No need to spend too much time on this, from the San Francisco Gate:
Let's back up a little bit. Nuclear energy is unsavory to the average citizen: It creates toxic waste and entails some level of danger for those who leave [sic: live] near reactors and waste sites. Advocates insist that risk has declined precipitously since the days of Three Mile Island, but the risk is certainly greater than that of, say, solar panels.
Read the whole thing, but mostly as an object lesson in writing without researching.
Think Progress got hold of a mailing (pdf) from Oliver North’s group Freedom Alliance stating its unhappiness with the Kerry-Boxer climate change bill – well, really, anything involving climate change. It’s pretty wild, but we especially like this fact about windmills:
Item: Environmentalist push government and industry to encourage vast electricity producing windmill farms. Result: Thousands of birds are killed each year by these virtual bird eating machines.
This really isn’t a very good argument, but we do like the image of a bird eating machine (otherwise known as, um, us, what with Thanksgiving coming up). See here for more on windmills and birds. We think that the threat to birds by windmills is somewhat akin to the radiation danger from nuclear plants – that is to say, next to none – but it sounds good in a mailer.
If we were going to trot out this argument, we’d probably worry more about bats, but since no one likes bats, there’s not much return on the investment (and no, there’s not much threat to bats from windmills, either.)
You can read the rest of North’s mailer yourself; it’s a fine example of ideology trumping sense at almost every turn.
After so much fact free reading, it’s a pleasure to come to this:
Recent studies by the Electric Power Research Institute, National Academies of Science and the Energy Information Administration all conclude that nuclear energy must play a key role in our nation’s transition to a low-carbon energy base. An analysis of the House’s climate change legislation (H.R. 2454) by the Environmental Protection Agency projects that 187 new nuclear plants will need to be built in the United States by 2050 to achieve the bill’s core policy scenario.
This comes from an op-ed by Gary Gates and Bill Johnson for The Hill, a newspaper that cover Capitol Hill. They make their points by referencing studies and relying on reliable sources. That it also makes the case for nuclear energy is the honey in the tea, but nuclear energy usually makes out quite well when you stick close to, you know, the verifiable truth.
Here’s some more, addressing the challenges:
Nuclear energy facilities and other large capital energy investments face significant financial challenges, particularly during this period of financial market duress. Nuclear power plants are costly to build but provide low-cost electricity for generations of Americans over the life of the plant — which is at least 60 years. Uranium fuel is, by far, our lowest-cost fuel for electricity production. And if public officials are serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear energy is the best available energy technology and must be part of the equation. It already produces 72 percent of U.S. carbon-free electricity.
We’re very fond of debating our critics’ strongest arguments – it helps to prove the validity of our stances – and Gates and Johnson are clearly open to it. It’s a good, long piece and excellent withal.
Unlikely to hit a windmill – unless the windmill falls over on it – yet quite likely to hit my stomach.