Several months ago, a column by Saul Shapiro appeared on the Courier’s editorial page (Dec. 16, 2018) titled “President’s gut sealing Earth’s fate.” I read and re-read the column about how coal is destroying our planet’s climate, polluting our lungs, destroying some water sheds. This is true. Coal does those things.
But I had an epiphany while re-reading this column. It occurred to me that people who write articles like this have no desire to solve the problem of climate change. Yes, they recommend solar energy, praise wind energy and tell us about future technology that will alter climate change by lowering carbon dioxide. These technologies do indeed produce electricity. But we have no way to store the electricity and won’t have for another 30-40 years. So when the sun goes down there is no solar electricity being produced. When the wind does not blow there is no electricity being produced. When that happens we have to get our electricity from some where.
Yes, coal is dirty and, at the present time, costs more per megawatt than natural gas. But carbon dioxide is still being produced. We are producing less CO2 when we add wind and solar and geothermal into the sources of energy, but we are still increasing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. I read one “specialist” who contends we have only 10 years until the carbon dioxide has reached the critical percentage from which there is no return.
What do we do? I suggest that we look at France. Since the late 1970s, France has generated about 80% of its electricity from nuclear energy. When you think of a country that is a mecca of engineers, France does not come to the top of the list. This is not to insult France. It is to praise them for they have seen a problem and figured out a way to fix the problem. The French have a standardized nuclear power plant design so they can side step the decade-long design approval process. They have learned how to recycle 97% of the uranium, and their storage facility for the waste is the size of a football field. Compare that to Yucca Flats. France has had no nuclear accidents.
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Our U.S. Navy has used nuclear power for nearly 60 years with no accidents. They can fit a nuclear power plant into a submarine.
If France and our Navy can do that, why can’t we? The problem is that our leaders (on both sides of the aisle) don’t lead. We have a press that is only interested in complaining about a problem they have no desire to fix. The question is really: “Why don’t they want to win this contest with carbon dioxide buildup?”
One answer is that if we did win, what would they have to write about?