NUCLEAR POWER REDUCES C02 EMISSIONS
Friday, April 13, 2007
Dr. Noel Gibeson Corbell
Many countries have continued to develop safe, nuclear power plants over the years as an alternative to using petroleum. Many more countries would also like to develop this nuclear capability.
In Europe nuclear power is used extensively today. Years ago Europe had a major problem with deforestation resulting, in part, from acid rain and cutting too much timber. Acid rain caused deforestation from industrialization that was based on petroleum and coal use as the power source. Nowadays nuclear power has reduced Europe’s dependence on foreign oil, helped to restore the forests and spurred an economy powered by electricity.
In the United States over the last 30 years the number of nuclear power plants has grown from 42 then to 104 today, down from a high of 112 in 1990. Unfortunately, no new power plants have been constructed in the US since 1996. The substantial restrictions and regulations that were placed upon the US nuclear power industry beginning in the 1970s have slowed growth in this industry. These restrictions and regulations were brought about as a result of ‘no-nuke’ environmental activism in the 1960s and 1970s ostensibly to protect the environment.
Today, however, these same environmentalists ‘the global-warming is-caused-by-man crowd’ are complaining about the use of petroleum instead of nuclear power; saying that petroleum use produces hydrocarbon emissions and C02 and that the world is coming to an end because of it. However, the irony is that the US could have reduced its dependence on oil decades ago had it been allowed to freely and safely develop the nuclear power alternative unconstrained by requirements from new laws, regulations, studies and restrictions.
It is not too late to reduce or eliminate many of the regulations and the studies required to build, operate and certify a new nuclear power plants. Clearly, new power plants must conform to minimal standards to operate safely. Moreover, today new plants as well as old plants must have stringent anti-terrorist security procedures to prevent or minimize an attack. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regularly tests the physical security of these plants to ensure safety against a terrorist attack. Other types of power plants have also strengthened security measures in this area.
Besides nuclear power, the United States continues to develop other, renewable and alternative methods for supplying energy in ways that are environmentally safe. Technologies such as solar, wind and hydro power are just a few of them. This will also helps to ensure US energy independence. By continuing to invest and develop these technologies, cannot only ensure US energy self-sufficiency, but these technologies can also be sold around the world in the global marketplace.
Wherever one sits on the global warming debate, many of the paths lead to the same destination. Besides protecting the environment, there are also significant, geo-political strategic reasons for developing and using alternative energy sources. These political reasons stand on their own merit, irrespective of the global warming debate.
The one major feature that all technologies should have in common is that there must not be new laws, regulations or other restrictions that mandate or influence their use or non-use. The free market must be allowed to prevail and to self-regulate their use. Governments need to stay out of the debate, except perhaps, to influence their use solely within the government fleet of vehicles or in certifying new nuclear plants, for example. Reducing the size, power and scope of government will help limit government’s influence in areas where they do not need to be.
Dr. Noel Gibeson Corbell. As president of the Mount Vernon Institute, Dr. Corbell provides research and consulting services into contemporary issues involving the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, international affairs, human rights, the economy, terrorism, intelligence, homeland security, including counter-terrorism, and government responsibility and accountability. At Georgetown University, he taught courses as they relate to technology, intelligence, counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism and space issues. One course called Intelligence and American Foreign Policy, examined unclassified, open-source documents and the steps in the intelligence cycle up to and including preparation of the National Intelligence Estimate. As an organizational management consultant and a radio broadcaster with WALE Radio 990, he produced and hosted a live, radio talk show broadcast over New England and New York called Tomorrow, Today. Earlier, Noel Gibeson Corbell was a career U.S. Marine Corps force recon and infantry officer. In that regard he served in operational positions worldwide in jungles, deserts, mountains and oceans. Later, he was a strategic planner at Headquarters Marine Corps and for the Secretary of the Navy. His commentaries have appeared in newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, the Army Times, the Air Force Times, and on the Free Market News Network, as well as in The National Interest.