It's nothing new that nuclear power is becoming more attractive for the environmental community as the concern people used to have about nuclear waste is replaced by concern about global warming. It has seemed for a few years now that nuclear power was poised for a comeback.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, the environmental community has been increasingly successful in blocking coal-fired power plants -- including so-called clear coal:
Even proposals to build so-called "clean coal" plants have been met with skepticism. This new technology, which primarily involves converting coal into a combustible gas for electricity generation, has been touted as a solution to coal's global-warming problems.
A hearing judge at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is urging commissioners to reject a plan for Northern States Power Co., a unit of Xcel Energy Inc., Minneapolis, to buy about 8% of its electricity from a coal-gasification power plant that was proposed by Excelsior Energy Inc., Minnetonka, Minn. The judge concluded the 600-megawatt Excelsior plant wouldn't be a good deal for consumers.
The judge concluded it would cost an extra $472.3 million, in 2011 dollars, to make the power plant capable of capturing about 30% of its carbon dioxide emissions, and another $635.4 million to build a pipeline to move the greenhouse gas to the nearest deep geologic storage in Alberta, Canada. Thus, $1.1 billion in pollution controls had the potential to inflate the cost of power coming from the plant by $50 a megawatt hour, making electricity from Excelsior twice as costly as power from many older coal-fired plants that simply vent their carbon dioxide. The recommendation will be considered by the commission on Aug. 2.
It seems that the environmental movement is now doing to coal power what it once did to nuclear. And while we may not yet have affirmatively chosen nuclear power, we've still made a choice; the 'veto' of coal makes it the only realistic alternative.
Note: OK, that last paragraph was somewhat contrived. But how else am I going to link Rush?