14 March 2011

Nuclear Power just does not make sense

Example of special interest induced mental illness in Washington: defending nuclear power against all reason.
See this.

Look, I've heard it all. It just doesn't add up. Here are some simple, irrefutable facts.

Nuclear power has never been built anywhere in the world without massive government subsidies. When (better, if) made to pay the true costs, including any even close to realistic assessment of the costs from inevitable clean up of contamination, environmental degradation of contaminated lands, and storage of long lived nuclear waste, nuclear electric power is the most expensive form of electric power there is.

France, a seismically quiescent country for the most part, has managed to defer these problems, in the main, and so is cited as the great counterexample. But even France has built its nuclear power systems at enormous subsidized cost, and only because the readily available cheaper alternatives (apart from new renewable technologies, which they are beginning to adopt), have not been available to them.

A similar situation prevailed in Japan, which built some of the best, most regulated, and best run nuclear plants in the world, at huge government expense. But, as one of the most seismically active countries in the world, the events since Thursday have proven that policy to have been a disaster.

I am not opposed to nuclear power in principle. I am opposed to it because it just does not make either economic or environmental sense. You would think the very real prospect of a double meltdown, which will render a large region of Japan uninhabitable for a very long time, would be enough to make that obvious to everyone by now; but special interests have a way of distorting even the clearest realities.

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