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With guaranteed federal loans and insurance protection promised to the first power companies to build a new wave of nuclear plants, the race is on for construction of up to 10 stations between Maryland and Mississippi.
At least two utilities plan to announce their intended sites within a few weeks. And some communities appear enthusiastic about luring the jobs and tax dollars the plants would bring. One South Carolina county looking to land a proposed Duke Energy Corp. plant has even offered a 50 percent break on property taxes.
But even with the nuclear power industry in an apparent resurgence in the fast-growing Southeast, one traditional participant in the debate over nuclear power has remained largely silent. Environmentalists, mostly mum so far about the potential dangers and pitfalls associated with this proposed round of reactors, say they're just taking a long view. [no, they just blinked first - DRM]
"The nuclear industry has tried to revitalize itself a number of times in the past," said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy in Atlanta. "Just because the political climate is favorable for the next couple of years, these things take 10 years to build and the climate may not be favorable then."
No nuclear reactor has been ordered for construction since 1973, and the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania in 1979 killed interest in anything beyond completing plants then under construction. The United States now gets 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors. [ funny how the more recent and infinitely more devastating 1986 Chernobyl Disaster or any of the multiple World Nuclear Accdidents are ever mentioned in puff pieces such as this - DRM]
In North Carolina, where Charlotte-based Duke Energy and Raleigh-based Progress Energy Inc. expect to announce their preferred sites for nuclear plants within weeks, environmentalists want to have a broader conversation before getting into a debate over new plants.
"We do not want to jump the gun and put out a bunch of incendiary comments," said Ivan Urlaub, executive director of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, a nonprofit advocacy group. "We haven't done an honest evaluation of the role energy efficiency can play in our economic development and our energy future as a state. Until we do that we think it would be bad policy to approve any new nuclear or coal plants."
Urlaub's group is working with at least a half-dozen others in compiling data to support their argument that environmental and economic prudence dictates using existing energy supplies more efficiently rather than spending to increase supplies. Their report will be used to fight plant licensing efforts in hearings before state regulators across the Southeast, environmentalists said.
"The utilities have to demonstrate that the facilities are needed. The first step is assessing demand and what are the opportunities to meet it," said Molly Diggins, executive director of the Sierra Club's North Carolina chapter.
The Energy Department forecasts that the consumption of nuclear energy will increase 5.3 percent between this year and 2015 the earliest date when any of the proposed new plants might come on line and by almost 11 percent by 2030.
Renewable energy, excluding hydroelectric, now produces less than half as much power as U.S. nuclear plants. But that source is predicted to grow by 29 percent in 2015 and 76 percent in 2030, says the Energy Information Administration, the government's energy statistical agency.
In an environment where coal, oil and gas prices remain unstable following recent spikes, nuclear supporters say the world needs a variety of power sources that don't contribute to global warming. [Urainium consumption worldwide is almost twice the quantity that is being produced, making for a rapidly growing shortage of uranium. The pro-Nuclear activists and Global-Warming handwringers are neglecting to warn us that by switching from fossil fuels to nuclear energy we are just trading-in one type of fuel shortage for another !! Further, no one ever mentions that mining and purification of uranium ore is highly, almost 100%, dependent on fossil fuel - DRM]
"In a carbon-constrained world ... [what is this supposed to mean??? All life on earth is carbon-based and carbon-dependent - DRM] nuclear plants have got to be in that mix," said Andy White, the president and chief executive officer of Wilmington-based GE Energy, the nuclear engineering and consulting business of General Electric Corp. [anyone ever hear of the fox guarding, or suggesting the design of, the chicken house? Further, none of the pro-nuke folks ever seem to address the question of 'just where does all their uranium fuel come from, anyway?' - DRM]
White expects lots of business over the next decade until the first plants open and beyond the middle of the century as old plants are replaced. After 2015, White said the nuclear industry will need to build two plants a year to replace the power lost as aging, first-generation reactors go offline, translating to 60 or more new reactors. The U.S. has about 100 existing plants. [How come no one ever mentions the COST TO TAXPAYERS of de-commissioning 'used' reactors, or the logistics of storing their spent nuclear fuel for 10,000 years? - DRM]
Progress Energy, which has almost 1.4 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina, expects to announce a preferred site in one of the two states this month, spokesman Keith Poston said. A site for a second nuclear plant in Florida, where the company has an additional 1.5 million customers, should be announced by April, he said. [Maybe, before lunging to build a new one, Mr. Poston should be more concerned for properly decommissioning all these old nukes, for which there is insufficient funds available !! - DRM]
Before clearing the way for construction, state regulators are expected to investigate whether the utility can squeeze more production out its existing plants.
"Certainly conservation and energy efficiency has a role to play, as does the continuing exploration of renewable resources," Poston said.
Progress added 69,000 homes and businesses in its three states over the past year, Poston said, and expects to add 600,000 new customers over the next decade as the population boom continues in its service area.
The options for the heavy-duty plants needed to supply all those customers come down to natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear, he said.
"We think that nuclear may end up as the best option for a variety of reasons, but we're always going to have a mix of fuels to protect customers from volatility in supply and price," Poston said. [So, will it be you, Mr. Poston, who is going to protect us from a genetic holocaust when the inevitable accident or terrorist attack befalls one or more of your new nukes? - DRM]
Duke Energy's utility division, Duke Power, is preparing to add up to 60,000 customers a year in its two-state service area of North Carolina and South Carolina, spokeswoman Rita Sipe said.
Duke will select a site in one of the states soon, but even that milestone isn't expected to draw much response from environmental watchdogs, said Jim Warren, executive director of the anti-nuclear North Carolina Waste Awareness & Reduction Network.
"There's a lot of organizing going on. I don't think as much of it will be geared around when they make an announcement. Most of the opposition will come in a phased type of way," he said. "It will especially be geared toward the need for a full-blown public debate."
On the Net:
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
The article above seems to imply that nuclear energy is the only solution to the "energy problem" - but this is a deliberate obfuscation. Be sure to read these articles of truth that say almost unlimited fossil energy has already been verified as existing within the continental United States in OIL-BEARING COAL and OIL-BEARING SHALE. Utilization of this resource will bring in "oil" at the equivalent price of about $35 a barrel. It can provide all our needs, for the next 40 years at least, without further kowtowing to the America-hating Arabs, or paying any more ransom to the rabid dictators of South America. More importantly, it helps reduce the threat of both nuclear accidents and nuclear terrorism.
This essay on so-called Global Warming will give you additional insight on important pros and cons of continued usage of fossil fuels.
Click these links to learn more about the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear disaster, and the monstrous genetic damage the residual radiation is visiting upon children born in the area.
10/04/2005: Progress Energy Florida announces plans for a new nuke in Florida.
Some Australians (the wise ones) are currently (March 2007) in an ominous struggle against being force-fed
dozens of new nuclear powerplants, propelled by government invocation of the holy-green-gods of "Renewable Energy" and
"Global Warming." You can read the sensible side of the debate here at
NuclearFlower.com. The Brits also have a
group of wise folks who oppose the forces seeking to greatly increase England's number of nuclear
powerplants. Read about their furious struggle here at
The pro-Nuke folks never seem to address the question of 'just where does all their uranium fuel come from, anyway?' Urainium consumption worldwide is almost twice the quantity that is being produced, making for a rapidly growing shortage of uranium. The pro-Nuclear activists and Global-Warming handwringers are neglecting to warn us that, by switching from fossil fuels to nuclear energy, we are just trading-in one type of fuel shortage for another!! Further, no one ever mentions that mining, transportation, and purification of uranium ore is highly, almost 100%, dependent on fossil fuel. So the highly touted "freedom" that nuclear energy supposedly grants from Arab-oil-dependence is merely a hollow argument based on a false premise.
Proliferation of nuclear energy is a complex subject, and the reader is advised to do further research on all the various aspects of its component parts. Form your own opinion based on the best facts available, not the highly spun propaganda spoon fed by the media. The worst thing one can do is to do nothing. Hold your elected public officials fully accountable.
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