Skip to main content

The Nuclear Imperative in Taiwan, Tennessee, and Nevada

washington_postAt the Washington Post, editorial board writer Stephen Stromberg surveys the energy scene in Taiwan:

Taiwan imports about 98 percent of its energy supplies, mostly the fossil fuels that keep its fluorescent streetscapes flashing and its many factories humming.

The Taiwanese are against virtually every form of carbon dioxide-free energy for various reasons. A fourth reactor on the islands faced such massive protest it has never been turned on. But Stromberg is having none of it, coming to the point of his piece:

Because climate change is a global problem, the choices of Germany and Japan — both of which have shut down perfectly serviceable reactors in recent years — and Taiwan as well affect the rest of us. Their greenhouse-gas emissions mix into the atmosphere just like everyone else’s. And the big danger is that these nations will encourage the international stigmatization against nuclear power, when tough-mindedness, not self-indulgence, is necessary. The global norm should be to expect governments to regulate nuclear facilities carefully and appropriately, not to shun them.

Would that it were so easy. It’s hard to think of a representative government that doesn’t relent to the popular view, however misguided or short sighted. But Stromberg makes an interesting point: to what extent does the rest of the world have a say in decisions that involve them, in this case existentially, but happen within other borders? Maybe a case for the United Nations?

---

If I tell you the next op-ed comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, could you guess what it’s about?

If Nevada becomes a willing partner with the federal government to host a permanent repository, the state would benefit from the return of thousands of high-paying jobs and infrastructure projects necessary to move the shipments of spent fuel and defense materials to the mountain without intersecting population centers. Some financial benefits and the opportunity to negotiate benefit agreements are already law. Nevada would also benefit from other advantages associated with host communities, such as increased local and state tax revenue and an emphasis on high-quality educational programs.

This is Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who led a Congressional delegation out to Yucca Mountain for a tour last week. As Shimkus is is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce environment and economy subcommittee, he has some pull in this area.

Probably his most important point:

As the debate moves forward, it’s clear that science can no longer be used to justify opposition to the project.

His op-ed is well worth a read.

---

And finally, former EPS Administrator and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman visited Watts Bar in Tennessee.

"To think what we are putting into the atmosphere and the way we are changing the land isn't having an impact and exacerbating the natural trend toward global warming to a point where nature can't absorb it, I think, is naive," Whitman said. "You have 97 percent of scientists saying that the climate is changing and better than 50 percent of the American people saying they also believe the climate is changing based upon what they see around them with the floods, droughts and storms. I think they would like to see some action."

Hmm. Any ideas on what that action might be?

Despite the $4.2 billion pricetag to complete Watts Bar Unit 2 over the past eight years, the reactor  "is a good investment and I hope we will see more of these type plants to at least keep nuclear power at its current share (about 19 percent of electricity generation) for the future," Whitman said.

"It's a huge and vital part of our clean energy future."

Watts Bar 2 is likely to be the first new nuclear reactor to go online in the U.S. since, well, Watts Bar 1 back in 1996.

Comments

jimwg said…
Guts n' Kudos. Stephen Stromberg needs his own nuclear blog.

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…