Welcome to my blog where I discuss money, investing, politics, and anything else import in the world. I find it surprising that most people in their 30s have very little knowledge or interest in these areas. Of course everyone is interested in money, but very few take the time or have the discipline to properly save and invest it for the future or short term. For those who at least have the interest, I'll write about my experiences and methods of investing, and hopefully give you a head start in investing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bob Brinker MoneyTalk Commentary 1/19-1/20

Interesting discussions this week about energy issues, especially nuclear energy. Regular listeners to MoneyTalk would not be surprised to hear that Bob is a big supporter of nuclear energy. I've favored nuclear energy except for the waste problem. However according to Bob's guest, Dr. Bill Wattenberg, all the nuclear waste generated for a family of four over 20 years can fit in a shoe box. In addition, they now can recycle the waste and what would be left fits in a shot glass.

I did a little research on the subject, but I find it hard to get the truth. It seems that no source can agree on the facts. Greenpeace and the Sierra Club call nuclear energy too dangerous for the environment and unsafe. There is no doubt that both sides are overplaying fears or the technology. Our current energy production using coal, oil, and natural gas polute the environment way more than nuclear energy would. What is generated by nuclear energy is confined, unlike coal and oil that pollute the air. The "risk" of pollution from nuclear energy is very small (though not 0%), however, the risk from fossil fuels is 100%.

I tried to dig up some facts:
  • France gets 90% of it electricity from nuclear power plants
  • No CO2 emmisions from the nuclear power plants (however I have seen arguments that mining the uranium, creating rods, and transportation makes up for it)
  • The cost of nuclear energy is more or less than other sources, depending on who you listen to. Below is a table from the Nuclear Energy Institute:

Bob and his guest also argue that ethanol is a scam. Environmentalist and farmers love the idea of growing your own energy in the ground, however, opponents claim it costs too much money and energy to convert corn to ethanol. The amount of CO2 and other energy spent in the conversion process makes it a no better solution than oil. If it takes oil to make ethanol, then what is ethanol really buying us? The same argument is made against nuclear, but if you believe the table above, it just isn't true. Who to believe in all this?

No comments: