Skip to main content

Governor Whitman Answers Greenpeace

whitmanA few days ago, we wrote about big tech companies moving their data centers to nuclear friendly states and getting some grief for it for not being “green” enough. I take no credit for the following, but it’s nice not to be talking in a vacuum.

This a letter to the editor of the New York Times commenting on the same topic (same article actually):

Report Faults Online Services Over Reliance on Coal and Nuclear Power” (Business Day, April 18) discusses a Greenpeace report suggesting that emissions-free nuclear power and coal constitute “dirty energy.”

It’s true that by opening up new data centers in states like North Carolina, Virginia and Illinois, major Internet companies are using more nuclear energy — and at affordable prices. What’s untrue and insinuated in both your article and the Greenpeace report is that this reliance on nuclear somehow sullies a company’s environmental reputation, when nuclear is in fact playing an important role keeping the cloud clean.

Nuclear energy accounts for 70 percent of the clean electricity produced in the United States, and together with renewables like solar and wind is a vital part of any clean energy portfolio. Companies that rely on 24/7 baseload power to meet their electricity needs are contributing to emission-reduction goals by including nuclear in their energy mix.

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN
Princeton, N.J., April 19, 2012

Ms. Whitman is former governor of New Jersey, EPA Administrator, and currently co-chair of the Clean and Safe (CASE) Energy Coalition.

---

That Greenpeace report stirred up some interest in finding out how Greenpeace is doing with its own cloud  - another way to say this is: Can Greenpeace avoid the world it lives in in order to claim the purity it demands of others. Answer: No, largely because such issues aren’t entirely in its control:

But Greenpeace also has a number of servers in a colocation center in northern Virginia. “They’re using whatever the grid mix is in Virginia,” said Cook, who added that the colo deal was arranged about five years ago. “At that point in time, there weren’t providers that met our requirements (for renewable energy). We’re in the process of reworking some of our IT infrastructure, and we’ll clean that up.”

Virginia’s mix: coal and nuclear, with some renewable energy, much the same as is being used by Google, Facebook and the rest. Cook is Gary Cook, a Climate Policy Advisor for the Greenpeace CoolIT Campaign. The line that interested me was “”at that point in time, there weren’t providers that met our requirements.” True, if you wanted to remain in a state with relatively light electricity charges – due to the presence, or course, of nuclear plants.

Credit due to Rich Tripp of Data Center Knowledge for a great article – do read the whole thing –but let’s give props to Gary Cook, too: he didn’t try to evade the fact that Greenpeace, much like the rest of us, has to deal with the world as it is rather than the world it’d prefer. Maybe Greenpeace can learn enough generosity to extend that view to the companies about which it writes reports.

It might happen. But:

Is Greenpeace holding Facebook to a higher standard than it applies to its own Internet operations? Cook says the data center industry’s largest power users have a higher obligation to use renewable energy to power their servers.

Neat argument. Okay for me, not for thee.

Christine Todd Whitman.

Comments

jimwg said…
Greenpeace is such a cadre of public health hypocrites relating to nuclear's environmental effects and worker/public mortality rates and infrastructure damage vs. others that I just can't tell you on a family blog. Why they are such unquestioned media darlings is the question of the century to me!

James Greenidge
Queens NY

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 …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …