Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Cornucopia of Nuclear Notes

Cornucopia-Print-C10353551 One of the themes – or is that memes – we’ve been following here is the growing support for nuclear energy among Congressional Democrats. We might be expected to consider nuclear energy a post-partisan issue – that is, one where Republicans and Democrats more-or-less agree on its value generally if not always in detail – but this reality is beginning to penetrate the wider media world.

Consider this piece by U.S. News and World Report’s Kent Garber:

Sen. Barbara Boxer, a liberal California Democrat, has included a whole set of goodies for nuclear energy in her climate bill in an effort to win Republicans' and moderate Democrats' support. Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the bill's cosponsor, recently penned an op-ed with South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham calling for expanding the industry.

And earlier this month, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee proposed legislation to double the U.S. production of nuclear power in the next 20 years.

There’s more, including the climate change component of Democrat’s increasing support of nuclear energy. We’d add that polls show pretty broad support for nuclear and if there’s one thing politicians follow, it’s polls.

We were amused by this:

This calculation is outraging many of the administration's environmental-minded supporters…

A fair number of environmental activists are seeing the benefits of nuclear energy, too. Maybe Garber can do a story on them next.

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Tunisia is having a meeting on the future of energy in its corner of Africa. We may have thought the best solution obvious – lots of sun down Tunisia way – and solar may be the energy winner ultimately, but we’ll take our chances:

The meeting will also examine the use of cogeneration in the industrial sector, as well as the prospects for the use of nuclear energy in Tunisia following agreements signed in 2008 with France, for the setting up of an electric-nuclear plant in Tunisia by 2020.

Here’s a brief bit about the Tunisian National Committee of Atomic Energy – sounds like the country is pretty serious.

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Consider this headline:

DOE chief visits SC, touts nuclear and green power

This comes from an AP account in The Sun News (in Myrtle Beach? -the site doesn’t say). It continues:

[DOE Secretary Steven] Chu attended a morning groundbreaking at the Savannah River Site for a facility that will burn leftover wood products to create steam. Then, during an afternoon tour of a Greenville plant that makes turbines, he reminded reporters that President Barack Obama is committed to expanding nuclear power.

And:

Chu then headed to Greenville where he toured a General Electric plant, where 3,000 workers build gas and wind-powered turbines.

The Obama "administration is very supportive of nuclear energy," Chu said, according to The Greenville News.

Given the places he was visiting, it sounds like he was asked questions about nuclear energy rather than offering comments spontaneously. Which, if true, shows where the reporters’ curiosity lies and that Chu might find himself saying a fair amount about nuclear energy whatever the venue. Oh, and here’s The Greenville News’ account referenced above. It explains why Chu was in North Carolina:

Chu’s visit came one week after the Energy Department announced that it had picked Clemson to receive the biggest research grant in the school’s history — $45 million to develop a testing center for wind turbine drive trains in North Charleston.

And yet a fair amount of nuclear interest here, too. Hmmm!

Blame it on the Greeks. It seems there was this goat, Amalthea, the wet nurse to Zeus, who broke off a horn while rough housing with her charge. Aggrieved, Zeus replaced it with a magical horn that could dispense whatever anyone wanted. We’re not sure how it became associated with Thanksgiving.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Chu's Blue Ribbon Panel on spent fuel storage? Did it get McChrystaled?

David Bradish said...

I've been hearing a lot of chatter lately (nothing official yet) that we should be hearing something about the blue ribbon panel before the end of the year. Here's what Energy Daily said last week:

Sources say the Energy Department plans to name former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton and former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft as co-chairs of the Obama administration’s "blue-ribbon panel."

Chris Dembia said...

I work for GE in Greenville and I was actually listening to Chu right there. Only one reporter asked questions, the reporter from the Greenville News, and his questions were about the administration's stance on nuclear energy and what the plan was about nuclear waste since Yucca has been canned. Chu actually spoke for a couple of minutes about nuclear, especially with the waste issue. He even started to get technical with his answer. He did talk about the DOE's blue ribbon panel.

He, and the senator there with him, also spoke spontaneously and briefly about nuclear energy.