Print 46 comment(s) - last by Mint.. on Jun 22 at 12:01 PM

Oyster Creek Plant, the nation's first large commercial reactor  (Source: NRC)

Plants must go through an extensive multistep license process that ensures environmental and safety compliance. Despite this, environmentalists claim that the operators haven't given adequate information, and are suing to try to prevent the plant's reopening.  (Source: NRC)
Its the same tired tactics and hot air from radical environmental groups

The Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station sits near the shore of New Jersey, in Lacey Township, a small town in Ocean County.  The single boiling water reactor, commissioned in 1969, was the first large-scale commercial nuclear power plant in the United States.  It has a capacity of 625 MW, producing over 5,000 GWh in 2007, about 9 percent of the state's energy.

The benefits of the plant are numerous.  It reduces reliance on unstable oil sources, it provides clean energy, and it’s far cheaper than wind or solar, rivaling even fossil fuel generation in cost per kilowatt-hour.  The plant also is a boon for the local economy, creating over 900 jobs and donating over $100,000 yearly to the charity United Way.

This spring the plant won a 20-year extension of its operating license.  That's when the environmentalists reared their heads.  A plethora of alarmist groups, including the
New Jersey Environmental Federation, the New Jersey Sierra Club, the Public Interest Research Group, the Nuclear Information Resource Service and Grandmothers, Mothers and More for Energy Safety (GRAMMES) appealed the decision, taking it to the federal court system. 

The coalition's attorney, Richard Webster, of the Eastern Environmental Law Center, claims that the suit is over lack of information about how the plant will continue to operate safely.  This claim is flat-out false.  The plant submitted a bit of light reading -- a 462-page licensing application and a 59-page environmental impact report.  Both reports extensively detailed the safety precautions and environmental safeguards the plant would take.

The environmentalists' complaints center around two topics.  The first is Barnegat Bay.  The plant dumps controlled amounts of non-radioactive cooling water into the bay.  The water has little if any impact, raising the temperature at most a couple degrees in a small localized region.  Solar warming and currents can create similar heat pockets in ocean water without human intervention.

The second complaint concerns the 650 tons of radioactive waste that sits in a holding pond outside the plant.  Again, while the lobbies are eager to alarm the public, this pond, carefully constructed with concrete, poses no threat to the populace.  In the first place, this is low-grade radioactive waste, and secondly it has been carefully maintained.  And it is important to remember that these are the same lobbies that blocked applications of new plants that could remove and reprocess this waste.

If the people want something to protest about, protest the Environmental Federation, the Sierra Club, and these alarmists.  They are hurting the environment, their community, and our nation.  Worst of all, by forcing power companies to lose productivity and spend funds on legal defense; they're raising the cost of power for New Jersey citizens.  Let's hope this one sees its way swiftly through the Justice System and that people -- and our government representatives start standing up to this kind of behavior.

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RE: nuclear energy is not perfect
By Amiga500 on 6/8/2009 8:08:29 AM , Rating: 3
You DO realize it uses a, while plentiful, finite resource, right? You DO realize that the waste, while partially recyclable, is becoming increasingly difficult to store when you can't reuse it, right?

A big negative on both counts there.

1. Current uranium reserves at under $100/kg are sufficient for 30 odd years. Increase the price to $200/kg and that multiplies.

Then bring in reprocessing (which becomes economically efficent at around $250/kg uranium prices IIRC) and the supplies become effectively infinite.

Here is a journal paper on the subject - which is far above the pish you get on random net sites or blogs.

Nuclear Fission Fuel is Inexhaustible
Lightfoot, H.D.; Manheimer, W.; Meneley, D.A.; Pendergast, D.; Stanford, G.S.
EIC Climate Change Technology, 2006 IEEE
Volume , Issue , 10-12 May 2006 Page(s):1 - 8
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/EICCCC.2006.277268
Summary:Nuclear fission energy is as inexhaustible as those energies usually termed ldquorenewablerdquo, such as hydro, wind, solar, and biomass. But, unlike the sum of these energies, nuclear fission energy has sufficient capacity to replace fossil fuels as they become scarce. Replacement of the current thermal variety of nuclear fission reactors with nuclear fission fast reactors, which are 100 times more fuel efficient, can dramatically extend nuclear fuel reserves. The contribution of uranium price to the cost of electricity generated by fast reactors, even if its price were the same as that of gold at US$14,000/kg, would be US$0.003/kWh of electricity generated. At that price, economically viable uranium reserves would be, for all practical purposes, inexhaustible. Uranium could power the world as far into the future as we are today from the dawn of civilization-more than 10,000 years ago. Fast reactors have distinct advantages in siting of plants, product transport and management of waste.

2. The waste is over 99% recyclable using transmutation. Accelerated Particle reactors are capable of this, while currently in the lab stages only, in the future, AP reactors will be able to vastly reduce final waste amounts, and the radioactive waste that is left has relatively short half-lifes.

RE: nuclear energy is not perfect
By matt0401 on 6/8/2009 11:18:10 PM , Rating: 2
This is good to hear. Remember though that 30 some odd years is by no means infinite. As is 99% recyclable. If we are to arrive at a long term solution we need 100% recyclable nuclear waste. I do have to admit that 99% sounds like an excellent short term solution though, which is exactly what my previous post treats nuclear energy as.

RE: nuclear energy is not perfect
By Mint on 6/22/2009 12:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
You didn't understand his post. Currently uranium is $100/kg. We have 30 years at that price.

If we were willing to pay $14,000/kg, we have over 10,000 years of supply at that price (look up sea mining of uranium - it's also theorized that the earth's crust replenishes whatever we take out). Also, this price would only increase the cost of electricity by $0.003/kWh, which is nothing.

It's basically infinite in supply. We can replace it with high-altitude wind or thin-film solar or fusion when they become available and cheap. For now, though, nuclear power is a godsend.

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