With the burning of fossil fuels being blamed for global warming, scientists are madly scrambling to come up with new ways of generating energy to power the planet and its massive population growth.
Nuclear power has long been predicted to be the only real escape from the current energy crisis. The problem is that nuclear power plants are horribly expensive, terribly dangerous, and used fuel rods can remain radioactive for millions of years. But changes are coming.
The June issue of Popular Mechanics has a brief article about plans by Westinghouse to produce a miniature nuclear power plant that can produce 225 megawatts, enough to power more than 200,000 homes. This is a completely new kind of plant that can actually be buried underground in a ‘cooperative’ and ‘understanding’ community. It’s been more than three decades since the last approved reactor in the United States. Westinghouse promises that this reactor is different: It’s only 89 feet tall, it can be buried underground to minimize radiation release, and if it goes into shutdown (meltdown?) mode it doesn’t need electricity to cool down.
The word ‘meltdown’ is still pretty frightening to folks who remember Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. So there’ll be massive resistance by the public to bringing a mini-nuclear reactor to their neighborhood. Which brings up Homeowners Associations! They’re a perfect fit. HOA neighborhoods are private non-profit corporations which do not have to follow most governmental restraints in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights. HOA boards pretty much do what they want to do, and three votes out of five on a board can control neighborhoods of thousands of homes.
Since a great many HOA board members are ethically challenged (as repeatedly documented in my new book, Neighbors At War), it would take almost nothing for a nuclear power producer to ‘buy’ the swing votes on an HOA board. Those board members could be slipped a few thousand shares of company stock. Or better yet, they might be given nice annual salaries as the Neighborhood Utility Technology Spokesmen, or N.U.T.S..
In any event, Westinghouse hopes to get federal approval for its first project in 2014.