Tuesday, October 7, 2008
As previously predicted right here on this blog, nuclear power may be making a rebound and becoming, to the surprise of many, the greener solution. John Tierney talks about the politics of the soft path versus the hard path towards the future of energy here and follows up on the TierneyLab here.
To summarize, the soft path is energy conservation and power from the sun, wind and plants. These are the technologies that Obama supports. The hard path, on the other hand, is about building nuclear power plants, something McCain is more enthusiastic about. This debate was big in the 70s and melted away after the partial meltdown of the reactor at Three Mile Island and the soft path was taken by most. Fast forward to today. About 20% of America's electricity is generated by nuclear power. Furthermore, from the article:
Nuclear power also costs less, according to Gilbert Metcalf, an economist at Tufts University. After estimating the costs and factoring out the hefty tax breaks for different forms of low-carbon energy, he estimates that new nuclear plants could produce electricity more cheaply than windmills, solar power or “clean coal” plants.
Supporters, like William Tucker, are saying that just as they have come around to understand and address Al Gore's views on the dangers of global warming, environmentalists need to come around, stop thinking atomic bombs and start associating nuclear plants with natural radioactive processes in the earth. The hope and proposal to re-frame views of nuclear power comes from a new book by Tucker called, "Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Power Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey." Learn more about the book here.
And my father didn't want to share his lecture notes on the topic from the 70s with me for fear of Green Peace protests in his front yard...