There is talk from Congressman Chris Gibson about beginning the arrangements to have a nuclear power plant built in the Capital Region. He promotes that bringing this to the area with encourage economic growth, help with property tax, and a positive impact on the environment.
The U.S. wants 13 new plants built in the next ten years and they are willingness to loan out $18 billion in funds to do so. Is the Capital Region a good fit for this venture?
As with any issue there are pros and cons, and commercial nuclear power is no different. There are many things to consider and whether the advantages outweigh the costs is the main question.
Let’s look at some of the pros to having a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power is derived by the heat produced when an element, such as uranium, is struck by a neutron and splits. Because the nuclear plant is using this technology as opposed to burning coal, for example, it has very low carbon dioxide emissions which would help keep pollution down. The uranium used in this technology is also a lot less expensive then coal. Uranium is found throughout the United States which provides the benefit of energy independence – viewed by many as a very great appeal. Also, less fuel is needed to produce a comparable amount of energy. Because of this we can obtain a large amount of energy from a small reactor making it easily portable (theoretically).
What then are the cons to having a nuclear power plant locally? One main con is the waste. It remains radioactive for hundreds of years. Because of the harmful effects of the radioactivity it not only should be buried deep underground but it also needs to be watched so that these materials do not fall into the hands of people who want to use it maliciously. We must also consider the contamination risks associated with the transportation of the nuclear fuel to and from the plant. There is also the potential for a catastrophic event such as a “meltdown” of the plant. This would release radioactive materials into the atmosphere that would wreak havoc on the local people, animals, and natural resources.
When times are difficult people problem solve to the best of their abilities. Right now our economy is need of local jobs, tax breaks, and an infusion of cash. While building a nuclear power plant, like Congressman Chris Gibson is proposing, may bring all of these things to our area do you feel it is in our best interest? Are there additional Pros and Cons that we missed?