About Air and Water

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Nuclear Industry Seeks $50 Billion Safety Net

By The Bryant Park Project NPR - October 23, 2007
Amid rising concern over climate change and the greenhouse gases caused by burning carbon-based fuels, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are taking a new look at nuclear power.

A provision in the energy bill now before the Senate would help finance a boom in the construction of new nuclear reactors. The one-line amendment, entered without debate, lifts the limit on federal loan guarantees for nuclear plants.

Efforts to create nuclear power facilities in the 1970s and '80s often went bankrupt before the plants ever opened. They were expensive projects designed to meet demands for electricity that sometimes failed to materialize, reports Steve Mufson, energy correspondent for the Washington Post. Some, ready to start operations, couldn't get regulatory approval.

Mufson explains that under the proposed law, utilities would have a safety net. "If the utility company can't pay the loan back, then the government will," he says. "Or taxpayers, [that] would be another way of looking at it."

The nuclear industry is asking that a total of $50 billion be available in guarantees over two years, 2008 and 2009.

Meanwhile, opponents of nuclear power are gearing up for a lobbying campaign to stop the provision. Singer Bonnie Raitt is leading a group of anti-nuclear musicians to Capitol Hill, and they've launched a video on YouTube to carry their message. Proponents championing atomic energy as a relatively clean source of fuel have launched a countercampaign, rebutting Raitt and company point-by-point.

Listen to AUDIO and read more on NPR

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Travel to other worlds ... UTA Planetarium

Immersive full-dome 3-D Digital planetarium show narrated by Ewan McGregor (Obi wan Kepobi from Star Wars) - Astronaut takes you exporing the worlds of inner and outer space. The movie is projected all around you. You recline in specially constructed chairs which enables you to comfortably view the immersive full-dome planetarium show. Astronaut! (produced from the National Space Centre in England) goes beyond the stereotypical space movie. Experience a rocket launch from inside the body of the astronaut. Float around the international Space Station moving thorugh the microscopic regions of the human body! Discover the beauty and perils as "Chad", the test astronaut experiences everything thrown at him.

Summer Schedule (June 2-August 26):


shows at the UTA Planetarium.

Wed. through Saturdays at 11 a.m.
and Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

Cosmic CSI

shows at the UTA Planetarium 3-D Digital Dome.

Wed. through Saturdays at 2 p.m.

Rock Hall of Fame 1 (The Original)

shows at the UTA Planetarium.

Thursday at 8:00 p.m.

Read more (Warning their flat dull website doesn't give much of a glimmer of the multi-dimensional experience you'll have once you enter the dome of the UTA Planetarium!)

Admission: Adults: $5.00

Seniors, Students, Children: $4.00

UTA Faculty, Staff & Alumni (with ID): $3.00

UTA Studens (with ID): $2.00

Groups of 10 or more with reservation: $3.00

Call 817 272-1183 or e-mail planetarium@uta.edu