Category: Nuclear Power

May 2, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Innovation, Perspectives

Thoughts on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Incident

by Wyatt Taylor

It looks like it is left to me to break the silence on The Watercooler about the Japanese Fukushima nuclear incident. First, it might be months or years before we have a full picture of the damage at the plant and its impact on the environment and population. Our prayers go out to those impacted by the radiation. This incident is a sobering reminder that processes behind nuclear power production are complicated and allow a slim margin for error.

With that said, continue

February 26, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Generation, Perspectives

Making Sense of Subsidies

by Wyatt Taylor

In his State of the Union speech last month, President Obama called for the elimination of government subsidies to oil companies, concluding, “instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.” The administration estimates that cutting such subsidies will save about $4 billion a year. Considering a recent government report showed the feds wasted more than $125 billion in “improper payments” in 2010, that $4 billion isn’t exactly going to send budget-hawk hearts aflutter. Still, the President’s plan presents some interesting questions: how much do we spend in energy subsidies? What energy sources are the most subsidized? Are the subsidies worth the cost? continue

January 28, 2011 • Energy Generation, Energy Innovation, Perspectives

On the “Elegance” of Nuclear Energy

by Wyatt Taylor

It appears I started something with my last post on nuclear power, as my colleagues Dominic Barbato and Kevin Cowart have added posts on nuclear power in the last couple of weeks. I’d like to return the favor by elaborating on something Dominic wrote.

Dominic commented on the “scientific elegance of harnessing the power of the atom.” Indeed, the scientific concept of nuclear energy is remarkably simple and efficient, which makes it all the more amazing that this source of energy has gone undeveloped in this country for more than 30 years. continue

January 22, 2011 • Current Events, Emerging Technology, Energy Innovation

Nuclear Energy: Made in China?

by Kevin Cowart

Worried about the Chinese New Year? A growing number of American businesses are. This year, the annual tradition of workers returning home for the holiday may yield disruptive effects on supply chains that provide “Made in China” products to American stores. continue

January 18, 2011 • Electricity, Emerging Technology, Energy Generation, Perspectives, Sustainability

Going Nuclear: Version 2.0

by Dominic Barbato

A couple weeks ago, my colleague Wyatt Taylor posted Whither the Nuclear Power Revolution?in which he questioned if the expected rebirth of nuclear energy in the United States is still in progress. I too question, and at times am frustrated with, the stagnation of growth in nuclear energy domestically. I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject, as well as discuss some emerging technologies that may hold promise for the future…Nuclear Version 2.0, if you will.

Let us face it, nuclear energy is not well understood by the public, the science is complex, and there is a lot of inflammatory rhetoric surrounding the subject. History has shown we humans tend to fear what we do not understand. continue

January 3, 2011 • Current Events, Energy Generation, Energy Innovation

Whither the Nuclear Power Revolution?

by Wyatt Taylor

nuclear power plant

I’ve been reading articles about the coming nuclear power “renaissance” or “revolution” for years now, but America’s energy future never seems to arrive.

For a while there, it appeared the economic and political climates had aligned in favor of nuclear expansion for the first time in decades. The industry had worked hard to rebrand nuclear energy as a clean energy, focusing on the fact that it produces no greenhouse gas emissions and is more efficient and dependable than wind and solar. Such efforts caught the attention of politicians anxious to transform America’s carbon-heavy energy diet into a more climate-friendly, “green” energy future.

In 2008, presidential nominees from both major parties spoke favorably of including nuclear power as a part of the country’s sustainability strategy. The Obama administration proposed an additional $37 billion in federal loan guarantees for the construction of new reactors. About 30 new reactors were making their way through the application process, with four already under construction.

Then along came the Great Recession. continue

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