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February 23, 2007


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If one is serious about the so-called "global warming and greenhouse gas crisis," (perhaps a dubious proposition, particularly when espoused by Al Gore), one cannot be seriously opposed to nuclear power.

The United Nations Climate Change Treaty, signed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, which calls for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels, essentially asks for about a 700 million metric ton reduction in our production of greenhouse gases. That just happend to be about the amount that we now currently "save" in greenhouse gas production thanks to nuclear power. (Estimated to be about 682 metric tons.)

If, instead of any other draconian reductions in industrial activity, we simply aggressively moved to replace the bulk of our fossil-fuel-burning electircal power generation plants with modern nuclear plants, we would essentially accomplish all that was asked of the U.S. in the Rio Treaty.

Mr. Lessenberry may be right, insofar as Nevada Democrat Senator Harry Reid, a former personal injury lawyer, might block all attempts to utilize what is universally regarded as the most rational location for storage of nuclear waste. That is, the Yucca Flats location. Whatever. The fact is, that the rational and scientific analysis points to Yucca Flats as the best repository location. At the same time, the rational and scientific response to the problem of greenhouse gases, if one believes in the theory, is to utilize nuclear power. But liberal Democrat fearmongering over safety issues could stop that progress. So much for the Democrats being the party of science and reason and the Republicans as the party of pseudo-science and ideology.

I always love it when big tough conservatives don't have the guts to sign their names.

No, I don't see a ban on new plants until we settle solve the problems of safety and waste as necessary. In this case, I think the bulk of the compromising needs to come from environmentalists and other anti-nuclear folks adamantly opposed to new plants.

Nuclear's safety record is far better, when you consider the entire pipeline, than coal (how many coal miners died last year?); and it takes a few years to build new plants. Anti-nuclear activists need to join the conversation about where we can store our waste (the studies supporting Yucca Mountain were based on bad, doctored, reliably Republican science), and safety issues rather than using them as an excuse to oppose nuclear power.

Regarding "Essay: Nuclear Michigan" (2007-02-23), there is absolutely no need for nuclear power in the US (and many other parts of the world) because there is a simple mature technology that can deliver huge amounts of clean energy without any of the headaches of nuclear power.

I refer to 'concentrating solar power' (CSP), the technique of concentrating sunlight using mirrors to create heat, and then using the heat to raise steam and drive turbines and generators, just like a conventional power station. It is possible to store solar heat in melted salts so that electricity generation may continue through the night or on cloudy days. This technology has been generating electricity successfully in California since 1985 and half a million Californians currently get their electricity from this source. CSP plants are now being planned or built in many parts of the world.

CSP works best in hot deserts and, of course, these are not always nearby! But it is feasible and economic to transmit solar electricity over very long distances using highly-efficient 'HVDC' transmission lines. With transmission losses at about 3% per 1000 km, solar electricity may be transmitted to anywhere in the US and Canada too. A recent report from the American Solar Energy Society says that CSP plants in the south western states of the US "could provide nearly 7,000 GW of capacity, or ***about seven times the current total US electric capacity***" (emphasis added).

In the 'TRANS-CSP' report commissioned by the German government, it is estimated that CSP electricity, imported from North Africa and the Middle East, could become one of the cheapest sources of electricity in Europe, including the cost of transmission. A large-scale HVDC transmission grid has also been proposed by Airtricity as a means of optimising the use of wind power throughout Europe.

Further information about CSP may be found at www.trec-uk.org.uk and www.trecers.net . Copies of the TRANS-CSP report may be downloaded from www.trec-uk.org.uk/reports.htm . The many problems associated with nuclear power are summarised at www.mng.org.uk/green_house/no_nukes.htm .

Michigan should build nuclear plants. The Canadian Cando reactor has been a safe reactor for years. What we have to do here is to come up with safe storage sites for the wastes. The Federal government has been remiss in their leadership role and if Michigan waits for the Feds we will be way behind the eightball. We should be looking at all technologies and how they fit into our future, nuclear and otherwise.

Have been studyinf sustainable energy for over a year. I know hydro is at its limit have seen the wind farms. Germany the leader in wind has only managed to get to 4.8% wind. Ontario politicians could put nuclear in the north of Ontario right across the border with waste storage facilities buried in the Canadian sjeld but they are even afraid to talk about it. It would be a great economic boom to an area that is graDUALLY RECEEDING BECAUSE OF THE COST OF ELECTRICITY.

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