Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NEI Statement on Senate EPW Hearing on Yucca Mountain

The following statement comes from NEI's Media Relations Department:

The U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works held a hearing today on the federal government’s program to dispose of used nuclear fuel from commercial nuclear power plants and high-level radioactive waste from U.S. defense programs at a geologic repository planned for Yucca Mountain, Nev. The Nuclear Energy Institute’s chief nuclear officer, Marvin Fertel, made the following comments about the program.

“As the Department of Energy moves steadily closer to the submission of a license application for the planned Yucca Mountain repository to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, today’s hearing was an opportune time to note that there is some 20 years of solid science undergirding this program. Over the past two decades, billions of dollars have been spent on analyses of the repository site by many of our nation’s leading scientific experts. This analysis will continue during construction and operation of the repository so that public health and safety of future generations will be protected.

“Today’s hearing also was an appropriate time to note that, as early as 1957, the National Academy of Sciences recommended disposing radioactive waste in geologic formations. This is a project in which our nation can take great pride, because it is all about environmental stewardship. Through its hard work at this barren ridge in the Nevada desert, the United States is leading the worldwide efforts to develop geologic disposal facilities for high-level radioactive waste. This is literally the most studied site of its kind in the world.

“It is dismaying that today’s hearing was marred by factual inaccuracies that fly in the face of scientifically provable and measurable facts. It is fact, for example, that background radiation levels in Denver are well above the U.S. average of 300 millirem per year. It is not true that the Yucca Mountain project would lead to uncontrolled radiation exposures. And it is not true that the science at the project site has been manipulated. The nuclear industry believes it is important that these issues be settled based on a fair, thorough, impartial and open consideration of the facts. The Yucca Mountain licensing process will provide a rigorous and transparent examination of the scientific and technical facts in which opinions will be aired, vetted and accorded a full adjudicatory hearing.

“Ultimately, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will judge whether to approve the Department of Energy’s project. The key role for Congress to play – implementing its endorsement of the site’s suitability in 2002 – is to ensure that funds are available and appropriated in sufficient amounts for the Department of Energy to complete the work that it needs to in a timely fashion, and for the NRC to fulfill its safety mission. It is also appropriate for Congress to provide oversight at key points in the Yucca Mountain project development.

“Current national policy with regard to management of high-level radioactive waste was formulated in 1982 with enactment of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. This policy has been reaffirmed on several occasions since. Even under an integrated used nuclear fuel management approach that in the future may involve advanced reprocessing technologies, there always will be byproducts that require geologic disposal.”
For more on the industry's position on used nuclear fuel, click here.

NEI's Energy Markets Report - October 22 - 26, 2007

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:

Electricity peak prices at the listed hubs below decreased about $4-15/MWh except for Palo Verde and SP 15. Cooler temperatures played a role in falling prices at the Eastern and ERCOT hubs. Four out of seven nuclear reactors in the Western region were down for most of the week which contributed to moderate price increases at the SP 15 and Palo Verde hubs (Platts, see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub fell from $6.92/MMBtu to $6.55/MMBtu. Moderate weather is considered the cause for declining gas prices for the week (EIA). Gas futures also fell $0.33 to $7.01/MMBtu for November (see pages 1, 2 and 3).

NOx allowance prices fell $100 to $770/ton last week (see pages 1 and 3).

Estimated nuclear plant availability slipped from 83 to 82 percent last week with two reactors beginning and three reactors finishing refueling outages. Palo Verde 1 was offline to repair an auxiliary feedwater pump (see pages 2 and 4).

Uranium spot prices rose to $84 and $85/lb U3O8 according to TradeTech and UxConsulting. “Several new buyers have returned to the (uranium) market over the past couple of weeks, further signifying the belief that the spot market has hit its near-term bottom” (UxC). U3O8 prices have risen $10 over the past four weeks from a low of $75/lb U3O8 (see pages 1 and 3).

Crude oil prices rose to $87.80/barrel last week. For perspective, the cost of crude oil imports in 1980 (the highest year so far) was $84.40/barrel after adjusting for inflation to preliminary 2007 dollars using the Consumer Price Index (see pages 1 and 3).
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

Monday, October 29, 2007

We Support Lee Reviews "The Power to Save The World"


Ruth Sponsler has a review of Gwyneth Cravens' new book, The Power to Save the World. Be sure to give it a look.

I'm sure many of you will recall that we first pointed out Cravens and her book in a post back in September, before also finding news of a presentation before Stewart Brand's Long Now Foundation.

Visiting a Swedish Nuclear Power Plant


While Sweden might have passed a referendum to phase out its nuclear generating capacity back in 1980, that hasn't stopped 3 million Swedes -- fully one-third of the country's population -- from taking a visit to one of the nation's nuclear power plants.

Imagining a "Better Place" with All Electric Vehicles

From the New York Times:

Shai Agassi, a Silicon Valley technologist who was in competition to become chief executive of SAP, one of the world’s largest software companies, has re-emerged with a grand plan to reinvent the world’s automobile industry around battery-powered all-electric cars.

Others are developing green cars, like the Tesla and Chevrolet Volt. However, Mr. Agassi is not planning to make cars, but instead wants to deploy an infrastructure of battery-charging stations in the United States, Europe and the developing world.

The new system will sell electric fuel on a subscription basis and will subsidize vehicle costs through leases and credits.

“We’re basically saying this is just like the cellular phone model,” he said. “If you think of Tesla as the iPhone, we’re AT&T.”
Very, very interesting. Here's another passage that caught my eye:
The economics will be more compelling in Europe, where gasoline is roughly twice as expensive as in the United States, he said. Assuming a life span of 1,500 battery recharges, he said that the energy cost of all-electric cars would be about 7 cents a mile. That would be less than a third of the cost of driving a gasoline-powered car today.

“It’s much easier to transport electrons than octane molecules,” he said. “We’ve already got a grid that goes around the entire world; all we have to do is extend it.”
It's called Project Better Place, at least for now. More here, from Business Week. Sounds like something we might all want to keep an eye on. After all, where is this venture going to get its emission-free electricity from?

For more on Aggasi, click here. To read his blog, click here. More later.

UPDATE: FuturePundit has some thoughts.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Edwards, Giuliani, McCain and Obama on Nuclear Energy

Here's another YouTube find: Representatives from the Presidential campaigns of Senator Barack Obama, Senator John Edwards, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Senator John McCain all addressing where nuclear energy fits into their vision for future energy policy. The following was shot earlier this week at the National Press Club:



Thanks to Climate Progress for the pointer.

NEI's Nuclear Performance - September 2007

Here's a summary of U.S. nuclear plant performances last month:

For September 2007, the average net capacity factor reached 93.7 percent. This figure is 1.3 percentage points higher than the same one-month period in 2006. Monthly nuclear generation was 67.7 billion kilowatt-hours for September 2007, compared to 66.6 bkWh for the same one-month period in 2006.

For 2007, year-to-date nuclear generation was 612.9 billion kilowatt-hours, compared to 597.8 bkWh in 2006 (2.5 percent increase) and 598.4 bkWh in the record year of 2004.

As of October 24, 2007, 12 reactors were in refueling outages and four were completed for the Fall 2007 season.

Final 2006 generation, capacity and capacity factor data for U.S. nuclear plants was released in the Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Annual 2006. Total nuclear plant summer capacity increased by 346 megawatts to 100,334 MW in 2006. This is the second highest year for total nuclear capacity and is 450 MW short of the record year in 1996 (109 units were operating in 1996). 2006 nuclear generation remained the same at 787.2 bkWh. The final capacity factor for 2006 was updated to 89.6% from a preliminary 89.8%.
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Now Available: October Issue of Nuclear Energy Insight

The October issue of Nuclear Energy Insight is now available online. In it, you'll find an article about the first full license application for a new nuclear plant filed in nearly 30 years. There also are reports on how reactors helped defang the dog days of summer and nuclear plant neighbors' welcoming reception of new-plant plans.

Another article remembers NRC Commissioner Edward McGaffigan, while other articles discuss the energy sector's work force options, multiple studies' conclusions that nuclear is needed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the nuclear sector's completion of a key security review. You also can read about how nuclear technology is improving Zambia's prognosis for cancer treatment.

Michael Williams on Nuclear Energy

I was kicking around YouTube again today, and came across a video that had been posted some time ago by Michael Williams, Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission.



Be sure to let him know what you think.

Nuclear Energy and Loan Guarantees, Part III

In our final installment on nuclear energy and loan guarantees, Richard Myers, NEI's Vice President of Policy Development, explains why subsidies aren't a four-letter word in American political history.

Subsidy Is Not A Four-Letter Word

Can we talk about subsidies?

In our last post, we took issue with the anti-nuclear refrain – “massive subsidies for the nuclear power industry” – and showed that the energy loan guarantee program is self-financing and clearly not a subsidy.

But this unrestrained use of the word “subsidy” troubles me. I can’t think of another word in the English language that is so overused or so misused. Overused to the point of being meaningless, misused as a slur, and employed selectively when it suits the user’s narrow self-interest.

Think about it: Is there anything in American life that is not subsidized, and appropriately so? We subsidize higher education and production of agricultural products. We subsidize home ownership through the mortgage interest deduction. We use loan guarantee programs to subsidize exports of U.S. goods and services (through the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation). We also use loan guarantee programs to subsidize shipbuilding, steelmaking, rural electrification, and construction of critical transportation infrastructure like subway systems, toll roads, waterways and airports. In fact, the federal government manages a loan guarantee portfolio of approximately $1.1 trillion which, on balance, returns more to the Treasury than it costs the taxpayer.

We use the tax code to subsidize certain forms of behavior that deserve encouragement. The 2005 energy legislation provided several billion dollars of investment tax credits to certain clean coal technologies (because it’s in the public interest to deploy technologies that burn coal with lower emissions). The same legislation reduced the depreciation period for investments in new electric transmission facilities (because the nation desperately needs additional long-haul transmission to maintain the reliability of electric service across the country). And it allowed shorter depreciation for pollution control equipment on power plants (because it’s in the public interest to have cleaner air).

We provide subsidies in various ways either to offset market imperfections that preclude the flow of capital to certain activities that serve the common good and general welfare, or to encourage activities that are in society’s general interest. Are there abuses? Probably. But the benefits far outweigh those costs.

So be on your guard the next time you hear someone start tossing around the word “subsidy.” Odds are that he or she has an ax to grind. Odds are that he or she is perfectly content to accept subsidies that work to his or her benefit, like the mortgage interest deduction. They selectively pick and choose, opposing only those subsidies they don’t like for whatever reason.

One final thought: “[I]t is the interest of the society … to submit to a temporary expense, which is more than compensated by an increase of industry and wealth, by an augmentation of resources and independence, and by the circumstance of eventual cheapness ….”

That was written by Alexander Hamilton in his Report on Manufactures, published in December 1791. The same Alexander Hamilton who was first Secretary of the Treasury under President Washington, founded the national bank, and was one of the two chief authors of the Federalist Papers. The same Hamilton whose likeness appears on the $10 bill.

When Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne or any of the other anti-nuclear activists who are so concerned about “massive subsidies” say anything, write anything or produce anything of sufficient value to earn a place on the $10 bill (or even the penny), then I might be inclined to credit seriously their opinions about nuclear power, loan guarantees, subsidies, and energy and economic policy.

But until then …

Previously:
Part I
Part II

Nuclear Energy and Loan Guarantees, Part II

Yesterday, I forwarded a note from Richard Myers, NEI's Vice President of Policy Development, concerning nuclear energy and loan guarantees, the issue that Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash came to Washington to agitate about earlier this week.

But while emotional rhetoric is one thing, the facts are another. Here's Part II:

The Loan Guarantees Authorized by the Energy Policy Act Are Not a Subsidy

For the past few weeks, we’ve been regaled with horror stories about the loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants authorized in the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The story line from the anti-nuclear groups goes like this: “huge bailout” and “a blank check for the nuclear power industry” and “massive subsidies for the nuclear power industry.”

Here are the facts.

First, the Energy Policy Act authorizes loan guarantees for a portfolio of 10 clean energy technologies. New nuclear power plants are just one of the 10. Here’s the list, verbatim from the statute:

1. Renewable energy systems

2. Advanced fossil energy technology (including coal gasification)

3. Hydrogen fuel cell technology for residential, industrial, or transportation applications

4. Advanced nuclear energy facilities

5. Carbon capture and sequestration practices and technologies, including agricultural and forestry practices that store and sequester carbon

6. Efficient electrical generation, transmission, and distribution technologies

7. Efficient end-use energy technologies

8. Production facilities for fuel efficient vehicles, including hybrid and advanced diesel vehicles

9. Pollution control equipment

10. Refineries, meaning facilities at which crude oil is refined into gasoline

Second, a subsidy is when the federal government makes a payment to a private party. The energy loan guarantee program works the other way around. The private parties make payments to the federal government in order to receive the loan guarantees. That’s not a subsidy.

Loan guarantee programs deserve further explanation. Until 1990, the federal budget accounted for federal loan programs and federal loan guarantee programs differently. Loan programs – like student loans – appeared in the budget (in budget-speak, they were “scored”) at full face value. Loan guarantee programs were not scored at all.

That didn’t make a lot of sense. Most federal loans are repaid, so why appropriate and score the full amount of the loan? And a small percentage of loan guarantees went into default, so shouldn’t they be scored somehow in the federal budget?

Congress fixed this problem in the 1990 Federal Credit Reform Act (PDF), which created a standardized way of accounting for loan and loan guarantee programs in the federal budget. Federal agencies that provide loans and loan guarantees are required to calculate a “cost,” following standardized protocols. In simple terms, that “cost” is the expected payments by the federal government less expected revenues received by the federal government.

In most loan guarantee programs, this cost appears in the federal budget as an appropriated amount. The energy loan guarantee program created by the 2005 energy legislation took a different and innovative approach. It stipulates that the Department of Energy cannot issue a loan guarantee until and unless the company receiving the loan guarantees has paid the cost of the guarantee (and, by the way, all administrative fees and costs incurred by the agency in administering the program).

So could someone please tell me where the subsidy is – for advanced nuclear plants or any of the other nine technologies eligible?

The procedures for calculating the “cost” of loan guarantees are established and overseen by the Office of Management and Budget, a relatively obscure Executive Branch agency with enormous power. OMB has a model that all federal agencies must use when calculating the cost of a loan guarantee. It includes a number of assumptions. One of the most important is the probability of default: What is the likelihood that a company receives a loan guarantee, raises debt financing in the capital markets, then defaults on the loan, forcing the government to repay the banks?

We can’t speak for the other nine technologies eligible for loan guarantees, but in the case of new nuclear plants the probability of default is pretty close to zero. Why? Because the companies building these new nuclear power plants will have one billion dollars or more of their own equity (actually, their shareholders’ money) invested in the project, side-by-side with the guaranteed debt. In the event of default, the company loses that investment: The government will seize it to help repay the loan. There’s not an electric power company in the United States that can sustain a billion-dollar loss on a single project. That’s why these projects are so well-planned. Why all necessary safety and regulatory approvals are obtained before construction begins. Why due diligence is so disciplined and exhaustive. Why successful completion and operation is (forgive the word) guaranteed.

This is one of those rare cases when the public interest and the private sector’s interest are perfectly aligned, when both parties have a single common interest in success.

Look for more a little bit later.

Report from North Anna

JoAnn Sperber, NEI's Director of Member Communications, was on the scene in Virginia last night for the latest in a series of meetings concerning the construction of a new nuclear reactor at North Anna. Her report follows:

Virginians Discuss New Plant Plans at North Anna

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last night held another in a series of meetings detailing the licensing process for new nuclear power plants. This session focused on Dominion Generation’s plan to submit a combined construction and operating license application for a new reactor at its North Anna plant.

After a series of presentations by NRC officials, the 130 people gathered at the meeting asked questions on a range of issues, including water use from Lake Anna, nuclear energy's role in addressing climate change, potential economic benefits of a new reactor, used fuel management and nuclear security.

Although several opposition groups were present, including the People’s Alliance for Clean Energy and Beyond Nuclear, many local residents commented favorably on Dominion’s consideration of adding a third reactor to the plant site. George Lear, a plant neighbor and 30-year veteran of the Navy’s nuclear programs, said, “Nuclear energy is a safe, reliable part of the nation’s energy mix.”

Harry Ruth, president of a local environmental group called Friends of Lake Anna, said, “We want to encourage Dominion to go forward with a new reactor, but to protect the lake in the process.” He called the NRC licensing process “too complicated” and said that overlapping jurisdiction between federal and state authorities made a full understanding of the issues difficult to attain.

Marvin Smith, director of Dominion’s licensing project for the new reactor, said the company expects to submit its license application with the NRC next month. He added that Dominion has not made a decision to build, but “will proceed with the application to preserve the option on building a new nuclear plant.” He also noted that utility officials in the 11-state region that includes Virginia have estimated that homes and business in the area served by Dominion will demand more electricity between now and 2015. To address that demand, energy companies will have to add 4,000 megawatts to the electricity grid. “We are looking at a number of alternatives,” Smith noted. “A new reactor at North Anna would add 1,500 megawatts of electricity.”
UPDATE: Click here for video. And click here for an interview with Dominion Virginia employee and NEI Nuclear Notes contributor, Michael Stuart.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nuclear Energy and Loan Guarantees, Part I

Over the past few days, I've run into more than my share of angry and exasperated colleagues here at NEI. The reason: All the attention being given to the musicians who hit town yesterday to attack nuclear energy.

Don't get me wrong, everyone understands that Americans have a right to speak their minds on the issues of the day. But what's bugging us is that -- with a few notable exceptions -- the press is giving these musicians a free pass when it comes to what they're saying about the industry, in particular about nuclear energy and loan guarantees.

Richard Myers is NEI's Vice President of Policy Development. Over the next few days we'll be featuring a series of posts from him that will help cut through the propaganda and misinformation. Part I follows:

We Know What They’re Against,
But What Are They For?


For the last 10 days or so, I’ve watched the anti-nuclear groups (and their rock star friends) attacking nuclear power, and the use of federal loan guarantees to support the financing of new nuclear power plants. They’ve stitched together a story out of half-truths, quotes taken out of context, misinformation and, yes, plain old-fashioned lies.

Enough. It’s time to open the window, let in some fresh air, introduce some facts.

Over the next few days, we’ll talk about what loan guarantees are (and aren’t), why loan guarantees are an appropriate form of investment support for new nuclear plants, why they’re not subsidies and how to think about subsidies. And we’ll talk about what’s really at stake here, because this not about loan guarantees for nuclear power. This is about what kind of country we want to leave to our children.

But today, before we get into all that, let’s stop and reflect on what would happen if the anti-nuclear groups and the rock stars had their way, if the United States did not build new nuclear plants. What does it mean to oppose nuclear power and the use of financing support (like loan guarantees) to enable construction of new nuclear power plants? Quite simply, it means that you are:

Anti-consumer – Residential, commercial and industrial users of electricity will suffer, because loan guarantees allow lower-cost financing, so the nuclear plant will deliver lower-cost electricity than otherwise.

Anti-environment – A growing body of independent analysis and bipartisan commentary demonstrate that any credible program to reduce carbon emissions must include nuclear energy. Not that nuclear energy is the answer by itself. Sensible people recognize that it will take a portfolio of technologies to address climate change. For a factual, well-reasoned, even-handed discussion of this issue, check out The Power to Reduce CO2 Emissions – The Full Portfolio from the Electric Power Research Institute. EPRI shows that we must mobilize all of our resources – efficiency and demand-side management, clean coal with carbon capture and sequestration, renewables, nuclear energy and more – and we must do so aggressively if we hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. electric sector.

Anti-jobs and anti-labor – American workers will benefit from the loan guarantee program. Each new nuclear plant means 1,400-1,800 jobs during construction on average (with peak employment as high as 2,400 jobs); 400-700 permanent jobs when the plant is operating, and 400-700 additional jobs in the local area to provide the goods and services necessary to support the nuclear plant workforce (like car dealers, dry cleaners, supermarkets, etc.). We’ve done a number of economic analyses that support these numbers.

Anti-manufacturing – American manufacturers will benefit from the loan guarantee program, because construction of new nuclear plants will create demand for commodities like concrete and steel and hundreds of components, large and small. A single new nuclear power plant requires approximately 400,000 cubic yards of concrete (five times as much concrete as in the foundation and floor slabs of the 100-story Sears Tower in Chicago); 66,000 tons of steel; 44 miles of piping, 300 miles of electric wiring, and 130,000 electrical components.

Anti-economic growth – If the United States does not build new nuclear power plants, we will build more gas-fired generating capacity to maintain reliability and sustain economic growth. This will place even more pressure on natural gas supply and prices. Rising natural gas prices will do even more damage to industries like chemicals, plastics, glass and others that use natural gas as a fuel and a feedstock. (We’ve already lost over 100,000 jobs in the chemical industry to other countries over the last five years or so because U.S. natural gas prices are so high.) Industry won’t be the only casualty: Homeowners will also see higher prices for the natural gas they need for heating.

So .. now we know what the anti-nuclear groups and their rock star groupies are against. I wonder what they’re for?
More to come.

Salon Features YouTube and Nuclear Energy

If there's one media outlet that's gotten the story right over the online battle over nuclear energy and loan guarantees, it's Salon and reporter Katharine Mieszkowski. Go there right now to read, Nuclear War on YouTube. And be sure to watch the companion video that cuts all of the videos together in such a way that none of the anti-nuke charges goes unanswered.



I hope the folks at our member companies are taking notice of this. If our industry is going to fight and win online the fight over this music video ought to serve as a blueprint for how we go forward.

UPDATE: More from Rod Adams.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit Critical Faculty Dojo.

No Nukers Get Brutal Reception Online

I was just taking a quick look around the Web when I found a USA Today piece on the "No Nukes" revival that arrived in Washington today. If the comments that are getting left there are any indication, the aging rockers aren't having much of an effect on the younger generation:

Second Coming wrote: 46m ago
hahahahahahahaha rofl

"we will unite people who have never heard of us by screaming kumbaya to improvised riffs at concerts we expect a bunch of 60 year old's to show up at"

Madd Maxx wrote: 1h 28m ago
Baby boomers just hate to retire don't they?

Their energy would be better spent holding a concert for . . .
for . . .
for anything else. Several things need fixing in this country.

Hopped Up Harry wrote: 2h 24m ago
These guys are idiots.

Message to self important washed up rockers: Your fight was against OLD technology with your OLD music.

The world has moved on. And so should you.
More later.

UPDATE: More of the same at the Treehugger Video Smackdown.

Making the Case for Maine's Nuclear Power Council

Last week we pointed to a story about how Maine State Rep. Bob Walker was proposing legislation to create a state Nuclear Power Council. In today's edition of the Waldo County Citizen, Walker makes the case for his proposal in greater detail:

Why should Maine encourage the construction of nuclear energy plants? Demand for electricity will escalate as our population expands and energy-hungry manufacturing industries grow. We need cheaper energy if our economy is going to stay competitive here and abroad. Wind and solar power are important sources to be developed, but overall they cannot make more than minor contributions.

Energy conservation is fine, but we could never conserve enough to meet expected future demands.

Nuclear power also is environmentally friendly and critical to national security. Nuclear plants have zero emissions of greenhouses gases. Today, nuclear energy supplies 16 percent of the world’s electricity, avoiding the emission of 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year.

And imagine the benefits of freeing ourselves from dependence on oil from Middle East hotspots.

[...]

The process of licensing and building a new nuclear power plant averages nearly a decade. Nuclear power not only can supply lots of cheap energy that our economy desperately needs to compete, it can meet an ever-growing demand for power production with an environmentally friendly, emission-free method of energy production.

The continued growth in electricity demand and tightening reserve margins should not only frighten but provide an opportunity.

I believe the Legislature, as a deliberative body, instead of always being concerned with simply the present, needs to be forward-looking and acting on such important matters. I hope I can convince my colleagues of the need and importance of nuclear energy come January in Augusta.
For more on Walker, click here.

NPR on the "No Nukes" Video

Today on Morning Edition, NPR has picked up on the "No Nukes" music video that a group of aging rockers released a little more than a week ago. To the credit of reporter Elizabeth Shogren, she took plenty of time to feature an audio clip from NEI's rebuttal.

Elsewhere here in Washington, Bonnie Raitt will appear at a press conference on Capitol Hill this morning with Congressman Ed Markey. We should have a report later. More details, here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Uzbekistan Invites Japan to Help Exploit Uranium Deposits

Details from High Five.

The Sierra Club Discovers Blogging

And let me be the first one to welcome Clean Energy Watch to the Blogosphere. I tripped over them today because -- surprise, surprise -- they decided to write about Harvey Wasserman's anti-nuke video.

I really can't think of a better way of welcoming them than passing along this message from Dr. Patrick Moore on what he thinks of the environmental movement today.

UPDATE: More from Depleted Cranium.

UPDATE: Another Wasserman rebuttal, here.

Toshiba Expands Isogo Nuclear Engineering Center

Details from Huliq.

Solving "Fission Impossible"

From Daniel Gross at Slate.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Just One Second, Harvey ...

Back at YouTube this weekend, anti-nuke activist Harvey Wasserman posted a video rebuttal to Elizabeth King's debut on YouTube last week. I was thinking about getting some folks together to rebut Wasserman, but as it turns out, someone else beat us to it. I'm guessing you might be familiar with his previous work:



It's good to know the nuclear energy business has so many friends out there. Thanks for the assist.

One final note: In the video, Wasserman charges that NEI "has lots of money" to produce video rebuttals, which gave me a pretty good laugh. For the record, our original video was shot with a Casio digital camera that you could fit in your pants pocket and a $50 tripod. We did our post-production -- if you could call it that -- on a Dell laptop using Windows Movie Maker. Altogether, the process took about 4.5 hours from start to finish.

Which makes me wonder: Just how much money did Wasserman and his friends spend on their original video? Something tells me their budget was a little larger than ours.

UPDATE: You can also find the response here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

So Just What Kind of Power Plant Would You Like?

In Kansas, local regulators have rejected approval of air permits for a new coal-fired power plant arguing that greenhouse gases threatens public health and the environment.

Meanwhile, on Cape Cod, a local commission rejected an application that would have allowed the Cape Wind Project to bury cables in order to connect the 420 MWe wind farm to New England's power grid.

Interesting, isn't it?

DOE Certifies License Support Network for Yucca Mountain

Today the Department of Energy certified the public availability of documentary material relevant to the Yucca Mountain licensing process on NRC's Licensing Support Network (LSN). With its launch, DOE in accordance with NRC regulations, may submit a Yucca Mountain license application as soon as six months from now (mid April).

According to my colleagues here at the office, NEI intends to participate actively in the Yucca Mountain licensing process to represent industry interests. Accordingly, we will make all of our documents relevant to Yucca Mountain licensing available to the public within 90 days of DOE certification as required by Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations.

Toshiba to Seek U.S. Approval for Small Reactor

Details from Bloomberg.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Maine Legislator to Create Nuclear Power Council

Details from MaineCoastNow.com.

Recovering Uranium from Coal Ash

Details from Atomic Insights.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit Right Democrat.

NEI on YouTube

With all the video work we've been doing over the past two weeks, I thought it might be a good idea to create a space for NEI and its friends on the Web on YouTube. So a couple of minutes ago I started a new group: Clean and Safe Nuclear Energy. I'll be using it as a repository not only for all the videos that we upload, but also for anything else that we might find interesting that we might want to share. Be sure to stop by.

Another College Student for Nuclear Energy

University of Wisconsin student Nathan Braun watched last week's "No Nukes" video and came away less than impressed:

While it is admirable to see celebrities and potential role models passionate about a cause, these statements demonstrate what’s wrong with anti-nuclear sentiment in America. They could be described as misinformed at best, fear-mongering at worst. Nuclear power is not perfect, but under the right circumstances it can be not only clean and safe, but also practical — the United States already gets 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power; France gets 80 percent, mostly because political opposition isn’t as strong.
Be sure to read the rest, as they say, right now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Passive Safety Features of the GE ESBWR

Here's some neat video we just got our hands on: An explanation of the passive safety systems of the General Electric ESBWR nuclear power plant:



Neat stuff.

FP&L Files Paperwork with Florida PSC on Need for Additional Reactors

From FP&L:

Florida Power & Light Company today proposed making nuclear power a bigger part of Florida’s energy future. In the first step toward building two new nuclear power units at its Turkey Point generating complex, FPL filed its plans with the Florida Public Service Commission.

FPL’s nuclear power expansion proposals, which place the utility at the forefront of new nuclear projects nationwide, are designed to meet its customers’ rapidly growing demand for emission-free electric power and protect Florida’s environment.

“Additional nuclear energy can help supply reliable, affordable power to our customers while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions that scientists have determined contribute to climate change,” said Armando Olivera, FPL’s President. “Nuclear power helps to meet Governor Charlie Crist’s goals for reducing emissions and diversifying our fuel sources.”

Today’s filing, seeking what is called a determination of need by the Public Service Commission (PSC), was the first step in obtaining formal approval from state regulators to construct the two additional units at FPL’s existing Turkey Point nuclear power complex by 2020. This project would add between 2,200 and 3,000 megawatts of emission-free capacity to the company’s generating fleet and would produce enough energy each year to power the needs of over 1 million residential customers.
Thanks to The Fueling Station for the pointer.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit Nuclear Energy Can Save US.

Rod Adams on Cleantech Podcast

Our friend Rod Adams is a guest on this week's Cleantech podcast. The topic? What else besides nuclear energy. Click here to listen.

Another College Student for Nuclear Energy

Talk to Chuck Leisure at Georgetown.

New Nuclear in Utah?

Get all the details from Idaho Samizdat.

NEI's Energy Markets Report - October 8 - 12, 2007

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:

Except for SP 15, electricity peak prices fell $3-12/MWh at the hubs listed below. SP 15 increased only $0.04/MWh. Fall temperatures normalized by the end of the week for the country which sent prices declining. Even though PJM West’s prices fell by more than $3/MWh, the hot weather in the region at the beginning of the week kept prices 10% higher than the four week average and 26% higher than the last 52 week average (see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub rose from $6.54/MMBtu to $6.70/MMBtu. Gas prices are expected to increase as winter approaches and hit a seasonal peak of $8.27 per MMBtu in January 2008 (EIA’s STEO, see pages 1, 3 and 5).

Estimated nuclear plant availability fell to 82 percent last week with no reactors beginning refueling outages. Three reactors (San Onofre 3, Susquehanna 1 and Waterford 3) were down for planned maintenance. Palo Verde 2 was off-line due to a leak in its coolant system and Browns Ferry 1 scrammed due to a failure of a transmitter associated with a moisture-separator reheater (see pages 2 and 4).

Uranium spot prices rose for the first time in 16 weeks by $3 to $78/lb U3O8. According to UxC, “the presence of motivated sellers and the absence of have-to buyers contributed to the recent price decline” over the past four months (see pages 1 and 3).

The number of planned coal plants to begin operation by 2011 fell by about 2,700 MW. Last month’s planned coal capacity stood at 16,694 MW versus this week’s update of 13,999 MW. The drop in planned coal capacity can be attributed to uncertainty about carbon regulation in the state and federal governments (see page 5).
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

John Edwards and his Backwards Anti-Nuclear Energy Stance

Presidential candidate John Edwards was endorsed by Friends of the Earth Action last Sunday primarily because of his stance against nuclear power.

Mr. Edwards, accepting the endorsement, said: “I am opposed to the building of new nuclear power plants, which is different from the position taken by Senator Clinton and Senator Obama.
FOEA’s president Brent Blackwelder had this to say:
“Edwards is razor sharp and clear: we don’t want to go the route of nuclear power plants,” said Mr. Blackwelder, whereas Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton wanted to explore the nuclear option.

“We intend to run an independent campaign to educate the voters,” Mr. Blackwelder said. The canvassing, advertisements and seminars will take place mostly in New Hampshire, where the nuclear issue has resonance because of the nuclear power plant at Seabrook, as well as in other states.

Educate the voters? I wonder if they’ll include these educational facts on nuclear in New Hampshire? In 2006, the only nuclear plant in the state, Seabrook, generated 42 percent of the state’s electricity. Gas generated 27% of the state’s electricity; coal generated 17%; hydro, 8%; renewables, 5%; and oil 1%.

I wonder if Edwards knew those numbers. I would guess no because why would anyone advocate shutting down a nuclear plant that generates the state’s largest bulk of electricity while producing zero greenhouse-gas emissions?

Let’s try a tougher one. According to EPA’s 8-hour ozone designations, parts of the counties of Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham and Strafford in New Hampshire are in non-attainment. For those who don’t know, “ozone contributes to smog, which can lead to asthma attacks and respiratory impairment in young children and the elderly” (NEI NH fact sheet). The Seabrook plant located in Rockingham County helps alleviate this ozone situation by producing emission-free power to the area.

It appears Edwards and FOEA have their priorities backwards. Why spend time educating voters about the “so-called” dangers of nuclear power when there are important issues such as how to reduce air emissions and reliably meet our growing energy needs? Nuclear plants and nuclear used fuel have not injured or killed one person in the U.S. Yet emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels kill everyday.

By rejecting new nuclear plants in the U.S., Edwards will essentially make it impossible to reduce emissions in a way that doesn’t harm the economy. There’s a reason why the Electric Power Research Institute, the National Petroleum Council and Princeton University, to name a few, say that nuclear power must be expanded. It’s because it’s the only base-load, emission-free source of power that has demonstrated it can be built on a large-scale to meet our growing energy demands.

Lithuania Fights EU to Keep Plant Open

Facing rising electric rates and a dangerous over-reliance on Russian natural gas, the Baltic nation is fighting to keep the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant from closing in 2009.

Rudy Giuliani on Nuclear Energy

Back in August, we linked to a news item that talked about Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani expressing his support for nuclear energy at a campaign stop in New Hampshire. Well, after a little bit of a delay, here's the actual video clip:



For the rest of our archive on Mayor Giuliani, click here.

Bechtel Wins TVA Contract for Watts Bar

Details from Knox News.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit The Far Side of Technology.

UPDATE: More from Quad4B, Exit 78 and Ian Muir.

IAEA: Increased Demand May Triple Uranium Reserves

Here's a clip for all the anti-nuke activists who say we're running out of Uranium. From Reuters:

High uranium prices will spur exploration that could more than triple known global deposits, avoiding a shortage as China ramps up its nuclear capacity, a top executive with the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Yury A. Sokolov, the agency's deputy director general, said new technologies could also help boost reactor efficiency, curbing growth in fuel demand even when output expands.

"High prices stimulate exploration. If you explore more, you will find more -- in Africa, Australia, maybe some additional resources in China," he told Reuters in an interview late on Monday on the sidelines of a nuclear conference.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Eleanor Clift Pushing China on Nuclear Energy?

in more than one instance, we've referred to the incredible challenge that China faces as it rapidly industrializes. On the one hand, its economic development is pulling millions out of poverty and helping its citizens enjoy a standard of living that many in the industrialized world have come to take for granted.

On the other hand, there's no doubt that China is powering its industrial development with millions upon million of tons of coal -- a development that's problematic for the rest of the world, as well as the Chinese people, when it comes to air quality and the emission of greenhouse gases.

One way to combat that would be to encourage the China to develop its domestic nuclear power industry, an initiative that earned an interesting supporter over the weekend -- Eleanor Clift of Newsweek. Here's what she had to say on this weekend's edition of the McLaughlin Group (transcript not yet available online):

[T]hey have huge problems -- problems with pollution, with global warming.

Al Gore, who just won a Nobel peace prize, is talking with the Chinese leaders, and he's our best hope to get them to skip a generation of energy production and not build all those cheap coal plants and instead go nuclear, which is the lesser of the two evils.
While nobody likes to be referred to as the lesser of two evils, this is the kind of endorsement the industry is happy to take. Thanks, Eleanor.

NPC: U.S. Must Expand Use of Nuclear Energy

From Nuc Net:

The world “will need all economic, environmentally responsible energy sources,” including nuclear energy, to ensure an adequate, reliable energy supply, the US National Petroleum Council concluded in a report released last week.

US energy secretary Samuel Bodman requested the report, “Facing the Hard Truths About Energy,” to consider the future of oil and natural gas until 2030 in the context of the global energy system. The study relies on data from International Energy Agency and Energy Information Administration energy outlooks.

While fossil fuels “will remain indispensable to meeting total projected energy demand growth,” the council said the US also must expand its use of nuclear energy, biomass and renewable energy sources.

Global energy demand will increase by 50 percent to 60 percent by 2030. Political hurdles, infrastructure requirements and limited availability of trained energy-sector workers will strain the ability to meet this demand, the council said.

Additionally, “policies aimed at curbing carbon dioxide emissions will alter the energy mix and increase energy-related costs.” Therefore, “actions must be initiated now and sustained over the long term,” the council recommended.
For more, see the Hard Truths Web site.

NMC to Reincorporate

Details from World Nuclear News.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Others Fighting No Nukes Crew

Shortly after we posted a video response by Elizabeth King to a new appeal from the "No Nukes" crew, we saw a number of other folks hop onto YouTube to post their own responses. One person posted the audio of a Dennis Miller interview with Dr. Patrick Moore. Someone else posted a clip from Penn & Teller's Showtime program on nuclear energy. But best of all, a computer science student posted a point by point counter to the original video:



It's always good to find out that you're not alone out there. In the meantime, be sure to stop by the YouTube page where the original "No Nukes" video is hosted and be sure to leave a comment.

UPDATE: Rod Adams recorded a video of his own.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Taking On Raitt, Nash and Browne on Nuclear Energy

I'm sure by now many of you have seen the video produced by NukeFree.org, starring Bonnie Raitt, Graham Nash and Jackson Browne -- some original no-nukers -- asking Congress to alter language in legislation that makes provisions for loan guarantees supporting new nuclear plant construction. Click here for a CNN op-ed.

Here at NEI we had a good laugh over some of their claims and decided to do something about it. So I got together with Elizabeth King, NEI's manager for economic policy -- it's safe to say she's a loan guarantee expert -- to record the following video response:



Perhaps we should be cheered that others have seen the video, and are less than impressed.

UPDATE: More folks who are less than impressed with what they've seen:

The Fourth Checkraise
The Pajamahadin
Instapundit

We should probably note that it was Rod Adams who had us pegged first. Click here too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's an interesting wrinkle: The CNN.com commentary that the musicians and Harvey Wasserman wrote is now closed to comments. I submitted an edited version of our video to them as a response. I wonder if they'll use it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

“Volvo in nuclear energy retreat”

This morning I had a good laugh after reading this:

Truck maker Volvo has announced that it will cease buying Swedish nuclear power at the end of this year. Volvo has signed a deal with Vattenfall ensuring that it does not receive energy from nuclear power sources, which it said did not sit well with the company's environmental goals.
Environmental goals, huh? Are they not an auto company whose products consume fossil fuels which create emissions? Last I heard, trucks, buses and cars still emit CO2 during operation even if they burn biofuels. Seems to me they should be concerned more with their products and less with where their electricity comes from. Especially when you see below where Sweden gets its electricity.

Here’s their webpage on environmental commitment:
We constantly strive to improve energy efficiency in our own operations. And we currently plan for CO2 emission free production in all of our plants.
More on a different page:
The main approach is to gradually switch to wind power and biofuel as the energy sources for electricity and heating. Before the end of year 2007, all three plants will have reduced their CO2 emissions to as close to zero as technically possible.
Hmm. Volvo’s goal is to be CO2 emission free yet they will use biofuels for electricity and heating. Do they not know that biomass energy consumption will boost CO2 emissions? It hardly makes sense to take a CO2 reducer and turn it into a CO2 emitter.

Here’s the kick I get out of this. Only 3.4% of Sweden’s electricity actually came from fossil fuels in 2004. Where did the rest of Sweden’s electricity come from? 91 percent came from hydro and nuclear energy.

Emissions from the electric sector to power Volvo’s factories are about as low as they can get. What’s up with this big campaign then to reduce their emissions? This sums it up the best:

Trade Union IF Metall was unimpressed by Volvo Trucks' anti-nuclear stance.

"It sounds like Volvo is using environmental profiling as a PR stunt," spokesman Per Öhman told Dagens Nyheter.
A PR stunt is right. Apparently they need to become a little more educated on the effects of Sweden’s nuclear phase-out.

The Patrick Moore Interview: On His Own Conversion on Nuclear Energy

In today's installment of our interview with Dr. Patrick Moore of the CASEnergy Coalition, Dr. Moore talks about his own conversion on the question of nuclear energy:


As always, to join CASEnergy, click here. Look for another clip this afternoon.

Tech Talk on the American Nuclear Energy Revival

After reading a BBC piece on the revival of the American nuclear energy industry, Tech Talk, the blog over at IEEE Spectrum, had this to say:

For now, though, the rehabilitation of the nuclear genie is almost complete. We will all now have to witness, once again, whether its promises can ever be matched by its performance.
That's a curious conclusion. One wonders if the folks at Tech Talk have been paying close attention to the significant gains in reliability and efficiency at American nuclear plants, including an average industry-wide capacity factor of about 90%.

Russian Duma Passes Nuclear Consolidation Bill

Details from the Moscow Times.

Another Hacker for Nuclear Energy

Just a message board posting that made me smile.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

EDF CEO: Nuclear to Take Center Stage in Climate Change Battle

From Thomson Financial:

EDF chief executive officer Pierre Gadonneix backed greater use of nuclear power as a way of combating climate change, saying that politicians must be more active in making it acceptable to public opinion, which remains the main obstacle.

He said the contribution of wind power to limiting CO2 emissions would remain small.

Nuclear power makes up nearly 80 pct of EDF's power production. The company has an interest in wind power projects through its renewable energy unit, EDF Energies Nouvelles.

Patrick Moore on the Energy Situation in Ontario

Know that we were on the cusp of an election in the Canadian province of Ontario in which energy was a big issue, I asked Dr. Patrick Moore about the energy situation there, and how nuclear energy is playing a role as the provincial government seeks to shut down all of its coal plants:



As always, to join CASEnergy, click here. Look for another clip tomorrow morning.

NEI's Energy Markets Report - October 1 - 5, 2007

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:

Electricity peak prices increased between $3-13/MWh at all hubs. Generation outages and the lingering heat in the West drove prices at the Palo Verde and SP 15 hubs up by more than $10/MWh. Higher spot gas and hot temperatures also sent the Entergy, PJM West and ERCOT hubs up by more than $7/MWh. Peak prices at all the hubs last week were higher then the averages for the last four weeks and last 52 weeks (see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub rose from $6.26/MMBtu to $6.54/MMBtu. Tropical storm fears and an increase in demand due to warmer than normal temperatures contributed to the increase in gas prices at the Henry Hub (see pages 1 and 3).

Nuclear plant capacity availability averaged 85 percent last week. Three reactors began refueling outages last week while two began maintenance (see pages 2 and 4).

Cushing OK WTI oil prices fell $0.55 to $81.70/barrel two weeks ago. Continued low surplus production capacity, weak petroleum inventories, and strong demand worldwide have all contributed to recent high crude oil prices (EIA’s STEO, see pages 1 and 3).

According to NOAA’s most recent projection of heating degree-days, winter in the lower- 48 States is forecasted to be 4 percent colder compared with last winter but 2 percent warmer than the 30-year average (1971 to 2000). Average winter-season (October 1 to March 31) prices and expenditures for all space-heating fuels are projected to be higher than winter 2006-2007. Cooling degree-days this summer were 12 percent higher than normal and slightly higher than last summer. For the entire year of 2007, total electricity consumption is expected to grow about 2.4 percent, primarily due to a surge in electricity consumption in the first quarter (EIA’s STEO, see pages 2 and 5).
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

The Patrick Moore Interview: On Nuclear Energy and Low CO2 Emissions

In today's installment of our interview with Dr. Patrick Moore of the CASEnergy Coalition, he addresses the link between nuclear energy and low CO2 emissions:



As always, to join CASEnergy, click here. Look for another clip this afternoon.

When Pro-Nuclear Readers Fight Back

Over at Gristmill, David Roberts is up to his nuclear energy-bashing best again, but this time, the readers of his blog aren't putting up with it:

Since Roberts is not antinuclear, it will no doubt be happy news to him that although no new power reactor has started up in 2007 in the USA*, its operating total has nonetheless increased from 103 to 104.

[...]

[Y]you recently posted an analysis of how to shut down nuclear power and fight climate change at the same time, and all the analysis included were % reductions/increases each year, except they weren't even exponential functions. A goal is not the same as a plan. What conceivable reason could you have to believe that there was useful content in this?
Be sure to stop by and add your two cents. As always, please be respectful.

Sweden's Continued Embrace of Nuclear Energy

More than 30 years after voting to phase out nuclear energy, Sweden finds that it just can't get along without it.

Tracking Clinton, Obama and Edwards on Nuclear Energy

Over at both MyDD and DailyKos, a diarist named TomP something of a voters guide to the positions of the leading Democratic candidates for President on nuclear energy.

There's really not much here that we haven't covered at NEI Nuclear Notes. But what caught my eye was that the diarist, who is against the expansion of nuclear energy, included a link to the NEI Web site in his diary.

An Interview With Skip Bowman

A couple of weeks back, our President and CEO, Skip Bowman, sat down for a Q&A with ZDNet:

Q. Has the performance of nuclear plants improved? In the past, uptime and other factors were problems?

Bowman: Beginning about 15 years ago there was a major, major upswing in key performance indicators of safety and capacity factors. Capacity has to do with the total amount of electricity generated divided by the total amount of electricity that could be generated if the plant were online 24/7. That number went from like 75 percent 15 years ago to 90 percent today.

Also, we're very proud of the safety record, but at the same time we realize that we have to keep our eye on the ball and that complacency is a bad thing. As soon as we start being proud of ourselves, danger lurks around the next corner.
There's plenty more, be sure to check it all out right now.

Belarus to Build New Nuclear Plant

Details from the BBC.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Poll Respondents are Randomly Selected, New Nuclear Plant Sites Are Not

Earlier this evening Nuclear News Flashes from Platts moved a news item that didn't gibe with a lot of what I've read about public opinion and new nuclear plant construction:

--A NEW POLL FOUND 65% OF RESPONDENTS WOULD OPPOSE A NEW NUCLEAR PLANT in their community. The results of the survey of 1,000 randomly selected respondents in the US were released October 10 by the Saint Consulting Group. The survey was conducted by the Logit Group in early August. The poll found that 58% of respondents would oppose an oil, coal, or natural gas plant. The poll found 76% would support a wind plant, while 53% would support a hydro plant and 50% would support a biofuels plant. "Support and opposition to all types of power plants tracks fairly consistently across all geographic regions of the US, with the Midwest the most receptive region to new power plant construction," the
Saint Consulting Group said. The survey has a margin of error of 3.1%.
After a blizzard of evening email traffic, I was able to get hold of Ann Bisconti of Bisconti Research. She's responsible for conducting the public opinion polling that you'll find summarized in the NEI publication, Perspective on Public Opinion.

Ann told me that the companies involved, Saint Consulting Group and the Logit Group, are reputable firms, however ...
The flaw in the research is asking the national public if they would support or oppose a nuclear power plant in their community. Nuclear power plants will be built in communities that are suitable for such facilities and where the public wants them.
So while the respondents to this poll question might have been randomly selected, the future sites of new nuclear power plants in the U.S. will not be. For the most part, the industry is considering building new nuclear reactors at current plant sites in communities that have lived side by side with nuclear power plants for decades. And when you ask those people how they feel about building new nuclear power plants in their communities, 71% answer favorably (MS Word).

For the complete archive of our publication, Perspective on Public Opinion, click here.

The Weather Channel and Nuclear Energy

In a post over at The Weather Channel's Climate Blog, Dr. Heidi Cullen, the channel's climate expert, is examining public acceptance of nuclear energy:

With nuclear power, it all boils down to waste disposal. Understandably, many Americans are nervous about waste disposal, with only 28 percent believing that radioactive waste could be safely stored out into the distant future. Interestingly, the survey found that almost two-thirds of the roughly 1200 surveyed, believe reprocessing spent nuclear fuel is worth pursuing. Reprocessing spent fuel, which is done in France, reduces the life span of most toxic wastes from 100,000 years to 1,000 years.

[...]

Because of the growing national concern about global warming, new energy policies will force us to factor in the cost both to the economy and the environment. Personally, I kind of like the notion of applying the Hippocratic Oath of ‘first do no harm' to our energy choices. The question is, can we get to a point where doing no harm to the environment doesn't do a lot of harm to our pocketbooks. That will ultimately be the test of good energy policy.
It's hard to find anything to quibble with here, though the industry contends that the used nuclear fuel currently being stored on-site at the nation's nuclear power plants is being cared for safely and securely.

Which is why my response to the back end of her post has to be that only a balanced energy portfolio can hope to achieve what she seems to be seeking. Over-reliance on any one source would be a mistake not only on grounds of cost, but also on grounds of energy security. Try as we might, there is no one perfect energy source that provides abundant and affordable electricity without some sort of environmental trade-offs. What we need to understand is that while there are tradeoffs, there are also ways to intelligently manage them.

The Patrick Moore Interview: On Greenpeace and the Anti-Nukes

Earlier today, we linked to a clip of Dr. Patrick Moore talking about "independent thinkers" and nuclear energy. In this afternoon's clip, Moore turns to the issue of those who are reflexively anti-nuclear, including groups like the one he helped found, Greenpeace:



As always, to join CASEnergy, click here. Look for another clip tomorrow morning.

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

Visit Say Anything.

UPDATE: More from NAM Blog.

The Patrick Moore Interview: On Independent Thinkers and Nuclear Energy

Yesterday, I posted a link to a clip of Dr. Patrick Moore talking about his work with the CASEnergy Coalition. In today's installment of that same interview, Moore talks about the number of "independent" thinkers that are supporting an expanded role for nuclear energy in the world's energy mix as part of a larger effort to constrain the emission of greenhouse gases while still supplying affordable and reliable electricity:



As always, to join CASEnergy, click here. Look for another clip this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

An All Electric French Jeep



It's called the Tender Scarlette. Read all about it at Hybrid Cars.

Of course, because it's French, it might as well be a nuclear powered jeep.

SUNY to Investigate Nuclear Energy Curriculum

From Mid Hudson News:

State Assemblyman Joel Miller of Poughkeepsie has proposed a college curriculum be developed to train students in the field of nuclear energy.

Miller, a Poughkeepsie Republican, met recently with State University of New York officials to discuss his proposal to establish a school or curriculum along with other colleges and private businesses, to offer courses in nuclear science, nuclear engineering, civil engineering and other related fields.

“It will not only produce the people we need to advance into the nuclear age, which we have been hiding from for the last 35 years, but it also advances medicine. It would be very good for the economy of New York State,” he said.

Miller, who noted officials of Indian Point owner Entergy were at the meeting, said his idea was well-taken by the SUNY officials.

Appreciation: Robert McGehee

Arriving here at the office this morning, everyone at NEI was shocked at the news of the passing of Robert McGehee, the chairman and CEO of Progress Energy. McGehee suffered a stroke in London this weekend while there to attend an EEI Financial Conference. He was 64.

Mr. McGehee was a member of NEI's Executive Committee and had previously served as vice-chairman. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, McGehee attended submarine school alongside our President and CEO, Skip Bowman. Needless to say, our thoughts and prayers are with the McGehee family at this time. Please keep them in yours.

The Patrick Moore Interview: On CASEnergy

On Friday, we showed you a clip from Dr. Patrick Moore of the CASEnergy Coalition on why he thinks nuclear energy is getting a second look from the American public. In today's clip from my interview with the co-chair of CASEnergy, he talks about his work with the coalition and why it's important:



As always, to join CASEnergy, click here.