Skip to main content

ANL Director: Use of Nuclear Energy is "Unavoidable"


In today's edition of E&E TV's On Point, Monica Trauzzi interviews Robert Rosner, director of the Argonne National Lab. He has some interesting things to say about nuclear energy:
Monica Trauzzi: Where do you think the debate over nuclear stands and do you see it having a major role in the future of U.S. energy policy?

Robert Rosner: So the answer is, let me start with the second part. I think nuclear is at some level unavoidable. When we think about what the energy mix will be for stationary power say 30 years from now or 40 years from now, it's very hard to see how you're going to avoid the use of nuclear power. Even in the most optimistic scenarios about carbon sequestration one question that does come up is, in the long term, if you're really talking about say time scales of the order of say a century, 100 years, does the United States, for example, have sufficient reservoir capacity to actually contain all the CO2 that would need to be, for example, pumped into the ground if you sequester it? The answer is, well, it's not so clear. So if you take the long view, not next year, not five years, but if you really take the long view of say 50 years from now, 100 years from now, it's very hard to see how you can avoid a source of energy such as nuclear. So having said that the question is, well, how do you get there? The rest of the world is plunging on ahead. There's no question about it. If you go to China or you go to India they're busy building nuclear plants. If you go to Europe the Europeans are starting to build nuclear plants.
For the transcript, click here.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hmm. I guess CO2 is similar to deadly nuclear waste in that it needs to be sequestered "forever." Except that it doesn't decay. Maybe we should reprocess used fuel and sequester CO2 at Yucca Mt. Would that be ok with Harry Reid?
Anonymous said…
The case for nuclear is that it is unavoidable? That's stupid.

I can think of several ways it could be avoided for the balance of this century, and almost as many ways it could be avoided by a high-power-using world almost indefinitely.

The case for nuclear is that it is safer and cleaner than today's majority energy sources, and, unlike them, inexhaustible. People who have a choice between putting themselves close to either an oil burner or a nuclear reactor that serves the same purpose sensibly choose the latter, even if working for an organization that lobbies to protect and increase fossil fuel tax revenue.

--- G. R. L. Cowan, former H2-energy fan
Rod Adams said…
The real question is why would you want to avoid a power source that is as capable, as clean, and as abundant as nuclear fission.

With leaders like this in the "industry" who needs enemies?
Anonymous said…
If I'm not mistaken, Stewart Brand and/or James Lovelock have couched their support for nuclear power in "neccesary evil" terms. I don't see this as being any different.
Rod Adams said…
I cannot understand the "necessary evil" comment either. As far as I can tell, fission is a huge boon to mankind - more of a gift from Nature or God or whoever runs this place we call Earth.

Why do even nukes fail to see the beautiful poetry, symmetry and amazingly efficient way to produce the power needed to mold the world to make it a more friendly place?

Maybe more people need to make friends with their neighborhood reactor. (I always thought of the reactor I was responsible for as a trusted shipmate.)

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…