Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Beware the Atomic Balm...

New Energy is all the rage. But how new is it really going to be? Will a few hybrid autos save the environment? Will photogenic outcroppings of windfarms in windy places shore up the chasm between our resources and our consumption?
Of course not. As we make tiny progressive steps forward, the current administration is planning to drag us decades backwards into dependence upon nuclear power. We're being told that nukes are a clean, safe, and efficient alternative to fossil fuels. In theory, perhaps, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

Dr. Helen Caldecott, founder of the Nuclear Policy Research Institute is quick to point out the flaws in the "clean, safe, and efficient" propaganda that is being slung far and wide. She notes that even if we built enough nuclear facilities to replace all the fossil fuel powered utilities in the world, we would only have enough enriched uranium available to keep these plants running for three or four years. Where do you get more enriched uranium? You make it. And how do you make it? Using massive fossil fuel powered plants of course! Nukes are a score for the oil addicted powers that be.

As for the safe part, nuclear generators release significant amounts of radioactive isotopes into our air and water over time - a fact that has been well smoothed over by the nuclear industry. As for storing solid radioactive waste, those promises that it could be safely stored for tens of thousands of years in underground tanks deep inside Yucca Mountain in Nevada have also worn thin. This atomic trash pit was built over at least 32 earthquake faults. This could be the largest single gamble ever taken in that state with cataclysmic repercussions for everyone else on the planet.

Does the prospect of a thoroughly nuclear future make you feel better about the energy crisis? If not, now is the time to do something about it...

(This entry was informed by a piece that aired on the very left leaning Liberty News TV, opposing views welcomed.)

("Ratcliffe Power Station, Study 2" by Michael Kenna)


Blogger Tom Gray said...

U.S. wind resources are enough to provide several times our current electricity use, although other sources (or storage) would still be needed because of the variability of the wind.

The key ingredient for wind's continued expansion? Continuing the federal wind energy production tax credit (PTC), which reduces a wind farm owner's tax payments by 1.9 cents for each kilowatt-hour of electricity the wind farm generates during the first 10 years of its operation. The PTC is currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2007. If the credit is extended for several years, we will see much greater use of this clean energy resource. For smaller turbines, the key incentive is a Small Turbine Investment Credit, something that doesn't yet exist. Readers can help support these and other pro-wind laws here.

Thomas O. Gray
American Wind Energy Association

6:22 PM  

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