Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Venezuela Gets a Pass, Whitman Talks Nuclear

WP528FIRSTPERSON In writing about Venezuela’s nuclear energy ambitious, I wondered what the U.S. response would be. Now we know:

"We have no incentive nor interest in increasing friction between Venezuela and the US, but we do think Venezuela needs to act responsibly," [President Barack] Obama told Spanish media at the White House.

"Our attitude is that Venezuela has rights to peacefully develop nuclear power," he said, adding that as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty it must also meet its obligations not to weaponize those systems.

So there you go. And Venezuela is moving right along:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez clinched a deal in Moscow on Friday that will see Russia build and operate the first nuclear power plant in his country.

You can read the rest of the story for more.

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Former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman weighs in on the renewable electricity standard, which will require that utilities get a percentage of their power from non-carbon-emitting energy sources. Leaving nuclear energy out of the standard has never seemed very on-point since the goal of it is to encourage the production of “clean” electricity. Nuclear does that. Here’s Whitman:

Whitman said in a telephone interview that she'd like to see it broadened to a "green" standard that includes nuclear power. She argued that renewable sources alone won't be able to meet the country's growing energy needs.

This is true, but if the goal is to promote wind, solar, hydro and so on, then perhaps nuclear does not need to be part of it.

"What we want is clean, green energy," Whitman said. "And you should let the market decide which form is going to work the best. If you say renewables, you can't include nuclear, because it does rely on uranium, and that's a finite resource."

Because when you limit the standard to renewable, you’re not really fulfilling the policy goal.

"What we want is clean, green energy," Whitman said. "And you should let the market decide which form is going to work the best. If you say renewables, you can't include nuclear, because it does rely on uranium, and that's a finite resource."

In other words, make the standard broad enough without being too specific about the technologies needed to accomplish the standard’s objective. In that way, government policy and industry policy sync more congenially.

"I get very leery when Congress picks the winners within any band of energy source," she added.

Say it loud.

Christine Todd Whitman. An excellent example of a person who has devoted herself to public service, elective or no.

2 comments:

Aaron Rizzio said...

I don't know why Whitman & the NEI wont just push to have fission officially designated "renewable" and point out that SNF can be recycled into fuel for either fast-spectrum or thorium fuel cycles.

Geothermal, solar, wind, and hydro are considered "renewable" despite the fact that the Earth's core will cool one day and the Sun will exhaust its hydrogen fuel.

Brian Mays said...

"I don't know why Whitman & the NEI wont just push to have fission officially designated 'renewable' ..."

It's because when they do, they run across jerks like Michael Eckhart.

"Renewable" energy (except for hydroelectric) is a scam, and these scammers don't want a viable technology to gain access to their gravy train of government handouts.

Since nuclear power produces results, rather than just empty promises, all of the incentive money would eventually flow to nuclear, which would leave the "real renewables" high and dry.

Why do you think that the renewable proponents, like Eckhart, fight the inclusion of nuclear energy into the definition of "renewable" so hard? They can see the writing on the wall.