Nuclear trifecta

Let’s go for the three nuclear power posts in a row.  I just want to say that at this point in time I would consider myself moderately pro-nuclear power.  I like that it’s carbon-emission free, I think the disposal and plant safety issues– especially with new plants– can be handled in a way to keep the public safe, and I’m not all that concerned by the higher costs involved due to the safety issues.  That said, I’ve got a completely open mind on the issue and I could most certainly be convinced the other way with some solid analysis, especially of the cost-benefit variety.  I end up sounding more pro-nuclear than I actually am because I hate how much anti-nuclear power seems to be a reflexive reaction based on anything “nuclear” or based on costs-benefit comparisons that don’t account for the externalities in fossil fuels.  Now back to non-nuclear blogging.  At least for a post or two.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Nuclear trifecta

  1. John says:

    Did you read my last comment??? The major problem environmentally with nuclear isn’t the waste, it’s the ore mining, which is highly carbon intensive due to uranium being a deep earth ore.

    Just a word on externalities; they always exist, the issue lies in who pays for them and the extent of the externality. Exxon or BP may pay for a spill (and hence customers absorb the costs) but they don’t pay for the skyrocketing rates of childhood asthma from car emissions. I would argue that all we’re doing with nuclear is storing the externalities for a later date. Nuclear fuel waste never disappears and the potential for leaks & meltdowns always exists, whether or not there’s an upfront cost for safety. Not a company on earth could pay for the type of destruction resulting from a Chernobyl-type meltdown. Would nuclear be the only business model whose “business” has the potential to complete destroy itself and in doing so take down the entire industry?

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