From Walmart to Coca Cola, some surprising names are turning up on the list of companies that are putting action behind their stated policies of environmental stewardship. In the nuclear energy industry, it is increasingly apparent that public and governmental concern about carbon emissions and incipient climate change present an opportunity to shine. Highlighting and educating the public about nuclear energy’s “clean” features has become an unexpected positive opportunity for nuclear power’s future prospects.
A brief scan of recent news pulls up the following:
- Influential business leaders including Microsoft’s Bill Gates; Virgin’s Richard Branson; entrepreneur Paul Allen; and a growing number of environmental activists have become vocal advocates for nuclear as an environmentally and economically sound energy generation method.
- Popular mass media features such as the excellent Pandora’s Promise and The History Channel’s 101 Inventions That Changed The World highlight nuclear as an important component of an efficient and low-carbon energy future.
- Innovative reactor designs such as Georgia Power’s Vogtle Plant are generating press as the “new generation” of opportunity. Its parent, Southern Company, has announced plans to build up to six additional nuclear reactors with the same Westinghouse AP1000 design as Vogtle.
- Industry advocacy groups including the Nuclear Energy Institute, World Nuclear Association and others have seized on the “clean nuclear” story to showcase low carbon emissions, safety, efficiency, reliability, and high energy output.
For those of us in the trenches, an additional focus has emerged. How can we optimize our own operations, managing costs and workplace needs while improving environmental results? As a nuclear health services partner to facilities worldwide, UniTech continually hones its offerings to anticipate and respond to what customers need most.
- Nuclear protective apparel: UniTech balances protection, comfort, cost, and quantifiable environmental benefits. ProTech Plus® with CoolTech has undergone a new, independent life cycle analysis performed by PE International. Its results ascertained that UniTech’s reusable garments have markedly lower environmental impact in all categories measured, with the most significant (five-fold or more) differences being in global warming potential, smog and primary energy demand.Launderable garments’ environmental benefits combined with their superior protection, comfort and lowest cost (50-plus percent savings over disposables) make launderable protective clothing the sensible choice for our customers. To respond to any labor time requirement concerns, UniTech offers onsite clothing management, which has the added benefit of freeing up decon staff to work on plant-critical tasks.
- Tool and equipment monitoring and decontamination: Customers need to minimize the costs, space use, waste potential, and carbon footprint that accumulating tools and equipment can cause. What’s more, the difference between accumulating contaminated tools and equipment on your site versus using UniTech’s services can also make the difference between top-quartile or less desirable regulatory ratings. (See lead article, page 1.)This is a no-compromise issue. Therefore, UniTech designs, builds and uses custom monitoring solutions to ensure customers get consistent, reliable and repeatable monitoring results. UniTech gets trailers off customer sites, and expertly monitors, stores and manages scaffolding, pipes, tools, FRAC tanks, fork and scissor lifts, ladders, and more.
At UniTech, we know that the best and most prosperous future is green. Rewards will accrue for facilities whose actions align with their stated goals for reduced carbon footprint and waste minimization. It’s a win-win.