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Breathless: Nothing to Say About Nuclear Good News

JeanSeberg Well, we always have something to say, but there’s a fair number of interesting articles that come out each day which don’t really require much comment to be fully comprehensible on their own. For example:

Investing in new nuclear power plants is good for the economy, good for the environment and good for energy security. But to ensure that America's nuclear renaissance isn't derailed, members should reject the House restriction on loan guarantees for nuclear energy when the bill reaches the Senate floor.

This op-ed comes from the San Antonio Express-News and we thought might be responsive to the story we’ve been following on South Texas Project. But no: it’s instead a good editorial on the efficacy of nuclear energy written by Bernard Weinstein, the associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute at Southern Methodist University. He knows whereof he speaks, so consider it another link to send your nuclear-deprived friends.


George Mason University has put together a poll with an unusually thorough slicing and dicing of the respondents’ profiles.They explain this here:

We are pleased to announce the release of our latest report - Global Warming's Six Americas 2009 . … In this report, we identify and profile six distinct groups of Americans based on their climate change beliefs, attitudes, risk perceptions, policy preferences, behaviors, barriers to action, motivations, and values.

Here are the six Americas: The Alarmed, The Concerned, The Cautious, The Disengaged, The Doubtful, and The Dismissive. (The Alarmed killed the Dismissive in the library with a solar panel.) Bottom line: top to bottom, the majority likes nuclear. Here’s the breakdown – just pair it with the categories above – 50, 57, 63, 57, 76 and 88 percent strongly or somewhat favor building new plants.

Here’s a link to the report (largeish pdf). The reason we don’t have a lot to say about this is that it seems to have settled into that 60 per cent or so range that nuclear energy hovers around in many polls. However, the methodology here is interesting – undertaken by students with a lot of time, presumably – and if your mind turns a certain way, the cross tabs will make you purr like a kitten for several hours at least.


Washington State Senator Jerome Delvin goes all out for nuclear energy in an article at Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Washington is a hydro state, but as Delvin points out:

Our state is fortunate to have clean, renewable hydropower - but we are now using virtually all the hydropower available. We cannot grow it 40 percent, never mind the amount needed to make up for the loss of coal, oil and gas. This task becomes even more insurmountable if the Snake River dams are removed.

Hmm, what to do?

To give up all energy produced from fossil fuels, we need another source of energy that's cheap, clean and full-time. Fortunately, one exists: Nuclear power. Europe is flourishing on it. In fact, France produces 80 percent of its energy from low-cost, zero-emissions nuclear power.

Delvin has his beans together and covers a lot of topics around nuclear energy for his readers. He’s no doubt alert to what Energy Northwest is up to – see post below – but interested here in making the sale for new nuclear. Nothing for us to say – he covers the salient topics in a salient way quite well.


If you poke around, you’ll be surprised at how many articles either provide a positive introduction to nuclear energy to readers or treat nuclear energy as essentially a given, especially in climate change discussions. People get it, the polls have come around, politicians are building policy around it. Maybe the reason we have nothing to say is that we’re breathless at the flood of nuclear good news that seems part and parcel of coverage these days.

Jean Seberg has a newspaper to sell you in the movie Breathless (1959).


crf said…
Jerome Delvin should say that France produces 80% of its electricity, rather than energy, with nuclear.
Ioannes said…
This gets so old after a while. Com'on guys. Obama let pro-nuke Peter Lyons go from the NRC. He demoted pro-nuke Dale Klein from Chairman to commissioner and he promoted anti-Yucca Mountain Jackzo as Chairman. Don't you guys remember how you fought to balance with Dominici's Lyons the appointment of Jackzo forced on Bush in a legislative deal with Harry Reid?

Now the two vacancies in the NRC will be filled by Precautionary Principle Dems who will constipate the fuel cycle by making it too expensive to make new fuel (DI&C-ISG-07 - go read it), and by preventing its storage or reprocessing.

There will be NO new nukes with Obama in charge. None. You need to throw the Dems out. If you can't do that, then the industry is doomed. That simple.
donb said…
The original posting stated:
Here are the six Americas: The Alarmed, The Concerned, The Cautious, The Disengaged, The Doubtful, and The Dismissive. (The Alarmed killed the Dismissive in the library with a solar panel.) Bottom line: top to bottom, the majority likes nuclear. Here’s the breakdown – just pair it with the categories above – 50, 57, 63, 57, 76 and 88 percent strongly or somewhat favor building new plants.

Most ironic! Those who are least concerned about the possibility of climate change are the most supportive of the technology that can do the most to prevent it! Those who are "Alarmed" and "Concerned" should be careful about critisizing who don't believe in anthropogenic climate change, since those who "don't care" are the very ones most likely to fix the problem.
Brian Mays said…
donb - You are speaking from the assumption that these two groups really want something to be done that actually reduces greenhouse gas emissions overall -- ignoring the possibility that this "crisis" could be used as an excuse to push for solutions to other "problems."

Go read the report. Support for nuclear power is not the only factor that seems to be reasonably well correlated with "climate change beliefs."
Chad said…

I have little doubt the VC Summer 2&3 and Vogtle 3&4 will be built. If these projects keep on budget and on time, the most reasonable anti nuclear argument will be dismissed and more orders will follow. In fact, Dominion will likely make one in the next 6 months.

Since this adminstration has take office, there has been no change in progress of these projects.

Your view of new construction from Castle Hayne is not as clear as those of us in Charlotte and Pittsburg.

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