Monday, September 27, 2010

A Nuclear Trifecta in New York

owens Up in New York state, one of the three candidates for the 23rd district really likes nuclear energy:

"Chief among the alternatives is nuclear," Mr. Doheny said. "It's safe, it's reliable."

That’s Matthew Doheny, the Republican. Here’s what he says on his campaign site:

In the U.S. today, 104 reactors generate approximately 20% of our nation’s electricity. By comparison France (hardly a beacon of free-market thinking) has almost 80% of its electricity generated by nuclear power. Nuclear is renewable, safe and one of the cheapest sources of power available.

The 23rd district is home to three reactors, at Oswego. Well, what about the Conservative, Douglas Hoffman?

Oswego … could probably accommodate one or two additional ones [reactors], he said. "Nuclear puts people to work immediately," he said.

Shall we try for a clean sweep with Rep. William Owens (D-NY)?

Mr. Owens said he is "clearly very supportive" of nuclear energy and that technology is being developed for smaller, cheaper plants. "I think we do have to look at that," he said.

Neither Owens nor Hoffman feature nuclear energy on their Web sites. Oswego, like many nuclear plants, is very likely a great place to work and most certainly an economic engine for the 23rd district. While it’s not unusual for politicians of all stripes to sheath their partisan sabers on local issues that transcend ideology, I cannot help but think that the sheer presence of the reactors, serenely making their boatloads of electricity, is enough to bridge any partisan divide.

Kudos to Watertown Daily Times reporter Mark Heller for getting everyone on the record.

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AOLNews offers a survey of all the Middle East countries turning to nuclear energy. We’ve looked at many of these countries and their plans here, but nice to have it in one place.

One notable clanger:

Looming in the background is the widespread suspicion that the rush for civilian nuclear power is also covert preparation for a nuclear arms race.

Really? Tunisia? UAE? Well, the article tries it on for size, but I’d have to say the evidence of it is thin, limited to bald assertions.

Andrew Light, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, agrees. "There's a slippery slope, a tipping point," he told AOL News. "They want to be able to pass from civilian to military uses quickly. And it's a vicious circle, because there's not a fundamental level of trust."

Is that what they want? Or is the slippery slope a fallacy that never sees a middle ground between the cliff and the slope? – the middle ground here being that these countries have the same need to modernize without carbon emissions as do Asian and African countries pursuing nuclear energy. This isn’t happening in a geopolitical vacuum.

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To wit:

But this revival of interest in nuclear power is neither European nor even Western. Indeed at the 35th annual conference of the World Nuclear Association in London last week, many of the 700 delegates wondered how long it would be before this meeting relocated to Asia, so great is the level of activity in the East.

This is written for the Sydney Herald and sticks to its purpose of exploring Asian interest in nuclear energy. Since Australia takes a dim though slightly brightening view of the atom, this line struck us as sly:

Some 200 gigawatts of nuclear electricity is planned by 2030 in China - that will be three times Australia's total energy capacity then.

Hmmm! I can think of a way Australia could keep up with the neighbors.

Rep. Bill Owens. Owens won a much discussed special election held last year during which Hoffman prevailed upon the Republican candidate, Donna Scozzafava, to leave the race – at which time she endorsed Owens. Hoffman was heavily favored right up to election day, so this year’s race for the full term packs considerable drama. No polls I could find, but expect an exciting night in Plattsburgh come November.

1 comment:

Aaron Rizzio said...

Unfortunately any new nuclear build in NY would likely have to seek the approval of the next governor, Mr. Cuomo, who may well hold on to that office for some time.

Does NEI Notes happen to know if young Cuomo's nuclear energy policy differs from that of his father? Readers may recall Mario Cuomo who played a pivotal role in the Shorham fiasco by withholding state regulatory approval and as a consequence the newly completed Long Island reactor was scrapped upon completion of its low-power testing. To this day the technology's crippling capital financing costs are the result of the senseless debacle.