[FoRK] Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Sat Mar 26 10:42:20 PDT 2011

On 3/26/11 10:17 AM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
> --- On Sat, 3/26/11, Gregory Alan Bolcer<greg at bolcer.org>  wrote:
>> Thus, going back to my original comment, it's like a red queen race,
>> design needs to be running at full speed just to keep up
>> with usefulness.
>> In case of nuclear power, usefulness means the ability to generate
>> massive amounts of power versus the ability to design something that
>> doesn't leave a significant opportunity for a load of death and
>> destruction is the race.
> Yeah, sounds about right.
> sw whined about the front-end cost loading on nuclear versus the "conventional" forms of generation. It's just too bad we had not realized the gross and long term impacts of the "conventional" forms as early in their development life cycles so we could have front-end loaded them with the relevant costs, too.
> He suggests the "conventional" forms are back-end loaded. Tain't quite so.
> At least, the back-end loading is not on the producers as the front-end tends to be.  Another advantage of the front-end load -- besides the more realistic costing -- is that you can put it where it belongs, on the producer and, through the pricing, the consumers. The back-end load instead shifts those costs to the tax payers. And by ignoring the issues at the front end the costs of "cleanup" are generally far greater because the problems are less well managed and contained.

True, the power, oil, and coal companies are not on the hook for the back-end.  However, we all end up paying for both, so I was 
equating total cost to the public.  There's not that much advantage to paying through one channel vs. another is there?  Efficiency, 
planning, and minimization perhaps, but the same people (all of us) are going to pay one way or another.

Back when (30-50 years ago) the back-end costs of conventional energy were not acknowledged, let alone assigned, it seemed fair to 
front-load the more-obvious back-end costs of nuclear.  And that is cool to a point, however it is not good when it distorts the 
decision-making process: It creates (or least has created) a cheaper-now-but-much-more-expensive-in-the-long-run advantage for 
conventional energy.  Perhaps it is more obvious that hydro, wind, and solar require front-loading with very little running costs.  
But it shouldn't be that hard to tally at least a rough total impact of coal, oil, and natural gas in a fair comparison.

> Woulda/Coulda/Shoulda.....<shrug>
>           ...ken...


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