Saturday, March 12, 2011

Nuclear Power Is a Government Plot

The disturbing news from Japan — Radiation leaking from quake-hit nuclear plant — reminds us that such an accident would be impossible in a free economy, a case made by none other than Old Right Nader, quoted in an old post — 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." He continued:
    For sheer brazenness, ... 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.
Think about that reading Harvey Wasserman's article — An 8.9 Quake Could Have Irradiated the Entire US. "By the federal Price-Anderson Act of 1957, the owners of the destroyed reactors---including Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison---would be covered by private insurance only up to $11 billion, a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars worth of damage that would be done," the author reminds us. "The rest would become the responsibility of the federal taxpayer and the fallout victims. Virtually all homeowner insurance policies in the United States exempt the insurers from liability from a reactor disaster."

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OpenID danightman said...

The problem with nuclear power is not the idea but the fact that the design has been caught in government-corporatist amber for the past 60 years. Granted, the water cooled design is much safer than the soviet design that failed catastrophically in Chernobyl.

There has been much work on the subject in that time, which can open the possibility to smaller scale, more inherently safe reactors. There is even technology developed to use Thorium as a fuel, which is more readily available than Uranium.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Tiago said...

I agree with danightman. The problem with nuclear is that government actually drags its feet with excessive regulatory hurdles. The NRC hasn't approved a new reactor design in 35 years. The coming "Generation IV" designs, particularly the Thorium Molten Salt designs being currently developed by a Japanese industrial group and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, do provide a glimpse of a future with clean, nearly-free energy.

5:49 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Here's another free-market critique of nuclear power -- End of Nuclear Power?

10:40 AM  

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