Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Rebirth of Nuclear Power?

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Those who've read this site for awhile know that I'm a proponent of increasing our use of nuclear power and decreasing our need for petroleum, coal and natural gas that is currently used to fuel our power plants.

President Bush has called for increased spending and a study of more nuclear plants:

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush on Saturday renewed his push for expansion of nuclear energy and sought support for plans to revive nuclear fuel reprocessing to deal with radioactive waste from commercial power plants.

"As America and other nations build more nuclear power plants we must work together to address two challenges," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "We must dispose of nuclear waste safely, and we must keep nuclear technology and material out of the hands of terrorist networks and terrorist states."

The administration has asked Congress for $250 million next fiscal year to accelerate a decade-long research program into reprocessing nuclear fuel, reducing the amount of reactor waste that eventually would have to be buried.

The United States abandoned nuclear fuel reprocessing in the 1970s because of nuclear proliferation concerns. Conventional fuel reprocessing requires the separation of pure plutonium, which can be easily transported and could be used in a weapon if obtained by terrorists.

The main issue I've discovered through talking to those who work at powerplants is that the permitting process is so difficult that it takes years if not decades to get approval to build a new plant. By the time the plant is built, the technology is old.

I would like to see the U.S. build smaller facilities that can produce alot of power yet not be as imposing as those currently in use. A city such as Las Vegas could build two or three smaller plants that could essentially power the entire city with no emissions.

We are years away from this scenario but at least we're pointed in the right direction.

James Hudnall has more. H/T PJ's Media.

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