"Nuclear plants are sitting ducks for terrorists.You see there, either the fellow is not very smart, or he thinks that the readers of the Johnson's Wall Street Journal are not very smart. Needles to say Redford ran into a buzz saw of criticism from WSJ online readers who commented on the post. But David Ahlport, a self styled progressive who has offered a guest post on Joe Romm's Climate Progress offered the classic counter-factual ant-nuclear arguments:
It’s the most expensive way to essentially boil water.
There’s the waste issue,
there’s nuclear proliferation,
A. The federal money spend on nuclear waste and anti-proliferation, gigantically dwarfs all total federal spending on EnergyOh wow David, I thought that the reactor operators were were paying the Federal Government to take care of their nuclear waste, and that the government wasn't living up to its end of the deal. So the reactor operators are not paying a second time to store the same waste they are paying the government to store. Now is David confused or is he lying about who pays for nuclear waste?
Now the government does spend money on nonproliferation programs, but not a gigantic amount as Ahlport suggests. Further it is not clear what this has to do with the use of nuclear generator electricity in the United States. The last time I checked, no one had used an American power reactor to assist in building a nuclear weapon. The American anti-proliferation does things like trying to prevent Iran form using Pakistani technology it acquired from Pakistani gangsters to build nuclear weapons. Ahlport is just over the top when he claims that non-existent federal spending on nuclear waste and the modest federal anti-proliferation effort "gigantically dwarfs all total federal spending on Energy." Maybe David has mixed up waste and non-proliferation with weapons spending. The United States Government pays quite a lot to maintain its nuclear weapons and nuclear armed forces. The British American Security Information Council tells us that last count the United States spent $7.5 trillion in developing, producing, deploying and maintaining its nuclear weapons (2006 dollars) between 1940 and 2005. Compared to what it has spent for its nuclear weapons, what the United States spends to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons or to support the use of nuclear power as an energy source is very modest.
Next Ahlport tells us:
B. Nuclear can’t provide it’s own private capital financinglast time I checked every wind and solar project in the United States receives federal and state subsidies, including in the case of solar projects rather large very large federal subsidies for investments. In contrast, the nuclear investors receive loan guarantees that do not cost tax payers money unless the investors default on their borrowing.
C. Nuclear provides very little of it’s own R&D financingfact research and development for the current generation of nuclear plants was paid for by the reactor manufacturers, not the federal government. At any rate all the reactor manufacturers are foreign owned, and of course if the governments of those countries pay for reactor R&D why then Americans get the benefit without paying anything.
Ahlport tells use:
The citing + construction of Nuclear power plants is very slow (i.e. Next batch of US reactors aren’t expected until 11 years from now, at the earliest.)The 11 year perspective is a little long, but it does take the NRC 42 months to approve a nuclear license, and Westinghouse estimates that it takes 3 years to complete construction of an AP-1000 Reactor. We are not going to see any reactor construction begin before 2012 or be complete before 2015, but this is hardly disastrous. The last time I checked there was a five year backlog on new windmill orders, so that means that a wind project that is put on the drawing boards today is not going to get built until 2015. So when Ahlport tells us:
Nuclear is only a viable option if Time and Money aren’t considered to be important.he ignores the fact that renewable energy generation sources cost money too, and do not appear when his fairy godmother waves her magic wand.