Tuesday, April 17, 2012

5. Why Nuclear?

What an excellent question: "Why Nuclear?"
The answer for me really boils down to 2 primary points, each of which with numerous sub-points.

1. Existing, operational nuclear power plants are amazing.

- Nuclear energy has immense energy density. Only a handful of truckloads of fuel needs to be delivered every 18-24 months to provide electrical power for upwards of half a million people per operating unit.

- Nuclear energy's total costs have already all been internalized, with no emissions of CO2, NOx, SO2, Mercury, or particulates. "Spent" fuel storage has been shown to be safe. Ultimate "spent" fuel storage costs have been funded via the nuclear waste fund ($0.001/kW-hr generated). Decommissioning funds are in place for when plants cease to operate far off in the future.

- Nuclear power has a stellar safety record.

2. Currently operating commercial nuclear power plants merely scratch the surface of what is physically possible.

- Nuclear power plants will be able to provide energy in more sectors of the energy market than merely base load electricity in the future, while still continuously operating at full capacity other than either forced or re-fueling outages.

- Future nuclear power plants will utilize a greater portion of their potential fuel, possibly approaching 100% utilization rather than less than 5% presently.

- Greater fuel utilization ensures less waste to be dispositioned. If utilization gets to near 100%, the time scale that that the waste is required to be isolated will be immensely decreased.

- Advancements in nuclear energy could potentially allow a solution that would render a geologic repository (such as Yucca Mountain) a non-necessity, even for the already-generated "spent" (partially-used) commercial nuclear fuel.

- Nuclear energy's capital costs are not inherently as expensive as they have been portrayed to be. In numerous cases, they have been increased due to flat out obstructionism.

- Modularization and the NRC's new method of licensing present a promising means of avoiding the historical cost increases that many people (wrongly) think are inherent to nuclear power plants.

- Nuclear energy represents technological progress.

- Nuclear energy enables the possibility of a much less oppressive future overall.

- Nuclear energy can allow future necessary energy transitions to be more gradual, rather than being abrupt and likely destructive resulting from resource scarcity.

- Peaceful nuclear energy is legitimately scalable to power the whole world, for a long, long time and help make the world a more peaceful place......as long as it is actually allowed to make progress.

Viva Nuclear Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurs!!!


  1. It's articles like these that's once again illicit hope for the future in me. Great points made here!

  2. If you haven't yet come across it, I highly recommend that you read Rod Adams's blog Atomic Insights. His blog was the main driver in me developing the strong pro-nuclear stance that I hold and in my decision to start this blog of my own (which has been neglected, sadly, over the past months).