Perhaps you missed this on your nightly news, I know I did. Guess what? The Nuclear Renaissance is back, or so says an industry panel. Jack Grobe, new executive director of Exelon Nuclear Partners says "the future of nuclear power is looking pretty good."
In addition the Nuclear Energy Institute did a survey and found that 82% of Americans believe that the U.S. should continue to develop nuclear energy to meet growing electricity demands, about the same percentage support the idea of renewing operating plant licenses and in the 80% ballpark they also believe nuclear energy is important to the nation's future energy needs.
You could knock me over with a feather when they reported that 74% surveyed believe the nuclear power plants operating in the U.S. are safe and secure. After the Fukushima accident (I would use the word disaster) they report that public support had dropped to 46%.
That was eighteen months ago and what has changed to make public support rise so dramatically? Time and distance would be my guess, certainly not any hard and true facts regarding nuclear energy. Oh, that and the fact the nuclear energy industry is desperate to get its hands on some taxpayer money to underwrite their new SMR (small modular reactor) project in Missouri. So when the nuclear energy industry speaks to the public it is always in very glowing terms about their product, after all what could be more exciting than a Renaissance - a Nuclear Renaissance at that.
Here are a few items to consider before you don your garb and head on off to the Renaissance Faire:
- Things in and around Fukushima are still very bleak.
- The NRC has put a hold on the re-licensing and licensing of nuclear plants until further discussion on the permanent storage of spent fuel.
- The state of the San Onofre nuclear plant in California is still in limbo, nuclear fuel is being transferred from the reactors to storage tanks.
- Massachusetts congressmen, John Tierney and Edward Markey are proposing a Nuclear Reactor and Safety First Act, that would provide greater certainty over safety of older nuclear plants.
I grow weary sometimes here in this country where we allow big money to push us around. And I grow weary of the apathetic Americans that care more about who referees their Monday night football than they do about the future of the planet. I guess what it really boils down to is "priorities". I mean after all you got this big-screen TV, high-def and all and you can clearly see for yourself when a bad call is made. And then remember you need reliable power to run that sucker don't you? To power the TV and the big fridge that cools your beer.
So I get it, I really do. But cut me some slack if I pass on supporting this renaissance they talk about, I just can't buy what the nuclear energy industry is trying to sell me. And maybe one of these days when they get time the other 80% of Americans will agree.