[ RadSafe ] Re: Sen Frist calls for nuclear power
Ludwig E. Feinendegen
feinendegen at gmx.net
Tue Nov 15 04:48:40 CST 2005
Thanks, Jim. A great step forward in planning. Ludwig
----- Original Message -----
From: Muckerheide, James
To: mbrexchange at list.ans.org ; cdn-nucl-l at mailman1.cis.McMaster.CA
Cc: radsafe at radlab.nl ; rad-sci-l at WPI.EDU
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 5:24 AM
Subject: Sen Frist calls for nuclear power
This is from today's Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Regards, Jim Muckerheide
ajc.com > Opinion
Put aside fears; seize its potential
By BILL FRIST
Published on: 11/14/05
Sometime in the next five years, if all goes according to plan, construction workers will turn over the first spades of dirt for the foundations of a new nuclear power plant. It will be a day America has awaited for far too long. Meeting our energy needs in a cost-effective way while reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil requires that we end the country's long nuclear energy drought.
We're already paying the price for a burdensome regulatory process that has prevented utilities from ordering a single new nuclear power plant in more than 30 years. In part because we lack new energy generation capacity, metro Atlanta residents will see their winter energy costs soar 56 percent this coming winter. And this may only be the beginning.
Without nuclear power we will likely face another energy crisis. The federal government's forthcoming official 30-year energy forecast, indeed, will assume that we're going to build another six gigawatts of generating capacity - roughly six new reactors. In July, furthermore, Congress passed legislation that will provide utilities with incentives to build new nuclear facilities.
That will be a good start. Our 103 existing power plants have an exemplary safety record and make the air cleaner. While nobody has firm intentions to build another plant, three groups of utilities have begun serious planning and the Bush administration has committed itself to making sure that at least one reactor breaks ground by 2010. The groundbreaking might happen in Georgia. The Vogtle power station near Waynesboro, where two reactors already supply about 13 percent of the state's power, ranks among the most likely sites for a new reactor.
The rebirth of nuclear power will mean changed attitudes, cleaner air and greater energy independence.
The fact is that many fears about nuclear power in this country are unfounded. Nuclear power plants have a sound safety record. Even when nearly everything went wrong at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island plant in 1979, no injuries resulted and property damage remained confined to the plant itself. A serious accident at the Soviet-designed reactor at Chernobyl in Ukraine killed scores of people and rendered about 20 square miles of land uninhabitable; but the reactor's design, operation and construction bears no resemblance to anything that's ever been built to generate commercial power in the developed world.
While no system can be absolutely perfect, the reactor designs that power companies will build in the coming years will make mishaps like Three Mile Island's far less likely. Similar to air bags in a car, safety mechanisms will deploy even when everything else goes wrong.
And nuclear power will yield enormous benefits. Other than hydroelectric power, which we've already fully exploited in the United States, nuclear power is the only practical way to generate electricity that doesn't cause air pollution. Building one typical nuclear power plant reduces air pollution as much as taking almost a million and a half cars off the road.
Even better, the raw material that nuclear power plants run on - Uranium-235 - is common in the United States. Nuclear power can be a major building block in a comprehensive energy independence strategy.
The United States, indeed, can no longer afford to ignore such a promising source of energy. Nuclear power is safe. It will make the air cleaner. And it will provide the energy our economy needs.
- U.S. Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) is Senate majority leader.
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