant lower. A pairing of natural gas turbine peaking power should marry well with nuclear power base load.

If we are going to see a nuclear renaissance gain some real foot hold then big things need to happen before Trump's first term is over. That means that power plants need to go from the drawing board to operating in four years. I believe it can happen if they make it priority. If they can't do it by then the next election can be about how nuclear power is expensive, takes too long to build, etc. We, as a nation, need to prove them all wrong and do so before the next POTUS election. So long as the rest of the Republicans can agree on that then it is possible.

Along with this the DOD could be building nuclear powered warships, not just carriers and submarines like they've done before, they need to have a new class of ships with nuclear power. Perhaps an amphibious assault ship. The more nuclear power projects they get going the harder it will be for some later elected official to kill it.

If our host allows and other wish to discuss it we could go into the other policies that are tangential to energy, such as international relations, or completely unrelated, like marijuana legalization as a possibility.

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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PostPosted: Nov 09, 2016 2:34 am 
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Even Huffington Post has Trump over 270 electoral votes now. Looks like a done deal.


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PostPosted: Nov 09, 2016 9:48 am 
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While it is possible that Trump, given his business background, may be swayed by big business like the fossil fuel industries and related industries, I tend to doubt it since it is not one of his hot-button issues. The most I see him doing for that group is freeing up some of the regulatory strangleholds placed by Obama.

It is more likely that Trump will act like the CEO that he is, and make various appointments of individuals that he has selected from a short list. He would then likely give them some type of "marching orders" and periodically follow up. Some possible "marching orders" pertinent to the forum:

1. Eliminate federal subsidies for wind/solar that are causing massive market distortions
2. or perhaps allow nuclear power to qualify for credits that wind/solar receive
3. clear out the regulatory mess(es) at NRC and/or DOE
4. substantial budget increases for supporting advanced non-LWR nuclear power
5. change the NRC funding scheme with its outrageous $/hr fees

This is of course highly optimistic, and is not a prediction, but within the realm of possibility.

Jim L.


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PostPosted: Nov 09, 2016 2:38 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Even Huffington Post has Trump over 270 electoral votes now. Looks like a done deal.

I see the AP reports 279 electoral votes for Trump now. There looks to be like enough of a margin of a win in large contested states like Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Ohio that no one will ask for a recount. Even the smaller states like Iowa and Wisconsin have a comfortable margin for Trump that a recount is unlikely. The popular vote may have gone to Clinton but only by a small margin, I expect another debate over the merits of the electoral college to come up again.

What concerns me is that the margin of votes in Michigan is small enough for Trump that this could drag on for a while if someone wants to fight this. If there's a dispute over the count in Michigan then expect someone to look at New Hampshire, that was a small margin for Clinton. I sure hope this is a done deal, not necessarily because I'm in favor of Trump winning but because I don't want another recount fight like what happened in 2000. That was a mess and we don't want anything like that again.

I took a look at the Republican platform document and I see that thorium energy gets a mention.
https://www.gop.com/platform/americas-n ... resources/
Quote:
We support the development of all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and hydropower. A federal judge has struck down the BLM’s rule on hydraulic fracturing and we support upholding this decision. We respect the states’ proven ability to regulate the use of hydraulic fracturing, methane emissions, and horizontal drilling, and we will end the Administration’s disregard of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act with respect to the long-term storage of nuclear waste. We encourage the cost-effective development of renewable energy sources — wind, solar, biomass, biofuel, geothermal, and tidal energy — by private capital. The United States is overwhelmingly dependent on China and other nations for rare earth and other hardrock minerals. These minerals are critical to advanced technology, renewable energy, and defense manufacturing. We support expediting the permitting process for mineral production on public lands. We support lifting restrictions to allow responsible development of nuclear energy, including research into alternative processes like thorium nuclear energy.


I encourage everyone to contact their elected representatives and ask them to support the development of thorium energy. I intend to do just that today.

A side note: I just heard on the radio that the Iowa General Assembly has flipped to Republican control. This is in addition to a Republican governor. This should mean good things for energy in Iowa, not just having oil and gas pipelines going through the state but also the continued operation of the nuclear reactor at Duane Arnold Energy Center.

I hate to have to mention political parties here but history has shown that Democrats are hostile to nuclear power and energy development generally except when it comes to unreliable sources like wind and solar. Republicans do seem to support nuclear power, if perhaps reluctant or lukewarm support, or at a minimum not openly hostile to it like the Democrats.

I know this may be pushing the bounds of the intent of this forum but I do believe that government policy on natural gas will be important. Natural gas is the energy we need for a smooth transition to nuclear power. Natural gas is needed for the production of steel and concrete for the construction of nuclear power plants. Cheap energy is vital to free up the capital for investment in nuclear power, and abundant natural gas can keep energy prices low. Natural gas can provide the peaking power for nuclear power base load as well as on site emergency power for a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power may be an excellent power source for electricity and industrial heat but for things like heating, cooking, and perhaps even vehicle fuel we can use our abundant domestic natural gas resources. I believe that the Republican party will not stand in the way of the future development of those resources like the Democrats have done in the past.

While you are contacting your elected representatives on nuclear power I ask that you also mention the need for supporting domestic natural gas production.

Again, this isn't about political party but about political policy. For better or worse we see a high correlation between policy and party. I'll support any party or parties that have good energy policy.

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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PostPosted: Nov 09, 2016 10:09 pm 
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How about a "why not both?" stance?

In the sense of natural gas and nuclear. The nuclear augmented combined cycle (NACC) design with FIRES thermal energy storage seems like an interesting bridge design to cover base+peak loads.

NACC ostensibly puts high temp reactor with a combined cycle gas turbine and Heat Recovery Steam Generator. The interesting point is that there is an intermediary fluid (air) between the salt coolant and the steam plant for tritium isolation assuming steam export to steam consumers. Gas turbine is effectively indirect fired/heated by nuclear heat from salt coolant, with makeup heat from burning natural gas when not enough. FIRES takes the indirect heat turbine and runs with the concept by using resistance heated firebrick in a thermal storage silo (resistance preheating the bricks using off-peak excess power for diurnal storage). High temp heat exchangers get more difficult past 700C so the nuclear coolant salt/compressed air heat exchanger is effectively preheating for FIRES, and the brick itself functions as its own heat exchanger at 1700C.

NACC+FIRES is mostly off the shelf (modified comustor on an otherwise conventional CCGT, married to any MSR with 700C heat, and a pressurized vessel full of firebrick) and gets both the natural gas/gas turbine community and the nuclear community into bed with each other.

Double up with coal gasification/CTL and/or GTL as heat/steam consumers to upgrade soft coal or sour gas to transportation fuels.


As for military, electric ships is probably inevitable so can a small MSR design double up for that or not?


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PostPosted: Nov 10, 2016 9:42 am 
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Asteroza wrote:
How about a "why not both?" stance?

I did not mean to imply otherwise.

Asteroza wrote:
In the sense of natural gas and nuclear. The nuclear augmented combined cycle (NACC) design with FIRES thermal energy storage seems like an interesting bridge design to cover base+peak loads.

That's far from what I was thinking of but sure, that works.

My point is that since nuclear power and natural gas are big targets right now we should remind our elected officials that not everyone is opposed to them. We will need both nuclear power and natural gas in the future for a strong economy. I mention natural gas only because it seems to me to be getting a lot of bad press lately. I'm only making suggestions, if you agree that's great, if not then I'd hope we can at least agree on the advocating thorium for energy part.

Asteroza wrote:
NACC+FIRES is mostly off the shelf (modified comustor on an otherwise conventional CCGT, married to any MSR with 700C heat, and a pressurized vessel full of firebrick) and gets both the natural gas/gas turbine community and the nuclear community into bed with each other.

Double up with coal gasification/CTL and/or GTL as heat/steam consumers to upgrade soft coal or sour gas to transportation fuels.

That works too. Nuclear power needs allies, if it is possible to turn competitors to customers then that is a double gain.

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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PostPosted: Nov 10, 2016 10:07 am 
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No one outside of the nuclear community would ever propose appending a nuclear power plant on a low-cost CCGT. It is utter foolishness, akin to when fusion researchers propose appending a fission reactor onto their worthless concepts.

Get ready for a US government where "climate change" no longer drives energy policy. It will be quite a shock for the cosseted Washington coterie who have grown fat and stupid the last eight years on this way of thinking. Meanwhile, out there in "flyover country", are the real people who mine and frack and burn the stuff that makes the real economy work. And now they'll have a champion in Washington.


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PostPosted: Nov 10, 2016 12:02 pm 
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Kirk, are you going to keep your forum open after November—the ten-year anniversary? I hope you do even if the subjects veer off from energy from thorium.

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Last edited by Tim Meyer on Nov 14, 2016 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Nov 10, 2016 12:24 pm 
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Kurt Sellner wrote:
I took a look at the Republican platform document and I see that thorium energy gets a mention.
https://www.gop.com/platform/americas-natural-resources/
Quote:
We support lifting restrictions to allow responsible development of nuclear energy, including research into alternative processes like thorium nuclear energy.

I encourage everyone to contact their elected representatives and ask them to support the development of thorium energy. I intend to do just that today.
Great post, Kurt! You can attest to my efforts so far to send letters to elected representatives for the same. I'm joining you to continue.

Who will be our energy secretary?

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"Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it."

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PostPosted: Nov 10, 2016 12:38 pm 
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Jim L. wrote:
Some possible "marching orders" pertinent to the forum:

1. Eliminate federal subsidies for wind/solar that are causing massive market distortions
2. or perhaps allow nuclear power to qualify for credits that wind/solar receive
3. clear out the regulatory mess(es) at NRC and/or DOE
4. substantial budget increases for supporting advanced non-LWR nuclear power
5. change the NRC funding scheme with its outrageous $/hr fees

This is of course highly optimistic, and is not a prediction, but within the realm of possibility.

Jim L.
Remain optimistic, Jim. I agree with your suggestion as to the likelihood of the cancellation of "renewable" subsidies. On your item 3, if the new congress can get done with H.R. 4797/S. 2795 (fixes your item 5), H.R. 4084, and other related nuclear and energy bills all of which have good bipartisan support, together with new bills that fix the REEs/thorium holdup and re-mission DOE (NRC), I bet President Trump will sign the group into law.

What I don't get is the value of thorium energy. As Kirk points out in his masters thesis at UT-Knoxville, thorium is worth thousands of trillions of dollars. What? To build Hoover Dam, the consortium borrowed against the future value of the energy of the Colorado River. Receipts paid it off in 1987. They immediately borrowed against the Colorado to upgrade the turbines.

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PostPosted: Nov 10, 2016 2:19 pm 
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I think the biggest change to the US energy landscape under President Trump will be what he doesn't do rather than what he does do.

He won't subsidize hundreds of billions of dollars of uncompetitive wind and solar energy generation through the renewal of the Production Tax Credit. The Republicans have agitated for years to let this terrible subsidy expire and the Democrats have always fought to keep the gravy going. With a President Trump, the Congressional Republicans can finally kill it once and for all.

Starved of their considerable subsidy, interest in pursuing new wind and solar installations will plummet essentially to zero. But there's still the existing installations and the fact that they will get the PTC for years to come. Even better would be an end to all existing applications of the PTC.

Killing the PTC will kill negative pricing, which is an utterly artificial outcome of the twin terrors of grid priority and the production tax credit. And killing negative pricing will be the best thing that ever happened to baseload power, because then they will make money steadily throughout the day without the stupid wind and solar coming in to steal revenues from them. And no baseload source will benefit more from that move than nuclear.

Trump will also finally shackle the EPA from implementing their "Clean Power Plan" in a way that is most detrimental to nuclear, essentially preventing existing nuclear from being considered part of a "clean power base" for each state. Right now nuclear power plants might as well be the dirtiest version of coal plants as far as the EPA keeps track.

The federal government should stop worrying about carbon and focus much more on air pollution and industrial safety. Hopefully under Trump they will leave the CO2 issue alone as the utter distraction that it is and work to accomplish more important things.


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PostPosted: Nov 10, 2016 9:40 pm 
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With negative pricing/PTC gone, does that shift the market to base+peakers only due to the current glut of cheap gas and cheap CCGT, and gut the various levels of energy storage (grid/town/home)?


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PostPosted: Nov 11, 2016 2:34 am 
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In reading and listening to news and opinion today I find out that as more votes are being counted there is an expectation that Trump will end up with more than 300 electoral votes and a majority in the popular vote. If it is true that Trump wins the popular vote then that should kill off some of the debate over using a popular vote instead of the electoral college. It should also kill off some of the claims of an "illegitimate" Trump presidency.

What I also saw was that people were protesting over Trump winning the election. This is just maddening to me. How is protesting supposed to help? Are we supposed to redo the election because a bunch of bullies and crybabies (crybullies?) don't like how it turned out? If anything I'd think the protests would only make it worse since I'd think if the election were held tomorrow, after these protests have happened, then more people would vote for Trump just to twist the knife in these bleeding heart liberals.

I did see an article on who Trump might bring in for positions like DOE, Interior, EPA, and so on but it was from September, I don't know how relevant that is now since people may have had a change of heart since then.

I do agree with Mr. Sorensen that the anthropogenic global warming alarmists are losing followers and that this will be reflected in government policy. The shrill cries of impending doom for decades and nothing coming of it does tend to change people's priorities. An economic "malaise", a seemingly perpetual state of war, terror attacks on the rise, immigrant crime, and so on will also shift people's priorities.

Where I might disagree with Mr. Sorensen is that ending PTC will end negative electricity pricing. It would be possible but highly improbable to happen, it'd take a "perfect storm" of events. We could see a small boom in growth of boiler type power, a combination of coal, natural gas, and nuclear, because of new government policy. Windmill output could also grow because of utilities buying "green" to satisfy customer demand. Combine this with a freak weather event to throw off demand predictions and we could see utility prices go negative. What would be different this time though is that the windmills could be instead of the source of the negatively priced power they'd be the sink. Ramping up and down a boiler is expensive and so there is an incentive to keep them running at a steady state. Windmills cannot start from wind power alone, they have powerful motors in the nacelles to get the blades up to speed so that the wind can catch them. Using those motors allow windmills to be used to sink power if needed.

I admit that my negative pricing scenario would be a rare event, as it is right now negative pricing is a rare event. What makes negative pricing notable now is that it is driven by poorly thought out government subsidy that drives up energy prices. My potential negative pricing scenario would be driven by an economy where government policy drives electricity prices down far enough that utilities will be "forced" by economics to at times give it away.

People have been told for decades now how we, as a society, need to "go green" and this has translated into all kinds of products and services to feed this demand for "green" products. This has gone so far that utilities now offer customers an option to pay more for their electricity so that their lights are powered by wind and solar. Even if the government stops taking money from people to give to wind power we could see people giving them money willingly. Could this be enough to drive prices negative at times? Again this is unlikely but I would not be surprised.

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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PostPosted: Nov 11, 2016 10:11 pm 
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Trump’s Tax Proposals Would Threaten Wind and Solar Investment

Quote:
Donald J. Trump’s proposal to spur the U.S. economy by slashing corporate taxes may put a damper on the rapidly growing clean-energy industry.


It's only "rapidly growing" because you're throwing disgusting amounts of public money at it. Take that away and watch how quickly it stops "rapidly growing"...

Quote:
Wind and solar companies depend heavily on financing from large banks, insurers and other backers that take advantage of federal credits through tax-equity financing -- they’re expected to provide developers with about $14.8 billion this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. If corporate rates fall, as Trump has pledged if he is elected Tuesday, investors will have less need for write-offs through tax-equity investments. With wind and solar projects expected to need $56.2 billion in capital during the next president’s first term, a slump in the tax-equity market may leave developers short. If corporations owe less to the government, “there will be less tax capacity to be taken up with tax equity,” said Keith Martin, a Washington-based attorney for law firm Chadbourne & Parke LLP who specializes in tax and project finance.


So basically if the government stops screwing companies in the tax department, they'll be able to stop doing stupid crap like building windfarms to try to harvest tax credits to defray all the screwing, is that right?

Honestly, I wonder if people who write articles like this shut off half their brains before they start composing.

Why Wall St. thinks renewables could be better off after tax credits expire

Yeah, it will be a lot easier to see which projects have any merit at all and which ones are just nothing more than government rent-seeking.


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