Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's Time For a Nuclear Power Comeback

Is nuclear power ready to make a comeback in the U.S.? I hope so, and that's saying something coming from an environmentalist who was downwind from Three Mile Island during the infamous partial meltdown in 1979.
Nuclear power went into eclipse in this country not because it was a fundamentally unsafe and unreliable technology, but because the chuckleheads who ran TMI and other nuclear plants made a compelling case that they were not to be trusted. That, more than any other reason, is why no nuke plants have been built in the U.S. since forever and some older plants are being taken offline.
But because of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which considerably streamlines the licensing process, it is possible that new nuke plants could be built in coming years. New designs would make such plants inherently safer.

Irony of ironies, there is a second reason as well:
Global warming.
This bring us to the Supreme Court’s smackdown of the Environmental Protection Agency this week in Massachusetts v. EPA.

A divided court found that the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and ruled that the agency must provide a sound scientific rationale if it chooses not to regulate them in the future.

As TCM Daily notes, nuclear power is the big beneficiary of the ruling:
"The irony is that the beneficiary of [the] ruling won't be wind power, solar power, or any of the other renewable technologies favored by the Green establishment. Their economic and technological limitations are too severe for them ever to occupy more than a small niche in the American energy economy. Instead, one of the winners from Massachusetts v. EPA just may be something that many of the environmentalists who brought the suit have long abhorred: nuclear power. Like renewables, nuclear power generates electricity with no pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions. But unlike renewables, nuclear is capable of generating reliable power on a massive scale, which is what our country's future energy demands will require."
More here.

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