For those worried about climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, heres a quiz: Which nation has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per dollar of economic output?
Yes, thats right France. By a large margin. How? Simple: they generate 70 percent of their electricity with--gasp!!--nuclear power, which has no greenhouse gas emissions.
Suggests a rather obvious strategy if the industrialized world is serious about greenhouse gas emissions. The Economist has more to say about this very idea here.
Conservatives should be warned that the French nuclear power industry is controlled by the government. One of the reasons it works is state-enforced standardization. All the power plants are identical, which increases expertise and reduces maintenance costs. One of the problems ailing the U.S. nuclear industry was a complete lack of standardization...which meant that every plant had its own experts, that every plant had its own strengths and weaknesses, and every plant was susceptible to local protest on a variety of grounds.
One glaring omission from that article is any mention whatsoever of the Price Anderson Act, which is nothing less than a corporate welfare scheme where taxpayers foot the bill for disaster insurance that the nuclear utilities would never be able to buy in a TRULY free market - because no insurer has any interest in going there. Any lover of free markets needs to take this into account. Without government providing this crutch to the nuclear industry, there would be ZERO interest in building any new nukes, or operating the existing ones, for that matter.
Further, the half-truth of nukes as emission-free (and its only a half-truth when you consider greenhouse gases - uranium does not magically appear in the reactor core; it takes massive quantities of fossil fuel to get it there, as well as every other aspect of the nuclear fuel chain) ignores the elephant in the living room that is high-level nuclear waste. At most reactors it sits in pools in highly vulnerable, unfortified structures. Its a prime terrorist target when it sits still, and it will be an even more difficult to secure terrorist target if they ever MOVE the stuff to their brilliant solution of stuffing it in a hole in the ground at Yucca Mtn., Nevada - which has been nothing but a make-the-science-fit-the-policy boondoggle from day one, since the thing leaks water like a sieve!!
Id be delighted to see the Price-Anderson subsidy thrown over the side, IF we can throw over the side all the other like-kind subsidies (terrorism right now, but also coastal flood plain insurance, crop insurance, and lots of others.)
Before you get so excited about nuclear power plants think Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
Are you serious about giving up all of those other subsidies? (And what do you mean by "terrorism subsidy"??)
Congress passed a large subsidy to the insurance industry to cover potential terrorism related losses. I think this was unnecessary and unwise. The subsidy is due to expire this year, but insurance industry lobbyists are of course pressing to have it made permanent.
As for "No Nukes" comment Chernobyl, yes, no one is for using a stupid Russian design without containment buildings (though there are several nukes identical to Chernobyl running in Cuba right now, which curiously no one on the left ever seems to get worked up about since Saint Fidel is in charge of them). And what of Three Mile Island? The most overblown nuclear accident in history, in which no one was harmed, though, to be sure, thousands of journalists were terrified.