Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Nuclear Renaissance

From the front page of yesterday's Los Angles Times, "Japan Crisis May Derail Nuclear Renaissance." What nuclear renaissance? Conservatives love to blather on about how evil environmentalists destroyed the nuclear industry in the United States, and as an environmentalist I'd love to take credit, but that's not what happened. For those too young to remember, we stopped building nuke plants because they were prohibitively expensive to build. After they were built, it was still far cheaper, per kilowatt hour, to generate electricity by burning coal. (Also true of hydroelectricity, solar , and wind.) But the big reason the nuclear industry died in the United States, after Three Mile Island, the insurance industry realized that they could be on the hook to replace Philadelphia. Now that's a high risk policy.
The nuclear industry was crippled by the conservative holy grail, the free market. I suspect Obama talks about new nuke plants to shut up the cons, knowing that there won't be new nuclear plants as long as the free market rules.

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