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Viewpoint: Strategies for jobs, food, water and prosperity for Nye County

Absence of truth and integrity about climate, opportunities, etc. keep people unaware of Nye County’s unique position.

Imagine, California, importing 32 percent of their electrical power, has announced it needs to increase its supply of nuclear power by a factor of 10. Yucca Mountain has 44 miles of tunnels designed to store nuclear “waste” in a well-guarded area. Sen. Harry Reid wants to waste this $13 billion investment and would rather waste $100 billion on another less perfect site.

The Yucca Mountain area is already contaminated by 100 atomic atmospheric bomb blasts and 828 below ground. By storing nuclear waste brought there by rail, jobs are created while the risk of significant additional contamination of habitats will be zero. Furthermore, Nevada Test Site is a safe place for nuclear power plants.

By replacing uranium with thorium, meltdown and contamination risks are close to eliminated. Thorium-based reactors can be shut down by flipping a switch. Using thorium increases safety a lot. Bombs cannot be made from it. Thorium is much cheaper and 3.5 times more abundant than uranium.

Nuclear power plants are by far the safest plants of any kind in the world. The Chernobyl accident was caused by design flaws not permitted in the U.S. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was an energy accident initiated primarily by the tsunami following the Tōhoku earthquake on March 11, 2011. Neither of them caused measurable health impacts to the people living there!

Vital is U.S. safety, guarded by our military. Steel is used in arms production. Much coal is required to produce steel, so steel plants are located near coal mines. The world coal supply will last 112 years.

Yet, worldwide more than 2,000 new coal-fired power plants are constructed or planned to lift people out of poverty. Steel can be produced with much less coal in electro ovens, even without coal, but at increasing costs.

In a 2.5 million year-long ice age period we have had 40 ice ages so far. They are all broken up by 10 to 12,000 year-long warmer interglacials. Despite IPCC’s climate hoax, 11,600 years into our interglacial, world temperatures have fallen 5 °F over 3,300 years. A new 100,000 year-long ice age may be imminent. The scientists are divided on when. Ice age oceanic cooling will absorb CO2 and reduce the atmospheric CO2 to about 200 ppm. Add ice age temperatures and food production will plummet and about 75 percent of the world population will perish from starvation.

The so-called green energy is also a hoax. Costing at least twice the competition, it is heavily dependent upon governmental or other subsidies, and may at best cover 3 percent of total demand. We do best by forgetting all about it. The 5,500 megawatt power from Niagara’s falling water is another story. Letting tourists view the full flow for one hour twice a week, not half of it all the time will attract new visitors. I certainly would go see that! Norway’s Kværner Brug’s Francis water turbines exploit 96.5 percent of the total waterfall power, 2 percent more than competitor’s turbines.

With plenty of water and power to spread it, the deserts in Nevada and neighboring states may save the western U.S. from starvation in the next ice age. Water for irrigation may be channeled and pumped from Columbia River and/or be produced to 0.5 percent salts at the California shore by reverse osmosis and pumped to Nevada Test Site nuclear power plants where steam otherwise used in the last stage of the steam turbines economically eliminate the remaining salt by evaporation and condensation.

Current power line routes and masts from Hoover Dam to the LA area will reduce transmission line costs. Added water supply to Las Vegas to fill Lake Mead will bring the Hoover Dam power production back to its design limit.

Vital for future U.S. economy are the conservation of our U.S. coal resources, sufficient for about 240 years, and home usage of our natural gas. Yet we are exporting increasing amounts of cheap coal to China and using our natural gas in power plant production. Power plant energy conversion rates and transmission losses reduce the original natural gas energy that will reach the users this to 30-to-40 percent. Essential in the production of nylon and plastics are coal, natural gas and oil. We should stop burning these essential raw materials. Converting to nuclear power now rather than later will keep the U.S. ahead in the world for thousands of years.

Nuclear power plants supply 20 percent of the U.S. electrical power. Located close to consumers, the majority are in the eastern U.S. The construction costs have been paid off, so their power is sold wholesale at two cents/kWh, a quarter of the cost of other electric power. The western U.S. will, in accordance with the above, benefit economically from converting to nuclear electric power sooner, not later.

Pahrump has about 88 percent of Nye County’s population. The Nye unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in April 2016. Connecting Yucca to the rail system and starting the storing of nuclear waste safely and well-guarded there will provide new jobs.

If California in addition elects to construct and import some or all of their nuclear power for the LA area from the Nevada Test Site, the positive economic impact to our area will be substantial.

Senator Harry Reid’s departure and a favorable NRC study enhance Yucca Mountain’s implementation chances.

Vital is educating the public to the benefits of early and final inevitability of converting to nuclear power. Please Pahrump Valley Times, kindly support this education process!

Gerhard Gran is a Pahrump resident and former offshore facilities engineer supervisor for Bechtel in Houston, and a supporter of nuclear energy.

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