May 15, 2012

Oil, Government Fraud, Kodak and Neighborhood Nuclear Modules

I've been away all day so I'm only now catching up on the news.

And this is very good news.  GAO: Recoverable Oil in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming 'About Equal to Entire World's Proven Oil Reserves

The Green River Formation, a largely vacant area of mostly federal land that covers the territory where Colorado, Utah and Wyoming come together, contains about as much recoverable oil as all the rest the world’s proven reserves combined, an auditor from the Government Accountability Office told Congress on Thursday.

“USGS estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions,” Mittal testified.

“The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered,” Mittal told the subcommittee. “At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable. This is an amount about equal to the entire world's proven oil reserves.”

Think of the implications of creating  tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of new jobs,  of becoming truly energy self reliant, free from troublesome tyrants in the Mideast.

What an amazing world.

 Earth By Russian Electro-L
photo of earth from Russian weather satellite

The bad news is that about 75% of it is controlled by the Federal Government's Bureau of Land Management. 

It's news, but not surprising news, that Public Employees Second Only to Financial Pros in Fraud according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the world's arrest anti-fraud organization.

A congressional staffer who has worked to combat fraud at the federal level agreed that the amount of money being spent has stretched the government thin and left limited accountability. A culture has developed that excuses lavish spending programs, he said, pointing to the GSA’s $800,000 Las Vegas retreat, which has resulted in several firings and resignations.

“The federal government is sending all of this money out and there’s no follow up, no accountability,” the staffer said. “It’s part of the culture.”

It doesn't help that states are gaming the system too.

This is astonishing,  Kodak Had a Secret Nuclear Reactor Loaded with Enriched Uranium Hidden in a Basement in Rochester, N.Y.

Kodak's purpose for the reactor wasn't sinister: they used it to check materials for impurities as well as neutron radiography testing. The reactor, a Californium Neutron Flux multiplier (CFX) was acquired in 1974 and loaded with three and a half pounds of enriched uranium plates placed around a californium-252 core.

The reactor was installed in a closely guarded, two-foot-thick concrete walled underground bunker in the company's headquarters, where it was fed tests using a pneumatic system. …It wasn't until 2006, well after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, that it was decided to dismantle it.

This story brought to mind stories of neighborhood nuclear plants from 2008.  Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb.

The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. 'Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a kilowatt hour anywhere in the world,' said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. '

So what is Hyperion doing today?

Hyperion Power Generation plans to build one of its first modular nuclear devices at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River test site in South Carolina.

And it changed its name.  SMR Developer Hyperion Power Now Gen4 Energy

The Gen4 Module (formerly the Hyperion Power Module) is a small next generation nuclear power reactor that will not require refueling during its 10-year operational lifetime, as well as no on-site access to nuclear fuel, which reduces safety and proliferation concerns.  According to the release, G4M technology has the potential to provide power to undeveloped regions, demonstrate unmatched nuclear safety, as well as provide a cleaner energy source by emitting no greenhouse gasses.  The G4M will produce 25 MW of safe and reliable electric power that is manufactured in a factory and transported to the installation site completely sealed. After its useful life it is replaced with an entirely new power module.
Posted by Jill Fallon at May 15, 2012 12:46 AM | Permalink