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You don’t have to be a nuclear scientist to understand that the catastrophe in Japan has provided the world with another critical, “must heed” warning about the perils and, ultimately, lack of viability of nuclear power.

Happily, the blogosphere is well-stocked with thoughtful opinion pieces from smart people about why humans need to end their mostly well-intended but ultimately failed experiment with nuclear power as soon as possible.

Jon Rynn at New Deal 2.0 has a good one. Here’s a particularly insightful passage:

You may see erudite and sophisticated debates about whether wind, nuclear, or coal are more expensive in terms of kilowatts of electricity or kilowatt hours. But these costs can never include the cost of a collapse of a country, region, or entire civilization.

The ultimate irony of nuclear power may be that it is totally dependent on government intervention in the economy, and yet conservative Republicans are its greatest boosters. Because it can destroy whole regions, only the government has the capacity to clean up the mess, not private insurance companies. When it comes to energy, Republicans are hardcore socialists. They advocate for subsidies for fossil fuel companies, for the use of the military to protect oil trading lanes and oil deposits, for insurance for nuclear power, and for research and development for all of them.”

You can read Rynn’s entire article by clicking here.

3 Comments

  1. Alex

    March 18, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Unfortunately ,conservatives are the only people who take a practical approach to energy. The truth of the matter is that as a country we have ignored this problem for the last 50 years, and now we have very few options. There is inherent risk in every one of them ,but there is a greater risk in doing nothing. Alternative fuels should obviously be pursued, but they are a mere pittance in the overall energy picture, and without heavy subsidies will never make a dent in the overall needs. The long lead time required to develop these other sources of energy leave us few choices, and there is an inadequate amount of capital investment available in addition to excessive regulations. Taking nine years to develop one wind farm will hardly get us to energy independence as a country.So for the next 15 to 20 years, we are stuck with fossil fuels and nuclear despite the risks. Anyone who thinks otherwise has his head in the sand.

  2. JeffS

    March 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Fighting for your right to consume as much as possible and pollute as much as you want isn’t really an approach, and certainly not practical.

    The one thing you’re right about is that we’re stuck. We’re stuck because people 20 years ago are too sold out to the corporations to make a change. 20 years from now, we will be in the same situation for the very same reason.

  3. Jack

    March 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    There isn’t one politician that is will to step up and challenge the current energy state of affairs. When Washington leaders meet behind closed doors with the National Energy Policy Development Group, created by an Executive Order during the Bush administration, no one is going to change a thing now or 20 years from now.

    As for the long lead time, we got the message during the Carter administration that energy is an issue. (Remember the lines at the gas stations and all the talk about America’s dependency on foreign oil? If not do the research.) Re-pubic-an’s had twelve years between Reagan and Bush to address the issue. Bush II took the bull by the horns by created the National Energy Policy Development Group. Demo-rats haven’t done any better.

    Bottom line, no one is addressing the issue. Energy is nothing more than a soap box, nothing more.

    The fact we didn’t use the lead time given some 30 years ago shows that the nation (Washington) isn’t serious about developing other sources of energy. The lack of a meaningful energy policy in America is more about the lack of leadership and the lack of will to foster research and development.