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Nuclear backers’ energy surges

David R. Baker, SF Chronicle
They say alternative would ease concern over global warming
The nuclear power industry, benefiting from fears of global warming, now faces its best chance in years to overcome skeptics and build plants, proponents said Thursday at a San Francisco convention.

Nuclear power’s ability to create large amounts of energy without spewing greenhouse gases has caused a once-hostile public to reconsider, stressed speakers at the Nuclear Energy Assembly, one of the industry’s most important trade meetings, held at the Fairmont Hotel. President Bush has made nuclear plant construction a priority.

But support among politicians, investors and the public could evaporate if the industry can’t pass several tests, speakers said. With as many as 20 nuclear plants planned across the country — worth a total of $40 billion to $60 billion — the industry must prove it can open plants on time and on budget. And, working with government, it must finally figure out what to do with the nation’s radioactive waste — a question that has dogged the industry for decades.

…Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace, said California will need more nuclear energy if it hopes to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and fight global warming.

…Global warming has been the key to nuclear power’s renaissance. Environmentalists such as Moore have called for giving the technology another chance, considering radioactive waste a lesser evil than climate change. Much of the environmental movement, however, remains opposed.
(19 May 2006)
The idea of a massive re-think of nuclear energy among environmentalists is a myth. Patrick Moore has not been considered an environmentalist for many years, and is now a paid PR person for the nuclear industry. See Whitman, Moore to head nuclear PR effort (UPI) / Wired / SourceWatch. Please, gentlemen of the press, some due diligence in assessing sources!

Related: The Nuclear Option Would be Reckless and Wrong by Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London.

US, Canada to take 50% of world LNG supply by 2015: Consultant

KimFeng Wong, Platts
Houston – The Atlantic Basin by 2015 will account for half of the global liquefied natural gas trade, an amount equal to the volumes imported by the Asia Pacific region, which has been the world’s leading LNG importer since 2000, according to forecasts by consultant Poten & Partners.

The most significant contributor to the Atlantic Basin demand growth is the United States and Canada, which will make up 50% of the Atlantic Basin LNG demand by 2015, said Poten & Partners’ general manager of LNG/Gas consulting Gabriel Avgerinos Thursday at the Platts LNG conference in Houston.

Poten and Partners is forecasting an “aggressive” LNG import growth to about 15 Bcf/d by about 2012, higher than the US Energy Information Administration’s predictions of 10 to 15 Bcf/d.y
(18 May 2006)

India to produce $2,400 car

Candian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
India’s Tata Motors has announced plans to build a five-seater family car that will cost about $2,400 new – less than half the price charged by its competitors for their cheapest offerings in India.

“We have decided to locate this rather revolutionary plant, which we hope will give India its true ‘people’s car,’ in West Bengal,” Tata Motors chairman Ratan Tata said at a press conference on Thursday.

Tata hopes to price the car so that millions of Indians who now can’t afford anything more than a scooter or motorcycle will be able to become vehicle owners.
(18 May 2006)
As Eddie_lomax says at peakoil-dot-com: “Sounds really useful. Will they invent some affordable oil to go along with it now ?”

US shoppers ‘cut back for fuel’

More than three out of four US consumers are curbing their spending because of the steep rising cost of petrol, a survey has found.

The National Retail Federation said that even wealthier consumers were conceding that the price at the pump was taking its toll.

A gallon of regular petrol currently costs an average of $2.98 in the US. A year ago it was $2.16.

The survey said 76% of respondents were cutting back on spending over fuel.

In its 2005 poll, only 67% were making the sacrifice.
(18 May 2006)

Oil at $100? It’s No Longer a Pipe Dream

Platts Energy Economist via Yahoo!News
Last May, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS – News) raised eyebrows on Wall Street by releasing a report warning that crude oil could see a “super spike,” with prices reaching as high as $105 per barrel. And now? Well, the price of the front-month crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange is averaging above $65 per barrel for the year to date, after hitting an all-time high on Apr. 21 of $75.35. While crude prices have pulled back somewhat since then, it seems the Goldman warning may not be so far from reality after all.

Earlier projections assumed that a serious supply disruption would be necessary to move prices to their current lofty levels. And yet the market price has reached nearly $75 through a combination of factors that have had little effect on overall world supply: geopolitical wrangling about yIran’s nuclear program, continued volatility in Iraqi security and output, and a particularly bad spate of militia violence in Nigeria.

In short, the market has reached nearly $75 per barrel without a disastrous supply event. Contrast that with the previous price spike in the second half of last year, driven in part by a very real disruption: the massive dislocation caused by the devastating 2005 U.S. Gulf hurricane season.
(19 May 2006)