Friday, October 10, 2014

Cascading Ironies and the Nuclear Green Option

trojans Kids today! From the Daily Trojan, the paper of the University of Southern California:

Nuclear power production has rapidly grown since the 1930s …

Indeed it has. They don’t reference President Roosevelt’s famous “We have nothing to fear but a nuclear-free future” speech, but otherwise, all systems go.

Joshing aside, the editorial is very favorable to nuclear energy:

Nevertheless, it’s time for opponents to realize that compared to other energy sources, including wind, solar and coal, nuclear energy is the best possible option.

They make what we could call “the green argument - ” not just for nuclear energy as a source carbon emission-free energy, but against renewable energy because it gobbles up land. I thought when reading this that it relates to a Los Angeleno sensitivity to overcrowding, but judge for yourself.

Proponents of other energy sources such as wind and solar argue that these energy sources also emit less carbon than coal. Wind farms and solar photovoltaic parks, however, occupy much more space than nuclear power plants. They can require anywhere between 50,000 and 180,000 acres, compared to an average of approximately 400 acres for a nuclear power plant.

In addition to using more space, solar and wind sources actually produce less energy than nuclear for each dollar spent on energy production. If one of these options became the United States’ primary energy source, we would be sacrificing vast amounts of space for a relatively small amount of energy.

One of these will not become a primary source of electricity anytime soon due to intermittency. Let’s add too that 180,000 acres put aside today will be better used as wind and solar technologies improve. Nuclear energy facilities, after all, have experienced higher output over the years through equipment upgrades and efficiency gains. Nothing is frozen in place.

But from a land conservationist’s point of view, there’s merit to the argument. The editorial also discusses perceived issues with nuclear energy, which you can read yourself. And the green argument against renewable energy? Not entirely fair, but we appreciate the cascading irony of it.

1 comment:

jimwg said...

When I see the mass media pick up on articles as the Daily Trojan which are stuck and mute in the solitary backwaters of niche blogs, I'll pop chamapange.

James Greenidge
Queens NY