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Current price of oil

Post in 'The Green Room' started by elkimmeg, Jul 17, 2007.

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  1. kjklosek

    kjklosek New Member

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    Ken,

    The oceans of the planet are not a toilet that can be used to flush away all our ills.

    Oceanographers still can't come to a consensus on how deep ocean currents work. It is still unchartered territory, so to speak.

    Besides, wasn't Godzilla created by dumping nuclear waste in the sea?

    The last thing we need is a 20 story lizard running around stomping on our skyscrapers!

    Or maybe we do.

    J.P.

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  2. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    The CEO and all the board of directors, or whomever was responsible for setting an unsafe practice into effect, or knew that the practice was unsafe and either kept quiet or actively worked to hide the fact.

    Exactly. And we'd have pebble-bed reactors, which can't melt down. Or other inherently-safe designs. No reliance on automatic or manual valves that could fail. Everything built using physical properties to make it failsafe.

    Since the government gave the nuclear industry carte blanche to do whatever they wanted without concern for the risk, we had Three Mile Island and such. Because there was no incentive to be safe.

    Joe
  3. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Ken's referring to "reverse volcanoes" at the bottom of the ocean. Not just dumping it somewhere, but placing it in a location where it will be drawn down into the mantle of the planet, buried deeper than we could ever imagine doing.

    Joe
  4. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    This is true. Not 6 months ago researchers discovered a major climate driver, which is an oceanic current south of Australia that goes around the South Pole.

    And, this is why I've got a real problem with man being blamed for global warming. We can't go saying man is causing global warming when we don't know everything that is affecting the climate, nor can we say man is doing it when we only have a few decades worth of records. This is not to say that I think we should pollute no holds barred, because there are real, provable consequences from pollution. But man causing the entire planet to heat up, I say not. They've done core samples in the Artic and found tropical plants some 2000 - 3000 feet down, they've discovered a new "mud volcano" between Greenland and Norway that is strong enough to be heating the Gulf Stream oceanic currents right as it's hitting the Arctic. And, when they found the one they think they found at least one other, which means there may be more we haven't found. On top of this, it's been discovered that while the Artic ice has shrunk, Antarctic ice has increased. Not to mention that this year is the coldest April I can remember for a long time, and last summer Oklahoma only had about a 3 week run of temps that stayed over 90 degrees in the summertime. Last year was pretty cold, and this year seems to be shaping up to be a cold one. Quite frankly, the weather patterns just look to me like normal weather, with it getting hotter sometimes and colder others. I imagine that Europe being hotter than normal might be related to that huge oceanic volcano that's heating the water year round. And if a 2 degree increase in air temperature can cause such havoc, surely a similar change in water temps play an equal amount of havoc, if not more since it takes so much more energy to heat salt water than air.

    I doubt man is having much effect on global temps because we really don't know enough about how the world works to say that for certain. The only effect I do know man can be blamed for is fouling air and water, and those are the problems that need to be fixed. Nice thing about my position is, if man is a primary cause of global warming the same actions needed to clean the air and water are the same actions needed to clean this supposed manmade global warming.

    Arctic ice shrank
    Antarctic ice increased
    Volcano between Greenland and Norway
  5. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I do think I read that we're heading into a solar minimum, and that the flare patterns indicate we will likely have a decade of below-normal temperatures.

    It's looking to be a good time to improve heating system efficiency!

    Joe
  6. blackgooseJT

    blackgooseJT New Member

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    When the facilities are designed, built, operated and maintained by humans 'splain to me again how you can remove the "human factor". Most of the by-product of nuclear power is the waste generated during operation and maintenance, not the expended core material. I dealt with tons of contaminated tools,water,clothing and cleaning gear. All had to be surveyed, counted, tracked, packed and shipped to secure facilities. I worked in nuclear propulsion and sent lots of stuff to Hanford and Barnwell. Most was contaminated with cobalt 60 which has a 5.2 yr. half-life, and it is still putting off 'zoomies" presumably in safe storage. Of greater concern is the occasional contaminated man, or an inadvertent release of material. I remember one instance where a radiation worker was exposed to airborne cobalt 60 during mechanical maintenance. In truth, the isotopes involved were numerous...... actually a "soup" of debris that had been neutron flux irradiated. A whole body scan revealed contamination in his left lung. Alpa emmitters aren't much trouble uless you ingest them. I wonder what ever happened to him.

    The point is that you can't see,feel.smell,hear, or taste nuclear contamination. People naturally fear the unknown. Some assume that whole body ionizing radiation exposure above an arbitrary set-point (called background) is where the stuff begins to be hazardous. Others maintain that any exposure above zero must result in a proportional increase in cell damage. I'm sure that the exposure I got as a child looking through the fluoroscope at our local shoe store exceeded the exposure I recieved as a consequence of my job dealing with nuclear material. I don't believe in x-rays for fun and I also don't fear them, but then I'm not having any more kids.

    Theres a lot of hubris here. When folks deny human frailty and error , it's kind of like sticking a finger in God's eye.
  7. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    There's a human element in handling the waste, but the reactor design itself is failsafe in a modern reactor. No Three Mile Island. No Chernobyl. If there is a coolant failure, the reaction fails and the core shuts down, rather than melting down.

    You can have minor accidents, of course, but no major releases like a meltdown.

    Joe
  8. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I like this thread, too! Funny how it was restarted from an old thread by Elk marvelling at oil prices last year.

    The time is ripe for a rational discussion on where this country and, indeed the world is headed as far as energy policy. I believe the US has to lead this, because everyone is following us anyway. We "discovered" oil and invented the cheap mass produced motor car. The rest of the world was content with the bicycle and public transportation, but we had to find a "better" way. The Chinese want what we have, so they buy up all the oil they can and dam up the Yangtze river to make electricity to run their world. Apparently the population is resigned to having to move out of the way of the government because it is a "good" thing, right? Right! Hydropower is the best thing since canned beer, right? Right! Don't tell that to the families that are being displaced by this monstrosity. The Chinese are set to pass us soon in total CO2 emissions and they have almost no environmental controls at all. All those little two strokes are trashing the planet, but they get 200 MPG and are cheap to buy. This can't be a bad thing, can it?

    As green as I am, I have long been an advocate of nuclear power. I remember TMI, it's only about 50 miles from here. There are two others plants that I can think of within 100 miles of Baltimore (Peach Bottom and Calvert Cliffs), so I do know what is is like having it "in my back yard". We were all a little uncomfortable when it (TMI) happened, but frankly, I am more concerned about a terrorist cutting loose a dirty bomb over DC than a little radioactive gas being vented. In my mind, there is a far more likely chance of a terrorist event than a nuke accident. Is it safe to say that more people died on 9/11 than have ever died as a result of a nuclear accident in the US? I don't have the numbers, but I venture to guess it's true. I am also more concerned with coal fired emissions dropping mercury and radiation and whatnot on my head. The eastern seabord gets to enjoy all the fumes from the rest of the country before it wafts out to sea and contaminates our seafood.

    It is possible to build a perfectly safe nuke plant and operate it with zero risk of contamination? No, it isn't. Is it possible to drive to work or fly across the country with zero risk? No, absolutely not. If riding a motorcycle or scooter is more dangerous, then why are they so popular? Everyone will have a different answer to this one. Is it possible to manage the risk to an acceptable level? With proper design and sensible operation, yes!

    If nuclear power is so dangerous, how come France hasn't blown themselves off the face of the earth yet? 70% of their electric comes from nuclear power and they aren't making any headlines with it. I haven't seen any blue glow the last time I looked across the pond, either. At least when Constellation breaks ground on their next reactor, I will rest a little easier knowing that they are in a consortium with a French company. (google Unistar Nuclear for details) Funny how the French are the brunt of our jokes, but they are giving us a run for our money in the aerospace and other high technology world. (Now I am really OT!)

    If Constellation isn't successful here in Maryland, they are going straight for Nine Mile Point in NY. The NIMBY's will be having a field day with that one! They basically don't want anyone to build anything anywhere, ever! I remember a few years ago BGE proposed a new substation out in Worthington Valley where all the NIMBY's live. Nobody wanted it, but nobody wanted to give up their airconditioning, either. I guess they don't want heat either, as everyone is against the proposed LNG terminal near Baltimore. Guess we'll just sit around and wait for the blackouts to begin.

    More Irish and German than French,
    Chris
  9. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    "If nuclear power is so dangerous, how come France hasn't blown themselves off the face of the earth yet?"

    My understanding is that France has much smaller nuke plants rather than the huge ones we have here and are more manageable ... When things go wrong with nukes they go horribly wrong.. The bigger the plant the bigger the danger.. What about the nuclear waste that lasts 100 years? It's one thing when I decide to do risky things but another thing when someone else risks my life for the sake of making a profit.. Just look at Chernobyl today and tell me it's worth the risk...

    Ray
  10. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    A modern plant cannot do a Chernobyl. It's not merely unlikely - it's not physically possible.

    Joe
  11. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Holy C&@%! I never would have thought it was that high!

    How does the amount of nuclear material released by coal combustion compare to the amount consumed as fuel by the U.S. nuclear power industry? According to 1982 figures, 111 American nuclear plants consumed about 540 tons of nuclear fuel, generating almost 1.1 x 10E12 kWh of electricity. During the same year, about 801 tons of uranium alone were released from American coal-fired plants. Add 1971 tons of thorium, and the release of nuclear components from coal combustion far exceeds the entire U.S. consumption of nuclear fuels. The same conclusion applies for worldwide nuclear fuel and coal combustion.

    unquote

    I always like to check the sources of the propaganda I read. That one was from Oak Ridge National Laboratory; methinks they know a little bit about nuclear energy.

    Thanks, Pook!
  12. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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  13. kjklosek

    kjklosek New Member

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    OK, so I read a little about this subduction thing.

    It seems that it happens where the tectonic plates meet, say in avery deep oceanic trench. Then while one plate is forced under another the mantle material is turned into magma and can then re-surface through volcanic activity. Or something like that.

    So being that these subducted plates are about 600 meters below the surface and move at a rate of about 1 to 2 centemeters a year. It seems that the radioactive bad stuff would more or less become benign by the time it could be turned into liquid rock.

    Plus there is a chance it wouldnt even get sucked into the earths crust since these subduction zones are hot spots of seismic activity. It may very well end up rattling around at the bottom of the sea until the box, or whatever the stuff is put in, breaks open.

    A whole lot of if's with that plan, methinks.

    I'd rather not risk creating another Godzilla.

    J.P.

    PS. Thanks for the science lesson. I have always liked geology.
  14. blackgooseJT

    blackgooseJT New Member

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    There are some real smart folks at Oak Ridge, but they aren't exactly faultless either. They shipped us a two ton machine lathe to be used in machine shop facilities. They never dissassembled it to thoroughly survey it for surface contamination. In our regular periodic surveys we found it to be contaminated. It had been shipped without any safety precautions and had likewise been used for several months . It's impossible to say what contamination someone may have carried home with them, or what exposures were involved. A two-ton wrapped,tagged bag of Radwaste is a ponderous thing.

    I'm not against nuclear power. I'm just not sure we are advanced enough to make productive use of it for power generation without killing ourselves.

    J.T. Black goose
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Did I miss something here?
    So, a CEO is personally liable? What does that mean? People are sacrificed every day (war, suicide bombers) - are you suggesting that it is not worth the career of one person to build a nuclear plant?

    What do you do - send him to jail? That costs money! There is no way an individual can be held responsible for such things. That is why we have insurance - shared risk - and the fact that the plants cannot be insured this way SAYS IT ALL. When they can indemnify us all, the story is different. Solve the waste problem, put up the insurance and I'll be listening...until then, it is off my shelf.
  16. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I think my grandmothers pressure cooker was built better than Chernobyl was. That design was never exported out of the USSR. Did you read the article on radiation from coal? It's all a matter of perspective.
  17. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    He's going to sacrifice himself in order to build a plant? What sense does that make? He's in charge, and has the oversight responsibility. He's the one who would have to do the sacrificing...

    Liquidate all his assets, and those of anyone else involved. Then they work for however long it takes to recoup the rest of the amount. Strict liability.

    If anyone died as the result of a leak, charge them with homicide and give them a stay of execution that lasts precisely as long as they continue making reparations for the damage they did.

    Intentionally building an unsafe nuke plant is similar to driving a car you know has shoddy brakes, except it's worse in degree. So why should the car-driver get charged and held liable, and the nuke plant CEO walk away and retire to his mansion?

    Lloyd's will insure anything. Lloyd's would give you fire insurance on a building that was currently engulfed in flames, if you were willing to pay the premium. It's not that they won't insure the plants, but that the government won't let them.

    Joe
  18. Ken45

    Ken45 Minister of Fire

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    Have you forgotten that in the U.S., nuclear plants have to be built according to bureaucratic NRC rules and regulations, not according to common sense?
  19. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Nope. Just arguing that we should change that.

    Joe
  20. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Holy cow, I didn't know that burning coal dumped more radioactive crap in the air than is used in the US for reactors, per year. I still think that it's better to have total control over your waste than to pump it into the air as a course of normal operation. If the slight risk of a nuclear plant meltdown is reason enough to not have them, then the certainty of pumping nuclear waste into the air should be plenty enough to shut down all coal fired plants, immediately.

    The comment on smaller nuke plants being safer, I think I can go along with that too. Not to mention that building them smaller means building more, so plants could be distributed around the nation closer to the point of need rather than having one gigantic plant provide power for an entire state with a failure blacking out the entire state.

    This brings up a pet peeve of mine, electrical distribution. Right now, a single circuit breaker failure can cause a cascade that will take half the nation down for days, and require tons of coordination to get the grid back up. A strong solar flare from the Sun is enough to cause a cascading failure. I understand why they did it as they did, it allows plants nationwide to help make up shortfalls in areas where the load is larger than normal.

    What I'd like to see is smaller cells of local operational areas, interconnected into regional areas for makeup power, then have the regional operational areas interconnected. Each local area cell would have only one generation plant, regardless of type. Each interconnection point would have a local power quality monitor that is capable of breaking the connection if a set amount of current were drawn, with that amount below the threshold that would break the local or regional cell's generation capability. With this sort of setup, it's unlikely that a gigantic cascade failure would hit. At most one cell and the cells connected to it would drop, and once dropped all connections would be broken. This would allow each plant to get itself back online independent of any other cell, and only when all cells are operational would they reconnect.

    While we are rebuilding the grid, let's require that it be rebuilt with all lines underground, not above ground. Every winter in Oklahoma we have ice storms, and trees fall on the power lines. This takes power down for days for no good reason. Put all the lines underground, and the power grid would be as reliable as the gas grid.

    On the sources, I'd like to see hydro and nuke as bulk production since these are the only true 24x7 sources of non-fossil production we have, with solar added at each generation plant to help supply the top-off power for the increased daytime needs. Wind just isn't reliable enough except in very limited areas, and geo and wave technology's not to the point yet.

    This is all pie-in-the-sky posting, of course, but if I had any say in the issue, this is what we'd do.
  21. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Ya know.........

    There's a lot of truth in much that has been posted here regarding nuke plants. There's also been some misinformation from what I can see.

    I know a guy that is an engineer in a nuke plant in Wisconsin and he has described the safety measures they have to go through in order to operate. A modern nuke plant has redundancy built on redundancy, both automatic and manual. They are very safe to say the least.

    I'm not advocating that we go nuke first and foremost due to the unsolved waste issues but we are going to have to accept some new construction of nuke plants very shortly. It's inevitable given that there are no other options on the table that will put out the volume of power needed in the future. Most everything else like bio this or that, wind and solar is pie in the sky type rhetoric. It simply can't be scaled to meet the need with existing technology. 25 years from now.......who knows. Maybe someone will invent a thin film solar panel that can convert radiation to electricity at 50-60% efficiency and do it at a reasonable cost. Then we would need a "battery" of truly staggering proportions to supply the grid at night. And the if's and but's go on and on.
  22. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Ask your buddy about these recent pictures from our local (Yankee) nuclear plant.

    Fully licensed and inspected.

    This is worse that the DIY fireplace chimney linings I have seen here - HECK, this is worse than pook feeding kerosene by drip into his Englander Pellet Stove!

    I did hear that they claimed it was Homeland Security (Tom Ridge) approved Duct Tape as opposed to some Home Depot brand.

    Attached Files:

  23. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    $78 per barrel back in July according to OP. Oil set another record today at $117! Nuts!
  24. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    $117 is completely mind-boggling!

    I would guess that the average cost of oil taken out of the ground (including basic profit) is closer to $30.
    Add something for refining and transportation, and profit.....what, like 20%.....which would put gas and heating oil at $1.50 dead wholesale....$2.00 to the customer.

    At the current price, that means about $3.00 a gallon unrefined and dead wholesale. $4.00 gas and heating oil is here.

    I have not kept up on it all, but I suppose the run-up is partially due to speculation....just like the subprime crisis - a LOT of people are making a lot of money. Hedge funds, oil companies, traders......but where does that money come from? I think YOU and I.

    Funny that people are always so concerned about tax hikes - when there are so many other ways the "system" can beat the money out of us!

    All in all, I like the idea of more expensive energy because it will spur development of alternatives and conservation, but it would have been better for us to tax the oil and use the proceeds for alt energy....IMHO. Now it is boom and bust instead of more careful planning.
  25. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    I'd like to put out a couple of articles for your perusal.

    Oil is a natural function of the Earth, not a fossil fuel. This makes a lot of sense if you think about it, since they state that oil has been found miles in the ground deeper than the deepest fossil ever found. Not to mention, that oil is lighter than water, so if oil were made of biomatter that settled it should not only be so deep but should have floated to the surface years ago. And, I've read other stories talking about how oil fields that were once pumped dry then abandoned have been found to be full of oil again.

    e.Coli makes diesel This is another one that makes more sense than all fossil fuels are dead dinosaurs. e.Coli is found in just about all of the soil of the Earth, and it's not inconceivable that if bacteria excrement is just a few molecular changes away from being diesel fuel, then bacteria crap plus heat and pressure would be able to further compress and fuse the molecular structure into petroleum. After all, diesel (and all petroleum products) are made initially by heating the petroleum to crack the molecular bonds, then collecting them by weight inside a large condensing tower. If heating the stuff with no pressure can crack the bonds, then heating the stuff under extreme pressure can cause the bonds to form.

    The more I look into this stuff, the more I'm convinced that Peak Oil and oil scarcity is actually a con being run on the world by the oil producers, as we all know a scarce resource is far more valuable than a commonly available resource. Look at salt vs gold, salt sells for 30 cents a pound while gold sells for 1000 dollars an ounce. And consider, people have been claiming that Peak Oil is just around the corner almost as long as oil has been pumped from the ground. Are we at Peak Oil now? Or is this just hype to make us all think that oil is going away? Take the first article with a grain of salt, but the second is something that is ongoing.
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