Tuesday, May 31, 2005

St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Nuclear power should be in the mix."

In this morning's St. Paul Pioneer Press, Associate Editor Mike Yost makes his pitch for nuclear energy:

The enviros are engaged in similar intellectual dishonesty when it comes to nuclear power.

"The answer to meeting our future power needs is not renewables or nuclear power, it's both," said Jim Alders, manager of regulatory projects at Xcel Energy. "Nuclear power should be in the mix."

So why isn't it? Good question.
Further . . .
In the meantime, the benefits of diverse energy generation are starting to be discussed. Indeed, nuclear is not the silver bullet. While it's cheap and operates peak loads around the clock, it can't handle demand surges the way a gas-turbine plant can.

"We need a diverse energy mix," Xcel's Alders argues. "One (technology) can't replace the other."

Until we realize that, we're just spinning our wheels.
Some people might find support like this surprising, but it's actually attributable to the superior performance of many of today's nuclear plants -- like Xcel Energy's Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant:
All indicators are green, Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant operated in a safe manner last year.

That was the conclusion of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which hosted a public meeting at the Monticello Community Center Thursday to discuss the results of inspections conducted at MNGP during 2004.

"We had no reason to conduct supplement inspections at this facility,"” said Bruce Burgess, NRC branch chief.

The NRC uses a scale of colors "–green, white, yellow and red" –to assess plant performance and rank inspection findings. Green represents the most favorable conditions/findings and red the most severe/problematic.

In both plant performance and inspection findings, Monticello ranked green in all areas.

This means the NRC believes that any concerns or issues that may have arisen at the plant are minor enough that MNGP may take its own corrective measures without the NRC conducting supplemental inspections.
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