Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Rise of Nuclear Power

From today's Parade:
The newest nuclear power plant in the U.S. opened nearly 15 years ago, but many more may be coming soon...

A 2005 law offering incentives for nuclear-energy companies created a surge of proposals, and President Obama has committed billions in federal loan guarantees to aid construction of new plants.

Some experts... note that new reactors create new risk, and that the previously rural areas hosting nuclear plants are now more densely populated.

"The public needs to ensure that emergency planning is adequate."

Energy prices being what they are these days, why would companies need incentives and loan guarantees to get them building new power plants? Isn't profit supposed to be the incentive?

Emergency planning? The solution is not emergency planning. The solution is emergency prevention.

And risk? The risk doesn't come from a more dense population. It comes from cutting corners to save a buck. Profits are low as it is, apparently -- low enough that we need incentives and loan guarantees despite the high cost of energy. Spend a little more on safety and accident prevention, and profits go even lower.

To reduce risk, to increase profit, and to spend for emergency prevention we need a better, healthier, faster-growing, more profitable economy. Until that day comes, a nuclear accident will be just as possible and far more dangerous than a massive and costly oil disaster.

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