Monday, February 15, 2010

Obama Finances a Nuclear Power Plant

Obama, that master-mind of all things, especially economic recoveries, will announce on Tuesday (tomorrow as I write this) that the government will help to fund two new nuclear power plants in Georgia (USA, not the country near Russia). Brilliant. Just brilliant.

The new nuclear plants are too expensive to attract private funding, as are any nuclear plants in the USA these days. The South Texas Nuclear Project's expansion plans are also on the rocks, with the expected cost to build escalating each time the players meet to talk about it. Last round, the price was up to $17 billion. One can bet that the final cost, if it ever gets built, will be far, far more.

Nothing is different, or better, in Georgia, as their twin-reactor plant will also cost around $20 to $25 billion, or more. Maybe much more. But now the U.S. government will provide loan guarantees so the plant will be built.

Will the U.S. government also provide rebates to the poor, who must purchase that outrageously priced nuclear power from the new plants? How about for the elderly, on fixed incomes? And what about the young couple with small kids, struggling from paycheck to paycheck? What will all of them do when their power bill is increased 20, 30, or 50 percent? It gets really hot in Georgia in the summer months, and the humidity is high. Not much else is going to cool off the house or apartment, except an air conditioner. And that uses electricity.

If Obama backs nuclear power plants because they emit no CO2, and he still bitterly clings to the myth that CO2 causes global warming (it doesn't because it cannot), then he should hear this: Nuclear power plants run one heck of a cooling tower, to condense the steam that exits the steam turbine. That cooling tower vaporizes huge amounts of water, and the water vapor goes off into the atmosphere. Now, water vapor IS a greenhouse gas, and DOES make the local climate warmer. No one disputes this unless they have already lost their marbles. It is a fact that a nuclear power plant sends approximately twice as much heat out the cooling tower as water vapor, compared to what is produced in the form of electricity. So, for a 2,000 MW nuclear power plant with twin reactors (1000 MW each), there will be the equivalent of 4,000 MW of heat exiting the cooling tower. All day. Every day. For 40 years or more. Warming up the globe.

(why should anyone believe me, as I write this? After all, aren't I an attorney? What do attorneys know about this stuff? Turns out, I am also an engineer, with a degree in Chemical Engineering and decades of experience in refineries and power plants and energy matters. Or you could call your local engineer and ask him or her.)

Atta boy, Mr. President. You should fire your science advisors.

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

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