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Nuclear Fusion: Eternal Energy = Eternal Damnation

Nuclear Fusion: Eternal Energy = Eternal Damnation

Like a third rate zombie movie on Netflix, delusions of nuclear fusion repeatedly rise from the dead.  The cover story in the June 2023 issue of Scientific American by Philip Ball, “Star Power: Does Fusion Have a Future After All?” recycles the corporate line which was broadcast on December 13, 2022.  The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory had reached a “breakthrough” in developing an alternative to fission.

As Joshua Frank described the hype over nuclear fusion …

“… there’s no toxic mining involved, nor do thousands of gallons of cold water have to be pumped in to cool overheated reactors, nor will there be radioactive waste byproducts lasting hundreds of thousands of years. And not a risk of a nuclear meltdown in sight! Fusion, so the cheery news went, is safe, effective, and efficient!”

After six months of the announcement’s being debunked, the Scientific American article admitted some of the inherent faults with fusion, repeated some of the original misstatements, and went on with detailed descriptions of technical tweaks necessary to make the technology viable in the second half of the century. Unfortunately,  most of those who criticized fusion missed one of its most serious dangers – that discovering a source of limitless cheap energy would doom humanity’s future rather than enhance it.

The Terror

In order to interpret the spin of the military-industrial-pseudo-scientific (MIPS) complex, we need to appreciate the primary obstacle to expanding nuclear power.  MIPS must overcome the intense terror of nukes.

The terror began with images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.  Photos of burnt bodies are burned into the minds of their viewers.  MIPS seeks to discount the images with the myth that Japan had to be nuked, even though it was ready to surrender…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Oil Prices Rebound As U.S. Walks Back Plan To Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Oil Prices Rebound As U.S. Walks Back Plan To Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve

  • The U.S. Department of Energy is walking back previous comments that it was considering a release of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and a ban on crude oil exports
  • The DoE isn’t considering tapping the SPR “at this time”
  • Goldman Sachs: SPR release would have limited impact on crude prices

The U.S. Department of Energy is walking back previous comments that it was considering a release of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and a ban on crude oil exports, Bloomberg’s Javier Blas reported on Twitter.

According to Blas, the DoE isn’t considering tapping the SPR “at this time”.

The news comes shortly after Goldman Sachs estimated that if the DoE released oil from the SPR, it would likely be limited to just 60 million barrels—posing a $3 downside risk to its year-end $90 barrel Brent forecast.

A White House press briefing took a similar no-SPR tone.

The Biden Administration will not make any predictions about releasing the SPR to alleviate high gasoline prices, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at the daily briefing on Wednesday.

Psaki instead focused on the climate crisis, commenting on the fact that the matter was so urgent that it could not wait any longer.

“I’m not going to make any prediction of that from here.”

The press secretary noted that the Administration took steps in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, including by authorizing exchanges from the SPR with oil and refining firms.

“We’ve also taken steps into — including engaging with members of OPEC,” Psaki said.

“But I’m not going to make any other predictions at this point in time. We’re continuously monitoring. We’ll look to take additional steps as needed,” she added.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From Hurricane Maria to COVID, Gas Lobbyist-turned-Trump Energy Lawyer Uses Crises as ‘Opportunity’

From Hurricane Maria to COVID, Gas Lobbyist-turned-Trump Energy Lawyer Uses Crises as ‘Opportunity’

Bill Cooper being sworn in by Rick Perry

Among a string of recent environmental rollbacks, President Donald Trump’s U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) aims to vastly narrow the scope of environmental reviews for those applying for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export permits. The proposal has been guided by Bill Cooper, a former oil and gas industry lobbyist who’s now a top lawyer for the DOE.

On May 1, the DOE issued a proposal to limit environmental reviews for LNG export permit proposals so that the review applies to only the export process itself — literally “occurring at or after the point of export.” The rule would take off the table for consideration lifecycle greenhouse gas analyses, broader looks at both build-outs of pipelines and power plants attached to the export proposals, and other potential environmental impacts.

It comes as many larger forces up the pressure on LNG projects: The oil and gas industry is facing financial crisis, exports of fracked gas to the global market are steeply waning, and the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying economic nosedive are marching on in the United States.

The DOE’s Bill Cooper, an oil and gas attorney by background with a long history of navigating the industry through crises both inside and outside of the federal government, signed off on the regulatory proposal.

Now DOE General Counsel, Cooper has proven instrumental in creating today’s U.S. regulatory regime both for fracking for natural gas and exporting it. This attempted rule change is just the latest chapter in that story. For Cooper, crisis has consistently served as an opportunity to implement regulatory change to favor the oil and gas industry.

As DeSmog has reported, Cooper played a critical role in getting regulatory exemption language now known as the “Halliburton Loophole” inserted into the 2005 energy bill

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

WTI Tumbles On Biggest Crude Build In 19 Months

Modest overnight gains following API’s data have been erased as DOE reports a massive surprise (biggest since March 2017) crude build…

“We’re right in the middle of refinery maintenance season and you’ll probably see a lot of demand coming offline,” says Michael Loewen, a commodities strategist at Scotiabank. “It might take a few market participants by surprise to see a larger build than what we are used to in crude oil inventories”


  • Crude +907k (+1.5mm exp)
  • Cushing +2.018mm (+800k exp) [Genscape +600k]
  • Gasoline -1.703mm
  • Distillates -1.197mm


  • Crude +7.975mm (+1.5mm exp) – highest since Mar 2017
  • Cushing +1.699mm (+800k exp) [Genscape +600k] – highest since March 2018
  • Gasoline -459k (+1.25mm exp)
  • Distillates -1.75mm

Massive crude build shocks the market…

Bloomberg notes that you can’t really pin this week’s huge crude build on refiners. Gross inputs were little changed and are the highest ever historically for this week.

US Crude production held at record highs…


WTI hovered risght around $74 ahead of the DOE data, then dumped…

Bloomberg Intelligence Senior Energy Analyst Vince Piazza warns that with WTI approaching $80 a barrel, we believe oil has moved too far, too fast, notwithstanding reduced Iran exports because of sanctions and declining production from Venezuela. Demand destruction remains a concern due to elevated prices and geopolitics. We also expect heightened hedging by U.S. E&Ps at current prices, while trade tensions, robust production and seasonal refinery maintenance in the U.S. add to the negative price outlook.

Hanford’s Toxic Avengers: Department of Energy Suppresses Deadly Nuclear-Cleanup Flaws

Hanford’s Toxic Avengers: Department of Energy Suppresses Deadly Nuclear-Cleanup Flaws

Your tax dollars are on the line. The DOE is set to extend a contract to Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS) for another year at the Hanford Nuclear Site, despite numerous allegations of misconduct since the company won the initial contract for $7.1 billion in 2008. Below is an investigative report that appeared in Seattle Weekly in 2012 on the suppression of whistleblowers by the DOE, Bechtel, URS and WRPS at North America’s most toxic site. – JF


Once home to the nation’s largest plutonium-making facility, Hanford, Washington, is now one of the most toxic nuclear-waste sites in the world. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is currently spending $2 billion a year to clean up the 586-square-mile reservation. However, not all is well on Washington’s dusty southeastern edge: Whistle-blowers are stepping forward, claiming that taxpayer money is being spent recklessly on a project riddled with potentially deadly design defects.

Donna Busche, who has been employed by contractor URS (originally known as United Research Services) as acting Manager of Environmental and Nuclear Safety at Hanford’s Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) since 2009, is among the latest of these senior managers to speak out about what she sees as the silencing of those who raise concerns about possibly lethal safety issues. Last November, Busche filed a complaint of discrimination under the federal whistle-blower protection statutes with the U.S. Department of Labor, alleging retaliation against her for reporting problems at the WTP, which one day will turn Hanford’s 56 million gallons of highly hazardous radioactive waste into storable glass rods through a process known as vitrification.

Climbing the corporate ladder in the male-dominated engineering world was no easy feat. But Busche, as numerous co-workers say, is tough, politically savvy, and scientifically skilled.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why the New EIA Forecast Is Unrealistic

Why the New EIA Forecast Is Unrealistic

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy has just released its Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2018, with forecasts for American oil, gas and other forms of energy production through mid-century. As usual, energy journalists and policy makers will probably take the document as gospel.

That’s despite the fact that past AEO reports have regularly delivered forecasts that were seriously flawed, as the EIA itself has acknowledged. Further, there are analysts inside and outside the oil and gas industry who crunch the same data the EIA does, but arrive at very different conclusions.

The last few EIA reports have displayed stunning optimism regarding future U.S. shale gas and tight oil production, helping stoke the notion of U.S. “energy dominance.” No one doubts that fracking has unleashed a gusher of North American oil and gas on world markets in the past decade. But where we go from here is both crucial and controversial.

The most comprehensive critiques of past AEO forecasts have come from earth scientist David Hughes, a Fellow of Post Carbon Institute (note: I, too, am a Post Carbon Institute Fellow). Since 2013, Hughes and PCI have produced annual studies questioning EIA forecasts, based on an analysis of comprehensive play-level well production data. Their latest report, a critical look at AEO2017, is just out.

“Shale Reality Check: Drilling Into the U.S. Government’s Rosy Projections for Shale Gas & Tight Oil Production Through 2050” explores four big questions crucial to the realization of the EIA’s forecasts:

1. How much of the industry’s recent per-well drilling productivity improvement is a result of better technology, and how much is due to high-grading the best-quality parts of individual plays? Over the past few years, industry has shown the ability to extract increased amounts of oil and/or gas from each well.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Next For Oil: Interview With Former DOE Chief Of Staff

What’s Next For Oil: Interview With Former DOE Chief Of Staff

In this week’s MacroVoices podcast, Erik Townsend and Joe McMonigle, former chief of staff at the US Department of Energy, discuss the state of the global energy market, and OPEC’s rapidly diminishing ability to control oil prices. McMonigle believes investors will be hearing more jawboning from the Saudis, OPEC’s de-facto leader, over the next two weeks as they try to marshal support for extending the cartel’s production-cut agreement past a March 2018 deadline.

Of course, anyone who’s been paying attention knows the cuts have done little to alleviate supply imbalances that have weighed on oil prices for years. In a report published by the International Energy Agency earlier this month, the organization notes that non-compliance among OPEC members, and non-members who also agreed to the cuts those non-members who also agreed to cut oil production, increased again in July. According to the IEA data, non-compliance among the cartel’s members rose to 25 percent in July, the highest level since the agreement was signed in January. Meanwhile, noncompliance for non-members rose to 33%.

Given that oil prices have fallen since OPEC members and non-members first agreed on the cuts last November, the Saudi’s might have difficulty convincing their peers that the cuts are having an impact, other than allowing US shale producers to flourish.

OPEC will meet Nov. 30 in Vienna.

Erik: Joining me now as this week’s featured interview guest is former US Department of Energy Chief of Staff Joe McMonigle, who now heads up the energy research team at Hedgeye. Joe, I think everybody understands that the key question in today’s oil market is whether the rebalancing that OPEC production cuts were supposed to achieve is really happening or if the supply glut is actually still continuing. So let’s start with your high-level view first. Is OPEC effectively managing supply or are they really just managing market sentiment?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

GAO asks Congress to prepare for Peak Oil

GAO asks Congress to prepare for Peak Oil

[It is easy to forget with the low oil prices we have today that Peak Oil hasn’t gone away. Low prices are actually alarming, it means that drilling and future exploration are stopping, setting us up for an even more dramatic oil shock in the future. Peak oil forces a shrinkage in economies, yet our system is predicated on endless growth of credit and debt paid back in an ever growing economy.  Shrinkage is highly deflationary. Credit disappears, oil companies can’t borrow to drill, and customers are so poor that oil at any price is too expensive, and demand drops.  The underlying biophysical reality is that the energy returned on invested is too low to run civilization. 

Alice Friedemann at www.energyskeptic.com]

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The great condensate con: Is the oil glut just about oil?

The great condensate con: Is the oil glut just about oil?

My favorite Texas oilman Jeffrey Brown is at it again. In a recent email he’s pointing out to everyone who will listen that the supposed oversupply of crude oil isn’t quite what it seems. Yes, there is a large overhang of excess oil in the market. But how much of that oversupply is honest-to-god oil and how much is so-called lease condensate which gets carelessly lumped in with crude oil? And, why is this important to understanding the true state of world oil supplies?

In order to answer these questions we need to get some preliminaries out of the way.

Lease condensate consists of very light hydrocarbons which condense from gaseous into liquid form when they leave the high pressure of oil reservoirs and exit through the top of an oil well. This condensate is less dense than oil and can interfere with optimal refining if too much is mixed with actual crude oil. The oil industry’s own engineers classify oil as hydrocarbons having an API gravity of less than 45–the higher the number, the lower the density and the “lighter” the substance. Lease condensate is defined as hydrocarbons having an API gravity between 45 and 70. (For a good discussion about condensates and their place in the marketplace, read “Neither Fish nor Fowl – Condensates Muscle in on NGL and Crude Markets.”)

Refiners are already complaining that so-called “blended crudes” contain too much lease condensate, and they are seeking out better crudes straight from the wellhead. Brown has dubbed all of this the great condensate con.

Brown points out that U.S. net crude oil imports for December 2015 grew from the previous December, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy. U.S. statistics for crude oil imports include condensate, but don’t break out condensate separately.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Looming Environmental Disaster In Missouri That Nobody Is Talking About

The Looming Environmental Disaster In Missouri That Nobody Is Talking About

Since we first highlighted the potential for a “catastrophic event” in Missouri three months ago, there has been little mainstream media coverage. However, as Claire Bernish via TheAntiMedia.org notes, residents near the smoldering fill have expressed increasing frustration with the quarreling agencies offering few answers for an increasing number of health issues, like asthma. For now, it’s startlingly apparent no one knows exactly what’s happening with the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills – though the smoldering below the surface doesn’t cease and floodwaters continue to rise.

What happens when radioactive byproduct from the Manhattan Project comes into contact with an “underground fire” at a landfill? Surprisingly, no one actually knows for sure; but residents of Bridgeton, Missouri, near the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills — just northwest of the St. Louis International Airport — may find out sooner than they’d like.

And that conundrum isn’t the only issue for the area. Contradicting reports from both the government and the landfill’s responsible parties, radioactive contamination is actively leaching into the surrounding populated area from the West Lake site — and likely has been for the past 42 years.

In order to grasp this startling confluence of circumstances, it’s important to understand the history of these sites. Pertinent information either hasn’t been forthcoming or is muddied by disputes among the various government agencies and companies that should be held accountable for keeping area residents safe.

*  *  *

West Lake Landfill was placed on the National Priorities List in 1990, giving the Environmental Protection Agency regulatory authority through its designation as a Superfund site. However, the area wasn’t a planned radioactive waste storage site. Uranium processing residue leftover from the World War II-era Manhattan Project was originally dumped there, illegally, by a contractor for former uranium processing company and General Atomics affiliate, Cotter Corporation in 1973.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is The U.S. About To Break One Of Its Own Nuclear Treaties?

Is The U.S. About To Break One Of Its Own Nuclear Treaties?

Bill Richardson could teach Donald Trump something about the art of the deal.

He has done a lot of them. Richardson also wrote a book about the art of the deal, the big deal, entitled “How to Sweet-Talk a Shark; Strategies and Stories from a Master Negotiator.”

In a towering life of public service (U.S. representative, U.N. ambassador, secretary of Energy, New Mexico governor, and peripatetic hostage negotiator), Richardson confronted Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, two of North Korea’s dictators, and an assortment of international thugs. He was a five-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The essence of Richardson’s deal-making was that the commitment must be kept by both parties.

Related: Iran Deal Opponents Try A New Approach

At present Richardson sees one of his deals in jeopardy, and he was in Washington last week to raise the alarm, meeting privately with former colleagues and appearing at a press conference at the National Press Club.

The deal in jeopardy involves a commitment he made, when he was secretary of Energy in the Clinton administration, with the Russians to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium, the long-lived ingredient in nuclear weapons. There are 34 metric tons of the stuff that the United States is bound, by treaty with Russia, to dispose of by integrating it into nuclear fuel and burning it in civilian power plants. This is known as mixed oxide fuel or MOX.

But the Obama administration wants to end the program, before a fleck of plutonium has been processed for fuel. It is seeking to pull the plug on the construction of the facility at a Department of Energy site on the Savannah River in South Carolina, which is two-thirds complete and has already cost over $4 billion.

The administration is now looking not at the completion cost, but at the lifetime cost of the facility. And it is saying that it is too high; although that could have been calculated years ago.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Truth takes a hit in the battle over U.S. oil export ban

Truth takes a hit in the battle over U.S. oil export ban

They say that the first casualty of war is truth. And, on both sides of the fight over lifting the ban on exports of U.S. crude oil, the truth has already fallen into a coma. The ban was instituted in 1975 in order to make America less subject to swings in international oil supply after suffering the price shock associated with the Arab oil embargo in 1973.

Last week a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to end the ban after a Senate committee voted in July to do the same. A vote by the full House and Senate could be near.

The proponents are careful NOT to say that the United States is energy-independent and so has oil to spare. Such claims made in the past backfired because it is too easy to look this up. Net U.S. imports of crude oil were almost 7 million barrels per day (mbpd) in the week ending September 4. That’s out of about 15.6 mbpd of liquid fuels consumed domestically.*

Yet, it is this state of affairs that the proponents of lifting the export ban label as “abundance.” Here’s the relevant quote from the website of the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance (DEPA), a consortium of U.S. oil drillers: “Thanks to the genius of America’s independent oil and natural gas producers, the world is moving from a concept of ‘resource scarcity’ toward ‘resource abundance.'” (So, the world is not moving toward actualabundance, just the concept of abundance. But, I’m nitpicking.)

In another piece entitled “From Scarcity To Abundance: Why The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is Unnecessary” the group is more bold, saying that the supposed “abundance” is right here in the United States:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…




Wind May Win The Renewable Race – But At What Price?

Wind May Win The Renewable Race – But At What Price?

You only need to drive the long, lonely stretches of highway in west Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Colorado or even parts of California to know that wind farms have become prolific across America. In fact, there are over 48,000 wind turbines spinning their blades in at least 39 states including Alaska, Hawaii and even in Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released an Executive Summary on wind last week, including some interesting, but possibly ambitious, projections. According to the DOE, wind has become the fastest-growing source of alternative energy since 2000. In 2008, the report claims, wind provided just 1.5% of the nation’s total electricity needs. That jumped to 4.5-percent by 2013, a number mostly validated by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The DOE predicts wind power will jump to 10-percent by the end of the decade, then 20-percent by 2030 and possibly as high as 35-percent by 2050. TheAmerican Wind Energy Association agrees that a 20-percent market penetration is possible in fifteen years. On a global perspective, ExxonMobil, in their 2014 Energy Outlook to 2040 is not quite as optimistic, forecasting that fossil fuels will still provide approximately 70-percent of the world’s energy demand in twenty-five years, with wind and solar combined only generating approximately 4-percent of global demand.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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