Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nuclear Power in our Future

This entry chronicles comments on a column by Rebecca Hagelin, from July 24, 2008. My comments show up as "energyguy." I sign my name, Roger E. Sowell, and then SOB. Society of Oil Boilers.

SOB is, of course, a play on words. Those of us in the oil refining industry sometimes refer to ourselves as SOBs. The primary operation in a refinery is to boil oil and distill the oil in distillation towers. The other meaning is more obvious.

Energyguy wrote:
Subject: Reasons Not to Glow Nuclear

1. Waste reprocessing, or sequestering toxic radioactives for thousands of years.

2. Shortage of qualified engineers to design and supervise construction.

3. Shortage of skilled workers to construct the plants.

4. Skyrocketing costs of materials: steel, concrete, copper, and others. These plants will cost far more than the last group.

5. Environmental groups and their lawyers are far more numerous, and have far more laws to use in their lawsuits to delay the plants.

6. High-cost nuclear power in the 1970's and 80's provided strong incentives for refineries and large chemical plants to build their own, highly-efficient power plants and go off the grid. Many combined-cycle cogeneration (CCC) plants were built then. The same cycle of build-a-nuke, raise the rates, and watch the customer base shrink will happen again.

7. Distributed Generation: the geeks and engineers have been busy in the past 30 years. This time around, not just refineries and big chemical plants can go off the grid by building a CCC. Smaller versions of these allow small businesses and homeowners to use natural gas to provide power, heating in winter and air conditioning in winter. [should read Summer -- energyguy]

Utility planners should take note before embarking on new nuclear power plants.

Geeks and Engineers. Saviors of Society (TM)

-- Roger E. Sowell, SOB. Society of Oil Boilers

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