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Former critics see the light / Nuclear Power! (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Jul, 20 2005 @ 02:29 PM
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The nuclear power industry has some surprising new friends: environmentalists. Longtime opponents, including Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, have done an about-face, and that might be enough to revive the nuclear industry after a quarter-century hiatus. No nuclear plant has been built in the USA since 1979, when the accident at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania made the nation fearful of nuclear energy. Those fears were further stoked in 1986 by the meltdown at Chernobyl in the then-Soviet Union.
 



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The nuclear power industry has some surprising new friends: environmentalists.
Longtime opponents, including Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, have done an about-face, and that might be enough to revive the nuclear industry after a quarter-century hiatus.

No nuclear plant has been built in the USA since 1979, when the accident at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania made the nation fearful of nuclear energy. Those fears were further stoked in 1986 by the meltdown at Chernobyl in the then-Soviet Union.

Plant design has improved since, as have operational standards. At the same time, U.S. energy demands have grown and are expected to increase 50% over the next 20 years. That squeeze has led former critics to conclude that nuclear energy, if unappealing, is better than any other option.

The facts are straightforward: Nuclear power, which produces 20% of the nation's electricity, creates virtually none of the pollution that causes climate change and delivers electricity cheaper than other forms of generation do. The primary alternatives are coal-fired plants, which account for half the nation's electricity but emit pollutants, or plants powered by natural gas, which has doubled in price since 1999. New technologies, while promising, are not yet capable of meeting the expected need.

In the most significant indication of the way sentiment has shifted, energy bills in both houses of Congress encourage investment and would renew federally backed insurance for the industry. Under the Senate bill, new nuclear plants could qualify for loan guarantees and tax credits. Similar incentives are provided for renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, wind and biomass.

The incentives are needed, at least briefly, to jump-start construction. Without government stimulus, no reactors would be built for 20 more years, the Energy Department says. With it, industry leaders say, two existing consortiums might soon apply for a construction permit.

Even so, two other issues still raise concerns. One is an old one: What to do with nuclear waste? The other is new: How to protect against terrorism?

The industry has had more success addressing the latter. Since 9/11, plant security personnel has increased from 5,000 to 8,000, and even a direct hit by a large commercial aircraft is unlikely to have severe radiological consequences, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says. Were there to be a problem, caused by terrorism or error, phone lines link the NRC to control rooms.

There still is no definitive plan to deal with 52,000 tons of radioactive waste, most of it stored at the plants. A planned permanent storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada won't open until at least 2012, and it still faces challenges after decades of debate.

That debate needs to end. Yucca Mountain is the only viable storage site.

Twenty-six years after Three Mile Island, it's time for the nation to update its thinking about nuclear energy. If more reliable and cleaner energy is the goal, nuclear power has to be part of the solution.

To see more on current and upcoming Nuclear Industry News, subscribe to the our weekly newsletter, or go to

www.quadrexnuclear.com.... "Nuclear Industry News" page.



Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


The resergance in developing and building new Nuclear Power Plant is crucial to america's national security and the immediate need to greatly reduce our dependence on Middle East oil!!!!!!!




posted on Jul, 20 2005 @ 02:39 PM
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It's an interesting topic, but you plagerized your opening comments verbatim from the first 2 paragraphs of the actual article. You may wanna use your own thoughts for future reference.



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