Skip to main content

More From the IAEA Meeting in Paris

The IAEA conference on the future of nuclear energy wrapped up in Paris today, with 74 nations signing a statement broadly endorsing the increased adoption of nuclear energy and praising it for not generating "air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions" and for being "a proven technology" that can "make a major contribution to meeting energy needs and sustaining the world's development in the 21st century". But this passage from an Agence-France Press wire story about the conference caught my eye as well:
Among the dissenters to the endorsement for nuclear energy were countries like Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden which are phasing out nuclear energy and others like Austria which are against nuclear power but attended the conference. Officials did not provide details on individual nations.

A diplomat present at the conference said however "give five years and most of Europe will change direction in favour of nuclear energy" since it is relatively inexpensive and other alternative power sources such as wind energy can not make up in large percentages for significantly reduced oil use.

A little less than two weeks ago, we noted that the German utility executive who negotiated the deal to phase out that nation's nuclear capacity had predicted that it would eventually be reversed. And click here for a pointer to a piece on how the nuclear phaseout and adoption of wind power is costing German ratepayers more than they bargained for.

In a message read to the conference, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman had this to say:
In a message to the conference, U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman cited a University of Chicago study that showed nuclear power "can become competitive with electricity produced by plants fueled by coal or gas" because of new technologies delivering more-efficient reactors.

Echoing recent comments by President Bush, Bodman said: "America hasn't ordered a new nuclear-power plant since the 1970s, and it's time to start building again."

For more on the University of Chicago study, click here. Meanwhile, Korea's Science and Technology Minister gave nuclear energy a strong endorsement of having a place in his nation's energy future:

Science-Technology Minister Oh Myung made the point Monday during a ministerial conference on the future of nuclear power held in Paris, backed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Science-Technology Minister Oh Myung made the point Monday during a ministerial conference on the future of nuclear power held in Paris, backed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). ``I am confident that nuclear energy will contribute to preventing global warming, resolving world energy problems, promoting human welfare and progressing the world economy,’’ Oh said.

He went on to say that he believes another nuclear renaissance will take place in the future and the global community should assign a larger role to the energy source.


Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot., the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.

From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…