Nuclear Power – Final Conclusion

Nuclear PowerI spent time two days ago talking about how Nuclear Power works and yesterday I spoke about the pros and cons of it. Today I’ll weigh the various arguments and come to a conclusion. Hopefully you will tell me where I made all my mistakes with comments!

The pros of nuclear power are strong and obtaining energy independence from foreign powers, some of them inimically opposed to freedom and our way of life, is a powerful motivator for me to endorse it.

There is a big part of me that wants to support nuclear power simply because of its natural origin. There is something romantic about turning to the power of the stars to make our own energy grid work. The stars are the source of all the heavy metals in the world and in no small sense we are made of star stuff.

I also support alternate energy like wind, solar, and geothermal. I think the economic potential for those sources of energy are tremendous although there is some upfront cost. The world’s demand for energy will only increase in the coming years and the nations with the technology to provide renewable and nuclear energy technology will see a steady source of revenue.

If a nation doesn’t have a source of revenue then their place in the modern, connected world, is bound to diminish. In a future post I’d like to spend some time talking about how computer technology did far more to help the economy of the United States and the western world than did any politician. Thank you Claude Shannon, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and a host of others.

But, back to the problem at hand, nuclear power. Nuclear proliferation is a serious issue and the more material available to make a nuclear bomb the more chance it will fall into the hands of someone who wants to use it to murder people. That being said, I’m not convinced that if the United States refuses to build nuclear reactors this threat diminishes. Other nations will continue to gain the ability to make such material and the number of nuclear reactors in the United States doesn’t substantially increase that risk in my opinion.

As far as accidents are concerned it certainly weighs on my decision by I do think Generation III plants are significantly safer than current models and Thorium reactors will be about as safe as any other form of energy. The damage to the world from coal and oil currently far outweighs that of nuclear.

Still, there is the pesky problem of waste. To me that is the biggest negative to the idea of building new plants. The more plants we have the more waste is generated.  We currently store all this waste on site, at the plant, and the security is not particularly great. The risk of proliferation is moderately high and would become more dangerous for every plant we built.

If we become a nation dependent on nuclear energy sources we are going to have to deal with the waste problem. This is a big enough issue for me to put on the brakes. At the moment I think would have to oppose building of new plants.

However, if the government suddenly showed the political will to not only come up with a plan to transport and create long term storage for nuclear waste but also to actually put that plan into operation, then I would change my mind. I have a hard time envisioning the current government of the U.S. coming together to do that but perhaps with some prodding from an educated electorate anything might happen.

Tell me what you think in the comments, Like, Tweet, Stumble, +1, or otherwise interact!

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist

P.S. I had a provocative comment from Erick at Patriot Fire about my post on Crony Capitalism. Thanks Erick and keep them coming! Feel free to disagree with me any time as long as you can explain your position! 🙂