GayandRight

My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)

Monday, November 12, 2007

The case for nuclear power....

As more and more people really embrace human-induced global warming, they have no choice but to also embrace nuclear power...

A new book that I profiled in Sunday's paper, "Power to Save the World," by Gwyneth Cravens, a former New Yorker editor, makes the case that nuclear power is a logical solution to our global climate crisis. She argues that the media and some environmental groups have exaggerated the threat posed by radiation from civilian nuclear power, frightening the public into thinking that uranium-based fuel is more dangerous than coal. In fact, she says, it's just the opposite: burning coal kills some 24,000 people a year from air pollution, heart attacks and lung disease. But nobody was killed at Three Mile Island, and only a handful have died in accidents at civilian nuclear reactors in U.S. history. Even the Chernobyl disaster wasn't as bad as people thought, and a similar release of radiation couldn't happen at U.S. reactors, which are built with containment vessels that the Soviet reactors lacked, Cravens says. About 50 people were killed by the Chernobyl explosion, and another 4,000 are expected to die from cancers caused by the radiation. But that's far fewer than the 24,000 people a year killed in America every year by coal pollution.

So why, she asks, does the public think of nuclear radiation as a deadly threat, but coal-fired power as normal and beneficial? Could it be just that we're more familiar with coal, which provides about half of America's electricity and has been widely used for about two centuries? Well, nuclear power has now been around in the U.S. for a half century, and it provides about 20 percent of our electricity. At what point -- if ever -- will people begin to see it as normal and beneficial?

How much are the media and anti-nuke activists to blame for crippling our nation's ability to respond to what some regard as the most practical solution to global warming: nuclear power? And what about the drawbacks to nuclear technology -- most notably, its connection to the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world? And then there's the intensely political issue of the disposal of spent fuel rods. Nevada politicians, including Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, are blocking the opening of the federal Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, which was promised to the nuclear industry. Taxpayers have spent $8 billion on this project, which is running almost a decade behind schedule and shows no signs of opening soon.

Technology will take care of the disposal of spent fuel rods - they shouldn't hold up our use of nuclear power.

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