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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

U.S. Going Nuke-ular?

This Monday Congress agreed to guarantee loans for up to 80% of construction costs for new nuclear reactors. The legislation directs the Department of Energy to provide $20.5b for nuclear energy, $10b for renewables and $8b for “clean-coal” technology.

Numbers don’t lie. Only $10b of almost $40b in this bill is going towards the solution. What Congress is saying with this allocation is that renewables come in a distant second behind the already proven dangerous nuclear option.

What can be done to impress on Congress the need for real investment in real renewable energy? Focus the Nation teams have invited more than 100 members of the House and Senate to come to their campuses and discuss global warming solutions. That means about 400 of them still need to hear from you.

There’s another number of note here. Even if we generously assume that all the historical safety issues with nuclear reactors have been solved and that we can adequately secure them from terrorist attacks, nuclear power has a very low EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) ratio. Depending on whose numbers you use, nuclear plants may in fact take more energy to construct, maintain and deconstruct than they generate over their lifetimes, which is to say the EROEI is less than one.

Wind turbines have an EROEI between 18 and 25, and produce no emissions. Could it be any clearer?

Apparently it needs to be made a whole lot clearer to decision-makers in D.C. On Jan. 31, hundreds of local and state elected officials are already committed to engage with us on global warming solutions. It’s time to turn up the heat on Federal legislators and demand their attention.


DED said...

I'm really disappointed by your anti-nuclear stance. I strongly suggest you read Gwyneth Cravens' book "Power to Save The World." She was a former anti-nuclear activist until she educated herself on the subject.

Anonymous said...


Im sick and tired of all the hype and hysteria surrounding Nuclear Power. The greenies REALLY have it wrong this time and have for the last 30 years. Nuclear energy delivers cheap and efficient power to France and Japan and can do the SAME for the United States if all the red tape holding it back were cut out. Nuclear power is the ONLY means of energy production that produces waste that can itself be used to generate energy! Nuclear waste can and should be used to make nuclear batteries. Think of all the power that could be coming out of places like Yucca Mountain....