By Ben Geman - 03/19/10 10:07 AM EDT
From the Times:
The promise of miniature reactors powering homes, offices and schools is still years from being realized. The first Russian design, a pontoon-mounted reactor intended to be floated into harbors in energy-hungry developing countries, is already being built. But most promoters expect small reactors to come online at the end of this decade.
The plans are going ahead in Russia and elsewhere in the face of criticism that a diffuse nuclear infrastructure – the idea that many midsize cities, for example, could have their own small reactor – is inherently risky.
But once the science is perfected, such reactors are potentially far cheaper to build for every unit of electricity generated than traditional nuclear power plants. This is no small matter as capital expenses are the largest cost for nuclear power, making it more competitive with coal.
Earlier this week we wrote about House GOP members attacking a new Securities and Exchange Commission policy that pushes public companies to disclose information about climate risk.
Dow Jones takes a look at corporate concerns over the SEC’s disclosure push. Their piece notes that “securities lawyers say the shape and timing of U.S. climate policy is so uncertain – as are the physical consequences themselves – that it’s impossible for companies to make such calculations.”
“Brink Dickerson, a partner in the securities and corporate governance division of the law firm Troutman Sanders, called the disclosure requirement a ‘fool's errand,’ urging the SEC to reconsider its position ‘before any lasting damage is done,’” it continues.
Elsewhere Reuters reports that Canada’s U.S. ambassador Gary Doer warned Thursday that U.S. climate change policies should not discriminate against Canada’s oil sands, which are a growing source of U.S. oil supply.
Canada is already biggest source of U.S. oil, and Alberta’s massive oil sands supplies – which are very energy-intensive to extract – account for an increasing share of Canadian production.
“Ultimately if the United States becomes less open to oil sands, Doer said the fuel can go elsewhere,” the Reuters piece notes.
“This is a commodity that can sold somewhere else. It's not as if the United States is the only country interested in purchasing oil,” Doer said.
Climate change is also roiling oil development in Montana. “A federal judge has approved a first-of-its-kind settlement requiring the government to suspend 38,000 acres of oil and gas leases in Montana so it can gauge how oil field activities contribute to climate change,” the Associated Press reports.