Skip to main content

An Appeal for Unity on Nuclear Energy

After hearing John Edwards declare his outright opposition to nuclear energy during Tuesday's Democratic debate in Nevada, Adam Blinick of The New Republic wrote ...
Gwyneth Cravens's illuminating Power to Save the World: The Truth about Nuclear Energy dispels many of the myths about nuclear energy that Edwards' position helps prop up. For example, she notes coal plants emit more radiation than nuclear ones. (In fact, humans get more radiation from medical x-rays or flying round-trip from New York to L.A. than living near a nuclear plant). Also, Cravens argues that nuclear energy plants are almost completely risk-free regarding nuclear weapons proliferation (it's a different enrichment process) and potential terrorist attacks (U.S. plants are simply too secure). She also makes the argument that we likely have safe ways of disposing of nuclear waste, even at Yucca Mountain.

For all the empty "unity" rhetoric that inevitably is present during an election cycle, nuclear energy--if looked at with sober eyes--provides a real opportunity for the left and right to get together and tackle three of today's greatest challenges: national security, energy independence, and climate change.
Hmmm. Where have we heard that before? For more on the Cravens book, click here for a look at our archives.

UPDATE: Matt Zeitlin has some thoughts on Edwards and his anti-nuclear stance.

Comments

aa2 said…
One thing I would like to see this election cycle, is the Republicans to reach out to some of the unions. Like the welders and boilermakers unions, the IBEW, machinists, United Steel Workers, and maybe the UAW.

Nuclear plant build in America and elsewhere will mean the creation of many very high paying and importantly stable union jobs, from running the plants, maintaining, constructing by skilled tradesmen.. And then the high paying jobs at the American factories to make all of the parts. These aren't 9 dollar an hour service jobs.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…