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  • Some Hopeful News

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on April 7th, 2016 (All posts by )

    Conservatism Is Winning In The States

    What Alexis de Tocqueville observed over 150 years ago remains true today—states are laboratories of ideas. It’s here on the state level where ideas are created, fought over, tested, implemented, and either succeed or fail. When it comes to conservative ideas in the states, we are winning.
    While presidential candidates were insulting each other’s appendages, West Virginia became the 26th Right to Work state. While the FBI was investigating candidates, North Carolina passed major tax cuts. While pundits cried that both major parties had lost their way, Missouri passed paycheck protection. Conservatism is winning in the states. Don’t let it go unnoticed.
     .
    There is no state that highlights conservative victories better than Wisconsin. Just five years ago Wisconsin turned a billion-dollar deficit into a multi million-dollar surplus. Act 10 may have grabbed headlines across the country as protestors occupied the capitol for months, but the story did not end there.
     .
    Over the past year conservatives have passed reforms less controversial than Act 10 but just as important to taxpayers across the state. Last year they passed Right to Work to guarantee workers the freedom to join a union or not. Wisconsin reformed the prevailing wage law, which will save our local communities millions of dollars on the cost of building new schools and roads. Wisconsin reformed the marriage penalty to reduce taxes on working families, froze tuition at the UW for the forth straight year, and passed occupational licensure reform that gives a hand up to some of the hardest working Wisconsinites.

    A newly-released Gallup survey indicates that a solid majority of students at America’s colleges and universities supports free speech on campus. However, a strong contingent of students wants to limit “hate speech” and speech that intentionally offend people based on some aspect of their identities.

    .

    A full and extensive report about the poll, which Gallup conducted for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, shows that 78 percent of U.S. college students believe their campuses should be serious, grownup places where students experience all manner of speech and myriad different viewpoints.

    .

    Other findings within the study showed that students with Republican and independent political leanings were far more tolerates than their Democratic counterparts. It also found that a majority of students (54 percent) believed their professors and administrators were also stifling free speech on campus.

    Those are hopeful signs. The most important changes begin at the grassroots level. To my mind, the single most tasks facing the American people are reigning in the vast behemoth that is the federal government and reforming public education. That the majority of college students are not yet ready to toss out the Bill of Rights is a positive indicator. But schools are increasingly petri dishes for incubating leftist and far leftist ideologues, and the indoctrination seems to become more radical as time goes by. That needs to stop. Yesterday.

    Meanwhile, in nuclear power development, a long discussed idea of deploying factory built and tested small reactors seems to be capturing imaginations around the world again. The Chinese had plans several years ago to build SMRs from Westinghouse, but I have no idea how that is progressing, if at all. The UK now seems interested as well. I’m interested in seeing how well this technology works out but it seems completely straightforward and doable to me. The US Navy has been using small nuclear reactors safely and effectively for more that 50 years now. And as reactors become less custom one-off designs and more of a standard product, safety and reliability should increase and cost should come down. For reactors to ever be fully accepted by the public, however, the designs must fail-safe. Which is to say that the nature of the process is one where if there is a facility failure, the physics of the reaction process simply stop.

    There will be a competition to identify the best value design of mini reactors – called small modular reactors (SMRs) – and paving the way “towards building one of the world’s first SMRs in the UK in the 2020s”. There is no shortage of contenders, with companies from the US to China and Poland all wooing the UK with their proposals.

    With a crucial UN climate change summit in Paris imminent, the question of how to keep the lights on affordably, while cutting emissions, is pressing.

    SMRs aim to capture the advantages of nuclear power – always-on, low-carbon energy – while avoiding the problems, principally the vast cost and time taken to build huge plants. Current plants, such as the planned French-Chinese Hinkley Point project in Somerset, have to be built on-site, a task likened to “building a cathedral within a cathedral”.

     

    11 Responses to “Some Hopeful News”

    1. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      THE WESTINGHOUSE SMALL MODULAR REACTOR: http://www.westinghousenuclear.com/New-Plants/Small-Modular-Reactor

    2. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Another site of interest is the Summer Nuclear Generating Station in South Carolina. And old 1,000 MW reactor has been decommissioned there and is being replaced by two 1,250 MW Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, more than doubling the power output of the facility. The reactors are due to come online in 2019 and 2020.

      Construction photo gallery

    3. Mike K Says:

      Every week I see kids with high ASVAB scores joining the Navy to go to nuke school. The Ai Force kids are going into intelligence.

      Maybe we will actually have some people who know something about nuclear engineering if we can get past the KGB Nuclear scare stuff from 60 years ago.

    4. TangoMan Says:

      Regarding the first items about Conservatism winning in the states, all of those gains are reactions to liberal over-reach. I’m happy that the gains have been achieved but I’m not optimistic that they can be preserved. The demographic changes are favoring the Democrats. These gains will, in turn, be overturned once the liberals have the electoral power from the demographic tide which is lifting their politics.

      This is where I’m at odds with Conservatism, Inc. – they’re focused on the small tactical battles and completely ignoring the large strategic war going on all around them. I don’t mind losing tactical battles if we can alter the strategic war so that it favors Conservatism, Inc. in the long run, thus giving us future opportunities to fight the tactical battles from the vantage point of a secure rear theater.

    5. TangoMan Says:

      However, a strong contingent of students wants to limit “hate speech” and speech that intentionally offend people based on some aspect of their identities.

      I can’t wait for October to roll around. That’s when Milo Yiannoplis of Breitbart is scheduled to speak at Yale and he’s pledged to show up in full Indian head dress and costume and war paint and this pledge is already triggering all sorts of special snowflakes. The guy certainly has panache and it is these types of antic that are missing on campus. There need to be annual affirmative action bake sales, there need to be movements to consolidate all athletic teams into unisex, all these leftists ideas need to be exposed to the harshest of sunlight.

      Frankly, I don’t know why leftists aren’t ashamed of themselves for espousing the idiocy they do.

      For decades now in my personal life, when I’m with friends and some new people are joining us and these new folks are leftists and very outspoken, I assume a persona like Chauncey from Being There and say inflammatory things in a totally innocent way. My wife is used to this, so are my friends, and we watch as the leftists don’t know what to do about my social faux pas. Is sure helps to have the facts on my side.

    6. Whitehall Says:

      Small reactors suffer from being on the wrong side of economies of scale. Plus decades of regulations needed to be rethought.

      Before we get all gushy over passive safety, please read this warning on the limitations of the approach to nuclear safety, using Casey Jones as a case study of the complications involved:

      http://www.neimagazine.com/features/featurepassive-safety-staying-on-track-4385660/

      It is not that I’m against small reactors, but as a nuclear engineer with an MBA I see many facets to the issues and a few downsides.

    7. Robert Schwartz Says:

      The biggest problem with nuclear power is that Natural gas is trading at less than $2.00/MMBTU, which implies a fuel cost for electricity generation of about $0.02/KWh. Capital costs for NG fired generators, which are manufactured off site and are drop in, are low, and permitting is not usually a huge problem.

      I think we should continue R&D on fourth gen fission plants and on fusion against the day when NG is exepnsive, but I don’t think that will be soon.

      By that time all the people whose attitudes towards nuclear power were shaped by Soviet dezinformatsiya, will be dead.

    8. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Robert, Everyone is not as lucky as the USA wrt natural gas or energy resources at all.

    9. Joe Wooten Says:

      Michael, VC Summer 1 has not been decommissioned. In fact it was recently approved for a 20 year license extension. I hope to go either there or Vogtle to do another startup as my career finale.

    10. Mike K Says:

      “I assume a persona like Chauncey from Being There and say inflammatory things in a totally innocent way.”

      I learned yesterday that I have a stalker on Facebook who was outraged at a sarcastic comment I made about a year ago. My memory of the incident is hazy but I believe Planned Parenthood was suing Lousiana about abortion restrictions.

      In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Planned Parenthood asks a federal court to block what it describes as “Jindal’s illegal efforts” to strip away the Medicaid funding that helps run their clinics.

      “We’re in court today to protect over 5,200 people’s access to cancer screenings, well-woman exams, and basic health care in Louisiana,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement, citing the number of women enrolled through Medicaid who use the provider’s services.

      They always talk about “cancer screenings” as if they actually did them. Anyway, in a moment of frustration with feminism run amok, I posted a comment to the effect that it was OK with me as long as abortions were limited to females, or some such sentiment. A Social Justice Warrior feminist was so upset that she set out to message every female relative or friend who she could find on Facebook and sent them messages about how could they possibly be associated with such a raging misogynist.

      My daughter-in-law got one of the messages and mentioned to me that I had someone with a bogus Facebook page in my name. We talked about it yesterday and I heard the story. She had never seen the comment and assumed it was some anti-female rant. After learning about this, I posted a comment that I had a stalker and several other female relatives have mentioned getting the stalker’s messages. I don’t think any saw the original comment and I don’t know if a copy was included in her messages.

      I am slowly getting to be a misogynist. Some years ago, I wrote a book review of Helen Smith’s book, “Men on Strike” that was fairly well received and I have gotten more annoyed at the war on boys.

      I recommend this little book highly as it focused my own vague disquiet about male-female relations on certain facts, many of which were unknown to me as I am 75 years old and past the war of the sexes. I am content to live alone but married twice and paid the price although I love my children.

      I am now back with my second wife for two years but am still getting more cranky about the feminization of society. It will not turn out well. I have one grandson and four grand daughters. I worry about all of them but especially about the boy who is now 10.

    11. Whitehall Says:

      Yes, cheap natural gas is a challenge.

      But nuclear fuel is 50 cents a mmBTU.

      Hence, the key is capital cost and small reactors are going the wrong way on a $/kW basis – in general.