Friday, May 02, 2008

New Reactor in MD is a "Moral Imperative"

After touring the Calvert Cliffs Plant yesterday, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D) endorsed Constellation Energy's plans to expand the facilities in Lusby, MD.

From The Washington Post,

The governor said the new reactor would help slow rate increases for electricity customers amid rising global demand for energy.

"It is a huge moral challenge and it is a moral imperative given what massive new burning of coal will do to the planet if we don't develop better and cleaner technology, including safer and cleaner nuclear, which is what is . . . planned and talked about in terms of the third reactor," O'Malley said.
In an announcement made at the BCTD Conference last month, Constellation expects to break ground on the new plant by Dec. 2008.


Anonymous said...

One democrat who understands moral imperative. Now if Obama and Clinton would understand moral imperative and stop their headlong rush into political suicide.

Joseph Somsel said...

Now this is scary. While I support new nukes just about everywhere, as I've advocated before, if nuclear's political acceptance becomes dependent on "global climate change," we are now involved in a highly controversial topic, one that may not resolve itself in our favor.

Frankly, many of the leading advocates of immediate regulations to limit GHG emissions worry me. I suspect their motives and doubt the certainty of the science they invoke.

Let's suppose that the UN and Al Gore are revealed to be wrongheaded - do we want to share the taint?

Moral crusades too often degenerate into demogogary.

Let's sell nuclear on economics, clean air, and imported fossil fuel resource dependency.

Rod Adams said...


I went back and read Governor O'Malley's comment again. He did not focus on GHG, he talked about energy supplies, rate increases and massive damage done by coal burning. You might have interpreted that part to be a global climate change issue, but there are numerous other problems that result from massive amounts of coal burning including acid rain, mountain top removal, mountain stream pollution, fly ash production, and rail congestion.

I tend to agree that there is a moral dimension to energy production - it is immoral to consume food for fuel and immoral to use up all of the very useful carbon stores, even those that seem to be abundant and able to last for a couple hundred years. I hate to think that human society is going to end in just a few hundred years.

That is especially true when one considers that we have such a readily available and better alternative.

Joseph Somsel said...

Good point Ron. I should have read it more carefully.

Still, I am not comfortable being the instrument of someone's moral imperative, even if I agree with their premises. My own decision to become a nuclear engineer arose from my helping to clean up an oil spill on my hometown beach.

A politician's commitment to a "moral imperative" can change with a new set of polling results.

Now making a buck in a fair market by building new nukes is something I can get behind.

Anonymous said...

It is apparent that Areva (the supplier of the EPR to be built at Calvert Cliffs) is committed to nuclear energy whereas GE (the supplier of the ESBWR) is not. Sure, the Dem governor of North Carolina gave GE 25.7 million. Sure, the Dem governor of Maryland supports the Cliffs. But Areva does not seem to be relying on government handouts in ths country, and GE is completely dependent on DOE / GNEP funding for ESBWR, and North Carolina funding for its laser enrichment facility. It's bad when a company is dependent on the public treasury - it' far worse than when a company is dependent on pronouncements of moral imperative from a politician. Of the two, I prefer the moral imperative announcement. In the end, let the free market decide. Unless GE straightens up and gets really committed, there won't be boilers except by Toshiba in South Texas.