Skip to main content

Orlando Sentinel Says Nuclear Should Not Be 'Scapegoat'

Here's what an Orlando Sentinel editorial has to say about the role of the Turkey Point nuclear plant in the Tuesday blackout...

Our position: Nuclear energy shouldn't be used as scapegoat in this week's massive blackout

Critics of nuclear energy were barking up the wrong power pole when they blamed reactors at Turkey Point for the blackout Tuesday afternoon that cut off electricity for millions of Floridians.

The reactors shut down, as designed, when a West Dade substation caught fire and a circuit breaker there failed to contain the problem. The loss of power from the reactors caused outages to spread across the grid that draws and distributes electricity from all of Florida's utilities.

Like the massive power outage that struck multiple states in 2003, Florida's blackout is another reminder of the vulnerability of America's aging electrical infrastructure. U.S. customers endure many more blackouts than their counterparts in countries that have modernized their grids.

Opponents of nuclear power contend the latest blackout shows Florida is too dependent on huge reactors such as the ones at Turkey Point, and that plans to add nuclear capacity in the state will deepen the dependency. But for now, the only alternatives that would keep pace with Florida's growing energy demand would be more plants fired by coal or natural gas, huge producers of greenhouse gases.

Energy sources that don't produce those gases or radioactive waste, such as wind and solar, need to be developed to be more viable in the future.

Conservation also is crucial to get the most out of Florida's generating capacity.

Meanwhile, nuclear energy is needed. And whatever the state's power mix, it will take improvements to the grid to give Floridians more protection from blackouts.

Comments

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…