2012- not the end of the world for nuclear, either

The holiday season offers an unusual opportunity to hear what random people think about nuclear power. I was even asked what there is left to do, now that nuclear is more or less dead...!  Few realize how integral nuclear energy is, both for the United States and across the world-- and what an important and clean, stable source it is.

This graphic published by Le Monde a couple days ago is perfect to illustrate that.  It is actually even out of date for the U.S. construction--Not only are there 104 operating reactors in the U.S., but there are actually 5 under construction and 22 proposed for new construction.  Across the world, where our extremely cheap natural gas is less influential, the nuclear growth is much more pronounced.  China has 29 new reactors under construction, Russia has 10, and India has 7.  Even Japan has 3 under construction with 10 proposed.

Even Japan?

Yes, and in fact, the Japanese people elected a conservative pro-nuclear party into power last month.  Recently, presenting to the UN General Assembly, UNSCEAR's chair Wolfgang Weiss said that preliminary findings were that no radiation health effects had been observed in Japan among the public, workers or children in the area of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.  And now that the people have been able to rebuild and focus on what is important separate from the media's fear tactics, they realize that what they want is reliable power- to be warm, to have light, to run their businesses.

Total, there are 167 proposed nuclear builds, and 63 under construction.  It's a good thing too, because for each nuclear plant not built, it is usually replaced by coal or other extremely polluting forms of energy.  Even where it is partially replaced by wind or solar, a natural gas plant has to be installed at the same time.  Check out what happened in Germany when they decided, presumably because of their fear of tsunamis, to phase out their nuclear plants.  Also notice what happened in Japan.

Vive la nucléaire 2013!


  1. It would perhaps be useful to measure if there is any difference in environmental laws in the US and how they apply on Indian reservations. Can those laws and regulations which do not apply result in an enhanced possibility of building a nuclear power plant? Could the Indian reservations at Four Corners possibly furnish nuclear-generated electric power to California?


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