APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

State of the Renaissance

I can't put it any better than this article, just published in Industry Week and which is worth reading in whole. I've given the link to see the article all on one page to save you time and ad-reading.

Did we jump the gun? No. Everyone with any knowledge -- any real knowledge -- about nuclear has been behind it for years, hating the decline of the industry in our country and watching the sharing then handing off of technology, then responsibility and money, to Japanese firms (both Westinghouse and GE are deeply involved with Japanese firms in regards to nuclear power, while Babcock & Wilcox is not.) The problem is that every time something happens to get the public back in favor of nuclear energy the public quickly gets over whatever crisis frightened them in the first place and goes back to being frightened of nuclear energy. This time, it was the fear of the recession which led the President to, in part, get some money flowing to industry and utilities to stimulate jobs added to fear for the environment when the Gulf of Mexico oil spill happened. Most of the real, sensible reasoning behind both of those decision making paths is still valid now as it was then but the problem is that everyone would like to go back to worrying about which big screen TV to buy and forget about the environment or energy use.

Let's keep some things in mind: First, if we're going to prevent another major blackout, we'll need more generating capacity. That's both base load and peak capacity. Second, if we're going to get more independent from oil, we'll need more generating from something else. Third, if we're really worried about greenhouse gases, global warming and oil spills, we need something non-combustive to replace oil. The answer for all of these at once is nuclear. It's proven (see the FitzPatrick entry earlier today) and it's ready. Cost is a factor, but it'll buy peace of mind. Eventual spent fuel storage is a factor, but if the government goes ahead as promised originally with Yucca that problem is already solved.

It's right now that we're at the tipping point. The wind was blowing our way, pretty hard, for the last year or so. It's getting eerily calm right now.

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