Sunday, August 28, 2005

Energy Nirvana (or Almost!)

Continuing on the energy theme of previous posts, let’s examine another form of energy that could be very important for our future economic and environmental wellbeing. This form of energy will:
- rely on an abundant resource that is available domestically, thus reducing our dependence on foreign sources
- provide no emissions of CO2, which concerns many people about the potential impact on global warming (a topic which is debatable, but which will be taken as given for now)
- provide relative price stability over time, thus reducing economic disruptions due to price fluctuations as we have been discussing here
- be as safe, if not safer, than conventional energy sources from coal or petroleum based sources.
Interested? Then let’s consider building more nuclear power reactors.

Political forces based on hysteria and alarmism, rather than rational considerations about power, development, and environmental sustainability, have kept nuclear plants from developing in this country. Only about 20 percent of our electricity comes from nuclear plants, which is far below that of other countries. France generates almost 80 percent, and Japan (which must import nearly all of its energy needs) generates 34 percent. It appears that environmentalists are also beginning to see that, when you take all considerations into account, nuclear power may not be so bad after all.

Here are some interesting sites for further thinking on this issue:

Comments by Stanford professor emeritus John McCarthy (including some links):
http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/nuclear-faq.html

Nuclear Energy Institute (a pro-nuclear group, with lots of information on its site)
http://www.nei.org/

Paper on nuclear power in Japan
http://www.uic.com.au/nip79.htm

EAM

1 comment:

Charles said...

The US has done a great job keeping the risks of nuclear power down, but the risks are still there.

This Wind study, http://wired.com/news/planet/0,2782,67600,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_5 is interesting in validating the potential.

I believe it would be best to diversify power needs. With roughly one percent of the US consumption being provided by wind and less than 5% from solar, it would be good to diversify and increase the potential.