Thursday, March 17, 2011
Coal is Starting to Look Good
Given the intransigence of the Global Warming/Climate Change crowd I never thought I would change my mind about nuclear power. However, given the disaster in Japan and the basic problem of disposing of spent fuel rods I have had a change of heart. To quote a guy in my office "you are a fossil (fuel) man;" And I guess it is true. As you may or may not know no matter what type of fuel you use the basic principle behind generating power on a large scale is an updated version of Robert Fulton's steam engine. Large furnaces heat water to boiling, which is then pushed through turbines to turn generators that produce electricity. Coal, natural gas, hydro and nuclear power are the prime generators of electric in America and account for over 90-percent of our power needs. It is no secret that we have huge coal and natural gas reserves and with some rational thinking America could solve its power needs for electricity for several hundred years. It would also give us a chance to develop alternatives that are up to the task. What has caused my change of heart is the issue of spent nuclear fuel. It is clear that these rods are dangerous and really cannot be disposed of in a non-lethal way, and we have more nuclear plants than any country in the world. If they ever become exposed the radiation will kill. This is the lesson of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. The only by-product of coal is ash, which can be recycled. Coal and natural gas are starting to look pretty good to me.