Monday, November 24, 2008

Gov. Beshear and the Nuclear Imperative

20081120energy Interestingly, Kentucky's Governor Steve Beshear pursued an energy policy during his campaign but was notably silent about nuclear energy being a part of that policy - you can see his campaign manifesto on energy issues here. But, boy, when he comes around, he comes around big.

"We must begin the discussion now about whether nuclear energy should be a part of our energy portfolio," [Beshear] told reporters at a Capitol press conference.

The governor's energy plan comes at a time when utility companies are looking at Kentucky for potential nuclear power plant sites.

"Several companies have suggested that they would be interested in building nuclear plants in Kentucky," said Energy Secretary Len Peters.

Here is the governor's plan (warning: sizeable pdf). You'll see that there are seven strategies - presumably to keep things lucky - and the seventh strategy is "Examine the Use of Nuclear Power for Electricity Generation in Kentucky." Sounds good to us: let's see what he has in mind.

  • Legal hurdles to successful inclusion of nuclear power in Kentucky’s energy mix should be examined. Specifically, removal or revision of the legislative ban on new nuclear power plants must be addressed.
  • A public engagement plan should be implemented to gather and address stakeholder feedback and concerns and to provide education about nuclear power today.
  • Research should be conducted to assess the desirability of co-locating nuclear power plants with advanced coal conversion plants to assess the effects on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, providing ready access to electricity and/or steam, and possibly using waste heat for the coal conversion process.
  • Incentives that reduce the risk of capitalizing and financing a new power plant should be considered in developing these programs.
  • The EEC should work with the Community and Technical College System to ensure that trained personnel are available to staff the construction and operation of nuclear power plants.
  • The state universities should explore now the possibility of adding nuclear engineering, health physics, and radiological science programs to their curricula.

Make a note of it - that's a pretty good laundry list for getting ready for the nuclear tomorrow.

Obviously, the plan focuses on the state's commitment, but it could go deeper into industry's role. It seems a big hole not to include it, since a lot of what's proposed will be done in partnership. But in all, a good plan.

By all means, read the whole thing: nuclear is just one of seven proposals and the other six are well worth a rehearsal.

Gov. Beshear is the pointing one. Surprised?

3 comments:

Marcel F. Williams said...

Only a Kentucky Governor would want to use clean nuclear energy to help produce more dirty coal:-) Nuclear power plants need to be used to end the coal economy, not to help it!

Marcel
http://newpapyrusmagazine.blogspot.com/

Red Craig said...

If you don't mind, I'd like to introduce a web page called The Case for Nuclear Energy.

This is a strictly non-commercial undertaking.

I've been debating the subject of nuclear energy on the internet for several years and this page displays the information I've found to be persuasive to the unpersuaded.

Any comments on ways to improve it will be welcome; please send them to robcra(you know what goes here)hotmail.com.

If you find the information useful, feel free to copy parts of it or link it.

NEI, thanks for your indulgence.

Neurovore said...

This is more of a national issue than within the juristiction of the state of Kentucky, but I also think that public tours of existing nuclear facilities should be reinstated. The ill-conceived ban on guided tours put forth by the Department of Homeland Security (Do not get me started on them) has done little to further the causes of public confidence and education surrounding nuclear power. It would be nice if there were talk of allowing public guided tours to resume once again.