ENDORSE NUKES TO PASS BILL?
Nuclear energy becomes pivotal in climate debate
H. Josef Hebert, October 25, 2009 (AP)
"Once vilified by environmentalists and its future dim, nuclear energy has become a pivotal bargaining chip as Senate Democrats seek Republican votes to pass climate legislation. The nuclear industry's long-standing campaign to rebrand itself as green is gaining acceptance amid the push to curtail greenhouse gases.
"Nuclear power still faces daunting challenges, including what to do with radioactive reactor waste. Reactors also remain a tempting target for terrorists…But 104 power reactors in 31 states provide a fifth of the nation's electricity while producing essentially carbon free power and no greenhouse gas emissions."
A huge effort and uneconomic investment to build all those nuke plants wouldn't put a dent in U.S. energy needs. (click to enlarge)
"It's something the nuclear industry has been pushing in advertising and in lobbying on Capitol Hill for nearly a decade. But only recently has it begun to resonate…[with] a growing number of environmentalists…[and] the White House where nuclear power otherwise has received tepid support.
"…[Any energy/climate bill’s] chances in the Senate could hinge in part on whether demands by a handful of GOP senators for measures to help build new reactors are included in the bill…A study by the industry-supported Electric Power Research Institute says 45 new reactors are needed by 2030. The Energy Information Administration puts the number…at 70 new reactors…[An] Environmental Protection Agency analysis assumes 180 new reactors by 2050 for an 80 percent decline in greenhouse gas emissions."
To build a lot of energy fast and cost effectively, build New Energy. (click to enlarge)
"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has applications for 30 new reactors, although only a handful likely will be built over the next decade.
"Sponsors of the climate bill are far short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster, but hope compromises could be forged to bring uncommitted centrist Democrats and some Republicans on board."