CEI’s Iain Murray has an op-ed in The Washington Times today explaining what can be learned from the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan.
Here’s an excerpt:
Without this vigorous defense of nuclear, the Obama energy plan will have a massive hole at its core – one that cannot be filled by wind and solar power any more than it can be filled by fairy dust. The obvious answer is for the administration to stop its war on coal, but that is unlikely. The only other plausible choice is natural gas, derived by hydraulic fracturing – a procedure that environmentalists are already trying to ban. If they want to keep their plan going in any workable form, the president and Mr. Chu need to tell Americans unequivocally where their future power is going to come from, and push back against ideological environmentalists who are trying to ban practical sources of energy.
Read the rest here.
Keith Bradsher and Hiroko Tabuchi report in the New York Times today:
Years of procrastination in deciding on long-term disposal of highly radioactive fuel rods from nuclear reactors are now coming back to haunt Japanese authorities as they try to control fires and explosions at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
Some countries have tried to limit the number of spent fuel rods that accumulate at nuclear power plants: Germany stores them in costly casks, for example, while China sends them to a desert storage compound in the western province of Gansu. But Japan, like the United States, has kept ever-larger numbers of spent fuel rods in temporary storage pools at the power plants, where they can be guarded with the same security provided for the plants.
Now those temporary pools are proving the power plant’s Achilles’ heel, with the water in the pools either boiling away or leaking out of their containments, and efforts to add more water having gone awry. While spent fuel rods generate significantly less heat than newer ones do, there are strong indications that some fuel rods have begun to melt and release extremely high levels of radiation.
The reason why the United States stores spent fuel rods on site is because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has been able to block building the Yucca Mountain nuclear depository in Nevada for years. In 2009, President Barack Obama cancelled Yucca Mountain entirely.
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