( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Yeah, I’m back with yet more bad news about the ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ that’s trying without much panache to corner the market on ‘green’ energy subsidies during this extended worldwide recession/depression. So that renewables will end up with table scraps, as usual.
My last diary was about an indicator of just how cash-strapped the commercial nuclear power industry really is these days despite the handful of new reactors ordered by utilities with antiquated nukes that cannot be expected to last so long as their recent license extensions allow. It linked a story about how North Carolina’s Progress Energy got a helluva deal on the 30-year old mothballed generator from Three Mile Island’s melted unit, which when refurbished may provide an ‘extra’ six megawatts of capability (equivalent to four 1.5 megawatt wind turbines). The flea market deal was made even sweeter by Progress’ ability to turn around and re-sell their current 20-year old generator – which has been in service all that time – to some other cash-strapped nuke for cheap. Which, should a lesser-rated facility receive approval for an enriched fuel configuration (plutonium), may be able to double its output without having to buy a new reactor.
Which just goes to show that if seriously used parts are okay for nukes, and power upgrades so cheaply done, nuclear technology doesn’t have to be nearly as expensive as it is per the exciting cash flow possibilities utilities and their shareholders have loved for the past half century. Particularly since utilities get a free ride from the taxpayers on liability issues even if they cut entirely criminal corners on construction, operation, and safety issues.
Anyway, some of you may have noted that last week President Obama reneged on a campaign promise and announced more massive subsidies for nuclear power. Yep. That same old same dirtiest, most dangerous, most expensive method of boiling water ever created by the twisted minds of men. Worse, as part of his shameless announcement, Obama committed $8.33 BILLION to just a single project – guaranteeing more than half its projected cost by once again hocking the future earnings of already cash-strapped and chronically unemployed American citizens.
The announcement was met with quite a lot of skepticism and cynicism from almost everybody. From the high finance community to ‘the usual’ anti-nuclear suspects. Even the Christian right is questioning motives, and the foreign press isn’t letting the glaring contradictions go unnoticed.
My friends here know that energy issues – and nuclear in particular – are a rather out-sized portion of my life’s work in activism. Even though hardly anyone anywhere shares my passion for the same reasons that motivate me. There are many other important issues of concern that require passion and commitment, none of us can dedicate a lot of time and energy to all of them. But because this one is of enough serious concern that it could well f*ck up any hope we might ever have for energy independence as well as a healthy hope for our children’s future, I’ll go ahead and ask that those of you who like to write letters and make phone calls for a variety of issue of concern, do so for this one.
Let the White House and your representatives in Congress know you disapprove of channeling the vast majority of energy R&D money into subsidies for nukes. Your descendents will thank you for it, I promise.