Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sign the Nuke Free Petition

-This Bill has been signed already, but I think the point is still an important one to make.

Nuclear energy, as most people already know, has a ton of problems associated with it, not the least of which is the need to deal with the spent fuel rods which will continue to be radioactive for centuries to come. I recall reading that Yucca Mountain in Nevada was considering using solar panels to power the underground fans in their nuclear storage sites. There's some irony for ya.

The Nuke Free Petition concerns the energy bill that is now before Congress that authorizes "virtually unlimited loan guarantees for backers of new nuclear reactors." I personally think this is a huge problem, signed the petition, and urge you to do the same.

Here's my big problem with this petition and the bill before congress. Neither seem to deal with the real underlying problem which is our need for cheap energy. I don't want a nuclear plant in my back yard any more than anyone else does, but I also don't want coal powered plants there either. Neither is a sustainable option. What bums me out is that nowhere on the site (or in the video) does anyone mention conservation. It seems to me that if we as a nation didn't need more energy, we could make a pretty good case for not building more power plants. Having said that, why not have an addendum on to the site that says that you are signing the petition to send congress a message, and furthermore, that you will work towards cutting your energy use by 20% next year, so that in the future, we need less power in the first place.

Having said all of that, it's an important petition and I urge you to sign it, but send them a note explaining that you're going to do your part by cutting down as well.

Live Sustainably



Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of nuclear power - I grew up next to TMI and lived through that accident and all the fear and disinformation that surrounded it - but I do see the need for large scale power generation that doesn't depend on daylight or wind or all the unpredictabilities of most renewable sources. And aside from the waste, the power generation itself is clean.
Realistically, we use a lot of electricity and will continue to use a lot of electricity. I think renewables will ultimately make a difference, but I also think it will be a long time before the average member of the public has a solar array on his rooftop. I expect it will take a host of different technologies working together to meet the needs of all of us, but very few of the current renewable technologies can supply electricity reliably, day in day out, in the quantities needed today and, probably, tomorrow. The surface area required by solar panels makes them unwieldly when you begin talking about megawatts and gigawatts (Go Google, I'm holding my breath) - yes, I understand the concept of local power generation on site and millions of small power plants in each of our backyards, but I still don't think that will ever meet 100% of our energy needs. At least not in my lifetime. (Even with my 3.3 kw solar array, I'll still be on the grid at night, drawing power from Burbank's natural gas fired powerplant. All those plugin hybrids have to plug in to something to get their overnight charges!) Maybe I'm being a pessimist, but I don't see it happening when I look at my neighbors in Burbank, and I believe they're probably more progressive than their counterparts in Ohio or Mississippi or anywhere else that's not California.

Yeah, I know the billions of dollars a single nuke plant costs can pay for a lot of solar cells and windmills, and if we could commit those kinds of resources to renewable we'd start to see a bigger change more quickly. Then it's just a battle for the hearts and minds and wills of all those other people who haven't seen the (sun)light. I guess that's where you come in :) Maybe nuclear does suck...

Dave said...

Hey Derrick,
Thanks for the post. As I mentioned I'm definitely not a fan of nuclear, and can't imagine what it was like to grow up near one. I've often noticed you have a healthy glow, but i just assumed it was your diet (heh heh).
Seriously though, I'm all for banning nukes, but we better come up with alternatives AND figure out a way to conserve a ton of energy at the same time. I just don't like the idea of saying we're going to ban a huge "clean" form of power without also saying "and we are willing to make sacrifices to do that".
I'll pop up a blog about the idea of plugging in your car at night but I recently had a really good conversation with the VP of Con Edison and she told me that the studies that have been done (looking for them right now) show that 80% of the cars in the nation could be electric and if plugged in at night (which one assumes that they would be), they would have no impact ont he grid. I guess the idea is that you can't really turn generators on and off, and since they need to be at full capacity during the day, they need to actually waste tremendous amounts of energy at night since they still need to generate it but there is not need. Interesting stuff.
Can you blog an entry for me about how you are coming to get your solar system? I think it's something worth putting out there, as many electric companies would be wise to do what Burbank is doing.