A nuclear power renaissance?

nuclear power plant

80% of the power in France comes from nuclear reactors. Other countries, wanting to cut back on greenhouse gases and not be reliant on outside sources for power, are seriously looking at building new nuclear plants.

Cost is the primary reason blocking them from being built, as are very expensive, and that’s not even counting all the subsidies and tax breaks. So, nuclear power isn’t than other power. Proponents say they’ve solved the storage problem, but have they really? Plus, it sure makes me nervous when countries, Great Britain being one, say they want to “loosen restrictions” on nuclear plants being built. And if a new plant is projected to cost 4 billion to build, you can bet it’ll end up being much more. So, there’s all manner of reason to not use nuclear.

Renewable energy plants can be built less expensively and much faster than nuclear plants, which are inherently more dangerous and have storage costs that go on forever. Renewables are the way to go.

Having said that, many new nuclear plants will no doubt be built. Sigh. But probably not in the US, as public opinion (NIMBY) and the regulatory process will make it next to impossible to do.

[tags]nuclear power[/tags]

  • Regarding your report ” A nuclear power renaissance?” (2007-01-21), there is no need for nuclear power in most parts of the world, including the US, because there is a simple mature technology available that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power.

    I refer to ‘concentrating solar power’ (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and half a million Californians currently get their electricity from this source. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

    CSP works best in hot deserts and, of course, these are not always nearby! But it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over very long distances using highly-efficient ‘HVDC’ transmission lines. With transmission losses at about 3% per 1000 km, solar electricity may be transmitted to anywhere in the US. CSP in the south western states of the US can easily meet the entire current US demand for electricity.

    In the recent ‘TRANS-CSP’ report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

    Further information about CSP may be found at and . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at .

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