My commentary on an article published in CommonDreams on the Nuclear “Welfare” Handout.
Here’s a little music to get you into the mood of what follows and it is key to understanding the reality of what is being sold you by the Nuclear Power Industry & Lobbyists. Thanks to youtube and especially Royksopp as I love this song!
Published on Thursday, May 29, 2008 by CommonDreams.org
Half-Trillion Dollars for Nukes!
by Karl Grossman
“With Wall Street unwilling to finance new nuclear plants, U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and John Warner of Virginia have cooked up a scheme to provide $544 billion – yes, with a “b” — in subsidies for new nuclear power plant development.
Their move will be debated on the floor of the Senate Tuesday, June 3.
A Lieberman aide describes the plan as “the most historic incentive for nuclear in the history of the United States.”
The Lieberman-Warner scheme is cloaked in a climate change bill — the claim being that nuclear power plants don’t emit greenhouse gases and thus don’t contribute to global warming. However, the overall “nuclear cycle” – which includes mining, milling, fuel enrichment and fabrication, and reprocessing — has significant greenhouse gas emissions that do contribute to global warming.
Moreover, nuclear power is enormously dangerous. Accidents like the Chernobyl explosion of 1986 stand to kill and leave many people with cancer. Nuclear plants routinely emit life-threatening radioactivity. Safeguarding nuclear waste for millions of years is an insoluble problem.
Nevertheless, there have long been powerful forces in government and the nuclear industry promoting atomic energy.
Wall Street is uneasy — rightfully regarding nuclear power as terribly risky. Six of the nation’s largest investment banks including CitiGroup, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley last year told the U.S. Department of Energy that the risks “make lenders unwilling…to extend long-term credit.””
read the rest at Common Dreams.org
Imagine if $544,000,000,000 were spent on solar or wind, what it would get us?
OK, I’m gonna do some simple numbers on what this could buy…
This basic solar power package cost $8,670 and produces 1050 watts of power.
I found an estimate of the number of “homes” in the USA at 102 million based on census data.
The half trillion dollars could provide for 57,670,000 systems or roughly 0.565 systems for every house in America.
So with this money, 57.67 million homes could be equipped with a solar power system that could be fed into the already existing electric distribution system.
Now lets look for a slightly more efficient system that increases power output disproportionately to the increase of cost. aka, spend a little more, get a lot more output. This would be the system that doubles the output to 2100 watts but only increases the price by ~57% to $14,956.
This gives us 36.37 million systems that could be installed for the same money Lieberman, et.al. propose spending on nuclear power.
I’ll put some information into our calculations from this site, SolarBuzz.com, which states “A 1 kilowatt peak Solar System will generate around 1,600 kilowatt hours per year in a sunny climate and about 750 kilowatt hours per year in a cloudy climate.”
We have a 2.1 kilowatt peak solar system, and we will average the two different system outputs to reflect putting systems evenly throughout the US. (1600 + 750) / 2 = 1225 for an average, now multiplied by the system over double the size we arrive at 2572.5 kilowatts per system per year.
Taking this per system output and multiplying it by the number of systems that can be built by the $544 billion dollars, we arrive at 93,570,473 MegaWatts of power per year, where a Mega Watt is equal to 1,000 kiloWatts.
Pulling the Department of Energy numbers, the average household’s monthly consumption of electricity is 866 kiloWatts or 10,392 kiloWatts per year.
And if we look at this as a unified undertaking, given the simple fact that money given from the federal government, in theory at least, is from a communal source, the US taxpayers, we come to the conclusion that this $544 billion dollars spent on a massive solar power project, would supply 9,004,087 households with power. Power that does not cost anything, given the “government” subsidized the investment of the power source as they so propose to do with this subsidy to the nuclear power industry. This would supply 8.83% of the residential electric consumption of the entire country, this is no small amount that can be tossed aside.
Now, there is something important to consider. This government investment in the US electric power production would not directly cost the users anything over time for the 20 year life expectancy of the solar system. However, if the government gives this $544 billion dollars to subsidize the nuclear power industry and their construction of more nuclear plants, will the electricity generated be free to all consumers of the nation? Why do I already know the answer to this question without asking.
So in essence, Senators Joe Lieberman & John Warner, are proposing providing “welfare” to the nuclear industry to build nuclear plants, then after building them, they will charge the rate payers most likely at the prevailing rate for electricity. How does this logic make any sense, if the government could invest in a program that once paid for costs nothing to produce 8.83% of our residential electric consumption why are they giving corporate welfare to the nuclear industry who will turn around and charge users for the power consumption?
This is not even looking at it from a “wacky environmentalist” perspective of; nuclear power not being safe, we have no realistic manner to safely dispose of the waste product, we do not take into account the green house gases released by both building a nuclear plant and supplying it with uranium fuel, and the impacts taking cool water out of our rivers & lakes, and then returning it at a higher temperature.
I’ve been seeing the Nuclear crowd picking up speed lately, and here on the blogosphere, over and over again those who want to ensure our energy independence point towards Nuclear power as the “solution” to the problem while at the same time fighting against electric cars. Are they advocating “back to the future” type cars that each has a mini-nuclear reactor under the hood?
I took a break in the middle of putting this together, and low and behold, there was a nice new friendly happy Nuclear industry promotion on the TV with a nice friendly & benign name us.Areva.com. And if you hadn’t noticed given I worked out all the numbers here, I am very logically left brained, so I find their commercial very catchy.
It reminds me way too much of the “can’t get it out of my head addiction” of the Geico commercials, and the reason why is only 2 degrees of separation away. When you recall the “retro 70s tennis player meets Polo caveman” on the airport people mover, what is the song that comes to your head?
Well you shouldn’t have had to think about it too long, as you were listening to it as you read prior to watching the Avera advertisement.
Hmm, happy songs and catchy commercials are America’s solution to the growing energy crisis. I noticed in the us.Avera.com advertisement, it lays out a “happy” simple manner in which something in the ground is taken out, has “something” done to it, then “magically” you are able to dance in The Sim’s Nightclub. Yet there is no mention of where the “something” that “magically” brings us “happy times” goes to once it is done doing all these special things. Nor does it show how much it costs all of us collectively either.
So, as I like this sentence, I repeat it again so that every time you see another Gieco commercial you can give this some serious thought and consider what is being sold to you.
Happy songs and catchy commercials are America’s solution to the growing energy crisis.