Hooray for Nuclear Power
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved licenses to build two new nuclear reactors, the first reactors authorized since 1978.
This is wonderful news and one optimistic sign about our future energy supplies. We need hundreds of new reactors to update our electricity supply system and to replace coal-fired plants.
The reactors will be built in Georgia by a consortium of utilities led by Southern Co. The site is 170 miles east of Atlanta. The existing plant at the site already houses two older reactors.
The 5-member NRC voted four-to-one in favor of the new reactors.
Of course the new reactors are going to be subject to obstruction from environmental groups. So while Obama says he wants nuclear power, his enviro friends will seek to block it in his stead. Because Obama does not really want nuclear power. And he knows how the game is played.
But at least we have an NRC that is voting for nuclear rather than against it. That is progress. And the reactors probably are going to be built.
Now look at what cnn.com reported about the recent history of nuclear power:
‘The combination of the Three Mile Island incident and the high costs of nuclear power turned many utilities away from the technology.’
Nonsense. TMI killed zero people after it was portrayed as a catastrophic event. President Jimmy Carter even went right inside the reactor building after the TMI accident in 1979, a venue called “the most dangerous place in the world” by eco-radicals.
Carter is still alive today, 33 years later.
The “high costs of nuclear power”? Nonsense. It is the most efficient energy source ever devised by man. Its “high costs” are being imposed by endless eco-regulations and obstruction, just like all energy costs are rising because of environmental obstacles.
For instance as environmentalists block oil production, the cost of oil is going to rise naturally because the supply is being thwarted.
What is the alternative to nuclear, according to the enviros who control so much of our energy supply?
Solar panels that are so costly and so inefficient that they cannot survive without massive government subsidies? No.
Windmills that require hundreds of times the labor to maintain and operate than a nuclear plant requires? No.
The new reactors are expected to cost $14 billion and provide 2,200 megawatts of electricity or enough to power 1 million homes.
The same amount of power generated by individual 1.5 megawatt windmills would require 4,400 windmills because windmills are only one-third as efficient as nuclear. And these wind generators would be spread across the land for dozens or hundreds of miles; would require thousands of miles of new cable to connect the windmills to the grid; would require new transmission line corridors to be cut through wilderness areas; while new wilderness roads would need to be cut to service these windmills which are often on mountain tops or in remote regions.
Yet enviros are actually promoting this wind-power eco-disaster.
The new nuclear plants are being built with a conditional $8.3 billion loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.
This is a loan guarantee, not a loan.0:00 / 4:34 A nuclear renaissance in America// The guarantee will enable the project to receive lower-cost financing that is expected to save customers $1 billion over the long run.
The first reactor is expected to come online in 2016 and the second in 2017.
Nuclear power currently accounts for about 20% of American electricity production.
Meanwhile ‘global warming’ alarmists have been opposing coal-fired electricity for its carbon dioxide emissions, while opposing emission-less nuclear power at the same time.
Why don’t they make up their minds?
Nuclear critics have also charged that nuclear power is unsafe, pointing to the Fukushima accident in Japan in Spring 2011.
Yet that was only one of three accidents in more than 12,000 reactor-years of operation. Fukushima has killed nobody and it was the result of an earthquake/tsunami that was one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history.
And it was the loss of electric power that led to the problems at the Fukushima reactor. But that is an older plant, and new designs have simple systems to avoid the problem.
Nuclear critics also charge that there is no effective disposal system for radioactive waste. Yet a federal waste disposal repository in Nevada that is ready for operation has been blocked from opening by the same environmentalists who say that we have no waste disposal system.
And for those who have been terrified by enviro fearmongering about nuclear power, here are a few facts to consider:
*Spent radioactive fuel from power plants is like a dead battery. It is low-level radiation. It is currently stored in pools of water at the reactor sites. Most of that fuel can be reprocessed into new fuel.
*The United States detonated an atomic bomb directly above the city of Hiroshima in Japan on August 6, 1945. Yet the city has been inhabited ever since, contrary to the enviro fear claim that the city would be dangerously irradiated for 10,000 years.
*Atomic bombs were detonated in open-air tests just over the horizon from Las Vegas in the 1940s. Yet there have been no reports of any negative effect on the city or on the surrounding region. Otherwise nobody would go to Vegas for 10,000 years, would they?
*Cancer patients today have radiation injected directly into their bodies to kill cancer cells. The radiation does not harm other healthy cells.
*The total number of people who died from the worst nuclear reactor accident in the world at Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, was just 31, most of them firefighters who had to stand close to the exposed reactor core. And the reason that the accident was so bad is that Chernobyl was a piece of communist engineering with no quality or safeguards built in. Meanwhile the area around the Chernobyl reactor, deemed biologically ‘dead’ by enviro fearmongers for the next 10,000 years, has grown back and is now inhabited by plants and animals that enviros said never would live there again for 500 generations.
*The founder of the modern-day enviro movement, Briton James Lovelock, now favors nuclear power as does Patrick Moore, founder of Greenpeace. Many other environmentalists are now pro-nuclear.
*Meanwhile more than 5,000 people per year die in coal-mining accidents.
*And of course most homes in America willingly and voluntarily have installed in their kitchens a radiation-emitting device – the microwave oven.
Please visit my blog at www.nikitas3.com for more conservative insights. And enjoy the lively new Arts section.