A case for or against nuclear power generation turns upon the risk of people becoming better
off with it or without it.
Never forget that electricity utility corporations want to perpetuate the near monopoly
supply position they enjoy. Nuclear power generation is attractive to them both in preserving
their monopoly position, and, it can be marketed as an alternative "cleaner" source (compared
to the burning of fossil fuels – coal, gas,oil).
Increased Generating Capacity
Of itself, a perceived need for more generating capacity in the future cannot justify nuclear
power. It merely predicates that steps be taken to meet the anticipated deficit, in the
interests of consumers. Using the money, the time to build a nuclear facility, and invest that
in equipping consumers with the solar panels available today has overwhelming advantages. It
creates jobs locally. It eliminates the need for environmentally destructive transmission lines.
It kick starts a vital new industry in Florida essential to our energy future. A single decision
to do this for every consumer in the Villages, for example, reduces the need for any nuclear capacity in Levy
Quality of Life
Certainly, electricity enables people to control their comfort levels in terms of indoor
warmth, coolness, home entertainment and office facilities, and also fuels much of the process
of creating wealth. Moreover, vehicles soon may use electricity to make more efficient use of
fossil fuels. On the other hand any consequent impairment of the environment inhibits rest,
recreation and reason for living and travel.
Climate change over time poses a profound threat to our national well being. In this respect
nuclear electricity generation scores over burning fossil fuels to generate electricity, by
releasing fewer green house gases into the atmosphere. However, people stand to lose more than
they gain from nuclear power generation.
When operating normally, all nuclear power plants release invisible contaminants into the air,
water and soil, putting the population at bodily risk from cumulative doses of radiation. No
dosage is a safe dose.
Moreover, all nuclear power plants produce highly dangerous radioactive spent fuel, which is
stored "temporarily" on site in shallow ponds. The waste, radioactive for thousands of
years, is hazardous to humans and the environment and affords a ready terrorist target.
Attracting highly mobile terrorist cells makes the nation less secure, negating the marketing
spin that nuclear power generation makes the nation less dependent upon Middle Eastern and
Russian oil and natural gas supplies for electricity generation. Notwithstanding that our
military effectiveness depends upon a sufficient supply of oil products.
It costs more to operate and maintain a nuclear power plant per unit of electricity produced
than it does using coal or natural gas, and infinitely more than solar power installed at the
place where electricity is consumed. Nuclear plants are hideously expensive to build and take many years to bring on line.
Costs of nuclear power generation, aside from direct costs, include:
Uranium mining,conversion, enrichment and fabrication as fuel.
Safeguarding, storing and transporting radioactive waste.
Regulatory and NRC costs.
Radiation monitoring programs
Economic damage from toxic contaminants and reduced affected property values
End of life costs of shutting down and dismantling plants (legally required)
Diversion of funds and talent away from evolving other forms of energy generation
Both money and water are scarce resources. The consequences of an accident at a nuclear
facility can impact generations.
Water is lost as steam used to drive turbines to generate electricity. Water is used to cool
the reactor, even when power is not being produced. Quantities of water consumed daily exceed
that of many of our cities.
Releasing plumes of heated cooling waters back into the waterways and estuarine areas harms
aquatic life and the dependent commercial and recreational seafood industries, putting at risk
the economies of those localities which depend upon those industries.
The many years it takes to plan authorize and build a nuclear power plant, inevitably
involves much conjecture in assessing future need for added generating capacity. Moreover, the
rate at which demand grows over time is gradual and requires a gradual increase in capacity as
time passes – not a sudden surge in capacity at a future date.
Modular technology, for a house, retail, office or industrial complex is available today, in
the form of photo voltaic cell arrays, enabling more efficient use of the energy generated, as
demand grows over time.
Not only would a policy decision to pursue this notion attract capital and employment
opportunities for many Americans, it would stimulate research and development in that technology
to help us take a step forward in world markets.