Citizen Editor Mark Evans thinks nuclear power is a good idea.
The problems with the Japanese nuclear reactors reminds us that when something goes wrong with reactors….the consequences are enormous.
All of our energy solutions require some sort of government subsidy and participation.
The real question is what do we get for our money.
We increasingly have a good idea of the downside risks of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
But some oppose the government helping make wind and solar and geothermal and bio fuels into viable energy sources. Let the market decide, they say.
If the true “negative externality” costs of nukes and fossil fuels are added onto the price of power generation, solar would be a heck of a deal.
The problem today is we think we have “cheap” energy and the renewable options are too costly. We are actually living in a fantasy land because the real costs of fossil fuels and nuclear power are hidden away with the bills coming due later.
Take the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant for example. Not included in the current electric rates for power generated from that facility are two enormous costs….the cost of decommissioning the plant when it is done, and the cost of storing spent fuel. Those are hidden costs because they haven’t been incurred yet. So who will pay… ratepayers? Or taxpayers? The costs are there…they just haven’t been charged through.
And if there is a massive accident at a nuclear power plant who pays for the damages?
If a solar panel falls down maybe a gopher is hurt. But if a nuke melts down an entire region of the country could be sterilized for hundreds of years.
The problem with all the safety arguments about nukes is that there is no technology that an idiot cannot defeat. And Mother Nature has a few surprises up her sleeves as well.
A very large portion of our electric demands can be met with solar…if one can overcome opposition from environmentalists who don’t want solar energy projects on public lands in western Arizona.
Hydroelectric power is another potential…but environmental opposition to dams has stopped that alternative.
Wind power is very promising….but opposition exists all over the country from the NIMBY forces.
One cannot be against fossil fuel reliance and nuclear power without supporting an alternative that will keep our lights on and our industry humming.