The enviro-wackos are determined to stop our use of carbon fuels—coal, oil and gas. Forty years ago, they had a different target. Then, they were protesting nuclear power plants. And, for the most part, they won. There hasn’t been a new nuke plant built in decades.
That may be changing.
By Melanie S. Welte
Monday, August 30, 2010
DES MOINES – It’s been 33 years since Raye Fleming’s arrest outside Southern California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, near the height of the furor against nuclear power.That was the first arrest of many, and Fleming thought such actions paid off as a generation of Americans turned against nuclear power.“It was just the correct, moral thing to do,” said Fleming, 66.But after years of believing they had won the fight against nuclear energy, activists feel the battle is starting all over again. And they’re trying to figure out how to win in an era of Facebook and Twitter and get the younger generation involved in the movement.Lately, the option for nuclear energy has gotten more popular.President Obama has backed billions of dollars in federal loan guarantees to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia. If approved, they would be the first nuclear power plants in the United States to begin construction in almost three decades. Political support for nuclear power has grown, especially after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico highlighted risks of fossil fuel production. And people are more open to nuclear energy.
The environmentalists have blocked the construction of new refineries. Their NIMBY fellow travelers has triumphed in closing many of the existing refineries.
At my last count there are only four major refineries in the country. One on the west coast, one on the east coast and two in the gulf. When the gulf refineries were damaged five years ago from Hurricane Katrina, gas prices sky-rocketed and gas-lines formed in many areas of the country.
In another instance a major pipeline burst and cut-off the Northeast with similar results. We were fortunate it wasn’t in the middle of winter when dependencies on fuel oil for heating is at a peak demand. We walk a tightrope with our supplies of fuel and can and do have shortages at a growing pace
The enviro-wackos want us to move to electric vehicles. The truth of that is that our electrical power infrastructure cannot support the dramatic drain on electrical power needed to re-charge those vehicles. Not in the amount needed to relieve our dependence on carbon fuels.
More nuke plants could relieve some of that congestion. When the anti-nuke movement was in full swing in the US, France was building more nuke power plants. Today, France receives 77% of their power requirements from nuclear power plants. The US, on the other hand, receives only 20% of our power from nuke plants. Size aside, Sweden, Korea and Switzerland produces a larger percentage of their power from nuclear plants than does the US.
Some in the environmental movement are coming to understand that.
Some, like Patrick Moore, have simply changed their minds. He was once a leader in the anti-nuclear movement, and now he’s co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which supports the expansion of nuclear power.“I personally believe that because we were so focused at that time on the threat of all-out nuclear war and the emotional aspect of that, we were a bit blinded and included nuclear energy in with nuclear weapons as if everything nuclear was evil,” he said.“The bottom line is, I believe we made a mistake,” he added, noting that although construction costs for nuclear plants are high, operating costs are low. He also contends that nuclear energy is a safe and valuable resource.Nuclear-power protesters who were on the picket lines years ago know that to be effective now, they have to update their tactics. No more protests, sit-ins and horror stories rooted in the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island decades ago.“It’s 2010. It’s not 1979. It’s a different generation. There are different styles,” said Michael Mariotte, a longtime opponent of nuclear power who heads the Maryland-based Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “The whole idea of mass marches and that kind of thing doesn’t have the same kind of resonance as back then.” Mariotte’s group alerts members to big issues via Facebook, links to anti-nuclear stories through Twitter and posts videos on YouTube. — Washington Post, August 30, 2010.
Perhaps it is time, once again, to use the nuclear option.