Perry: Michigan still needs nuclear power
Routinely and quietly, nuclear power generates a large amount of energy without loading the atmosphere with global warming emissions.
Yet more than a half century after the Big Rock Point nuclear plant in Charlevoix began producing the first nuclear-generated electricity in Michigan, even as public concern over climate change continues to grow, nuclear power’s role is being questioned and challenged as never before. The textbook case is what’s been happening with efforts to renew the operating license of the Fermi 2 nuclear plant and possibly build a third reactor at the Newport site.
Why this debate about the only source of zero-carbon base-load electricity, which accounts for 27.6 percent of Michigan’s electricity generating capacity but 91 percent of Michigan’s emission-free power? There are the traditional concerns: nuclear safety, waste storage, and the cost of building new nuclear plants.