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Green Energy, and Nuclear Power

There are several areas where the U.S. can maintain a reliable, low-cost supply of energy, but there is one thing it cannot do; presume that any one single source will work for everyone.

America needs to embrace green sources of energy, but also realize that some green energy sources will not work in some areas. Solar energy works well in the southwest where the number of clear sunny days makes conversion of sunlight into energy a distinct advantage. Wind energy works well in the central plains and near coastlines where air currents are consistently moving. Hydroelectric power works well in areas where there is a consistent source of moving water (e.g., rivers), particularly in areas of the Pacific northwest and in the northeast.

Then, there is nuclear energy; "a dream to some - a nightmare to others". Currently, the majority of nuclear reactors in operation around the world are considered second generation reactor systems, with only a few third generation systems currently in operation. Generation IV reactor designs currently being researched for commercial applications are motivated by goals such as improved safety, sustainability, efficiency, and cost. Relative to current nuclear power plant technology, the claimed benefits for 4th generation reactors include 100–300 times more energy yield from the same amount of nuclear fuel (i.e., higher efficiency). Some designs still produce nuclear waste, but that waste remains radioactive only for a few centuries instead of several millennia, but there are other designs that have the ability to consume existing nuclear waste in the production of electricity (i.e., a closed nuclear fuel cycle) which strengthens the argument to deem nuclear power as "renewable energy". There are also improved operating safety features such as avoidance of pressurized operation, and automatic reactor shutdown. Obviously, there are still associated risks, but these risks are far removed from the horror stories of the 1970s and 1980s.

The point that I am trying to make here is that the energy needs of the 21st century (and beyond) can be easily met by embracing a variety of green, clean, non-polluting energy sources, each appropriate to their relative environment. The idea of "one size fits all" to meet America's energy needs is not required, or in most cases, even desired.

Committee to Elect Darren Hamilton
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