President Obama yesterday announced his administration’s plan to provide $8 Billion in loan guarantees for a new nuclear power plant. There are a number of reasons why this is bad policy.
First, it reinforces the Cons’ frame that nuclear power is more viable than solar or wind. President Obama has tried to re-couch nuclear power as “green”, but it’s not. Lifetime CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas pollution is much higher for nuclear power than it is for either solar or wind. How does the fuel come into being? By collecting the sun or harnessing the wind? No, by mining it. Then enriching it. What about the waste? States currently bicker over untold tons of waste that was generated prior to this century. Nuclear’s dirty little secret is that waste sits around and is polluting our air and water today. In typical fashion, proponents want to generate more without dealing with what to do with what we’ve already got. And, even the most efficient nuclear plant in engineers’ imaginations have to generate some amount of waste.