Print 57 comment(s) - last by Ringold.. on Mar 3 at 12:52 AM

Electricity production costs drop to the lowest point in the industry's history.

You won't hear this on CNN, but the U.S. nuclear power industry set a record last year.  Despite rising costs of fuel and regulation, the average production cost of electricity dropped to an astounding 1.66 cents per kilowatt-hour.  This is a figure well below the cost of coal-generated electricity, and a tiny fraction of the cost of solar or wind power.  Furthermore,  nuclear plants generated 36% more electricty than they did 15 years ago, without a single new plant being built.  The industry just keeps getting better and better.

Nuclear power is a true clean, green energy source, with zero CO2 emissions, and less environmental impact than solar or wind.  Those sources of energy are extremely diffuse--which means they must be collected and concentrated.  A 1,000 MW solar plant requires 2 million tons of concrete, 600,000 tons of steel, 75,000 tons of glass, 35,000 tons of aluminum, and a whole host of rare and exotic elements.   This is several hundred times the materials needed by a nuclear plant the same size.  And the nuclear plant will have much higher availability and require much less maintenance.  Most telling of all is the costs which, for solar power, currently average a painful 28.6 cents per kW-hour.

Other nations are wiser here than the US.  France  generates 76% of its power from nuclear, South Korea has several new plants on order, and Finland is building a new one, specifically to meet its commitment to the Kyoto Protocol.

Expanding the US nuclear power industry would allow the US to dramatically reduce carbon emissions ... and to save money while doing so.  And it's a solution available today, without the need for years of additional research and development.  Its high time we pulled our heads out of the sand, and started using it to its full potential.

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RE: obvious bias
By Spivonious on 3/1/2007 10:32:09 AM , Rating: 2
Ever seen a wind farm? Let's clear out acres of forest to put up big fans. That's really green, isn't it?

RE: obvious bias
By ttowntom on 3/1/2007 11:48:41 AM , Rating: 2
A few hundred million acres of forest cleared, to make room for windfarms-- or a few nuclear power plants. The choice is pretty clear to me.

RE: obvious bias
By JonB on 3/2/2007 1:20:14 PM , Rating: 2
Windfarms have one big advantage over any nuclear plant - they don't need ANY water to run. All your fossil fuel and nuclear plants use heat to make steam, use steam to turn turbines, then must cool that steam back to water and repeat the cycle. All that heating and cooling needs lots of water. Thats why they are always near lakes, rivers and oceans. Windfarms can be up on mountains and hills that really aren't much use for farming or raising cattle. The birds learn after a while to stay away.

RE: obvious bias
By Ringold on 3/3/2007 12:49:08 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm.. with water covering just a little bit of the Earth, I don't see how it's a problem? Especially considering one of the occasionally-mentioned benefits of nuclear power is the ability to double as a water desalination plant (which states like my own, FL, will be in desperate need of relatively soon).

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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