Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nuclear Power, Impossible in a Free Market

"Strange, if these nuclear power plants are so efficient, so safe, why can't they be built with unguaranteed private risk capital?" asks the man who got my vote in '08 — No Nukes. He quotes Amory B. Lovins, chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, as saying that "nuclear power... can't survive free-market capitalism," as it "is being dramatically outcompeted in the global marketplace by no and low-carbon power resources that deliver far more climate solution per dollar, far faster." Dr. Lovins concludes that "because it's uneconomic and unnecessary, we needn't inquire into its other attributes."

It was the same Ralph Nader who best made the conservative, anti-statist argument against nuclear energy, quoted in a post entitled Atomic Corporate Socialism as observing that "the atomic power industry does not give up... as long as Uncle Sam can be dragooned to be its subsidizing, immunizing partner;" i.e. nuclear energy would be impossible in a free economy:
    For sheer brazenness, however, the atomic power lobbyists know few peers. They remember, as the previous Atomic Energy Commission told them decades ago, that one significant meltdown could contaminate “an area the size of Pennsylvania.”

    They know that no insurance companies will insure them at any price, which is why the Price-Anderson Act hugely limits nuclear plants’ liability in case of massive damages to people, property, land and water.

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Blogger History Punk said...

Many things are high risk, high reward to the point that relying on the free market and businesses focused on their next quarter profit margins will ensure they'll never be undertaken. This, however, does not make them unworthwhile. I think we can agree that government investment in the space program, the internet, and basic science research are all good things despite the occasional bondoogle.

4:02 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

No, I'm afraid that I'd say "that government investment in the space program, the internet, and basic science research" are all wastes of my money. The space program is useless, the Internet was an accident, and most basic science research is compromised.

9:02 PM  

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