Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Before Cherynobl, we could sort of dismiss nuclear power’s danger. Afterwards, we could still say “Well, that’s the Soviets, for you.”

Now, with the ongoing Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster, the extent of what can go wrong is becoming horrifically clear, especially now that it looks like merely gaining control of the worst-off reactor could take months, not days.

It rightly makes us worry about the whole industry.

It’s a pity, too, because nuclear power concentrates its costs (spent fuel in containers) while providing enormous marketable benefits. Burning coal, on the other hand, disperses its “costs” in the form of pollution. Nuclear power would seem to be a perfect market solution.

But a “meltdown” — or just losing control of a fission process — concentrates harms in a manner hard to ignore or justify.

We hear that new nuclear tech is in development, and might become quite safe. But the promised extra-safe variety is not yet online anywhere, yet.


Could it be because government protects the currently unsafe technology? America’s nuclear power is protected from the rigors of risk as assessed by the cold, calculating insurance industry under 1957’s Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act, which shifts risk from investors to taxpayers in case of catastrophe.

Perhaps if that were repealed, better nuclear tech would emerge faster.

As it is, our old nuclear tech awaits a rare convergence of disastrous factors, like a major earthquake plus human error, or terrorism plus x.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Drik says:

    The government protects established companies and even mor eespecially companies that make big political contributions.

    This prevents weak and non-competitive companies from having to compete in the free market and ensures the survival of entrenched special interests. Used to be called corruption. Now it’s called “too big to fail”. Would be more accurately labeled “non-competitive and not able to survive without regular government handouts of taxed dollars that have been seized and are no longer available for use in the free market”.

    Time for a resurgance of the little (r) republicans.

  2. Peter M. Todebush says:

    The US Navy has an impeccable record of nuclear power. There has never been an accident and they reprocess their spent fuel. Many have suggested that utilities could use the Navy technology to build small, pocket electric generating plants spread around the country, attached to local grids, avoiding the problems associated with mega plants.

  3. Charlie Seng says:

    Excellent comments above by both posters! It must be remembered in considering the dangers of nuclear power, that the country of Japan lies in a place where it is subject to earthquakes and other violent weather of a type not experienced in the United States sphere of activity. From what I read, an earthquake of the type recently experienced in Japan, plus the tsumami resulting therefrom is highly unlikely to happen in the United States. As Mr. Todebush adds, the U.S. Navy has an impeccable record of safety using nuclear power. In addition, all the wild speculation and panic being painted by the Mainstream Media is unnecessarily and almost criminally suggesting unlikely events similar to what happened in Japn happening in the U.S. But what else is new, this is their stock in trade. Our present nuclear plants are safe and located in areas where there is unlikely to be any kind of accidents. Obviously, the MSM, which like all libs, hates nuclear power, are using everything in their arsenel to prevent future nuclear power from being added in the United States. If our president were the right kind of leader, he would have long ago led in assuring the people here that we have no need to worry about U.S. nuclear power. But, he sides with the anti-nuclear crowd.

  4. Tedi Crawford says:

    Indeed, smaller recycling nuclear reactors are being developed. They will address local distribution, economics of scale, and waste disposal. A good reason to support funding for basic scientific research.

    People must realize that government funding of basic research is often the sole source of financing new ideas. The resulting development of basic scientific knowledge can then inspire and encourage commercial development (think Internet).

  5. Dr. T says:

    Nuclear power is no more dangerous than hydroelectric power. If a hydroelectric dam were damaged by an earthquake, thousands of people downstream would be at immediate risk. Yet, we hear few cries of “Ban the Dam!”, and those we do hear are concerned with the risks to important subspecies such as snail darters.

  6. […] Japan warns world of possible meltdown of nuclear core of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. Common Sense with Paul Jacob – Brought to You by Citizens in Charge Foundation

  7. Kenneth H. Fleischer says:

    Another way in which nuclear power in the United States is distorted by Federal policy is the very wasteful way in which we deal with spent primary nuclear fuel. Instead of chemically reprocessing it and using most of the fissiles as fuel in reactors made for them, thus providing huge amounts more of power and in a variety of types and sizes of reactors, government policy is to lock it all away. We now have knowledge to do the reprocessing better than the way that the French now do it, and the French system is hugely superior to ours on account of their reprocessing of spent primary nuclear fuel.

    Also, Mr. Seng is somewhat misled. The United States does, indeed, have a coastal subduction zone that can produce huge earthquakes and tsunamis rather comparable to those that have done so much horrific harm to Japan. Ours is in Oregon and Washington, and it’s “due” for a break at any time. It last broke in the Eighteenth Century, and its average time between major breaks is about two centuries. My guess is that it would produce damaging energy at least as bad as that of the Anchorage earthquake many years ago, but in an area much more densely populated.

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