Dan - great summary. In the above I found an interesting pair of statements that are worth some additional thought.
George Lobsenz jumped in to say that the focus on “energy policy” is really about gaining a preferred financial position,and returns, for specific fuels types. He added that for all the talk about renewable energy, our economy still runs on fossil fuels and will likely continue to depend on them for decades into the future.
That is such an important idea, but it is also something that can be used to our advantage. Instead of enabling the commercial media to just passively assume that fossil fuels will continue to dominate, nuclear advocates can remind journalists that advocates for other fuel sources - like coal, natural gas, and oil - are also working hard to gain a preferred financial position and returns for their investors. As any sports fan will understand, one way to gain a preferred position is to knock down your opponent. As I have tried to demonstrate with my "smoking gun" series on Atomic Insights, sometimes the source of anti-nuclear positions and rhetoric is a fossil fuel marketing department.
The other statement of interest was the following:
Many editors find good news stories about the nuclear energy industry to be boring. Wald noted that a story he did on fire dangers at a nuclear plant got page one position, but one on a record production run at another reactor was relegated to the back pages of the Science Section.
I happen to be a huge fan of the Business section. Why should a record production run at a 30 year old factory that produces what may be the most important and desired commodity in the world be considered a "Science" story. There is an intriguing business aspect to the ability of a uranium fueled electricity production facility to operate at maximum capacity for hundreds of days in a row. Just think - that fully amortized facility could very well be producing 30 Million electrical widgets every day for an average cost of 1.8 cents per widget and selling them for an average price of 8-15 cents (depending on market location). The pre-tax profit is more than $2 million per day. That is performance that should make investors drool.
The other aspect to that record production run is that while it is occurring, the utility was NOT buying and burning about 220 million cubic feet of natural gas each day, depriving the gas industry of more than a million dollars per day in revenue (even at today's temporarily low natural gas prices)!
Money may be boring to front page readers, but it makes the world go around for those who frequent the business sections and the financial specialty press.
Tie that second thought to the first thought and you can really get some journalists interested in understanding that there are plenty of people who are jealous of the characteristics of nuclear energy and will do everything in their power to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in their attempts to remain competitive. Perhaps we are not doomed to continued dependence on fossil fuel after all - there is an option!
Publisher, Atomic Insights
Host and producer, The Atomic Show Podcast
(Note - the numbers in above were for a 1200 MWe example)