On this anniversary of Three Mile Island, we see again short-sighted attempts to misapply reasonable discussion on the value and potential of nuclear power.
We cannot blithely peer at the world around us through yesterday’s assumptions and expect to correctly understand today’s energy needs or prepare for tomorrow’s.
We’ve progressed through the Industrialized Age, the Space Age, and the Information Age to find we live in a totally new world. A world where access to energy increasingly enables or restricts our modern societies, and fundamentally drives economic growth and prosperity.
As with every age past, this Energy Age requires a fresh, clear look at our societal assumptions in light of current facts:
- By 2050, a global village of 9 billion people will demand and consume energy
- Emerging countries are setting aggressive economic growth curves, demanding increasing amounts of reliable energy
- Limited fossil-fuel resources are primarily concentrated in unstable regions with pervasive security consequences
Our vision and challenge for the Energy Age is to satisfy our growing energy needs at a stable and competitive price while decreasing carbon emissions and ensuring a steady, secure energy supply. The three supply options are apparent:
- Existing fossil fuels – Limited sustainability with significant carbon-emissions; Currently price-competitive; Unstable supply
- New renewable energy – Long-term sustainability with low carbon emissions; Projected competitive pricing; variable or steady supply according to source
- Modern nuclear energy – Long-term sustainability with low carbon emissions; Price competitive; Stable supply
Arguing against future nuclear power based on decades-old technology is a disingenuous attempt to gloss over the decades of learning and ongoing advancements in the safe, secure, proven capabilities inherent in today’s nuclear power plant designs.
The debate setting up an either-or selection between nuclear energy and renewable energy is also a red herring. In the transition away from fossil fuels, we need both: nuclear and renewables are complementary energy sources.
This clear vision of the future creates a path forward worthy of discussion to meet the demand and fulfill the potential of this new Energy Age.
Tweet TAGS: Energy Age, Three Mile Island, TMI
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