The Amy H Remley Foundation  
   
     
 

Energy Choices

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 County.

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.

National Security

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.

Dollar Costs

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

Environmental Issues

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.

Conclusion

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.

News and Views
News Items

November 30, 2013
On environment, shortsightedness costs Florida big.
Scott Maxwell, Taking Names.
read more

October 9, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
The Fuel Cell Industry Review 2013.
read more

September 25, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
The Potential for Fuel Cell Prime Power in Japan.
read more

August 1, 2013
Duke Energy to cancel proposed Levy County nuclear plant.
read more

May 22, 2013
Fuel Cell Today analysis.
Electrolysers for Renewable Energy Efficiency.
read more

March 13, 2013
Beyond Electricity: Using Renewables Effectively.
read more

September 24, 2012
Sewer Systems Legal Filing.
read more

February 1, 2012
Fuel Cell Today update.
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January 13, 2012
Sewer Agenda.
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December 23, 2011
Scientist: Water account overdrawn.
read more

Novemver 14, 2011
Submission to the Citrus County Commissioner, 14 November, 2011.
read more