A Greenie Gets It … Almost

July 24, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Posted in Economics, Technology | Leave a comment

Here is an interesting article from The Huffington Post.  In it, the author addresses “the elephant in the room“: nuclear power is the only “carbon-free” energy source that stands a snowball’s chance of meeting the world’s needs in the forseeable future.  Biofuel has finally been discredited.  Wind and solar sound good and look cool in your backyard, but the energy density just isn’t there.  Factor in the the high cost of installation per kilowatt, the cost of maintenance, and degredation over time, and they are just not practical.  Maybe someday, someone will come up with a more efficient alternative energy source, but in today’s technological toolbox, nuclear fission is the only game in town.

But here is the funny part:

My plan would provide huge economic benefits to the United States. We’d create jobs, improve our trade deficit, and get a nice on-going monthly cash flow from the plants we finance. So whether you believe in global warming or not, this plan works.

Um, yeah.  Thirty years ago, maybe.  That’s when construction began on the last nuclear power plant built in the United States.  The US of A has gained zero experience from designing and building  new commercial-scale plants in for over three decades.  Zip.  So, where are we going to get all these highly specialized American engineers and construction workers from, anyway?

That’s easy — from the countries that still invest in nuclear power: France and Japan.

But what about the great American firms?  We have companies with nuclear experience, don’t we?  Well, yes … and no.  The great Westinghouse, builder of America’s nuclear power empire, was bought by Toshiba back in 2005.  General Electric‘s nuclear division merged with Hitachi in 2006.  Meanwhile, France’s EDF group has been buying up American nuclear firms left and right.  Trade deficit?  Yeah — all the profits are going overseas.

There may be “green jobs” to be found in the nuclear industry, but they are not American.

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