Skip to main content

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.

---

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.

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.

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…