Monday, January 11, 2010

The Whole Shocking Truth About Nuclear Energy

motherjones Nuclear Energy is never going to get an awful lot of love from Mother Jones magazine – unless the tide of support it’s seen from more progressives that way. But not yet.

In a small piece, Mariah Blake shows that the nuclear energy industry would really like nuclear energy to be considered amongst other technologies in the energy bills going through Congress – shocking, we know, but true enough – and is even leveraging growing support from Democrats and organized labor to press its cause – doubly shocking, also true.

The industry's efforts began to pay off this fall, as nuclear subsidies emerged as the key to wooing Republican votes for a Senate climate bill—votes necessary to offset defections from coal-state Democrats. Since October, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), one of the climate bill's sponsors, has been holding closed-door meetings with Republicans to craft nuclear language.

None of this is particularly diabolical – none of it crosses any ethical line or aims to suborn the public will through underhanded tactics. The nuclear industry is playing the hand it’s been dealt: It’s a good hand, with positive polls behind it and a growing base of institutional support and government interest. 

Blake isn’t really arguing against the industry’s efforts as much as suggesting that a disliked industry (by her) should not be able to so effectively marshal its resources. Yet it has done so – nuclear energy really can help solve a key problem and its stock has risen accordingly. It’s just not that hard to grasp.

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Mother Jones also named NRC Commissioner nominee William Magwood one of President Obama’s Five Worst Nominees. Why?

Even before Obama took office, Magwood called on the incoming administration to spearhead a nuclear expansion—boosterism that critics say makes him ill-suited for an agency designed to determine the safety and viability of nuclear technology.

Really? Wanting a nuclear expansion necessarily leads one to undermine “the safety and viability of nuclear technology?” That doesn’t make human sense much less logical sense, as such a person would likely be more critical of shortfalls than a more disinterested party.

Perhaps Mother Jones can come up with a “pure” candidate for NRC commissioner – be we suspect it would set a bar, well, not too high perhaps, but too eccentrically composed for anyone to meet.

Mother Jones – Mary Harris Jones (1837-1930) – the “miner’s angel” who worked tirelessly on behalf of miners, for example bringing the issue of child mine workers to the fore in the early part of the last century. Fairly radical by modern standards, her benign grandmotherly mien allowed her views a wide hearing and brought about considerable progressive reform. A fascinating labor figure.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you don't mind putting the shoe on the other foot, it is rather unfair and unrealistic of you to expect anyone associated with "Mother Jones" to be capable of rational thought or coherent logic.

DW said...

Excellent commentary. Very good parsing of this issue.

Actually MJ has run some pro-nuclear stuff in the past.