In an age where energy costs continue to rise, the question must be asked if it is time for this country to become more serious about developing nuclear energy. The United States is far behind Europe and other parts of the world in terms of building nuclear plants.
In the 1950s, Lewis Strauss, who was then the head of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, predicted that the availability of nuclear energy in the future would become “too cheap to meter.” In other words, he envisioned a United States where the cost of nuclear energy would be so cheap that it would be essentially free to the consuming public. Despite this, the nuclear energy development programs in this country have been stalled time and time again.
To many, the word “nuclear” conjures up safety concerns. We all remember the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl incidents. But nuclear energy has proven to be efficient, safe and clean. By one report, in 2007, “nuclear power accounted for about 74% of the nation‘s carbon dioxide emissions-free electric generation.” With new restrictions on gas and coal emissions, some are predicting a renewal of interest in nuclear energy sources.
The production of nuclear energy works like any other form of energy-producing plants. Water is heated, creating steam that turns a turbine, which is attached to a generator. The electricity is then transferred from the generator to our homes and businesses. With nuclear energy, the heat source comes not from burning coal or fuel but from energy stored in uranium atoms.
Today, coal produces 49% of our nation’s electricity, followed by natural gas (22%) and nuclear generation (19%). The percentage of electricity produced by nuclear energy has not changed in this country since 1988. No new nuclear plants have been constructed “from scratch” in the United States since 1973. For proponents of nuclear energy, the good news is that plans are in the work to establish 26 new reactors in 16 different states, with most being built in the South. Presently, the plan is to have nearly half of our country’s energy produced by nuclear plants by 2050.
Source: Alabama Living Magazine (August 2009) – Publication of the Alabama Electric Cooperatives
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.