The Unclear Nuclear Revival

by Gordon Ettie

In reading this article in the Huffington Post I couldn’t help but hope that maybe now we will start to get modern technical information with approval to build new nuclear power plants and not rely on emotional responses as we have for many years.¬† And this might also lead to modern technical information for our carbon¬† fuel dilemma.

Here’s and except from the artice:

“My office sits about a block from the Nuclear Energy Institute’s (NEI) headquarters in downtown Washington, and I could almost hear the corks popping when the government green-lighted the first new nuclear reactors in decades. The two reactors, which the Southern Company will build next to two currently operating reactors at its Alvin W. Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia, will be the first licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) since 1978. The partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979, along with cost overruns and scores of abandoned projects, scotched plans for new reactors until just last week.

“This is a historic day,” said Marvin Fertel, president and CEO of NEI, the industry trade association. The NRC vote “sounds a clarion call to the world that the United States recognizes the importance of expanding nuclear energy as a key component of a low-carbon energy future that is central to job creation, diversity of electricity supply and energy security.”

Christine Todd Whitman, the former Environmental Protection Agency administrator, and Patrick Moore, a former Greenpeace activist, chimed in the next day on the Huffington Post. Co-chairs of the NEI-funded Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, Whitman and Moore wrote that the new reactors “signal [a] U.S. nuclear energy resurgence.”

To be sure, Fertel and his high-profile spokespeople have something to celebrate. Not only will the two reactors be the first built in decades, they will feature a new advanced design by Westinghouse, which was just approved by the NRC in December. That said, many of their assertions — about nuclear power’s revival, its affordability, its impact on ratepayer bills, its potential to “jumpstart” the economy, and its relative safety — don’t hold up to scrutiny.”

Read more: Huffington Post

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