Saturday, October 18, 2008

There is a better plan

We just aren't hearing about it. One of my major problems with the media coverage of the election, especially the debates, is the fact that all of them deal with trivia and none of them are willing to really address the truthfulness of the candidates on issues. For example, in the final debate Sen. McCain answered Bob Schieffer's question regarding dependence on foreign oil with a response about building 45 nuclear power plants. I don't know about you, but that scares the hell outta me twice. First for the nukes and then for the fact that most media did not call him on it. Follow me to read more and I'll mention what the few that did actually had to say about it.

After looking around a bit, I found it covered on Tampa Bay Online, a service of the Tampa Bay Tribune. This is what they had to say about 45 nukes.
McCAIN: "We can eliminate our dependence on foreign oil by building 45 nuclear power plants right away."

THE FACTS: For nuclear power to lower oil dependency would require a massive shift to electric or hybrid-electric cars, with nuclear power providing the electricity. No new U.S. nuclear reactor has been built since the 1970s. Although 15 utilities have filed applications to build 24 new reactors, none is expected to be built before 2015 at the earliest. Turmoil in the credit markets could force cancellation of some of the projects now planned, much less spur construction of 45 new reactors, as reactor costs have soared to about $9 billion apiece
This is exactly what I have been saying... but you won't find it on MSNBC or Fox News or any of the media devoted to instant analysis. We know it is BS and typical McCain. If this is the advice he gets from the lady who knows more about energy than just about anyone in America, then I am surely happy that McCain is gonna lose.

Now, to take the final number, 9 Billion. Where will that money come from in a risk adverse, recessionary environment. McCain talked of $2 Billion per year. That won't do it. Maybe he needs to give a shout out to a 3rd grade class somewhere for basic math.

1 comment:

Philip H. said...

I would also add that the claims that more oil drilling will get us out of our energy crunch are dubious at best.

First, oil companies are judged by the "market" as profitable based on the amount of oil they have in reserve, not how much they actually produce. So it pays them to have huge, vast tracts of oil bearing lands under lease, which they then do not drill. Opening more U.S. territory to leasing to oil companies (which is the first step in the drilling process) will not lead to more production.

Second, oil companies do not have refining capacity. Just as there have been no new nuke plants since the early 70's, there have been no new refineries or major refinery expansions. Again, these companies remain profitable by not increasing capacity - this keeps their product scarce in the market.

Third, even if we did open all U.S. continental waters up to offshore drilling (which Congress has basically done by allowing the federal drilling ban to expire), there are no new platforms to drill, and it will take between 5 and 10 years to build and site new platforms, assuming the oil companies are willing to drill (see my first point above).

Bottom line - oil production does have to be a part of the solution because refined petroleum products power our transportation sector. We can move our households and business to alternative energy far more easily then transportation, and we should. But more drilling is not an answer - mostly due to the economics of the modern oil industry.