Monday, July 17, 2006

The "N" Word

It seems we have developed a political phobia in this nation for words begining with the 14th letter of the alphabet, "N". It appears that the most politically incorrect words begin with N. I am not trying to raise the specter of Mark Furman or the OJ Simpson trial. I am not even talking about the word "nigger". *gasp*

Nope, I am talking much dirtier, N-U-C-L-E-A-R.

Last night I listened to one of our elected village idiots talk about how we are going to end our dependence on foreign oil by making ethanol. Apparently no one has shown him the math, explained the reality of hydrocarbon supply streams or the impact of the Global economy on all this.

I agree that Ethanol is ONE component of a larger energy policy to reduce world wide use of fossil fuels. It is not however the total solution. The reality is that we are using fossil fuels (coal, petroleum, natural gas) at a rate that is non sustainable.

So, we need to start using that nasty "N" word again and begin discussing nuclear.

We wrote our congressman and senator last week (the other is a lame duck). I will be interested in what they have to say. I suspect that all of them will be waiting for some one else to take the lead.

16 comments:

Senor Caiman said...

Mal,

You are mad crazy.

I know a little bit about nuclear power. On a $/MBTU basis you just can't beat it. My only problem with nuclear power is that those nuclear engineers are a weird bunch.

Perhaps we should just stick to chicken droppings.

Fantastagirl said...

But Mr. Gator all engineers are weird.

jj mollo said...

I think the ethanol situation is starting to look a lot better recently because of technological progress and because of the price of oil. I have read that the ability now exists to convert various low-grade cellulose sources into ethanol. We aren't going to be limited to corn or sugar cane, but I agree that it's only going to play a part in our energy future. There are overlapping problems, environment, climate, politics, monopoly terrorism, etc. Exerting our independence from the various oil kleptocracies is a problem that ethanol addresses directly however. It makes oil vulnerable to economic laws of substitution.

As far as political correctness goes, you should probably duck now. There are knee-jerk language fascists out there that care about the particular formulations rather than listening to what you have to say. Be thankful that the Web is still free, if only for a while.

Gary said...

The UK government last week announced that nuclear energy is now very definitely back on the agenda for us too.

Seeing as we reprocess most of the worlds spent nuclear waste in this country then we may as well join the gang.

Incidently, France has always had a dependance on nuclear energy as it has virtually no carbon resources of its own - as France is only 21 miles away from the UK at its closest point its a bit daft to pretend that we wouldn't be affected by any incidents of theirs.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Yup. As long as we don't go Chernobyl. But I'm in agreement with you. It's our best option.

Fred said...

I hate to use France as an example, but I believe they derive close to 50% of their non-automotive energy needs from nuclear sources. I think we should do the same, if not more.

Freewheel said...

I agree with you. It's better for our air quality.

The radioactive waste used to be a concern, but now we have the fool-proof plan of dumping it all on Nevada.

mal said...

Mr Gator-chicken droppings stick to everything anyway

Fantasta- eeyup, anyone who has Dilbert (Alice in my case)for role models is weird

JJ- you are right that ethanol brings the law of substitution into effect. Sadly, despite the propaganda, it is not the silver bullet

Gary- I did not know that about the UK, intersting

Saur- I feel good about the most recent reactor designs. They are very stable, reliable and fail "off"
"China Syndromes" like Chernobyl should be near impossible

Fred- agreed, just because the French do it does not make it a bad idea *G*

Freewheel- With Vegas and Reno all lit up at nite, no one is likely to notice a little blue glow on the horizon....

Seriously-the latest batch of breeders use fuel much more efficently and that should allow recycling of current spent fuel and reduce the size of the waste stream.
It is certainly easier to deal with than all the CO2 we are dumping in the athmosphere

Chrissie said...

On the way to Indiana we stopped in a place called Rock Port Missouri, which it seems is close (enough) to a power station in Nebraska as there was an evacuation booklet in each room. (yes I did steal it) It was very interesting! And it gave my Mom something else to worry about *L* the crappy weather and fear of tornados wasn’t enough :D

We may need more nuclear power but who wants to live near one? bleh. not me.

Can’t we just use fairy dust??

Chrissie said...

That being said if it would make my PG&E bill go down I'd have one across the street... $581.00! this last month... fuckin INSANE!

James said...

I've always thought nuclear energy is something that we should be much more involved with. It seems the benefits outweigh the risks by a long shot. This is an 'n' word that I've never been ashamed to use.

The 'n' word I fear? Neocon. Yikes!

anchovy said...

Awe chucks, neocons are a'right, a little weird, but no weirder than your average engineer. (Please, I'm only half serious here.)

I think I've already commented about nuclear (please don't say "nucular!") elsewhere. In a nutshell I have the same concerns as everyone else and the same frustration at the political inertia you have.

All in all, though, let's give those engineers a chance. After all, do we really need any more jobless, homeless weirdos panhandling on our streets?

Leesa said...

You said, "Last night I listened to one of our elected village idiots talk about how we are going to end our dependence on foreign oil by making ethanol."

Maybe the village idiot is suggesting drinking ethanol to forget our worries. Sounds like a political solution.

Åsa said...

Mallory! I’m just back from a week of sailing around the coast of Sweden and we called it the Nuclear-plant tour (as a joke) since we passed at least three of Sweden’s nuclear plants. UGLY! I tell ya! But it’s definitely necessary to discuss how to solve – or at least make progress with – the world’s energy usage. Cool to read your educational postst!

Freewheel said...

Mallory, there's a column in today's Wall St. Journal (7/20/06) supporting your view on this.

Tillerman said...

You are so right. We had some guy call round the house this week from some citizens group promoting energy conservation, renewable sources of energy etc. all good stuff. But then I saw from their manifesto that they were also anti-nuclear so I refused to give him a donation.

But I also hope that if nuclear power does become popular again that we get a president who can pronounce the word properly. It's NU - CLE - AR. Not NEW - QUEUE - LAR.