Republicans push nuclear energy to lower costs

jetsetter

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Sat Apr 25, 6:11 am ET

WASHINGTON ? The U.S. should build 100 more nuclear plants rather than spend "billions in subsidies" for renewable energy if it is truly committed to lowering electric bills and having clean air, the Republicans say.

In the party's weekly radio and Internet address, Sen. Lamar Alexander said the United States should follow the example of France, which promoted nuclear power decades ago. Today, nuclear plants provide 80 percent of France's electricity, and the country has one of the lowest electric rates and carbon emissions in Europe, he said.

In contrast, renewable electricity provides roughly 1.5 percent of the nation's electricity, according to Republicans. Double it or triple it, and "we still don't have much," the Tennessee Republican said.

"There is a potentially a dangerous energy gap between the renewable electricity we want and the reliable electricity we must have," he said.

In contrast to Democrats, Alexander said Republicans:

_Start with conservation and efficiency. "We have so much electricity at night, for example we could electrify half our cars and trucks and plug them in while we sleep without building one new power plant."

_Seek to keep bills down. "Democrats say, put a big new national sales tax on electric bills and gasoline."

_Wish to find more natural gas and oil offshore. "Farmers, homeowners and factories must have the natural gas. And more of the oil we'll still need should be ours, instead of sending billions overseas."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_republicans_energy
I'm sure many here like me know that until more efficient forms of energy storage are developed nuclear is really the only answer for the future of power generation in the United States. Nice to hear some higher voices admit it.
 

Elvis313

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I wish they'd understand that over here. Instead of supporting a proper and clean source for electric energy they blow shitloads of money on wind energy (for example). If we continue our current course, our energy-network in 10 years will be as reliable as an italian car from the 80s
 
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SpitfireMK461

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PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let the dems go with this. It is absolutely the best choice.

I think the Department of Energy has plans to start building new reactors in 2010. According to wikipedia, six new reactors have actually been ordered, and Northrop Grummand and Areva have plans to build new reactors as well.
 
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DTMracer

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sex new reactors have actually been ordered
Wow, I can't wait to see what these reactors look like :p

But anyway, good to see a push towards nuclear energy. Here in Australia, we have so much Uranium, but can't actually use any of it to generate power....
 

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I think this falls into the "DUH" category, but politicians always seem to be the last to know it. Freaking pathetic... tell the enviro-weenies to stuff and do what they need to do.
 

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stiggles

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This is good news. Nuclear, regardless of whether or not you agree with AGW, is still a great idea because it probably won't be that long before oil either runs out or becomes too expensive to extract. If we want the lights on, we need to make friends with nukes. It's that simple, and I'm glad that you folks are trying to boost the nuclear industry.
The sad thing is that this would've already happened if it wasn't for idiots like Jane Fonda, Greenpeace and others who go 'ZOMG CHERNOBYL NUCULARBOMBS!!11' at any chance they get.
Although interesting to see that the GOP is holding up France as an example!
 

ViperVX

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Nuclear is very efficient indeed, but for some reason i have doubts about it. I don't remember the exact name (as it didn't really have one) but there is a number of Soviet reports in the FSS archives dated 1981 about "undefined" type of damage nuclear reactions in plants can cause to the planet, with a nuber of references to secret and unreleased reports. Interesting thing is after those reports the USSR seriously cut on the nuclear program and sold a large number of certain components to the US, on which some of the US plants are built.
 
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Cobol74

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No it is not - someone please, please, please do the numbers properly, oh and ask the question why will the Insurance Industry NOT issue a Public liability Policy against one. Because they are dangerous and always will be in a way that other industrial plants are not.
 

SpitfireMK461

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No it is not - someone please, please, please do the numbers properly, oh and ask the question why will the Insurance Industry NOT issue a Public liability Policy against one. Because they are dangerous and always will be in a way that other industrial plants are not.
Nuclear power plants are incredibly safe. Newer generation plants are safeguarded with redundancy 3 times over. They are made specifically so that they don't fail no matter what. You could leave reactors untouched and they will not pose a threat to their surroundings. But because of Chernobyl and not enough people trying to clear its name, nuclear power has a bad stigma to it.

In terms of efficiency, it is true nuclear power plants are horrible, yet they can still produce more power than other plants on less fuel, and if you recycle the fuel rods, you greatly increase their lifespan and cut down on radioactive waste.
 

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No it is not - someone please, please, please do the numbers properly, oh and ask the question why will the Insurance Industry NOT issue a Public liability Policy against one. Because they are dangerous and always will be in a way that other industrial plants are not.
No, they are not. Outside of what used to be the Soviet Union, no civilians have ever died because of nuclear energy. Take Harrisburg, a huge incident by nuclear standards, yet nobody was injured in any way. In the 30 years that have followed, not a single case of cancer or any other illness can be traced back to the incident.

The RBMK-reactor outside of Pripyat in the Ukraine have been devastating to our energy policies, because people panicked and got all sorts of weird ideas.

The Chernobyl plant and it's reactors was
  • A uniquely Soviet design, designed to be as cheap as possible
  • Poorly constructed
  • Poorly contained
  • Managed by people without relevant education selected on political merits

What happened in Chernobyl cannot happen in any western reactor, it's physically impossible. The very few (12) RBMK-reactors remaining have since been retrofitted with a myriad of safety improvements as well as proper education for the staff. Today plants close entirely for even the slightest, most minute safety hazard. The safety protocols are incredibly paranoid, but also extremely safe.

Nuclear power is relative to it's output the safest, most efficient and cleanest form of energy we have. In terms of fatalities/kWh, coal and hydro are way more deadly.
 
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Karoug

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^Being someone that loves kinda close (80 km away) to a nuclear reactor. The security in the Swedish power plants is a joke.. But i do support Nuclear power but we really need to shape up when it comes to safety and security...
 

Cobol74

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No, they are not. Outside of what used to be the Soviet Union, no civilians have ever died because of nuclear energy.
Probably right, apart from the cancer victims, who are not acknowledged because there is no Public Liability Insurance and public confidence in the technology may be damaged. ... Or some other reason?

Citation:

http://www.epha.org/a/710

"The present cancer epidemic is a result of pollution from nuclear energy and of exposures to global atmospheric weapons fallout, which peaked in the period 1959-63, according to a report from the European Committee of Radiation Risk (ECRR) published in January 2003. It estimates that radioactive releases up to 1989 have caused, or will eventually cause, the death of 65 million people world-wide.
Commenting on the report Dr Caroline Lucas, MEP (Greens/EFA, UK), said : "We have known for years that nuclear pollution, from nuclear power plants, reprocessing plants and from weapons, has been very damaging for human health. Only with the publication of this research do we see the full scale of the folly of the nuclear industry. This new research cites vast amounts of evidence such as the levels of breast cancer in women who were adolescent between 1957 and 1963 when nuclear weapons testing was at its peak."
 

Jacobfox

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As a bleeding heart, I agree with this proposal. Nuke power is good. It's so much less polluting than coal. We just have to figure out a better way to deal with the waste than bury it in Yucca Mtn.
 

Cobol74

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But we have not as yet have we?

This is really important, people (almost certainly) die prematurely. The numbers do not stack up - they do not take into account all the costs, just the current running costs. If it was one for one with say a Gas fired Power atation the real cost per Mega Watt is not in line - the de-commission costs, the fact that all the insurance costs are covered by the Government, the fact that there should be in place additional security and the environmental monitoring costs, additional medical too, looking after the sick.

If we go this way no one will invest in the more correct, and cheaper technologies, wave and barrage for two.
 
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stiggles

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Reprocessing is probably the most effective way of dealing with 'waste', as you get more life from the fuel you dif out of the ground. The French are good at doing this afaik, and the new Gen III+ and IV reactors are as far ahead of Chernobyl/RBMK and the old UK reactors as an F-22 is of a Spitfire. When the British nuclear stations were built (Dounreay et al), nobody even thought about decomissioning, hence the fix that they're in at the moment. Newer designs have ease of decomissioning built-in, as it were, which will lower costs at the other end.
As for Chernobyl, the crew had shut down pretty much every safety system in the plant and turned the damn thing right up to max....

Although I do agree on tidal power. It's an open goal, miles better than the windmills they're putting up everywhere.

edit: found on wiki, so YMMV, but : "A typical large nuclear reactor produces 25?30 tons of spent fuel per year. If the fuel were reprocessed and vitrified, the waste would be only about three cubic meters per year."
 
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SpitfireMK461

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Cobol, that article is also talking about fallout from nuclear weapons, but doesn't separate how much radiation comes from either. I'm not nuclear scientist, but I'm gonna throw a guess out that the vast majority of human caused radiation comes from the massive nuclear weapons testing between the US and Russia, especially atmospheric tests the US quickly deemed a horrible idea and Russia's 50 megaton bomb that was going to be 100 megatons, and the majority of the remaining coming from Chernobyl.

Quoting from a wiki article.
"Coal-burning plants are particularly noted for producing large amounts of toxic and mildly radioactive ash due to concentrating naturally occurring metals and radioactive material from the coal. Contrary to popular belief, coal power actually results in more radioactive waste being released into the environment than nuclear power. The population effective dose equivalent from radiation from coal plants is 100 times as much as nuclear plants."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power

Nuclear Power Plants do not release much radiation at all. That is what the containment building is for.
 

stiggles

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You're correct that nuclear weapons tests have greatly increased the levels of radioactivity in the atmosphere, in fact when scientists perform carbon dating and come up with an age in years 'before present', 'present' means '1950'.
 
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