Sunday, November 27, 2005

Anti-Nuke to Get Steamrolled, part II


Over the next decade, anti-nuke activists will ramp up their opposition to nuclear power and will be largely ignored by most national leaders.

Here's why: the governments of the world have studied the issues involved, carefully weighed their national interests and the best interests of their citizens, and finally, have considered oil at $ 60 dollars a barrel.

These deliberations are happening in the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Asia, China, and a number of other nations.

The result of these deliberations are as follows: most governments have decided it is in their national interests to continue building nuclear reactors. They will pretend to listen to public input, but after a bit of rhetoric and hand-waving, they'll just continue building.

They have concluded, quite rightly, that most of the public are not technically savvy enough to make intelligent decisions about power generation, especially decisions that involve 40 or 50 year planning horizons, and in any case, the anti-nukes, while they shout very loudly, are far in the minority. The anti-nuclear arguments are so illogical, and often so contradictory, that they turn into random noise.

That's pretty much the end of that story. We'll see the media thrashing and beating this issue to death; there will be rallies and protests. And none of this will make much difference.


At 7:44 AM, Blogger Stewart Peterson said...

That's what we said in 1973: oil is short, there's no alternative, nuclear is on the rise and is here to stay. That's what people are saying now, substituing "natural gas" for "oil." Unfortunately, when things like this happen, the result is conservation, which entrenches the old methods.

We can't assume anything. If we want the no-nukes-kooks to get steamrolled we'll have to do it ourselves.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Tom Benson said...

Hi Stewart,

I agree that we shouldn't take these things for granted. Nevertheless I think it's different than 1973. I think that certain technological changes in society run into a one-time "wall" of resistance, and that as old generations die off and new generations grow up, that old technology simply becomes accepted. This has happened over and again through history, with every major new technology. Once that wall is bypassed, once people grow up with that technology as a normal part of their lives, then the problem is gone.

That's where I think we are with nuclear power. It's just my personal belief. Could be wrong!

Thanks for the comment.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Stewart Peterson said...

Can you produce evidence that we aren't going to get the same result this time (i.e., that the economics are somehow different today)?

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Tom Benson said...

Do I have evidence? Of course not. These are predictions, which by definition are finger-in-the-air guesses.

But I see a pretty powerful set of stars aligning, not the least of which is strong competition from Japan, China, Russia, US, Canada, France, and India, all marketing their nuclear solutions, some of which are likely to engage in significant price-cutting to gain market share. I think nuclear power is prime for major cost reductions. But again, that's just my guess, which is worth what I'm charging for it.

I'm going to try to explore more of this subject in the next couple blog entries, assuming I can get them done.

Thanks Stewart!


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