Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No Need for Cassandra

Cassandra After all the to-do about Yucca Mountain, you may be feeling a little – wrung-out. Our Panglossian side says that a proposal isn’t a budget and a budget passes through many hands, some of which may have something to say about this change – some already have, of course – but then – you know – our Cassandrian side this is the kind of thing that usually passes through Congress unscathed as the will of the administration.

So we’ll see. Let’s try for something a little less mixed, in this instance from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Applications to build at least 31 nuclear reactors are before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with more filings expected soon. Many of the projects are in the Southeast, with the first expected to go on line as early as 2015. Nuclear advocates hope eventually to build additional reactors in California.

"I'm aware of 33 or 34 projects in the hopper. I think the prospects are reasonably good. There's demand," said Bill Halsey, a leading expert on nuclear energy at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where scientists have worked on solutions for permanent disposal of high-level radioactive waste.

Ah, that’s better. How about this?

"Many people are gritting their teeth and beginning to look at nuclear energy because the problems appear to be more manageable," said Per Peterson, a professor of nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley. "Nuclear energy is the only source that we've found that can directly displace coal for reliable, full-time electrical generation. ... It's the best of a set of not-so-good options."

Much, much better. We’ll even grit our teeth if it makes Professor Peterson happy. Jim Doyle has more of the same and he offers some of the usual suspects for balance – Sierra Club, you know, an old reliable for he said/she said reporting on nuclear – but the story gets to the heart of the issues fairly. Take a look and get your Pangloss back on.

The lady Cassandra herself, in a painting by Evelyn De Morgan, doing the pre-Raphaelite thing.

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