Two days ago on DallasNews, Arjun Makhijani from the anti-nuclear group Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) gave his usual commentary that nuclear can't cut it but renewables can.
Having failed miserably to deliver on the 1950s promise that nuclear electricity would be "too cheap to meter," the industry now says it will save us from climate change.Can't the antis come up with something better than to hold the industry to a claim made 50 years ago? Since the 1980s, it's been clear nuclear plants were not cheap. I'm sure if we dig hard enough we can find old claims made from all industries that never came to fruition. On to Comanche Peak:
And then there is the problem of cooling water. The two proposed reactors would consume about 40 million gallons of water per day. Even assuming that the water is available, Texas is risking a less reliable power system, given that droughts are estimated to become more extreme in a warming world.I guess Mr. Makhijani is unaware the U.S. nuclear plants operated at a 98 percent capacity factor during the two hottest weeks of last summer.
Yes, water availability is an issue for nuclear plants in certain regions of the U.S. But water availability is an issue which affects 99 percent of this country's electricity generation (pdf). It's an energy issue, not just a nuclear issue. Moving on:
Luminant's two reactors are already discharging significant amounts of tritium-contaminated radioactive water into the Squaw Creek reservoir. New reactors would only add to those discharges.This is clearly a scare tactic. Why? Because he knows routine tritium releases from a nuclear plant are as radioactive as background radiation which is not harmful at all. And we know he knows this because he wrote a two paragraph explanation on tritium releases and then stopped short of saying it's a problem.
Before proceeding with new reactor proposals, Luminant should at least investigate how it might reduce existing tritium discharges. Tritium is radioactive hydrogen, which displaces ordinary hydrogen in water to form tritiated water, which becomes radioactive as a result.
Energy production is a competitive business. But stating incorrect and misleading information to promote one's business/beliefs will not win anyone over. For previous posts on Makhijani and IEER's claims, click here.
Update: Be sure to check out two letters to the DallasNews on Makhijani's post as well.