08 December 2009

On Nuclear Power

Oh, how I recognize the need for alternative power sources, but nuclear power is not the solution.  The waste is still too much of an issue. The Tennessean published an article in 2008 (reprinted here) citing comments by David Freeman, a former TVA director, who believes reactors are too dangerous and too expensive to pursue logically, but few listened.

Using nuclear power to address our energy problems is like throwing disposable diapers in a basement because they add to landfills.  The diapers aren't added to the waste stream, but there is still a bunch of stinking waste in the ground.  There are better alternatives to both nuclear power and disposable diapers.

Years ago it frustrated me that coal and oil companies spent so much money lobbying to protect their interests rather than pouring that money into developing and advancing new technologies that could profit them far longer into the future than their current endeavors.  They saw impending fossil fuel shortfalls, higher prices, and near-future bounty.  It's been a profitable strategy for those who don't have to survive into a future without that bounty.  They're not evil, just short-sighted.  Now, though, the tag line to an article on NPR.org today expresses the problem best: "The United States has all the tools it needs to replace its old coal system--except money."  So smaller businesses will have to take up the slack in innovation.  Tennessee looks forward to Hemlock Semiconductor (who's "focus is on safe and sustainable polysilicon production for semiconductors and photovoltaics") bringing 500 new jobs to the state upon the completion of its Clarksville Plant. Construction began this month--supplying more than 800 construction jobs over the course of the project--and should be finished in five years. Let's hope they can continue to reinvest in the development of solar power to make it cheaper and more practical and not have to spend their money battling the outdated energy models of the past on Capital Hill, or worse, battling the dangerous growing embrace of toxic nuclear power.

A call to the youth of the world: innovation leads to long term success.  Innovation spurred by competition is one of the the things that make capitalism great.

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