Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Word Is: Scientists are Frustrated with Anemic Energy Discussions!

Nuclear Power Can Increase Performance and
Efficiency in the United States.

Humans consume 15 trillion kilowatts of energy worldwide every year, and by 2040 that number will double to 30 trillion as developing nations build infrastructures and create better lives for their "energy poor" citizens.

James Conca, is the director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center and Institute of Energy and the Environment, which is operated by NMSU.

In this AUDIO INTERVIEW, Conca says we are running out of fossil fuels and we need to look at a more efficient, and reliable, three-part energy mix, including fossil, renewables, and nuclear power.

He says we've been dawdling too long, "the country should have started developing alternatives after the 1973 oil embargo."

Conca has co-authored The Geopolitics of Energy: Achieving a Just and Sustainable Energy Distribution by 2040 with Judith Wright. The book, is designed like a magazine, and is easily read in two to three hours. It asks the question "What future do you want, environmental degradation or environmental stewardship?

Conca and Wright suggest if alternatives are not brought online quickly, fossil fuel use will also increase and more than double Carbon Dioxide emissions with all it's unwanted health and enviromental side effects.

They say the solutions must be in place by 2010 to be effectively serving the world's expanding population in the next thirty years.

The book suggests by 2040 the world must have:
  • 3 Million Wind Turbines
  • Solar Arrays totaling 3 trillion kWhrs/year
  • 1,700 new nuclear reactors
  • Biofuels from algae, cellulosics and high-efficiency biomass
  • 3 trillion kWhrs/year from other alternatives including wave, tidal and bio gas.
The authors say the increasing efficiency and return from nuclear energy, the small footprint, the lack of Carbon Dioxide emission, the small amount of waste generated and the the ease of handling, has led to a resurgence of nuclear power worldwide.

Clearly, the U.S. has abdicated its leadership role in nuclear energy and it needs to become involved again. France is already 80% nuclear. It's clean, safe and efficient and it generates more power than solar.

It's time to start building power plants. One plant, in Southern, New Mexico can replace 52% of the state's coal powered energy.

Congress needs to cancel their summer recess and work on developing sustainable energy policies for the future. But, they WON'T. I hope they at least turn the lights out on their way home to denial.

Photo Credits: MG Bralley

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