Saturday, April 02, 2011

Editorial Round-Up

April Fools? Maybe not:

Nuclear energy is, for the most part, clean. Though not inexpensive to build, power plants do provide energy at a reasonable cost to consumers for many years.
In remarks made recently during a meeting with national, regional and local news media Ray Golden, TVA’s senior manager of nuclear communication, said, “You cannot abandon use of this fuel.”
Golden is correct. Nuclear energy has to be in the mix as does coal, natural gas, wind and solar energy.
This is from the Scottsboro (Ala.) Daily Sentinel. A little more, explaining the TVA connection:
After meeting with TVA and NRC officials numerous times over the years and recently being involved in a tour at TVA’s oldest nuclear facility I’m [Ken Bonner is the writer] convinced that nuclear power must play a larger role in the future. It must be regulated and icensees diligent in operating and maintaining the plants.
“Our nuclear reactors at TVA have been safely operated for years,” TVA chief nuclear officer Preston Swafford, said.
TVA operates three reactors at Browns Ferry, two at Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant, one at Watts Bar and has a second unit scheduled to come on line at the facility in 2012-2013.
And the conclusion:
Nuclear — it is part of the mix to secure our future. With proper regulations and oversight in place and self-policing policies by the licensees, nuclear power plants can provide energy for the future at minimal risk. I don’t mind it in my backyard.
Just so. 
Lake Wylie residents live near the Catawba Nuclear Station, one of three nuclear stations built and operated by Duke Energy. The rising steam billowing from its smoke stacks are always visible south of the Buster Boyd Bridge and siren tests can be heard from the station every month. A few years ago, Duke invited the members of the public to visit the plant and have their questions answered.
There are definite pros for nuclear energy, including little pollution and the ability to generate a high amount of energy from one plant. Cons include disposing of radioactive waste, terrorist and accident risks, operation costs.
A lot of nuclear plant operators are being proactive in reassuring their communities that the plants operate safely. We'll round up a few of these later on, but it was interesting to run into this in an editorial. The Pilot is a bit reassured and realizes that energy generation carries risk:
It seems no matter which way we look for energy resources, there always will be pros and cons. Perhaps energy policy in the U.S. should focus on improving energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. But renewable energy sources still are a long way from being able to provide the quantity of energy our economy requires. In the meantime, nuclear power plants like our Catawba facility are a reality. It is imperative, though, that steps be taken to ensure their safety and reliability.
The conclusion:
The heart of Lake Wylie along S.C. 49 is within a 12-mile distance of this nearest plant. If there should be an accident or malfunction, it would not take much time to be exposed to radioactivity with its devastating health effects.
Er, well, no not really. But The Pilot does a pretty good job overall grappling with the issues for its readers.

Lake Wylie. Wonder what vacation homes go for there?

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