Welcome to the show – we have a lot of news this week. I'll also joined by David Bradish a data analyst and mathematician with the Nuclear Energy Institute.
First the news…
Reactor vendors order major components.
And it turns out that Constellation is not he only company that has begun to order heavy forgings. General Electric has also begun that process. And it appears that US suppliers are getting into the game. BWX Technologies of Virginia signed an agreement with Areva to manufacture nuclear forgings at their manufacturing facility in
Iran threatens to use Oil as a Weapon
So much for their prior promises NOT to use oil as a weapon!
The US Department of Energy is offering $20 million for siting studies for used fuel reprocessing facilities which will be built under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). Encouraged by the response to GNEP, the DOE is now proposing a two phase development for fuel recycling. In the near term it will deploy Areva's Coex process on a commercial scale, and after further R&D, the Urex+ process. Wastes from the latter process would be made up of only fission products, and thus be shorter-lived and easier to accommodate in a repository.
The countries identified by the DOE as likely participants, besides the
As I mentioned earlier, In a few minutes David Bradish of the Nuclear Energy Institute will join us to discuss the economics of nuclear energy. David is an expert a analyzing data to get to the facts that are sometimes hidden below the surface.
With many environmental leaders coming out in favor of nuclear energy, and nuclear plants operating more reliably and safely than ever, the antinuclear faction in the mainstream media is stepping up their attempts to paint nuclear power as too expensive to compete in the global energy market.
Today we're going to spend some time taking a close look at one such recent attempt by KAI RYSSDAL of American Public Radio and his guest MARK HERTSGAARD who took a shot at the economics of nuclear energy.
Back in 1983 Mark Hertsgaard wrote a book on nuclear energy called “Nuclear, Inc.: The Men and Money Behind Nuclear Energy" which is out of print. If you take a look on line you'll find a good deal of recent writing by Mr Hertsgaard that is critical of nuclear energy because, he claims, it's way too expensive, and our limited funds should be spent on conservation and not on more generation capacity, particularly nuclear.
I'm going to play a clip from the American Public Radio broadcast, and then David will join me to provide a counterpoint. Before I play it, though, I want to be totally above the board here and tell you that I am only playing a portion of the American Public Radio show. If you want to hear the entire interview then you can find it at Marketplace.org.
Listen to Audio 1
Mark Hertsgaard has been vocal that nuclear energy is too expensive for greenhouse gas reductions, and that nuclear is seven times more costly than conservation. That's a perplexing bit of logic, and doesn't pass the reality test. Every source of energy production is far more expensive than conservation! In order for that argument to make since you have to believe the human race will be able to reduce energy consumption below current levels, but that's not going to happen! If you've listened to my show before you'll know that I'm not advocating a disregard for conservation - on the contrary, I’m passionate that we need to find every way possible to reduce our energy consumption, and to transfer our energy foot print away from fossil fuels to clean sources. But the energy hungry world needs electricity. Access to electricity is the single most important factor in increasing the standard of living and quality of life in a society, and the developing nations of the world are NOT going to reduce their energy consumption.
If you accept that as a fact of life, and it is, then you come to the next step - deciding which forms of energy production you're going to spend your limited capitol on. It comes down to cost, and where David Bradish can help put this in perspective. Here’s David!
Listen to my discussion with David
One thing we didn't have a chance to discuss was Mark Hertsgaard's assertion that nuclear energy can't survive without subsidies, and David has a lot of information on that topic. He's agreed to join us again on a future show to discuss that.
"This Week in Nuclear" Episode #25