Substitute nuclear electric energy for burning fossil fuels


Global warming has been politicized so much that even your newspaper cartoonist considers himself (or herself) scientifically knowledgeable by accepting the bias of persons advancing their personal agendas. As to my credentials, I personally warned of the problems of global warming in an article published in a technical journal in 1973, and for many years afterward I actively promoted CO2-free energy while the Sierra Club was advocating oil shale and coal to solve our energy problems. Futility set in during 1983, when volcanic fumes were spewed high into the stratosphere from Chichon in Mexico to cause minor global cooling. This made global warming politically incorrect until recently.

The world is full of politicians who will not tell you that merely reducing CO2 emissions only defers the impacts of global warming for a few years. That is what Kyoto and Bali are really about. To halt global warming, CO2 emissions from fossil fuels must cease entirely. This requires substituting nuclear-electric energy for fossil fuel generation. Like the activists who caused the premature abandonment of the Trojan nuclear plant (and who would take out hydroelectric dams), Al (Gore) will not even mention nuclear energy as a remedy. Instead he promotes 'clean-coal technology,' which adds the great expense of sequestering CO2 underground in porous rocks under high pressure. Some proponents want to inject CO2 emissions. Other proponents would stuff CO2 underground willy-nilly and let it bubble up in soda springs, since most coal plants are situated a great distance from geological trapping conditions for gas.

In contrast, the present administration has received an application for the first nuclear reactor to be built in the U.S. in nearly 30 years and expects 17 more applications in 2008. No applications were received while Mr. Gore was in office. A one-mw nuclear generator can produce the same electric energy as 500 large 2-kw wind generators or 1,000 1-kw solar generators, and nuclear still generates that much energy for lighting and heating homes when the sun sets and the wind dies down. With 80 percent of its electricity nuclear, France has shown that clean nuclear-electric energy is cheaper than any other source.

Vehicular fuels are another problem. Biomass energy cannot dent the global warming problem. Unknown to almost everyone, a revolutionary non-nuclear solution is being experimented with, albeit at a slow pace.

William Barbat is a resident

of Lake Oswego.