Nothing has done more to boost the chances of a nuclear plant revival in the U.S. than the ubiquitous photos of helpless polar bears struggling to maintain balance on ever-shrinking floes as global warming eats away at their once boundless icy real estate.
And...shhhh (they whisper), as an added bonus, we won't have to spend billions invading other countries (OK, maybe Canada) to keep the raw material for that energy coming.
* Others are doing it France gets 77 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors. Japan gets 30 percent. Residents of the Garden State may be surprised to learn that New Jersey relies on home-grown nuclear power for 40 percent of its energy needs.
One of the big challenges receiving recent media attention is the soaring construction price tag.
"The latest projections follow months of tough negotiations between utility companies and key suppliers, and suggest efforts to control costs are proving elusive. Estimates released in recent weeks by experienced nuclear operators - NRG Energy Inc., Progress Energy Inc., Exelon Corp., Southern Co. and FPL Group Inc. - "have blown by our highest estimate" of costs computed just eight months ago, said Jim Hempstead, a senior credit officer at Moody's Investors Service credit-rating agency in New York."
The Journal ended its piece by noting that PSEG's CEO Ralph Izzo concedes that, due to rising construction costs, his company may not be big enough alone to build a nuclear plant, even though it is a nuclear operator.
That could mean simply that joint ventures may be the wave of the future. Or it could be a signal to government that it needs to pony up even more than before.
In any case, the nuclear 'revival' may have to be postponed for a bit...at least until the polar bears are up to their necks in water.
A full copy of the Wall Street Journal's (paid-subscription) story is available at the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility website here.
In Chicago Boyz : Nuclear Power Cost Over-runs
In Science Daily: Questioning Nuclear Power's Ability To Forestall Global Warming
In Politico: Environmentalists see fission on nuclear power
In Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Southern's Ala. nuclear reactors raise new doubts