Skip to main content

The Nuclear Energy Debate In Holland

There's an interesting debate going on in Holland, where environmentalists are pressing the government to shut down the Borssele nuclear plant in 2013 -- but a number of pro-nuclear supporters are fighting it, saying that the plant can still be operated safely for years to come:

Borssele, which produces some 4 to 5 percent of Dutch electricity, was built in 1973 and it was anticipated at the time it would have a 40-year lifespan.

Utility EPZ, the plant's operator, won a court battle against the government two years ago to leave the plant open past an initial planned closure date of 2004, set by Dutch parliament in 1994.

Concerns about radioactive waste and the 1986 disaster at the former Soviet Union's Chernobyl plant have sparked widespread opposition to nuclear power in the environmentally-conscious Netherlands.

But there have been growing calls to keep Borssele open.

A recent Dutch opinion poll showed that 65 percent think Borssele can remain open while 23 percent say it should not.


A lot of what's happened in the commercial nuclear sector here in the U.S. should cheer the folks in Holland who want to keep Borssele open.

10 years ago, many industry observers thought that the American commercial nuclear industry was in permanent decline. Some analysts predicted that nuclear plants wouldn't able to survive in newly deregulated electricity markets. Instead, the exact opposite happened, as the commercial nuclear energy sector has maintained its place in the nation's energy mix through license renewal.

Here in the U.S., 30 reactors have had their licenses renewed by the NRC, and another 18 are currently under review.

Five years ago, when Calvert Cliffs became the first U.S. nuclear plant to renew its license, the process was a novel concept. Today it's routine. And one day, it could be in Holland too.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…