Nuclear power back in favour

Fossil fuel prices – and particularly the price of natural gas, which fuels most recently-constructed power plants – have soared in recent years, re-igniting interest in nuclear power with economists, legislators, and the general public, says James Taylor, managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

In response, General Electric and Hitachi have recently announced a joint venture to build two nuclear power plants in Texas, which would be the first commissioned in the United States since 1978. The plants, scheduled to be built in Matagorda County, about 70 miles southwest of Houston, will bring economic benefits to the region:

  • Construction of the plants will cost $2.6 billion each, but they will thereafter produce power for a fraction of the cost of traditional power plants.

  • Officials expect the new plants will create 6,000 new construction jobs and 1,000 permanent operator jobs.

    Nuclear power has also been gaining acceptance for reasons other than economic:

  • New technology has made nuclear power safer than ever.

  • Nuclear plants produce energy without greenhouse gas emissions.

    "Quite simply, nuclear power offers the only large-scale, feasible alternative to fossil fuels," says H. Sterling Burnett, senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. "Wind and solar power are intermittent, and solar power in particular is prohibitively expensive. It is not surprising that to the extent people buy into global warming theory, nuclear power is becoming the power source of choice."

    Source: James M. Taylor Texas Will Host First New U.S. Nuclear Plants Since 1970s, Environment and Climate News, Heartland Institute, August 1, 2006

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 08 August 2006
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