Los Angeles Times deconstructs nuclear power

Written by Toben

Topics: Coal

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A comprehensive editorial in today’s Los Angeles Times provides a timely deconstruction of existing arguments in favor of nuclear power. Aside from outlining the numerous risks and uncertainties associated with our atomic future, The Times cites efficiency and expansion of renewables such as wind and solar as a much better alternative in reducing emissions as well as curbing costs.

The potential for wind power alone is nearly limitless and, according to a May report by research firm Standard & Poor’s, it’s cheaper to produce than nuclear power. Further, the amount of electricity that could be generated simply by making existing non-nuclear power plants more efficient is staggering. On average, coal plants operate at 30% efficiency worldwide, but newer plants operate at 46%. If the world average could be raised to 42%, it would save the same amount of carbon as building 800 nuclear plants.

1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. James Aach says:

    Every energy source has its good and bad points. I’m not sure how aware the LA Times was of that when it singled out nuclear. The paper could write a similar negative report on every power source. Were they aware that while wind power is nearly limitless it is hard to collect in mass quantities, and since electricity is almost impossible to store in any large degree, the intermittent nature of wind is a huge drawback? Or that for fossil-fuel plants to continue to be a key provider without adding to CO2 emissions that new, untried CO2 sequestration methods would need to be implemented on a massive scale? And what is the context behind statements like nuclear power is “extremely risky” – how does it compare to the risk of other options (CO2, coal particulate in the air, brownouts during summertime, etc.)? The first step to choosing the best energy future is understanding the energy present – what the good and bad things actually are. It’s not clear at all that this was the case with the Times editorial. Were this done, perhaps nuclear would still lose, but for the right reasons.

    Nuclear power is a very hard subject to understand for the lay person – there is just propaganda on both sides. For an insider’s look at nuclear in the form of a thriller novel, see “Rad Decision” at http://RadDecision.blogspot.com . There is no cost to website readers. Both the good AND the bad of atomic energy are portrayed. “Rad Decision” has also been endorsed by Stewart Brand, the founder of “The Whole Earth Catalog”.

    Conservation should be the top priority of any energy plan. The cheapest, safest energy is that which you don’t use.

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