Article

Nuclear power is essential

No effective U.S. program to reduce the environmental harm done by conventional energy sources can be created without assigning a major role to nukes.

The shadow of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island hang over the debate on nuclear energy and drives the emotional opposition to its use. But today's nuclear power generating technology has come a long way, and security measures are available to prevent any repetition of that disaster and near-disaster. No effective U.S. program to reduce the environmental harm done by conventional energy sources can be created without assigning a major role to nukes.

Nuclear reactors are the largest source of clean-air, carbon-free energy in North America. Nuclear power plants produce no sulfur or airborne particulates and none of the greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that are warming up the planet at frightening speed. The use of nuclear energy, along with other renewable sources, helps avert ground-level ozone formation and acid rain.

"Nuclear energy must become the primary generator of baseload electricity, thereby relieving the pressure on natural gas prices and dramatically improving atmospheric emissions," said the House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources. "To enhance competitiveness and protect American jobs, natural gas must not be used for baseload electricity... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The shadow of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island hang over the debate on nuclear energy and drives the emotional opposition to its use. But today's nuclear power generating technology has come a long way, and security measures are available to prevent any repetition of that disaster and near-disaster. No effective U.S. program to reduce the environmental harm done by conventional energy sources can be created without assigning a major role to nukes.
 
Nuclear reactors are the largest source of clean-air, carbon-free energy in North America. Nuclear power plants produce no sulfur or airborne particulates and none of the greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that are warming up the planet at frightening speed. The use of nuclear energy, along with other renewable sources, helps avert ground-level ozone formation and acid rain.
 
"Nuclear energy must become the primary generator of baseload electricity, thereby relieving the pressure on natural gas prices and dramatically improving atmospheric emissions," said the House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources. "To enhance competitiveness and protect American jobs, natural gas must not be used for baseload electricity generation, nor for new generating capacity. Natural gas should be reserved for industries that use it as a feedstock or for primary energy -- and cannot substitute for it by fuel-switching."
 
It's not just conservatives who see the wisdom of expanding nuclear energy production with proper safeguards. Twenty-three U.S. senators of both parties, including Democrats Barak Obama, Evan Bayh, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and independent James Jeffords, wrote to the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting support in the fiscal 2007 budget for Department of Energy university nuclear science and engineering programs and university reactors. Patrick Moore, a founder of Greenpeace and co-chair with former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman of a coalition advocating greater use of nuclear power, has delivered this strong endorsement:
 
"Nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change. ... Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days, it can do so safely. ... n the question of a sustainable energy future ... the only way to reduce fossil fuel emissions from electrical production is through an aggressive program of renewable energy sources (hydroelectric, geothermal heat pumps, wind, etc.) plus nuclear."
 
One of the major snags to widespread development of new nuclear power plants is the question of disposal of the highly dangerous spent fuel it generates. Although Congress in 2002 designated Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as the site of a state-of-the-art repository for spent fuel, resistance to the plan in Nevada and neighboring states led by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., continues to slow progress on its development. Last year, Yucca Mountain opponents pushed through Congress a bill mandating that nuclear waste be stored in dry casks on-site where it is produced and requiring the federal government to take responsibility for its possession, stewardship, maintenance and monitoring. Clearly, the on-site storage law is only a stopgap and not a long-term solution to the problem. Until a better one can be found, Yucca Mountain remains the best such solution.
 
 


Source: http://www.nj.com/opinion/...

MAY 28 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2835-nuclear-power-is-essential
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