Archive for July 25th, 2011

July 25, 2011 | 4:45 pm

Focus on Fresno Clean Energy Park, Part 2

In the second part of this focus on the proposed Fresno Clean Energy Park, writer Barbara Lydick examines in more detail “a project that would help provide energy, water and a cleaner environment for the Valley.” The articles appeared in the Visalia (Calif.) Times-Delta newspaper.

Lydick begins by focusing on the need for water to support agriculture in California’s Central Valley. Agriculture is big business in California, representing over $36 billion in the state.

Increasing agriculture in the Central Valley requires a reliable supply of clean water, as Lydick notes, “the Clean Energy Park project provides a viable solution.” The solution is to desalinate the brackish water beneath the Valley’s surface, but this process requires significant power. “As electricity is the most expensive variable for desalinization, a cost-effective source for this would be nuclear power added to the planned solar plant,” she writes.

California currently has a moratorium on building new nuclear plants, but many view this as an outdated concept.

This prohibition presupposes no viable solution for nuclear waste. However, proven, technically sound and reliably safe solutions for radioactive waste have been around for more than three decades. But this issue is political, not technical, and has played nicely into the hands of anti-nuclear groups.

In addition, there is still support for nuclear energy among policymakers and others, even in California. Lydick cites California Gov. Jerry Brown who referred to nuclear energy as a green source and the Obama administration’s continued support for nuclear energy even in the wake of Fukushima.

Click here to read the full article and here to read about Part 1 of the focus on the Fresno Clean Energy Park.

July 25, 2011 | 11:32 am

Fox News Op-ed: ‘Nuclear Power Is Extremely Safe’

In a compelling opinion piece on Fox News.com, writer Alex Epstein argues why Fukushima has demonstrated that nuclear power is in fact “extremely safe.” He also explains why there are hidden economic and environmental costs of not using nuclear energy.

To think rationally about nuclear safety, you must identify the whole context. As the late, great energy thinker Petr Beckmann argued three decades ago in his contrarian classic “The Health Hazards of NOT Going Nuclear,” every means of generating power has dangers and risks, but nuclear power “is far safer than any other form of large-scale energy conversion yet invented.”

Epstein notes that only a few sources are capable of producing electricity reliably, affordably and on a large scale, and among them nuclear energy has some advantages. “Whether you’re concerned about a dangerous accident or harmful emissions, a nuclear power plant is the safest way to generate power,” he writes.

The fact that nuclear plants do not produce emissions is another benefit for this energy source, Epstein states. He also notes the relatively small amount of waste produced by nuclear power, especially when the fuel is recycled.

Nuclear power also saves lives that would otherwise be lost to pollution. A nuclear power plant has effectively zero harmful emissions. (It generates a small amount of waste, which France, among other countries, has demonstrated can be both re-used economically and stored safely.)

Read more here.