h/t: cosmic debris
Most of us are aware of the Nuclear Energy Institute [NEI] big bucks PR push for new nukes, now that the ongoing mass meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi have faded (by design) from public awareness. NEI bought up commercial spots on Comedy Central to run during Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show," harkening back to the old nuclear industry lies about "Clean, Safe, Too Cheap To Meter" that everybody with a functioning brain knows very well to BE lies. Still, NEI is the biggest nuclear lobby in the U.S. and its job is to sell lies and attack anyone who speaks truth, so no one should be surprised that this is just what they're doing.
It's not just NEI buying cartoon time on fake news shows or attacking the Associated Press for reporting what nuclear experts have to say about the true situation in Japan and on the west coast of the United States. They are now having to try and counter other experts weighing in on the future of nuclear power - including one of their very own.
On March 12 of this year - just weeks ago - the CEO of the largest nuclear power consortium in America retired. John Rowe, CEO of Exelon Nuclear and a man who "never met a nuclear plant [he] didn't like," weighed in this week over at Forbes.com.
Nuclear power is no longer an economically viable source of new energy in the United States, the freshly-retired CEO of Exelon, America's largest producer of nuclear power, said in Chicago Thursday.One might suppose that the CEO of Exelon might know a thing or two about the economics of nuclear power, and Rowe was careful to keep his remarks to the economic non-viability, though as a member of Obama's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future established in January of 2010 he is certainly cognizant of the political and safety issues presented by the meltdowns in Japan.
Meanwhile, Mark Cooper of the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment went further in a report covered in the U.S. News and World Report: Expert: Nuclear Power Is On Its Deathbed -
"From my point of view, the fundamental nature of [nuclear] technology suggests that the future will be as clouded as the past," says Mark Cooper, the author of the report. New safety regulations enacted or being considered by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would push the cost of nuclear energy too high to be economically competitive.[my emphasis]
The disaster insurance for nuclear power plants in the United States is currently underwritten by the federal government, Cooper says. Without that safeguard, "nuclear power is neither affordable nor worth the risk. If the owners and operators of nuclear reactors had to face the full liability of a Fukushima-style nuclear accident or go head-to-head with alternatives in a truly competitive marketplace, unfettered by subsidies, no one would have built a nuclear reactor in the past, no one would build one today, and anyone who owns a reactor would exit the nuclear business as quickly as possible."
The public worldwide has been made painfully aware of the dangerous shortcomings of nuclear technology for more than a year now, and are not very impressed by what they've seen. Here in the U.S. the public is responsible for so much of the short and long term costs of nuclear power (including all required pre-construction studies, building costs, disaster coverage, operating costs, retrofits, new equipment, decommissioning and both short and long term waste isolation) that they have every reason to pointedly question the continued operation of nuclear power plants. Many of them are doing more than just asking pointed questions, though the controlled media in this country covers anti-nuclear demonstrations even less than they cover OWS. The tide has turned, and despite the current administration's fondness for nukes (and nuke dollars) it becomes more unlikely every day that any new nuclear facilities will ever go on line.
As usual, the bottom line is the one that holds all the sway in keeping this deadly technology - born, bred and still shrouded in secrecy and lies - going. When investors aren't investing and CEOs admit nukes aren't worth the cost or the risks, no amount of government loan guarantees will help. Recent licensing of new reactors in Georgia and South Carolina was supposed to kickstart the engines for a "Nuclear Renaissance." But despite tens of billions of dollars already committed in guarantees to the utilities, investors have not lined up to buy in and it doesn't look like the utilities will be capable of raising their portion of the costs. Thus while it's the gigantic governmental cash flow and profit margins guaranteed to the utilities that has kept nuclear power going through these past 40 years, it will ultimately be the lack of cash flow from investors that will finally shut it down.
Too late for northern Japan to have discovered they never needed nukes in the first place, we here in the U.S. can decide that for ourselves and get busy developing and deploying the range of alternative energy technologies we've got cooking. The future will thank us for it, as opposed to hating us for leaving behind megatonnage of deadly-forever environmental pollutants they'll still have to deal with even though they never got a single watt out of the deal.
It's about damned time we shut this industry down and set about cleaning up the mess.
[also published at Enformable]