Monday, February 25, 2008

What's the Best Energy Advice to the Next President?

It's to go nuclear according to Charles Groat at the Houston Chronicle:

The next president of the United States can strike an early blow for sound energy policy by actively promoting our increased use of nuclear power.

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Ghosts from the past and emotional arguments not backed by scientific fact continue to be used to disparage nuclear power. The fear of a Chernobyl-like catastrophe and memories of the Three Mile Island incident (which resulted in no injuries or deaths) continue to concern many despite the fact that outmoded Russian technology has long been abandoned and the safety record of U.S. nuclear power plants is admirable.

The concern getting the most political mileage is the waste issue. Deep geologic disposal has been accepted by virtually all nations as the ultimate resting place for their spent nuclear fuel or reprocessing residues. The United States has led the world in committing to a site for its waste and preparing it for licensing. We have also set records for throwing unnecessary obstacles in the way of readying the site for use. Yucca Mountain, Nevada, the proposed site for retrievable storage of U.S. high-level nuclear waste, has been studied in great detail. It is a technically sound site. But the Nevada congressional delegation, overcome by NIMBY (not in my backyard) sickness, has allied in opposition to the site with environmental interests seeking reasons to stall nuclear power development.

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Our next president and our country should learn from the French and take comfort in the fact that nuclear power has lived up to its potential in this large and modern nation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An outstanding post. Regardless of who wins, Congress needs to make sure that the licensing process for Yucca Mountain is fully funded. The correct way to determine whether the science supporting the site is correct is to proceed with the NRC's independent review of the DOE license application.