Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Nuclear Mirage

As more and more policy makers begin to grapple with the realities of climate change and resource depletion, many are inclined to accept the notion that nuclear energy is an alternative to our present fossil economy.

It is not.

Here is part of a piece that tells why.

The mirage of nuclear power:
We've heard all this before
By Paul Josephson
Special to the Los Angeles Times

In the last two weeks, the Chinese signed a deal with Westinghouse to build four nuclear power plants; a U.S. utility joined the French national nuclear juggernaut - with 60 reactors under its belt - to build stations throughout the United States; and the Russians neared the launch of the first of a dozen nuclear power stations that float on water, with sales promised to Morocco and Namibia.

Two sworn opponents - environmentalists and President Bush - tout nuclear energy as a panacea for the nation's dependence on oil and a solution to global warming. They've been joined by all the presidential candidates from both parties, with the exception of John Edwards. And none of them is talking about the recent nuclear accident in Japan caused by an earthquake.

These surprising bedfellows base their sanguine assessment of nuclear power on an underestimation of its huge financial costs, on a failure to consider unresolved problems involving all nuclear power stations and on a willingness to overlook this industry's history of offering far-fetched dreams, failing to deliver and the occasional accident.

Since the 1950s, the nuclear industry has promised energy ''too cheap to meter,'' inherently safe reactors and immediate clean-up and storage of hazardous waste. But nuclear power is hardly cheap - and far more dangerous than wind, solar and other forms of power generation. Recent French experience shows a reactor will top $3 billion to build.

Standard construction techniques have not stemmed rising costs or shortened lead time. Industry spokespeople insist they can erect components in assembly-line fashion a la Henry Ford to hold prices down. But the one effort to achieve this end, the Russian ''Atommash'' reactor factory, literally collapsed into the muck.

The industry has also underestimated how expensive it will be to operate stations safely against terrorist threat and accident. New reactors will require vast exclusion zones, doubly reinforced containment structures, the employment of large armed private security forces and fail-safe electronic safeguards. How will all of these and other costs be paid and by whom? (clip)

Let's see them solve the problems of exorbitant capital costs, safe disposition of nuclear waste, realistic measures to deal with the threats of terrorism, workable evacuation plans and siting far from population centers before they build one more station.

In early July, Bush spoke glowingly about nuclear power at an Alabama reactor recently brought out of mothballs; but it has shut down several times since it reopened because of operational glitches.

What clearer indication do we need that nuclear power's time has not yet come?"
And just like the boat that hovers upside down in the sky in the superior mirage in the picture above,

The Nuclear mirage will never come in.

Besides, We must move beyond these old tea kettle technologies

and birth a new post promethean age that

runs on the light of our days,

through a unified photonic energy web.
All else
is folly.



Blogger Charlie Loving said...

What makes us think we can build anything that will actually function correctly?

We have spent billions on trying to fix infrastructure in Iraq and Baghdad South still can't produce electricity. The water doesn't work either.

We already are a third world country run by thieves. And now 25% of our bridges are suspect.

4:47 AM  

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