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The Living Wage, Affordable Housing, Subsidies, Public Works and the Myth of Job Creation

In his desperation to save himself politically, the mayor has reluctantly reached out to the civic elite — people like former Mayor Richard Riordan, billionaire Eli Broad, LAEDC head Bill Allen — to create jobs, hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs.

The mayor’s own efforts have been a dismal failure with the official unemployment rate among the highest in the nation at 14 percent and another 14 percent so devoid of hope they have given up the search for work.

He loves to talk about creating a “green corridor” but couldn’t bring home the cornerstone of his promise, an Italian rail car assembly (not manufacturing) plant, despite promises of subsidies and didn’t lift a finger to capture even a fraction of the billions in state funding for stem cell research.


He throws his muscle behind huge subsidies for luxury hotels and expensive entertainment venues with obnoxious digital billboards and gets nothing in return except guarantees of living wage jobs while corporations reap huge profits that end up in bank accounts far away.

He talks endlessly about streamlining the wearyingly complex permit processes for major developments but fails to follow through even as he arranges for massive public subsidies and does his best to exclude the public from any influence.

He gives tax breaks and other advantages to the entertainment industry but runaway production continues unabated.

He touts a $5 billion program to build affordable housing that hardly gets off the ground and never spells out just what affordable means. Affordable for who?

Huge increases in taxes, fees and rates are imposed for public works projects that keep the local economy from collapsing entirely but make no dent in the long-term problems of soaring poverty and the flight of the middle class.

And now he turns to the civic elite he shunned for four years to bail him out of the catastrophe his policies have created.

The business community assuredly will line up behind them as they use the tools at hand: More public works spending, hasty approval of development projects that will give us bigger malls and more high-rises along with more traffic congestion and greater demand for water and power that will require huge rate hikes.

The plain truth is these efforts haven’t worked for 30 years and they won’t work now.

Large corporations and high-tech industries don’t set up shop in cities with vast numbers of people who lack the disposable incomes to consume their goods and services and lack the skills to do their jobs.

If they want to do business in the region, they go to Santa Monica and Glendale and Pasadena and Thousand Oaks and most of the other cities that encircle LA, or the areas of LA like the Westside and the 101 corridor in the Valley where there is still affluence.

We have talked for three decades now about the failure of our schools, our gang-infested neighborhoods and the vanishing middle class and keep on using the same tools to reverse the trends.

It’s time we faced the truth head-on.You aren’t going to create sustainable jobs in a jobless recovery from the worst recession in a generation. 

Hard as it is to believe, LA is a city following the path of dying old industrial towns like Detroit and Cleveland — not the path of vibrant cities that endlessly regenerate like Chicago and New York.

Our governance system is hopelessly broken. City Hall for too long has been a jobs program, not a service provider. City government simply costs too much and does too little. The bills for that have now come due and we are slashing even those services in an effort to reduce massive deficits and avoid bankruptcy.

The real problem isn’t structural — it is leadership.

The civic, political and business leaders keep on supporting band-aid approaches to what is wrong and settling for crumbs that mask the severity of the problem for a little while.

Great cities require the belief of the people who feel their interests are being served today and will be in the future. That’s why they stay and invest in them.

If anything should be obvious it’s that LA long ago became a city of limits where “thinking big” no longer works. There isn’t enough land or other resources to support more and more development and more people.

We need to think small, to put the quality of our lives at the top of the agenda, to devolve power from City Hall to the neighborhoods, to empower our residents to bring to life a new city out of our extraordinary diversity and the shared belief in personal freedom that is the essence of what LA is all about.

Antonio Villaraigosa once held the promise of being the leader who could bring us to this promised land.

Maybe he still can but not as long as keeps on looking to enrich his friends and allies at the expense of others, not as long as keeps looking for his next job, not as long as travels the world rather than attending to his duties, not as long as he keeps thinking the people are fools who will fall for hollow promises.

I dream of a city where every individual feels empowered to affect the course of public events, where people feel an ownership stake in their city’s public life, not categorized as stakeholders to be manipulated.

I believe LA can reinvent itself as a free city where people come first and freedom and mutual respect flourish in place of greed and selfishness. It seems to me that is the destiny of LA, the logical outcome of all that has come before. The alternative of a city separated by grotesque differences or wealth and poverty is unthinkable.

Maybe I’m wrong and there’s another way but I haven’t heard anyone propose anything that isn’t already a tried and proven failure.
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53 Responses to The Living Wage, Affordable Housing, Subsidies, Public Works and the Myth of Job Creation

  1. ellen vukovich says:

    Our “leadership” needs to understand the means for a solution has always rested in the hands of the experts in the field, i.e.,the citizens, business owners, voters, homeowners, apartment dwellers, employees, etc. Combined we have all the knowledge necessary to right this city.
    Failing that, at least the mayor could have reached out to the next generation – those who will never read a newspaper, could care less what the talking heads have to say on TV, and carry their means to communicate (and the future of our industries) in their hands.

  2. ellen vukovich says:

    Our “leadership” needs to understand the means for a solution has always rested in the hands of the experts in the field, i.e.,the citizens, business owners, voters, homeowners, apartment dwellers, employees, etc. Combined we have all the knowledge necessary to right this city.
    Failing that, at least the mayor could have reached out to the next generation – those who will never read a newspaper, could care less what the talking heads have to say on TV, and carry their means to communicate (and the future of our industries) in their hands.

  3. anonymous says:

    Take away the guaranteed 20 hours overtime a week for DWP workers, outsource those contracts that were once outsourced but pulled back in house (at double or triple the cost), and you might help employ a few out of work folks with that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If anyone believes the likes of E. Broad and R. Riordan are going to create jobs in L.A., I`ve got a bridge to sell. They are not going to get their manicured hands……dirty and work in the trenches, because the don`t know how. They don`t understand what it takes to create jobs. They made their billions by f….the little guy, thru leveraged buyouts, breaking the companies and sending the workers to the unemployment lines. I can go on and on. Let`s get real. It makes a good headline, but nothing will happen. But again, what`s new……

  5. Anonymous says:

    You can add Charlie Beck to the list of losers in this city. Troops are fuming like some news reporters being tricked by Beck thinking the 130 more cops being put on the street were coming from desk duty. BUT NO….Another bone head move by BECK to appease the idiot Mayor. They are coming from a task force that goes after gang bangers CREW’
    “”" Charlie Beck failed to emphasize that the move would break up an effective, mobile, crime-saturation unit that has been used to target gangs and problem areas in the city.
    http://blogs.laweekly.com/ladaily/city-news/beck-breaks-up-police-unit/#more

  6. Anonymous says:

    The lowest crime in 50 years Villaraigosa screams from roof tops as his only redemption.
    Ask how many homicides we have had in the last thirty days! Especially in the last few weeks in South Bureau.
    He is going to need much more than 130 officers back behind desks to fill in for all of those ERIP civilian workers he is loosing too!

  7. Anonymous says:

    “The real problem isn’t structural — it is leadership”
    I couldn’t agree more. The simple question is how come other Mayors are able to resolve problems and how do they do it?
    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2009/index.html

  8. Anonymous says:

    With or without this mayor, urbanization will continue to be a dynamic continuum dependent on those who invest, toil, sacrifice, and utilize every possible resource available…..the adults who currently live and work in L.A. are the facilitators of such progress….Progress for who?…..Unfortunately, sometimes politicking literally gets in the way…the mayor needs to become a facilitator….meaning: allow the City’s professionals to do their jobs without trying to control how their actions may or may not jeopardize his political capital/outcomes. All the mayor’s civil servants have taken an oath to serve the people of Los Angeles….they are all professionals…let them be professional and not beholden to some official’s next campaign or election. Would this mean that there would be less flare extruding from City Hall…so be it..perhaps less is more…We hope to remember our Mayor as a generous person filled with honor, integrity, humility, and simplicity. Don’t forget that those surrounding the mayor must help him be his best as well. We are all accountable for each other….Serve your city, and Your citizens will reap the fruits of your labor…in turn Your efforts will be reciprocated ten fold. Mayor keep up the GOOD WORKS.

  9. Anonymous says:

    7:32PM, I hope you`ll get as a Xmas present a gift certificate for weekly visits to a psychiatrist till next Mayoral election.

  10. At the same time, the city is broke.
    Next year, the “Budget Gap” is $408 million, down for $821 million projected in April, primarily because of a raid on the two city pension plans.
    And it only gets worse, with the Budget Gap hitting $1 bbillion in 2013-14.
    Plus, the pension deficit will probably increase from its cureent level of $11.5 billion, or 41% underfunded, and that is based on some bogus assumptions. And the unions are out to raid it once again as they discuss severence packages.
    And don’t forget our crumbling infrastructure that probalby needs north of $10 billion.
    Watch out for desparate men, especially those witn no moral fiber.

  11. Scratch says:

    Eli Broad, Riordan, Villaraigosa and all the king’s horses won’t be able to put humpty dumpty back together again.
    LA got too greedy for its own good collectively, and it shoo’d away the middle class collectively.
    “Lofts” starting at $400,000 and up. 1 bedroom apartments renting for $1500-$2000 per month.
    School tuitions for elementary education at $15,000 to $20,000 per year. Who’s fooling who?
    I’m happy I got to live in LA when even a beach bum surfer could afford to live there. Those days are gone. Perhaps the only thing that can bring back that kind of freedom is financial ruin. LA thrived on creativity. That was its bread and butter. But creativity can’t live under the tyranny of greed.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “To jump-start job growth, Villaraigosa said he plans to seek federal funds and approvals to accelerate major transportation projects, including the “Subway to the Sea” Red Line extension to Westwood.”—from today’s L.A. Times……Oh, don’t forget to ask for some Federal funds to help build the 710 Tunnel as the City Council recently approved the Southern Portal location to be south of Valley Blvd. We could sure use the traffic congestion relief in El Sereno.

  13. david r2b says:

    Mr. Moore –
    I just finished reading your link. Excellent. One other subject that also needs to be addressed and that’s the LAUSD. I am not an education person, but I am a product of LA Unified and something is radically wrong. In a previous column, here at Ron Kaye LA, a Gentleman mentioned an “Open Court” program that sounds ridiculous and our Teachers are supposed to educate with it. Granted, LAUSD is not directly under Spring Street control, but the Schools need some ideas / help / change also.

  14. Chris Rowe says:

    To Walter Moore,
    I looked at your link, but I realize that you would create your own problems with the LADWP if you were Mayor.
    1) According to Al Gore’s latest book:
    “Our Choice – A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis”,
    there are 104 active nuclear reactors in the United States – almost twice as many as France.
    “As a group, the U.S. nuclear reactors are responsible for almost 31 percent of all nuclear- generated electricity in the world.
    2)The LADWP has about 10% from nuclear energy as part of its mix:
    POWER CONTENT LABEL
    Annual Report of Actual Electricity Purchases for LADWP
    Calendar Year 2008
    * 100%of LADWP Power is specifically purchased from individual suppliers.
    ** 100%of LADWP Green Power is specifically purchased from individual suppliers.
    *** Percentages are estimated annually by the California Energy Commission based on
    electricity sold to California consumers during the previous year.
    **** In accordance with Los Angeles City Council’s action on 10-5-04 for File No. 03-2688 (RPS).
    For specific information about this electricity product, contact LADWP at 1-800-DIAL-DWP.
    For general information about the Power Content Label, contact the California Energy Commission at
    1-800-555-7794 or http://www.energy.ca.gov/consumer.
    LADWP LADWP 2007 CA
    LADWP LADWP Green Green POWER
    Power* Power Power** Power MIX***
    ENERGY RESOURCES Actual Mix Projected Mix Actual Mix Projected Mix For Comparison
    Eligible Renewable**** 8% 8% 100% 100% 10%
    — Biomass & waste 1% 1%

  15. Anonymous says:

    Chris, nuclear power is the ONLY cost effective alternative to fossil fuels out there.
    A big reason why Edison’s green portfolio is greener than LADWP’s is because they run San Onofre.
    As someone who works in energy I’ve noticed that general comprehension of anything energy related is very poor on this site.

  16. Anonymous says:

    December 26, 2009 10:50 PM
    Coal is the cheapest form of electrical generation, however as a society we have decided to look at the effects of coal on the environment and the true costs.
    In the same respect, Nuclear generation costs are very high if you factor in ALL aspects – cradle-to-grave costs including the risks. The cost and risk of mining uranium, the storage costs of of spent fuel rods, increased security, initial capital expenditures, and decommissioning.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think all of the items on Walter Moore’s list of solutions make sense, however any negatives have been completely wiped out by his statement about eliminating the CRA – That redeems Walter and puts him on the high point of an enlightened Citizen.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Obviously there are at least two sides to the Nuclear energy story.
    But the reality is that whether a government owned utility or a investor owned utility tries to build one, the track record shows that the actual build cost will be much higher than estimated and the schedule will be much longer than estimated.
    Here is one analysis which argues that Nuclear power is actually more expensive than other forms of generation by Craig A. Severance co-author of The Economics of Nuclear and Coal Power and former Assistant to the Chairman and to
    Commerce Counsel, Iowa State Commerce
    Commission: http://climateprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/nuclear-costs-2009.pdf

  19. Chris Rowe says:

    To: By Anonymous on December 26, 2009 10:50 PM
    Nuclear energy is not the only cost effective alternative to fossil fuels.
    There are many costs in the world. No form of energy is without its costs.
    The LADWPs energy costs are cheaper than SCE because we do have:
    42% from coal, 34% from natural gas,and 10% from nuclear. That means that 86% of our energy is from fossil fuels and nuclear. While nuclear energy will not have the same carbon emissions that other alternatives, as Anonymous on December 26, 2009 11:01 PM stated, cradle to grave, there are a lot of costs to create nuclear.
    I am not saying that research on nuclear energy should not occur at our universities. What I am saying is this: California is not ready – other states are.
    The nuclear issue is very complex. The reality is – energy and water are complex. The use of each is tied to population.
    None of the renewable energy sources listed above that are currently a part of the LADWP portfolio is the answer by itself. Each requires research into the feasibility.
    Geothermal was just shut down in Northern California because they have decided that it may create earthquakes. Geothermal was one of our greatest hopes for alternative energy in Los Angeles. The LADWP had plans for geothermal in the Salton Sea. There are other major geothermal sources in California. This is a big setback for geothermal. We will have to see what effect the Northern California project has on other geothermal projects nationwide.
    If we have global warming as most scientists predict – then we may also have problems with drought – which we are also experiencing today.
    This reduction in our water supply will affect not only the hydroelectric, but water that we would need for nuclear, according to Al Gore’s book.
    To my friends (Anonymous?) that want to believe in nuclear – want to invest in it because they believe it is a part of our energy future – I would say that nuclear is big in Europe, and it is big in Asia. According to Al Gore’s book – referenced above, China is building 16 nuclear plants, Russia is building 9, India is building 6, and South Korea is building 5.
    If on the other hand you are concerned about the carbon footprint of energy, as I am, I will refer you back to Al Gore’s Book – “Our Choice – page 165.
    These figures are based on grams of CO2 per kilowatt – hour of energy:
    Coal – 965 (with scrubbing; 1,050 without scrubbing)
    Gas – 443
    Nuclear – 1-288
    Geothermal – 38
    Solar PV – 32
    Solar CST _ 13
    wind – 9 offshore; 10 onshore.
    These figures do not address costs, feasibility, waste problems, or security.
    There are many reasons to be “No on Measure B”. One was about jobs for everyone – not just the IBEW. Another was about the monetary costs associated with solar.
    Another was about the feasiblity of putting in 400 MW of solar in Los Angeles. We have not seen the answers to any of those questions yet.
    Others did not like the LADWP monopoly which made us sell the solar that we pay for ourselves – put it on our own roofs – we had to give our electric to the LADWP and let them determine what costs to pay us for using alternative energy.
    But finally, for me, there was also the cost of using coal in China to build solar plants, make solar panels, ship them into our harbor. We already have a dirty harbor.
    My new question of the day – to any of you who actually know about energy – what is the carbon footprint of people who take cruises? I’d like to be able to compare airplanes, trains, buses, and cruise ships to see if this is a new source of green house gases that we don’t even consider.

  20. Undocumented American says:

    When somebody uses Al Gore as the primary reference on ANY subject, I disregard what is written. Use another source.
    I know, he won a Nobel Peace Prize.
    The Nobel Peace prize has been completely discredited after the latest selection.
    “According to Al Gore’s book – referenced above, China is building 16 nuclear plants…”
    According to the New York Times, China is building or will be building a LOT more than 16 nuclear reactors.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/business/global/16chinanuke.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all
    “Nuclear Power Expansion in China Stirs Concerns
    By KEITH BRADSHER
    Published: December 15, 2009
    SHENZHEN, China — China is preparing to build three times as many nuclear power plants in the coming decade as the rest of the world combined…”
    According to wikipedia.com (a reliable source?)
    under the heading “Nuclear Power in China”:
    “As of 2008, the People’s Republic of China (not including Taiwan) has 11 nuclear power reactors spread out over 4 separate sites….The country is expected to build around 22 reactors in the five years ending 2010 and projected to build 132 units after and has the most aggressive nuclear power expansion program in the world.”
    From the same wikipedia, under the heading “Nuclear power in Japan”:
    “In 2008, after the opening of 8 brand new nuclear plants in Japan…Japan became the third largest nuclear power user in the world with 53 nuclear reactors. These provide 34.5% of Japan’s electricity. Since 1973 nuclear energy has been a national strategic priority because Japan is heavily dependent on imported fuel, with fuel imports accounting for 61% of energy production.”
    Somebody mention earthquakes? Japan is synonymous earthquakes, but Japan went ahead with nuclear power.
    For the rest of the world…
    Nuclear power may be “non grata” in the State of California, but that isn’t stopping anybody else
    from developing nuclear power…not even the Iranians.

  21. Twinsdad says:

    After reading the preceding 22 comments, I offer a few thoughts on what I think are some important omissions.
    First to Chris: You seem to be the voice of the environmental movement here, and in typical form you have deliberately omitted the product of the sciences in your epistles. Specifically, the products of the sciences of geology and paleontology show that your (and your ilk’s) attempts at engineering climatic/environmental stability to be folly. Such a thing has never, and will never exist in nature.
    You have also omitted the products of the science of anthropology, which show humanity as a product of precisely the same processes that have produced all forms of life. Like it or not, humanity and its influence are as natural and legitimate as all other natural forces.
    Keep in mind that our species has deep roots. Humanity emerged from the Pleistocene, which was an almost two million year period of climatic schizophrenia. Our ancestors not only survived radical fluctuations in climate, they also populated all viable niches in all but one of the continents. And they did this with technology that amounted to little more than the ability to light a fire (more or less) at will and to make a sharp edge by banging two rocks together.
    In short Chris, you have nothing to offer here, so put a sock in it.
    Now to the topic at issue, the dismal state of the economy.
    Throughout the history of all of the known civilizations, there has never been a more potent mechanism to democratize wealth than manufacturing, period. And manufacturing will never reignite until real capitalism is allowed to replace contemporary corporatism.
    The obstacles to domestic manufacturing emanate from national, regional and local centers of power, and until this is fully recognized and castrated, there will never be a halt to the concentration of wealth we are now experiencing, or the type of employment opportunities desired.

  22. Chris Rowe says:

    To: By Undocumented American on December 27, 2009 10:40 AM and Twinsdad on December 27, 2009 11:04 AM
    The affect of the small size of the Pleistocene population would have a very small impact on the earth’s ecological systems compared to the impacts of nearly seven billion people on earth today.
    Thank you for bringing anthropology into the discussion! My husband has been teaching anthropology at the LACCD for 40 years. His text books – which I have read – are considered classics. He is now in the process of updating his (and Phil Stein’s)” Stein and Rowe Physical Anthropology” 9th Edition to the 10th edition.
    These textbooks are used internationally.
    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img.flipkart.com/bk_imgs/thumb/755/9780073205755.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.flipkart.com/physical-anthropology-philip-stein-bruce/0073405310-zmw3fdu9ac&usg=__IDevt_V3LW_OHSdufg_Qhrgj4Zs=&h=100&w=78&sz=4&hl=en&start=2&um=1&tbnid=osFkza02eL4ShM:&tbnh=82&tbnw=64&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%2522Stein%2Band%2BRowe%2BPhysical%2BAnthropology%2522%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1%26ie%3DUTF-8
    This textbook (Stein and Rowe Physical Anthropology) was discussing what scientists believe about global warming before Al Gore brought it to the attention of the rest of the world. Global Warming is not a new discussion.
    Yes – this is where I get information on issues like population and the environment – from courses that I have taken and college textbooks on Anthropology, Environmental Health, Environmental Science, Environmental Geology, etc.
    I cite Al Gore because I know that Al Gore’s books show good sources. His sources are at the back of his book, and they include the Department of Energy.
    Please remember that a textbook becomes outdated even before it is printed. Science is constantly producing new information. That is why there are online companion links to my husband’s textbooks -to update information that has come to light since the current textbook was written.
    My husbands emails are set up for the latest research for his textbooks. We read “Science News”, “Science”, “Nature”, “Chemical and Engineering News” among other magazines and journals. Textbook authors must use primary sources and I believe that my husband has done enough research and attended enough conventions on the area of Anthropology that he knows what areas he is competent in. Have you any clue how many different specialities there are in Anthropology alone? Do you know how many papers are given at the American Anthropological Association meetings?
    Would you like to take a walk sometime at Pierce College where the college has created a Botanical Garden with a “Evolution Walk”.
    http://info.piercecollege.edu/offices/garden/
    Twinsdad,
    You can take your twins there to the pond to see the turtles.
    Wiki – can be written by anyone. My husband would not allow wiki to be cited as a source for any papers for his classes.
    The New York Times has some credibility – but I have learned that newspapers make many mistakes – and that includes the “Los Angeles Times” and the “Daily News”. I am referring to specific topics that I know that they have not addressed.
    So if you want to discredit me for citing Al Gore, then lets go to the area that I usually read – the land of the Department of Energy and the EIA:
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/electricity.html
    “Nuclear Power
    Electricity generation from nuclear power is projected to increase from about 2.7 trillion kilowatthours in 2006 to 3.8 trillion kilowatthours in 2030, as concerns about rising fossil fuel prices, energy security, and greenhouse gas emissions support the development of new nuclear generation capacity. High prices for fossil fuels allow nuclear power to become economically competitive with generation from coal, natural gas, and liquids despite the relatively high capital and maintenance costs associated with nuclear power plants. Moreover, higher capacity utilization rates have been reported for many existing nuclear facilities, and it is anticipated that most of the older nuclear power plants in the OECD countries and non-OECD Eurasia will be granted extensions to their operating lives.
    Around the world, nuclear generation is attracting new interest as countries look to increase the diversity of their energy supplies, improve energy security, and provide a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. Still, there is considerable uncertainty associated with nuclear power. Issues that could slow the expansion of nuclear power in the future include plant safety, radioactive waste disposal, and concerns that weapons-grade uranium may be produced from centrifuges installed to enrich uranium for civilian nuclear power programs. Those issues continue to raise public concern in many countries and may hinder the development of new nuclear power reactors. Nevertheless, the IEO2009 reference case incorporates improved prospects for world nuclear power. The IEO2009 projection for nuclear electricity generation in 2025 is 25 percent higher than the projection published 5 years ago in IEO2004.
    On a regional basis, the IEO2009 reference case projects the strongest growth in nuclear power for the countries of non-OECD Asia (Figure 52). Non-OECD Asia’s nuclear power generation is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 7.8 percent from 2006 to 2030, including projected increases of 8.9 percent per year in China and 9.9 percent per year in India. Outside Asia, the largest increase in installed nuclear capacity among the non-OECD nations is projected for Russia, where nuclear power generation increases by an average of 3.5 percent per year. In contrast, OECD Europe is expected to see a small decline in nuclear power generation, as some national governments (including Germany and Belgium) still have plans in place to phase out nuclear programs entirely.
    To address the uncertainty inherent in projections of nuclear power growth in the long term, a two-step approach is used to formulate the outlook for nuclear power. In the near term (through 2015), projections are based primarily on the current activities of the nuclear power industry and national governments. Because of the long permitting and construction lead times associated with nuclear power plants, there is general agreement among analysts on which nuclear projects are likely to become operational in the mid-term. After 2015, the projections are based on a combination of announced plans or goals at the country and regional levels and consideration of other issues facing the development of nuclear power, including economics, geopolitical issues, technology advances, and environmental policies. The availability of potential uranium resources is also considered as part of the IEO2009 modeling effort. At production costs between $40 and $80 per kilogram of uranium, total uranium reserves in excess of 3.8 million metric tons will be sufficient to meet the 2.7 million metric tons that would be needed to support the projected growth in nuclear generation worldwide [2].”
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf63.html
    “Nuclear Power in China
    (Updated 19 December 2009)
    Mainland China has 11 nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, nearly 20 under construction, and more about to start construction soon.
    Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world’s most advanced, to give a sixfold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 60 GWe or possibly more by 2020, and then a further three to fourfold increase to 120-160 GWe by 2030.
    The country aims to become self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle”
    Any more questions to: Undocumented American
    and Twinsdad?

  23. Chris Rowe says:

    One more thing about the reading of Al Gore’s book – “Our Choice”.
    I am reading the book as a summary of various energy sources. I want to see what his arguments are for and against various energy uses.
    From there, I will go to the primary sources, and I will see the accuracy of the book’s facts.
    I always appreciate being corrected if I am in error. However, if you are going to correct me, use a primary source not a newspaper.
    Al Gore as the former Vice President of the United States, the person who got the largest number of individual votes in 2000, who did win the Nobel Prize, and he has a lot of access to a lot of people in the world of science, energy, and world governments.
    I want to see what his rationale is – what he is telling other nations about global warming and energy. Only then can I tell which direction that Al Gore thinks that the “wind is blowing”. That refers to the argument about whether we should be considering nuclear in the energy mix or whether he is focused on specific other alternative sources.
    I did not cite the conclusions in his book; I do not know what his conclusions are until I have finished reading it.
    But what I do know is this – Al Gore and the majority of international scientists do believe that global warming is happening, and that they believe the contribution by humans of greenhouse gases is making that happen more rapidly.

  24. Anonymous says:

    One of the major reasons companies do not want to do business in California anymore is the litigation problem. There are thousands of lawyers in this state looking any reason to a lawsuit and force a settlement. Even if you win the case, the cost of fighing it is substantial. Why would a company want to put itself at risk of this kind of problem and the costs associated with it?

  25. Chris Rowe says:

    To: By Anonymous on December 26, 2009 11:57 PM
    I was reading the article on nuclear that you cite. It is somwhat dated – but I agree with your conclusion – nuclear will cost a lot more financially than investors believe.
    This is another source on the issue of building reactors in the South.
    http://climateprogress.org/2009/05/05/nuclear-power-plant-costs-progress-energy/
    “What do you get when you buy a nuke? You get a lot of delays and rate increases….
    May 5, 2009
    Progress Energy said Friday it has pushed back by 20 months its schedule for bringing on-line two planned new nuclear reactors in Florida, after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said its review of the plant site will take longer than expected.
    Progress also said it will spread out over five years certain early–stage costs for the new reactors that it could legally bill to ratepayers entirely in 2010, an apparent bid to tamp down customer anger over rate increases linked to the project that took effect earlier this year.
    New nuclear plants are so expensive they are likely to provide electricity at some 15 cents per kilowatt hour (see “Nuclear power, Part 2: The price is not right“) — or possibly more than 20 cents/kWh (see “Exclusive analysis, Part 1: The staggering cost of new nuclear power“). The precise answer — 50% higher than average U.S. electricity prices or more than 100% higher — is hard to know since it is all but impossible to find a utility willing to stand behind a firm price in a rate hearing.
    When we last left Progress Energy in 2008, it had said the twin 1,100-megawatt plants it intends to build would cost $14 billion, which “triples estimates the utility offered little more than a year ago.” And that didn’t even count the 200-mile $3 billion transmission system utility needs, which brings the price up to a staggering $7,700 a kilowatt. Under Florida law, to pay for these nuclear power plants, Progress Energy can raise the rates of its customers a $100 a year for years and years and years before they even get one kilowatt-hour from these plants. Sweet deal, no?
    Energy Daily (subs. req’d, quoted above) updates the Florida story. Let’s start with the cost to consumers:
    As for project costs, Progress said it has filed with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for permission to add to customer bills next year an additional $6.69 per thousand kilowatt-hours (KWH) charge to cover the Levy County reactor costs as well as work to boost output at its existing Crystal River nuclear plant from 900 to 1,080 megawatts.
    The costs of the Levy County project have already irked some Florida ratepayers who saw their bills jump 25 percent in January to cover early costs for the new reactors as well as increases in the cost of fuel Progress purchases to generate power.
    From too cheap to meter to too expensive to matter.
    For the record, “In 2007, the average monthly residential electricity consumption was 936 kilowatthours (kWh).” So we’re talking more than $70 a year added to the average customers bills for a long, long time before they even see a single kilowatt hour.
    In reaction to customer anger, Progress in April began deferring some of the costs of the Levy County project.
    Under the company’s new cost-recovery proposal announced Friday, Progress will bill ratepayers next year 30 cents per 1,000 KWH to pay for the power up-rate at Crystal River, $1.69 per 1,000 KWH to recoup deferred costs from 2009 for the Levy County project and $4.70 per KWH to cover costs for the new reactors incurred in 2010.
    Actually, Progress said that to fully recover those costs in 2010 as allowed it would have to bill customers about twice that–$12.63 per 1,000 KWH. But Progress said it has instead proposed to spread the balance over five years of future billings to “[lessen] the impact yearly impact on the customer and [provide] some short-term customer price relief.
    “The Levy County nuclear project continues to be the best baseload generation option for Florida taking into account cost, potential carbon regulation, fossil fuel price volatility and the benefits of fuel diversification,” said Progress in Friday’s press release.
    Well, It is the best baseload generation option for Florida other than energy efficiency (see “Efficiency, Part 3: The only cheap power left“) and biomass (see “If Obama stops dirty coal, as he must, what will replace it? Part 2: An intro to biomass cofiring“ and “Another coal plant to be replaced by a ‘plant’ plant!“) and a hybrid concentrated solar power and natural gas plant (see “World’s second* largest solar plant to be built in Florida“).
    Those are just a few of the reasons FERC chair Wellinghoff said of new nuclear and coal plants: “We may not need any, ever.”
    Heck, if you could forward bill customers for energy efficiency and do every energy efficiency measure that was cheaper than even $.10 a kilowatt hour, you wouldn’t need to build another nuclear power plant for a long, long time.
    Then again, we’re not going to build another nuclear power plant for a long, long time:
    Progress initially planned to start up the new reactors between 2016 and 2018, but it said it had to push back that date by 20 months due to delays with its license application for the plant at NRC.
    NRC recently told Progress that it would not finish a review of Progress’ request for “limit work authorization (LWA)” for the Levy County project before also completing a review of Progress’ combined construction and operating license (COL) application, a Progress spokeswoman said Monday.
    Limited work authorizations let utilities get a head start on needed site work like excavation before receiving a full construction and operating license.
    Without an LWA, Progress cannot begin that preliminary work until it receives the full COL, which it anticipates getting in 2011 or 2012. That change of plan accounts for the company’s revised, slower schedule for getting the units up and running.
    An NRC spokesman said the agency recently told Progress that “the Levy County site had complex geological characteristics and that staff would need more time to evaluate those characteristics.”
    He said NRC told Progress it needed an amended LWA application with more information about the site, but that Progress declined to submit one, deciding that given the longer time it would take to get an LWA, it would aim for a COL instead….
    And Progress Chairman President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson cast a positive light on the project’s delay, suggesting it would allow time for several pieces to fall together in support of the new reactors.
    “This shift in schedule provides time for the economy to recover, which should allow for financing in a more stable market,” Johnson said.
    And “having the license in hand and clearer federal climate change policy will ultimately decrease the risk to our customers and shareholders,” he said.
    I’ll cast an even more positive light on the project delay. Maybe it will give Florida regulators or utility executives time to figure out that other options would be superior.
    The only thing that would decrease risk is not pursuing this nuclear power plant until all of the lower-cost efficiency and renewable options were exhausted — as a June 2008 report by Moody’s Investor Services Global Credit Research, “New Nuclear Generating Capacity: Potential Credit Implications for U.S. Investor Owned Utilities” (PR here), warned
    The cost and complexity of building a new nuclear power plant could weaken the credit metrics of an electric utility and potentially pressure its credit ratings several years into the project, according to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service….
    Moody’s suggests that a utility that builds a new nuclear power plant may experience an approximately 25% to 30% deterioration in cash-flow-related credit metrics.
    And this would likely result in a sharp downgrading of the utility’s credit rating.
    The application by Florida Power & Light (FPL) for a large nuclear plant came in at a stunning $12 to $18 billion, and the utility concedes that new reactors present “unique risks and uncertainties,” with “every six-month delay adding as much as $500 million in interest costs.”
    The report Climate Progress published earlier this year, Business Risks and Costs of New Nuclear Power by power-plant cost expert Craig Severance, also has an extended discussion of the business risks to utilities and hence investors. I asked for a comment on the news from Severance, who is a practicing CPA, co-author of The Economics of Nuclear and Coal Power (Praeger 1976), and former Assistant to the Chairman and to Commerce Counsel, Iowa State Commerce Commission. He replied:
    Progress Energy’s announcement that it is delaying these two nuclear reactors by at least 20 months is not entirely unexpected given the difficulties in obtaining financing for such a megaproject. The delay of 20 months, noted as “giving the economy time to recover”, will also likely push the project into a time period when annual cost escalations for power plant construction projects will again be robust. It is highly likely this delay and the accelerated cost escalations will push the total project costs well over the company’s initial projections. If the project was not already considered too expensive, wait for the other shoe to drop when these forces affect its costs.
    A project that was already expected to take 10 years to complete is now moving into a 12-year horizon. If this is an example of how quickly nuclear power can help alleviate global warming, its not a good one.
    Progress Energy is also deferring early cost recovery from ratepayers even though it seems from their announcement these costs were quite significant. These early cost recovery laws were enacted to shift the substantial economic risks of such projects from stockholders to ratepayers. I’d love to know what their shareholders think now about carrying that load on equity stakeholders for such an extended period.”

  26. Anonymous says:

    Chris, this is 10:50 PM. Thanks for starting a nice dialog.
    I’ll add a few facts and ask if someone were to construct an energy portfolio for LA, what would the %’s be per source?
    First, coal is the cheapest in every regard except environmental effects. 50% of the nation’s energy comes from coal.
    Natural Gas has a lower footprint than coal but is expensive to run. LADWP has several natural gas peakers. They’re only turned on during peak load (in the afternoon). Even then only for a few hours.
    Wind is unreliable and expensive – both to build and maintain. When the wind doesn’t blow, there’s no generation so if you based a substantial amount of LA’s portfolio off wind, you’d get blackouts. Construction-wise, a windfarm costs about 4 times as much as a gas generation station for equal energy return. And something nobody ever talks about is that a huge chunk of the environment is destroyed in order to place all the turbines, access roads, and substations in order to put a windfarm in action.
    Solar is also unreliable for the same reason as wind so unless you’re buying solar on the energy market, you can’t base a substantial amount of LA’s portfolio off it. The best use of solar would be in-basin. As far as out-basin, the First Solar project was killed (it was a crappy deal anwyay). I think they should redo an in-basin proposal but in a way that addresses the concerns you listed.
    Geothermal is one of the most expensive generating stations to build. You’re basically running studies from the earth’s surface, identifying heat pockets, drilling into those pockets, converting the heat to steam, and using the steam to generate electricity. Once the heat is gone, the station is useless. There’s also a hit or miss factor associated with it where a company can spend millions of dollars, start drilling, and get nothing. Also the environmental effects of releasing heat from beneath the earth’s surface has not been fully quantified yet.
    So factoring in cost and feasibility, what would an ideal energy portfolio look like? Something to think about

  27. Anonymous says:

    To December 27, 2009 9:52 PM
    Your quote: “Natural Gas has a lower footprint than coal but is expensive to run. LADWP has several natural gas peakers. They’re only turned on during peak load (in the afternoon). Even then only for a few hours.”
    All of DWP’s in basin power plants are natural gas fired, not just the peaking units. That includes BASE LOADED conventional boiler fired and combined cycle units. The combined cycle base loaded units are more efficient and clean running.
    On another note, I’m surprised by those advocating Nuclear power. Some of the arguments against “Measure B” and other proposed Solar projects revolved around lack of disclosure about the real COSTS. When you open the discussion of using Nuclear, you will blow costs and utility bills to the customer out the door.
    Just look at PG&E and SCE’s stranded costs of their Nuclear plants. And if DWP proposed a Nuclear plant today in 2009/2010, the ratepayers would be stuck with a massive cost of studies, court fights, and State-wide opposition for years without ever starting a project. It would dwarf Measure B or any future Solar plan in costs and public outrage.
    We all can quote and site articles from now to eternity, but you need a reality check. The City of LA will never propose a Nuclear plant within LA or the State and neither will any California Investor-Owned Utilities such as SCE, PG&E, or SDG&E. It just doesn’t add up from a practical business perspective and from a public support point of view. So why waste everyone’s time even thinking about it.
    A locally-sited clean-burning natural gas combined cycle power plant, on the other hand would be built within 2-years and would be on time and budget. That has been proven already.
    No need to re-invent the wheel and sail in uncharted waters and set Los Angeles in further debt.

  28. Anonymous says:

    4:02, you’re right. In my head I tend to group the NG steam plants with the peakers because of low efficiency, but I totally forgot about the combined cycle units.
    So right now LA is roughly 25% natural gas and 50% coal. If both of these fossil fuel based forms of generation were to be abandoned, that’s 75% capacity that would have to come from somewhere else. The only logicial alternative is nuclear for the sole reason it’s the only reliable alternative. About 10% of LA’s power is nuclear from Palo Verde. The 50% coal is from Intermountain and Navajo. The 25% Natural Gas comes from the four in-basin plants. If coal was to be replaced with NG combined cycle, that would mean the construction of roughly 7-8 power plants for distributed generation. Some environmentalists, especially the idealistic environmentalists, still would not be happy with the carbon emissions from NG. Then again they would not be happy with nuclear either.
    I agree from a practical sense that LA will never construct a nuclear plant and that has more to do with nuclear being a politicized technology than anything else. But I do think it’s important that people understand the options out there in terms of energy sources, especially if they’re going to have an opinion about energy policy.
    Right now when Ron criticizes LA’s energy portfolio, he does so under the assumption that wind, solar, and geothermal are efficient technologies that can cover 100% of LA’s base load so there’s no reason for LA to be using any fossil fuel period.

  29. Chris Rowe says:

    I appreciate the intelligent discussion. The discussion on nuclear came from Walter Moore’s website – he wants nuclear as do a few others on this string. I agree that new nuclear plants are not economically feasible for our portfolio, and as I have stated previously, our California elected officials would not want it here.
    The energy mix – we need to work on all – solar, wind, geothermal, biomass. I am not sure why that 55 MW First Solar project was killed so fast.
    Yes, it did cost more, but there will be trade offs. And as other types of alternative energy are brought into the mix, yes, prices will go up.
    However, we have deadlines as to when we must stop using coal, and we must find alternatives. And these buildings with all of the CEQA and NEPA permit processes do not go up in a day.
    We all need more education.

  30. Walter Moore says:

    Nuclear is proven technology. France and Japan have used it for decades.
    You say they are “not economically feasible for our portfolio.” On what do you base that assertion? On what do you base your implied assertion that “solar, wind, geothermal [and] biomass” are more economical?

  31. Chris Rowe says:

    Thank you all for your intelligent contributions to this conversation.
    Now for solar – I want solar just like every one else does. The problem is the amount of area that it is required to cover. I am told that it would take an area the size of Arizona to create enough solar energy for just Los Angeles.
    While people talk about putting it on roofs on downtwon buildings, there are many things that we must consider. Are those roofs owned by the City or are they private? Are they flat? What load can they bare? Will the solar lie flat, or does it need to be angled south to face the sun? If it is angled upward, how are the people in the high rises going to feel if they are looking at a sea of solar panels?
    Should the hillsides along the freeways have solar panels? Should solar be put on covers over reservoirs? What about the dry reservoir in Chatsworth?
    How many people are actively taking a role in the EIR process for any of these issues? How many attend the “Energy and Enviroment Committee” or the LADWP Commissioner’s meetings to ask these hard questions?
    Here is a link on solar:
    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm?page=solar_where
    I go back to – yes, solar will be more expensive than coal. But coal pollutes our environment, and it causes health problems like various lung diseases. This illness is another cost that is not added into what energy costs. The pollution from coal is also not added into the equation.
    Therefore, if we say that solar costs three times as much as coal, but we offset what we have to pay in fines to the AQMD for air pollution, what is needed to pay to the LARWQCB for water pollution, then we are reducing that higher cost.
    Then when we consider what it costs the government to pay for any number of those people who have illnesses that must be subsidized by the government, then those costs of cleaner energy go down further.
    What about wind? Wind does not have to be at a high speed as some may think. Wind is also an intermittent source of power like solar.
    http://www.awea.org/faq/wwt_basics.html#What is wind energy
    All of these factors must be weighed together when we talk about energy, water, health care, jobs, the cost of City employees and ERIP, our LADWP bills, our environment.

  32. Anonymous says:

    9:52 AM, this is 4:02 AM (12-28-09):
    I think you answered your own question regarding Nuclear verses Natural Gas however it opens new points – it would be much harder politically (and even from a cost point of view) to get a Nuclear plant permitted let alone pass an EIR process.
    But there are other bigger issues that won’t allow us to do anything in a smart business sense to build new affordable clean power and that is very foolish Federal and State regulations:
    *On the state level, there is a mandate to bring in renewables and despite the power crisis that we faced under Gov. Davis and deregulation, the State is not making it easy for an existing utility to add new power at one of its sites that is already permitted. They will only allow replacement (repower) of an old plant + 10% more.
    *On the federal level, the EPA is dramatically regulating Once through cooling that threatens the future of existing ocean cooled power plants.
    While some are wasting time singing the praises of Nuclear power, we are missing some major issues that need to be addressed on a National level or we are going to wind up short of power again in California.

  33. Anonymous says:

    9:52 here
    Chris, I’ll shed light on why Freeman actually did a good thing by killing the First Solar deal. Under the contract, First Solar would lay the panels and create the generation. They would not provide the means to transfer power onto the grid. Because LADWP has no transmission line out there, it would have to pay IID, the local utility, to connect to the grid through one of IID’s substations onto their line. This would require IID to do its own construction within their station. LADWP also has no substations out there so it would have to build one in order to step up the voltage to transmission level.
    The thing is, the contract gave an unrealistic timeframe for completion and specified LADWP would have to pay First Solar for all electricity generated that was not transferred onto the grid. As Ron mentioned in a previous article, it was expected First Solar would start generating by summer of 2010. A substation typically takes 2 years to build so LADWP would have to build a station in less than half the time it usually does or risk being penalized. And even if it did finish construction, IID was by no means obligated to finish their end on time so LADWP could be penalized anyway due to IID taking their time. This is ratepayer money that would be pocketed by First Solar instead of being used for green infrastructure. You could look at the contract and say it was set up to put money in First Solar’s pocket.
    Also, a distinction should be made between generation that can be used for base load and ones that can’t. Base load generation should be controllable enough to provide the bulk of LA’s power needs and ensure that the lights will stay on when we need them. Only coal, natural gas, nuclear, and (potentially though it’s a longshot) geothermal energy can provide LA’s baseload. This is why 4:02 and I keep bringing it back to Natural Gas vs Nuclear.
    Wind and solar generate intermittently based on the environment and grid storage technology is currently lousy. So if LA used wind or solar for base load generation, there would be daily citywide blackouts. Thus most of that 50% coal needs to be replaced by something other than wind and solar. One criticism I have of the Severance article up above is he writes under the assumption all generation technology is interchangeable to the point it all comes to cost and making a sound business decision. This is untrue.

  34. Anonymous says:

    9:52 makes some important points regarding base loaded power generation and renewables.
    Sincerely, 4:52

  35. Walter Moore says:

    Another problem with solar — at least, with photovoltaic solar — is the toxic chemical waste problem it creates when the cells are “done.”
    Every power source has costs and benefits.
    Hey, here’s the real question though: how many of you armchair experts will step up to the plate and actually run for office?
    Enough talk. You can form a campaign committee NOW to raise money for the March 2011 elections, which could replace HALF of the City Council.
    You’ve talked the talk. It’s time to walk the walk.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Moore, if you’re bringing up waste, nothing is worse than nuclear waste. The only way to get rid of it is to bury it somewhere, let it sit for 10000 years and hope an earthquake doesn’t break the container you put it in before it decays. I’m pro-nuclear but it’s pointless to bring up random talking points without putting them in the proper context.
    Hey, here’s the real question though: how many of you armchair experts will step up to the plate and actually run for office?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

  37. Chris Rowe says:

    To Walter Moore,
    I believe there is a place for many people in this society. I currently prefer the role of researcher and writer. My work is fact based.
    I believe that elected officials are only as good as those people who prepare them. They have too many issues to be an expert on all of them. I can’t even be an expert on a 10th of what Ron covers here and on OURLA.org.
    That is why this site and OURLA.org exist. It is here to create a dialog – to get some people to speak up – even if anonymously – to create thought. Everyone’s comments can be researched from there.
    What I have learned from campaigns the past two years is that you have to have a lot of money to run for office. I have several friends who have run for various offices. A City Council seat now costs over a million dollars. A State Assembly Seat in my district cost more than $600,000 in the last election.
    There are a great number of very intelligent people that neither have that kind of money, nor do they want to spend their lives fundraising.
    And if they do bring in this kind of money – what do they owe to who?
    And the more money that is spent, the more vicious the attack ads become.
    Let me do my research and help those that are interested read what I find.
    To: By Anonymous on December 28, 2009 10:53 PM
    Nuclear in California will not happen anytime probably in my life time. Natural gas was a T. Boone Pickens issue that was killed at the ballot box last year.
    “http://laist.com/2008/08/13/environment_the_election.php”
    Yes, we will need base load. And as coal goes, we will be forced to go to gas. That is why I am concerned about the potential losses of geothermal and hydroelectric.
    The grid is a whole other issue. We have the federal government wanting a grid to their favorite sites for alternative energy, Arnold wants a grid to his energy sites like geothermal, solar, and wind, and then the SCE has grids, and the LADWP also wants their own grids.
    I have been saying for over a year – we need a joint meeting on this. I have asked for it. And I don’t see it happening (for those that are discussing energy here.)

  38. Loisa says:

    We keep on blaming somebody else for this financial trouble that we have. Instead of doing so, we might perhaps use the effort in sacrificing something to come up with the economic solutions. Besides, we’re all responsible. Thanks for the article.

  39. Chris Rowe says:

    To Walter Moore:
    You are an attorney. You know a Letter of Intent is not worth the paper that it is printed on. I am aware of a couple of LOI’s signed by the State – one with a major Fortune 500 company. It is worthless.
    Nuclear is not going to happen in California. We do not even have a low level nuclear repository in California.
    At the Santa Susana Field Lab, we cannot even figure out where to send some soil with Cesium in it that is only slightly above “Background.”
    Don’t believe everything that you read in the newspapers. They only cover what is sensational.
    They don’t usually go back and correct their mistakes.
    Are there any Republicans that can educate Walter Moore on energy on this blog?
    I know about France and AREVA – it was covered on “60 Minutes”. There is still a waste issue for all nuclear sites.

  40. Chris Rowe says:

    To Walter Moore:
    You are an attorney. You know a Letter of Intent is not worth the paper that it is printed on. I am aware of a couple of LOI’s signed by the State – one with a major Fortune 500 company. It is worthless.
    Nuclear is not going to happen in California. We do not even have a low level nuclear repository in California.
    At the Santa Susana Field Lab, we cannot even figure out where to send some soil with Cesium in it that is only slightly above “Background.”
    Don’t believe everything that you read in the newspapers. They only cover what is sensational.
    They don’t usually go back and correct their mistakes.
    Are there any Republicans that can educate Walter Moore on energy on this blog?
    I know about France and AREVA – it was covered on “60 Minutes”. There is still a waste issue for all nuclear sites.

  41. Chris Rowe says:

    To Walter Moore:
    You are an attorney. You know a Letter of Intent is not worth the paper that it is printed on. I am aware of a couple of LOI’s signed by the State – one with a major Fortune 500 company. It is worthless.
    Nuclear is not going to happen in California. We do not even have a low level nuclear repository in California.
    At the Santa Susana Field Lab, we cannot even figure out where to send some soil with Cesium in it that is only slightly above “Background.”
    Don’t believe everything that you read in the newspapers. They only cover what is sensational.
    They don’t usually go back and correct their mistakes.
    Are there any Republicans that can educate Walter Moore on energy on this blog?
    I know about France and AREVA – it was covered on “60 Minutes”. There is still a waste issue for all nuclear sites.

  42. Anonymous says:

    Does anybody know where the send the waste from San Onofre and Diablo Canyon?

  43. Anonymous says:

    Chris,
    1. What did you mean by “That is why I am concerned about the potential losses of geothermal and hydroelectric.” – did you mean that you were worried about losing capacity from those sources?
    2. In terms of T Boone Pickens, as you know he was pushing to get vehicles to switch to natural gas and put wind farms everywhere. Of course as discussed here, wind can’t be used for base load power. Instead of using natural gas for internal combustion which would deplete supplies faster, it would be better to use electric vehicles (and of course public transportation as a first choice) and charge them only during off-peak. That will stretch out the gas supply and get us off imported oil which is what T Boone wanted to do.

  44. Anonymous says:

    To 7:30 AM-
    I’m going to guess from the article below that the waste is sitting on the site until they can figure out what to do with it.
    Spent fuel can either be reprocessed to recover usable uranium and plutonium, or it can be managed as a waste for long-term ultimate disposal. Since fuel re-processing is not commercially available in the United States and has not been shown to be commercially viable n this country, spent fuel is typically being held in temporary storage at reactor sites until a permanent long-term waste disposal option becomes available.
    The Future of Nuclear Power in California
    California law prohibits the construction of any new nuclear power plants in California until the Energy Commission finds that the federal government has approved and there exists a demonstrated technology for the permanent disposal of spent fuel from these facilities. California’s existing nuclear power plants provide a significant amount of California’s non-fossil fuel based energy and power but produce significant amounts of spent nuclear fuel. Continued operation of these plants will require substantial investments in replacement steam generators, turbines and other major pieces of equipment, ongoing recruitment and training to maintain an experienced nuclear work force, and accommodation of evolving federal policy regarding nuclear technology, in addition to other requirements.
    In June 1976, California enacted legislation directing the California Energy Commission to perform an independent investigation of the nuclear fuel cycle. This investigation was to assess whether the technology to reprocess nuclear fuel rods or to dispose of permanently high-level nuclear waste had been demonstrated, approved and was operational. (See Public Resources Code 25524.1 (a) (1), 25524.1 (b), and 25524.2 (a) for a precise description of the specific findings and conclusions). After extensive public hearings, the Energy Commission determined that it could not make the requisite affirmative findings concerning either reprocessing of nuclear fuel or disposal of high-level waste. This information was published in a report: Status of Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing, Spent Fuel Storage and High-level Waste Disposal, Energy Commission publication P102-78-001, January 1978.) As a result, the development of new nuclear energy facilities in California was prohibited by law.

  45. Chris Rowe says:

    My apologies to Walter Moore – I do not remember hitting SUBMIT three times – a minute a part.
    To: By Anonymous on December 30, 2009 6:32 PM
    The thought in California last year when the Pickens solar initiative was on the ballot was that he wanted to get it passed to profit more from natural gas than solar. We want a viable solar plan in California.
    Electric vehicles – now that is a great idea – but then where do you get the energy from to charge your vehicle? Our rates in Los Angeles do not show if we are using “peak power”. So unless you have solar on your own roof – and you charge at your home, you are going to pay the going rate.
    And if you do have solar on your house – the LADWP gets to tell you what you pay for when the energy when the sun goes down, and what they pay you for excess.
    If you charge your car, you will most likely charge it at night, thus requiring you to pay the LADWP rate for energy.
    We might actually have nuclear in California by the time this string is done.
    “Uranium Is So Last Century — Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke”
    http://www.wired.com/magazine/2009/12/ff_new_nukes/

  46. 9:52 says:

    For Electric Vehicles (EV’s), what the consumer has to pay in electricity, he/she won’t have to pay in gas. It’s cheaper that way and as the technology improves, it’ll become more practical.
    Peak Power usage (or peak load) usually has a time of day associated with it. Load is low at night when all the lights are off. As people wake up and turn on their lights, the load rises and peaks at the afternoon. It then dips slightly as people leave work and get in their cars. It rises again slightly when people get home and turn on their lights, TV’s, etc. Then it goes back down. The peak load is higher in the summer because air conditioners are used.
    LADWP generates about 1/7 more electricity than the city uses. If most people charge EV’s at night, the load is already way below capacity so peak power shouldn’t be an issue.
    In all reality though, charging technology is currently not available to put an EV in every home, parking lot, etc.
    Also, nice link on Thorium.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Chris, this is 6:32
    First we are on the same page on Nuclear and I’ll leave that discussion for another day.
    Regarding electric vehicles, you may have missed my point on WHEN the vehicle is charged.
    Electric utilities are required to have spinning reserves and be ready to ramp up even on off peak periods. So charging in the evening (in fact using other appliances such as clothes washer/dryers off peak) is actually a good practice and reduces the impact (and cost to the consumer) of re-charging.
    In order to encourage electric vehicles, many utilities offer a “time-of-use” meter which allows lower rates off peak.

  48. Time of Use Metering says:
  49. Flying a plane has always been a dream of mine, enjoyed reading your blog.

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