Nuking the Future

The best estimates I’ve seen for projected energy production in the US all say it would be a significant achievement if sustainable electrical generation comprised 10% of the mix. With hydro-power dropping in the Western US, due to drought conditions, coal is picking up the slack; if coal plants are closed as part of the clean energy revival, that leaves us with nuclear.

Nuclear power — as part of an energy investment portfolio that includes coal, oil and gas — is attractive to Wall Street investors because it is taxpayer-insured, guaranteeing a profit, even as mining reclamation and waste disposal remain disasters with no solution in sight.

The greatest challenge to energy efficiency in the US is long distance transmission power loss; roughly half of the electricity generated in the country is lost between the power plants and the ultimate consumer. Dispersing production might help, but that isn’t possible with coal.

One solution recently proposed is to install mini-nukes all over the country, using technology derived from nuclear-powered submarines. Disturbing as this sounds, it is the logical consequence of shutting down coal.

As climate catastrophe beckons us to back bold energy initiatives, we want to be careful we don’t jump ‘out of the pan and into the fire’.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s