October 16, 2006

Energy : Nuke me, Bitch; Perry gets bought and deregulation was a crock

The DMN is reporting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (or the Nukular Commission to those in the know) is prepping to fast track a bunch of new power plants. Honestly, I don't think this is such as bad idea as they'll be using a standardized design to accelerate the time to completion. Part of the problem with older nuclear plants is that they are all unique, making safety and security evaluations problematic at best. With a standard design, there can be a fixed set of criteria that regulators can use to shut down badly operated plants, before they can harm people.

As always, I'm concerned about the waste because really, Where is it going to be stored? Do we have that solved yet? I'm pretty sure (due to the anti-nuke folks) that these aren't going to be fuel-recycling breeder reactors.

It's obvious our need for electricity is growing as fast as my need for alcohol (it's an insatiable thirst). However, we need to find a balance that will allow us to breathe (gratuitous slam against coal fired plants) and keep us from glowing in the dark. One point of curiosity, if utilities move forward with additional nuclear capacity, don't we need less coal fired plants?

As it turns out, no. Those are going to move forward because of a certain cheap bitch named Rick Perry. Coal and utility interests have given him more than $132,000 SINCE he fast tracked the power plants. Who knew Perry could be purchased at such a discount? He's like the Dollar General of elected officials.

And all this in the face of the fact that utility deregulation has been a disaster. Even the CATO Institute is for the re-regulation of the industry.

A truly competitive market has never developed, and, in most areas, the number of power producers is small. In New Jersey, for example, only six companies produce power, and not all of them sell to every utility.

Some utilities have decided to buy electricity not from the cheapest supplier but from one owned by a sister to the utility company, even if that electricity is more expensive. That has been the case in Ohio.

And if electricity is needed from more than one producer, utilities pay each one the highest price accepted in the bidding, not the lowest. This one-price system, adopted by the industry and approved by the federal government, is intended to encourage investment in new power plants, which are costlier than older ones.

Posted by mcblogger at October 16, 2006 01:18 PM

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Don't worry. We're keeping all the waste for the South Texas Project right in Matagorda County until the feds open a spot in Nevada. Even if two additional units get fast-tracked, we've got the space in our hermitically sealed sarcophagus and vacant apartments to hold all the waste generated over the life of the plant.

Seriously, don't hate this. We're still in double-digit unemployment since all the natives here are high school dropouts. Many of them are already married cousins so our gene pool is already troubled.

Posted by: txscribbler at October 17, 2006 09:30 PM

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