Wind Power: The “Green Myth”

Wind power has become increasingly publicized in Oregon as the “green” solution to the state’s increasing energy demand. Currently, the Energy Facility Siting Council (under the Oregon Department of Energy) reports generating 889 megawatts (MW) of electricity with the power of wind. The council has recently approved the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm, which will add 909 MW, more than doubling the current capacity. Shepherds Flat is considered the largest single wind farm in the world and will cost over $600 million.

The Oregon Renewable Energy Act (SB 838) mandates utilities to use more renewable energy in their electricity generation: 5% by 2011 until 2014; 15% for 2015-2019; 20% for 2020-2024; and 25% in 2025. The surge in “green” activism and SB 838 have pushed the construction of new and bigger wind farms. However, the idea of environmentally friendly emission-free wind power could not be farther from the truth.

The most important factor to consider when evaluating the environmental impact of wind generation is that the power source is inconsistent and intermittent. This variability can present substantial challenges to incorporating large amounts of wind power into a grid system, since to maintain grid stability, energy supply and demand must remain in balance. In order to integrate wind energy, utility companies must provide a power load to meet the base requirements of the population. This means operating a natural gas or coal fired power plant below optimal efficiency to back up the variable power source. Because of difficulties and cost associated with shutting off thermal power plants, these plants will operate in spinning standby mode, which produces more CO2 per kilowatt hour (kWh) than if the use of the plant was optimized, thus offsetting the benefits of wind. Furthermore, the use of more wind energy increases the need for fossil fuel generating plants to operate on standby mode.

Wind power has many other negative externalities that are commonly overlooked, such as land and material use, construction emissions and habitat destruction. A typical wind farm requires as much as 10 to 80 acres per MW of electricity generated. The Shepherds Flat site will take up 21,919 acres. While operating at average capacity, the site will require 72 acres per MW.

To put this in perspective, a 900 MW natural gas powered plant may occupy 100 acres. Using a natural gas powered plant instead of a wind farm of the same capacity would, in a sense, “free up” enough land area that, if forested, potentially could offset 3,381,945 tons of CO2. This would be the equivalent to taking 673,694 cars off the road for a year.

Land usage is not the only concern with wind power. The construction of wind farms is in itself an environmental issue. The material requirements for wind turbines are up to 40-50 times greater than for gas powered plants per unit of output and can have only half the useful life. There are two major components of wind turbine construction, concrete and steel, both of which are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Turbines require a significant amount of concrete to be placed at their base. The production of cement, which is the main component of concrete, is one of the most energy intensive of all industrial manufacturing processes and accounts for 5-10% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

The production of steel for the turbines is also highly energy intensive, and each ton of steel produced adds approximately two tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. The raw materials needed for the 303 turbines at the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm would be the equivalent of adding 48,653 cars to the road for a year. In addition to CO2 emissions, construction and operation of the facility has significant adverse impacts to soils that can affect crop production on adjacent agricultural lands, native vegetation, wildlife habitats and water quality.

Most wind sites are close if not adjacent to wildlife areas because of their remote locations. Six wildlife-protected areas are within 20 miles of the Shepherds Farm site. The Horn Butte Wildlife Area, a large nesting habitat for environmentally vulnerable long-billed curlews, is adjacent to the wind site. The Willow Creek Wildlife Area, a public viewing area for waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds, is about a mile from the site. Nine endangered or threatened species have the potential to exist within the site’s territory. Not only wildlife but historic monuments will be affected by its construction. The Oregon National Historic Trail, which passes through six states, crosses a portion of the site.

Even environmentalists understand the externalities of wind power. In New York, Laurie Farber resigned from her position as president of the Sierra Club, America’s oldest and largest environmental organization, due to a dispute over the construction of a new wind farm.

She stated: “I found it intensely frustrating that groups refused to even want to consider that there might be any environmental impacts [of wind power]”¦. They [wind power advocates] were willing to be blind about this, because of a “˜renewable energy at any cost’ attitude.”

Since the introduction of wind energy into the industrial power market, wind energy lobbyists and other wind advocates have greatly overstated the environmental benefits and greatly understated its many adverse effects. Because the industry only exists through subsidies, wind power increases electric utilities’ costs, which are passed on to the ratepayers for no actual environmental benefit. It is time to stop advocating for this “green” industry that neither improves the environment nor provides reliable consistent power.


Todd Wynn is the climate change and energy policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

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  • John Fairplay

    I also like how environmental groups are running ads saying that power sources like wind and solar are “free” as though there’s no infrastructure cost.

    The day may come when wind, solar and other alternative energy sources are economically competitive on a level playing field with oil, natural gas and hydro. That day is well over a decade away.

    • George Forsman

      John only high lighted the enviromemntal concerns which directly affect the wind mills. What should be a concern to all, is the cost for supplying backup power for the windmills during slack periods of wind or extra strong winds with fluctuations?

      BPA supplies most of our electricity in the NW. Why aren’t they appraised about these high cost forms of generation which require hydo back up. It would seem to me that the dams won’t have sufficient storage capacity to hold back the water while the wind blows without having to release stored water either to save the fish runs; or to satisfy the wind power companies.

      Havinfg worked for BPA during the 1960’s, BPA did not have the customers needed to use all the water for generation. We were supplying about 60% of water through the generators while dumping the other 40%; whereas, PGE was getting 100% usage of their nameplate generation capability. It appears that we will be heading in the same direction as before.

      The problem that I forsee is who is responsible for supplying power to the customer: BPA, PGE,PUDs, or wind farms? Right now there is no coordination as I see it.

  • Chris McMullen

    Yeah, it’ll look great having thousands of acres of wind turbines all over our landscape. The thought totally blows all enviros’ concerns about suburban sprawl and clear cuts out of the water.

    The point is totally moot however, there is no man made global warming. So what’s the point of littering the landscape with windmills? It’s time for the public to fight back on this one.

  • dean

    A few quibbles. First, wind projects do not take up as much land area as Todd implies. Each pad for a 1-2MW turbine takes about 1/4 acre, the size of a suburban house lot. Depending on local conditions it needs 5-20 acres of free space around it to reduce turbulence. That 5-20 acres can be farmed, grazed, or dedicated to wildlife habitat. It isn’t paved over.

    Second…steel is about the most recyclable and recycled building material we have. I’m not sure if wind developers use recycled steel, but even if they don’t the decomissioned turbines would be recycled later on.

    Third, its true a conventional power plant takes up less space overall, but its output, CO2, impacts the entire planet.

    Fourth, to John’s point wind and solar are essentially free but for capital costs The same is true for nuclear power, discounting the hundreds to thousands of years of storing waste.

    Fifth, the variability problem of wind and solar generation is overstated. Electrical power use itself is highly variable throughout the day and year, leaving a lot of slack in capacity and generation. Beyond that, serious advocates of these new energy sources understand that the power grid has to be upgraded to handle them once you get past about 5-10% of the total load, and this is going to cost something. But what is the alternative folks? We have a big task ahead of us to reduce our use of fossil fuels. We can pretend this is unnecessary or we can get to work. We can’t transition overnight and we are already 10-20 years behind the curve.

    Jason’s final point about potential impacts to wildlife from large scale energy projects is true. Its even more true for scenic impacts. This is going to create conflicts for environmentalists, but even more so for local communities, some of whom may not want their rural landscapes or coastlines dominated by large scale industrial facilities. Others welcome the land rent and tax revenue.

    • jim karlock

      *dean:* We have a big task ahead of us to reduce our use of fossil fuels. We can pretend this is unnecessary or we can get to work. We can’t transition overnight and we are already 10-20 years behind the curve.
      *JK:* Back spewing that carbon crap again, I see.

      We are still waiting for you to show us the proof that CO2 can cause dangerous warming. If you can’t, then you are merely trying to force others to conform to your superstitions.

      *dean:* discounting the hundreds to thousands of years of storing waste.
      *JK:* Why would one store waste for hundreds of thousands of years when it becomes harmless after a few hundred? With reprocessing, there is little leftover to store anyway.

      Again, please quit getting your facts from a envore whacko fund raising letter – they lie to scare you into giving them money.

      Thanks
      JK

      • dean

        Perfect illustration Jim. We can pretend it is not necessary to reduce CO2 generation through fossil fuel burning. You win the ostrich prize.

        I have no idea what whacko fund raising letter you are referring to. I get my facts direct from climate scientists and/or reputable journalists who report on their findings.

        • jim karlock

          We are still waiting for you to show us the proof that CO2 can cause dangerous warming. If you can’t, then you are merely trying to force others to conform to your superstitions.

          Why are you so committed to a superstition.

          Thanks
          JK

          • dean

            I wasn’t aware I was using force.

          • jim karlock

            We are still waiting for you to show us the proof that CO2 can cause dangerous warming.

            Thanks
            JK

  • eagle eye

    Wind energy — unreliable, costly — wouldn’t exist without massive subsidies. A complete environmental disaster — if wind were reliable, which it isn’t, we could generate all of our electricity from wind — but at what cost? About a million giant wind turbines covering the whole country. This is what the environmentalists want? Let’s hope this insanity stops before too much of the landscape is destroyed.

    All for nothing — nuclear power is the answer (along with perhaps some solar) — to the question of global warming.

  • Jerry

    Seems like everyone is just blowin’ in the wind.

  • SJR

    Reduce CO2 emissions and you’ll face the biggest environmental and economic disaster of your life time and everybody else’s as well. H2O vapor makes up 95% of greenhouse gases. What percentage of the remaining 5% does CO2 make up? The scientific evidence that I’ve seen so far point to variations in global temperature being affected by sunspot activity. For those who are sounding the global warming alarm might turn the other way, which they have in the past, and try to save us from a global ice age brought on by – you guessed it CO2 emissions. Reason, sun spot activity is declining. It’s a cycle! In a few years we’ll be begging for some global warming, but not before the global warming loonies have raised the price of electricity, natural gas, heating fuel, etc. so high that few will be able to afford it and freeze to death and at the same time prohibiting these same folks from starting a fire in their fireplace using renewable resources that are not controlled by foreign interests to warm their houses. Because they are more worried about the carbon foot print (which is BS). What’s more dangerous – somebody trying to stay warm next to a fireplace or jack booted troopers kicking in your door for the cause of global warming?

    I like listening to liberals rant because the only thing they seem to contribute is the very thing they are trying to reduce – CO2 emissions. If you are that concerned about CO2 emissions plant a tree. If you are really concerned – plant a lot of trees. Global Warming is a Liberal Fairy tale, you know once upon a time . . . .

  • John in Oregon

    These kinds of Government “solutions” are simply another form of Fools Gold. Iron Pyrites which elicits the most ridicules and illogical of behavior in quest of something of no value. Fools Energy, a mirage just off in the distance, run, run faster to capture it.

    Lest one think Government is immune to such foolishness, just consider the CRA, Fannie / Freddie, Barney Frank. The quest for Government mandated low income housing loans. The Fools Housing project.

    This summer the Renewable Energy Foundation funded the wind power research of Oswald et al. That report, “Will British weather provide reliable electricity?” had some astonishing conclusions. Well astonishing to the Politicians in Salem and Washington at least.

    *O* Oswald’s report makes clear calm conditions prevail on a fairly regular basis.
    *O* Calm conditions often extend across the country [UK] with the same conditions being experienced as far away as France and Germany.
    *O* Worse still Oswald found long periods of calm occurred in the dead of winter when electricity demand is highest.

    Even worse are the extreme demands that Wind Power places on the power grid. The present power grind operates on a bucket brigade load sharing basis. Some time this winter the weather will be mild in Idaho and extreme cold in the Walamette valley. PP&L will not have enough power and Idaho Power will have excess power at its Jim Bridger Power Plant in Wyoming. When PP&L buys that power in Wyoming on the spot market, how does to get to Oregon?

    The Bridger plant is dialed up with the power going west picking up the load of Pocatello and Idaho Falls in eastern Idaho. The Twin Falls and Shoshone Falls plants in south central Idaho are now free to send power west to Mountain Home and Boise in western Idaho. In turn the Hells Canyon plant now sends power west to eastern Oregon, Pendleton, and eastern Washington. John Day dam then sends power to the Walamette Valley.

    Overlaid upon the grid are a few specialized long distance transmission facilities such as the Northwest Intertie, a 1 Million Volt DC line which allows day – night power trading between the northwest and southern California.

    This is the magic of the highly flexible power grid. A grid which supports and depends on geographically diverse loads and power generation plants. A grid which is destroyed by the unreliability of wind power.

    Make no mistake, when Politicians and green power advocates talk about “rebuilding” a crumbling power grid, they are not talking about clearing the way for backlogged upgrade projects. Without exception any backlogged power grid upgrade or enhancement is a result of regulatory obstruction or environmental legal action.

    Words and superlatives such as the “supergrid of the future” are really an attempt to manipulate the power grid to compensate for the poor load factor and low reliability of wind, solar and other green power schemes.

    The phrase perfect storm is so over used and so very applicable here.

    An extensive study done by NexGen Energy found the “The U.S. Faces Serious Risks of Brownouts or Blackouts in 2009”. This study found that, in the face of growing demand, due to restrictive regulations, environmental lawsuits and other external road blocks virtually no new generating capacity has been added in the last decade. Specifically the NexGen study shows the northwest high on the danger list.

    U.S. baseload generation capacity reserve margins “have declined precipitously to 17 percent in 2007, from 30-40 percent in the early 1990s,” A 12-15 percent capacity reserve margin is the minimum required to ensure reliability and stability of the nation’s electricity system. In other words during the last 15 years the US has been consuming its peek load reserve generating capacity to meet growing demand for electric power.

    Yet another layer of the problem is local Government regulations which push up the cost of housing while other Government regulation and “social justice” lawsuits coerce the low income loans which have brought down the economy.

    This is the environment into which SB 838 now takes the stage. With this one piece of legislation renewable energy proponents, and elected officials, are saying that the U.S. needs to only add renewable power facilities such as wind farms. “Wind has been the cornerstone of almost all environmentalist and social engineering proclamations for more than three decades and has accelerated to a crescendo the last few years in both the United States and the EU.”

    SB 838 by restricting conventional power generation and mandating unreliable “green” energy has placed the Pacific Northwest and Oregon on a collision course with brown outs and black outs.

    When those supply shortages occur, as they inevitably must, expect the blame will not fall on Government or extreme environmentalists which caused the problem. Instead, just as was the case with California’s self inflicted power crisis, the greedy power companies will be villainized and the failure of free markets proclaimed.

    Post Script

    As an engineer I tend to the goal of solving problems and improving technology. Solar technology, without the help of Government, has made strides to 1$ per watt and mass scale manufacturing. The limitations of electric power storage and improved efficiency transmission systems remain.

    Were the advancement of energy production and usage the goal of politicians and green environmentalists we would find both helping energy companies upgrade generation equipment to high efficiency superconductor generators. Yet we find both politicians and green environmentalists using regulation to block upgrades as a tool to forcing closure of existing facilities.

    Were the future of energy the goal of politicians and green environmentalists we would find both promoting basic research such as room temperature super conductors and high capacity energy storage. Yet we find both politicians and green environmentalists using regulation to force fit inadequate solutions upon the market.

    So long as politicians and environmentalists worship at the false alter of Mother Gia AGW any progress will be made in spite of both.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    I just kind of laugh at the whole thing.

    Remember when environmentalists were wacko about cell phone towers? Boy did they hate them. Well, when cell prices fell and it was no longer a class warfare issue they found being able to take a call while at Starbucks has its advantages. No more problem.

    Now paving over the country with windmills is perfectly fine for the once virulent anti cell phone tower crowd.

    Makes you wonder if the objection to cell phone towers was ever about anything other than pitting people against each other, those that could afford cell phones versus “working families”.

  • Bob Clark

    I have my doubts about the net energy gain from solar photovoltaics located in the Willamette Valley, too. The capacity factors of these things may not be much more than 10%. I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a lot of energy to make the silicon and the solar panels. The panels also have a relatively short life of perhaps 20 years or less. They also have to be cleaned and maintained.

    I suspect in 10 to 15 years a lot of the renewables being built today will be considered junk, and useless in getting a material supply of energy. But by then, the politicians who subsidized the junk will be long gone, forgotten and promoted.

    • John in Oregon

      Bob you are quite right to question the pay back viability of Walamette Valley solar installations. The low number of cloud free days is a huge obstacle.

      Governor Kulongoski’s recent announcement of a “solar farm” at the intersection of I5 and I205 is an example. The return of the project is nearly non existent with huge subsides only making the project possible. A central Oregon location would be more productive although seen by many fewer people. That factor, how many people see the array is I suspect the primary if not only siting criteria.

      Typical silicon based solar voltaic cell efficiency is in the mid 20s. Exotic materials and sophisticated processing makes for huge manufacturing costs near $10 per Watt.

      All the more puzzling is that Governor Kulongoski just recently announced a new solar manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon operated by SolarWorld. The facility is based on $10 per watt technology and came to Oregon after $41 million in Government subsidies were provided.

      Obviously this decision was made for political reasons as six months ago NanoSolar began operating the first of several solar cell production tools. Dubbed the Gigawatt, this one tool will produce 1,000 Megawatts of solar product each year. Based on late generation technology production costs the product will market at $1 per watt.

      The NanoSolar process is one of painting solar collector on foil at high speed. A simple, inexpensive and robust manufacturing process.

      Even at $1 per watt the major obstacle to solar and wind remains the ability to store power for use during off production times. Until that problem is solved neither is viable as a base load power source.

      • Todd

        John,

        I am glad someone has brought up the misguided solar highway project.

        The Energy Trust of Oregon, an independent third party nonprofit, was founded in 2002 with the mission of helping businesses and customers’ transition to a renewable energy economy. The organization is funded primarily by the public purpose charge established by Senate Bill 1149, which mandates Portland General Electric (PGE) and PacifiCorp (PPL) customers pay a 3% tax on their monthly utility bills. The public purpose charge was supposed be temporary, ending in 2012, and was established to benefit all classes of electricity ratepayers.

        Recently, the Energy Trust has shown just how good it is at not benefiting electricity customers by providing the Oregon Department of Transportation with a grant of $175,000 to help fund its $1.3 million dollar solar “highway” project being installed at the Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 interchange. The project is supposed to provide 28% of the power needed to light up the interchange’s roadside lights or about .7% of the energy ODOT purchases from PGE annually. A major fallacy is that these solar panels are used to power the roadside lights, when in fact; the panels will provide electricity directly into the PGEs grid and provide an offset on ODOT’s energy usage. Given the constitutional limits on allowable uses of the Highway Fund, ODOT had a hard time gaining the incentives and the financing to make the project a reality. To make it work, ODOT used a joint venture with PGE, U.S. Bank, and the Energy Trust as a loophole to gain access to the business energy tax credit, the federal incentives, and public purpose tax funds. The truth is that a lot of private interests win at the expense of the ratepayers. The overwhelming majority of the public purpose charge ratepayers in Oregon lose by paying for a project that they most likely won’t even be able to marvel at off of I-5, let alone benefit from it. This is all under the guise that the highway lights are being powered by the panels when actually the solar power is financed with taxpayer money, fed into the grid, and taxed again.

        • dean

          Not to quibble…but any power that goes into the grid is going to become part of the electron mishmash that includes hydro, coal, wind, and so forth. That is the nature of the grid. In remote locations where there is no grid access, ODOT has been using solar panels for years to directly power signs and such.

          Also…there is a public purpose in reducing atmospheric carbon. Many readers of the Catalyst don’t agree with that premise, but most Oregonians and Americans apparently do, having re-elected a governor who ran on that point and having just elected a new president who did the same.

          • Todd

            Dean,

            “Also…there is a public purpose in reducing atmospheric carbon.”
            What benefit does the solar highway project give in terms of reduced atmospheric carbon?

            $175,000 was given as a grant by the Energy trust to install this solar highway project. You believe that the public benefit is reducing atmospheric carbon. How can a value be put on a relatively harmless gas? How much carbon dioxide is offset by these panels and how can that benefit be quantified?

            Recently, a study was completed assessing state and nationwide complete cessation of GHG emissions now and in the future and its possible effect on “helping” the global climate.

            If Oregon were to entirely reduce its emissions to zero right now and for all future generations, by 2050 there would only be a 0.0008 degree Celsius “savings”. By 2100, there would only be 0.0011 degree Celsius “savings”.

            Spending $175,000 or the total 1.3 million dollars on solar panels will do literally nothing to reduce atmospheric carbon and offset global warming. This is a waste of money and like John stated, “The project is public image and very little else.”

            There are cost benefit analyses that need to be done on these issues, Dean. I understand that “saving” the planet is a very emotional issue for everyone but charging ahead with little regard to cost is not the solution. Let’s be sensible about sustainability.

          • jim karlock

            *We are still waiting for you to show us the proof that CO2 can cause dangerous warming.*

            Thanks
            JK

        • dean

          Todd…planet saving is beyond my pay grade. I expect the planet will survive whether warmer or cooler. Its my kid and his kids I’m concerned about.

          I grant you that even if Oregon went to zero CO2 emissions tomorrow that in itself would have little impact on global climate. I think the point is that we do our bit here, others do their bit in their backyards, and it all adds up to (or subtracts to if you prefer) enough that we can stabilize CO2 levels and limit the total temperature rise to something we can live comfortably with.

          The example you are using may or may not be a good investment within the larger scheme of things. (Its literally very little but somewhat more than nothing). But if it helps move the ball down field by building the market for solar, which increases investment and manufacture and brings costs down for everyone, then it is worthwhile. Personally, I’m happier with this sort of public investment than a lot of other ones we make.

          • Todd

            Dean,

            I do agree with you on your last point. There are many government investments that are probably more misguided than the solar highway project.

            It is frequently touted that the more we use and promote solar programs that the cost will go down. This is a possibility I will agree. However, the subsidies that are used to help this technology “mature” are quite hefty and completely prop up the industry. Currently, there are tax credits and other incentives on the state and national level yet many households still realize that the “savings” don’t pencil out.

            Any economist, like me, will tell you that increased production of a product may bring down the cost. However this is to a point. The average cost curve for production is u-shaped. There is a point where continued production of that product will actually increase costs of operation for many reasons but one of the most important is that there will be an increased pressure on inputs used for production. This point of increasing costs will be reached much sooner with subsidies that artificially create more demand for a product.

      • John in Oregon

        I agree Todd. The “solar highway” is the poster child of subterfuge and manipulation on a massive scale. The solar subsidies and tax credit rules were intended to prevent access to that money by Government. The ghost lease of Multnomah County roof tops is another example. Nothing more than a cynical attitude that rules apply to the people and never Government.

        By the way I haven’t looked closely at the projected power return, however I would suspect the 28% number is a perfect world best case number. The connection to the grid allows the grid to serve as a zero loss battery. A solution which works only when the intermittent power source is very small.

        I suspect however that the goal of the project has noting to do with any of the above. The location of the “farm” is a very high public visible location. Thousands of car trips will pass the location daily. Each view by the public leaving the false impression that the solar farm powers the intersection lighting, is cost effective, energy efficient, and the future of Oregon energy.

        The project is public image and very little else.

  • John in Oregon

    For purposes of follow up, a lot has been said to paint the best face on the unreliability of wind and solar generation, saying the problem is overstated. Indeed that was exactly the response to the E-ON Energy report. Don’t worry the variability problem of wind and solar generation is overstated.

    Newest research not only reinforces the E-ON report, it shows that if anything the defects of wind are understated. That research by Oswald et al found calm conditions prevail on a fairly regular basis, often extend across the country [UK] with the same conditions being experienced as far away as France and Germany and worse still Oswald found long periods of calm occurred in the dead of winter when electricity demand is highest.

    On another issue let me paint an image. Now imagine that someone is making the following statement.

    Recycling news print and metal/glass containers is a bad idea. The proper roll of Government is to prohibit reuse of paper, metal and glass while requiring these materials be buried in a disposal area.

    Can anyone doubt the screech and outcry such a statement would elicit? The attacks upon the speaker for despoiling the environment. The impassioned defense of a recycling system which is both economical and resource efficient.

    Now let me make one change to this statement.

    Recycling nuclear reactor fuel is a bad idea. The proper roll of Government is to prohibit reuse of nuclear reactor fuel while requiring these materials be buried in a disposal area.

    Why now does this statement gain wide support amongst environmental organizations?

    Is it because nuclear fuel reprocessing is highly cost effective? Is it because reprocessing reduces disposal issues to near zero? Is it because reprocessing produces other useful byproducts such as medical and industrial isotopes? Is it because reprocessing allows extraction of 100 percent of the energy in place of a few percent without? Is it because reprocessing of the entire nuclear fuel cycle creates more fuel than is consumed?

    NO.

    Its because prohibiting reprocessing creates a barrier to use of pollution free nuclear energy.

    Lastly the claim has been made that crushing regulation and promotion of “green power” is approved by most Oregonians and Americans by having re-elected a governor who ran on that point and having just elected a new president who did the same.

    It’s a huge stretch to make this claim. Selling an image as part of a campaign is quite different than approval by the voters of a program that will crush their jobs, hopes and dreams.

    • Dan

      right on john!

      support nuclear power which accounts fo 70% of emission free electricity in the u.s.

      Down with ridiculous mandates !

      • dean

        John…I think the 2 reasons nuclear fuel reprocessing has not happened in the US is that it is not commercially viable AND the government does not want more plutonium to deal with. Even the French, the masters of reprocessing are reconsidering this in light of the high costs.

        http://www.princeton.edu/~globsec/publications/pdf/Sciencev293n5539.pdf

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