Skip to main content

The Nuclear Title and the Fourth Estate

26 The industry’s release of the nuclear title has multiple goals. One, of course, is to provide information to Congress as it considers the Kerry-Boxer climate change legislation, to indicate how the industry can help government achieve its goals.

But that information is fully public, so it has a role in the public discourse, too. As important as the other estates is the fourth estate, those outlets looking for useful data to add into their editorials and news stories, blog posts and tweets. The material is trustworthy enough to inform discussion.

Here’s Steve Mufson in the Washington Post:

The elements of a nuclear package under discussion include investment tax credits, a doubling or more of the existing $18.5 billion in federal loan guarantees for new plants, giving nuclear plants access to a new clean energy development bank, federally financed training for nuclear plant workers, a new look at reprocessing nuclear fuel, and a streamlining of the regulatory approval process, according to corporate, congressional and administration sources.

And what response does Mufson find?

Asked how many Republicans could be won over to a climate bill with a substantial nuclear power provision, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said: "At least half a dozen, depending on how this issue comes out. Maybe more." And, he added, "you're not going to get a bill without meaningful Republican participation."

Graham may become as essential to this legislation as Olympia Snowe was to the health reform bill, if bipartisanship becomes as large an issue this time. Interestingly, nuclear energy may be the – or at least a – key in achieving that bipartisanship – and that’s not to mention its usefulness in reducing greenhouse gasses.

In fairness, the story also takes in the downside, so do read the whole thing.

ClimateWire’s Katherine Ling references the industry effort directly:

The NEI proposal echoes nuclear energy language and provisions laid out over the past year by several key moderate Republicans -- including Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona -- for whom a "robust" nuclear title is necessary, if not sufficient, to vote for a climate bill.

We’d say it’s a double echo, but okay.

Now, a news story by its nature will balance upside and downside and let you decide which is more compelling (the flaw is that this can make sides seem co-equal when they may actually be quite lopsided – see articles about global warming for a recent extreme example of this). Editorials, though, are a different beast.

This status quo is unacceptable. Nuclear energy is far and away one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal for cutting emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, constructing 180 new reactors would cut emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

This comes from the Harvard Crimson. Maybe we’d advise a different word choice, but the editorial makes a lot of sense.

A statue in Brookgreen Gardens, S.C. The first estate, in case you’re curious, is the Church, the second the upper chamber of government and the third the lower chamber. If that sounds somewhat non-American, it is – the French coined the first three and English writer and political philosopher Edmund Burke the fourth (“the estate of Able Editors”), as reported by Thomas Carlyle in 1837. That’s a lot of history for a simple phrase.

Comments

uvdiv said…
You should mention in your blog that the Crimson's statistic is quite wrong. 180 new reactors is around 250 GWe, is about half of the 473 GWe average electric generation of the US - and this respectively causes around 2/5th of US CO2 emissions (most the rest being transport fuel), so the benefit is on the order of 1/5th of CO2 emissions displaced (neglecting future rise in demand).

It seems the authors misunderstood a line in the Seattle Times article they cited:

"An analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency assumes 180 new reactors by 2050 for an 80 percent decline in greenhouse-gas emissions."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2010132622_apusnuclearclimate.html?syndication=rss

What's wrong with schools these days, that Harvard students do not grasp simple reading comprehension, and simple arithmetic.

references

http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table1_1.html

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/flash/flash.html

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…