No New Nukes?

The LA Times has a thoughtful editorial today about movements to build new nuclear facilities in California.  

There are some considerable advantages of nuclear power.  As a kid growing up in upstate New York, field trips to the Niagra Mohawk facility in Oswego, NY were an annual ritual (see kids, Nuclear Power is good).  And for all its advantages, the disadvantages are pretty major: dealing with toxic nuclear waste and add new targets for terrorism. 

Our security at nuclear facilities still isn’t that great and that’s a concern.   Even if the nuclear waste processing/storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada overcomes local opposition, there’s the matter of shipping the waste safely there.  By road; accidents happen.  By train; trains derail.  The arguement against solar and wind power is that its not always sunny and not always windy.  I’ll use the same logic as it applies to sipping nuclear waste. Accidents happen, and I certainly don’t want accidents like this happening anywhere near me.

I’d like to see further investment in alternative energy sources, specifically ways to reduce the cost of solar enegry.  OK, the sun is not always sunny and the wind isn’t always windy, but finding new ways to harness renewable fuel sources that are not toxic might be a better investment for California than nuclear energy.


  1 comment for “No New Nukes?

  1. July 23, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    As you note, every energy source has its good and bad points. I’m not sure how thoughtful the LA Times really was of that when it singled out nuclear. As they note, many respected academics and environmentalists aren’t saying no to nuclear. (Many are, of course.)

    The paper could write a similar negative report on every power source. Were they aware that while wind power is “limitless”, since electricity is almost impossible to store in any large degree, the intermittent nature of wind is a huge drawback? Or that for fossil-fuel plants to continue to be a key provider without adding to CO2 emissions that new, untried CO2 sequestration methods would need to be implemented on a massive scale? And its not clear what is the basis behind statements like nuclear power is “extremely risky” – how does that compare to the risk of other options (CO2, coal particulate in the air, brownouts during summertime, etc.)?

    The first step to choosing the best energy future is understanding the energy present – what the good and bad things actually are. It’s not clear at all that this was the case with the LA Times editorial. (Were this done, perhaps nuclear would still lose, but for the right reasons.)

    Nuclear power is a very hard subject to understand for the lay person – there is just propaganda on both sides. For an insider’s look at nuclear in the form of a thriller novel, see “Rad Decision” at . There is no cost to website readers. Both the good AND the bad of atomic energy are portrayed. “Rad Decision” has also been endorsed by Stewart Brand, the founder of “The Whole Earth Catalog”.

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