Monday, January 22, 2007

"Nucular" Power

With the State of the Union coming soon, the buzz is that Geroge Bush will talk about enhancing "nucular" power as a means of combating global warming and increasing our energy independence.

Nuclear power has been given some incredibly large incentives in the last few congresses under the Republicans. I ran across an article that explains a lot more than I could.

The push for nuclear energy is compelling except for the fact that accidents are extremely deadly and that we don't have safe places to put spent fuel that remains radioactive for thousands of years. It takes hubris to think we could be smart enough or know enough about what the future holds for a section of the earththat far ahead. That hasn't stopped them from trying.

A story more close to home is a plan hatched by Toshiba to put a sodium based nuclear reactor in Galena Alaska, a mostly native village and formerly a forward Air Force base housing a handful of fighter jets. What I find particularly interesting is that this reactor can't be licensed to be installed in Japan, home country of Toshiba, so they suggest it for the Indians of rural Alaska? Smallpox infested blankets anyone?

I'd be more inclined to support fusion over fission, as that would leave us without the nasty radioactive byproducts. We haven't figured out how to do this yet, but the sun has. Maybe we could spend a large portion of our nuclear subsidies to subsidize solar energy? Hello? Is anyone there?


Blogger Deirdre Helfferich said...

Nuclear power is incredibly expensive and dangerous, not just in the storage problems, but in the mining, transport, and refining of ore. It's also a nonrenewable power source: There's only so much ore out there. The subsidies cost the federal taxpayer buckets. And plants do increase the background radiation, even when well run, causing health problems.

12:41 PM  

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