This morning, my automatic alerts let me know that there was a new video clip that I should watch about the future of nuclear energy.
I think some of you might be interested in watching it as well. The video below is the afternoon edition of the Energy Report for December 16, 2009 from Clean Skies News. There is a segment in the show starting at 7:26 that casts doubts on the future of nuclear energy in the United States. The reporter mentioned that there were three “experts” who had done some research and held a press conference. During the report, I heard two familiar names, Mark Cooper and Steven Thomas.
To learn more about the background of the story, which I assumed was based on a Washington, DC press conference, I did a Google News search for “thomas cooper nuclear renaissance”; the search provided a single result. That link was to a site with the interestingly titled International Yacht Vacations and Charters which had faithfully reproduced a PRwire press release titled Experts: Three Latest Industry Setbacks Further Dim Nuclear ‘Renaissance,’ Taxpayer-Backed Loan Guarantees Can’t Fix Fundamental Problems With New Reactors.
The apparent motivation for the press conference and press release was the imminent announcement by the Department of Energy that it was ready to award the first loan guarantee for a new nuclear power plant under a congressionally directed law first established in August of 2005. (There is nothing like prompt bureaucratic action in response to direction from our elected representatives.)
The organized anti-nuclear (pro fossil fuel) opposition recognizes that the numerous imposed delays in the loan guarantee program are just about over. Several strong projects are ready to proceed at in Georgia, Maryland and Texas as soon as the Department of Energy makes its announcement of the selections. (In fact, the project in Georgia has a running start already.) As part of their effort to fight a rear guard delaying action that is aimed at adding cost and slowing market impact from new supplies of low marginal cost electricity, the anti-nuclear industry held a press conference with three of their stalwart “analysts” describing why we should believe them when they claim that there is no renaissance.
The three self-titled “experts” on the nuclear industry included Mark Cooper, author of “The Economics of Nuclear Reactors: Renaissance or Relapse?” (2009); Stephen Thomas, (a guy who has worked for several years to convince South Africans to stop developing the PBMR); and Dr. Arjun Makhijani, author of Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (2007).
These professional anti-nuclear activists are entitled to their opinion, and they are working hard to turn their minority opinion into something as close to fact as possible, but my research indicates that they are simply wrong. The building process envisioned in 2005 has been slowed due to economic conditions, but there is little doubt that progress is happening, jobs are being created and reliable, emission-free power will start flowing. It is not going to be easy, but it is time to prove that Cooper, Thomas and Makhijani are deniers who cannot see the reality that is happening as they speak and write.