Professor Cleveland talks about Japan’s Nuclear Disaster

Our ASM Speaker from a few weeks ago had an article in BU Today on the Nuclear Disaster.

If you remember, in our talk, he discussed the economics of oil, the costs of different forms of energy, and the deep subsidies given to the nuclear industry.

BU Today and Professor Cleveland

Professor Cleveland sounds a familiar theme at the end of his article:

What impact will the Japanese disaster have on the future of nuclear energy?
Nuclear power in the United States was dead in the water a decade ago. We haven’t ordered a new plant since the 1970s. But climate change came along and breathed new life into nuclear power. One of the existing technologies that could significantly decrease carbon dioxide emissions is nuclear power.

We’ve been told by the nuclear industry that the next generation of reactors will be more cost-effective and safer. They’re probably right. But the question is, are they safe enough? We cannot idly stand by and rely on the promises of the nuclear industry. The other big issue is cost. The Obama administration is only one in a line since Eisenhower to provide subsidies. Can the nuclear industry survive on its own in a free market? Nuclear power over the last quarter-century has received more subsidies than oil and gas. The nuclear industry cannot get insurance in the private market. What does that tell you about the technology? The federal government indemnifies them. The taxpayers in essence are insuring the industry.

The cost issue and safety issue need to be examined under a very bright light.