First and foremost, I'm not prepared to "go off the deep end" in either direction on this issue; it's another "growing pain" in the developemnt of a process which, like it or not, we are all going to have to live with. There is no "off the shelf" alternative to the nuclear systems which have been under development for sixty years, and our second thoughts about non-renewable fossil fuel began to arise not long after. (I first heard concerns about "greenhouse gases" in a public-relations film --- produced by either AT&T or General Electric, IIRC, way back in 1961, when I was a sixth-grader.)
And I'm not ready to "swallow anything whole" if it comes from the likes of either Fox or CNN. The media's prime clientle is the stay-at-home "trailing spouse" with the lion's share of responsibility for raising the nestlings ... hence the emphasis on both security and its mass-marketing.
Regarding the exchange between Mr. Boylan and "Big Lou":
The best solution ( in the world according to me) would be to use all of this "free/green" electricity to produce hydrogen from water ( close to the generation source) which can then be shipped ( via rail??) to where it's needed. Picture a unit train ( would probably be a pipeline but oh well) of water heading out in to the desert to provide the feed stock for a hydrogen plant. I think hydrogen and fuel cells are really where it's at for the future, you can start and end with drinkable water no emissions no waste, just some heat (which could be useful) and water
Mr. Boylan's response:
I've often wondered why when folks talk about how wonderfully clean hydrogen fuel cells are they usually don't mention the often dirty energy that has to go into making the hydrogen. It's kind of like us foamers who talk about how trolleys are clean because they produce no fumes, ignoring how we made the electricity to feed the trolleys. So again I agree. As you say, if it's free green electricity then both the fuel cells and the trolley cars get a lot greener themselves.
I don't mean to raise this issue to "diss" either of these gentlemen, but the highly technical nature and the physical characteristics of both the energy and "heavy" transport sectors make them extremely vulnerable to second-guessing and Monday-morning-quarterbacking by people who don't understand the economic constraints, long horizons, immovable nature of the assets, and all the other concerns that are easily manipulated by people with an agenda, and who recruit heavily among the non-technical "touchie-feelies" described above, for short-term political and/or economic gain.
The "green" movement remains in denial where many of these realities are concerned ... they espouse rail technology only when it can be used to get their hands on the means of production for a vision which revolves more around centralized planning, and concentration of the authority of the state. Hence the quick flowering, and equally quick demise of the promotion of HSR as a panacea. It's time to lock up the liquor, valuables and weapons, and keep a close eye on the chronic whiners who are always looking for somebody to blame for the "issue of the day".
One last thought;
I don't fiond it the least bit suprising that the Japanese ended up "carrying the ball" in this latest phase of the development of a global, civilized and hopefully, open society ruled by both parliamentary democracy and the free exchange of both goods and opinion. They are the first (and not yet fully 'vetted') industrialized society wthout a Western monotheistic heritage, and they are the only nation which, to date, has felt the sting of atomic energy used in anger. The nature of their existence ... 100+ million people crammed on a rocky archipelago ... renders them vulnerable, and accounts for a culture which venerates innovation, yet discourages too much individuality.
Hopefully, we will all continue to learn from each other.