( – promoted by lowkell)
Cross posted from Article XI
Welcome to the future of nuclear power in Virginia. Dominion Virginia Power announced on Tuesday that its second nuclear reactor in Surry stalled amid attempts to restart it after an April 16 tornado knocked out electricity in the area.
Richard Zuercher, spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power, said that Unit 2 was shutdown on Monday following the detection of a problem in one of Unit 2’s cooling ducts.
It remains unclear when another try will be attempted to restart the second nuclear reactor.
Let’s face it, nuclear power has a number of drawbacks, and one of the least significant in the grand scheme of things is the inability of nuclear reactors to stay online when the electricity goes out.
We should also consider the elephant in the room: where to put all of the spent nuclear fuel.
Of course, there are some who purport to have a solution. Just build nuclear reactors that can reuse spent nuclear fuel, they say. Easier said than done, I’m afraid, given the high costs of building any type of new nuclear reactor.
I’m not suggesting Virginia completely phase out nuclear energy altogether. That would be impractical at best and damaging to Virginia’s economy at worst.
But we need to open up unimpassioned debate about whether or not nuclear energy is going to be a long term solution to Virginia’s energy needs, and if so, how much.
The Republican Party of Virginia has been especially resistant to any notion that nuclear energy might not be the godsend that many had hoped it would be. But I’m curious about how much each member even knows about nuclear energy, its positives and its negatives.
If Virginians were to weigh the negatives against the positives of nuclear energy, I’m confident that nuclear energy wouldn’t be perceived as the panacea many political leaders would like it to be.