Why am I so passionate about nuclear energy? (Fast Fission Podcast 7)

Get the MP3 Here Today is Blog Action Day 2009 and this year’s topic is Climate Change. Is man made climate change real or not?  Heck, I don’t know.  What I DO know is this: whether or not human activity is causing global warming or not, there are certain things that it just makes sense for us to be doing. We need to wean ourselves off of imported fossil fuels as our primary energy source.  Oil and gas won’t last forever and prices are sure to rise as supplies dwindle and demand grows.  Imported fossil fuels come from places in the world that have amassed huge amounts of wealth at our expense.  A lot of that money is funding people who want to kill us and destroy the freedoms that millions of people have died to earn and to protect. We should stop burning coal because it is polluting our air and water with arsenic, mercury, acid rain, and particulate matter that we know is killing tens of thousands of people each year.  Thousands more die each year digging coal out of the ground. We need to become energy independent so that the countries that supply our fossil fuel addiction will no longer have influence on our foreign policies and internal business. We need to create high paying jobs for our people producing energy that we make at home, and energy products we can export to the rest of the world.  This will improve our standard of living and ensure our children and grandchildren have at least as good a life as we have. We need to respect the environment and choose a way of life that is both sustainable and supports a high standard of living. We need to find a way to help the less fortunate people of the world to rise out of poverty.  Access to plentiful, low cost, clean energy is the single most important factor in raising the standard of living of a society. I live and work in the United States, but that is not relevant; all of these same basic principles apply regardless of where you live. I am an engineer and an experienced manager.  I could make a good living in any industry.  I choose to work in the nuclear industry because I believe in the technology and the great contributions that nuclear power does and will do for society.  Nuclear energy can help us accomplish all of these lofty goals.  I know this in my head and in my heart.  Nuclear energy is not perfect, no source of energy is.  When used wisely and with respect energy from the atom...

Read More

OSHA: Working in a Nuclear Plant is Safer than Office Work

An interesting article at ReliablePlant.com about safety improvements at US commercial nuclear plants after the TMI partial core meltdown 30 years ago.  Yes, the title of this article is true, but there is more: When it comes to safety, added layers of protection only enhance nuclear energy’s capability to provide clean, efficient power, with performance levels increasing steadily over time. In 2008, U.S. nuclear plants surpassed coal, natural gas, oil and all other fuels that make electricity by operating to more than 90 percent of their total rated capacity. Nuclear plants also generated approximately 805.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity last year, enough to serve the total year’s electricity needs of one-fifth the U.S. population. A great example is Arkansas Nuclear One where workers have gone a mind-boggling nine years and 23 million man-hours without a loss work time accident. Nearly 23 million hours worked over a span of almost nine years without a lost time accident is a remarkable feat for any industrial facility. That is exactly what Arkansas and Nuclear One employees have accomplished and the meter is still running. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently approved ANO’s continued participation at the voluntary projection program star level, the program’s highest rating, a status ANO has maintained for 12 years and a nuclear industry record. I get so sick of anti-nuclear claims that nuclear plants are...

Read More

Is “Pro-Nuclear” Becoming a Badge for Progressive Thinkers?

I’ve been enjoying the recent rash of pro-nuclear editorials in newspapers and other traditional media over the last several months.  I think this is a sign that momentum is building for transition from passive public support to a more active, vocal cry for more nuclear in our energy mix. Here are some examples: 5 Myths on Nuclear Energy On the comparison of nuclear power plants to atomic bombs A nuclear power plant is a radically different machine, designed with great care to convert nuclear fission into steady power over a period of years. You couldn’t turn a nuclear reactor into a bomb any more easily than you could power your house with a hand grenade. House Wrong to Rule Out Nuclear Regarding the recent vote in Minnesota to continue their ban on new nuclear plants… It is disturbing that the Minnesota House of Representatives has voted to sustain a 15-year moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants in the state. There are many reasons that nuclear power may not be an answer to Minnesota’s carbon pollution problems, but to simply rule it out of the equation does not make very much sense. Now is the Time to Go Nuclear And one of my favorites… Let’s get one thing straight.  Nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons are not the same thing.  It’s understandable that the term “nuclear” instigates fear.  After all, the nuclear arms race was central to the Cold War.   But fear should not excuse ignorance. It’s way too early to tell, but perhaps someday it will be “hip” to be “nuclear.” As a nuclear geek, I won’t get my hopes...

Read More