companies have looked to diversify their supply sources, investing heavily in foreign oil and gas production fields, particularly in South America. Yet, as must be importantly noted, the vast majority of Indian oil and gas imports come directly from the Middle East, where access to direct investment is extremely limited. Clearly, major changes need to be implemented in order to secure the currently uncertain future of Indian energy. Attracting investment, improving infrastructure, and working towards reducing debt standing must be top priorities for Indian officials. This link details possible energy scenarios for India in the near future, and can help shed more light on their growing energy demand. Sources: Energy Information Administration India Energy Security Scenarios Opinion The Nuclear Solution to the 9-Billion- Person Problem Charlie Gallagher – VP, Academic Committee On my 47 th birthday, there will be nine billion people living on this planet. Worldwide, the middle class is on the rise, as is demand for food, water, air conditioning, cars, highdefinition TVs, and, most of all, energy. One of the biggest questions this world faces is how can we supply the energy needs of nine billion people? died of immediate acute radiation syndrome and fifteen died in the following years of thyroid cancer. The United Nations estimated the radiation-related fatalities to be 4,000 by the year 2066. It was a tragedy and an appalling act of negligence by the Ukrainian power plant’s operators. The solution is nuclear energy. Nuclear reactors use a naturally radioactive element called uranium to split apart atoms in a chain reaction, which generates heat that turns water into steam that turns a turbine that generates electricity. The history of nuclear power is rough to say the least. But a brief run-through is useful in order to bust some myths and provide some perspective. The first plant was constructed in 1954. Since then, there have been some notorious nuclear accidents. Chernobyl (1986) is most notable, where an explosion released radioactive particles into the atmosphere, causing global panic. Twenty-eight workers Point Beach Nuclear Station, Two Rivers, WI. Capacity: 1,026 MW Three Mile Island (1979), the worst accident in the history of U.S. nuclear power, resulted in zero fatalities but cost an estimated $1 billion
to clean up. However, the American Nuclear Society stated that the average local resident’s radiation exposure was equivalent to a chest X- ray. Similarly, a Columbia epidemiological study “found no link between [nuclear] fallout and cancer risk.” More recently, the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown caused billions of dollars in damage and a worldwide radiation scare that, laughably, prompted some Californians to swallow iodine tablets in fear of radiationrelated thyroid cancer. There were three fatalities: two workers who fell and one worker who bled to death from being struck by a piece of machinery. A UN Committee on atomic radiation (UNSCEAR) reported in early 2014 that there is “no evidence [the incident] will lead to an increase in cancer rates or birth defects.” Both the Three Mile Island and the Fukushima accidents were partially the result of fear: TMI engineers warned their superiors several times that valves were loose (later found to be one of the primary causes of the TMI incident) but the managers ignored these warnings, fearing costly regulatory intervention; the Japanese utility TEPCO publicly admitted that they “failed to take stronger measures to prevent disasters for fear of inviting lawsuits or protests against its nuclear plants.” To compare casualties from nuclear energy to those from other energy sources is like comparing annual base-jumping fatalities to D- Day. In 2005 alone there were 6,000 deaths from coal mining, according to the World Wildlife Fund. An accident at a hydropower plant in China—the Shimantam Dam—killed 171,000 people in 1975. Yet only 57% of Americans favor nuclear energy. The political repercussion of this sentiment has made nuclear power perhaps the most painfully over-regulated industry in America. At a power plant I visited this summer in Florida, there were 700 individuals on-site; 350 of them were security personnel. The costs of compliance are rising faster than ever, in large part due to ignorance, panic, and political cowardness. The economic perspective, however, is most central to this argument. The shale gas boom coupled with this egregious nuclear governance has made gas plants increasingly cost-competitive with nuclear. But nuclear power has the potential to be the most economically viable solution to the nine-billionperson problem. Here’s why. First, nuclear power runs all the time. Wind blows at night when there is little demand; as a result, many turbines turn in their blades because no one is there to buy the power. Solar only generates when—and where—the sun shines, and unless you cover north Africa with solar panels, this technology simply won’t cut it for rising energy demand. Second, fuel costs (uranium) have a fraction of the volatility and exposure to market forces as gas, oil, and coal. Third, the planet has only so much available space. The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm has a capacity of 615 MW over 5500 acres (and the geology that creates the wind tunnel is one-of-a-kind). The Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire has twice the capacity on onesixth the acreage. Unless families want to live amongst the noisy wind turbines, the best energy solution to meet future demand is nuclear. Finally, and most importantly, once the world includes the full cost of carbon in the price of power (and other commodities), the value of carbon emissions-free nuclear energy will soar. Coal—and even gas—will inevitably lose the price war to nuclear.