New Nukes

January 8, 2009

Finally after about a 30 year hiatus, new nuclear generating plants are being proposed here in the U.S.  There may be legitimate concerns over the need to get a permanent waste storage facility (like Yucca Mountain in Nevada) up and running, and perhaps other more site-specific concerns about some of these proposals.  But the knee-jerk, blanket opposition to these proposed new plants is badly mis-guided and counterproductive to a reasoned discussion of the new plant proposals. 

Herewith some very general “food for thought”, as presented in person at an initial NRC public meeting in

Glen Rose, Texas on the evening of January 6, 2009.




Be sure to keep the    b r o a d     picture in view…


Why would we consider the environmental impact of any proposed project separately from considering the impacts of whatever the alternative(s) to that project are??   For that matter, how could we consider only the environmental impacts of the project??   There are lots of impacts, environmental and otherwise, of all the alternatives, too – including the oft-ignored alternative of doing little or nothing about the situation for which the project is being considered!!


Surely, if we don’t take a broad view of the situation, we run the risk of skewed policy decisions, no?  (& the narrower our focus, the greater the skewing risk!)


Alternative / Renewable energy  sources have their own serious environmental Impacts!   (not to mention their much lower energy ‘density’ & continuity of availability).  For example, the infrastructure needed to harness these other power sources consumes tremendous resources (in materials, land & monetarily).  And unless a great deal more resources are used for the “capacity storage” that all these sporadically-available power sources require, we’ll still have to use conventional, always-available power sources to ‘fill in’ for when the Alternative / Renewable sources aren’t available.  (Wind & Solar are highly variable in availability!)


Excessive Conservation also has adverse environmental impacts – from the more impoverished conditions resulting from too much reliance on Conservation.     A more prosperous society is more able to afford the costs of higher levels of environmental preservation!



Just as “No one is an Island” (unto themselves), we dare not consider, in isolation, the impacts of just one (kind of) proposal.


Something else to keep in mind as deliberation proceeds on these proposed new nuclear power generating facilities:  


The validity of scientific (and other) theories & findings, is not in any way dependent on how many – or few – people express those theories & findings.  Likewise, the wisdom of any particular public policy(ies) also has no necessary relationship to the number of people supporting them.  None of those things bears any necessary relationship to majority (or minority) views.


Will Wohler, Ft. Worth, Texas