Nuclear energy must play a key role in dealing with the greenhouse gas challenge

Juice readers. For those who read my posts you know that I have been a strong supporter of Assemblyman Chuck DeVore’s ongoing efforts to promote nuclear energy. According to the US Department of Energy they are forecasting that “by 2030, domestic demand for energy is projected to grow by 40-50 percent. During the same time, global demand is expected to nearly double.”

Let me begin with one nuclear fact as we face this new expression called greenhouse gas emissions. “If you got all your electricity for your lifetime from nuclear power your total share of the waste would weigh 2 pounds and fit into one coke can.”

Carbon abatement? Now that’s a new term for this old timer.

Question. “How much is a gigaton of greenhouse gas?” Answer “2.2 trillion pounds.
The volume would rise 1 3/4 miles above an area the size of the District of Columbia.” Let’s now compare that to nuclear. “The volume of nuclear waste generated by producing the same amount of electricity from nuclear plants that would otherwise result in a gigaton of CO2 emissions from coal plants would fit in 8 semi-trailers.”

While visiting my mother-in-law in LA last week I watched a forum of industry, academia and government experts on the LA channel 36 program moderated by Conan Nolan entitled “nuclear energy..is it a timely alternative or a time bomb?”

There surely was disagreement on this panel as to which direction to go with S. David Freeman of the LA Board of Harbor Commission taking a negative stance on nuclear energy with comments such as “you are out of your mind if you think we will shut down coal plants for nuclear projects.” He said the “vice presidents of utility companies canceled nuclear power.” My guess is that this was in relationship with new facilities. He later added that “we got by without new nuclear’s for 20 years.”

Gilbert note. Mr. Freeman only wears rear view glasses. We have a responsibility to address current and future demand at a time when energy costs are going out of sight.

He challenged Professor Per F. Peterson, nuclear engineer at UC Berkeley. Professor Peterson said that climate change is a bigger issues than nuclear waste. Prof Peterson supports the McCain-Lieberman Energy Plan to address global warming that some label “Kyoto Light.”

Dennis Spurgeon, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, US Dept. of Energy said “we can expect global demand to double virtually overnight. U.S. demand alone will grow by 50% by 2030. As we need to limit the amount of greenhouse gas we also need to focus on renewables.” One area that is being monitored is photocells. “As photocell costs go down we can be competitive by 2015.” As to carbon abatement sequester carbon is a huge problem. Electricity represents 40% of emissions.”
Here’s another fact from Dennis to consider. “Last year domestic nuclear power avoided an estimated 681 million metric tons of carbon emissions. That is the equivalent of eliminating carbon dioxide emissions from 96% of all passenger cars in the United States.” Dennis added that “17 utility companies are projected to build 31 new reactors in the coming years. When completed these plants will provide over 41,000 megawatts of electricity, enough power to supply almost 30 million homes with clean and reliable electricity.” He argued that 40-45 new reactors must be built by 2030. Globally 55 countries will operate 630 reactors by 2030.” He added that “34 new nuclear plants are under construction now worldwide.” Mr Spurgeon said “it is not the job of government to pay for these new plants.” He added that the “role of government is too remove road blocks.”

Whenever the topic of nuclear energy is raised, safety and waste disposal are key public concerns. In his presentation UC Berkeley Prof. Peterson states that “long term international R&D has improved the current understanding of nuclear waste disposal.” One slide reads that “broad scientific consensus exists that deep geologic isolation can provide long-term, safe and reversible disposal for nuclear wastes.” Prof Peterson also points out that “25 years of scientific study lead to a positive site suitability decision for Yucca Mountains in 2002.”

Assistant Sec. Spurgeon’s last slide reads in part that “no serious person can look at the challenge of our national security, greenhouse gases and climate change and not come to the conclusion that nuclear power has to play a significant and growing role in meeting these challenges.”

Dennis Spurgeon is right. Chuck DeVore is right. Now all that is needed is for every CA legislator to throw away their partisan ID cards and work together to resolve this huge power demand and nuclear alternative. Would cooperation increase if Chuck changes his registration to “none of the above” as a boycott of partisan bickering?

Voters send 80 Assemblymembers and 40 senators to Sacramento for the task of identifying and later fixing problems. Now hear this. We have an energy problem?

As Dennis Spurgeon stated. The role of government is to remove roadblocks, not stonewall reasonable proposed Legislation simply because the sponsor has an “R” or “D” before his or her name..

Folks. You can find more information on this important topic at www.nuclear.gov


About Larry Gilbert