UFC: NatGas vs. the Neutron

Because of the NYTimes article last week there is heightened new interest across Pennsylvania over radiation in the fracking water being used in Marcellus Shale development.  Just saying that we mentioned the whole radiation in shale issue here just over a year ago. So clearly some folks are not surprised by this.  So why is this news all of a sudden?  Someone was not thinking ahead.

Which isn’t to say I have any insight into the scale of this as an issue.  If anything I am geology challenged, but it should highlight the real problem of radon in Pennsylvania. I still wonder a bit when someone will float the idea of mining for uranium in Pennsylvania… or potentially even refining the shale itself for uranium.

But my old post was just pulling something from blogger AtomicRod who in addition to talking about all things nuclear has brought up what may be the real underlying debate over the impact of shale gas development worldwide. We are the nexus of the biggest energy cage fight that is emerging.  Some have framed the debate over the future of energy in the US as between nuclear and natural gas.  The future will not be absolutely one or the other, but clearly there is a lot of marginal investment that may go toward one or the other dependng how the economics of the two energy sources evolve.   Before the escalation of shale gas development, nuclear was beginning to reawaken as we all know from Westinghouse’s expansion locally.  Is the development of Marcellus Shale, and other shale gasses, putting that at risk in the future?

In related news:

Hey look, economics still works and the low price of natural gas is impacting development - Dow Jones yesterday: US Natural Gas Rig Count Falls To 1-Year Low – Baker Hughes

This literally just popped up.  From Arkansas: 2 firms to suspend earthquake zone injection wells I do wonder if the MSC folks have a PR already prepared just in case one of those occasional Pennsylvania earthquakes occurs…  The header would be “Not our fault!”.

And I was on the turnpike yesterday and noticed a pro-coal billboard that I had never seen before.  It was kind of remarkable.. It said something like “Wind dies. Sun sets. You need reliable, affordable, clean-coal electricity.“  Like really? Now the sun setting is cause for concern?   That or I should go start the portable generator every time the wind peters out?

I sense that ad it really a reflection of some angst in the vast PA coal industry over shale gas.  It may be an even bigger food fight impacting shale gas in the future actually.  In terms of net job creation, if natural gas does grow as some say it will, what does it say for the future of the coal economy in Pennylvania?

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