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Nuclear power: Just another rent-seeking scam

Maine Owl:

[H]ere is Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER). Makhijani explains how Obama has abandoned campaign rhetoric about reducing nuclear power use over time, and how he failed to explain how nuclear power is an economic loser:

Further, while expressing concerns about deficits, the Obama administration is opening the spigot for more loan guarantees for new nuclear power plants because Wall Street won’t finance them. They are just too risky. A single project is often more costly than the entire net worth of many electricity generating companies. They don’t want to bet their companies on nuclear. But they are OK with betting taxpayer dollars. Given that the underlying relationship between energy demand and economic growth is changing (quite apart from the recession), many nuclear projects are likely to be abandoned. Some already have been. This would be "déja vu all over again." Every nuclear power plant ordered after the first energy crisis in 1973 was abandoned, leaving ratepayers and bondholders on the hook. This time it will be the taxpayers.

Nuclear power is a long-term disaster for the environment and it never will build out enough to be our energy savior. It makes no economic sense as it requires boatloads of taxpayer money and crazy levels of protective public policy for the nuclear industry even to exist.

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Submitted by lambert on

... it's definitely a victory for the state (since the French didn't set up their nuclear industry through, say, small cooperatives...). So much for the whole libertarian thing, I'm glad to say.

But I'm not sure it is correct. The issue has never been whether nuclear power can produce power. Of course it can. The issue has always been safety and waste (with the underlying issue whether the model of centralized power generation is even correct).

And I'm sure you forgive me if I go with the track record, rather than a fannish article about some future technology in Wired?

UPDATE Incidentally, your response is completely off point. How does pointing to a possibly good experimental technology available at some point in the future respond to a claim of rent-seeking behavior today? I should think, again, that pointing to rent-seeking behavior, and the state's role in allocating the rents, would get a libertarian's attention...

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Ah, you are relentless, Lambert. You never stop attacking something you don't understand. What is libertarianism but a belief in decentralized control? What is socialism but a belief in centralized control? Have fun with your one centralized controller who knows enough for everyone.

it's definitely a victory for the state

Yup, what's that saying about blind squirrels? It's not impossible for the state to provide a service that people find valuable. All I've said is I don't like monopolies.

a fannish article about some future technology in Wired?

You must have not read the article carefully enough. It says these reports on Thorium were done in the 70's, but nice of you to dismiss an article that's trying to raise awareness of a potentially revolutionary nuclear fuel as "fannish." ...That's pretty classy.

Submitted by lambert on

So, I'm unclear. Does France's centralized control of nuclear power support, or not support, the libertarian principles that I assume -- perhaps wrongly? -- that you support?

* * *

As far as "fannish," Wired is fannish by definition. That's the nature of their editorial design. Your "*yawn*" implied to me that there was actually a scaled up working example of thorium technology somewhere. Of course, there isn't; it's experimental. So, awareness may be raised, but there's no actual working example. In fact, it's a pony!

NOTE Where are the socialists on this thread? Can you point to one?

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

Uh, does the fact that the Post Office can deliver a letter, or Medicare might help pay for someone's trip to the doctor support or not support what I believe in?

I suppose it would support it, because I've never said those things aren't possible. I've simply said that I don't believe that state control is the best method of organization.

It's a pony!

Ah, you really are a class act, lambert. The way that you manage to be so arrogant and oblivious to things that you know little about is a testament to the human will.

Submitted by lambert on

... is temporarily granted under rule 6.

Since France, which is highly centralized, is currently the front-runner in nuclear power generation, it would seem obvious that there's a prima facie case that this is the "best" mode of organizing the delivery of that service. Which is what I asked about.

You don't want to have that debate, clearly.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Ah yes, that Randian construct that can (supposedly) overcome anything.

You should read that article about "Guard Labor" that Lambert linked. You should read about Bowles and theory versus reality, equality versus inequality as the driving engine of a functioning society, and social mobility being (factually)virtually impossible in an unequal society.

Of course, you'd probably pretend it validates your worldview rather than completely and utterly refuting it. So it goes with faith-based belief systems like libertarianism.

Submitted by gmanedit on

since the insurance companies refused to write policies for it (so Uncle Sam had to step up).

Incidentally (or not), this is another argument for universal health care. Companies externalize the risks and costs, so we the people should be covered against the effects.