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NYTimes Anti-Nuclear Opinion Article

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  • NYTimes Anti-Nuclear Opinion Article

    Itulip member note: I have seen Pandora's Promise and it acknowledges and resolves every single issue discussed in this opinion article. I suppose the fact that an anti-nuclear opinion article shows up in the NYTimes means the pro-nuclear voice is getting louder and making an initial impact. After reading The Postcatastrophe Economy and seeing Pandora's Promise, in addition to understanding the headwinds that we face due to PCO, I remain 100% pro nuclear.


    The New Nuclear Craze


    There is a new discussion about nuclear energy, prompted by well-founded concerns about carbon emissions and fueled by a pro-nuclear documentary called “Pandora’s Promise.” Add a statement by James E. Hansen — who famously sounded the alarm on climate change — and, of course, industry propaganda, and presto: We Love Nukes.

    Before we all become pro-nuclear greens, however, you’ve got to ask three questions: Is nuclear power safe and clean? Is it economical? And are there better alternatives?
    No, no and yes. So let’s not swap the pending environmental disaster of climate change for another that may be equally risky.
    Despite all-out efforts and international cooperation, Fukushima, which scared Germany right out of the nuclear power business, still isn’t under control. Proponents of nuclear power promise new and safer technology, but these discussions are filled with “coulds”; no such plants exist. Nor would they reduce the risks of proliferation. (Oh, that little thing.)
    Nor would they do much to mitigate the all-too-infrequently discussed dangers of uranium mining, which uses vast amounts of water in the West — an area that can ill afford it — and is barely regulated or even studied. Thousands of uranium mines have been abandoned, and no one seems to know how many remain to be cleaned up. The cost of that cleanup, of course, will be borne by taxpayers, not industry.
    Then there’s disposal of spent fuel, which is not contained at the same safety level as active fuel, itself a scary thought. Decades into the nuclear age there remains, incredibly, no real plan for this; a patchwork scheme by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which appears to be even more industry-friendly than most federal agencies, was rejected by an appeals court last year, and the Obama administration is standing by its campaign promise (shocking, I know) to abandon the nuclear repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
    The economic viability of nuclear power is no more encouraging.Plants continue to close and generation rates continue to drop.Operators may indeed continue to make money on reactors, but that’s only because federal subsidies are enormous. Insurance costs are limited. Loans are guaranteed (the Solyndra loan guarantee was half a billion dollars; in contrast, loan guarantees for new nuclear plants may run $8 billion); cost recovery and return on investment are also assured for decades, and some operators are able to collect costs from ratepayers (and pay dividends to shareholders) years before plants come online — even if they never come online.
    Fears of climate change are no reason to revive a doomed energy source.

    So they’re economical as long as you’re the owner, because historically, subsidies for nuclear power have been more than doublethe expense of power generation itself. While estimates of the costs of power generation vary wildly — allowing both proponents and detractors of any given power technology to make their cases — few of them take externalities (costs to the environment or to public health, for example) into account. And nuclear power’s externalities could exceed those for any other form of power generation except coal.
    That’s why we’re reducing coal usage — if we had a strong climate policy it would be gone in a couple of deades, and nuclear should be right behind it. It’s likely that no new nuclear plants will be built before true renewables are able to take the place of scary, highly damaging energy sources.
    Which brings us full circle: the new proponents of nuclear power say that since nuclear power is arguably preferable to coal, maybe we should subsidize the building of new plants.
    If those were the only options, maybe that argument would be a sound one. But they’re not. Energy efficiency (remember that?), natural gas (imperfect, yes, but improvable) and wind are all cheaper. Even solar is already less expensive than nuclear power in good locations.
    Some studies show that renewables can generate 80 percent of our electricity in 2050, using current technologies, while reducing carbon emissions from the electric sector by 80 percent. Climate change fears should be driving not old and disproven technologies but renewable ones, which are more practical. These technologies remain relatively small — non-hydro renewables were around 5 percent of the total last year— but they’re growing so fast (wind and solar use have quadrupled in the last five years) that just this week the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission predicted that solar power could soon begin to double every two years.
    Utilities are afraid that solar power will be to the electrical grid what PCs were to mainframes, or e-mail to the Postal Service: a technology that will simply kill its predecessors. Coal and nuclear power are both doomed, and the profit-making power grid with it. That’s all to our benefit.

  • #2
    Re: NYTimes Anti-Nuclear Opinion Article

    this ought to be a good one...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: NYTimes Anti-Nuclear Opinion Article





      Just got this notice from building management at a 10 story office building I work at in a major eastern suburb. This makes you wonder what they're preparing for:

      "Our Building has been enrolled in a demand response program to help reduce the building’s electricity consumption during emergency power situations. The goal is to reduce the building’s power usage by a minimum of 50% for a very limited time period so it will have a very limited effect on the building, our comfort and/or our tenants business operations. These types of programs are put in place in conjunction with the electric company so we can reduce the possibility of the utility implementing rolling black out’s which could cause a very large disruption to all of our business operations.


      To this end, there is a one (1) hour reduction test event that has been scheduled with xxxx Power as follows:

      Day: Thursday
      Date: September 5, 2013
      Time: 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm (EPT)

      We wanted to provide you with as much advance notice as possible so that you can properly prepare. During the above hour we are asking our tenants and everyone in the building to help us reduce our electricity demand at our building as aggressively as possible. If everyone in the building helps us we can accomplish this task very easily with very little disruption to our work day especially since this is occurring for only one (1) hour and it is during a time that a lot of us may normally leave the building on our lunch breaks.

      We ask that if you are not going to be in the office on this day, or if you are leaving the office at any time during this time to please make sure to do the following:
      • Turn out all your lights at your work station and/or in your office.
      • Please “Shut Down” your computer (the time out function still draws an electrical current although it is not as much as when it is powered on)
        • Please remember to also turn off your computer monitor
      • Please unplug any electronics that you may have plugged in (i.e. desk calculators and/or cell phones or charging stations.) These still draw power even if they are “energy efficient” and went into a sleep mode.
      • Any conference rooms in your office that are not in use, please make sure that all electronic devices are unplugged and all lights are turned off during this time (even desk or side lamps).

      If you are going to be in the office during this time, we do need your assistance more than ever. If you can please do the following it will be a huge help in our effort and our entire electricity consumption as a building:
      • Please turn off any “unnecessary lighting”
        • If you are in an office with windows, please use the natural light during this hour by opening the blinds.
        • If you are in work stations and everyone works as a team you could turn off the overhead lights, open the blinds on all perimeter windows and if necessary, use energy efficient desk lamps to illumine only the specific areas that you need.
        • If you leave the area you are working in (even if it is just for a few minutes); please turn off all lights until you return.
        • Please make sure that all vacant offices have all electronic devices unplugged and all lights (even individual desk lamps) are turned off.
        • If copiers and printers are not being currently used and if possible, please completely turn off the device and unplug the unit (just for this 1 hour). If that is not possible, please see if you can shorten the time it takes for it to go into sleep mode when it is not in use.
      • Any conference rooms in your office that are not in use, please make sure that all electronic devices are unplugged and all lights are turned off during this time (even desk or side lamps).
      • If it is possible, please turn off and unplug any TV’s, display monitors and/or radio’s or sound systems that you may have in your lobbies, entrances and/or sitting areas (just during this 1 hour).

      I will be happy to meet with a representative from your office and/or separate department representatives to help come up with specific energy saving ideas tailored for your offices, situations and locations in the building that will help reduce our electrical consumption while minimizing the impact to your business daily operations."

      I sure hope Mr Bittman's renewable energy sources come on stream soon.



      Comment


      • #4
        Re: NYTimes Anti-Nuclear Opinion Article

        Originally posted by vt View Post
        .... "will be happy to meet with a representative from your office and/or separate department representatives to help come up with specific energy saving ideas tailored for your offices, situations and locations in the building that will help reduce our electrical consumption while minimizing the impact to your business daily operations."

        I sure hope Mr Bittman's renewable energy sources come on stream soon.

        uh huh - here's the plan:

        Comment

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