Sunday, June 08, 2008

McCain, Obama Surrogates on Nuclear Power

In the middle of the D segment on CNN's Late Edition, we find this interesting exchange between Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA):

Blitzer: What about the nuclear program that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison is recommending?
Feinstein: I think there are a couple of problems with nuclear yet. I think the technology with respect to waste. The training with respect to human, preventing human error has greatly improved. And it may well be possible to do some nuclear.

That again, the permit system is extraordinarily difficult. [It] will take time. In the meantime, I think we have to begin to look into things like speculation on the futures market with respect to oil.

Blitzer: You think there's been some hanky panky there?
Feinstein: Oh, yeah. I think there has been.
Blitzer: Do you agree on that?
Hutchinson: We cannot bring down the cost of gasoline at the pump unless we produce more. And that means nuclear power. We haven't had an accident at a nuclear power plant in this country in 25-years...or ever in this country. We haven't had a [new] nuclear power plant in 25-years and yet other countries are using it very efficiently.


Martin said...

Expanding the nuclear program as an answer to rising gas prices is smart. Anyone else in DC making this connection?

Anonymous said...

What's the market share of cars, trucks, aircrafts and commercial vessels currently running on electricity, such that more nuclear power plants will reduce the prices at the gas pump?

DV8 2XL said...

Transportation is not the only sector that burns oil. Heating oil is a obvious example.

If electric heat is made the less expensive option, not only will that lessen dependence on oil, but would free natural gas for transportation use.

This is just one example of how nuclear power can replace oil.

Kirk Sorensen said...

I'm totally pro-nuclear, but there's little connection between nuclear power and oil prices. There's a strong connection between nuclear power and coal prices.

If we had high-temperature reactors like LFTR or PBMR that could produce synthetic hydrocarbons fuels from thermochemical hydrogen, that would be one thing. But LWRs aren't displacing much petroleum. Some, but not much.

Matthew66 said...

The market share of ships running on electricity is significant and rising. A lot of new passenger vessels are fitted with azimuth pods that provide propulsion and steering. These are large electric motors fitted below the hull. The electricity is generated by diesel motors onboard the vessel, which also supply all the electricity used on board.

The diesel generators could be replaced by a small nuclear power plant. If this were a cheaper option I'm sure shipping lines would look closely at it. Any reactor for commercial shipping would need either online refueling, a long core life, or rapid refueling that fits the drydocking schedule of commercial shipping. To make the investment in such technology, shipping lines would also need a stable regulatory environment and the ability to call at all ports that they currently service.

None of this is impossible, but until the price of fuel oil gets so high that it becomes an economic necessity to change, change probably won't happen. If change does happen, it will probably come rapidly.

gunter said...

Expanding nuclear power to surplant oil demand and prices is the biggest load of hooey yet.

In fact, nuclear power is being proposed to expand oil production and export from Saudi Arabia and the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.