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New System Quantifies US Fossil Fuel CO2 Emissions in High Space and Time Resolution

New analysis by Purdue researchers of greenhouse gases shows that the emissions are greater in the southeastern United States than was previously thought. The amount of red represents the increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from previous estimates, and the blue represents a reduction in atmospheric CO2. Click to enlarge. Credit: Kevin Gurney

A high-resolution, interactive map of US carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels produced by a new analytic system has revealed that the actual geographic intensity of CO2 emissions is quite different than perceived by many. Researchers have been attributing too many emissions to the northeastern US, for example, while the new maps and system indicate that the southeastern US is a much larger source than estimated previously.

The maps and system, called Vulcan, show CO2 emissions at more than 100 times more detail than was previously available. Until now, data on CO2 emissions were reported, in the best cases, monthly at the level of an entire state. The Vulcan model examines CO2 emissions at local levels on an hourly basis.

Researchers say the maps also are more accurate than previous data because they are based on greenhouse gas emissions instead of estimates based on population in areas of the United States.

This map shows where CO2 is being emitted in the continental United States in 10-kilometer grids and combines data from sources including factories, automobiles on highways and power plants. The map offers more than 100 times the detail of previous inventories of carbon dioxide. The image displays metric tons of carbon per year per grid in a logarithmic base-10 scale. Click to enlarge. Credit: Kevin Gurney

To create the Vulcan maps, the research team developed a method to extract the CO2 information by transforming data on local air pollution, such as carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide emissions, which are tracked by the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Energy and other governmental agencies.

The increased detail and accuracy of Vulcan will help lawmakers create policies to reduce CO2 emissions while also increasing scientists’ understanding of the sources and fate of carbon dioxide, researchers say.

Before now the only thing policy-makers could do was take a big blunt tool and bang the US economy with it. Now we have more quantifiable information about what is happening in neighborhoods, on roads and in industrial areas, and track the CO2 by the hour. This offers policy-makers something akin to a scalpel instead.

—Kevin Gurney, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric science at Purdue University and leader of the project

Gurney says the inventory system quantifies all of the CO2 that results from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline. It also tracks the hourly outputs at the level of factories, power plants, roadways, neighborhoods and commercial districts.

A preliminary analysis of the Vulcan data suggests that previous maps of US fossil fuel emissions were inadequate for current scientific and policy-making needs, Gurney says.

When you compare the old inventories to Vulcan, the new data show atmospheric CO2 differences that are as large as five parts per million in some US regions in the late winter. The levels in the global atmosphere only rise one and a half part per million every year, so this is the equivalent of three years of global emissions in the atmosphere that isn’t where we thought it was. This will be important for policy-makers and is enormous from a scientific point of view. It’s shocking.

—Kevin Gurney

Gurney says this change isn’t only due to people moving to the southeast, but also because of the approximations of previous estimates.

The three-year project, which was funded by NASA and the US Department of Energy under the North American Carbon Program, involved researchers from Purdue University, Colorado State University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

To extract the CO2 information from the data on other pollutants, research scientists in the Office of Information Technology at Purdue developed a computational system to apply Gurney’s methods to existing information.

Once the data was converted to determine the CO2 emissions, it was combined with geographic information systems (GIS) data to layer the emissions onto roads and other infrastructure at the Earth’s surface. The current emissions are based on information from 2002, but the Vulcan system will soon expand to more recent years.

Vulcan is expected to complement NASA’s planned December 2008 launch of the Orbital Carbon Observatory satellite, which will measure the concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Vulcan data is available to download from the Web site at Smaller summary data sets that offer a slice of the data and are easier to download also are available for non-scientists on the Vulcan Web site. These can be broken down into emission categories, such as industrial, residential, transportation, power producers, by fuel type, and are available by state, county, or cells as small as six miles (10 kilometers) across.

A video of the maps and simulations of the atmospheric fate of fossil fuel CO2 also can be viewed on YouTube at

The animation was created by Bedrich Benes, assistant professor of computer graphics technology and a research scientist in Purdue’s Envision Center for Data Perceptualization, and computer science graduate student Nathan Andrysco. The animation required a year to produce, and the rendering of the animation required nine hours to produce the 2,000 images that make up the 60-second video.


Rafael Seidl

Using carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide as proxies for CO2 is risky because advances in combustion technology and especially, in exhaust gas aftertreatment, will render the link increasingly tenuous over time.

What you need is a system that measures CO2 directly, at least to recalibrate the Vulcan approach on a regular basis.


Looks like we'll be able to keep up the fight against global cooling for some time to come.

"America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America energy independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America’s Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC’s short squeeze on oil supply and making Iranian and Venezuelan threats of disrupted supply irrelevant."


Referring to a chart of inferred concentrations as 'actual' is less than accurate.


Using carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide as proxies for CO2 is risky because advances in combustion technology and especially, in exhaust gas aftertreatment, will render the link increasingly tenuous over time. -- RS

Also on light levels and temperature (I'm pretty sure you mean "nitrogen oxides". Nitrous oxide has a very long lifetime -- >200 yrs -- and would be a poor proxy for CO2). Hopefully the new OCO satellite will help.

America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America energy independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. -- ESabre

The Bakken Formation has been known for nearly 60 years, it has been ignored because the permeabilities are very very low and it takes a lot of money and energy to get anything out of it. When people talk about tapping the Bakken shale, even with "new" technology like horizontal drilling (which isn't that new) -- you know they're desperate. EROEIs and the URR/OOIP are likely to be low and it definitely won't be cheap.


You notice the concentration over cities. The EPA will not allow states to regulate CO2 emissions, but if you notice, most are over big cities. I hope the recent action by states will get the EPA to take action soon.

stas peterson


This detailed map of small changes of CO2 has a confirming signal to the ongoing studies begun more than 10 years ago produced by the researchers at Princeton's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory referenced here.

This has been the scientific basis for my repeated assertion that the great polluter, the USA is nothing such. In fact North America, despite the CO2 contribution by the western industrialized countries of Canada and the United States, is the great world sink of CO2. If genuine accounting, as opposed to the artificial and incorrect, GHG accounting that is used.

The wind blowing in from the Pacific has a higher CO2 content than the air blowing out to sea into the Atlantic as the prevailing winds and weather are usually West to East.

The worldwide Princeton's scientific studies show that North America removes more CO2 than the rest of the Planet, and dwarf the CO2 absorption of the mighty Amazon rain forest.

It is somewhat surprising that the South East is a net contributor to CO2, but please note the elevated CO2 blowing in from the equatorial western, Pacific, over Mexico, and into the Southeastern US.

It is clear however that the industrial heartland of the USA ACTUALLY CLEANS the air of CO2. On net, the US and Canada could declare victory on GHGs if the accounting were true. As it is presently accounted, natural reforestation doesn't count. Unless you "officially" plant a tree, as a registered GHG emiliorator, like Mr.
Gore does, sequestering CO2 via growing a tree, doesn't "officially" exist, and therefor doesn't count.

You can't prepare valid programs on remediation, if you don't get valid information. And the proponents of AGW doom, won't let the valid data be visible.

stas peterson

If you inspect the contribution to CO2 from human industry as shown in another false color diagram, it is also revealing. The Southeastern USA incorporates only a minority of the US population and human pollution generators.

From whence does the CO2 arise in the other diagrams? It would seem to be from source other than Man.

I wonder whether it is affected by the CO2 annjual respiration cycle of the Southeastern forests. At certain portions of the year, forests are actively generating growth, and respiration produces lots of net Oxygen. At other portions of the year, forests go dormant, and are net CO2 generators. Could this be a partial answer to this paradox of observed CO2 from the SE?


Stan (or is it Stas?)- you really amaze me more each time you post irrelevant and non-sensical gibberish.

You clearly don't understand the Carbon Cycle at all.

It is hilarious that you think trade winds are blowing CO2 into the USA and that you ignore the fact that the US is the largest emitter of CO2 from fossil fuels and that the US National GHG inventory specifically accounts for land use changes (ie the changes in carbon sinks). Given that we aren't creating new carbon sinks, and instead are increasing the release of fossil based carbon that was not originally part of the carbon cycle, then we are increasing CO2.
You might be right that North America is the largest carbon sink on the planet (although NA is probably the 2nd largest continent so it isn't a big leap to make that conclusion at all), but that is irrelevant if we are emitting more CO2 than can be stored in that sink, which is exactly what we are doing.

Also, Climate Change is a GLOBAL issue, so the USA as the largest consumer of fossil fuels (largest releaser of stored carbon that was not part of the carbon cycle) should be doing the most to reduce its impact on climate change. The key to this issue is not what sinks already existed, but the exponential increase in fossil fuel use and in land use change around the world(primarily de-forestation and agricultural soil emissions). While the USA may not be de-foresting much anymore, it is responsible for the largest share of fossil fuels consumed and is therefore responsible for the largest share of the increase in fossil carbon release (until China overtakes it soon).


Hi js...Chinese carbon dioxide emissions passed the U.S. in 2006.

Karl-Uwe Strunzen

there's an instrument called Sciamachy aboard the European satellite Envisat as well as GOME aboard METOP which measure CO2 directly:


The Bakken is accessible now because coil on tube drilling can reach 10000 feet now, and COT drilling is 4 times cheaper than standard rig drilling, as well as the fact the COT drilling can go horizontal from a very shallow depth if needed owing to the flexibility inherent to the coiled tube riser pipe. Any price over $25 a barrel makes it a worth while, at $100 vertical grid drilling with hydro-fracture is even economical. $100 makes all kinds of unconventional plays economical this is an axiom of the reserve / resource curve. As price goes up known resources become exploitable reserves and as such are added to the total reserve calculations. At $100 a barrel 250 BILLION barrels are accessible in the Bakken. The USGS will release the official report later this month BTW.

stas peterson


I hope you posted before you actually read the scientific references. Please read the scientific papers. I urge that you refrain from speaking rhetoric.

A noted politician once said "...It isn't that our good liberal friends are just ignorant. It just that so much of what they think they know, is just plain wrong..."

stas peterson

If the graph is indeed valid,

then the Southeastern portion of the US is a "red" area to be specifically addressed to reduce overall CO2 emissions. Certainly intelligent policy would not be directed at the "blue" areas already cleansing the air of CO2, over the industrial Midwest and the Bos-Wash East Coast.

Fortunately 28 of the 34 nuclear plants in the pipeline to be built before 2020, aggregating to 45 Gigawatts or more, will open in the Southeastern USA.

That change will increase overall US electrical generation of CO2-free power from 27 to 40% nationwide. I amd sure that it would also result in a doubling of clean power generation for the Southeast, although I do not have power figures broken down by regional area.

This is an example of an intelligent targeted solution for a targeted area. It would represent applying a specific solution to the area where the need is greatest.

stas peterson


As far as I know the GFDL at Princeton is still compiling their figures. I concur fully, why use proxies when genuine scientific data is available? That was the point of the information reference that I posted to you about a week ago.

Here is another set of of actual data as opposed to the Vostok proxy data usually used instead.


Stan Peterson

Your argument is pure bullshit (like always) : CO2 is a global pollutant, on overwhole the concentration of CO2 is increasing, means the final balance is positive, and US is the number one first emitter (together with china now) so US should the firtt to take action to reduce CO2 emissions, period. The fact that there is more trees in US than in other country to counterbalance it is totaly irrelevant, because if we follow your reasonning, Oregon should do nothing and Arizona should do all the job right ? plus I doubt that US more a CO2 sink than the boreal forest which cover mainly Canada an Russia.



The table does not represent a forecast of actual plant constructions...have not publicly committed to the final selection of nuclear power for future construction.

In the 70's to the 80's more than 120 reactors orders were ultimately cancelled. In the 60's, the Atomic Energy Commission believed that more than a 1000 reactors would be operating by 2000.

The mere mention that a utility might be looking at a nuclear option does not equate to the end result of a reactor. The DOE is heavily subsidizing the application of COLs. The US government is heavily promoting the production of only around 6 reactors with tax breaks and construction overrun protection. Some utilities will be competiting to get this. Others are probably prepping just in case. Others for when their licenses for their reactors reach their end. These ones will not spend their money to iron out any potential kinks.

It is completely speculative to make the jump from the names on the chart, even those that have COLs, to actual financing and building reactors.

Finally I would point out that the blue is not a negative CO2 production. It is the difference between the readings using their method and a different one circa 1998. Maybe you should read the scientific papers before posting your rhetoric. It is obvious that you haven't.


It takes quite an enormous ego to say that an entire scientific community is clueless. The IPCC was just a massive literature review. It had to be signed off by Russia, China, the U.S., and the Saudis. Not one of those four countries would have signed off on it if there was any chance it didn't represent the best available science.

Then again climate scientists are just doing it for the money, right? Ignoring of course the wads at stake for the oil, gas, coal, etc. industries. The oil industry alone makes more than the GDP of Belgium. The whole bunch of underfunded climate scientists are just in it for the money.


@ Stan, in reference to

This study in no way validates your scientific claim that NAm is an overall sink of carbon. What the study is about is the quantification of where the increase in carbon produced between 1988-1992 went to. Whether it was terrestrial or oceanic sinks and where. It did not imply in any form that NAm is an overall negative sink for the total amounts it produces. It did not talk about how much of a carbon sink NAm is. It did not talk about what the overall CO2 production was or it's sources.

Between 1990 and 2006, the US increased the CO2 output from 6146.7 to 7075.8 with a high of 7181.4 million metric tonnes in 2005. Looking at the NAm temperate uptake of 1.2 Pg from the stanford study (and saying that the sinks remained approximately the same)and the US increase of about 1 Pg reduces the uptake of NAm to within the variance where the uptake could easily be wiped out.

Some things to take into account would be increased CO2 fertilization (which would increase takeup) but also the fact that the figure is for NAm temperate uptake which would include large parts of Canada and parts of Mexico (which skews the numbers by increasing the area that is taking up CO2).

No one is saying that NAm isn't a sink of carbon. There are many sinks. Worldwide CO2 levels show definite yearly cycles as the season change. That carbon is being taken out is not in question, but the overall trend is upwards and with the US generating around 20% of the CO2, it is almost certainly not an overall sink. The upward CO2 trend has lasted far longer than the industrialization of India and China has been occuring. It is also of note that this study you are basing you presesnt view of NAm and the US in particular is a decade old. It's validity as a foundation for your arguement of present day conditions is therefore suspect even if the interpretation was correct, which I don't believe it was.

stas peterson

I did and do read the original scientific papers. As a scientifically trained professional, I do not need a noveau-religion televangelist, to interpret for me what the real Science says.

You are quite correct that the pipeline of Nukes does not necessarily mean they will be built.

However, the pipeline for new nuclear generation is up from zero in only two years. That pipeline was empty for two decades.

The Utilities are very painfully aware that hundreds of early, primitive nuclear plants were cancelled in the 70s and 80s, thereby forcing the continued operation of very dirty coal plants, instead.

As a principled and knowledgeable critic of such fission plants, I knew and accepted the consequences.

Until the deficiencies in design, construction standards, and fail-to-destruction testing were completed, it was necessary to undertake that principled nuclear fission opposition.

I'm sure that many a chanting mob actually thought they were improving the environment by opposing nuclear electric facilities. I(we), knew better. The environment would be dirtier, while those polluting facilities continued to operate, instead. It is now well past time to finally shut down those polluting, over-aged coal generation facilities, that were forced to keep running.

It is possible for the utilities to spend the money on nuclear generation, because the laws have been thoroughly reformed. They are also almost being forced to do so because the ancient plants, old even in the 70s, are literally falling apart, today. And the designs of the nuclear facilities are tremendously improved, as is the environment to build them.

No longer can a plant by delayed in perpetuity and the Utility driven into bankruptcy, by legal obstructionism that we utilized. No longer is the AEC both cheer leading champion and regulator of nuclear safety. A proven independent and tough Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose only mission is safety, is working to protect safe operations; and to monitor appropriate construction standards are followed, for the nuclear facility fleet.

A $5 Billion dollar plant has been built, and actually tested to destruction, to ascertain the validity of the then hypothetical and then untested safety systems. And the safety mechanisms in the destroyed plant passed the test.

The test pointed out flaws in the operator control of the fail-to-destruction test plant, and served also to calibrate the operation of the safety equipment.

The problems with operator control and need to prevent forced errors, under time pressure, have been addressed. Reactor control rooms have been thoroughly redesigned. "Passive operation" and "Passive Safety" has been emphasized.

The plants in the pipeline can be totally unattended for as long as 72 hours, as set by the NRC, and will passively shut themselves down without human intervention and without requiring any active operating equipment, such as powered pumps or valves dependent on electricity.

The new designs are designed to burn MOX as well, unlike present reactors, and will de-nuclearize the world of about 12,000 or more excess nuclear weapons surplussed by treaty after the Cold War. Doing so, will also reduce the amount of waste originally planned to go to Yucca Mountain by about 90%.

It makes Yucca Repository, planned with a capacity of 70,000 tons, able to absorb all the US waste in existence and all the world's waste without need for another site for the next couple hundred years, too.

It assures a fuel supply for a thousand years, too. "Actinide Burning" has been researched to transmute the smaller amounts of segregated waste into isotopes with radioactivity lasting but a few hundred instead of thousands of years, too.
So the waste problem has been a) addressed, b) solved, and may even be c) improved further.

Apollo type "man-rating" of systems reliability, safety and and triply redundant systems, was applied to the nuclear facilities as well as moon rockets. The NRC set reactor safety levels at the occurrence of one serious accident in 10**5 (hundred thousand) years. All the certified "standard designs" exceed this with measured safety ratings of one serious reactor accident in only every 10**7 (ten million) years.

The earlier plants had no such forced and measurable criterion for their safety considerations, or comprehensive assesment of no single or dual, point-of-failure.

The reformed laws now approve a combined construction and operating license procedure for "standardized designs". Once issued, before a single item of consntruction is begun, the Plant wil be built and begin operation. The only grounds for stoppage is blantant, fraudulent failure to follow cosntruction standards as monitored by the NRC.

The NRC devotes a much more intense scrutiny of these "standard designs". Once certified by the NRC after several hundred man years of scrutiny by the NRC, legal obstructionism is outlawed. With that bankrupting uncertainty gone, the utilities can order a fixed price plant, to operate and generate electricity by a date certain. All they ever wanted. The builders will now accept such fixed price, fixed time, contracts, which was impossible to do before.

That was not the case with the first and second generation nuclear facilities cancelled in such numbers in the 70s and 80s. Those early Nukes and these Nukes are like comparing apples and oranges. This Nuclear plant critic, a charter member of the Union of
Concerned Scientists, is now convinced. These GEN III+ LWR plants are now safe to use.

It is not as if the Utilities incur no cost in the plants in the current pipeline. To get to where they are already, they have spent millions or tens of millions of dollars already, developing demand forecasts, obtaining Utility and Commission hearings and approvals, selecting sites, and obtaining EIS approvals. These pipe-lined plants represent serious Utilities management decisions, and concurrence by Utility Commission judgements. These are serious efforts, and not some whimsical desire, easily changed. Therefore, I'd wager that most or all the pipe-lined Nukes will be built.

stas peterson


I did not rely on the Vulcan CO2 proxies versus the previous (estimated) CO2 proxies of 1998.

I compared them to the actual CO2, not proxy, measurements and confirmed the CO2 readings peer-reviewed and published, starting in 1996, and subsequently by the Princeton University GFDL researchers.

I said so.

I will passover your suggestion, in the heat of righteous indignation, that North America is the biggest continent. You and I both know better.

I asked elsewhere waht would happen if Netherlands or Iceland were to meet the Kyoto targets, and they might. By tough actions, they might well meet Kyoto targets, before 2012.

Would they still be hectored? Especially, when others having never taken these tough actions, were still able to do so, in response to the next Kyoto, the tough things that Iceland or Netherlands had already done?

In short, if you did your part, would you be penalized for it? Can you ever be let off the hectoring hook? Or would your only reward be even tougher demands, when others have taken no actions at all?

Recall that the US is the best big nation with the most accomplishements in reducing CO2 to 1990 Kyoto objectives, around 7%growth over 1990, versus about 21% growth over 1990, for the EU, even as US GDP enormously outgrew the EU. This accomplishment measured by even the warped and non-accurate, "official" GHG accounting standards.

If a suburbanite plants a tree, or a farmer lets his woodlot grow, or Weyerhauser plants thousands of acres of trees, but none registered with the "official" GHG accountants, their actions don't officially exist. Meanwhile Algore regsitered and plants one tree,and it counts. N-O-N-S-E-N-C-E.

The US has more wilderness and park land set aside, than the entire area of the original 13 colonies that started the United States. This is an astounding but true fact. It seasy to prove and do so for your own edification.

That is a lot of land use set-asides, that the filthy capitalist destroyers have chosen to forgo, exploiting. And a lot of CO2 sequestration that doesn't "officially" exist, (but does show up in these measurements).



you spout your rhetoric like the televangelist which you would ascribe to others. You have no idea of my academic background, education or whatever. I like my privacy. I'd like to think that my responses, reasoning and knowledge speak for themselves, just as yours does of your character.

20 lines on how a nuclear power plant works. I'm so impressed...not. It does not in any fashion change the fact that even to the EIA or to the nuclear association that at the present stage, there is no guarantee that the reactors will be built at all. Your fanatical devotion to the idea that they will be built shows a huge lapse in judgement and unreason by declaring fanatically that they will be built. The only reason, you believe in it so it must be true. And I, who question it, must be dealt with as any unbeliever.

Again, right from the latest document on the status of nuclear reactors.

The table does not represent a forecast of actual plant constructions...have not publicly committed to the final selection of nuclear power for future construction.

How much plainer does it have to be? You can't equate the names on the list to any definite future construction. Your 20 lines of technological ramblings on how reactor design has changed is a red herring that doesn't change it. You cannot say that they will definitely be made. Period. So stop declaring numbers like its a fact. It isn't.

As for the rush of orders. Considering the huge incentive programs of the nuclear 2010 program and others, they have more of an impact in recent years. The new licensing procedure has existed since 89 and enshrined in the energy act of 92. The AP600 has been certified since 1999. The ABWR for longer. No orders were put in and in 2002, the government, desperate to try to get something going just pours in the bucks and the incentives. The DOE pays for a large part of the licensing. On old sites, utilities already have done a large part of the work. How much of a write off do the utilites get just for attempting licensing? The government incentives are for a limited number of reactors. If/when these limited numbers get built, then comes the evaluation whether others are worth it. Your fanatical belief in it and declaration of how many is totally premature. As for the assumption that they invested so much and have to build, that's totally untrue. The 120 reactors planned for and worked on in the 70's had more expensive & intensive procedures to go through. They haven't been built.

We've had this arguement before. I more than kept up with it and you. I'm more than willing to do it again.

For someone who says he reads the original scientific reports, you totally messed up on your posts about this one. You let your bias' interprete the information and you jumped the gun. Worst thing is not that you made a mistake. The worst thing is you can't admit to making one. Totally unscientific and unreasoning.

You totally misinterpreted the diagram as a negative CO2 occurance. It fits your bias so completely, you didn't read the caption. You didn't even question that day 331 would occur in November. Way past what growing plants would remove in CO2. Trained scientifically. Maybe. But you still have an ego and you hate to be contradicted and you think you're absolutely right in your views irrespective to everyone and anything else.

PS. MOX fuel is already being used. The program started out in 1987. 500 tonnes of russian HEU will result in 15000 tonnes of LEU which will last around 20 years. As of October 2004, 226 tonnes of high-enriched uranium had become 6,648 tonnes of low-enriched uranium for reactor fuel already. It has already been tested and used in regular LWRs and PHWRs. It is being carefully used as to not upset the Uranium market. It doesn't and never has required a new reactor type to use this MOX fuel. To declare it either means that your are not as informed as you think or you are trying to BS people. All reactors have a breeding ratios. By the time the fuel rods leave a reactor core they are mostly "burning" plutonium already. There is nothing special about MOX fuel.

As for the 5 billion for a plant to test to destruction. Nothing to my knowledge has existed. Actually state the place and year and the info for this type III+ reactor. I'd like to see it.

Stan, I really don't care what your past is or what you've done or frankly what organizations you belong to. I doubt very much you are/were a charter member of the Union of Concerned scientists. You don't espouse many of their main beliefs. But that is beside the point. Your reasoning and what you say is full of holes. Every time you say something it has half truths like the MOX thing. Frankly I don't trust your reasoning or your facts. I know enough to see somethings not right. In your ramblings, I see a lot of somethings not right.

stas peterson


I certainly did concede that the plants in the pipeline, might not be built.

I specifically said so. Did I not?

Then I listed the reasons why that was unlikely to be the case. The 1989 reforms were not sufficient, they were only a good beginning, on what was needed. The 2001 and 2005 Energy Acts filled in most of the other necessary pieces of the puzzle.

As evidence, I offer that even though the NRC approved some small or early "standard designs" as you correctly identify in your post, (AP-600 and ABWR), there was little market acceptance, by Utilities. But with the signing of the 2005 Act, completing the puzzle, the situation changed. The impending building boom started right after the 2005 Acts signing into law.

Subsidization applies to the first few plants, to encourage some Utility to withstand the inevitable criticism, and possible construction delay, by being "first".

There are now 8 new reactor proposals that have spent millions and reached the state of formal, docketed, COLs being sought. Not even all 8 will receive those first few subsidies. As for the other 26 proposed facilities, they are out of luck regarding those subsidies of which you speak. Why are they still applying?

Reprocessing was not allowed in the US, in order to "set a good example" for not inducing nuclear proliferation, by law. The reality is that no commercial power reactor has ever been used as the source of fissile weapons fuel by any of the nuclear weapons nations.

This "feel good" but accomplish nothing symbology, complicated nuclear waste disposal, enormously. It increased the amounts of waste, by over 90%. The "once through" policy also called into question the total potential supply of nuclear fuel. It might be measured only in hundreds of years of inexpensive supply. Versus thousands of years, otherwise. It raised the question of need for fast breeders that I will ALWAYS oppose.

No nation save the US, indulged in such rank "feel good-ism". The US in the Energy Act of 2005, is legally prepared to join them, and abandon its prior policy. Hence my comments about the effect on waste, and the now over-sized Yucca Mountain.

Only Framatome, (Areva) reactors were specifically optimized to burn MOX fuel. Certainly, the 60s - 70s US nuclear LWR fleet, CAN burn MOX; but were NOT designed nor optimized to do so. They make operational, power generation, and safety concessions, in order to operate in that mode. I'm sure you know that.

Even if in the future, some rogue caudillo manages to create a weapon or two, from commercial fuel, it does not compare to the the benefit to be gained by eliminating, once and forever, ten of thousands of actual nuclear weapons. Thank you for providing additional details. We all want them gone.

Both Patrick Moore, I and other environmentalists, agree we need to build some nuclear weapon incinerators. Such a course is GOOD for the environment, to eliminate them.

I myself, would also support creating a trans-national Reprocessing organization for the UN. I might include an Actinide Burning charter, and even include Yucca Mountain and other similar sites as well. It would provide a source of UN funds, and constrain misappropriation of spent fuel.

Turning to other subjects.

One of the fundamental criticisms that we nuclear fission critics had back in the '70s, was that the safety systems for LOCA were never actually tested. (Nor calibrated. but WASH-100 did that.)

But no one wanted to spend $5 billion building a facility only to destroy it on purpose. There are other valid reasons why reasonable people were reluctant to spend that massive amount of money. Cost aside, the primary one is if the test failed, a large area of land might become radioactively contaminated, for a long time.

Not as bad as setting off a nuclear bomb, like in Nagasaki, or Hiroshima, but still ugly.

So paper designs were the result. The (paper) designs were certainly reasonable. And represented appropriate engineering standards, and SHOULD work. But the safety studies were theoretical paper studies only, even so. Critics such as myself, said that was not good enough.

Well somebody did build a plant and the operators did absolutely everything wrong. They caused a core exposure, a partial core melt, and destroyed the plant. And the safety systems did in fact work, in spite of it all. No wide spread radioactivity was emitted. It did reveal un-anticipated problems though. That the Operators were overwhelmed with conflicting alarms and the pressure to do something.

It may have been inadvertant, but it was the "test-to-destruction" and in did reveal the pluses, (the safety systems worked) and the hidden minuses (the Operators were overwhelmed), that we critics feared. It couldn't even be criticized for being artificial, in the sense that it was a planned test and everyone was ready for it to occur. Nor could a "realistic" test plan have been prepared that resulted in such stupid actions. No one would believe such a proposed test plan as being realistic.

There was no large radioactive leak, and no one died. The "test-to-destruction" site is well known to you. And the location of the test is in the United States.

The site is called Three Mile Island.

The reservations by the engineers who did not want to conduct such a genuine test-to-destruction, because of possible contamination, were proved valid too. Such a failure did occur. It is a place called Chernobyl and environs, in the independent country of Ukraine.

I do not impugn your motives, sir. Why impugn mine?

Consciously impugning, I do not hesitate to say that the UCS has removed virtually all its remaining engineers and scientists, from positions of authority or policy making. The UCS was taken over, to provide a fine fund-raising based lifestyle for a coterie of lawyers and publicity fund raising persons. That is my opinion.

A gentleman who is argueably doing more to bring actual Electrification of Ground Transport into existance into the world, than probably any other individual concurs. He has said words to the effect "...I don't know what that organization is, but concerned scientists or engineers they are not.."

I suppose you would impugn the motives of Patrick Moore, more accomplished than I, in his critiques of GreenPeace. That organization, which he founded, has likewise been taken over by a similar collection of legal and publicity fund-raising interested persons.

Like the UCS leadership, he and I do impugn their motives. By their actions, do we judge them. We attribute this to the evidence of what they choose to attack, support, and not attack. They appear to be more concerned with keeping the funds coming, presumably to support their cushy lifestyles, than real environmental concerns.


Patrick Moore maybe was from Greanpeace in the beginning but his overall contribution to that organization, he has completely overstated to sell his present services to anyone. Founded? Not really.

I've seen an interview with him on TVO, a public tv station. They maybe online. His elaboration on his nuclear stance was revealing in that it was full of holes. Either deliberate misinterpretation or misrepresenting. It did not improve my view of him. If you saw it, I doubt that you would be so ready to use his name in this circumstance.

For the 26 or whatever still going for it. They are all different companies with different resources to rely on and different objectives. Just because a company may have a COL doesn't mean that they will get the financing and other resources in line for one of the subsidy openings which are for built reactors.

Calling nuclear accidents, tests is stretching things. It's an interesting exercise in controlling media presentation but that's all it is. Don't try to market spin it. Calling it a test is misleading. A test is controlled, what happened wasn't.

Nuclear fuel reprossing, wasn't abandoned because it set a good example. It was abandoned because the market price of U dropped like a rock. It was tried in a limited trial basis in the US. Totally abandoned because of it's cost. The lowest I've seen an economical model now, is a commodity price in the high $130's from a Princeton study, and that's the lowest one in the various studies. It was abandoned long before the Carter formalization of abandonment, although it makes a good copy.

As for calling the design of the next generation optimizing MOX usage? In what way? Optimization is so general a term. As I have stated, by the end of the fuel cycle, what's burned is mostly Pu anyway. In the Candu, I know that that changing the enrichment requires a change in the core configuration but I've never heard of a needed top down change.

UCS does make money by espousing their ideas. But they would make far more by espousing the industry line as
has Patrick Moore has done insteading of bucking with their present ideals. I've seen, heard and read Patrick Moore a others of his "side" and I've checked out things. I've done the same with the other side. I find the other, mainstream side's arguements less influenced by the present system and far more cognizant and reasonable.


This is the method that goes back to the ancient Greeks. Discussion based on logic and reason, not emotional ranting. There must be a name for the condition that believes that one can change things just by ranting and distorting. I do not know what that name is, but our so called President seems to have that disease. It is based on the warped notion that "it is so, because I say it is so". Truly nuts.

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