Monday, May 02, 2011

“The Only Reason Nuclear Is Attractive”

feinstein Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she might run for another term next year, but for our purposes, this stands out from a recent interview:

And here's her lengthier discussion on the safety of nuclear power in the wake of the recent killer Japanese earthquakes. Feinstein said while she believes nuclear energy can be a safe form of power, "we have to be eternally vigilant'' on safety issues.

Feinstein said "there has to be longterm storage'' for nuclear waste, and said that "I think there ought to be regional waste storage sites."

Regional waste storage sites is an idea we’ll be hearing more about in the coming months – I expect a House hearing I’m covering later this week will discuss them – and it’ll be interesting to the hear the various views about them.

Video at the link.


Almost a month after Fukushima Daiichi, the Washington Post has weighed in again on nuclear energy. After noting that public support as reflected in polls has waned but not fallen off a cliff and that policymakers have not turned tail, the Post concludes:

The only reason nuclear is attractive, some insist, is concern over global warming. Yet, even if that is the only cause, it is compelling. As of now there is no other proven, scalable low-carbon source of electricity that produces the reliable, “always on” power that utilities require. America may never get as much of its electricity from nuclear plants as France, which generates 80 percent of its power that way. But if it is serious about cutting carbon emissions, the United States should keep nuclear on the table.

“The only reason.” People tend to forget, because the recession has lingered so long, that the demand for electricity had been rising steadily. And I think it’s fair to say, will rise again – in the U.S., of course, but throughout the world as well. Nuclear energy not only produces a lot of energy in a relatively packed space but also can also encourage energy security.

But we know all that. What the Post knows is that emission free base load energy is something one tosses aside with considerable hesitation. Although it isn’t the bravest show of support imaginable, it’s fair enough.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein


Anonymous said...

"Regional" sites, eh? Sounds familiar. And how much luck did those "regional" LLW sites have? Maybe one or two actually got started, out of a dozen or so initially planned? My state tried for something like 15 years to get a site picked, and eventually threw in the towel. If LLW sites were such political hot potatoes, so to speak, how much more so will be HLW sites?

Anonymous said...

"Almost a month after Fukushima Daiichi..." ?? The earthquake was March 11th.

Cyril R said...

Ugh, fossil fuels kill hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, due to air pollution, mining accidents etc. Particulate matter is a killer.

That's a HUGE reason to add to global warming abatement!

People who insist climate change is the only reason nuclear is attractive, are utterly moronic. Anyone who has researched the issue will find fossil pollution/killings, energy dependence, and reducing energy sprawl (solar/wind/biomass), energy density, materials requirements, and cost to be important reasons in favor of nuclear power.

The Washington Post is a big disappointment in my view.

There used to be a time that journalists prided themselves in their profession. That day has come and gone - journalism today isn't even a profession anymore (anyone can be a journalist).

Marcel F. Williams said...

Private utilities are paying the Federal government more than enough money (several hundred million dollars annually) for the Federal government to easily set up safe and secure temporary storage facilities (up to 200 years) in every state that produces spent fuel. This should also create jobs in every state that produces spent fuel.

Spent fuel is an extremely valuable commodity that could be worth nearly a hundred trillion dollars in the future once commercial breeding technologies start to come on-line twenty or thirty years from now.

Do not throw this precious commodity away!