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View Diary: Big oil getting desperate: Making oil with nuclear energy (163 comments)

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  •  Misconceptions (none)
    I am not a nuclear engineer and I do not work for the nuclear industry.  I am an environmentalist, and I work for Mother Nature.

    Around the world, nuclear energy makes a profit.  See Jerome a Paris's excellent diary on how France, which gets 80% of its electricity from nuclear, sells it cheaply and exports it, has an excellent mass transit system run on electricity from nuclear plants--thereby cutting down greenhouse gas emissions even more.  Countries around the world are adding nuclear plants because they have found that it's a good way to meet the Kyoto requirements or because they need more cheap electricity.  In the US nuclear plants are expensive startups but they earn back those costs.  That's why utilities want to add new plants.

    I am all for getting rid of coal-fired plants in the long run.  But right now we rely on them for 50% of our electricity.  Your dream is to pull the plug on them and on nuclear.  But you need to come up with something that can supply baseload electricity. Hydro only produces 6% of that.  

    If you look at where Wall St. investments are going, you will find to your dismay (mine too) that they are by and large dedicated to fossil fuels and that Big Coal is a growth industry.  Renewables have yet to prove themselves in the market place.

    I resent your accusation that I am dishonest about presenting options.  I am really trying to provide a realistic picture rather than a faith-based one.  I hope renewables do better.  But the reality is that we have a catastrophic global situation unfolding right now.  And we have the technology to deal with human contribution to it, a mature technology.  It's not the only resource we have but it is an important one.  This is a good time to be clear sighted and to consider all options carefully--and not rely on highly biased info.  

    I suggest you turn to peer-reviewed science journals and papers to check out your assertions.

    •  I apologize, (none)
      And realize I've been a bit meaner than I've needed to be. Long, hard days at work. Sorry.

      It is NOT my dream to pull the plug on existing coal and nuclear. I think we need every watt of what we've got, but no more. I mean jeez, 30 percent of the baseload power in the western U.S. (excluding CA) is WASTED! There's no excuse for that, and it's not a reason to build more baseload just because we won't improve the efficiency of what we've got.

      And the reality is if we start funneling the kind of public subsidies to nukes that they will need to get going - remember, they take a long, long time to build, and always cost more than advertised - we will dry up large amounts of potential funding for cleantech, while falling victim to the primary fault of our energy system, which is its over-reliance on centralized, large, inefficient baseload power plants.

      And I am VERY concerned that, while we're waiting for these nukes to get built - and where will we put them where they won't be opposed by folks who don't understand that they are safe? (again, I do not question their safety, just their finances) - the coal industry will force through a new round of same-old, dirty, pulverized-coal power plants.

      I really think the coal industry likes nukes because they know they can beat nukes to market, given the realities of the policy/political climate etc.

      And I really think new nuclear power in the U.S. is too expensive. Europe has an entirely different tax structure, different subsidies, and also has SEVERE problems with n-waste (not mentioned so much by Jerome) that are not going to go away. I don't think we have to follow that path; but I will try to be more respectful in making my case.

      I recognize that, ultimately, we are on the same team, so thanks for calling bullshit on my rudeness.

      I am the federal government.

      by mateosf on Thu Sep 22, 2005 at 09:59:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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