As the world hits the ENERGY CLIFF, the Boom & Bust Cycles will become even more extreme and shorter in duration. I sat down with Jason at Wall Street For Mainstreet and discussed what is taking place in energy, mining, the economy, and precious metals.
Unfortunately, the market isn’t prepared for what’s coming because they continue to believe there will always be a BID for most STOCKS, BONDS, & REAL ESTATE. This was true as the world added oil production over the past century, but that all changes when we go over the ENERGY CLIFF. Thus, the BID for most STOCKS, BONDS, & REAL ESTATE will disappear, which is why it is extremely important to be holding physical gold and silver.
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Can’t believe I listened to the entire discussion; it’s hard for me to take the time, but I highly recommend listening to all of it. Break it into 25 minute segments as necessary.
I could make several comments; I’ll just make a couple.
*Compliments to both of you, and Jason is sharp, however:
*His hype-focus on small reactors utilizing as-yet non-existent technology is missing the mark in two additional ways.
The second you pointed out;
2) dependence on a complex flawlessly functioning supply chain.
3) The fact more electricity generation doesn’t solve a diesel shortage in the future.
To expand on #3 above, the world’s supply chains, sovereign and regional agribusiness production, distribution networks for food, clothing, energy supplies, building supplies, infrastructure supplies, semiconductor supplies, etc., all depend on diesel.
Equipment for mining, refining, trucks, trains, ships, and more run on diesel.
I want to point out that thorium molten salt reactors do not really “need” advanced technology. We did run one of these for several years at Oakridge National Laboratory in the late 60s through early 70s.
If we can still manufacture vehicles and machinery, then we can certainly build these reactors in a factory and install them onsite.
Once we start to get a few of these reactors built and producing power, after the initial engineering costs (time and energy) are paid for, they will start to provide a positive gain on EROI.
Let’s say our economy’s average EROI is around 12.
If we were to follow the KISS rule, we should be able to get a decent EROI out of these thorium reactors. Let’s say we get an EROI close to 20. That EROI will go up the longer we can run these reactors. In theory liquid fueled reactors process/clean their own fuel, and run for a long time. Thus, they more of these we can build and the longer we run them, it will start to pull up our average EROI. At the same time declines in oil and gas will be pulling our average EROI down.
It’s very important we use KISS (keep it simple stupid). That’s were I think we will fail. The regulators will come along and require a bunch of extra “What if this happens” rules. Site locations will require complex conditions. Or the designers will want to use fancy computer modelling and “perfect” designs. We will let perfection get in the way of good enough.
Is it too late to build these reactors now? No, I don’t think so.
Could it be too late next year, or the year after? Possibly.
“I want to point out that thorium molten salt reactors do not really “need” advanced technology. We did run one of these for several years at Oakridge National Laboratory in the late 60s through early 70s.”
The record of successfully running an experimental one in the past [none current for some reason[s] to my knowledge] is subject to scientific and engineering review; never has one been used commercially.
To comment on nuclear reactors and the liquid fuels problem.
* Yes, our current economy is configured to use diesel for transportation and earth movers.
* Diesel is really good stuff. Moving to electrified rail transportation and earth movers would be a downgrade.
* Moving to electrified transportation and electrified earth movers is possible. We would need a lot more rail.
* Electrified mining operations would be less efficient, as the rail and power cables would need moved often, but not impossible. How much less efficient, probably depends. Some mines may function mostly the same. Others may slow their output. Note, often a conveyor belt can move material a lot better than trucks.
* Moving to electrified transportation and earth movers would require a lot more motors, and thus a lot more copper. The copper may be a limiting factor.
* Adding nuclear electrical generation would free up current natural gas for other uses.
* We would eventually develop a version of thorium SMRs that can fit on a truck and use air cooling. These would be ideal for mining and industrial operations.
* Over time the economy would find a new equilibrium.
* The economy would probably go through large reduction.
* As for agriculture we need some big changes. Mob grazing and no-till farming will be needed at large scale. Both techniques are a win win solution as they are better than current practices.
* Mod grazing is cheap and easy to do.
* No-till planting removes the need to turn the soil, which is an expensive energy operation.
* We could go back to using horses. They can surely pull farm equipment and have compost benefits.
* Farming will require a lot more human hands to plant and pick things. Probably more than 10% of us will be farmers again.
* Local transportation – bicycles and commuter rail for the cities, horses and bicycles for rural areas.
* May seem silly, but steam engines will have a come back. If all I need to do is boil water with a few logs from a dead tree in my back yard to run a sawmill.. hell yes, that’s cheap energy.
Thus, it can all be done. Yes, it won’t look the same. Yes, we all won’t be able to generate the same level of trash every week. Yes, the transition will be very disruptive and a lot of bankruptcies. If we don’t do these things, the alternative is the dark ages where we will have to eat bugs and other worse things just to survive.
“We could go back to using horses”
Nope! The period of time when many people had horses was very brief, and only occurred in the USA. Maybe 30 years in the 1800s. Horses eat too much! It only worked because the soil in America was virgin, and the topsoil was 10 feet thick in places. Also, agriculture was becoming more mechanized at the same time. Work horses need hay and grain, that’s the bottom line. It only worked when America developed a huge surplus in grain. Europe, for example, never had the horses that America had on a per capita basis.
The only solution is coal. But no one wants to admit it! What is the problem? Everyone thinks we should jump through all these complicated hoops when it’s just so much simpler to go back to coal.
EV excavation equipment? You’ve got to be kidding. Ever heard the word “steam shovel”? A much better option. Same with locomotives. By the way, there were very few diesel vehicles before 1920, and look how advanced we were. Just saying.
Steve – Glad you touched on the prepping there at the end.
On that note, does anyone know where I can find small steam engines for sale? About a 4 KW engine with boiler would be perfect. I would use it to drive an electric generator.
Excellent discussion. Like facts, numbers are hard to deny. In a nutshell it looks like this: the decline in moral values and ethics creates a vicious cycle of power and greed where a short term benefit for self outweighs any benefit for others long term. To stay in power the powerless must be kept that way and dependent on them. Manipulate the problem but don’t solve it. Even new technology is not allowed unless it can be controlled. When the inevitable collapse starts to happen those on top the food chain can conclude that the earth cannot sustain so many people, so large numbers must be exterminated or die on their own in order to save the planet. Its the expression of the age old battle between good and evil. The big picture is dire but each of us can still live a rewarding life doing what we know is best.
Travis; do a search on equipment suppliers for the Amish.
There’s a lot of wisdom in prepping but the only way that can work long term is to be part of a small community of like minded people. No one person can have all the skills or be everywhere at once. Good luck.
Great talk Steve and great comments!
Opinion is divided on nuclear power, both in terms of the uranium itself and the economic benefits.
Skepticism is warranted regarding new construction in a reasonable time frame, safe operation, proper disposal and eventual decommissioning.
The Energie Cliff increases the risk that reactors will blow up in our faces in the future.
But I am open to a new, more robust generation of reactors if they can do more than the big wind turbines.
A comment on the 1960s, when the price of oil remained constant:
we still had a gold standard then. This stability seems to be desirable for some countries, especially since the USD is increasingly subject to strong fluctuations due to the highly inflated financial system.
The siren that howls from time to time reminds me of Maverick, that Scott Ritter tries in vain to silence.
Great last paragraph in the interview. You should do more in this direction.