AP reporter Jeff Donn's message is that the U.S. nuclear reactor fleet is getting old. Donn found that as nuclear power reactors age, their age shows in increasing technical failures. Nobody with an old car or an old house should be surprised by that.
An AP reporter is hardly an expert on any aspect of nuclear power.
One of the frightening things about nuclear power is its high upfront cost. For example, the Florida utility Progress Energy, one of the few in America with current plans to build new nuclear facilities, in January 2009 announced a project consisting of two reactors for $7 billion each.
To put that into perspective, the most expensive construction project of any kind in Wisconsin history was a po
wer station, the new We Energies coal-fired facility in Oak Creek. Its price: a comparatively small $2.3 billion.
I assure you I can find that Chuck Baynton is no friend of coal-fired power. Further, for $7 billion, one gets 1000 Megawatts of electricity vs. about 600 for $2.3 billion. But the cost of nuclear generation is substantially less than that from fossil sources and since the president has told us he would "bankrupt" those who would build coal-fired power and electricity prices would "necessarily skyrocket", I suggest that Baynton makes no sense.
I leave you the comments I made at the end of the column in MJS:
Perhaps, as a physician (not an engineer, or physicist or technician), the author should consider the risks of NOT building nuclear plants. More
people die from exposure to cold and heat, from food which has gone
without proper refrigeration, from unclean water all due to inadequate
energy sources than have ever or will ever die from nuclear power. It is
reprehensible that a physician would be willing to deny cheap, proven safe,
affordable energy to the poor and "disadvantaged" he purports to car
I have about 20 years of experience in the industry and had leave
because of irresponsible people like Chuck Baynton who have no knowledge
of the technology or economics of the issue, but continue with their scare
tactics because they hate what they do not know. They put me out of a
job and nearly killed a vital resource necessary to the life, liberty and
pursuit of happiness of the people of the United States.
I was going to stop there, but I must add that people like Chuck Brayton (sic)
believe the United States has too much, uses too much and needs to be
brought back to the level rest of the world. Nothing can be more wrong.
Our predecessors worked hard and improved their lives and the lives of
others through nothing but hard work. There was no lottery won, no
advantage other than brains and work ethic. To take away the gains of
that hard work to assuage some ill-conceived guilt is sin.