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Road Map for Pres. Obama : Preparing for the future energy economy is the quickest way out of the global financial crisis – low carbon, hydrogen, nuclear and breeder economy

June 29th, 2010 Posted in cost of nuclear power

Road Map for Pres. Obama : Preparing for the future energy economy is the quickest way out of the global financial crisis - low carbon, hydrogen, nuclear and breeder economy

It seems that the stimulus package is not working for the USA.  A simple analysis reveals that it will never work because it is simply perpetuating and delaying the economic correction in the US which the Asian countries have done during the 1996 Asian Financial Crisis – they allowed big corporations to fail and recapitalize on their own accord, with government undertaking painful but necessary economic and fiscal reforms, and government leading the private sector in the right direction of energy efficiency (green homes and green buildings, smart grids, advanced and optimized manufacturing and logistics, optimal load dispatch, higher transport mileage, hybrid and electric vehicles), renewable energy (biomass, mini-hydro, wind, solar, ocean thermal energy conversion or OTEC), alternative fuels (biodiesel, bioethanol) and clean energy technologies (clean coal CFB, IGCC).

All of these initiatives, if undertaken on a global scale, will lead to sustainable development that mitigates global warming and climate change risks.  And sustainable development will always lead to greater customer confidence in the future, leading to willingness on the citizenry to spend their money in new and energy efficient technologies – the necessary ingredients for long-term economic growth.

This is what the US Pres. Obama and the US Congress should provide leadership so that the whole world will follow in unison towards a common goal of eradicating permanently global poverty through sustainable economic development.  Conserving expensive fossil fuels to prolong its economic lifetime while the world gradually shifts to a low-carbon economy is the heart of this paradigm shift. 

This article will explain how it can be done.  Please read on and give me your comments and suggestions, and if possible, email it to US Pres. Obama and the members of the US Congress.

The world’s ever growing population requires that massive energy and power projects be developed to keep pace with the socio-economic needs of the more technologically advanced offsprings of civilization.

Mankind has never seen before the exponential growth of energy demand as technological innovations lead to a more wired and electrically dependent society.

So the current scenario of a high carbon energy diet has raised alarm bells  throughout the world and this is being relentlessly being pursued by no less than former US President Al Gore and the new “Inconvenient Truth”.

Yes, there is a need to re-think how we could achieve a low carbon economy and this could be achieved in the near future through aggressive renewable energy (RE) development with feed-in tariff (FiT) and renewable portfolio standards (RPS).

Experts have predicted that the world is evolving now from the current scenario of high carbon economy driven mainly by fossil fuels (crude oil, petroleum products, coal, natural gas and LNG) with a sprinkling of large hydro, pumped hydro and geothermal energy.

With fossil energy reserves dwindling and expected lifetimes (proven reserves divided by extraction or consumption rate) fast approaching (oil in 50-60 years, natural gas and LNG in 60-70 years, coal in 250 years), the world will shift to cheap coal using clean coal technologies (CFB, IGCC) as a transition fuel while the world gradually shifts to renewable energy in the form of stored hydrogen.

Stored hydrogen (H2) will naturally come from water (H2O) using the process of electrolysis using off-peak renewable energy (solar, wind, pumped hydro) to produce both hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2).

During peak hours, the hydrogen fuel will feed advanced fuel cells to produce clean energy and power with water (H2O) as a clean by-product.  Simply just like the manned space vehicles to the moon that uses solar PV panels to breakdown water to produce hydrogen to power fuel cells and produce water again in an endless loop. [Some of my clients on solar PV and wind models have used them for the off-peak production of electricity in remote areas such as isolated military bases.]

After the hydrogen economy, there will be a rebirth and renaissance of nuclear energy with a very low carbon footprint.  By that time, issues of nuclear power plant safety, storage of highly radio-active fuels would have been solved, as it is now adequately addressed by highly developed countries (France is 70% nuclear, South Korea is 30% nuclear, US, UK, Russia, China, Taiwan).

But it is also fully understood that just like the fossil fuels, the resource for traditional uranium ore is finite and the nuclear industry will definitely be short-lived if it does not go eventually into breeder nuclear reactors that produce more spent fuels than what it consumed, thus in the process extending the live of know uranium reserves by over a thousand years, or around ten (10) human lifetimes from today.

In this regard, I am happy to share with you what Malaysia is doing in this regard to keep the nuclear power option available by 2021 to its people and economy.  It needs to conserve its export fossil fuels (oil, natural gas) to keep its economy going by way of nuclear power generation.

Here is the article that will surely make the hearts of Filipinos and other developing countries cry for lack of foresight of our current leadership and the lack of a balanced perspective of its citizens who detest nuclear power because it is “nuclear”.

—————————————————————————-

From: Mobeir@aol.com <Mobeir@aol.com>
Subject: Malaysia/Korea/Nuclear Power
To: ggbeir@aol.com
Date: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 4:22 AM

 
The following report from the June 18 issue of EIR was submitted by Mohd Daniel Davis, a first year physics student in a  Malaysian university, the son of Mohd Peter Davis, a regular contributor to EIR. Daniel had attended an extraordinary ten-day seminar in Kuala Lumpur presented by Malaysian and Korean nuclear experts to promising young Malaysians, aiming to launch the necessary educational component in preparation for a nuclear Renaissance. You’ll see that the effort was quite successful, and that similar projects are needed in every developing nation on Earth.   Mike Billington

Malaysia’s Young ‘Nuclear Ambassadors’
by Mohd Daniel Davis
June 4—Like an old general addressing his army before
an important battle, Prof. Noramly Muslim, father of
Malaysia’s 1970s civilian nuclear power program that
has never been enacted, gave us a crystal-clear mission.
“Malaysia hopes to have nuclear power by 2021.
You are now our ambassadors for nuclear power in this
country. I want you to be proactive and become opinionated
citizens who will speak up to the media by writing
to the newspapers and magazines when people come out
and attack nuclear power as unsafe. After this, I want
you to give advanced reasons rather than just layman
reasons for the usage of nuclear power in this country.”
Professor Noramly gave the the closing speech at the
2nd Nuclear Power and Engineering Summer School
program, held May 17-27, in collaboration with National
University of Malaysia (UKM) and the Korean
Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST).
In the 1970s, Noramly was the founding director general
of the Pusat Penyelidikan Atom Tun Ismail (PUSPATI),
now renamed the Nuclear Malaysia Agency.
Back then, Malaysia’s brightest students were sent overseas
for training in nuclear science and engineering.
This first generation of nuclear experts is now retiring.
Now, here we were, at the Nuclear Summer School,
a fresh generation of mostly young, under 35, working
professionals, who hope to further their studies at the
world’s top nuclear universities.
Three professors from KAIST, and one from the
Korean Institute of Nuclear Safety (KINS), were invited
to UKM to lecture on nuclear reactor design, fuel,
instrumentation, and radioactive waste management.
The program attracted numerous professionals from
Malaysia’s research and energy industry, including,
Tenaga Nasional Berhad (Malaysia’s main electricity
supplier), Nuclear Malaysia Agency (responsible for
handling Malaysia’s experimental reactor), Atomic Licensing
Board, and other government and private educational
institutions.
Malaysia, sandwiched between Thailand and Singapore,
has long prided itself as being a leader among developing
developing countries, demonstrating how to progress in a
multicultural society without racial conflict. In the
1970s, when oil prices were soaring, Malaysia initiated
its own civilian nuclear power plan under the umbrella
of President Eisenhower’s 1953 Atoms for Peace program.
Its first experimental nuclear reactor, Triga, was
built in the early 1980s. The 1-MW reactor has been primarily
used for isotope production for agricultural and
medical use, and research into radioactive applications
of fertilizers, crops, and the study of soil sedimentation.
Today, with no coal reserves, oil reserves expected
to last for only five more years, and natural gas a bit
longer, Malaysia is looking back wistfully at the shelved
nuclear program that Noramly and his colleagues initiated
nearly 40 years ago.
South Korea Leads the Way in SE Asia
Few could have believed that South Korea could
beat out the United States, France, and Japan last year for
a $20 billion contract to build state-of-the-art 1,400-MW
nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates by
2020. It was a first for the South Koreans. How could this
small Asian country have beaten traditional nuclear
heavyweights? South Korea has come a long way since
its first 563-MW Kori-1 reactor in 1978. It now has 20
nuclear power plants, which produce 40% of the nation’s
total electricity. This has sparked heightened interest in
other developing countries, especially, in Southeast Asia,
where Korean-built nuclear plants are cheaper. It costs
only $3 billion for the South Koreans to build a unit, while,
the cost for United States to build one will be $5-6 billion.
What about the doubts that many people express
about “nuclear waste”—fears which largely stem from
the hysteria of the anti-nuclear crowd and the mass
media hype about Chernobyl and Three Mile Island? I
am reminded of the powerful message that Prof. Jong
Kim of KAIST gave a year ago, during a public lecture
at UKM. South Korea initially had problems finding a
suitable place for the nuclear waste from their power
plants. Jong explained:
“In the end we simply asked any areas which wanted
to have the nuclear waste facility to submit their entries.
Four areas submitted their entries; the winner went to
the area with an 80% resident approval for building the
nuclear waste management facility. The technical aspect
of it had been solved long ago. It is relatively safe. If it
wasn’t safe why would South Korea build not only one
but 20 nuclear power plants? What is left for other
countries is only the political will power to do so. . . .”
To date, people who live in areas that operate a nuclear
power facility are healthy and happy, as is evident
in France, for example, where over 70% of the energy
is generated by nuclear power.
As a physics undergraduate, and the youngest “nuclear
ambassador” attending the summer school program,
I feel the following points needs to be addressed
with urgency:
• With nuclear power, the Malaysian monthly
household electricity bill will be reduced from the average
RM100-200 per month, to an average of only
RM40-50 per month. This is because nuclear power
plants can generate a stable base load of electricity 24
hours, 7 days a week, with shutdowns only every 18
months to service and re-fuel, during their 50-60 year
lifetime. Electricity generation using nuclear power
costs only $.39 per KW-hour versus $.54 for coal, $1.47
for natural gas, and $1.95 for oil.
• Nuclear power produces 10 grams per KW-hour
of CO2 (this figure, from the South Koreans, includes
uranium ore mining and nuclear plant construction),
against 991 grams per KW-hour of CO2 produced using
coal, and 782 grams of CO2 for oil. So for those worried
about CO2 emissions, nuclear has the least greenhouse
gas emission in the energy industry.
As young nuclear ambassadors,
how then will we win
over other youth to take up
nuclear as a career? We must
catch them in their final
school years, and inspire
them with the future of a Nuclear
Malaysia. But this will
not happen unless Malaysia
makes a clear decision to go
nuclear. The youth are not
stupid. They have seen their
parents’ generation, which
answered the nuclear call in
the 1970s, rot in the government
nuclear establishments,
without being allowed to
produce a single kilowatt of
electricity or to launch hitech
industries as South
Korea has done. Until Malaysia makes a clear commitment
to go nuclear, the youth will boycott nuclear as
having no future in Malaysia.
Malaysia often brags about being the role model for
other developing countries. This is only partly true (with
its successful urbanization and some low-tech industries).
But it is impossible to live and raise a family on the
low salaries most young people receive, even as graduates,
without considerable financial assistance from their
parents. But, by partnering with South Korea in nuclear
power plants and other technologies, such as cars and
electronics, Malaysia can achieve the stated government
aim for a high-wage, hi-tech transformation of the economy.
South Korea stated loud and clear at the summer
school, that it is eager to work alongside Malaysia.
In the words of Prof. Kun Jai Lee, a senior professor
from KAIST, in his closing speech: “Korea will gladly
help Malaysia to build its first nuclear power plant.
Since your government has stated that it aspires to have
the first nuclear power plant by 2021, we don’t have
much time to waste!”
As Malaysia’s newly appointed “nuclear ambassadors,”
we were impressed. This is an offer from our
Asian technological “big brother,” which has proved to
the world its mastery in safely harnessing nuclear
power, that is simply too good to refuse. What on Earth
is stopping Malaysia from making the simple decision
to Go Nuclear? Half of Malaysia’s population, like me,
is under 23 years old. We want an answer and a future.
FN 1.  For further discussion about the safety of nuclear power, see: Zbigniew
Jaworowski, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., “Lessons of Chernobyl: Nuclear
Power Is Safe,” EIR, May 7, 2004.

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