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Progress Energy to expand Sharon Harris Nuclear Plant


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According to this article, Progress Energy will ask the Nuclear Regulatory commission to permit them to build a second nuclear reactor at Sheron Harris near Apex.

The Raleigh electric utility said Monday that it would apply today for a federal permit to add a second nuclear reactor at the Shearon Harris plant in Wake County within a decade. Chief executive Bill Johnson said that a new coal-burning power plant is "off the table" for the foreseeable future.

"We need to prepare for 10, 20, 30 years out," Johnson said. "The best option right now is advanced nuclear."

Its decision favoring nuclear energy is driven largely by uncertainties in public policy. Legislators and regulators increasingly are focusing on the environmental threat posed by global warming. Penalties on carbon-dioxide emissions are widely expected from Congress, a policy that could significantly increase the operating costs of coal plants by taxing coal's byproduct: the greenhouse gas that is blamed for overheating the planet.

This will likely be seen as unpopular by the public, but I'm not sure that until there is some sort of national carbon tax, innovation will not be primed to make renewables viable at a large scale. I think most people view coal, even with modern scrubbing technolgy or sequestering, as a "dumb" energy source of the past, given concerns about global warming. IIRC, Sharon Harris was the last permitted nuclear reactor in the US, post Three Mile Island.

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well, nuclear isn't short term by any stretch and that is really the only knock against it...it would be perfect if not for that little radiation thing. Like with water, our energy use really is way past what we need. So we are left with that, we have to choose between slowly cooking ourselves or accidently quickly cooking ourselves. Bottom line yet again is that growth especially at current world-wide levels, isn't sustainable....

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The problem is not with the technology, but with the inefficiency of our nuclear infrastructure. We don't reprocess our spent fuel, so we get ridiculous amounts of waste. Countries like France and the Netherlands that rely mostly on nuclear power were smart enough to implement that, bringing their waste levels to less than a 20th what they are here.

Even then, the radioactive byproducts of direct fission power are lower than those produced from firing coal, and they're not spewed into the atmosphere.

In the long term, it's pretty obvious that solar power is the way to go. We get orders of magnitude more energy from sunlight hitting the planet than we could ever get with any power source using earth's finite resources. The cost of converting the entire grid to solar power is just prohibitively expensive at the moment. It's one of those 'gradual build up' technologies that will slowly encompass all our demand.

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Also, Progress Energy doesn't stand to profit if everyone creates generates their own power via solar, so they don't have a vested interest in advocating for that techology.

I don't know why the US has not tried to learn from the France/Nethlands model of nuclear material recycling, storing/hiding it in caves. Though Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are grim reminders of the potential for immediate environmental disasters, while the ravages of acid rain along the NC/TN border goes ignored...

(EDIT) LED lighting could reduce the need for energy deman, and not introduce mercury the way CFLs do. Cree could do a lot to drive that in the next few years, but it may be too little too late with the new coal plants near Charlotte and the second reactor in SW Wake.

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