Whether you consider nuclear power a truly clean technology, or a source of radioactive waste and security threats, the technology is still getting investment because of its lack of emissions. This morning the U.S. Department of Energy says it will give $100,000 to 38 universities ($3.8 million total) to help upgrade labs, and reactor facilities, hire new faculty and develop ‘nuclear-related curricula.’
The funds come from President Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and is part of $15.2 million that the DOE awarded to universities’ nuclear power programs in fiscal year 2007. Check out the long list of universities.
Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder take a stand against nuclear as clean tech in their book The Clean Tech Revolution:
“There is a long list of reasons why we do not consider nuclear power clean with current technology — The Clean Tech Revolution”
Those include the challenge of disposing of radioactive waste, the security threats of nuclear power stations, the carbon-intensive energy used in their construction, and the large amount of water used to cool them. The book also says that the number one reason against nuclear is that it is not cost-effective.
The press release from the DOE takes a sunnier tone:
“Increasing research expertise . . . at America’s universities will position our scientists and engineers to support the expansion of clean and economical nuclear power in the United States,” Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon.