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Nuclear reactors are indeed expensive to construct. NRG is projecting $3 to $5 billion with cost overruns likely. But coal plants currently cost $1 billion and that’s without the least effort at controlling carbon emissions. If “carbon sequestration” — essentially digging a hole a few miles deep and pumping the exhaust into it — becomes a reality, coal plants will become equally if not more expensive. (The technology is completely unproven anyway.) In any case, when did environmental groups become so frugal about protecting the environment?
Energy conservation, on the other hand, has great potential that is just being fathomed. Last May, Progress Energy of North Carolina announced it would delay the projected opening of two proposed reactors from 2016 to 2018 because of more success than anticipated in conservation efforts. Yet even the best conservation scenarios only stabilize current consumption. (California has been able to accomplish this.) That still leaves us producing for 50 percent of our electricity with coal — a billion tons a year that put three billions tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. That’s 40 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gases and 20 percent of the world’s. “When it comes to providing our baseload electricity, the only choice is between coal and nuclear,” says David Crane, of NRG. “You simply can’t be serious about global warming and against nuclear power.”
Finally, the argument that nuclear is not completely carbon-free is puerile. Nothing is completely carbon-free, not windmills, not solar collectors, not even conservation devices. All involve capital investment that consumes energy. If the uranium enrichment plant in Portsmouth, Ohio, consumes the output of two large, polluting coal plants (a favorite environmental citation), then the solution is to replace those coal plants with nuclear reactors.
NRG’s courageous proposal is the opening gong for what should be the most passionate debate of the rest of the decade — can nuclear power prevent global warming? As Al Gore would say, the fate of the planet may depend on it.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online