Archive for the ‘nuclear energy’ Category

photo: patryck.net

Silicon Valley may be the solar technology capital of the country but some tech execs here harbor warm feelings for that green bete noir, nuclear energy. Global warming, of course, has helped revive the fortunes of the greenhouse-gas free nuke industry, which all but died in the wake of the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters. The question of whether a new nuclear boom is a possible solution to global warming caused some frisson, if not fission, yesterday during a love fest between valley execs and California Senator Barbara Boxer at an alternative energy summit hosted by Advanced Micro Devices.  "I absolutely agree it is part of the solution," said AMD senior strategist Larry Vertal when asked about nuclear energy during a panel session, eliciting applause from the audience of some 300 tech executives and local government officials. He said a new generation of nuclear technology has made moot the meltdown risks of the Three Mile Island era. But Boxer, who chairs the powerful Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, remains resolutely anti-nuke. She told the execs that the long-standing problem of how to handle radioactive waste must be resolved. "I’m one of the strongest worriers about the safety question," she said. Noting that the last Congress gave the nuclear industry $8 billion in subsidies and has limited plant operators’ liability in the event of catastrophe. "Nuclear should compete without subsidies," she said to applause. "Let them compete with everyone else on an equal footing." She acknowledged nuclear power’s carbon-free emissions gives the industry "a leg up," but said that building billion-dollar centralized plants is not a long-term solution to global warming. "The future is decentralization." While California has banned new nuclear power plants until the waste issue is solved, Congressional sentiment, Boxer notwithstanding, is favorable to the industry’s expansion plans. Just today, Texas utility TXU (TXU) announced it’s abandoning coal plants to make a big push into nuclear energy.

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