[ RadSafe ] Video: An Energy-Independent Future | The Daily Show |Comedy Central

Dan W McCarn hotgreenchile at gmail.com
Sat Jun 19 22:53:20 CDT 2010

Dear Mark:

As I mentioned the other day, the American uranium company URI has worked
for 20 years to get a license to operate a uranium mine in New Mexico, faced
(I believe) 4 litigations (I worked on 2 of them), and will probably face
another major litigation before this is over, namely, a trial in the Supreme

I've worked on both uranium and oil shale over the years, but the current
regulatory and activist environment runs contrary to development of new
energy sources or replacing foreign oil with domestic oil. Sadly, I cannot
say that I've brought any deposit into production or provided technical
oversight for any deposits except in Kazakhstan... Hardly "domestic".  

The oil shale play by Shell Oil was an heroic effort, using in situ
conversion technology to convert the kerogen to light-fraction oil and
natural gas. The problem was simply that the price of oil took a tumble in
2008, and the "at risk" capital for the project was estimated at $10-20
billion dollars and required a committed power supply of 5 GWe to meet the
energy needs of the project. All of Shell's efforts involved untested
technology at the scale that would make a serious dent in domestic gasoline
and diesel demand.

We are facing a very predictable situation now.  The technologies that
worked with shallow-water oil development are no longer adequate to cope
with deep-water production needs, safety and environmental stewardship. A
new paradigm is needed to mitigate the potential risks, and this new
paradigm will inevitably cost more.

I remember every president since Nixon challenging the US public and
Congress to develop new strategies for energy self-sufficiency. That we have
done so little to meet these challenges is appalling, but reminds me of the
decades of indifference concerning the levees around New Orleans: in spite
of many years of "expert" working groups and published opinions and
predicted terrible outcomes, the politicians spent the money on more
"visible" projects and let the levees fall into disrepair.  Katrina finally
allowed a re-think of this policy.

In the commercial parallel in this "free" society, instead of better energy
efficient cars, we got the Hummer, or as my girls prefer to call it, the

That reminds me distantly of a quote from "The Third Man" - Harry Lime:
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in
Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and
bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the
Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of
democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long

I hope that we will not be remembered for the Hummer...

Dan ii
Dan W McCarn, Geologist
108 Sherwood Drive
Los Alamos, NM 87544-3425
+1-505-672-2014 (Home - New Mexico)
HotGreenChile at gmail.com (Private email) HotGreenChile at gmail dot com

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Mark Miller
Sent: Saturday, June 19, 2010 17:35
To: Mark Miller
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Video: An Energy-Independent Future | The Daily Show
|Comedy Central


Would be funny if it weren't so true!  :-(

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