Sunday, May 10, 2009

Greenpeace Co-Founder Endorses Nuclear Power

It's refreshing to see signs of rationality among the members of the Green movement, as some of the more humane, astute, and reality-oriented among them are beginning to realize that, while renewables have a great deal of promise and are often fine solutions in a few limited applications, we cannot rely upon them in their current state of development for more than a fraction of our power needs.

Recently, a prominent member of the Green movement, endorsed the development of nuclear power.

Dr. Patrick Moore, a Greenpeace co-founder and current Co-Chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy), addressed a joint committee in the Wisconsin State Legislature early in April, and advocated the repeal of the Wisconsin moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants.

Dr. Moore stated that,
"Nuclear energy is essential to an environmentally sound energy future. Nuclear is the only source that can power the nation without polluting the nation. The round-the-clock baseload production of nuclear energy can power our homes and businesses while creating high paying jobs that cannot be shipped overseas, all without polluting our air and lungs."


Moonglum said...

He's been pushing that for a few years now. If I remember correctly Greenpeace even ditched him from the list of founders, though he is a bit self aggrandizing, so they may have had reason to.

The North Coast said...

I'm glad that more people with knowledge of energy issues are recognizing the virtues of nuclear power, especially since newer technologies are now available that are inherently much safer than the traditional light water reactors we have here, and potentially much less costly.

It's beginning to dawn on many greens that solar and wind, as they are currently conceived, are too unreliable, intermittent, and costly. What's REALLY beginning to hit renewables believers, though, is what it would mean for 50% of the population to lose access to electricity, and what that would mean for our health and well-being.

Considering the certain consequences of THAT, the risks of nuclear seem pretty small.

consultant said...

I agree, nuclear needs to be in the mix of energy sources, possibly at the top, as we convert from coal to something else.

My fear is that even new, improved nuclear requires stable, organized watch dogs with enforcement powers. Govt. usually plays that role, but the Republicans and conservatives have done a pretty effective job of undermining regulatory oversight in so many key areas. Even some of the idiot Democrats have gone along.

If and when we help Obama get rid of these suicidal neanderthals in govt., I'm all for pushing harder into greater nuclear power generation.

I just hope circumstances don't require us to move forward quickly on nuclear before we get a smart, capable regulatory structure (and people) in place to insure a safe source of power.

The North Coast said...

Well, we'd better hope the plants are being planned now, and that they are Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors.

These types of plants can be much smaller, can be mass-produced, and are intrinsically much, much safer than the Light Water Reactors that have been dominant until now. The prototypes have been around for 40 years. Small plants located relatively close at hand might have a distinct advantage over large plants located hundreds of miles away in the future in which the nationwide grid might be difficult to maintain. The fewer miles electricity has to travel, the better, for you have something known as "line loss" that means that you lose wattage as it travels further.

Mass production will help streamline the regulation of these plants. It has ever amazed me that most American nukes are custom-built, down to the last screw and truss, making for a total lack of standardization that makes construction, operation, and repair/replace infinitely costlier than it need be. European plants tend to be build on the same template. That makes it easier to obtain and replace parts, and easier to inspect the plants and assure their safe operation. I attribute the American failure to utilize mass production and other efficiencies, as well as modernize plant design, to the incredible complacency of over-protected, monopolized,old-economy American business -like our coddled utilities with their government-granted insurance against normal business risk by granting them monopolies on local power generation- in combination with bureaucratic sclerosis and obstruction. We fell behind in this area for the same reason we've fallen behind in every other-taking our fat selves for granted, and blocking competition and innovation.

Last I heard, thirty plants were in the planning stage in this country. Many of those will only replace the capacity lost as older plants are decommissioned. Given that our population is still growing at a rate of 5%, and that most of our transportation will need to be electrified, our current capacity, which already lacks enough redundancy as it is, will fall far short of meeting our needs, so we will have to put a lot more into place just to stay even.