Gene Karpinski is wrong about nuclear power's prospects and acceptability
Mr. Gene Karpinski is the President of the League of Conservation Voters, based in Washington, DC. He is excited about the prospects for changes in governmental attitudes toward environmental issues that have arisen from the recent congressional elections. He was interviewed by Bruce Gellerman of Living on Earth on January 5, 2007.
Here is the passage from the interview that caught my attention and inspired me to write a letter to the show’s hosts.
GELLERMAN: I don’t hear nuclear power in that mix. There may be as many as 30 new nuclear power plants in the United States in the next couple of years.
KARPINSKI: You know, it’s pretty clear the public has still said, “We don’t want nuclear power.” And Wall Street has said the same thing. We have not seen a new nuclear power plant built for over 30 years. It made no sense then. It makes no sense now. It flunks the market test and it flunks the safety test because we have no solution to the problem of nuclear waste which will still be generated by those plants. So nuclear power does not make sense to be part of our new energy future.
Here is a copy of the letter that I wrote to Mr. Gellerman, the host of Living on Earth.
January 6, 2007
Dear Mr. Gellerman:
I listened with interest to your recent interview with Gene Karpinski, President of the League of Conservation Voters.
Like Mr. Karpinski, I am pleased that a change in Congressional leadership may mean that environmental issues will be treated with more respect in Washington. I am also pleased – especially on this 70+ degree early January day in Annapolis, MD – that there will be more attention paid to solutions to the problem of global climate change.
What concerns me is his response when you asked about his position on nuclear power, which was prominently left off of his list of appropriate power sources. Mr. Karpinski was correct when he stated that we have not built any new plants in about 30 years, but he is completely missing the current investment climate associated with building a new generation of nuclear power plants.
Here is my prediction. Within the next 12 years, there will be new plants operating in the US; within 25 years there will be a significant number of coal and gas fired power plants that will no longer be able to compete in the market because of the large supply of new nuclear based power.
These new plants will build on the lessons learned during nearly 50 years of safely operating an energy technology that is still quite young when compared to such venerable sources as fossil fuel and biomass combustion, wind mills and solar energy collectors.
I also predict that there will be a number of Democrats that recognize that a power source that is clean enough to run inside submarines is clean enough to consider a possible solution to the hazards of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. There will be a large number of representatives from both sides of the aisle that get excited about the job prospects associated with a new round of nuclear plant construction, the benefits to local communities from the plant property taxes, and the benefits of low cost operating and maintenance associated with well run nuclear plants.
Editor, Atomic Insights
Co-host, The Atomic Show
Founder and CEO, Adams Atomic Engines, Inc.