The recent ruling in the Minnesota house banning nuclear power seems to have caused a surge in public opinions concerning whether or not nuclear energy is a viable option. Just skimming the headlines most people seem to be adamantly in favor of it or on the fence. Some of the headlines in favor read:
“HOW I SEE IT: Nuclear energy is America’s best option”
“Avoiding nuclear power is another big energy mistake”
“Remove ban on new nuclear plants
One headline on the fence reads, “Nuclear energy risks: flimsy or concrete”
The most recent public opinion survey by the Nuclear Energy Institute supports such observations. The November 2008 survey shows that about 74% of Americans are in favor. And interest is growing. So why aren’t more power plants popping up?
Consider the surge of other related nuclear articles:
“Power on the cheap it’s not”
“Projected nuke power’s price tag inflating”
“High price scramble for nuclear sites”
Nuclear power proves extremely expensive. The first power plant of next generation reactors in Missouri was put on hold because it would cost $6 billion.
In my mind nuclear power may be our only solution to America’s growing addiction to energy. It is the only alternative to fossil fuels with high enough energy capacity and density and also works where the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. However, the two main driving forces, public opinion and cost, seem to be working against each other.
One question looms in my mind: How will global climate change affect the efficiency of a nuclear power plant? Nuclear power requires excessive amounts of water, cold water. The temperature of water will go up in the near future. That will decrease the efficiency of the plant. Will it still work with slightly warmer than cold water?