Nuclear power, not renewable energy, is risky course for U.S.

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  • rekha nadkarni
    Aug. 23, 2008 6:31 p.m.

    Your ideas are bold and thoughtful and provide a vision for developing sustainable solutions. While the technology is being developed, people living in the US must aggressively cut out waste in energy use, adopt energy efficient state of the art technology, and most importantly elect leaders who will implement policies that encourage near and long term actions that help the planet and its inhabitants! Without scaling back energy use through conservation and efficiency immediately, we will have many new coal and nuclear plants, not to mention off shore drilling options on the table, to satisfy an ever hungry-for-energy population!

  • Taylor
    March 4, 2008 11:03 a.m.

    In my opinion it sounds like a no brainer. Utilize the natural resources and stop destroying the earth just to save a buck. In the old days, tilling the grounds and replenishing the land was what people did. With technology advancements, it is obvious that we have forgotten the importance of caring for this world. I am not a hippy boy set out against technology, but I am not stupid either...if we don't become more aware of the environment and how our living effects it, then soon in the future we will wake up to a day where there is a serious lack of natural resources. That day will be a crisis that we could have avoided. Solar power should be researched and advanced with urgency!

  • Jeffrey
    Feb. 11, 2008 2:54 p.m.

    Makhidjani's proposals are totally unrealistic and misleading. After oil depletion, only nuclear power can provide the needed tera-watts of base-load electricity and heat to help manufacture synthetic fuels (including farm-grown bio-fuels) and support heavy industries (steel, aluminum, automobile manufacture, etc). With U-238 breeder reactors and reprocessing, there is enough uranium fuel to sustain the whole world for more than 2000 years. Weather-dependent wind and solar energy are fine for supplying small quantities of energy in remote regions, but could never supply tera-watts of power economically. When energy storage batteries are added to solar and wind farms one finds that such installations are four times more expensive than easily man-controllable nuclear power plants. Coal which is the only prime energy alternative to uranium should be preserved for our children as a raw material for making plastics and other organics when oil is gone; it should not be burnt! Without nuclear power to rescue us, the world would suffer a total economic collapse by 2035-2045. Read "The Nuclear Imperative - A Critical Look at the Approaching Energy Crisis", published by Springer(2006);ISBN 1-4020-4930-7.

  • Matt
    Feb. 11, 2008 12:06 p.m.

    Utah's wind potential is not remotely as profitable as Wyoming's and solar is extremely expensive. Let's push for nuclear.

  • Arjun Makhijani
    Feb. 11, 2008 10:33 a.m.

    1. The cost of 14 to 15 cents for solar should be compared to the delivered cost of new nuclear electricity, which will be about the same.
    2. Investments in efficiency plus renewable energy if balanced right will mean about the same total bills, even with a higher per kWh price.
    3. Reprocessing is costly and polluting. The French discharge 100 million gallons of radioactive liquids into the English Channel every year, polluting the oceans all the way to the Arctic and they pay 2 cents per kWh more for electricity derived from plutonium. They will still need a repository and do not have one.

  • Richard Stauffer
    Feb. 10, 2008 10:15 p.m.

    The article indicates that wind power can be produced for $8 to $11 per kilowatt hour and solar for $14 to $15 per kilowatt hour. Both are much more expensive than the current cost for electric power which is in $4 to $6 per kilowatt range. Do I detect that there will be a significant increase in the cost to the consumer if these new sources are developed?

  • Sensible Scientist
    Feb. 10, 2008 8:49 p.m.

    Anon above is right--there are many factual errors in the original letter. I'll just address one.

    "Mountains of nuclear waste" -- All existing U.S. spent nuclear fuel would fit comfortably on a football field, only a few feet deep. The issue of what to do with it is easy -- park it underground where, if all things go wrong, it will be safe until we can pull it out and reprocess it. That place is called Yucca Mountain, and it has been shown to be safe in all peer-reviewed scientific panels and publications.

    I have had over a thousand university students do their own research on all the major energy sources, and 99% of them come out for nuclear power and against solar. Why? Solar is inefficient and prohibitively expensive, and has severe environmental issues including heavy metal production and non-recyclable, toxic panels. Nuclear power has a proven 50 year safety record, including transportation.

  • Robert
    Feb. 10, 2008 3:09 p.m.

    Solar and wind need not take up lots of space. Parking lots can be covered and solar panels placed on the roofs (with the added benefit of having covered parking). Solar panels can be placed on building rooftops as well. It would make much more sense to have government buildings with solar roofs than to fight wars for oil or spend billions on nuclear power plants. The author makes an excellent point about water. The only place in Utah with enough water for a nuclear plant would be along the Green River. Do we really want to use that water to cool a nuclear reactor?

  • Spanish Fork
    Feb. 10, 2008 3:02 p.m.

    I live near the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon where for the past several years a wind farm has been in the planning stages. It has been moved from the most optimal location to another location. It was supposed to be running last year, but there is still no progress. It seems that wind farms have the same NIMBY problems as nuclear power. If we are to cut back on coal alternative sources will never be able to produce the electricity 24/7 to match the need. If solar power were viable, we would be buying solar powered flashlights. I guess we would have to learn to get along without at night and calm winds.

  • samhill
    Feb. 10, 2008 12:40 p.m.

    I don't understand the often either/or tenure of this debate. It is, and will be for the long foreseeable future, some combination of all the various energy sources.

    Speaking of which, I'm surprised at the near absence in the article of the barely mentioned geothermal source of energy.

    Especially for the Western U.S., this has some of the greatest potential of all yet is often neglected in the discussion.

  • Anon
    Feb. 10, 2008 11:01 a.m.

    Actually, there is a very good way to handle nuclear waste - launch it into the sun.

  • Mark Whitney
    Feb. 10, 2008 10:30 a.m.

    Interesting comments, except there is no climate crisis. There are many good reasons to improve our energy outlook, but CO2 is not one of them.
    Mark Whitney

  • James
    Feb. 10, 2008 9:57 a.m.

    For those who have read my posts you know that I am not a fan of "Global Warming." That being said, a great energy policy is a great idea, and should be pursued. How many people have died in wars that ultimately boil down to petroleum.

    How valid is this article? Take parking lots: How do you translate that into electricity? Is there new technology that allows asphalt to act like solar panels? Or imbed miniature solar panels into asphalt? I am all ears on this.

    I have said it before and I will say it again, "Global Warming" is to the left what the War on Terror is to the right. Both have elements of good policy, and legitimate concerns. Both are completely abused, embelished and ultimately do far, far more harm than good. Facts are there are terrorists who would do the US harm. And there are much better policies to be had when it comes to the environment.

    Today's paper has a story about 25% of the bills in the legislature having conflicts of interest. Throw in Huntsman Chemical is likely making money off of credit cap-n-trades, we have another conflict of interest with the governor.

  • Anon
    Feb. 10, 2008 9:12 a.m.

    There are too many unsupported assertions, and questionable propositions, in this article to take it seriously.

  • If we weren't so dumb
    Feb. 10, 2008 8:38 a.m.

    If we would reprocess and reuse our nuclear waste as many foreign countries do, we would have more nuclear fuel to burn and less nuclear waste. Also there is serious talk of burying much of the nuclear waste near Salt Lake City. Why so close to a population center? Don't we own Islands around the world in the Pacific including Aleution Islands on Alaska where no one lives? Nuclear fuel would not be so problematic if we would be a little bit smarter in how we handle it.

  • Dave
    Feb. 10, 2008 8:06 a.m.

    Missing from this equasion, is the fact that wind and solar gobble up large tracts of land, and provide sporadic elec. Also whith todays technology they cannot provide the elec. used in manufacturing, which is were the majority of elec. is used.