Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Why Houston Needs Nuclear Energy Now

In January, NEI CEO Skip Bowman addressed the Houston Forum and had the following to say about why the city and the state should give nuclear energy a second look:

In 2004, South Texas Project and Comanche Peak produced about 11 percent of the state'’s electricity.

Replacing the South Texas Project (STP) and Comanche Peak generating capacity with fossil fuel sources would mean an additional 31.6 million tons of carbon dioxide. That'’s the equivalent of emissions from six out of every seven cars in the state.

By building emission-free generating capacity such as new nuclear power plants to meet growing electricity demand, we reduce the clean-air compliance costs that otherwise would fall on other types of generating capacity that do produce emissions. Nuclear power plants create headroom underneath emissions caps for the industrial sector and for transportation, and to allow continued economic growth.

To the extent we build new nuclear power plants, we also reduce the demands placed on natural gas supply. This time last year, as many of you know, the Texas Institute for the Advancement of Chemical Technology proposed construction of a new nuclear power plant in the Texas Gulf Coast region. That study was inspired, in part, by the desire to free up natural gas supplies used in the electric sector for hard-pressed industrial users.

The idea deserves your consideration.
This week in the indie weekly, the Houston Press, Josh Harkinson considers the question, and comes to an interesting conclusion.

Here's what he had to say after speaking with a Texas Tech biology professor who had visited Chernobyl:
Perhaps more than any living American, [Ronald]n Chesser understands how nuclear power can spawn untold horrors in an instant. Which is why it might seem odd that he supports building new reactors. Chesser has joined an increasingly diverse group of scientists, energy analysts and even environmentalists who believe the United States must meet its energy needs by going back to the nuclear future. Many of these advocates of atom splitting support building a nuclear plant near Houston.

It's a scary proposition, and it may be the best one we've got.
While like a lot of folks in the nuclear energy industry, I don't like seeing the use of the word, "scary" in this context, but the reporter deserves credit for putting away his preconceptions and listening to the facts. And click here for an honest look at the pros and cons of alternative sources of energy, and their drawbacks vis a vis nuclear energy.

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1 comment:

Rorschach said...

He doesn't do a terribly good job of it. If you stripped off the last sentence, the meaning of the entire article would turn 180 degrees!

That my friends is called "front loading"