Archive for the ‘Nuclear Energy’ Category

Silicon Valley’s Venture Capitalists Support Obama Energy Plan

September 29, 2008


Obama’s pledge of $150 Billion for new, what has been termed as ‘Cleantech’ industries (meaning carbon-free energy technologies such as solar), has found support amongst Silicon Valley’s Venture Capitalists, who see cleantech as the successor to the dot com boom of the 1990s. Venture Capitalists like Google.org who in May announced their participation in BrightSource Energy’s venture financing with a $10 equity investment as part of their RE< C (Renewable Energy that is cheaper than coal) initiative. http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/googleorg-announces-investment-in.html

Whilst Silicon Valley groups like Cleantech & Green Business Leaders for Obama have gone all out raising funds for the Obama campaign, it is noticeable by contrast how the vast majority of Big Oil’s support has gone to the McCain campaign by nearly 4 to 1. Although McCain also backs alternative energies and also wants to give tax breaks for consumers who purchase zero-emission cars, a large part of his plan relies on offshore oil drilling and the building of 45 nuclear power plants neither of which are actually going to produce any energy for many years to come. Also, with only 3% of the world’s oil reserves at hand, it must be becoming obvious by now that oil is becoming a resource far to precious to merely burn. A huge number of industries and components rely on oil as a primary ingredient. There are alternatives for using as fuel and energy, there aren’t alternatives for a lot of these petroleum based products.

Obama’s says that his green energy plan will create 5 million new jobs, including many for the soldiers returning from Iraq who will be retrained for these industries. The plan has been described as having the “potential to be a game-changing move akin to the Telecommunications Act of 1996”, where the removal of local network monopolies triggered a tech boom in the communications industry. The question now is, will the entrenched vested interests of big oil have the clout to get McCain into the Whitehouse? There is no doubt that renewable energies will see development either way, but the drive and enthusiasm of important venture capitalists like those in Silicon Valley would be severely undermined by a McCain/Palin government.
To read more – http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=a3L0EYeR3vjA&refer=home

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Should we be Looking to Nuclear Power to Solve our Energy Problems

July 22, 2008

 

Should we invest in nuclear energy?
Nuclear Energy has often be proffered as a lynch pin in the search for alternatives to America’s dependence on foreign oil, but is it such a good idea? The most obvious concern is safety, especially for those old enough to remember the 3 Mile Island disaster in the 1970s! The problems of what to do with the waste that nuclear plants produce might be another prominent concern that springs readily to mind.

What might be less well known about nuclear energy are the increasing capital costs involved in building nuclear plants; the lack of home-grown expertise – it has been 30 years since a new nuclear plant was built in America; or how about the quantity of water needed in the process, at a time when many States are suffering water shortages and, with the effects of global warming, this may only become more problematic over time.

All these points and more are set out in detail in a recent interesting news item by Chris Gardner for AP called “10 Reasons Not to Invest in Nuclear Energy”.

The 3 Mile Island picture is from the same article and, whereas safety of such plants will always be a concern, to me, the over-riding problem with nuclear energy is disposal of the waste – it is just so toxic, and so long lasting that it is doubtful that so much waste could be safely stored for the thousands of years required.

You can read the full article at:
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/07/nuclear_energy.html