Tuesday, May 29, 2007

China & Nuclear Power: Center Staff Visits Daya Bay

Derry Bigby, VP, Zhang Xiaoping, China Office Director, & Norris McDonald, President

The Washington Post ran an article today that mirrored the Center's trip to China last month where we tourned the facilities described in the article. The most interesting thing about the article is the quote from China's leading university, Tsinghua University, where they stated that China would need 300 new nuclear power plants by 2050. We suggested 400 plants when we visited with them and they were amazed that we were recommending such a high number. Yet they quoted 300 when interviewed by the Post. The Center is already making a big difference in China.

Our trip is described at this link and it was inspiring. We believe that nuclear power will be aggressively pursued in China and that is why we went. We felt that the schedule was not aggressive enough and we traveled to China to encourage a faster building schedule. The more immediate danger for China is ground level air pollution. It is palpable in the urban and rural areas. Moreover, many Chinese people still smoke. The Center is committed to reducing the clear suffering the Chinese people will endure if ground level air pollution is not reduced. Nuclear power is a big part of that solution. We are promoting plug-in, fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles as the other solution to air pollution. We also toured a coal-fired chemical manufacturing facility and we are promoting the installation of scrubbers on coal plants.

Monday, May 28, 2007

China's Wu Yi Meets With Geroge Bush In Oval Office

Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, left, met with President Bush in the Oval Office at the White House this week to discuss trade and Yuan policies. The United States has a $223 billion trade deficit with China. China and the USA agreed to increase air traffic between the two countries and to allow more access for American financial institutions into China. Ms. Wu was accompanied by 16 cabinet ministers and other top Chinese officials.

The Center believes that China and the USA should be having similar meeting to develop a framework for a Kyoto-type treaty (Kyoto II). Maybe the new treaty could be called the Beijing Protocol. The two countries are the top greenhouse gas produces in the world. Any agreement would probably be based on technology instead of arbitrary caps. We support a combination of nuclear power and plug-in fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles to mitigate global warming.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Coal WILL Be Part of America's Energy Future

Coal produces 50 percent of America's electricity. That percentage will probably not change much in the next 50 years or longer. Our modern life is powered by coal. America's vitality comes from a mix of energy sources and energy should be provided to Americans at reasonable prices. Competition should keep prices competitive.

Clean coal technologies and low-sulfur coal can continue to provide reliable, affordable electricity. State-of-the-art equipment and new treatments can be used by power plants to further reduce emissions. Super critical boilers and Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology offer the potential for new coal-fired plants and retrofits to achieve gas-fired emissions with higher efficiency levels.

Coal-Gasification converts coal to natural gas or hydrogen to help feed our energy hungry country. In the United States, natural gas reserves are increasingly difficult to reach and coal is plentiful. Converting coal to gas can help alleviate supply constraints and reduce energy costs. The U.S. Department of Energy’s hydrogen from coal research plan seeks a pilot plant by 2015 and the technology to alleviate transportation, cost and storage barriers to a hydrogen economy. Coal-Liquefaction converts coal into liquid fuels, such as diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and heating oil. America has more proven coal reserves than Saudi Arabia has oil. Maximizing the use of our vast coal supply means less dependence on foreign fuel.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Time Machine: 1989 International Waste Trade Protest

We have occasionally taken it to the streets. We joined with Greenpeace back in the 1980s on many projects. On one particular day we participated in a protest rally and march against American Cyanimide's production and dumping of mercury waste in South Africa. The security force looked pretty fierce, but everything turned out okay. Peter Bahouth was president of Greenpeace, USA at the time. Try to stay with the video until the end because the action starts after the rally. We added the soundtrack.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

U.S. & China Meet On Energy & Environment

Members of the President Bush's cabinet joined their Chinese government counterparts to discuss priority initiatives for energy and environmental cooperation. The discussions took place as part of theU.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) talks being held this week. Through the SED process, the U.S. hopes to share with China experience in formulating and implementing policies and initiatives that protect the environment while promoting economic growth.

The U.S. discussed four areas for environmental collaboration with theChinese.

1) The U.S. and China will work to develop up to 15 large-scale Coal-Mine Methane capture and utilization projects in China over the next 5 years. Methane is roughly 20 times more potent than carbondioxide as a greenhouse gas. Capturing methane creates a commodity that provides clean energy and increases mine safety.

2) The U.S. and China will work to advance development of a low sulfur fuel policy for China. Currently, China suffers from significant airpollution stemming from cars and trucks. Deploying low sulfur fuels in combination with new clean vehicle technologies will lead to major improvements in air quality.

3) Before the next session of the SED, the U.S. and China will complete the Joint Economic Study to evaluate different policy approaches for saving energy and controlling emissions from the Chinese and U.S. power sectors. Once completed, the study can be used by China and the U.S. to enhance the effectiveness of energy and environmental policies by providing information about the costs and benefits of different control strategies.

4) The U.S. and China will implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on energy efficiency product endorsement labeling.The initiative strengthens the partnership between the successful EnergyStar program and the China Standard Certification Center's labeling program. Activities under the MOU will build capacity for voluntary energy-efficiency endorsement labeling in China and explore labeling harmonization between the U.S. and China.

More information about U.S./China collaboration on clean air and energy projects: http://www.blogger.com/

U.S. EPA Creates New Chinese Web Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has created a new Chinese-language Web site to compile EPA Chinese-language materials on a wide variety of issues from lead poisoning prevention, energy efficiency, and clean water to proper management of pesticides.>>The site also serves as a tool in delivering health and environmental information to the Chinese-speaking community, both here in the U.S. and worldwide, to help protect local communities as well as the global environment. Chinese is the third most widely-spoken language in the U.S., after English and Spanish.

The new web site should also enhance environmental cooperation between the U.S. and China. EPA has a good program of cooperation with several Chinese governmental bodies to address threats to human health and the environment, including initiatives on air pollution, water pollution, and management of hazardous waste and toxic substances. EPA also collaborates with China on research, policy development, and buildup of environmental enforcement capability. (View EPA Chinese Site)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cerberus Acquires Chrysler: Dog, 3 Heads, Snake Tails

Cerberus is a three-headed hound from Hell, in Greek mythology. Cerberus Capital Management is a private equity firm that has just purchased Daimler-Chrysler. The Greek Cerberus hound also has a snake for a tail. Wall Street Cerberus has three tales too: 1) 80.1% stake in Chrysler Group from Daimler-Chrysler, 2) Chrysler lending arm - Chrysler Financial, which already owns 51% of GMAC Financial Services - the former financing arm of General Motors Corp, and 3) 11% market share in auto loans.

Oh yeah - the purchase price was $7.4 billion. The price for Daimler to divorce Chrysler was $677 in cash and shedding $18 billion in health and pension liabilities. Now Daimler is Damiler again, and as in many divorces they probably wish they had never bought Chrysler. And the really big questions: Will this lead to a car that people want to buy that will reduce our dependence on imported oil and reduce smog and global warming.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Asian Development Bank Could Accept Nuclear Power

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) may include nuclear power in its carbon dioxide offset trading program. According to published reports, WooChong Um, ADB Director of Energy, has stated that ADM might end its rejection of nuclear power as a green power source. The ADB is under increased pressure to promote alternatives to the fossil fuels that cause global warming.

Te ADB is considering the use of nuclear power under a new energy policy to be adopted later this year. The ADB has not advocated nuclear power out of concerns for safety and conversion to weapons use. It is good that the ADM is debating the issue internally. If they approve the change, then nuclear power might be included in Kyoto Protocol II.

Center Vice President Derry Bigby will be traveling to Manila, Phillipines in June to meet with ADM officials at their headquarters to promote the adoption of nuclear power as a carbon dioxide offset. (International Herald Tribune)

Electric Fuel Cell Technology Comes To Capitol Hill

The US Fuel Cell Council (USFCC) sponsored its 7th Annual Congressional Fuel Cell Expo on May 15, 2007 in the Cannon Caucus Room in the Cannon House Office Building. Twenty-four exhibitors displayed their fuel cell products that included a variety of portable, stationary, micro and automotive apolications. Center President Norris McDonald is pictured at right with a GM fuel cell vehicle that was parked between the Cannon and Longworth Hosue Office Buildings. Many people drove and rode in the two demonstration vehicles.

The US Fuel Cell Council is the trade association of the fuel cell industry. The membership includes producers of all types of fuel cells, major suppliers, automakers, universities, fuel cell customers, hydrogen suppliers, government entities and national laboratories, other associations and many others. Formed in 1998, the US Fuel Cell Council has approximately 115 members. The USFCC leads and participates in a wide variety of activities for the fuel cell industry.

Monday, May 14, 2007

President's Executive Order on Energy Security & Climate Change

President Bush signed an Executive Order on Energy Security and Climate Change directing EPA, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture to coordinate on the development of possible regulatory actions to address the emissions from mobile sources that contribute to global climate change. The Bush Administration is taking the first regulatory step to address greenhouse gas emissions from cars.

On April 2, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Massachusetts v. EPA that the Clean Air Act provided EPA the statutory authority to regulate greenhouse emissions from new vehicles if EPA determines whether such emissions endanger public health and welfare under the Clean Air Act.

While the President’s “Twenty in Ten” plan, which would increase the supply of renewable and alternative fuel and reform the CAFE standards, will serve as a guide, EPA has not reached any conclusions about what any final rule will look like. By federal law, EPA must follow a specific process and take several steps before issuing a final regulation.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Center Connects China & CEQ on Pebble Bed Modular Reactor

Norris McDonald, Dr. Yujie Dong, Landon Van Dyke

The Center arranged for the director of China's Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Program to brief staff at TheWhite House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) on the progress of this first-of-its-kind research reactors. The representative from China also briefed the U.S. Department of Energy on the progress of the PBMR project.

Dr. Yujie Dong, DirectorHigh Temperature Reactor (HTR) General Design Division, Institute of Nuclear & New Energy Technology (INET) at Tsinghua University briefed Landon Van Dyke, CEQ Deputy Associate Director, International Affairs on the PBMR operations on May 9, 2007. The meeting at CEQ was attended by Center President Norris McDonald and Center Vice President Derry Bigby.

Center Connects China & NEI on Pebble Bed Modular Reactor

Norris McDonald, Adrian P. Heymer, Dr. Yujie Dong, Angie Howard & Derry Bigby

The Center arranged for the director of China's Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Program to brief staff at the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) on the progress of this first-of-its-kind research reactors. The representative from China also briefed the U.S. Department of Energy on the progress of the PBMR project.

Dr. Yujie Dong, DirectorHigh Temperature Reactor (HTR) General Design Division, Institute of Nuclear & New Energy Technology (INET) at Tsinghua University briefed Angie Howard and Adrian P. Heymar on the PBMR operations on May 9, 2007. The meeting at NEI was attended by Center President Norris McDonald and Center Vice President Derry Bigby.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Energy Policy of French President Nicholas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy, left, was the most pro-nuclear of the 12 candidates running for the presidency of France. France gets about 80% of its electricity from nuclear power. Almost 85% of the French electors voted in this election. Nicolas Sarkozy was elected in the second round of the election by 53% of the voters, against Ségolène Royal, 47%.

Nicolas Sarkozy is in favor of both the protection of the environment and nuclear power: he supports energy conservation, renewable energies, the EPR (generation 3 reactor), the developement of generation 4 reactors, and the world-wide development of nuclear energy. Action against climate change is for him a "top priority". Nuclear energy will remain a priority for France, as was the case with the previous President, Jacques Chirac. Original letter in French and letter in English from Sarkozy to Environmentalists for Nuclear Power (Source).

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Wheat Gluten Contaminated With Melamine

Wheat gluten, powder left-bagged right, contaminated with melamine has been found in pet food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified a Chinese company (Xuzhou Anying ) as the source of the additive. Chinese authorities have arrested Mao Lijun, manager of the company. An American company, ChemNutra, based in Las Vegas, purchased the wheat gluten and resold it to pet food makers in the U.S. Although there is no nutritional value from melamine, unscrupulous producers add it so get a higher protein reading.

Melamine is an industrial chemical used to make plastics, fertilizer and surface coatings. Wheat gluten is a vegetable protein concentrate. There is a concern by the FDA that humans could consume the chemical indirectly by eating pigs and chickens that have consumed the contaminated wheat gluten. Suspect pet food has been recalled and the FDA is visiting hundreds of pet food manufacturers to gather samples for testing. The Chinese government is cooperating with the American government on this issue. (New York Times, 5-4-2007)