Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

real options among the fantastic

Somehow the financial realities never sunk in. Bob Herbert tries to lay it out for people about nuclear power:

...Building new plants, which the Obama administration favors, can be breathtakingly expensive and requires government loan guarantees. Banks are not lining up to lend money on their own for construction of the newest generation of Indian Points.

In addition to the inherent risks with regard to safety and security, the nuclear industry has long been notorious for sky-high construction costs, feverish cost-overruns and projects that eventually are abandoned. The Union of Concerned Scientists, in a 2009 analysis of the costs associated with nuclear plant construction, said that once a plant came online it usually led to significant rate increases for customers:

“Ratepayers bore well over $200 billion (in today’s dollars) in cost overruns for completed nuclear plants. In the 1990s, legislators and regulators also allowed utilities to recover most ‘stranded costs’ — the difference between utilities’ remaining investments in nuclear plants and the market value of those plants — as states issued billions of dollars in bonds backed by ratepayer charges to pay for utilities’ above-market investments.”

The refrain here is familiar: “The total cost to ratepayers, taxpayers and shareholders stemming from cost overruns, canceled plants and stranded costs exceeded $300 billion in today’s dollars.”

Nuclear power is hardly the pristine, economical, unambiguous answer to the nation’s energy needs and global warming concerns. It offers benefits and big-time shortcomings. Ultimately, the price may be much too high. 

Unfortunately that was then, and this is now, when the bank$ters own the Treasury, and a lot of the worst nuclear industry gougers are now also financial industry gougers.

It doesn't help when progressives go all austerian TANSTAAFL and line up for the nuclear kool-aid, either.

There are technological alternatives. The road to them will be difficult mostly because of human folly. But the simple matter of fact is that in the long run nuclear won't work, and the fossil fuels will be gone.

No comments: