Thursday, June 18, 2009

Questions Worth Asking?

falling-money Triplepundit asks the following question:

At some point you just have to ask yourself, what is it that these politicians are getting to push nuclear energy so hard?

Answer: knowledge. It’s a powerful thing. You can read the rest of the post yourself, but we didn’t find it all that noteworthy. The opening question was just too easy.

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While Congress is contemplating a new energy policy, American women are paying the electric bills at home and making the critical decisions on energy use in their homes and businesses, according to the national Women's Survey on Energy & the Environment, the first in-depth women's survey on attitudes and awareness about energy.

We look forward to finding out what women think about energy. Oh wait, we already know that – from polls – that also include – men. We genuinely don’t get this one.

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We trust that Mark Miller at the Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment means only the best when he writes that building 100 new nuclear plants, as suggested by the Republicans’ stab at an energy plan, would be ruinously expensive – you can find his whole report here – but it rests almost solely on the basis of the admittedly high cost of building a plant. The actual cost of the electricity the plant produces, how much it costs to run the plant, and the the length of time the plant can stay in operation all feed into the price paid by ratepayers – you and me and everyone we know.

If you leave off these other elements, you get “Cooper Study Shows Trillions of Dollars in Excess Costs if US Builds 100 Nuclear Reactors.” If you add them in, you end up with nuclear being highly competitive. See here (for a pdf) or here (for a PowerPoint show) for attempts to give a full picture of the costs of nuclear energy.

Read Miller’s study in conjunction with these and we think you’ll see how easy it is to make nuclear look like a money pit when, in sum, it can be quite the opposite.

“When it rains, it rains pennies from heaven. So when you hear it thunder, don't run under a tree. There'll be pennies from heaven for you and me.” – A rather grim depression-era tune by Arthur Johnston and Johnnie Burke. We guess Mr. Miller has just put us in a mood.

1 comment:

Charles Barton said...

My research on the cost savings potential of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors suggests that their cost could run as low as $1200 per kW of generating capacity. The potential savings would come from higher density cores that operate at a high temperature at atmospheric pressure, using much less material, far fewer parts, requiring far less labor in factories where many manufacturing tasks are performed by labor saving devices. Such cost saving expediencies as recycling the sire of coal fired power plants, underground housing, using existing grid connections, and other cost saving opportunities could revolutionize nuclear cost,