February 22, 2012 | 2:55 pm
Especially during National Engineers Week, we like this quote from Art Wharton on the morality and the ethics behind the choice to be a nuclear engineer, and to advocate for nuclear engergy solutions to our world’s needs. He begins by describing an ANS gathering of nuclear power supporters:
The participants felt a moral calling to advance nuclear science and technology through their work, and through their communications via social media. Most participants recounted an obligation that they felt to their community or their family, including the futures of their grandchildren….
I originally decided to work in nuclear energy because it was “cool” to me. When I first learned that the energy density of a single fuel pellet equaled almost a ton of coal, I had to learn more. When I was a young boy camping with a Boy Scout troop, they advocated leaving the campground in better condition than we found had it, so the energy density and cleanliness of nuclear energy compared with other energy sources was compelling to me as a young adult. I followed the “cool” path, in my eyes, not realizing at the time that I was making a moral or ethical choice.
That changed in an unexpected way when I graduated college, and I took an oath called The Obligation of the Engineer…
Electrical power production provides life-saving opportunities. Refrigeration keeps food safe. Air conditioning saves many from heat stroke during the summer, and heating systems preserve life in the winter. The medical industry is dependent on electricity for many life-saving technologies. As you’re reading this paragraph, you’re probably listing out other things that electricity does to preserve and enhance life in ways that many people take for granted. Nuclear energy provides this life-saving electricity with the smallest footprint per unit of energy, and in my strong opinion, makes “the best use of Earth’s precious wealth.”
I have an obligation to give my knowledge, without reservation, for the public good….
January 25, 2012 | 10:11 am
“But with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, oil isn’t enough. This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy – a strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs.”
- President Obama from the State of the Union Address
December 30, 2011 | 3:52 pm
We already have an energy source that is relatively cheap to use and that produces less environmental and public health impact than fossil fuels. That source is nuclear energy. Until we are able to develop renewable sources of energy that are more efficient, it will remain the best alternative to coal and oil….
Every day we read about gas explosions, car fires, and many other accidents in which fossil fuels were at least contributors. We hardly notice the deaths from cancer and lung disease caused by pollutants from burning fossil fuels.
We have become so jaded to these deaths that we hardly associate them with fossil fuels. In the rush to exploit these fuels, we also discount the possible dangers of ground water pollution from “fracking” (as well as the problems associated with consuming vast amounts of water in drought-stricken regions that fracking requires), the potential for gas explosions, and other human and environmental risks.
Every energy source has built in dangers….Wind farms decimate migratory bird populations, corn ethanol drives up food prices around the world and consumes enormous amounts of water, and the production of solar cells also produces toxic waste. There’s no such thing as safe energy, but only relatively safe energy.
- Mario Salazar, from his article in the Washington Times
October 24, 2011 | 2:03 pm
“We need the power in Vermont…If we lose this plant it’s going to be a huge blow to our economy.”
- Dick Trudell, one of the supporters who gathered to show their support of the Vermont Yankee Plant
October 17, 2011 | 11:32 am
“Virginia voters approve 71 – 20 percent of using nuclear power to produce electricity and support 60 – 32 percent the construction of new nuclear plants in the commonwealth.”
From Quinnipac University polling of Virginia voters, October 12th, 2011
October 14, 2011 | 11:26 am
“How did you get out of the Depression? You built the Hoover Dam. This is the next Hoover Dam…”
- AREVA North America’s Jaques Besnainou, quoted by the Charlotte Observer, on the question of the United States’ need to upgrade older nuclear plants, it’s electrical grid and other energy infrastructure.
September 6, 2011 | 8:00 am
“Proponents of nuclear energy still see a bright future in a world where electrical demand grows hand in hand with a burgeoning global middle class and everybody wants to reduce CO2 emissions. But vociferous industry opponents now claim nuclear power has been dealt a Chernobyl-like deathblow. Unsurprisingly, most pessimists are found in the advanced West — witness Germany’s decision to abandon nuclear power — while most optimists are found in emerging economies such as China and India.
This presents an interesting problem for the United States, which by its very nature is far less likely to meekly accept its presumed historical decline than either Europe or Japan. If the West bows out of the nuclear energy expansion, it’s only natural that China and India will turn to indigenous production to meet their ambitious schedules of new nuclear construction. That will leave the West lingering in an age of allegedly “clean coal” and revolutionary shale-gas “fracking” technologies, both of which come with more compelling environmental costs, while China and India could conceivably end up with more carbon-competitive industrial sectors to go with their unapproachably vast sums of cheap labor…”
- Thomas Barnett, Contributing Editor of Esquire Magazine
August 19, 2011 | 9:00 am
In a post on Forbes’s Energy Source section, Sara Mansur describes how the recent reunion concert of the Musicians United for Safe energy was “wholly misguided.”
“Global warming is the intergenerational threat today, not nuclear power. With coal and other fossil-fuels driving carbon dioxide emissions to their highest levels in history, ours is a generation preparing for a world that will be deeply and irrevocably impacted by climate change — a world plagued by severe heat waves, floods, droughts, and record wildfires, and the potential displacement of millions of people…
That’s why, if you’re serious about mitigating the potentially catastrophic risk to human and non-human life posed by climate change, being anti-nuclear is no longer a morally tenable position.”
August 17, 2011 | 1:11 pm
In Florida, we cannot afford the consequences of not including nuclear power as part of a balanced mix of clean energy sources.
Other states in the Southeast are not giving up on nuclear. Construction of a nuclear plant is nearing completion in Tennessee, and plans are under way to complete construction of another large plant in Alabama. Tennessee is also considering the use of six small modular reactors to meet its electricity needs. Meanwhile, ground has been broken for four advanced nuclear plants, two each in Georgia and South Carolina.
All this underlines the fact that while the challenges are extensive, we are likely to see considerable growth in the use of nuclear power in the years ahead.
— Lynn Edward Weaver is president emeritus of the Florida Institute of Technology.
Appeared in an article here.
August 1, 2011 | 1:56 pm
The Quote of the day from Tom Gilmore, who is the President and CEO of the TVA in a New York Times opinion piece:
The Tennessee Valley Authority has operated nuclear plants for three decades, but our program was hindered, as many energy providers were, by safety concerns and a public backlash against nuclear generation in the 1980s.
Our response, however, was not to abandon nuclear energy. Instead, we revamped our program and adopted a more conservative, disciplined approach to both operations and construction. In a departure from the 1970s, when we were building 17 nuclear units at once, today we allow only one unit to be in any single stage of development at a time.
We believe that nuclear power, developed properly, is not only a promising option, but the best available. Our forecasts for the region’s energy demands by the end of the decade show we will need more base-load electricity — or continuous minimum power — something nuclear plants excel at providing…
Nevertheless, critics have rightly asked, why not simply bypass nuclear power and rely on more wind, solar, gas and energy efficiency? In fact, the T.V.A. is adding power from all of those sources in record amounts. But none can produce sufficiently large volumes of base-load electricity as consistently and affordably as nuclear power can.