November 12, 2008

One bad turn deserves another?

Filed under: Observations,Resources — sbj @ 4:58 pm

Lets talk about energy and reality for a minute. It has been documented, vetted and agreed that natural renewable sources of energy are capable of satisfying the nations (and the worlds) energy needs for the foreseeable future. This is without the addition of nuclear energy to the mix. Since I’m not a fan of nuclear energy, this works for me.

It works for me because nuclear energy is, at this point in time, a monetized commodity. It is something that a few wealthy folks are heavily invested in. It is something that is relatively easy to do, with an excellent return on investment. It is also wasteful (of natural non-renewable resources), wanton (other than making a buck and doing less work, there is no substantive reason to use nuclear energy over wind or solar) ,and destructive (if for no other reason, and there are other reasons, than the toxic radioactive waste it introduces to our environment).

I do not understand, nor can I cotton to, the use of a technology simply for greed or convenience when there are better, sustainable options out there. I am sorry for the people who are invested in this technology (just like I was for the typewriter and 8-trac tape folks, etc.) but with the possible exception of long distance sustained travel vessels (like our military submarines and aircraft carriers) their time has come and gone. There are better, more responsible, solutions available and, speaking globally now, it is our responsibility to take advantage of them.

The cool part is, it’ll be good for us. Not just because we will not have to worry about what to do when we run out of this newest resource, not just because it is affordable, not just because of the reduction in use of valuable water resources, but also because of the reduction of toxic waste we would be required to live our lives around. Given the option, you would not choose to purchase a house on landfill, so, why support a technology that, over time, turns the entire planet into one gigantic garbage dump?

Wind and solar power can sustain us as long as the sun keeps shining and the wind keeps blowing (more or less the same time) without generating any significant by products. I cannot (and do not want to) imagine what our world will look like if we use nuclear power for 1000, let alone 100,000 years.

I heard an interview the other day on NPR and the speaker sad “we will never run out of oil, we have more than we will ever need.” His reasoning was simple, before we run out of oil, we will stop using a something that is so wasteful (did you know that of every $10 you spend on gas $2 drives your car and $8 is wasted on nothing more than creating heat?) and start using better technology. The same will eventually be said of nuclear… do we need to wait for another crisis to realize that, or perhaps, will we have learned from our mistakes?

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