Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Case For Nuclear Power

The Case For Nuclear Power

(c) Bob Perrin 2007

If you think nuclear energy is dead, think again. Nuclear energy is already providing 20 percent of our nation's electricity, and doing so without emitting any greenhouse gases. Nuclear energy accounts for 90 percent of all electric utility reductions in CO2 emissions since the mid seventy's, and provides more than 70 percent of this nation's emission-free electricity.

Conservation must be one component of a long-term strategy, but America must invest heavily in developing renewable energy sources. Unfortunately these steps alone will not meet America's estimated 50 percent increase in electricity demand by 2030. We will need more base-load power, and a good place to start is with a proven form of clean electricity.

The bad news is, that the waste from nuclear plants is difficult and dangerous to store. One of the issues being discussed is the option of recycling the spent fuel rods, But recycling is not without its own unique set of risks. Besides being very expensive, the by-product of recycled fuel rods is high grade plutonium, the kind used for nuclear weapons, a very sensitive political playing card. Given the risks involved, many people would not trust our government with the task of baby sitting it. To be truthful, I'm not sure I would, at least not until the leaders we have now can learn how to be big boys and girls and play nice with one another. Don't hold your breath.

The protests will no doubt return, but in the end, to any clear thinking intelligent person there is no other choice for clean cheap energy. Coupled with the advances in biomass fuels and electric hybrid automobiles and new production techniques in the manufacturing industries, nuclear power is one very attractive viable alternative to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Five years ago there were exactly "zero" power plant applications on the board. As of today, there are 15 and that number is sure to grow. Some surely won't get built but I have a feeling most will. I remember the nuclear protests of the seventys and eighty's and to tell you the truth, they were mostly organized by so called grass roots touchy feely uninformed tree huggers. I can tell you one thing for sure, if we don't fix the greenhouse gas problem in the next 20 or 30 years there won't be any trees left to hug.

One last thought. In the twenty eight years American nuclear power plants have been operating, there hasn't been even one death directly attributed to its implementation or use. A pretty impressive record if you ask me. At the same time the logging industry has ravaged our planet right under the noses of the tree huggers lazing right under the trees they are cutting down. How successful have they really been in saving our fragile planet?.

No comments: