McCain & a short history on nuclear energy….

Posted on June 20, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

While nuclear energy has great potential to be clean, low cost, abundant power, it has not been in…

How will McCain battle the safety, cost and waste issues that have put the U.S. nuclear energy program in the 30 billion hole? Or is this just added fluff to fend off short term energy and environmental answers our country desperately needs?

Haase – While I would love to post this entire Wikipedia thread, it is lengthy and should be read in full at Wikipedia for those interested in tackling our three decade old economic energy debate. (i.e. senate, congress, pres. candidates etc..) as I am not sure they are qualified to discuss nuclear power… here is a brief history of nuclear energy for McCain’s energy program: From Wikipedia

History of waste cost over runs and safety issues… we need to resolve

The Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, a boiling water reactor. The nuclear reactors are located inside the rectangular containment buildings towards the front of the cooling towers. The towers in the background vent water vapor.The United States produces the most nuclear energy, with nuclear power providing 19%[4] of the electricity it consumes, while France produces the highest percentage of its electrical energy from nuclear reactors—78% as of 2006.[5] In the European Union as a whole, nuclear energy provides 30% of the electricity.[6]

In 1952, President Harry Truman made a “relatively pessimistic” assessment of nuclear power, and called for “aggressive research in the whole field of solar energy.”[13]

In 1954, the consensus of government and business at the time was that nuclear (fission) power might eventually become merely economically competitive with conventional power sources.

Installed nuclear capacity initially rose relatively quickly, rising from less than 1 gigawatt (GW) in 1960 to 100 GW in the late 1970s, and 300 GW in the late 1980s. Since the late 1980s worldwide capacity has risen much more slowly, reaching 366 GW in 2005. Between around 1970 and 1990, more than 50 GW of capacity was under construction (peaking at over 150 GW in the late 70s and early 80s) — in 2005, around 25 GW of new capacity was planned. More than two-thirds of all nuclear plants ordered after January 1970 were eventually cancelled.[19]

During the 1970s and 1980s rising economic costs[20] and falling fossil fuel prices made nuclear power plants then under construction less attractive. In the 1980s (U.S.) and 1990s (Europe), flat load growth and electricity liberalization also made the addition of large new baseload capacity unattractive.

Brookings Institution suggests that new nuclear units have not been ordered in the U.S. because the Institution’s research concludes they cost 15–30% more over their lifetime than conventional coal and natural gas fired plants.[24]

For those with short term memory loss, I’ll include a few previous posts in the last year on nuclear energy:

Question: Lets put the aside the simple arguments of: “billions in debt, rising cost of maintenance & safety components, subsides & trillions of pounds of radioactive waste”… What obstacles bother me?

Water? I mean the Achilles heel of nuclear power in the context of climate change: water.simpsons.jpg Climate change means water shortages in many places and hotter water everywhere.

nuclear power is the most water-hungry of all energy sources, with a single reactor consuming 35-65 million litres of water each day. Our nation is fighting a war on Water use and 150 nuclear energy plants use 600,000,000,000 gallons of fresh water PER DAY. As with most power plants, two-thirds of the energy produced by a nuclear power plant goes into waste heat (see Carnot cycle), and that heat is discharged into large bodies of water — cooling ponds, lakes, rivers, or oceans.[40] Droughts can pose a severe problem by causing the source of cooling water to run out.[41][42]

Throwing away a finite source – Current light water reactors make relatively inefficient use (using only 3%) of nuclear fuel, fissioning only the very rare uranium-235 isotope. Main article: Depleted uranium

Reliability – Of all 132 U.S. nuclear plants built (52 percent of the 253 originally ordered), 21 percent were prematurely and permanently closed due to reliability or cost problems, while another 27 percent have completely failed for a year or more at least once. Normally operating nuclear plants must shut down, on average, for 39 days every 17 months for refueling and maintenance.[56]


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