Tuesday, May 15, 2007

MIT Forum on Nuclear Energy

The MIT Technology and Culture Forum sponsored a recent forum on the future of nuclear energy on campus back in March:

Nuclear energy will emerge either as a solution to the twin crises of global warming and a secure energy supply, or global catastrophe. Within this panel at least, there doesn’t seem to be a comfortable middle ground.

MIT’s Andrew Kadak, one of the two speakers arguing the necessity of nuclear energy, advances the policy recommendations formulated by a group of fellow researchers. Given the fact of global warming, we must admit a “second inconvenient truth,” says Kadak -- that all non-CO2 emitting energy sources must be used, and to make a real difference in the near term, we must turn first and foremost to nuclear energy and conservation.

Right now, 20% of U.S. electricity flows from nuclear power stations, but there have been no new orders for plants since 1975. The current administration hopes to spur interest, through its Energy Policy Act of 2005, which sets up tax credits for building new power plants. With the help of sophisticated new plant designs and an activated Yucca Mountain repository for spent fuel -- all potentially coming together in the next few years -- Kadak believes utilities and investors will accept the high costs of construction. This will be more likely if government puts in place a carbon tax, which will make fossil fuel costs higher, eventually evening the playing field for nuclear power.
Professor Kadak's presentation is called "A Second Inconvenient Truth". Also on the video are Victor Reis and Allison Mcfarlane.

Thanks to Paul Kedrosky for the pointer.


nada said...

Why is that everyone is using Yucca Mountain as a 'solution'. It's the biggest waste of money in the history of the US. Why don't they reprocess ALL fuel? Why?

Kurt said...

Ok, if about a 5th of the US power grid is nuclear energy, and so much of this 'anti-nuke' crap is always occuring, which keeps the number of nuclear power plants FAR less than the number of coal burning or other CO2 emitting power plants then logically you can deduce that nuclear power is FAR more efficient needing FAR fewer plants, so then wouldn't it make sense to use a few nuclear power plants instead of thousands of CO2 emitting ones, sure there is waste on both sides but what do you want? Millions of tonnes of CO2 which is uncontained or a few tons of nuclear waste which has the potential to be recycled if people would let the technology prosper which WOULD be contained SAFELY, Chernobyl was an accident in a poor country with terrible safety and structural regulations. This is NORTH AMERICA land of the free, rich (relatively speaking) and well educated (in comparison to other places). Like wow people take your heads out of your collective asses and wake up, it's the bloody future staring you in the face.