They say if you are standing on railroad tracks with your back toward the oncoming train, you very seldom hear it coming. Sadly for many track walkers, that ends up being a sure fired way to get run over. America is in the same position. While we were standing on the tracks watching that train on health care come and go, an even larger train was barreling down on us. Surprisingly most of us never saw it coming.
When discussing power in America there are some facts few can dispute. The aging power grid is falling down before our eyes. America’s addiction to power will be hard to break. And if 2010’s summer turns out to be as hot as this past winter was cold and snowy, many a/c systems will be firing away sucking up power like there is no tomorrow. That increased demand for residential power coupled with the ensuing commercial needs will cause blackouts and rolling misery everywhere the system fails. And despite the fact that energy is being created everyday from both burning carbon and capturing the sunshine, wind and water around us, to some that is just not enough. For them it is time to go nuclear!
For those of you who thought nuclear power was tucked away safely out of sight and not to be resurrected again in your lifetime, here’s a final Jeopardy question for you. What country has the most nuclear power plants? If you are like most people you said France. After all, they and India have been using nuclear power for years. And they have been doing it safely from what the PR people tell you. According to them it’s clean safe technology and you Americans have nothing to worry about. At least that is the word on the streets when it comes to…” psst, hey buddy, want to buy some clean energy!”
Well the answer to the question of who has more nuclear power plants is not France or India. It’s the US of A. We have more functioning nuclear power plants than any other country in the world and if one can say they have been operating quietly under the radar for years with no problems, then that is just fine with everyone. The old adage, “let sleeping dogs lie” could well pertain to the nuclear industry. We also should note we have the oldest plants as well, that have nowhere to put their generated highly toxic wastes. In fact most of the plants store their waste right on site. How’s that Yucca Mountain thing working out for you Ronnie?
For sure one thing Americans of old (70’s & 80’s) are scared more about nuclear power than anything else. It wasn’t that long ago we lived thru Three Mile Island and got scared that everyone in Pennsylvania and most of New Jersey would need to move overnight. Add to that the Chernobyl disaster and several other almost catastrophes, and one can say nuclear power could at best be tolerated if all the lights were out and the candles we were burning had suddenly started costing sixty dollars a piece. Just kidding. Long before the power starts flickering, nuclear power is set to become a main stay of the American energy market, for those who were so opposed to it have mellowed a bit over time. So what if Pennsylvania, Georgia, or Texas are at risk?
Calling nuclear power clean green power and fussing up the linguistics around it will be Madison Avenues job in the near future. Never mind, there is still no way to dispose of the wastes safely or that the cost of such plants will make the worry over cost of health care reform and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars pale by cost of comparison.
The nuclear industry is licking it’s chops to get started and if you thought lobbying to get health care shot down, or funding for the wars a tough go, you ain’t seen nothing yet….. (More to come…)