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What’s Wrong with Nuclear Power?

A couple of days ago I was reading the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate transcript. Of course I am always interested to hear what the candidates have to say about energy. There were a lot of good comments, and the usual spattering of dumb comments. But I won’t dissect them right now. What got me to thinking were the comments of John Edwards (on Page 2):

EDWARDS: Wind, solar, cellulose-based biofuels are the way we need to go. I do not favor nuclear power. We haven’t built a nuclear power plant in decades in this country. There is a reason for that. The reason is it is extremely costly. It takes an enormous amount of time to get one planned, developed and built. And we still don’t have a safe way to dispose of the nuclear waste. It is a huge problem for America over the long term.

I also don’t believe we should liquefy coal. The last thing we need is another carbon-based fuel in America. We need to find fuels that are in fact renewable, clean, and will allow us to address directly the question that has been raised, which is the issue of global warming, which I believe is a crisis.

Following this, Barack Obama said that he favored including nuclear power in the mix, and Hillary Clinton said she was agnostic about nuclear power. She did play the “oil” card, which is to say that she thinks the solution to our energy problem is to take from oil and then let the government figure out how to spend that money on alternatives.

I have been accused occasionally of having various anti-nuclear views. This is amusing, given that I have never written anything negative about nuclear power. In fact, until this post, I didn’t even have a tag in this entire blog on nuclear energy. The main reason is that I am not well-versed in the pros and cons. My understanding is that the main pro is that nuclear can provide an abundant source of energy for quite some time. This is also a reason that I favor a transition to an electric infrastructure: We are going to run low on liquid fuels long before we run low on the ability to produce electricity.

As I understand it, the primary negative is still that we don’t have a good solution for dealing with nuclear waste. Obviously, we can’t just pile up waste indefinitely, and I am not sure how reactors around the world handle this problem. And of course historically there have been the occasional Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, which ensures that nobody is going to want a nuclear reactor in their backyard.

So, who is correct? My feeling is that we will desperately need nuclear energy in the not too distant future. But what about the waste problem? How do other countries deal with the waste problem? I presume France, with all of their nuclear reactors, must have a solution that the population is comfortable with.

For an extremely negative view of nuclear power, see the recently published essay by antinuclear activist Rebecca Solnit:

Reasons Not to Glow

CNN also presents a negatively slanted view in a just-published article, but they do discuss the waste issue a bit:

Going nuclear

But my own view is that we are going to need it in the mix.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, nuclear energy | 46 Comments

What’s Wrong with Nuclear Power?

A couple of days ago I was reading the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate transcript. Of course I am always interested to hear what the candidates have to say about energy. There were a lot of good comments, and the usual spattering of dumb comments. But I won’t dissect them right now. What got me to thinking were the comments of John Edwards (on Page 2):

EDWARDS: Wind, solar, cellulose-based biofuels are the way we need to go. I do not favor nuclear power. We haven’t built a nuclear power plant in decades in this country. There is a reason for that. The reason is it is extremely costly. It takes an enormous amount of time to get one planned, developed and built. And we still don’t have a safe way to dispose of the nuclear waste. It is a huge problem for America over the long term.

I also don’t believe we should liquefy coal. The last thing we need is another carbon-based fuel in America. We need to find fuels that are in fact renewable, clean, and will allow us to address directly the question that has been raised, which is the issue of global warming, which I believe is a crisis.

Following this, Barack Obama said that he favored including nuclear power in the mix, and Hillary Clinton said she was agnostic about nuclear power. She did play the “oil” card, which is to say that she thinks the solution to our energy problem is to take from oil and then let the government figure out how to spend that money on alternatives.

I have been accused occasionally of having various anti-nuclear views. This is amusing, given that I have never written anything negative about nuclear power. In fact, until this post, I didn’t even have a tag in this entire blog on nuclear energy. The main reason is that I am not well-versed in the pros and cons. My understanding is that the main pro is that nuclear can provide an abundant source of energy for quite some time. This is also a reason that I favor a transition to an electric infrastructure: We are going to run low on liquid fuels long before we run low on the ability to produce electricity.

As I understand it, the primary negative is still that we don’t have a good solution for dealing with nuclear waste. Obviously, we can’t just pile up waste indefinitely, and I am not sure how reactors around the world handle this problem. And of course historically there have been the occasional Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, which ensures that nobody is going to want a nuclear reactor in their backyard.

So, who is correct? My feeling is that we will desperately need nuclear energy in the not too distant future. But what about the waste problem? How do other countries deal with the waste problem? I presume France, with all of their nuclear reactors, must have a solution that the population is comfortable with.

For an extremely negative view of nuclear power, see the recently published essay by antinuclear activist Rebecca Solnit:

Reasons Not to Glow

CNN also presents a negatively slanted view in a just-published article, but they do discuss the waste issue a bit:

Going nuclear

But my own view is that we are going to need it in the mix.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, nuclear energy | Comments Off on What’s Wrong with Nuclear Power?

What’s Wrong with Nuclear Power?

A couple of days ago I was reading the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate transcript. Of course I am always interested to hear what the candidates have to say about energy. There were a lot of good comments, and the usual spattering of dumb comments. But I won’t dissect them right now. What got me to thinking were the comments of John Edwards (on Page 2):

EDWARDS: Wind, solar, cellulose-based biofuels are the way we need to go. I do not favor nuclear power. We haven’t built a nuclear power plant in decades in this country. There is a reason for that. The reason is it is extremely costly. It takes an enormous amount of time to get one planned, developed and built. And we still don’t have a safe way to dispose of the nuclear waste. It is a huge problem for America over the long term.

I also don’t believe we should liquefy coal. The last thing we need is another carbon-based fuel in America. We need to find fuels that are in fact renewable, clean, and will allow us to address directly the question that has been raised, which is the issue of global warming, which I believe is a crisis.

Following this, Barack Obama said that he favored including nuclear power in the mix, and Hillary Clinton said she was agnostic about nuclear power. She did play the “oil” card, which is to say that she thinks the solution to our energy problem is to take from oil and then let the government figure out how to spend that money on alternatives.

I have been accused occasionally of having various anti-nuclear views. This is amusing, given that I have never written anything negative about nuclear power. In fact, until this post, I didn’t even have a tag in this entire blog on nuclear energy. The main reason is that I am not well-versed in the pros and cons. My understanding is that the main pro is that nuclear can provide an abundant source of energy for quite some time. This is also a reason that I favor a transition to an electric infrastructure: We are going to run low on liquid fuels long before we run low on the ability to produce electricity.

As I understand it, the primary negative is still that we don’t have a good solution for dealing with nuclear waste. Obviously, we can’t just pile up waste indefinitely, and I am not sure how reactors around the world handle this problem. And of course historically there have been the occasional Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, which ensures that nobody is going to want a nuclear reactor in their backyard.

So, who is correct? My feeling is that we will desperately need nuclear energy in the not too distant future. But what about the waste problem? How do other countries deal with the waste problem? I presume France, with all of their nuclear reactors, must have a solution that the population is comfortable with.

For an extremely negative view of nuclear power, see the recently published essay by antinuclear activist Rebecca Solnit:

Reasons Not to Glow

CNN also presents a negatively slanted view in a just-published article, but they do discuss the waste issue a bit:

Going nuclear

But my own view is that we are going to need it in the mix.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, nuclear energy | Comments Off on What’s Wrong with Nuclear Power?

What’s Wrong with Nuclear Power?

A couple of days ago I was reading the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate transcript. Of course I am always interested to hear what the candidates have to say about energy. There were a lot of good comments, and the usual spattering of dumb comments. But I won’t dissect them right now. What got me to thinking were the comments of John Edwards (on Page 2):

EDWARDS: Wind, solar, cellulose-based biofuels are the way we need to go. I do not favor nuclear power. We haven’t built a nuclear power plant in decades in this country. There is a reason for that. The reason is it is extremely costly. It takes an enormous amount of time to get one planned, developed and built. And we still don’t have a safe way to dispose of the nuclear waste. It is a huge problem for America over the long term.

I also don’t believe we should liquefy coal. The last thing we need is another carbon-based fuel in America. We need to find fuels that are in fact renewable, clean, and will allow us to address directly the question that has been raised, which is the issue of global warming, which I believe is a crisis.

Following this, Barack Obama said that he favored including nuclear power in the mix, and Hillary Clinton said she was agnostic about nuclear power. She did play the “oil” card, which is to say that she thinks the solution to our energy problem is to take from oil and then let the government figure out how to spend that money on alternatives.

I have been accused occasionally of having various anti-nuclear views. This is amusing, given that I have never written anything negative about nuclear power. In fact, until this post, I didn’t even have a tag in this entire blog on nuclear energy. The main reason is that I am not well-versed in the pros and cons. My understanding is that the main pro is that nuclear can provide an abundant source of energy for quite some time. This is also a reason that I favor a transition to an electric infrastructure: We are going to run low on liquid fuels long before we run low on the ability to produce electricity.

As I understand it, the primary negative is still that we don’t have a good solution for dealing with nuclear waste. Obviously, we can’t just pile up waste indefinitely, and I am not sure how reactors around the world handle this problem. And of course historically there have been the occasional Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, which ensures that nobody is going to want a nuclear reactor in their backyard.

So, who is correct? My feeling is that we will desperately need nuclear energy in the not too distant future. But what about the waste problem? How do other countries deal with the waste problem? I presume France, with all of their nuclear reactors, must have a solution that the population is comfortable with.

For an extremely negative view of nuclear power, see the recently published essay by antinuclear activist Rebecca Solnit:

Reasons Not to Glow

CNN also presents a negatively slanted view in a just-published article, but they do discuss the waste issue a bit:

Going nuclear

But my own view is that we are going to need it in the mix.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, nuclear energy | 30 Comments

What’s Wrong with Nuclear Power?

A couple of days ago I was reading the CNN/YouTube Democratic presidential debate transcript. Of course I am always interested to hear what the candidates have to say about energy. There were a lot of good comments, and the usual spattering of dumb comments. But I won’t dissect them right now. What got me to thinking were the comments of John Edwards (on Page 2):

EDWARDS: Wind, solar, cellulose-based biofuels are the way we need to go. I do not favor nuclear power. We haven’t built a nuclear power plant in decades in this country. There is a reason for that. The reason is it is extremely costly. It takes an enormous amount of time to get one planned, developed and built. And we still don’t have a safe way to dispose of the nuclear waste. It is a huge problem for America over the long term.

I also don’t believe we should liquefy coal. The last thing we need is another carbon-based fuel in America. We need to find fuels that are in fact renewable, clean, and will allow us to address directly the question that has been raised, which is the issue of global warming, which I believe is a crisis.

Following this, Barack Obama said that he favored including nuclear power in the mix, and Hillary Clinton said she was agnostic about nuclear power. She did play the “oil” card, which is to say that she thinks the solution to our energy problem is to take from oil and then let the government figure out how to spend that money on alternatives.

I have been accused occasionally of having various anti-nuclear views. This is amusing, given that I have never written anything negative about nuclear power. In fact, until this post, I didn’t even have a tag in this entire blog on nuclear energy. The main reason is that I am not well-versed in the pros and cons. My understanding is that the main pro is that nuclear can provide an abundant source of energy for quite some time. This is also a reason that I favor a transition to an electric infrastructure: We are going to run low on liquid fuels long before we run low on the ability to produce electricity.

As I understand it, the primary negative is still that we don’t have a good solution for dealing with nuclear waste. Obviously, we can’t just pile up waste indefinitely, and I am not sure how reactors around the world handle this problem. And of course historically there have been the occasional Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, which ensures that nobody is going to want a nuclear reactor in their backyard.

So, who is correct? My feeling is that we will desperately need nuclear energy in the not too distant future. But what about the waste problem? How do other countries deal with the waste problem? I presume France, with all of their nuclear reactors, must have a solution that the population is comfortable with.

For an extremely negative view of nuclear power, see the recently published essay by antinuclear activist Rebecca Solnit:

Reasons Not to Glow

CNN also presents a negatively slanted view in a just-published article, but they do discuss the waste issue a bit:

Going nuclear

But my own view is that we are going to need it in the mix.

July 25, 2007 Posted by | Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, nuclear energy | Comments Off on What’s Wrong with Nuclear Power?

Edwards Calls for Anti-Trust Investigation

Sometimes, the targets are simply too easy. There’s hardly any sport to this one:

Edwards contends with Big Oil

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards took on the oil companies Thursday while campaigning in Menlo Park, with the help of a San Jose teenager who says his friends can barely afford to fill up their SUVs and a Hummer.

I mean, enough is enough. When a person can’t afford to fill their Hummer – well, something has to be done. One thing may lead to another, and it may eventually get to the point that Edwards can no longer afford to heat his 28,000 square foot mansion.

He brought along Brandon Li, 18, and his mother, Wendy, to underscore how high gas prices are hurting average Americans who need short-term relief. The Lis own MCI Manufacturing, a San Jose sheet metal company.

You can’t just really say drive less because it’s not a function of our daily life.” Li said. “We need more immediate relief.”

I can’t really say “drive less?” So I am to believe that everyone is driving the amount they need to drive? That there isn’t quite a bit of driving that is purely discretional? That the fact that gasoline demand increases year after year after year is not the fault of the consumers and that relief is needed so you can keep on with your gluttonous energy usage?

No! You drive less. You drive a more fuel efficient vehicle. You start taking responsibility for the choiced you have made to cause gasoline demand – even with these high prices – to continue to increase.

Edwards acknowledged that previous state and federal investigations have cleared the industry, but said Congress might need to consider stronger laws that would reduce oil industry influence in pricing at the pump.

Then I think what you are doing, Senator Edwards, is pandering. But I guess this is the kind of thing I should expect from someone who calls for America to conserve, while showing no inclination to lead by example. Will nobody step forward and walk the talk?

June 1, 2007 Posted by | conservation, energy policy, John Edwards, oil companies | 42 Comments

Edwards Calls for Anti-Trust Investigation

Sometimes, the targets are simply too easy. There’s hardly any sport to this one:

Edwards contends with Big Oil

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards took on the oil companies Thursday while campaigning in Menlo Park, with the help of a San Jose teenager who says his friends can barely afford to fill up their SUVs and a Hummer.

I mean, enough is enough. When a person can’t afford to fill their Hummer – well, something has to be done. One thing may lead to another, and it may eventually get to the point that Edwards can no longer afford to heat his 28,000 square foot mansion.

He brought along Brandon Li, 18, and his mother, Wendy, to underscore how high gas prices are hurting average Americans who need short-term relief. The Lis own MCI Manufacturing, a San Jose sheet metal company.

You can’t just really say drive less because it’s not a function of our daily life.” Li said. “We need more immediate relief.”

I can’t really say “drive less?” So I am to believe that everyone is driving the amount they need to drive? That there isn’t quite a bit of driving that is purely discretional? That the fact that gasoline demand increases year after year after year is not the fault of the consumers and that relief is needed so you can keep on with your gluttonous energy usage?

No! You drive less. You drive a more fuel efficient vehicle. You start taking responsibility for the choices you have made to cause gasoline demand – even with these high prices – to continue to increase.

Edwards acknowledged that previous state and federal investigations have cleared the industry, but said Congress might need to consider stronger laws that would reduce oil industry influence in pricing at the pump.

Then I think what you are doing, Senator Edwards, is pandering. But I guess this is the kind of thing I should expect from someone who calls for America to conserve, while showing no inclination to lead by example. Will nobody step forward and walk the talk?

June 1, 2007 Posted by | conservation, energy policy, John Edwards, oil companies | 21 Comments