Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How clean is my electricity?

link (via Slate)
You'll recall that my electricity comes from Iderbola's wind farms. But, this is informative as to how New York City and Westchester (50 % nuke, 0 % coal) stack up against the rest of the nation (20 % nuke, 50 % coal.) Wind, or other 'non hydro renewables' such as giant gerbil wheels, are at 1 % here, 2 % nationally. So, signing up for Iderbola can make a difference.

Look how little emissions we have here! This really makes nuclear power look attractive. The Wall Street Journal had a sales bit on it yesterday. Al Gore's concerns regarding proliferation aside, we have a serious waste disposal issue with nuclear as well as a sourcing issue going forward. Also, I live near Indian Point, so I know how highly the NRC values safety.
Mark Jacobs, of the Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, said the “… lack of comprehensiveness …” in the [NRC relicensing application] process does not protect the public.


Anonymous said...

What protects the public is Admiral Hyman Rickover's safety-first design theories (for the protection of nuclear sailors) as they were upgraded into America's nuclear generating plants, and the slowly-refined methods of running these plants, which have now reached an apogee of effectiveness after 40-50 years, along with (give credit where due) the constant watchdogging, which has exposed all the hidden problems, forcing owners to address them.

The sum of all these influences makes nuclear plants much safer than wind plants (which have killed 38 people, and millions of birds.... nuclear plants in America have killed exactly zero people, and no birds.)

Solar panels are dirty by virtue of their heavy use of chemicals like arsenic (which has a half life of forever).

Ethanol, of course, requires two gallons of gasoline to produce one gallon of ethanol, and burning wood or fossil fuels releases carbon in vast quantities.

So what is a clean power source?

Live in an unheated home, using only animal power for transport,
growing your own food in a garden plot.

Then you will have clean power.

That, and nuclear.

Rionn Fears Malechem said...

The... uh... apogee? Are you implying that nuclear operational effectiveness is about to plummet?

I'm not sure how one can say the hidden problems have been addressed. One can talk about the previously hidden problems, but it seems cavalier to assume that there are no further hidden problems.

It's difficult to neither overstate nor understate the dangers of nuclear power. And, frankly, stating them exactly would require my developing expertise, which I try not to do. However, Indian Point is leaking Tritium and Strontium 90, and has had a host of other problems. While it may be unfair to judge nuclear power based on Indian Point, as it has an emergency shutdown rate 5 - 6 times normal, it is my closest reactor.

Note that when nuclear energy kills you, it doesn't whack you with a turbine. It poisons your groundwater and incrementally raises your cancer risk.

Also note that the three mile island accident essentially ended nuclear construction in this country, with the result that nearly every reactor in American was built without the experience of that event.