Skip to main content

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?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…