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Nuclear Energy and The Darkest Nightmare

Chernobyl-Diaries-posterI like the way the Sundance Film Festival tries to square a bunch of circles in selling its showings (beginning January 18) of Robert Stone’s Pandora’s Promise, his pro-nuclear energy documentary:

The atomic bomb, the specter of a global nuclear holocaust, and disasters like Fukushima have made nuclear energy synonymous with the darkest nightmares of the modern world. But what if everyone has nuclear power wrong? What if people knew that there are reactors that are self-sustaining and fully controllable and ones that require no waste disposal? What if nuclear power is the only energy source that has the ability to stop climate change?

Need we note that domestic nuclear energy, the subject of the film, has nothing whatever to with the atomic bomb or “the specter of a global nuclear holocaust?” I hope not. If you allow that, “Darkest nightmares of the modern world” might seem a bit hyperbolic, yes?

But fine: if it inspires people to wander in and see the film, fine. They may get some of their preconceptions about nuclear energy, as represented by the blurb, shaken up, and that would be a good thing.


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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.
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To create advanced technologies.
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It's on even when we're not.
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Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…