Poison Power

Incredibly, even after the nuclear accidents in Japan, there continues to be political support for nuclear power in Iowa and nationally.   Mid American Energy is pushing a bill forward in the Iowa legislature that has financial and other incentives for new nuclear power plants for Iowa.

“True Cost Accounting for Nuclear Power “ is  a great interview with Amory Lovins from NPR’s Living on the Earth program.

Lovins makes a very credible argument that we can meet our need to generate electricity and reduce greenhouse gasses better and cheaper without nuclear power.  Lovins, in response to a question about whether we can meet carbon reduction targets without nuclear

“…we could do so more effectively and more cheaply. It is quite true that if a nuclear plant displaces a coal plant that would replace carbon emissions.

But if you spent the same money on efficiency, renewables and combined heat and power, you would reduce the carbon emissions by about two to ten times more and about 20 to 40 times faster. So nuclear is such a slow and costly climate solution, it actually reduces and retards climate protection, compared with a best buys first approach.”

Regarding market economy resistance to building new nuclear plants (even the much touted “safe” new generation reactor designs):

“I  know the industry likes to blame environmental groups – of which, by the way, we are not one – for holding up licensing for several decades. New nuclear power plants in this country are offered subsidies that now rival or exceed their total construction costs.

And yet, even though that’s been true since 2005, three years before the financial crash, they’ve been unable to raise a penny of private capital, simply because the cost and risks are unfinanceable. Wall Street will not invest in them – it’s an utterly unfinanceable technology, and it’s obvious why – it’s grossly uncompetitive…….

Look, here’s a quick summary of what’s going on with nuclear in the world. At the end of 2010, there were 66 nuclear units, officially listed as “under construction” worldwide.

You look a little closer, you’ll find a dozen of them have been listed as “under construction” for over 20 years, 45 of them have no official start up date, half of them are late. All 66 of them are in centrally planned power systems, not a single one of them is a free-market purchase. And since 2007, nuclear growth has added less electricity to our supply each year, then even the costliest renewable – solar power – and it will probably never catch up.”

Here’s another article by the ecological economist Robert Costanza on taking a holistic look at nuclear power:

http://www.thesolutionsjournal.com/node/918

It’s from Solutions magazine, a new publication that hopes to be partly scientific journal, partly popular magazine, like Scientific American for sustainability solutions.

I found a version of John Hall’s anti-nuclear anthem Power (Poison Power) on youtube.  It’s from the 1979 No Nukes benefit concert album and features the Doobie Brothers, John Hall, Carly Simon, Graham Nash, James Taylor, and many others (some of you may have to ask your parents who these artists are).    My generation spilled blood on the streets to stop nuclear power in the 1970′s.   It’s ironic that 30 years later we still haven’t made the switch to renewables.

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