Today's paper brings us yet another in a series of editorials extolling the virtues of wind and solar as sources of energy diversity for our country. Can we all just nod our heads and say, "Solar Good, Coal Bad" and get on with it? Yes, Mr. Tisch, solar and wind are great ideas, and I look forward to seeing them eventually begin to be scaled in a way in which real, usable power can be delivered to the grid in meaningful capacities. But we're just not there yet. And we'll never get there as long as Ted Kennedy doesn't want to see wind turbines from his deathbed in Hyannis, or as long as economically viable solar farms threaten the mating habitat of the fly-tailed dung beetle.
We have 104 nuclear power plants in this country producing nearly 20% of our electricity needs. Virtually every single site was surveyed to include room for growth. Yes, nuclear energy costs money. Capital costs to get a plant up and going are very high. That said, once the plant is up and operating, per-kilowatt costs are competitive with other sources...at capacities those other sources are simply not technologically ready to deliver.
Any discussion of energy security of this country must consider nuclear power if it is to seriously address the problem.