Mike Gravel on Energy and the Environment

An interview with Mike Gravel about his presidential platform on energy and the environment

By Amanda Griscom Little

In his "Rock" campaign ad, Mike Gravel silently stares into the camera, throws a stone into a lake, and walks off into the distance. It's disconcerting, off-the-wall, and low-budget -- just like his presidential campaign.

As a senator from Alaska during the '70s, Gravel was best-known for fighting nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and the Vietnam War. In his current campaign, to the extent that he's known at all, it's for playing gadfly at Democratic candidate debates. In the environmental arena, he's got some big ideas -- an international carbon-tax scheme, a hydrogen-powered energy system, a notion that society needs to end its obsession with growth -- but little in the way of practical plans.

Will his quixotic presidential campaign cause as many ripples as his rock? I called him up at his campaign headquarters in Alexandria, Va., to try and find out.

For more info on his platform and record, check out Grist's Gravel fact sheet.

question What sets your green platform apart from the other candidates'?

answer First off, I am prepared to impose a carbon tax, at the barrel of oil and at the lump of coal. [Chris] Dodd has talked about a tax on carbon, but the difference is I approach the problem as a global problem -- climate change, energy, the whole thing. By putting a tax on carbon in the United States, we can offer our leadership to the rest of the world and say, OK, you put a carbon tax on your people, and then we'll pool all this money together and we'll use it to integrate the global scientific and engineering communities to get us off of carbon within a decade. Nobody would be permitted to join this international effort unless they put a carbon tax on their people also.

 

question What do you see as the advantage of a carbon tax over a cap-and-trade program?

answer The cap-and-trade wouldn't necessarily lower emissions. Let's say I've got a coal-fired plant and it pollutes. All I've got to do is go give some money to somebody who builds a new plant that pollutes less. I get to buy permission to pollute. When you're capping and trading, you're not focusing on a solution; you're just giving somebody a break based upon something that somebody else is doing.

question Some say a carbon tax would be political suicide because voters don't like to be taxed. Your thoughts?

 

answer I back it in any case.
In a recent debate we were asked a question: What would you do to reduce the price of gasoline? The candidates all mealymouthed around. My answer before the country was that I would not do anything. The best way to solve the energy problem is to let prices rise so that alternative energies can become more economic.


One of the things we can do is take electricity from windmills, run it through water, and have hydrogen. What is now possible is that we can turn around and have hydrogen liquid. And by altering the technology of our existing cars and gas stations, they can be used to run on and distribute hydrogen liquid. Oh, it blows you away. This can probably be done within five years.

question Shift the energy system to hydrogen in five years?

answer You're not making hydrogen fuel cells, that technology is not on the table yet. You're making liquid fuel from hydrogen. Now, first off, I would [raise] CAFE standards immediately, say that within three to five years you're going to have the same standard as Europe. End of story. Forget the automobile industry. Meanwhile, we can just manufacture the hell out of windmills and then turn around and produce all this hydrogen.

question Does coal play a role in your vision for a clean-energy future?

answer You've got to do away with coal. What you can do is outlaw these coal-fired plants and turn them into hydrogen power plants.

question Do you believe nuclear power has a role in America's energy future?

answer I was the one who started the nuclear [power] critique back in 1969, and we were able to cap [the number of plants in the U.S.] at 150, which have now been ratcheted back to about 105. The nuclear industry is trying to crank it back up again, and a couple of significant environmentalists have bought into that. I have not. If we can have large electrical base-load plants fed by hydrogen, then we don't have to have the nuclear.

Now if we were to make a breakthrough in nuclear fusion, that would dwarf everything else.

question How much of the energy system would you shift to liquid hydrogen?

answer As much as we can.

question Do you have a specific target?

answer I'm not an engineer, I'm not a scientist. But I'm told it's not a big deal to tweak gas stations so that you can come up with a truck, dump the liquid hydrogen in there, and pump it in your car. So we shift everything over to liquid hydrogen and there's no more pollution. The trick is, you've got to produce the electricity to be able to put it through the water to create hydrogen, and you do that with windmills. The technology of windmills is totally replicable. And so now you can put those all over the place where you've got wind, and then later on you can take down those windmills and have another way of doing it.

question I've heard that you have a plan to electrify the entire transportation system of the United States.

answer Yes, I want to superimpose an electric maglev [train] system throughout the country similar to the one that currently runs between the airport and the city of Shanghai. These maglevs can travel 300 miles an hour. Imagine if we could move trucks across this country on electricity at that speed, with no environmental pollution -- what that would mean?

There are a couple of companies that have sent me studies that show they can do this right across Manhattan or in downtown Washington, D.C., and it is just awesomely interesting. But you have to have a national commitment to do this, and I don't see that commitment from the Democrats or the Republicans.

question What's your position on biofuels? What role does ethanol play in our energy future?

answer What I know about the corn deal, it takes more energy to produce a gallon of biofuel from corn than it does to just use conventional fuel, so that's a negative. Secondly, we have to realize that when we're growing this stuff, we may be displacing the whole distribution of food throughout the world.

question How about the idea that we could derive fuels from highly fibrous plants?

answer Like switchgrass? I don't know enough about that. I'm more excited by the liquid hydrogen.

question Many people argue that the U.S. should not commit to any global greenhouse-gas reduction targets that don't involve China and India. Do you agree, and how would you bring them to the table in a post-Kyoto agreement?

answer First, I would just get the Kyoto agreement [ratified] and get it out of the way.

question The Kyoto targets are phasing out soon, so how would you approach a post-Kyoto agreement?

answer Accelerate the goals. I've read that a number of the European countries are ahead of their Kyoto targets, which really says something. We need to get closer to China and India both to collaborate on technology development -- they're way ahead of us in some areas -- and to help them, because you cannot deny them the opportunity to have our standard of living. If we don't do this in a very clever way, we will doom the Earth to environmental destruction. Period.

question After climate and energy, what do you think is the most important environmental issue facing the nation?

answer Growth.

question Urban growth? Population growth?

answer It's more complex than that. Our total economy is based upon growth, growth, growth. Well, there comes a time when you destroy so you can have growth.

I want to change our system of revenue from an income tax to a sales tax. That would change this country from a consuming nation to a savings nation. If we begin to look upon growth from a savings point of view, we could do more in the short run with respect to global warming. Our country right now spends more than we earn, and we're on our way to bankruptcy.

question What environmental achievement are you most proud of?

answer Starting the nuclear [power] critique. And my work on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the 1970s. The environmentalists were very much opposed to it. I maintained then, and I still do, that it was a more environmentally sound way to transport oil than the leaky tankers under Panamanian registry and Nigerian registry who were coming into the East Coast of the United States.

question Who is your environmental hero?

answer I'm very fond of my friend Ralph Nader. I think that he is very strong in that area.

question Can you tell us about a memorable wilderness or outdoor adventure you've had?

answer Coming from Alaska, I'm very much into the beauty of nature. I don't hunt or fish, and I'm not a camera buff, but I just love to luxuriate in the wilderness. I've done a lot of hiking in my state. The most significant thing I did was climb the Chilkoot Trail with my family.

Also, while I was in the Senate, the head of the Sierra Club in Alaska taught me how to handle a raft in whitewater. At the time, I was opposing some of the Sierra Club's stuff and I was supporting some of their stuff, and so I accused him of trying to kill me, because that would have solved his problem. But we still are friends today.

question If you could spend a week in one park or natural area of the United States, where would it be?

answer Zion National Park.

question What have you done personally to lighten your environmental footprint? Give us a snapshot of your lifestyle -- where you live and how you travel.

answer We drive a Camry -- we're a one-car family -- but often I use the subway. I also use the train and the bus. My wife read that the bus has the least environmental impact of all public transport. The worst, of course, is the private jet that my fellow candidates all run around on.

My wife and I live in an apartment in Rosslyn, Va., on the 14th floor. We're renters, we don't have enough wherewithal to be able to own something like that -- I didn't get out of the Senate any better [financially] than I went in. Obviously, I've got the ability to go and become wealthy, but that's not what has moved me through my life.

question If George Bush were a plant or an animal, what kind of plant or animal would he be?

answer Oh, my God. [Pause.] I can't think of a plant or an animal that I have that much disrespect for. Does that answer your question?

Stop and think of all the human beings that have died and suffered because of that S.O.B. I personally believe that impeachment is too light a sentence. These people should be pursued criminally.

You know, when you're sworn in to be president, you and the outgoing president have to ride in the car together to the swearing-in. When Hoover and Roosevelt rode in the same car to Roosevelt's swearing-in, they never said a word to each other. And I've got to tell you, when I'm sworn in, the same will go for me and George W. Bush.

http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2007/08/07/gravel/index.html

Comments

"You know, when you're sworn

"You know, when you're sworn in to be president, you and the outgoing president have to ride in the car together to the swearing-in. When Hoover and Roosevelt rode in the same car to Roosevelt's swearing-in, they never said a word to each other. And I've got to tell you, when I'm sworn in, the same will go for me and George W. Bush."

Make sure you get that on tape, Mike.

---------------------------------------------------------

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29czSGSPE7k

Geothermal Energy

Nobody here has mentioned geothermal. Potentially at least, it's available just about everywhere. There's lots on the web, e.g., at

http://www.geothermal.org

The following is taken from the website of the Geothermal Education Office, at http://www.geothermal.marin.org/

A. For electricity and direct use (from geothermal reservoirs):

1. The "Ring of Fire" (the areas bordering the Pacific Ocean): the South American Andes, Central America, Mexico, the Cascade Range of the U.S. and Canada, the Aleutian Range of Alaska, the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand.

2. Spreading centers, where tectonic plates are sliding apart, (such as Iceland, the rift valleys of Africa, the mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Basin and Range Province in the U.S.).

3. Hot spots-- fixed points in the earth's mantle that continually produce magma to the surface. Because the plate is continually moving across the hot spot, strings of volcanoes are formed, such as the chain of Hawaiian Islands.

The countries currently producing the most electricity from geothermal reservoirs are the United States, New Zealand, Italy, Iceland, Mexico, the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan, but geothermal energy is also being used in many other countries.

B. For geothermal heat pumps:

Use can be almost world-wide. Specifically, geothermal heat pumps can be used to help heat and cool homes anywhere.

C. And:
"Thousands more megawatts of power than are currently being produced could be developed from already-identified hydrothermal resources. With improvements in technology, much more power will become available. Usable geothermal resources will not be limited to the "shallow" hydrothermal reservoirs at the crustal plate boundaries. Much of the world is underlain (3-6 miles down), by hot dry rock - no water, but lots of heat. Scientists in the U.S.A., Japan, England, France, Germany and Belgium have experimented with piping water into this deep hot rock to create more hydrothermal resources for use in geothermal power plants. As drilling technology improves, allowing us to drill much deeper, geothermal energy from hot dry rock could be available anywhere. At such time, we will be able to tap the true potential of the enormous heat resources of the earth's crust."

Hydrogen and the energy crisis.

I don’t know if Mike’s energy policy makes sense or not. I’m not a scientist either, but I have read about the realities of switching to Hydrogen and it’s not as easy as we all would like it to be. The other day I stumbled on a site devoted to the energy crisis. Like most articles I read I was on guard for propaganda, but what I found was a pretty comprehensive critique of what we’re up against, and it’s not pretty. http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/SecondPage.html  Scroll down to read "What About the Hydrogen Economy?"  

If you’re not pissed off enough by the lack of leadership on energy you haven’t watched the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car” If GM’s EV1 had been put into production we would be living in a different world.  

New Hampshire Likes Mike.

RE: LOGO debate

Just a note on the LOGO debate. Even though Obama is well placed in the 'Sound Off' poll,
if you read the comments you would think at 80% Gravel with Kucinich at 15% and Obama with 5%. My point is that I am suspicious of that poll, entirely. Do take a look, if you have the time. Even those who aren't yet able to think of Gravel as our next President (they will come around soon enough) have pledged their vote for Gravel. It's good reading.

The Youngest Candidate on the Stage

What I find most amazing about Mike Gravel is the youthfulness of his mind and attitude.

He is the only candidate that has actually lived a life consistent with what used to be called IDEALISM.

The energy alternative debate is a case in point. Where all the other candidates are trying to prop up an energy shitstem that is globally lethal and economically guaranteed to create future wars, Mike has the audacity to propose thinking outside the conventional box.

This scares a lot of people.

"What if this was possible? What if America was not held hostage to Big Oil? What if every citizen had access to affordable health care? What if the war on drugs was ended and the Prison Inc. racket was shut down?"

After eight years of Bush Co. fear-mongering, I am not sure Americans can find a way to listen to an honest idealist.

Gravel is a kind of canary in the mindshaft.... testing the residual intelligence and depleted spirit of a once-great people ...

It's telling that Mike is so fond of tilting towards windmills.

RE: Young Candidate

Mike is the Right Man at the Right Time !

And Manliness we have in Abundance. He is not afraid of anyone !

Because he is NOT in this for Himself ! What a Man !!!

Its seems like magic we have someone who is soooo Spot On !!!

Go Gravel, Go !!!

oh yeah, if you want a chilling read about nuclear power

Check out this book. Killing Our Own - The Disaster of America's Experience with Atomic Radiation.

http://www.ratical.org/radiation/KillingOurOwn/

alternative energy sources

I am skeptical of hydrogren as a power source. I think CSP (concentrated solar power) and improvements in battery technology will serve us better.

These types of units,

http://www.sandia.gov/news/resources/releases/2004/renew-energy-batt/Stirling.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_plants_in_the_Mojave_Desert

use basic technology that has been around for years and could easily be made to work.

With the advent of lithium ion batteries, the utility of electric vehicles is increasing rapidly. These vehicles are expensive now but if this type of transport had received the subsidies that oil, coal, and nuclear have since reagan was president , these types of vehicles would be affordable.

Here's two interesting sites about electric vehicles. One vehicle, the eBox, outperforms it's gasoline equivalent.

 

http://www.acpropulsion.com/

http://www.teslamotors.com/

 

And last, here's another website with alot of information about solar power, and I'm not talking about photovoltaics.

http://www.trec-uk.org.uk/index.htm

Mr. Gravel, I am proud of you for trying to make things better. I have some reservations about some of your plans, but you and Mr. Kucinich are the only candidates that I have any admiration and/or respect. It does a heart good to know at least there are a few candidates with some integrity and genuine decency.

Vote Gravel!

The August 19th Revolution.....

The time for the turnover has come.

All of us have spent months believing in the possibility of an Honest man, who with his heart (and balls), will lift us out of the shithole we have been buried so deep into, by politicians who have done nothing but find new and despicable ways to make extra money and lead our country down the path that we don't want to go down.

For those of us who watched the last democratic debates, you felt the anger and rage at the unfairness that i felt when Mike Gravel was given 4min of talking time in a 2hour debate against candidates who not only spoke longer but have enough money to run their campaign ad in every television in america, every day, till the elections next year.

I hope you still have that latent burning of anger from the last debates. I need all of us, to tap into that energy and use it for Mr.Gravel. We have another 9 days, till Aug.19th when the next democratic debates take place.

We need to overkill Gravel...everywhere...complete exposure, wherever possible, however creative.....
on our car, on our clothes, on our house, on our profile pictures, in out messages, mails, sms...whatever it takes...campaign, picket, spam........these 9 days are crucial.

Let us give it all....everything....give Mike the momentum...that i promise you he will carry on....

Peter people, television shows, radio stations, tv channels, newspapers, hotdog stands...
Email them, call them...lets get this done.....

By August 19th, On August 19th let the support for Mike Gravel show....Let people know why we support this man...Let people know why they should...

One more link

Here's the link to the interview by truthdig.com

Mike is super as usual. Great interview!!!

http://www.truthdig.com/podcast/audio/20070504_maverick_candidate_mike_gravel/

A new subject

Hello all,here's the link to Gravel at LOGO debate. Gravel was just Great!!!

http://visiblevote08.logoonline.com/2007/08/10/video-mike-gravel-rewind/

On the right side of the page is a 'sound off' section where you can vote for Mike. Please vote and put Mike up on top of the poll. You can vote multiple times.

Does anyone know of another

Does anyone know of another source for this footage? Has it been YouTubed? Memory-hogging site design and an odd choice of player/medium on the part of LOGO disagrees with my rickety, old machine. I can't watch more than 20some seconds of each clip.

Anonymous: Mr. Stevenson, you have the vote of every thinking person in America!

Adlai: Yes madam, but we need a majority.

Thank you for the in your

Thank you for the in your face truth! Thank you for being up front! Thank you for being honest!

thank you gravel

thank you.....it was about time your supporters heard a clear environmental policy and your stand and your plans.....
you were great at the logo debates last night....biased i may be, but i think you were the best.....full speed ahead!! 

hope you have something really big to shake up the whole system on August 19th.....

Uh... so how come we don't just have electric cars...

The trick is, you've got to produce the electricity to be able to put it through the water to create hydrogen...

Uh... so how come we don't just have electric cars and eliminate this very expensive hydrogen step? Maybe the oil companies need another fuel to gouge us for at their gas stations? Who was this "expert" you've spoken with? I'll bet he's a closet Big Oil aficionado. Science is not now, nor was it ever, "pure". See who he's working for.

I want to superimpose an electric maglev [train] system throughout the country similar to the one that currently runs between the airport and the city of Shanghai...

The Chinese are walking away from maglev. The superconductors are too expensive. Let me guess... your advisor here... was a German?

Otherwise... right on!

Ground-Effect Air

I hear the Chinese are going with ground-effect air.

Probably working on how to do a barrel-roll when going over aa hill.

E  B    T      t     h      E       G       r     a  V       e              L       !

  tannhauser PACOM  ,  tanaiste

Now there's a cynic's view

Now there's a cynic's view of the world.

Are you suggesting Mike is supported by "Big Oil"? What do you think he owes them?

Purely electric cars don't provide enough power to maintain our transportation-based economy. Mike's looking into bigger energy solutions. Hydrogen fuel is, however far-sighted, one of them.

Are you suggesting Mike is supported by "Big Oil"?

Are you suggesting Mike is supported by "Big Oil"? No. I'm questioning the cred of the proponents of the hydrogen program. Mike has said himself that he is not a scientist or engineer, so he's got to be careful of the many, many people willing to push their agenda on him.

Consider hydrogen as contributing to a solution to energy supply in the present century? Sure. But don't buy it wholesale.

Purely electric cars do provide enough power to maintain our economy. And there need to be big changes made to "our transportation-based economy" in any case.

It's transportation-based upon on the assumption that oil is relatively cheap and readily available... that was the recipe for the present war in the Middle East.

He'll do the right thing.

I've heard arguments against the Hydrogen economy, so I don't know if that is the best plan. But after listening to Mike talk, I have no doubt he'll hire smart people to make informed scientific decisions on this stuff. Hell, look at his 1972 book, where he recommends Congress have it's own scientific equivalent of the GAO to investigate these things.

That's right, 1972. The man is solid like a rock! How could you trust anybody else?

RE: Energy

Considering the greenhouse effects, nuclear energy seems like a good short term solution. Low level radioactive waste is not really a problem as the half-life of these wastes are about 40-50 years. The high-level radioactive waste can be transmuted either with fast breeder reactors or hybrid nuclear reactors, from what I have read on the web. Surely, there's more to this than I have offered.

Whichever the case may be, nuclear waste disposal should be part of the nuclear energy production. The problem is that there does not seem to be mandatory waste regulation as part of nuclear energy production. How have they been able to carry on this way? It's dangerous. There's not enough responsibility on the part of nuclear power plants for safe disposal and that makes the price we pay for that energy is less than what it should really cost. The people should be informed of All aspects regarding nuclear energy and they will accept all the costs involved.
I like the Senator's idea of liquid fuel from hydrogen. Of course, every other safe alternate sources available to us should be considered. I wish I knew more of hydrogen fuel cell technology. Hopefully, this technology can be made affordable.
Sen. Gravel, it is good to hear, again, that you hadn't lost your fire. I was thrilled to hear that you would Not do anything to lower the cost of petroleum products.
We are with you Mike.

mass-production of energy

It takes alot of energy to feed the process of producing liquid hydrogen fuel. Imagine the total sum of energy it would require to produce enough of that fuel for every vehicle in the United States. For the sake of practicality, you would need an energy source that is cost-effective and capable of producing lots and lots of energy to feed the national production of liquid hydrogen. I believe nuclear power is the best candidate for that task. Nuclear power does not produce any greenhouse gas emissions unlike coal and fossile fuels. And with today's advanced technology for safe and efficient nuclear reactors as well as technology for reduction and reprocessing of nuclear wastes, nuclear power can become a better friend to the production of liquid hydrogen than the power of solar, wind, and coal.   :-)

TRAINS

This is in the last part of the article, if we can get a energy efficent transportaation system that can travel faster than cars and is more affordable??? I think this is a large part of the idea. These trains go so fast it can launch the space shuttle into space. American's politicans have not even considered this mode of tranportation till I saw Gravel talk about it. I really think the hydrogen idea is there to only hold us over till like Gravel said if we could figure out nuclear fusion that would dwarf everything. Problem is the government has know about these forms of energy but don't give any finacial backing to the scientist tring to figure it out. 

The Fallacy of the Hydrogen Economy

With each exposure to Gravel's ideas, I admire and am astonished by the Senator's ability to tell the plain truths which our society so carefully evades in all discourse. On policy details, the Senator's judgment is almost always in line with my perception of the common sense answers to the facts on the ground. These sentiments are true with regard to all I've seen, listened to, or read of Mike, and they are true for this interview. However, I feel Mike is severely mistaken in banking on hydrogen as the energy conduit of the future.

I am also neither an engineer nor a scientist (I'm a bookseller.), but I did study physics at an engineering school. The hydrogen economy is a myth methinks. The first problem is in the necessary electricity generation. I applaud Mike for seeing the critical importance of wind; he is right that we should start building turbines by the millions and putting them everywhere. So he overcomes the fear that the hydrogen economy would be founded on coal or nuclear.

A second problem with hydrogen is technical. Hydrogen would need to be very cold and under high pressure. At 1 atmosphere of pressure, hydrogen condenses at a few K. Even with ultrahigh pressure tanks, methinks the temperature would be at least -72C, the temperature of liquid nitrogen. No matter how cold or high pressure, it would require complex, expensive, delicate equipment designed to fight against the natural order of thermodynamics and adiabatic processes. This technology would have to be widely deployed in fuel depots, fueling stations, vehicle tanks, etc. Any failure in such devices would lead to sudden decompression which would be far more explosive and destructive than anything gasoline causes. Remember The Hindenburg? "Oh, the humanity!" Further problems with possible distribution networks are equally severe. If one wishes a more detailed treatment of what I am prattling about, read Chapter 4 (specifically ~p. 110) of James Howard Kunstler's The Long Emergency.

Senator Gravel has led the world in the opposition to nuclear power. In the final analysis, he is correct. Nuclear power produces waste and risk which are entirely unnecessary. However, as the age of hydrocarbons sunsets, we may need to use this crutch as we try to survive. When faced with a choice between letting the Grid fail or developing nuclear, I believe Mike will do what is best for all the people.

Solar is dangerous. Chip fabrication plants are not good neighbors. Whether processors or solar cells, electronics fabrication requires vast quantities of dangerous chemicals, serious pollution hazards, and enormous amounts of hydrocarbons. Even if we could build a solar infrastructure swiftly, it would decay in a couple of decades and we would be without the necessary energy to build it anew.

I reckon the Senator is correct in his assessment of bio-fuels, cap-and-trade systems, and rail development. I am disappointed that neither Mike nor any comment thus far has raised hydropower. Although I take the dangers to ecosystem preservation seriously, we are desperately in need of power alternatives. Like wind, water is a natural source to harness; both can be found before even coal at the roots of the industrial age. Of course, we are drying out the aquifers and rivers, so maybe hydro, though viable now, will become a blessing of this world that we shall leave behind.

sakicorvo

Anonymous: Mr. Stevenson, you have the vote of every thinking person in America!

Adlai: Yes madam, but we need a majority.

I recant

I know no one will read this before the article goes to the pay-only segment of the site, but WTF?:

http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070820/full/070820-14.html

I am always skeptical when anyone argues that scientific and engineering progress will eliminate a problem; I think people sometimes expect actual magic from technology. Nonetheless, this story is about a novel breakthrough which may make the hydrogen economy feasible. More research is necessary ere judgment can be made, but this seems very promising.

In short, a nitrogenated organic fluid could act as a vehicle for the H2, requiring little additional technical considerations and plausible temperatures and pressures. As a bonus, the liquid would be recyclable. Filling the tank would require emptying the exhausted fuel-bearing liquid first. The liquid would then be shipped off, reprocessed and distributed as fresh fuel. With the miracle of catalysis, the fuel can be freed and burned at normal pressures with no more than 50 degrees C increase in temperature. There are years of work ahead in making this implementable, but I am amazed.

 

Anonymous: Mr. Stevenson, you have the vote of every thinking person in America!

Adlai: Yes madam, but we need a majority.

"A second problem with

"A second problem with hydrogen is technical. Hydrogen would need to be very cold and under high pressure. At 1 atmosphere of pressure, hydrogen condenses at a few K. Even with ultrahigh pressure tanks, methinks the temperature would be at least -72C, the temperature of liquid nitrogen."

 

this is a big goofy understanding of these concepts. liquid nitrogen is not any specific temperature. the same goes for hydrogen... but i agree that the high pressure tanks would be dangerous. people blow themselves up with gasoline :P

 

All i want is the truth, why is it so hard to find?

a clarification

At 1 atm of pressure, -72C is the approx. temperature of liquid N2. I threw out that speculative number, because liquid nitrogen is easy to manufacture and cheaper than milk. I would imagine it would be a necessary first step in creating a cold tank for storage. Of course, such a high temperature would require pressures which we may not even have the technology for.

Anonymous: Mr. Stevenson, you have the vote of every thinking person in America!

Adlai: Yes madam, but we need a majority.

Uranium and the wind are our only choices.

I like all but one of Mike Gravel's opinions. He is right about everything except how to generate electricity. Solar power is 5 to 10 times more expensive than coal. Ethanol from corn is an ADM scam. The only cost-effective ways to make electricity without greenhouse gases are nuclear power and wind power. We need both. If we do not embrace nuclear power, we will continue to use coal, which is the most dangerous way to generate electricity. Kevin Cahill

What about the waste?

How do you propose to deal with the deadly radioactive waste? I don't know about you, but I don't want to die from exposure to it. No safe solution has been found yet.
Nuclear power is extremely dangerous, and there's no need to use it. We can get sufficient energy from renewable sources. There's a lot of technology out there, and I'm sure new advances will continue to be made.

If nuclear energy material exists

which it does..

I would rather see Nuclear material used to generate energy than sit around in some repository waiting for some unsavory group to steal it.

Mike mentioned disarming nuclear weapons stockpile. What happens to that material?

It gets cataloged and stored some place and/or possibly lost or stolen.

Part of me thinks nuclear energy is a clean, safe alternative to some choices, at least in some roles, like generating hydrogen.

It takes lots of energy to generate hydrogen. I do not know if wind and solar can generate the volume of hydrogen needed to replace fossil fuels. .  Nuclear could altruistically be used in that capacity. Especially it came if from decommissioned weapons.

A contrarian points of view for discussion.

 

 

there is technology called

there is technology called photodeactivation that has been proven to eliminate nuclear waste on a lab scale by blasting the unstable material with gamma rays. the trick will be the ability to do it on an industrial scale but research has been stifled for some reason~

the problem is that gamma rays are not just something you can make easily. the current method is to take a small amount of a substance of a large atom and blast it with high intensity laser. the atom then releases a gamma ray. when the gamma radiation is directed at the unstable nuclei of these dangerous waste products, it initiates a fission reaction that releases a significant amount of energy (enough to make up for the electricity to run the laser + much more) and the fission products will render themselves harmless relatively quickly as opposed to something like the polonium-210 that emits alpha radiation for 1000s of years.

 

if we could develop that technology we could dispose of the dangerous materials while at the same time generating more energy.

 

All i want is the truth, why is it so hard to find?

This will sound

This will sound preposterous, but shoot the waste into the sun. I admit that there is a serious risk factor of failure upon launch, causing radioactive fallout, but technology can be very clever. Use carbon fiber and ceramics to construct containers which would survive disintegration and re-entry in case of failure. The number of launches would have to carefully calculated; I suspect a rocket with high payload capacity would be preferable. Anyway, any nuclear abomination that we can create will burn happily in the sun, accompanied by similarly odd constructions created by the many nuclear cycles of a normal star. The best part is that it could never come back to haunt anyone, no matter how far in the future.

 

 

 

Anonymous: Mr. Stevenson, you have the vote of every thinking person in America!

Adlai: Yes madam, but we need a majority.

LOL

I was thinking the same thing isn't the sun already radio active with huge flare ups. I also want to let everyone know that you are exposed to radio active material everyday it is in our enviorment from the SUN.  Yes the magnetic field around earth deflects most but not all of it, a good peerson to ask about radio active  rays is a Xray technichian at your local hospital or clinic =) Ask them what they think about radio active materials, you might be suprised =O

Tuesday's Democratic debate in Chicago

What really happened in Chicago? Did the Gravel campaign not do the paperwork, or did the AFL-CIO exclude Mike? If it were me, invited or not, I would have shown up at Soldier Field and demanded to be heard! Just like Ralph Nader tried to do years ago. He was asked to leave or be arrested. Can you image the amount of press a Presidential candidate that gets arrested for not being able to speak at a debate would get?

Mike, you need to be at every debate the other seven are at…

WOW

 I Love this article it is so refreshing to see Gravel hasn't changed a bit. 

"Also, while I was in the Senate, the head of the Sierra Club in Alaska taught me how to handle a raft in whitewater. At the time, I was opposing some of the Sierra Club's stuff and I was supporting some of their stuff, and so I accused him of trying to kill me, because that would have solved his problem. But we still are friends today."
I also really like the energy plan he talks about and explaining the cap-trade on carbon. Gravel does have the best plan on energy out there. Hydrogen technology has been out there for a while I am glad one of the candidates is talking about it=)
Keep up the good work Mike we all have your back!! =)

Gotta disagree here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_vehicle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_economy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_car

Hydrogen Cars of course are the dream of the future. Fuel Cells are really way off to the future in terms of feasibility. Very hard to get them to work below -20 C and the cost of fuel cells are enormous. The hydrogen internal combustion engine is what Gravel is speaking about and this might be the first time I'm disagreeing because the internal combustion engine simply isn't efficient. 37% being the maximum efficiency. Hydrogen ICE car requires a huge fuel tank and the technology to efficiently compress the hydrogen is also not available at the moment. To make the hydrogen fuel is just as a wasteful process as is making gasoline. So just stop and think. Providing power to separate H2 from H2O and fueling your car with that hydrogen fuel. Before that could even happen you would need to have gas stations equipped to distribute hydrogen. So how about just having wind power and hydro power and solar power and if need be even oil and natural gas power plants to provide electricity for the electric cars. And no need to build anything new since they have ALREADY built power lines to gas stations. We can have electric cars now that don't pollute at any step of the cycle. Hydrogen is just an unnecessary link in the cycle to provide oil companies with profits. And the energy efficiency of electric motors is well over 70% and even more depending on the type.

Cap n' trade is actually good, but just by itself it doesn't do much

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8d/Battery_EV_vs._Hydrogen_EV.png