Skip to main content

Hertsgaard and the "Real" Cost of Nuclear Energy

Last month Marketplace on NPR ran a commentary by Mark Hertsgaard from the Nation on the "High Cost of Nuclear Energy". If you've never heard of him, he wrote a book back in 1983 titled: Nuclear Inc. The Men and Money Behind the Nuclear Industry.

Eric and I have been playing with podcasting for the site and would like to share our first podcast on Mr. Hertsgaard's commentary. Listen here for the critique.

As well, I was interviewed last week by John Wheeler from "This Week in Nuclear" discussing nuclear's costs and the MIT study Mr. Hertsgaard references. In the coming weeks John and I plan to discuss nuclear's subsidies which Hertsgaard claims nuclear can't live without.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous said…
Can the NEI please get an annual tally for the total cash flow from the nuclear power industry back to public coffers (state, federal and local property taxes)? Property taxes alone must total more than 1 billion annually. And don't forget user fees to the NRC. My suspicion is that net subsidies (subsidies received minus taxes paid) to the nuclear power industry are actually way, way negative, but I don't have the data to prove it. This seems like a job for NEI.
Randal Leavitt said…
I guess I missed the training day when everyone learned that subsidies are a bad thing. Lots of good things are subsidized: sewars, police, army. What's the problem with subsidies, even if they are needed? The anti-nuke cult is speaking in code when the word "subsidies" is read out, and everyone in the audience is supposed to go "oooooo" at that point to show that they are true cult zealots. I think I lost my cult membership card a long time ago.

Let me state this another way - I would rather be alive using subsidized clean energy than baked to death due to global heating caused by unsubsidized dirty energy. And it is really hot outside today.
David Bradish said…
Anon, we are working on pulling together some papers on subsidies received by the industry as well as other fuel sources.

Preliminary results suggest the most subsidized industry is oil and gas primarily due to the subsidizing of exploration and drilling.

We do have studies done on individual plants and the economic benefits paid to the community. Check it out here.

Randall, you're exactly right. When lawmakers subsidize an energy source it means that they want it badly. Nuclear received a great amount of R&D back in the '70s when everyone wanted it.

Now 30 years later the antis are using these costs to say its a bad thing even though only 103 reactors provide 20% of the electricity in the U.S. without producing emissions. There are over 3,000 coal units producing 50% of the electricity.

I'd say that's efficiency and that the R&D money was well spent.
mr. X said…
Im actually very fond of subsidies when it comes to things like alternitive energy. Im just not in favor of nuclear power.

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.

Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…