An article in the Berkshire (MA) Eagle News titled New England Clean Energy Council hopes for renewable energy push from candidates appeared in my Google News Alert on “new nuclear power plants” this morning.
If you follow that link and begin reading, you might wonder how Google found this article. The story headline and most of the text focuses on renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation. It also discusses a controversy about the construction of a 125 mile natural gas pipeline that some say is not needed because power demand has flattened out in recent years.
It even introduces the potential of using compressors and storage tanks on site at natural gas fired power plants to put away some gas during periods of low demand to use during periods when demand spikes as a way to reduce the need for building more pipeline capacity.
Of course, search engines are more diligent that casual or impatient readers. Here is the very last paragraph of the article, which is the place where new nuclear power plants are mentioned – as a distant future possibility.
Newly developed designs for modular nuclear power plants also could provide an alternative within 10 years, the officials said. Cutting-edge designs, which have yet to reach the full operating model stage, would use “spent” nuclear fuel now being stored and deplete all or most of the up to 95 percent of radioactivity that typically remains in the fuel from existing plants.
It is important for people to recognize that clean, safe, reliable nuclear energy is not a distant possibility, but an existing reality that is under a great deal of pressure from competitors that covet its market share. I added the following comment to the discussion after the article.
As people in Massachusetts discuss adding gas pipeline capacity, please pay attention to efforts – often funded by natural gas interests – to force the early closure of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power station.
If those efforts succeed, there will be a step increase in the amount of gas needed for power generation. This will make it even more costly to store enough gas during low demand times to be available during cold weather periods when gas demand for heating increases.
That is, by the way, the ultimate aim of the rich and powerful forces behind the pressure to close nuclear power stations in New England. The extra cost for customers due to the reduction of available competitive supply from nuclear is an increase in revenue for people that find, extract, transport, distribute, and speculate on natural gas.
Electrical power from existing nuclear plants is an important clean energy bridge that should not be destroyed before the destination has been achieved.
Antinuclear activists and their break-before-make strategies are being used as tools in an effort to shift even more resources from the poor and most layers of the middle class to the richest and most powerful in a place where lack of energy can mean that some people freeze to death.
Publisher, Atomic Insights
One more observation. When I visited, the site displaying the article included a banner ad from NEI’s Future of Energy campaign featuring Patrick Moore.
I’m not sure about the mechanics or the difficulty of improving the targeting, but it might have been a more effective ad for this particular article if it had been one that featured Dr. Leslie Dewan of Boston-based Transatomic Power, which is working on the waste annihilating technology described in the article.