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Explaining It All for You

Cedar-KeyLevy-County Let’s get the long weekend going with some good reading:

The Energy Information Administration, the statistics arm of the Department of Energy, has launched a new portal called Energy Explained, which, um, explains energy. All the usual suspects are accounted for and nuclear energy has a nice set of pages. It really does start at the beginning:

Nuclear energy is energy in the nucleus (core) of an atom. Atoms are tiny particles that make up every object in the universe. There is enormous energy in the bonds that hold atoms together.

Nuclear energy can be used to make electricity. But first the energy must be released. It can be released from atoms in two ways: nuclear fusion and nuclear fission.

Nice shoutout to the fusion gang there. We expect the site could be especially helpful to students but really to anyone with an interest.

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President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize this morning. We expect both sweet and sour comments about it, but here’s what caught our eye:

One of the first to hail President Obama’s choice for “ nuclear disarmament” was Mohammed El Baradei, head of the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog group, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). El Baradei himself received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for his efforts “to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes.” El Baradei, an Iranian, insists that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful, and refuses to release IAEA reports declaring otherwise.

The article that contains this is pretty sour, but a news organization should still try to get its facts straight. Mr. ElBaradei is Egyptian; he also prefers his name to be spelled as one word.

We looked around for a fuller quote. and found this less freighted account:

"I cannot think of anyone today more deserving of this honour," said Elbaradei, adding he was "absolutely delighted."

"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," the Egyptian IAEA director general said.

ElBaradei commended Obama on his "unshakeable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts."

"President Obama has provided outstanding leadership on moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons," ElBaradei said.

Although we wonder about the interest in both sources with where ElBaradei comes from. But there you go.

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We’ve seen a fair number of polls – here’s a Bisconti one - that indicate that people who live nearby nuclear power plants have a more positive view of nuclear energy than the public at large. Why should this be? Let the New & Observer tell you:

But for many residents, the prospect of good jobs outweighs potential risks. Progress spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said about 3,000 workers would build the plant when construction starts, perhaps in 2012. About 800 full-time positions would be created to staff the two generators when they open.

"They hope it improves the economy, but some do have their concerns about the environment," said Luhanna Wilsey, a short-order cook at a local gas station who has lived in the area since 1973.

Her son is among those looking for permanent work.

This is Levy County, Florida, where Progress Energy intends to build a new plant. The story is actually pretty dim on this occurring – note the “potential risks” line, of which there are essentially none – but reporter Brent Kallestad couldn’t find anyone actually against the idea.

He tries, though.

Pari Nagda and her husband Bobby purchased a gas station and convenience store on the southeast corner of a busy intersection of U.S. 19/98 and State Road 40 two years ago. They wanted to buy additional property, but speculators drove the price far above the appraised value.

"There's lot of anticipation as far as the property owners go in what they might be able to get for their property," real estate agent Nancy Little Lewis said. "People want more for their property than it's worth.

"They say, 'Well, the power plant is coming.'"

The prospect of a lot of new workers needing gas for their car – or electricity eventually – the Nagdas owning a station/store that likely has gone up in value along with the neighboring land? Well, if that’s the best Kallestad can do, we’ll take it – and so would the Nagdas, in all likelihood.

Your moment of zen – in Levy Country.

Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered how the rest of that “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” song goes, check this out.

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