Nuclear power is the answer to our energy needs

Posted June 25, 2010, at 7:46 p.m.

How long will the United States allow the stranglehold of our dependency on oil to continue?

We watch helplessly while oil escapes into the Gulf of Mexico with the inevitable results of soiled beaches, destroyed ecosystems and disappearing livelihoods.

Our dollars spent on foreign oil are being used by some extremist oil exporting nations to finance acts of terrorism directly against our way of life.

It has been said that fully two-thirds of the world population would not be here if it were not for the concentrated energy contained in oil. Energy is food and food is energy.

As unimaginable as it may seem, the source of energy that has allowed mankind to flourish will run out.

While the policymakers at state and federal levels flounder in a wash of so-called “green” power generation fiascoes, the flow of oil continues to diminish.

The time is now to ramp up development of nuclear power generation facilities if this country is to maintain the standard of living that has made it so desirable to be an American.

Nuclear power accounts for 80 percent of France’s, 34.5 percent of Japan’s, and 19 percent of the United States’ power mix. Japan alone in the past two years has opened eight new nuclear facilities.

What do they know that we don’t?

With the 10 years-plus it takes to site, build and license a plant, the time is now to begin.

Congress needs to streamline the siting and licensing requirements to expedite the process.

As it stands now, when a plant is proposed, a site is chosen. Then a building permit is issued after a lengthy review. After being granted the permit, the developer faces a long list of legal challenges from a laundry list of environmental and NIMBY organizations with deep pockets and on-staff legal teams.

After these legal challenges have been resolved, the building phase is undertaken which takes anywhere from three to five years.

Then the completed plant has to apply for an operation license, which is also challenged in court (usually by the same groups that delayed the building permit process).

Imagine, if you will, this same legal process being applied to a home that you have bought land for, received permits to build, financed and built, and then being told you couldn’t live there until everybody had their day in court to try to stop you.

Ridiculous you say?

This is the state of our nuclear energy regulatory process in the U.S.

Politicians have to grow some backbone and make the hard decisions to make these plants a major portion of our energy mix.

If they can’t make these decisions, please, please get out of the way for leaders that will.

The flow of oil is slowing down as we watch the fight over which mountaintop or offshore area is to be protected from government subsidized wind power developers.

Our farmland is hanging in the balance between food production and biofuels production, which will change the way and amount we as Americans pay for food in the future. Our paltry 9.8 percent of income spent on food will continue to rise as it has for the past two years as a direct result of acreage being converted to biofuels production.

The time is now for nuclear power.

Steve Crouse of Patten owns a welding and fabrication shop.

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