Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Abraham advocates a new power-generation strategy for the next 20 years.
The author suggests that the United States derive its energy from a combination of sources, including nuclear energy, natural gas and coal gasification and hydroelectricity, solar power, wind power and other renewable sources. However, Abraham warns that competing priorities—increasing energy independence, maintaining low energy prices and the not-in-my-backyard syndrome, among others—combined with what he deems to be irrational fears about nuclear energy have prevented a competent approach to dealing with the problem of global warming: “The contradictions,” he writes, “always emerge to undermine any momentum we may establish.” Although bipartisan consensus has been at low ebb recently, Abraham attempts to bridge the gap. He remains a strong advocate for tapping off-shore oil reserves and opening the national parks for drilling, but he gives short shrift to the conservative claim that scientific evidence about global warming is a hoax. While he endorses solar and wind power as auxiliary energy sources, his central thesis focuses on the need to build more than 50 new nuclear plants in the next 20 years as a major component of a viable program for clean energy. A section on nuclear energy covers several crucial objections—reactor safety, terrorist attacks, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the problem of nuclear waste—and points to its advantage over solar and wind power because of its tremendous energy density: “2 million times greater than the energy releases from chemical reactions of fossil fuels.”
A provocative contribution to the energy debate.