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I highly recommend that everyone interested in this topic take a look at the September 2006 Scientific American special issue.  Great articles on the whole range of solutions.

The terrible reality is that electricity consumption is expected to increase 160% by mid-century.  And the terrible reality is that most of that new electricity is going to be made by burning coal--and not cleanly, either.  China is building about one coal-fired plant a week.

There is no incentive in the US for utilities to build coal gasification plants or plants that sequester carbon.

Why will coal be the answer society chooses?  Because people accept the risks of coal, which kills 24,000 prematurely every year in the US alone.  Because only coal, nuclear, and hydro offer reliable around the clock electricity that does not need a backup.  And in the US we only get 5% from hydro--shrinking, too, because of drought.

Until the US decides to invest in a big way in R&D for ways to store renewable energy, then the new electricity will be from coal and, if we are fortunate, nuclear.

As for terrorists blowing up nuclear plants, it really is not possible unless they get their hands on thermonuclear weapons.  I am sure they would prefer to use them on cities instead.

by Plan9 on Wed Aug 30th, 2006 at 03:20:03 PM EST

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