Original article from Anthony Watts’ Watts Up With That, reblogged below introduction
Instead of moving forward socially, educationally and technically into the 21st century, we are taking giant strides backwards.
This outcome is a failure of our educational system and a complete lack of any foresight and science literacy. Although much progress has been made in developing and deploying new green energy technologies, there is a way to go before it can be considered a complete and viable substitute for nuclear power as is suggested by this agreement. With an ever-dwindling supply of carbon-based energy resources, the strain on the infrastructure and those resources will become increasingly acute, resulting in ever-higher prices coupled with increasingly more aggressive methods employed by powerful petroleum interests and governments to secure those supplies. I can foresee the day, not too far off, when sanctioned military conflicts will be waged to secure the ever-dwindling vestiges of a squandered resource. I have written or hosted a number of articles articulating the benefits of an expanded nuclear power baseline, highlighting how new and improved fast-breeder reactor technologies can address the growing energy demand while going a long way towards solving the nuclear waste disposal problem. As carbon-based energy generation becomes increasingly problematic, as energy demand approaches critical mass, the need for nuclear power to play an expanded role in the energy sector is obvious to anyone who is paying attention. Sadly, this reality was lost on NRDC, the operator of Diablo Canyon and the State of California.
This agreement stems from the same ignorance that has led to a growing belief that the earth is flat. Seriously, many well-educated people (doctors, attorneys, airline pilots!) truly believe that the earth is flat, this in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary from many directions that include six successful moon landings, rovers on Mars, orbiting telescopes and observatories, a science platform in orbit around Saturn, flybys of Pluto, GPS, communications satellites, Satellite TV, the list is long and growing of our scientific achievements as a race and a species, many with clearly demonstrable aspects of a spheroidal Earth. In their minds (and in the mind of anyone who holds such aberrant beliefs), reality becomes what I believe it to be. The problem metastasizes into a full-blown cancer when those belief systems begin to affect legislation and dictate public policy, such as what has just happened with Diablo Canyon.
Green energy technology includes all non-carbon based sources, with nuclear power near the top of the list. This reminds me of the 20-year-long fiasco trying to open Long Island’s Shoreham Nuclear Power Station, something we just paid off (to the tune of $6 B – a 3 percent surcharge was attached to Long Island electric bills for 30 years to pay off the $6 billion) and something that never generated 1 watt of commercial power, thanks to New York’s current governor’s deceased father, the late Gov. Mario Cuomo. The plant was approved in 1972, construction began the following year and was completed in 1984. Although much of the hype was based on what happened at TMI and Chernobyl, there would never be the need for a full evacuation. Then Gov. Cuomo ordered state officials not to approve any utility-sponsored evacuation plan, effectively preventing the plant from operating at full capacity. This is what happens when science illiteracy becomes pandemic and impacts public policy – the mix can be disastrous! This situation hasn’t improved but, in point of fact, has gotten a lot worse.
With Carbon emissions being the highest since the demise of the dinosaurs, Climate Change remains one of the greatest existential threats to life on this planet that humanity has ever faced and, although I support Bernie Sanders and consider him the only viable choice for the next President of the United States, he’s wrong on Nuclear Power. In a previous piece, I discuss why science has to be a priority for the next US President, regardless of who that individual will be.
Much can happen in the intervening 9 years; lets hope for (and work towards) the day when cooler heads (and clear thinking) prevail.
Imagination is more important than knowledge
An index of all articles in this blog can be found here.
Diablo Canyon Power Plant, 2009 photo from offshore. The light beige domes are the containment structures for Unit 1 and 2 reactors. The brown building is the turbine building where electricity is generated and sent to the grid. In the foreground is the Administration Building (black and white stripes). Picture: “Mike” Michael L. Baird via Wikimedia
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued a press release today stating that they have signed a deal with PG&E PCG +0.10%, IBEW local 1245, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, Environment California, and the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility.
There is an implied quid pro quo. The groups will support PG&E’s request for an extension from the California Lands Commission of its land use permit that allows access to ocean cooling water at the Commission’s June 28 meeting. In return, PG&E will agree to withdraw its 20-year license…
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