President Obama stated in his speech yesterday:
… any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
While I fully understand the need for any nation to secure energy sources for its populace, the question begs to be asked –
Why does Iran, a country that has roughly the second-largest reserve of oil in the world, need nuclear power? Surely it could use its own resources (and a few refineries) to fuel either natural gas or oil-fueled power plants to supply the energy it needs at a fraction of the cost (political and monetary) of a nuclear power-plant?
The answer is power. Not power from the electrical side, but power to impose and project Iran’s goals and ambitions upon other countries in the region. With the stated intention of Iran’s political and religious leaders to wipe Israel off the map, it’s not too much of a stretch that the nuclear power that Iran wants is the explosive kind, and not in the power transmission kind.
Iran’s leader have stated that this is their goal in their actions if not in their implicit speech. While they may pay lip service to the Palestinian question, how are the Palestinian people going to return to “their land” if that land has been turned into a smoking radioactive crater?
It is because of these stated intentions and the barring of the UN’s nuclear inspectors that Iran has economic sanctions lodged against it…as if that has ever had any real effect upon that country…
President Obama is extremely naive if he thinks that a speech & re-establishing relations with Iran is going to change their direction.
Now a bigger question needs to be asked:
If President Obama is willing to give Iran a pass on developing nuclear power to meet the energy needs of Iran, then why doesn’t he give more support to creating nuclear power in the United States? Considering that the United States imports most of its oil from semi-hostile countries and relies on CO2 producing coal-fired power stations, this should be a no-brainer. But again, we are being paid lip service.
From CNN comes these statements attributed to then Presidential candidate Obama:
Obama said on December 30, 2007, at a town hall meeting in Newton, Iowa, that he isn’t a “nuclear energy proponent” and that “nuclear energy is not optimal.” But at the same event, he said he couldn’t rule out nuclear power if it is clean and safe. And on several occasions, Obama has expressed his support for pursuing safe ways to develop nuclear power.
The Obama-Biden Web site says that “nuclear power represents more than 70 percent of our non-carbon generated electricity. It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power as an option. However, before an expansion of nuclear power is considered, key issues must be addressed including: security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation.”
Newsweek also adds:
So does that mean Obama will become the nation’s cheerleader in chief for nuclear power? Not likely. Obama has been cautious whenever he’s been asked about the issue. In a “Meet the Press” appearance in May, he hedged when the subject came up. “I think we do have to look at nuclear, and what we’ve got to figure out is can we store the material properly? Can we make sure that they’re secure? Can we deal with the expense?”
Considering that France, Germany, and England have all safely operated nuclear power plants for years should state that nuclear power is safe, and that security of nuclear materials should not even be a question. So what is the problem? Don’t we have all those nasty CO2 generating coal-fired power plants to replace with a “green” alternative? I’ll tell you right now that all the solar and wind farms currently in existence and planned will not meet the current, much less the future, energy demands of this country. And President Obama is turning down the nuclear option in private if not in public.
Yucca Mountain in Nevada (home of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid) has for the past 32 years been the best hope for nuclear waste. Thirty-two years of endless red tape and changing requirements (often ridiculous in scope), but always moving toward certification as a storage facility. And now, at the urging of Senator Reid and a campaign promise, President Obama has closed down the Yucca Mountain project, effectively dooming the nuclear power generation industry in this country.
And this is forward thinking?
The problem that many people (including me) is what to do with the undesirable nuclear waste. The amount of that waste can be reduced if spent nuclear fuel rods are recycled. However, that process for civilian facilities was banned by then President Jimmy Carter in 1977. The alternative is to store spent fuel, without reprocessing, long term, which is what Yucca Mountain was supposed to do. With the reprocessing of fuel rods banned, a long-term storage facility no longer available, a new government study now(?) underway to investigate the problem, and spent fuel rods being stored at limited temporary facilities at the power plants, the nuclear industry appears to be on its way out.
Which is what the environmentalists want to begin with. But I digress…or do I?
The truth of the matter is that power generation of any form carries with it risks as well as rewards. The risks are to people and the environment, and the reward is power to facilitate our day to day activities as a society and country. There are ways to minimize the impact while reaping the rewards, just that some of them are impractical and horribly expensive. Risks include CO2 generation, possible radioactivity, increased land usage for windfarms and solar arrays (which impacts wildlife and the local ecosystem), and economic ruin. Implement any technology incorrectly, and these potential risks become reality.
And I hate to say it, I would worry more about nuclear reactor accidents in places like Iran and North Korea before the power plant down the street. At least the one down the street won’t be making nuclear weapon material on the side.
Where do we go from here? I will be writing a future post exploring a potential future of nuclear power that could be feasible.