Wednesday May 6 | The Nuclear Renaissance

May 5, 2009 at 9:47 am | Posted in Coming Up | 12 Comments

Amidst this economic crisis, one industry is expanding significantly, and Charlotte may benefit from its success. In the coming years, thousands of jobs will be created here related to the licensing, design and construction of new nuclear plants. The nuclear industry is facing a serious personnel gap, as a large percentage of its workforce will soon age out of the industry. We’ll discuss the nuclear comeback, why Charlotte is becoming such a hotbed for nuclear jobs and find out how the industry is encouraging nuclear energy as a career.
Jim Davis – President of Hoskins Davis, LLC
Jeff Merrifield – Senior VP, Shaw Power in Charlotte
Jay Potter – Dean, Harper Campus at CPCC

  • Hear WFAE’s Lisa Miller’s story on how Duke Energy’s nuclear plant at Lake Norman is becoming a popular social venue. “Fun at the Nuclear Plant.”

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  1. Why do news outlets continue to swallow whole the nuclear industry’s message about cheap clean power and thousands of jobs to come? The reality has been wholly apparent for decades and eastern North Carolina is only happy to tell the tale. Cost over-runs, job promises left unfulfilled and, oh by the way, tons of the most harmful substance known to humanity. Wind power is cleaner, cheaper and more job intensive. Shame on WFAE and on Mike Collins for this regurgitative journalism.

    • As a sustainable development graduate I feel confident in responding to this post. First off I am an advocate of alternative energy in the US and in NC in particular but there are some major issues with the use of alternative energy sources such as wind. It is difficult to manage the system load with in inconsistant level of energy generation. And furthermore technological obsticles in the storage of this energy posses even more problems. Nuclear energy is Green! Technologies are now available to use this nuclear waste, which still retains some 90% of its potential energy, to power more plants. So in theory we already have a near infinate supply energy at our current waste retention sites. So nuclear energy can be a closed loop cycle and therefore green. Or at least greener than clean coal!

    Who is going to pay for these 1000’s of jobs if the nuclear industry revives? (I call it “relapses”)?

    Since Wall Street and private insurance companies won’t touch new nuclear reactors as too risky, isn’t it true that TAXPAYERS and ratepayers will be made to pay the billions of dollars, sort of a PRE-bailout?

    Deb Arnason, 360 Webb Rd, Wadesboro, NC 28170 704-851-3925
    Below is more if you have time.
    Even the US Government estimates at least half of these reactors will fail. Why divert public funds in a losing proposition when chair of the Fed Energy Regulatory Commission, Jon Wellinghoff, said April 22 “no new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the US”?

  3. Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on nuclear accidents:

  4. What is the state of debate over the use of more efficient breader reactors in the US? Any current discussion of the use of this technology in the NRC, congress, etc?

  5. Unfortunately, due to our inability to develop a proper energy policy during the last 30 years – nuclear power is now a necessary evil.

    But a couple of points:

    Nuclear energy is not “green” because the fuel is not renewable. Uranium is finite and must be mined.

    Your guests are correct. Solar and wind are not currently baseload power opitions but they will be with compressed air and flywheel storage technologies under development.

    Nuclear power plants are superb terrorist targets. Security breaches continue to occur. As long as humans are involved a nuke plant will never be totally secure.

    The machine that doesn’t fail has never been invented. Let’s all hope and pray that we don’t have a disaster. The commercial insurers won’t touch a nuclear power plant. What do they know that we don’t?

    Ultimately, power generation will be like computers – decentralized. It’s safer and more efficient. Let’s get on with it.

    • U guys @ CT listening to this? He’s right on. rdth is who u ought to have on yr next show about nukes!

  6. Mike is correct that it would be IGNORANT not to examine this PROBLEM. But it does not mean we must examine this PROBLEM in an IGNORANT way. Bringing on pro-nuclear experts and industry advocates in the studio, with selective email and call-in access from random questioners is NOT the way to do it. MIKE COLLINS, you are already suspect in your pro-business advocacy, and if you are to retain credibility, must assemble a show with a panel of nuclear questioners and critics for a rebuttal of what you have presented today.

    I am a nuclear critic and do not feel “in the minority.” Look at the uranium supply and insurance problems as presented by Lester Brown at Earth Policy Institute ( as a starting place for discussion.

    Several flaws in today’s program:
    1.Timetable: These units in NC and SC would be at least 15 years from operation and would continue to appreciate in cost. And this as renewable sources advance and become more cost efficient during the same period without a procurement, security or disposal overhead.
    2.Local Economic Impact: I recall in the late 70s and 80s as Catawba was recently completed the unemployed welders and x-ray technicians at almost every low waged workplace I visited. I heard stories about “glow boys”, subcontractors used and discarded. I expect it would not be CPCC and Gaston College graduates welding and grunting this time, but cheaper Mexicans, Indonesians and East Indians who might remain behind with little prospect and no healthcare coverage. In the past our educational system has been market based and overproduced in certain trades while under-producing in others. The educational advocate is probably expecting a “gold rush” in student loan money.
    3.Old McGuire is corroded and should have already been closed. Some plants in this region are right now leaking heavy water isotopes into ground water. No one has solved disposal or decommissioning problems. Savannah River continues to receive waste from France and other nuclear using nations. (Scott Graf was discussing three-eyed fish with a Duke Energy spokeslady Tuesday morning. She attributed abnormalities to evolution. Now that’s a comedy of ignorance!)
    4. Security is not only a question of security guards at the plant, and the continual security checks of all plant personnel. How can we defend against air attacks and missiles? Our arms manufacturers will not hesitate to market drones and bunker busters overseas. (We are too crazy an outfit, and too greedy, for nuclear.

    Mike was correct:
    1. To point out the potential danger of radiation leaks in our metropolitan area (look at prevailing winds as well as proximity.).
    2. To allow callers and e-mailers a voice.
    3. To delve into the nature of nuclear maintenance jobs (a gypsy craft with many irregularities).
    4. To point out that expertise has been lost during a 30 year haitus in design and construction.

    Mike: I like you as a human being. We have shaken hands and stared one another in the eye. I only want you to know that as a gifted and well-placed person, I expect only the best from you. It is a shame you and I and others are so panicked and so focused on meeting our personal obligations by eeking out a living. Sometimes we totally disregard our fragile planet and uncertain future. Sometimes we project a discredited past into the future to the exclusion of better possibilities. It remains incumbent upon nuclear advocates to prove their schemes are affordable, secure, safe and sustainable. They are far from doing so.

    Zack: I hope you are one of those reprocessing fuel because you seem so confident. 90% recovery sounds pretty good. You can take the other 10% home in your lunchbox. Did you ever hear of Karen Silkwood?

    • This guy too. And someone from Greenpeace out of their Washington DC office.

  7. If you think nuclear power plants are not a huge security risk, see this:

  8. Agree that nuke issue deserves 2 be discussed fully and forthrightly AND fairly.

    The Nuke Show on CT did a major suck-job on unbiased fact presentation. 3 nuke cheerldrs on show. Where was opposing side? They were spewing specious, self-righteous, simplistic, and disputable conclusions as if they were consensual fact. Took minutes to refute questions of listeners that only had seconds. Their specious spouting went unconfronted. The Seeking of Truth 2 whch you aspire DEMANDS u have professionl type in oppositn.

    For maintnce of yr character of fairness and non-bias, u now ought 2 hav show entirely “guested” by nuke opponnts of similr intellectual, profsnl, & communicative stature as th nuke chrldrs.

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