We won’t run every story along these lines, since it could be come tedious, but we mentioned last week that knocking down nuclear bans has gained momentum, and though there are failed attempts – as in Wyoming – there are successes, too – as in Iowa. Here’s another success, rather oddly introduced by The Chicago Sun-Times’ by Dave McKinney and Steve Contorno:
The Illinois Senate voted Monday to undo a 23-year-old ban on the construction of new nuclear plants in a move one anti-nuclear activist predicted could turn Illinois into a “radioactive waste repository.”
Well, no, not really, but why not lead a successful legislative story with a comment by someone against the legislation? “America will be overrun with dogs and cats,” said an anti-pet activist after a pro-pet legislation passed the Senate.
Seems a little sour, yes? Especially when you consider this:
The lone dissenter in the Senate, Sen. Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), said Illinois should focus on wind and solar energy production instead of increased nuclear capacity, where “there is a broad lack of consequences.”
One Nay vote? This wasn’t even controversial. (The vote was 40-1.) Now, the legislation moves to the House – if there are two Nay votes, we expect the Sun-Times to quote both of them and none of the supporters. Sheesh!
This is what Bill Gates said on his blog about nuclear energy
"Nuclear energy is worth pursuing, wind and solar are good but have limitations, and the government is putting minuscule amounts of money into energy R&D dollars.”
"[Nuclear energy is] the only thing we have today other than hydrocarbons that provides a lot of power and you could build a lot more of it."
We noted this at the time – pounced on it, as you might imagine – but mostly as an interesting endorsement. But Clark Williams-Derry over at the Daily Score wants us to know Gates didn’t really mean it:
If you watch the whole interview, what's really driving Gates isn't a passion for nuclear power -- it's a passion for energy research. He believes that that society should ramp up research in all sorts of energy technologies -- carbon sequestration, energy storage, solar, nuclear, you name it -- in search of that game changer that scales globally and radically reduces climate-warming emissions. He recognizes that most of that research will lead nowhere -- perhaps including his own current project. But if just one idea pans out, it will change the world. (emphasis his)
This is about Gates’ TED talk not the podcast on the Web site, but that describes the podcast, too. Derry-Williams is right enough as not to matter, but we suspect what struck people (and us) is that Gates only identified one technology he put down some of his own money to support and that’s TerraPower’s travelling wave technology.
It’s not that Gates is picking a winner, it’s that he’s interested enough to support the technology.
This is a very minor push back on our part. Derry-Williams makes a number of interesting points, so be sure to read his whole piece.