Former Florida governor Jeb Bush shared his opinions on nuclear power in the Ocala, Fl Star Banner:
"Change" seems to be the operative word this election season. It's on the lips of political contenders and on the minds of the voters. But politics isn't the only arena where change is in the air. Change is happening in the world of energy as well, specifically when it comes to nuclear energy.
Against the backdrop of a larger discussion about how we will meet our future energy demand while keeping our environment clean, nuclear energy is experiencing a renaissance. Americans are beginning to shed the emotional debate about nuclear energy and are taking a practical look at why it is essential to meeting our future energy demand.
They like what they see. The support for nuclear energy is diverse. It's one of the few issues in Washington, D.C., these days that feels bipartisan. Even former naysayers are coming around to the merits of nuclear.
There are now 104 nuclear power reactors in the United States that are safely producing 20 percent of the nation's electricity - notably, without producing any of the harmful greenhouse gases some believe to be a major factor in climate change. Americans are beginning to recognize that nuclear energy caters to both our lifestyle and our greening mentality. And it offers the most proven means for our country to achieve much needed energy security.
Patrick Moore, the co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, personifies the sea change in public opinion. Moore has significantly changed his tune in the last 30 years from a Greenpeace protester to a pro-nuclear environmentalist who has embraced nuclear energy as a realistic way to meet electricity demand without polluting the environment. He is just one of many who have taken another look at nuclear and have given it a second chance. Moore is now co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, of which I am a member.
American are demanding changes in energy production and the utilities are listening - there are 31 new nuclear power plants on the drawing board to be built over the next 15 to 20 years. Three of those are proposed for Florida. . . .
By 2030 the South Atlantic Grid is expected to require 26 percent more energy than it produced in 2006. And nationally, the numbers are even higher. As a country, we will need 40 percent more electricity to power our way of life by 2030. . . .
It is time to shine a little light on this critical sea change, which has produced energy's comeback kid - nuclear power. It has my vote."
While not an energy expert, Jeb Bush is very recognizable figure in American politics and his opinions are worth considering. While energy conservation should remain our priority and renewable energy (solar, wind, ocean, and geothermal) expanded as fast as possible, our power needs in the next 20-30 years cannot be met by these efforts. That leaves clean coal with sequestration and nuclear power to fill this gap. Federal energy policy is not moving to require sequestration, and generation III+ nuclear technology will not be available (in the US) in "production" quantities until the first few of this generation of nuclear power have been demonstrated. Thus we have to revert to clean coal power in the meantime. The only recourse is for the banks to require an allowance for the cost of sequestration in their evaluation for a loan, see previous post. If you have not seen The Oil Drum post "Olduvai revisited 2008" you should read it and all the comments for a excellent discussion on our future energy choices. Its an onerous task to write such a post, I hope I will have my own version in the not too distant future. If you are not familiar with the Olduvai Theory see the entry in Wikipedia. It is my belief that when enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) are commercially developed, the price of PV solar drops to less than $2.00 per Wp and PHEVs and EVs become widely available, sometime between 2012 and 2020, we will be able to sustain the growth of energy consumption on renewable energy, so the period of dependence on fossil fuels will end in the foreseeable future.