Tomorrow’s technology today – Nuclear Wind Energy

During the discussion leading up to the Iraq war, an undersecretary of defense made this comment when told that the French would likely not participate, “Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion.”

It’s OK; I thought it was funny, too!  But, that was then … this is now.

Take a look at this Baltimore Sun online post:  EDF makes move to keep Calvert Cliffs alive-French utility offers Constellation two options to move project forward

Yep, the French want to buy our nuclear plants while we fiddle around with windmills.  I don’t know about you, but just the sound of that possible transaction portrays the US as weak.  I can almost hear them chuckling behind our backs … “they’re building what? ha! ha ha!”

While the US is investing heavily in the costly wimp third cousin of reliable energy production – industrial wind, the French receive more than 75% of their electricity from nuclear energy.  As we witness the US diverting massive funding to tinker toys, our own nuclear energy business seems stalled.  The US wants to move away from coal and chooses to focus on an unreliable resource such as the wind to do so?  Come on, folks!

According to the Sun, the French group has approached Constellation Energy, (yes, the very same Constellation touting the first operational wind farm in Maryland), to purchase their interest in the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant.  Seems Constellation dropped out of negotiations with the Obama administration over loan guarantees because the terms were too expensive for Constellation shareholders.

Ever on the lookout for the middle ground, I got this idea – Nuclear Wind Energy.

I know, but hear me out!  The wind folks will tell you that wind energy comes from the sun.  Seems the sun sends radiation toward the earth which, when passing through the atmosphere, heats up the little molecules causing the hot ones to scramble past the cold ones and shazaam! – instant breeze.

The only downside as a source for electricity is that the wind doesn’t always blow where the windmills are located and, well, you never quite know if, or even when and how strong the wind will be when it does show up.

Anyway, based on the logic of sun and wind, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch then to say nuclear energy is wind energy, too.  After all, a nuclear unit is nothing more than a tiny man-made sun which makes its own wind, in the form of steam, which spins the windmill inside the generator.  That’s pretty much the same process, isn’t it?

Image source:  mediawiki.middlebury.edu

But the best part of Nuclear Wind Energy is that you don’t have to wait for Mother Nature to decide to send a breeze.  You just give an atom a little tickle and shazaam! – instant breeze!

The same energy the sun produces, the nuclear system produces!  And the advantage over wind energy is you know when, where and how strong the breeze will be to spin the nuclear windmill because you actually control it.  How cool is that?

So, here’s my thought.  If Constellation were to make a phone call to the US Department of Energy, (I think there number is the same as the American Wind Energy Association), and tell them they have this new wind technology they want to try, the grant money would come flying in!

And heck, don’t worry about a lot of questions because it doesn’t seem the Energy Department really cares if the performance matches the hype, as long as they can tell the income source – Congress (aka-your money) – that they’re meeting the renewable energy goals your elected officials pulled out of their … errrr … hat!

Anyway, consider the upside of Nuclear Wind Energy:

  • Calvert Cliffs would get additional Nuclear Wind Energy units, we could tell the French to go home and have electricity to run our homes even when the wind isn’t blowing.
  • Additional Nuclear Wind Energy units stalled could be brought on line, and new Nuclear Wind Energy units installed to support our immediate and mid-term energy needs while the “energy source of the future” is developed.
  • The AWEA wouldn’t have to change its name and could continue to lobby on behalf of Nuclear Wind Energy and finally have real, credible evidence that wind works.  You know – performance, emission reductions, reliability, unlimited source, etc.
  • The AWEA could even request real standards, such as performance and reliability, in the Renewable Electricity Standard, instead of simply begging Congress to force consumers to put coins in the industry’s tin cup.
  • Even the bi-polar environmental groups promoting the replacement of mountain-top removal with mountain-top removal, aka – sacrifice the environment to save it, could still receive funding from wind groups with the added advantage that the renewable energy source they support will have a less negative environmental impact.
  • The US could again be a leader in the technology we invented.
  • The footprint to produce today’s wind energy would be drastically reduced by the use of Nuclear Wind Energy.
  • You could actually replace fossil fuel plants with Nuclear Wind Energy.
  • You could build the power source near the demand and, heck, even pursue mini-Nuclear Wind Energy.
  • United States heavy manufacturing personnel, who lead the way on premier nuclear equipment, could once again find meaningful, long term jobs.
  • The energy source would truly be secure, reliable, cost effective and available on-demand.
  • The money wasted now on wind farms could be spent on truly innovative technologies of the future.
  • We could tell the French “thanks, but no thanks” to buying our assets.  (But we might want to ask them how they’re handling their nuclear waste, since we can’t seem to figure that out at the DC science department.)
  • We could also tell Spain, Denmark and all the other foreign wind turbine manufacturers hawking their product here in the US, “thanks, but no thanks” to stealing our work and tax money.
  • But, the best part – we can show Russia’s Putin he’s not the only one who’s figured out that Nuclear energy is the only alternative to oil, gas,” and reject “other alternative energy approaches as “claptrap.”

I’m sure this idea won’t be a hit with everyone.  Heck, it’s probably not even original.  But if I had to make a choice for my reliable, cost effective, renewable future I guarantee I wouldn’t be counting on industrial wind … unless, of course, it was nuclear powered.

Others might say I’m only changing the name … being a little devious, perhaps.  Well, we’re not on virgin turf here, are we Mr. Global Warming now Global Climate Disruption?

So, what do you think?  Will you at least give Nuclear Wind Energy a chance?

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