There’s a good, concise article that outlines some of the myths about nuclear power in “The Washington Post” this morning. I thought I’d offer you a condensation here, but by all means, read the entire article when you have time.
According to the author, the following are the five biggest myths:
1. The biggest problem with nuclear energy is safety. No, as it turns out, the biggest problem is expense. It is hugely expensive to build a nuclear power plant. (I tend to disagree with this. I think the biggest problem is disposal of nuclear waste.)
2. Nuclear plants make good terrorist targets. Probably not. They’re protected very well and are difficult to access.
3. Democrats Oppose Nuclear Power. Republicans Favor It. This isn’t always the case, especially now that the Cap-and-Trade Bill penalizes CO2 producers. Nuclear plants do not produce CO2 as a byproduct of burning fossil fuel, so, until the recent events in Japan, more Democrats were leaning toward nuclear energy.
4. Nuclear power is the key to our country’s energy independence. No. We produce most of our electricity from coal, of which there is an abundance in the United States. We use oil in transportation, not to produce electricity.
5. Better technology can make nuclear power safer. Nothing can ever be 100% safe.
There you have it in a nutshell. These are all good points, but I’m surprised there wasn’t a mention of the waste-disposal problem. To my mind, that alone negates the viability of the nuclear option. There is no place to put the waste. No place.
Meanwhile, our country is growing in population, and everyone wants to be able to turn on the lights. We’ve got to figure this out, and we don’t have forever to dither about it. The best solution might be to build coal-fired power plants that don’t release CO2 into the atmosphere. There are some ideas being tossed around about ways to capture the CO2 and hold it underground. Maybe thi is the way to go. We have enough coal here to last us for hundreds of years. Let’s figure out the best way to use it, and let’s do it quickly, folks. The electric clock is ticking.