Friday, December 22, 2006

Here Comes The Sun!

Solar Energy Button

Some 1980s-vintage solar power buttons to celebrate the lengthening of days (in the northern hemisphere) -- coming on the heels of news that a second nuclear power plant will be built nearby....

When we moved down here I started looking into solar power alternatives to being on the grid. This is the Sunshine State, after all.

I was surprised to find relatively little here in the way of solar panels, before I realized we also get hurricanes and tropical storms. People have literally lost their roofs: the places where those panels are most often installed.

Solar Power Button

There's a nuclear power plant about 14 miles from where we live. Our local beach is nicknamed "Nuke Beach" because you can see the cooling towers from there. In fact, there's a siren alarm system in the county if anything goes seriously wrong with the facility. In addition to the nuke unit, the plant generates power from coal and is the county's largest employer. A second nuclear power plant has just been approved, to be built two counties over.

Russian Solar Power Button

(I believe this translates to, "Nuclear power? No thanks." )

From Greg Hamilton's column, "New plant to provide pain without the gain," in the December 17 St. Petersburg Times:

"On Feb. 26, 1980, 43,000 gallons of radioactive water spilled into the unit's containment building. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it's because that is exactly what took place the year before at Three Mile Island. Both plants were designed by the same company, Babcock and Wilcox.

"Then, on Oct. 14, 1982, another leak occurred, this one with 1,700 gallons of radioactive water. Again, it was contained on site.

"Other than a handful of emergency shutdowns and other situations, the nuke plant has been a decent enough neighbor over the years. Sure, officials are storing a small mountain of highly radioactive spent fuel rods on site, but it is the high-tech equivalent of the guy down the street with the leaking Chevrolet in the side yard. Not much we can do about it.

"Then there are the coal plants, with their millions of tons of pollutants pouring out of the stacks and into our lungs and drinking water. It's best not to think about that.

"But, again, it is all part of a devil's bargain. We live with these health risks in exchange for the power company's huge contributions to our tax base."

Hamilton claims that the new plant will expose our county to the same risks without the rewards. My response is that the counties bordering us have shouldered that same risk over the years.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool post. I really like the Solar Energy sun/people button!

10:16 PM  

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