James Conca, Geochemist: In January, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Advanced Nuclear Technology Act of 2017, HR 590, that is intended “to foster civilian research and development of advanced nuclear energy technologies and enhance the licensing and commercial deployment of such technologies. At the same time, the latest version of the Interim Consolidated Storage Act was introduced in the House. This bill would create one or more interim storage facilities to hold spent nuclear fuel (SNF) from all the nation’s nuclear power plants and would allow the Energy Department to contract for temporary used nuclear fuel storage facilities. These bills address two of the most important recommendations made in 2011 by then President Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future (the BRC),”
James Conca, geochemist, energy expert: America has over 2 million miles of oil and gas pipelines. Almost half are 50 years old. Over 2,000 miles of pipeline are 100 years old. These pipes have been subjected to pressure and weather-related stresses for a long, long time. Many must be replaced, or at least upgraded. With oil production increasing, the number of refineries decreasing, and capacity concentrating in ever fewer places, pipeline transport is not going to decrease. And there is no better alternative. So it is inevitable that we will build more pipelines with, hopefully better and better technologies, but we also must better maintain the ones we have, eventually completely replacing them.
James Conca, Forbes: The growing disparity of wealth today has many parallels with the unequal societies that emerged in the Middle Ages, where wealth and power resided primarily in the hands of a few feudal lords. But wealth inequality is not the same as energy inequality. And that is the primary difference between economic inequality in present-day America and Medieval Europe. Wealth inequality is still about a factor of a million, but energy inequality is down to a factor of about ten. That is because energy has never been so cheap and plentiful in the history of humankind as it is today.
James Conca, contributing scientist to Forbes. Background radiation across the Earth varies from 3 mrem/yr (0.03 mSv/yr) over the oceans to 10,000 mrem/yr (100 mSv/yr) in areas of high elevation made up of granitic rocks. Thus, it is not surprising that populations subjected to radiation levels of 10,000 mrem (100 mSv) or below, either natural or man-made, show radiation effects that are not statistically different from zero.