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Home > Feature Articles > Alternative Energy Solutions

Nuclear Energy and the Battle for National Security and Energy Independence

Nuclear energy is not a renewable energy, but advocates are linking it with greenhouse gas strategies

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March 17, 2008 -- Alex Flint, the Nuclear Energy Institute's senior vice president of governmental affairs, reported the following to the U.S. House of Representatives' Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Nuclear power plants operating in 31 states provide more than 70 percent of all U.S. electricity that comes from sources that do not emit greenhouse gases or controlled pollutants covered by the Clean Air Act. Nuclear power plants also account for 54% of voluntary greenhouse gas reductions reported by project type in the electric power sector, under the sector's Power Partners agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy.

In the United States, 17 companies or groups of companies are preparing license applications for as many as 31 new reactors. Five complete or partial applications for combined construction and operating licenses were filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2007. Another 11 to 15 applications are expected in 2008. As a result, the industry expects four to eight new U.S. nuclear plants in operation in 2016 or so, depending on factors like commodity costs, forward prices in electricity markets and environmental compliance costs for fossil-fueled power plants.

"Nuclear energy is the only option available today that can provide large-scale electricity 24/7 at a competitive cost without emitting greenhouse gases. If those first new plants are working to schedule, within budget estimates and without licensing difficulties, a second wave could be well under construction as the first wave reaches commercial operation. This new generation of nuclear plants could be the foundation of the non-carbon emitting energy supply that our nation sorely needs," Flint said.

SOURCE: Nuclear Energy Institute

NOTE: Whether you are for or against nuclear energy, it appears a major industrial thrust will grow in 2008. From my reading, the down sides of this form of energy include:

  • Uranium is not a renewable resource
  • There still is no safe way to dispose of radioactive waste
  • Nuclear power plants do not prevent national security risks
  • Nuclear power is very, very expensive
  • Multiple states don't allow the wastes to be transported or stored in their boundaries
  • Mining uranium is a health risk for miners and communities that are left with the mine tailings
  • No private insurance is available for damage from a nuclear accident
  • The nuclear power infrastructure is very good at propaganda
SOURCE: "Winning Our Energy Independence" by S. David Freeman, long time energy policy leader who helped develop the first energy and environmental policies for the US in the 1970s, and continues his leadership with the Port of Los Angeles.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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