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Nuclear Power: Going Retro to Go Forward

power.jpgNuclear energy generation is a big topic as of lately in Tennessee. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is going to submit an application to build two new nuclear reactors, and restart two old ones according to an article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. In addition, scientists from Oak Ridge Laboratory believe think they can effectively recycle nuclear waste from area radioactive waste dumps. However, they may also take in waste from 103 other sites from across the U.S.

Personally, I have mixed feelings. As an environmentalist, I’d rather we didn’t split atoms for electricity and dump the radioactive byproduct into storage facilities that may or may not be able effectively keep the stuff safe. Also, I wouldn’t want to be driving my Civic down the highway wondering if the truck next to me is carrying spent nuclear fuel rods. On the other hand, we need electricity, and we can’t keep burning so much coal—which contributes to global warming and acid rain, which may be more pressing problems than what to do with nuclear waste.

Whatever the case, it's a debate that will get more and more play as the U.S. presses on with a green agenda.

"Handling Nuclear Waste," Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jan. 29, 2007
"Nuclear Revival," Chattanooga Times Free Press, Jan. 28, 2007

For some background information, check out the Energy chapter in the 2007 World Almanac, pages 110-115.
Here’s the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration main web site for information on U.S. nuclear reactors.


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