Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2015

Matt Wald on the News Media and Nuclear Energy

Last week, NEI's Matt Wald gave a short talk to the NEI Lawyers Committee on why the media covers nuclear energy the way it does. After spending 33 years working for the New York Times, it's clear he knows of what he speaks. Here's a short excerpt:
Most reporters and editors can’t tell the difference between a kilowatt and a kilowatt-hour and many of them don’t know why they’d want to tell the difference. That makes it unlikely they’re going to give a clear picture to their readers or viewers. Add onto that some fuzzy thinking among the general public, that includes ideas like, “electricity is a human right and therefore ought to be free,” and you’ve got a recipe for mis-communications.

Nuclear comes out badly not because it’s nuclear, but because of several overarching attitudes in newsrooms. One is that editors like disagreements, he said/she said. It’s an easy way to structure a news story. But the editors and reporters have rather limited ability to independently eva…

How a Bias for Action Led to an Innovative Alternative to External Filtered Vents

The following is a guest post by Maria Korsnick, NEI’s Chief Operating Officer.

During the five years that I was chief nuclear officer at Constellation Energy, my first priority was to ensure that our plants operated safely and reliably in order to protect public health and safety. On a day-to-day basis, I wanted to make sure that our operating crews and emergency personnel had multiple tools available to combat any situation that might arise. And when we identified gaps, we made sure to address them promptly. It’s this bias for action -- together with the oversight of a strong independent regulator, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission  -- that has helped the American nuclear energy industry become the safest and most reliable in the world.

Following the tragic accident at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan on March 11, 2011, the U.S. nuclear industry followed that same bias for action to ensure that our plants would continue to protect the public should a similar set of events occur her…

Climate Central: Nuclear Yes? Nuclear No? So Confusing!

Climate Central notices that nuclear energy technology is not standing still. The writer, Bobby McGill, makes it clear that nuclear “isn’t likely to grow much in the United States” and that the “the EIA [Energy Information Agency] has forecast flat nuclear power (through 2040).*” So that’s that –or is it?The $60 million the Department of Energy is dedicating to nuclear research will go to more than 40 different projects at universities across the U.S. focusing on nuclear energy modeling, nuclear security and safety and new reactor concepts and fuels.U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, speaking Monday at the Energy Information Administration’s annual energy conference in Washington, said he is bullish on nuclear power as a clean energy source. However, the high costs of developing nuclear energy have to come down, he said.Fair enough, I guess. Other accounts of Moniz’s keynote suggest he talked mostly about the U.S.Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the need to release barrels from it ju…

NIMBY = Nuclear Energy in My Backyard

The following is a guest post by Ann S. Bisconti, PhD, President, Bisconti Research, Inc.

After a decade of public opinion surveys that consistently find broad and deep support for nuclear energy among nuclear power plant neighbors, is it time to re-think NIMBY? The conventional wisdom goes that “not-in-my-backyard,” is a barrier to nuclear energy. That may be true in some locations, but it is absolutely clear that a NIMBY attitude toward nuclear energy does not apply to most people who live close to America’s nuclear power plants.

Six biennial surveys of U.S. nuclear power plant neighbors that we have conducted for the Nuclear Energy Institute since 2005 confirm that residents close to the facilities are far more favorable to nuclear energy than the general public, and they are very supportive of the local plant. The latest nuclear power plant neighbor survey, just released, was conducted May 26 through June 13. A random sample of 1,080 respondents was drawn from residents of …

On the Papal Encyclical & Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post by J.T. Rodriguez, a communications intern at NEI.

In his recent encyclical about care for "our common home," the earth, Pope Francis had a lot to say. I was curious to see what he had to say. I had no idea if he had said anything on nuclear energy, but as it turns out, he has.

While there were many mentions about renewable energy resources in Laudato Si’, he does also say things about nuclear energy technology.

“These comments are not surprising from the first Pope to have studied chemistry, and who worked as a chemist prior to entering the seminary,” wrote Forbes contributor James Conca.

“It must also be recognized that nuclear energy, biotechnology, information technology, knowledge of our DNA, and many other abilities which we have acquired, have given us tremendous power,” wrote Pope Francis.

It is an interesting comment and not as self-evident as it first appears. Pope Francis says elsewhere that these technologies and other of men’s d…

How Ex-Im Bank Levels the Playing Field With Russia

The following is a guest post by Ted Jones, Director of International Supplier Relations for NEI.

Last week, the Export-Import Bank of the United States released its annual Competitiveness Report to the U.S. Congress. The report highlighted “the ballooning of export finance around the world, particularly of the opaque, non-OECD-compliant variety.” This growth of export finance on “terms more lenient than the [OECD] Arrangement, with rates below what EXIM can offer and minimal risk-related fees,” threatens to undermine U.S. competitiveness, the report warned. Perhaps no sector illustrates the threat posed by non-OECD export finance as starkly as nuclear energy.

We have explained why Ex-Im Bank is essential for U.S. suppliers to be competitive in international nuclear energy markets. When the foreign competition is bound by OECD limits, Ex-Im Bank provides a somewhat level playing field for U.S. suppliers. When the foreign competition is unchecked by OECD rules, Ex-Im Bank cannot l…

The Third Way, Climate Change and New Nuclear Technology

The Third Way, a moderate policy shop based out of Washington, has issued an interesting report that looks at new nuclear technologies. Let’s define “new” somewhat loosely in this case, as some take up older ideas and move them forward. Others are indeed innovations in nuclear plant technology. From Reuters:Advanced nuclear power plants, which will employ techniques such as using fuels other than uranium and coolants other than water, have attracted private investments from more than 40 companies from Florida to Washington state, the Third Way think tank says in the first report specifying the number of firms and total money invested in the technologies.Third Way makes the case that all this activity – with investment to date exceeding $1.3 billion – is happening because the connection between nuclear energy and climate change is becoming clearer over time and spurring forward-looking investors to take a serious look
(sometimes, a second look) at nuclear energy.To stem climate change, …