Saturday, March 01, 2008

Nuclear Power

Here's a very long but well-written article about a tour of the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. It's from GQ Magazine, so I wouldn't necessarily classify it as scholarly, but it was enjoyable to read. Here's a statement that I thought would probably be enlightening for most people:

We climbed an open metal staircase that stretched between the pipes and machinery and followed catwalks to look around. Virtually everything around us related to water: tanks so enormous that the curve of the cylinder was nearly imperceptible, filters capable of purifying thousands of gallons at once. If the Hollywood depiction of a nuclear plant involves zones of exposure and pervasive risk, where workers live in fear of radiation—think The China Syndrome or Silkwood—life inside a real power plant was startling proof of what actually drives a nuclear plant: water. Except for the presence of uranium in a single room, the rest of a nuclear compound is essentially a giant steam engine, with three circuits of water doing virtually all the work.
I support hybrid or electric cars, even though they're too expensive for me to own right now. I support relatively non-polluting nuclear power, which could charge our electric cars at night while we sleep.

I don't support a return to an agrarian society just because someone thinks my lifestyle damages the environment too much. Besides, I'll balance my per-person electrical usage against just about anyone's. Bring it on, enviro-fuhrers.


Unknown said...

There's an idea. Okay, I now want a nuclear-reactor powered tank, fully armed. I've always wanted a tank, but a nuclear tank, that's a gotta have.

I'll give a whole new meaning to the term "road rage."

Ellen K said...

Glen Rose, here in Texas, which I think is one of the last nuclear power plants built, ended up costing three times the initial estimate due to court costs. I wonder if any of the folks who denied us access to nuclear power are willing to admit that they played key roles in the current energy situation.

Anonymous said...

Couple of points.
1) Nobody with any influence is seriously suggesting that anyone should return to an agrarian society. You are arguing against a straw man.

2) You would compare your per person energy usage against just about anyone else's? Well, compared to 90% of "anyone else" you would use FAR FAR more. Just the fact that you record your thoughts on a blog on a computer that is powered by electricity should tell you that. Paying to use electricity to do something this frivilous would be unthinkable in most of the world.

Darren said...

1) Maybe not, but there are plenty of "believers" who are. I don't consider that threat innocuous.

2) You're correct, if we're talking about the entire planet. I was referring specifically to the United States--and I *will* put my usage up against most here.

Anonymous said...

You said "Besides, I'll balance my per-person electrical usage against just about anyone's." Sorry if I though "anyone's" meant "anyone's".

Darren said...

Don't be a jerk. I acknowledged your point and amended what I said. That *should* be the end of it, amongst adults.