The Appeal of Nuclear Energy

I just posted a piece to Renewable Energy World, in which I recollect my encounters in airports with other college-agedkids of the 1970s who were vigorously gathering support for nuclearenergy. I recall how one self-satisfied young fellow quipped, “Morepeople died in Ted Kennedy’s car than in the sum total of all nuclearreactor incidents.”

Now, four decades later, I’m still wondering about the pro-nuclear people. Who are they? What’s the attraction?

If nuclear were cheap, I’d at least be able to understand the appeal. But the amortized cost of building, operating, and decommissioning anuclear facility is fantastically high. So, if you’re willing to payincreased cost, why not choose any of dozens of flavors of solar andbiomass, or wind, hydrokinetics and geothermal? While they may beexpensive right this minute, at least they don’t leave you with spentfuel rods that must be isolated from all life forms for half a millionyears (the year 502,011).

Bottom line: I don’t get it. But, as I’ve mentioned, I don’tunderstand the appeal of many other phenomena that the human race seemsto favor either: auto racing, pro wrestling, rap music, etc. Maybe it’sjust one of those things…



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