Thomas Saporito has been a very busy man in the State of Florida. Saporito has sued in Florida Courts to shut down an aging nuclear facility that he believes is no longer safe. I quote the following from his website:
" Pictured above is the Florida Power and Light Company - Turkey Point Nuclear Plant located in south Florida. The twin nuclear reactors were licensed for operation in the early 70s just like the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant that is the center of controversy due to radioactive tritium leaking into the environment. The Vermont legislature last week voted down the Entergy's request to operate the nuclear plant for an additional 20-years. Similarly, the State of Florida should seek to shut-down the FPL Turkey Point Nuclear facility. These aged nuclear power plants were only designed to operate safely for a 40-year life-span. However, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been rubber-stamping licenses to extend operation of aging nuclear plants for an additional 20-years and well-beyond the safety parameters of the original licenses. The government remains unaccountable for the tons and tons of high-level nuclear waste which is currently stored at 104 nuclear power plants.
The reactor vessels are made of stainless steel that is bombarded by high-level radioactive particles day-in and day-out which embrittles the reactor vessel making the vessel very susceptible to cracking . Should the vessel crack, a loss-of-coolant accident would result causing an uncontrolled meltdown of the entire plant releasing unwanted high-level radioactive particles into the environment - much like the Chernobyl melt down years back. Notably, the NRC cannot guarantee that anyone would be able to timely evacuate the area during a general alert at the plant. Fact is, the NRC cannot guarantee anything related to commercial nuclear power generation."
Are Nuclear Plants Obsolete?
Mr. Saporito believes that nuclear power plants are becoming obsolete because of a new fuel-cell technology called the bloom box. I quote the following from an article linked to his website:
"Everyone's talking about Bloom Energy, a green-energy company that was named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer and featured on CBS News’ 60 Minutes this week.
Yesterday at a press conference, the fuel cell start-up publicly unveiled its innovative portable power plants, which are bringing corporate energy costs down from about 13 to 14 cents a kilowatt hour to 9 to 10 cents while reducing emissions, according to Business Week.
The contraptions, called bloom boxes, "efficiently generate their own electricity on site while reducing their carbon footprint, lowering energy costs, and mitigating the risk of power outage." The fuel cells are made from silicon, an element found in sand, according to Yahoo.
"The core of our technology simply is sand," said K.R. Sridhar, the company's Indian-born co-founder and chief executive, displaying a fuel cell the size of a greeting card.
While fuel cell technology has tried and failed before, Bloom Energy is going strong out of the blocks; Sridhar announced yesterday that the company had already snagged a lot of big investors and signed up heavy-hitting customers such as Google, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Staples, Bank of America, Cox Enterprises and FedEx; and as we've previously reported here at Tonic, eBay, one of Bloom Energy's largest customers, saved $100,000 in energy costs in a mere nine months by using the green fuel-cell technology.
Sridhar also said that California may well soon join the list of customers. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was in attendance, and Sridhar anticipates the energy-strapped state will be interested. "We are twice as efficient as the U.S. national grid, which means we can produce the same amount of electricity for half the fuel and half the carbon footprint," Sridhar said.
While Bloom Energy's potential success could be great news for the planet, the bloom box's affordability and portability promise other great benefits as well. Access to electricity can mean the difference between poverty and prosperity in the developing world, so a company that can engineer the spread of a low-barrier electricity-generating technology is on to something big.
We can only make significant progress cutting the number of people living in poverty in half by 2015, as one of the United Nation's eight Millennium Development Goals dictates, if we provide 1.2 billion more people access to electricity. Traditional power grids won't work; they are too time-consuming, costly and polluting to be viable considerations in most places.
Business Week declares that the company might just be able to "revolutionize the energy business" by bringing electrification technology to a level people worldwide can afford while at the same time curbing emissions.
It sounds like this is one idea whose time has come to blossom."
We will be talking live to Mr. Saporito at 12 PM Eastern (11 Central, 10 Mountain and 9 Pacific). The show will also be recorded and available 24/7. Please feel free to call in with questions.