Nuclear is Green
One of the problems with people who write about energy and electricity is that almost all of them, with at least one exception, don't have the slightest idea what they are talking about. There is no better example than this doozy of sophistry by Nicolas Kristof.
Its called Nukes are Green.
I had mentioned in Nuclear Synergy that there is a full court press to bring Nuclear back in this country. I say back, because no one can build one now because of their cost, the uncertainty of long term waste disposal, and also, because the fuel resource is as finite as other finite resources.
And no one will build one again unless these risks are socialized. The private sector wants only the profits on this one, not the potential of dreadful losses and corporate punishment.
But it's time for the rest of us to drop that hostility to nuclear power. It's increasingly clear that the biggest environmental threat we face is actually global warming, and that leads to a corollary:
nuclear energy is green.
Nuclear power, in contrast with other sources, produces no greenhouse gases. So President Bush's overall environmental policy gives me the shivers, but he's right to push ahead for nuclear energy. There haven't been any successful orders for new nuclear plants since 1973, but several proposals for new plants are now moving ahead - and that's good for the world we live in.
Global energy demand will rise 60 percent over the next 25 years, according to the International Energy Agency, and nuclear power is the cleanest and best bet to fill that gap.
Solar power is a disappointment, still accounting for only about one-fifth of 1 percent of the nation's electricity and costing about five times as much as other sources.
Wind is promising, for its costs have fallen 80 percent, but it suffers from one big problem: wind doesn't blow all the time. It's difficult to rely upon a source that comes and goes.
Now, where do you suppose he got this?
Did he visit with the Solar Industry before he blithely states that it is a disappointment?
Did he mention new Power Paints that are on the horizon?
Did he mention that exciting new nano based technologies are just around the corner, if we choose to take this route, that can completely revolutionize solar electricity and in some cases, before you can get a nuclear power plant permitted and built?
Because he doesn't know what he is talking about.
The story was fed to him by the people who want to build these poison makers.
In fairness, why should he know what he is talking about?
I know people who regulate electric utilities who don't know the difference between a KW and KWh. I know people in DOE who couldn't tell you how may BTUs are in a gallon of gas or in a MCF of natural gas. They don't know how much nuclear fuel is available and they don't have any idea what a moronic idea nuclear power is these days, given what is happening in solid state photon to electron labs in Toronto and Boston and Berkeley.
A massive plan to start building nuclear power plants in the world right now is the equivalent of suggesting that we close off all of our bays and begin to raise whales in them so that we can harvest their blubber and refine it into oil. It is a massive and potentially tragic step backward.
Nuclear Technology is old stuff.
Its ideas are 75 years old for Christ sake.
When it was invented, we were still using radio tubes. Solid state semiconductor technology was still 30 years away. Jack Kilby wasn't even beginning to think about large scale integration.
It's of the "lets build a big fire and make some steam and create some electricity with it school of power". It's like using my Dad's old calculator with that matrix of numbers in rows and columns that was around just after the War instead of a TI calculator. It's old, it's klunky, and it is not very smart.
A power grid of many renewable energy producers and many sources integrated by an advanced smart electric grid with hydrogen fuel back up is infinitely superior and certainly more secure than this nonsense. A power grid integrated to the transportation sector through plug in multi fuel gas optional vehicles is remarkably achievable and imminently within our grasp.
Any policymaker who thinks nuclear technology is advanced, needs to look at the developments occurring in photon to electron materials. They need to think about the security force that must guard these plants. They need to consider the security force that must guard the fuel. They should think of the security force that must guard the waste. They need to consider the likelihood of mishaps.
Wind Turbines on our farms and ranches and Photon to Electron surfaces painted or applied on our roofs and walls do not need to be guarded by a police force.
Any physicist who thinks that this kind of archaic "build a big fire" nuclear technology is the answer for mankind should be spanked and sent back to school.
Kristof should just be spanked.
Yes, Nuclear is green,
and Coal is clean.
And there is plenty of Oil.