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  • Nuclear Energy: Too Good to be True?

    Like that brand new $2,000 BMW on Ebay, if something is too good to be true, it usually is. –

    But that’s the phrase William Tucker, author of the forthcoming book Terrestrial Energy, uses in his article on the NY Times Freakonomics blog.

    It all seems too good to be true. People conjure up all kinds of nightmare scenarios just to compensate. Yet the reality remains: nuclear energy is the most environmentally benign discovery ever made.”

    Wait a minute. Just because we have 104 reactors providing 20 percent of America’s electricity without emitting an ounce of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere doesn’t mean that nuclear energy is “too good to be true.” (And yes, I know that the construction of the reactors emits CO2, but so does construction of everything else on this planet – it’s just the way the world works right now. Singling out nuclear makes no sense.)

    Getting back to the fundamental question: Is nuclear too good to be true to meet America’s rising energy demands and environmental concerns? Is nuclear a silver bullet? Before we start calling it that, there are some issues to address, namely bad government policy. Undoubtedly, the biggest obstacle is nuclear waste. Heritage nuclear expert outlines the problems, and more importantly, the solutions in his paper, A Free Market Approach to Managing Used Nuclear Fuel. The primary steps include:

    • Create the legal framework that allows the pri­vate sector to price geologic storage as a commodity;
    • Empower the private sector to manage used fuel;
    • Repeal the 70,000-ton limitation on the Yucca Mountain repository and instead let technology, science, and physical capacity determine the appropriate limit;
    • Create a private entity that is representative of but independent from nuclear operators to man­age Yucca Mountain;
    • Repeal the mil, abolish the Nuclear Waste Fund, and transfer the remaining funds to a private entity to cover the expenses of constructing Yucca Mountain; and
    • Limit the federal government’s role to providing oversight, basic research, and development and taking title of spent fuel upon repository decommissioning.

    High energy prices are giving people the world over a reason to reexamine nuclear energy- and rightfully so. Nuclear power has proven to be safe and secure for years. Even the zeitgeist of Three Mile Island is finally starting to fade away. The reality is that it should never have been an issue to begin with. Yes, the reactor malfunctioned at TMI, but all the safety mechanisms worked as they should have and that is why no one was injured, much less killed, as a result.

    For more information on TMI, you can read about The Heritage Foundation’s trip there that took place in February. In the forthcoming weeks, The Heritage Foundation will release a paper that goes into more detail about TMI, including the safety and technological improvements since the near-accident about 30 years ago. The paper will also include a section about Chernobyl and why an accident like that is physically impossible here in the United States. Keep your eyes peeled.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Nuclear Energy: Too Good to be True?

    1. Pingback: Nuclear Energy: Too Good to be True? | autocarsinsurance

    2. warren says:

      the solution to nuclear waste has already been solved and something no self respecting enviro wacko wants to mention. the solution is called breeder reactor. and guess what the fuel is for these? nuclear waste. add that to your left wing gloom and doom. oh yeah, we could start drilling for oil and open up the platforms taht we finished building right before buh number one stopped it. oil relef would be almost immediate, not years down the road as the so called experts claim.

    3. Jason Brown, Oklahom says:

      On the subject of drilling in many more places, people on the left site the enviromental impact as the greatest reason for not drilling. This is a load of hogwash! I live in Oklahoma, have nearly all my life. It is hard to find a five-square mile area of this state that hasn't atleast been explored for oil and gas production. If the enviromental impact was as destructive as some make it out, no one could live in this state, and there wouldn't be any wildlife at all. All of this is far from true. I'm with T. Boone Pickens, drill, drill, drill! All the while putting all the energy of America into finding a clean, safe alternative to fossil fuels. This is the enrgy that defeated the world's greatest superpower in 1781. The energy that spread this country from sea to shining sea in only 70 years from its founding. The same energy that laid rails across that continent in under ten years from the challenge. The same energy that conquered flight in 1907. The same energy that defeated Facist Italy in a little over 2 years, Nazi Germany in 3 years and 5 months, and Imperial Japan in 3 years and 9 months. The energy that developed the atomic bomb in less than 10 years. The same energy that broke the sound barrier in the 1950's. And it's the same energy that put a man on the moon in 1969, only eight years after the challenge was laid out by President Kennedy. The examples of this country rising to any challenge could go on much longer. Faced with our illustrious track record of innovation, how can anyone doubt what we are capable of?

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