Alternative energies are oversold

I participated in the recent Global Nuclear Energy Partnership meetings in North Augusta. I was proud to see mayors, council members, representatives, senators, scientists and ordinary citizens from the CSRA voice solid, thoughtful support for GNEP. I was not proud to hear the bused-in "anti-nukes" and witness their antics. ...

Certain "facts" were presented in opposition to GNEP. One of the most egregious is that wind power and similar alternatives can take the place of large-scale power generation facilities. Have these anti-nukes not done their homework, or are they so against nuclear or any large power plants they would twist the facts?

Studies show that alternatives have their place, literally and figuratively. Not every place has the constant wind or sunlight needed to power these alternatives. Further, there are no batteries large enough to store energy on the scale needed to power the homes of the 500,000 people in the CSRA, not to mention manufacturing plants and businesses.

Citing the Club of Rome as a major source of energy and environmental information can be problematic. As a young scientist in the 1970s, my bible was the Club of Rome book. ... The club's dire predictions prompted me to administer an alternative energy grants program. ... While alternative energy technologies were appropriate for a homestead in the woods, never did my scientific or engineering reviewers suggest they could be linked to power a city or a region.

The year 2000 passed. The Club of Rome's predictions didn't materialize, we didn't run out of oil or natural gas, our population didn't "explode" and global cooling did not occur. And we still need energy from large power sources. Alternatives fill the small-dispersed energy niche, but cannot address large-scale requirements.

The passage of time has made me a realist. One purpose of gaining experience is to pass it on to others. However, the others must have open minds, and accept reality. The reality is that GNEP is a good idea.

Christopher Noah, Ph.D., Evans

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