A secure America
Posted by zbigniewmazurak on May 28, 2008
America is endangered; I don’t need to list all countries that exploit the US. The US is the world’s #1 consumer of oil, consuming 21 million barrels of oil. The US is suffering an electrical deficit: it exports 19800 million KWh but imports 44530 million KWh. Only 20% of the American energetic mix belongs to nuclear reactors. Net oil imports amount to 12 mn barrels of oil per day. Oil is now more expensive than ever – more expensive than even during the Iranian revolution (1979). The US annually produces 20 billion cubic ms of NG, but every year, it imports 118 bn cubic ms of such fuel. That is an annual NG deficit amounting to 98 bn cubic ms.
It is these deficits, NOT the Dubya Administration, that has caused the US economy to grow slowly.
What options are available to the American people?
1) Tidal-estuarial electric plants. These can be built only in the estuaries of large rivers. There are only 20 places in the world where such EPs could be built. One of them is in France, where the first EP of this type has been built. After it was, the French have wisely decided to build nuclear reactors.
2) Wind turbines. Option #2 is the worst of all options. Wind turbines do not work on windless days (i.e. 70% of the time); kill birds; work noisely; cost much cash; work economically inefficiently; occupy much land.
3) Solar panels: they do not work during nights. Solar EPs occupy much land. They can co-power houses, spaceships and planes, but not other things.
4) Dams: They are good, but most American rivers have been tapped already.
5) Tidal-offshore – Although Britain is an island, offshore tidal EPs could produce only 20% of the British electricity demand. For America, offshore tidal EPs would’ve been equally insufficient.
6) Natural gas and oil: They are such precious fuels that they shouldn’t be used by EPs, but rather by motorists. Utilities should build nuclear reactors.
7) Coal: A very good fuel. An alternative to nuclear fuel, but can also work alongside it. Unlike nuclear fuel, though, it generates deadly gases unless filtered. The Chinese use coal to power their houses, offices and factories; consequently, their country is the most polluted in the world. Also, China annually emits more CO2 than the US.
7) Nuclear fuel (uranium): undeniably the best option. It is abundant – even if the US started to consume 4 times more uranium than it consumes now, there would’ve still been enough nuclear fuel in the world for centuries. The US military has recently declared 17.4 MTs of “near-term LEU” to be surplus; that amount of uranium would’ve been sufficient for the US for 115 years if America started to consume 4 times more uranium than it uses in its reactors nowadays.
Successive Republican and Democratic administrations have refused to marshal facts about nuclear reactors; closed many coal mines; banned coal EPs; and closed swaths of the American territory (including the ANWR) to drillers. Like all other countries of the world, America will suffer an energetical crisis unless the US government immediately adopts better laws. If it doesn’t, the American people will be shivering in their cold homes and trying to cope without telephones and TVs.
For the next few years, the US must open all of its coal mines, and use coal not only in EPs (replacing other fossil fuels), but also liquifying it.
For all years afterwards, the US needs to abolish its ‘energetical mix’, which according to the chief of the DOE, Samuel Bodman, has made America secure. The entire American territory, including the ANWR (which contains enough oil for the US for 273 days), must be opened to drillers. Ethanol subsidies should be abolished and banned. And regarding EPs, France and Lithuania serve as examples – the American people must embrace nuclear reactors. 96% of the spent nuclear fuel produced by nuclear reactors can be recycled (utilities should be obliged to recycle it, but if they can’t, the French can). Nuclear fuel can be imported from the entire world; the US is already supplying itself, and is being supplied by Russia too.
This is a list of my America-related proposals.