Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Reconsidering Nuclear Energy

I intend to begin posting on the subject of nuclear energy in light of the extremely variable fossil fuel prices, their demonstrably variable availability (e.g., the 1973-74 OPEC oil embargo), and the increasing concerns over the release of greenhouse gases. I intend to learn more but I have read that modern "pebble-bed" fission power plant designs are so safe that a Chernobyl-style meltdown is not possible. This newspaper story is what prodded me to post now:

"Sky-high crude oil prices prod many governments from across the world to seek alternative energy sources other than petroleum, particularly in nuclear power. This marks a major turnaround from the hitherto widespread anti-nuclear policies, which have been generally adopted after a series of disasters of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident and the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. The United States now looks to license novel nuclear plants, putting an end to the nation’s quarter-century moratorium on new nuclear facilities after the 1979 Three Mile Island debacle..."

The mantra in the late 1940s and through the 1950s was "power too cheap to meter". Wouldn't that be great in light of gas-electric hybrid cars?

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