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Desperately Seeking Subsidies

In a fast-paced show, Ralph welcomes back former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner, Peter Bradford to update us on the 10th anniversary of the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima. Then Public Citizen’s, Alan Zibel, joins us to tell us how we taxpayers amazingly are still subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. Ralph answers listener questions and debuts a feature on his website called “Reporter’s Alert.”

Peter Bradford is a former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the former chair of the New York and Maine utility regulatory commissions. He has taught at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and is currently an adjunct professor at Vermont Law School, where he teaches Nuclear Power and Public Policy. He is vice chair of the board of the Union of Concerned Scientists and is the author of Fragile Structures: A Story of Oil Refineries, National Securities and the Coast of Maine. He is also the author of an article entitled When the Unthinkable is Deemed Impossible: Reflecting on Fukushima.”

“For one thing, the Fukushima accident shows one of the many reasons why nuclear power is such a poor bet when it comes to combating climate change.”

Peter Bradford

 

“We’ve seen that the liability limits in the U.S. and elsewhere are frivolous compared to the actual costs of a major nuclear accident… There’s just no reason to keep running those risks, given the low-carbon potential of a whole basketful of other technologies that we have available now.”

Peter Bradford

 

“The industry is completely dependent on federal taxpayer largesse for any hopes of building any more plants…You can create a twenty-four-hour low-carbon or zero-carbon energy system at a significantly smaller cost than relying on nuclear power.”

Peter Bradford

Alan Zibel is the research director of Public Citizen’s Corporate Presidency Project, which focuses on corporate influence and conflicts of interest in the Trump administration. He is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, covering housing and financial regulation.

“I think most people would say okay, it’s good that we didn’t have a gigantic financial meltdown. I think that’s relatively uncontroversial. But the Fed really went very, very far. It took unprecedented steps to do something they’d never done before, which was to buy corporate debt… The Fed policy, by purchasing corporate debt, they kind of greased the wheels for corporate debt issuance and allowed… a lot of industry consolidation and gave a new lifeline to this industry that does so much damage to the planet… No matter how bad your business model is, if you can sell debt on the public debt markets, the Fed’s got your back.”

Alan Zibel

“(Taxpayer subsidies for the failed nuclear plant in South Carolina are) another example of corporate immunity, corporate impunity, and the unstoppable– it seems, so far– corporate supremacy over more and more of our political economy. Think what these billions of dollars could have done if they were applied to communities throughout South Carolina. To retrofit buildings and homes for more energy efficiency, good jobs, less greenhouse gases, and more money in ordinary people’s pocketbooks. This is the true criminogenic nature of corporate power over our government.”

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 367 Transcript (Right click to download)

18 Comments

  1. Gabe says:

    Please keep this important conversation going! Many problems of our current system are reflected in the nuanced and multi-faceted topic regarding clean, green and renewable energy. If there were no better alternative, nuclear would be in my opinion an acceptable way to go. However, I have been actively involved in the alternative energy arena for many years, and I am aware that even at present better alternatives exist, though I admit not many – and they often struggle for limited attention, funding, and support. People like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are beginning to throw money at the problem, for better or worse. However, a great many unproven, experimental, non-cost-effective strategies, as well as technologies too small in scale to make a substantial dent, proliferate. And like all areas where money is present, the probability of corruption also looms large.

    A clear and comprehensive discussion surrounding renewable energy policy too must comprise a central part of forward movement. Prior policy efforts proved far from perfect and fell short of changing potentially catastrophic trends, partly due to corporate malfeasance and tax loopholes. Carbon trading could be gamed and was not especially impactful, and tax subsidies for wind farms ended up benefiting large investment firms and even big oil companies. Although Canada rightfully receives criticism for its tar sand developments, to my knowledge Canada is indeed again leading the way in carbon taxation. Electric vehicles are great from an emissions standpoint, but if the electricity that runs them comes from carbon sources, they too are ineffective. The Green New Deal is an interesting and significant attempt at legislating change, demanding critical dissection and further discussion.

    • NooN says:

      Agree 100% to PLEASE keep his Conversation Alive until this Poisioning Nuclear is not made anymore anywhere on or Around our Planet🙏

    • Ok, uranium light water reactors fit that but thorium liquid salt types do NOT!

      Ralph Do A program with Kirk Sorensen and learn about the other weinberg designed nuclear power generator never admitted to or supported by USA Government because it won/t make bombs!
      I don’t know Kirk I have been watching his many video’s starting 15 years ago.
      An interview with him would be a bombshell to the ignorant Am. Public!
      I think CHINA is soon to be selling these electric generators to 2ond & 3rd world countries to eliminate their need to import FF for energy!
      Monte McKenzie 3044661350 if your people want more info.

  2. Don Harris says:

    I couldn’t get the tax the rich letter to load, but if it is like the other letter it doesn’t matter.

    What good is a letter to a big money politician that gets their campaign money for not doing something asking them to do it?

    There is no incentive in the letter to impel the politicians to do what you want.

    You said politicians want our votes more than the big money on more than one occasion.

    This the letter that should be sent.

    “There is serious problem ( fill in the blank from the War on Habitat, the content of your other letters, income inequality, healthcare, etc.) and I believe the main reason for this inaction is the corrupting influence of big money in our political process.

    I will be only be voting for candidates in 2022 that finance their campaigns with small donors only (no more than 200 dollars total from any one donor) so that we can replace the legislators that are not taking proper action on the above issue(s) because they work for the big money interests with legislators that will take the proper actions because they will work for ordinary citizens because they will be financed by ordinary citizens.

    Take Big Money- Lose Our Votes.

    The choice is yours.”

    THAT is incentive.

  3. Steve Katz says:

    Unless I misunderstood, Ralph may have made a very rare error of omission in his answer to listener Susan Vaughan’s question about states’ regulation of Medicare (DIS)Advantage plans. One of the worst outcomes people may face when they get sick and want to leave Medicare Disadvantage is that they get shut out from buying a supplemental Medigap plan if they want to return to traditional Medicare because of now having a pre-existing condition. There are four states (CT, ME, MA, & NY), that have regulations prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to such applicants. A recent guest on the show, Kay Tillow, has played a role in getting a bill filed in the Kentucky legislature to join those four. Unfortunately, since it was introduced by a Democrat in the Kentucky House, it won’t get a hearing. A sad reality of supermajority Republican control of both legislative chambers here is that NO bills introduced by Democrats ever get heard, let alone voted upon. Kay is looking for a Republican sponsor. https://www.kff.org/medicare/press-release/in-all-but-four-states-seniors-on-medicare-can-be-denied-a-medigap-policy-due-to-pre-existing-conditions-except-during-specified-windows-of-opportunity/ http://kyhealthcare.org/posts/ask-your-legislators-to-support-br-483-to-end-discrimination-for-pre-existing-conditions-in-kentucky

  4. Delmar says:

    Jeepers – I have worked off and on in the nuke industry for quite a few years. Now, I’m trying the retirement thing. I would think Ralph’s little piece on nuclear power could have been put in the past president’s category of fake news. He is spreading the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) that cripples the one technology that could save us from global warming. I would suggest whoever reads this stuff for Ralph to do a little digging and find the real truth and not the biased version I heard from Ralph.

    If nuke plants are allowed to operate without being unduly hindered, it would be the cheapest source of power out there over the 60 year life of the power plants.

    Here’s another angle people never seem to consider. Nuclear power is still a relatively new technology. Improvements in any technology are iterative. Perfection does not come immediately. With people like Ralph not even giving it a chance, it can never flower into the great tool it can be for mankind. Just think about that a bit.

    Here’s yet another thing to consider. China and other countries are not stifling nuclear power. They are building nuclear plants as a tool to clean their polluted air. The Chinese are not dumb. Just think about that a bit.

    I’ve got to say Ralph Nader does a lot of good for this world. I just think he is wrong on his outlook on nuclear power. Thanks for reading this.

    I sure do agree with him on health care!

    • Skro35 says:

      This is Steve. First of all, thanks for listening. We appreciate your feedback.

      If you do a search of our archives, you will find that we have dealt with this topic on numerous occasions with a number of different experts. I would include Ralph as one of those experts, because it was back in 1972 when Nobel Prize winning physicist, Dr. Henry Kendall, came to Ralph along with the Union of Concerned Scientists to warn of the dangers of nuclear power, which up to that point had never been brought to light. It’s going to be hard to convince me that “the real truth” about nuclear power has eluded a rigorous intellect like Ralph for the past fifty years. He’s thought about this more than “a bit.” That also goes for Peter Bradford, who was a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission during the Carter Administration, or the late great Dr. David Freeman, who ran the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Sacramento Utility, or Dr. Gregory Jaszko, who very recently was the Chairman of the NRC. These people not only know the real story, they have lived it.

      It’s hard to buy that nuke plants have somehow been “hindered” when the industry has been the recipient of billions and billions of dollars of taxpayer loan guarantees for its entire “it’s going to be too cheap to meter” life span. Its most recent “renaissance” was about twenty years ago under the George W. Bush Administration where dozens of permits and more billions of subsidies were once again doled out, only to have one project even break ground and even that one may never see the light of day due to immense cost overruns.

      I wouldn’t call a technology that has been around since 1945 “relatively new.” And while certainly the scientific method is based on “trial and error,” the consequences of “error” with this technology are devastating and not worth the risk, especially when as Peter Bradford put it in our most recent interview, we have a “whole basketful” of other technologies where an accident won’t render a swath of land the size of Pennsylvania uninhabitable.

      I’m going to assume you know better what’s going on in China with nukes than I do. The Chinese are certainly not dumb, but they are also certainly not transparent. If the Chinese told you to go jump in the lake, would you do it? I would not hold the authoritarian Chinese politburo up as a model for public health policy.

      Here are the facts in no particular order: 1.) The “linear no threshold” principle holds that no amount of radiation is healthy for human beings. Even when running properly, nuclear power plants routinely vent radiation into the atmosphere. 2.) Nuclear power in its over 70 year history has never been economical. Wall Street won’t touch it and never has without billions of dollars of government (ie taxpayer) loan guarantees. 3.) Nuclear power is not fast. It takes anywhere from 12 to 15 years for a plant to go online if it ever comes to completion at all. Then they last, as you say yourself, only sixty years, although many across the country have reached their expiration date in fewer than 40. 4.) Every nuclear power plant is a potential terrorist target. The 911 Commission reported that Mohammad Atta had the Indian Point plant on its target list but ultimately concluded that it would be too heavily defended. It is not defended at all. Someone crashing a jet ski full of dynamite into the water intake on the Hudson River could cause a meltdown at a plant 30 miles from midtown Manhattan. Former security official turned whistleblower at Indian Point, Skip Travis, speaks of how in simulations run where the security forces know an attack is coming, the attackers still achieve their target at least half the time. 5.) There are no realistic evacuation plans for any of these plants in case of an accident. And if there is one sitting on a shelf somewhere, there has never been a practice run. Especially when you’re talking about a metropolitan area as densely populated as New York, the notion it could be evacuated is ludicrous. 6.) Nuclear power is not carbon-free. Uranium mining is not only carbon intensive, it’s mostly done – not surprisingly – on poor Native American lands, where the radioactive filings are plumed into the air and fall off the trucks, poisoning the surrounding area. 7.) Even if you could solve all of these problems, there is still a major question: What do you do with the waste? Would you bury it in your back yard? The San Onofre plant outside of San Diego was shut down about seven years ago. They are trying to bury the waste in canisters right next to a public beach. The canisters have been known to spring leaks after 25 years. Nuclear waste remains radioactive for more than 250,000 years! Why would you keep producing more of this stuff, most of which piles up in spent fuel pools outside the reactors, because no community wants it near them. Do you blame them? Are you going to tell them they are just victims of “Fake News?”

      I’m not even going to get into how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is captured by the industry or how official support for nuclear power is tied to the nuclear weapons industry and the production of enriched uranium. Why do you think we are so intent on Iran not building domestic nuclear power?

      Check out some of our other episodes on the topic where we talk to some of these other experts. And if you are thinking about telling me about all the new and exciting innovations being promoted by Bill Gates and the like, then see my comment to Afdal below. What you’re arguing is the conventional wisdom that has been promoted by the nuclear industry since its inception. If you do some “digging” you will discover that this is the “real story.”

    • Bruce K. says:

      I agree with Delmar. The arguments against nuclear power are spurious. Most of the arguments can be directed to disastrous management decisions … the same problems with the BP spill and others.

      If I had to find one blanket to throw to sum up these problems it would be leaving the energy industry in private hands … capitalism.

      Technology changes, and science advances, the thing that doesn’t change is human stupidity. Actually I guess it does because it seems to get bigger.

      At some point there will be an event like the CoronaVirus, Covid-19, but in the atmospheric domain. Maybe a volcano will erupt, or a meteor will strike and raise all kinds of dust into the air and but off solar power. What would happen if all our cars are converted to electricity, our tractors, the sun fails and crops fail and there is not enough electricity to grow food hydroponically or pump water.

      The nuclear accidents we have had have all been stupid accidents. I don’t know if we can eliminate stupidity from the technology, but we are making advances in technology and control systems and safety systems that will reduce it or take it our of the loop.

      To be honest, since 3 Mile Island I read the books, saw the movies and have been nervous about nuclear. Then Chernobyl, then Fukushima, bad as bad as those incidents were, they were stupid, but they were survivable. Global warming will not be. If the worst should happen with climate change the whole planet could be unlivable and then having a power source that is not weather dependent – which all other alternatives are, is the difference between death and survival.

      Developing nuclear power just makes sense, and if it makes sense on a small scale it makes sense on a large scale. The world needs more and more energy, and the world needs to stop polluting the environment. There is nothing that does that as efficiently as nuclear.

      This is a game ender if China turns out to do this right, safely ( maybe even not safely ) and leaves the West in the dust. It is no coincidence that who you get agreeing with the anti-nuclear groups are the most ignorant and non-technical people.

      There were some problems with the Planet of the Humans documentary by Michael Moore’s friend ( whose name I forget at the moment ) but the overall point was not invalid and it should not be lost on people – under our capitalist system the motivation is for anyone whose life and security depends on a paycheck and exploitation they will always choose their life, family, and status for the common good.

      I would be if you look into the oil companies you could find the same thing you find about global warming, that they knew about it before hand – and I would be the same thing would have been true of nuclear power and how it would have made all their technology obsolete and put all their people out of work – so they worked against it behind the scenes to vilify it.

      The US has never been squeamish before about the investments in an infant industry, computers, space, IT, automobiles, airplanes, solar, but somehow when it comes to spending billions to develop nuclear power to its potential – that is different. This is just as dishonest and disingenuous as Republicans deciding to care about deficit spending when it comes time for Democrats to spend.

      It is maddening what a stupid decision anti-nuclear is. The nuclear industry should be like the Manhattan project, and done by an organization like NASA, where scientists develop different and vet the best technology and in 20 years when it ready it can be rolled out turnkey systems all over the world … like Volkswagens, or Priuses.

      Trying to solve the energy and atmospheric crisis without nuclear is like leaving your gun and picking up a butter knife to go to a sword fight, it is nothing less than suicidal.

      What would we rather have in terms of realistic scenarios … a runaway planetary climate disaster that threatens all life on the planet, or maybe at worst another Fukushima – except that we know how to solve a Fukushima, but not a planetary weather crisis.

  5. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    The Fukushima disaster teaches us some important lessons about the outsourcing of critical infrastructure to private companies whose profitability interests override public safety oversight. A similar lesson can be observed from the Texas blackout this winter. Fukushima also taught us once again the dangers of water-mediated reactor designs. It doesn’t teach us much about nuclear power generally, because as much as anti-nuclear partisans would like to believe otherwise there are many different types of nuclear power. Some forms of nuclear power, such as molten salt thorium reactors, have inherently safe designs where a meltdown (simply doesn’t apply) or a steam explosion (no water to evaporate) is impossible. Such designs also make orders of magnitude more efficient usage of their fuel source and do not require a considerable refinement industry, and thus you cannot apply the same can’t-compete-with-other-energy arguments to them as water-mediated uranium reactors. Not that you ever should, because neither public power nor the future of the planet should be left to the responsibility of anti-social private capitalist forces.

    Once again I had to shake my head in disappointment at Ralph’s “corporate socialism” quip. The state has played a fundamental role in keeping capitalism afloat since it arose out of feudalism, capitalism would not exist at all without state intervention and it’s not “socialism” when it intervenes again today. Read some leftist literature Ralph, sheesh -_-

    • Skro35 says:

      Hi Afdal, Steve here. I just wanted to respond to a couple of things in your always thoughtful if not sometimes condescending comments. No argument about privatization. You are spot on about that. However, every time we do a program that deals with nuclear, we invariably get comments about all of these new technologies. The one mentioned most often is “molten salt thorium.” It’s almost as if you say those three words often enough, somehow, like Beetlejuice, it will appear, “Molten Salt Thorium! Molten Salt Thorium! “Molten Salt Thorium!” When energy expert, the late David Freeman did our show once, I asked him about that. “What about “molten salt thorium?” He simply said, “Where is it?”
      He had been hearing about all of these new, safer, more efficient technologies for decades. Somehow, they never appear no matter how many times you chant the name. It’s not as if the nuclear industry has not been given a lot of free money to develop it. It’s as if people believe that Bill Gates is going to come down the chimney like Santa Claus and place a beautiful “molten salt thorium reactor” under the tree if we just leave him enough delicious cookies. Then we won’t even need chimneys anymore! Does the climate crisis give us the time to wait for this fairy tale to come online, or should we spend our money, our effort, and our political will perfecting and installing existing technologies that can address the problem right now?

      And I know you’re frustrated by Ralph’s use of the word “socialism.” You know more about this than I do. All I will say (and forgive me if I’ve said it before) is that we are dealing with the popular use as it applies to a particular topic and not interested in getting into an academic argument over definitions. Of course, words are important, but when the right-wing refers to “socialism,” they are generally attacking the social safety net, or anything run by the government. We are merely trying to turn their own use of that term on its head. “You say Medicare For All is socialism? Then I guess the fire department is socialism. The roads are socialism” and on and on.
      A few years back, we spoke with Noam Chomsky, and Ralph was trying to make the point that “antisemitism” applies to Arabs because they are also Semites. That’s true, but Chomsky said that you have to deal with the fact that when people refer to ‘antisemitism” in this context, they are talking about Jews. That doesn’t mean you don’t fight anti-Arab sentiment and behavior. It just means you shouldn’t get bogged down in the taxonomy of it all. Redefining the word “antisemitism” is not going to stop hatred of Jews and Arabs. We’ll just call it something else.

      I have heard many different definitions of socialism. When we had Nathan Robinson on, even he could not define it in a simple logline. It seems to me that it’s one of those words like “fascism.” You can characterize it; you can identify the hallmarks; but it’s hard to put encapsulate it. Maybe Marx did. Maybe Richard Wolff has. You tell me. “Anarchy” is another one, probably the most misused of words in the political dictionary. That one comes in about 21 different flavors. So, please bear with us, when we deal with the word in the context of how it is being used in the moment and not going off on a tangent about the “real” definition, whatever that may be.

      • Mark Hughes says:

        Hi Steve. I actually get where Afdal is coming from re socialism and capitalism, both of which need attention and definition.

        Socialism: Richard Wolff, who you cited in your comment, has said before multiple times in the past that it’s not defined this way or that way. He’s stated that socialists have always argued over what it means. I can understand that, I’ve seen those who claim to be socialist argue with another who is also socialist, and to me it’s a semantic battle. At their core, both parties are on the same page. There are some very basic tenets that should be accepted: worker rights, environmental protection and preservation, anti-capitalism (note I didn’t say anti-corporatism, I’ll get to that below), civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and so on. IMO I think worker rights have taken a big-time backseat to these other issues, and that’s what I think makes the definitions murkier. That all said, I don’t think it’s useful to talk about socialism when there hasn’t first been a deeper discussion of…

        Capitalism: I had to side with Afdal here, I too get irked seeing the phrase “corporate socialism”. I know what Ralph (and Max Keiser and some others) mean by it, but it screws up the soup so-to-speak. It leads to very wrong implications of the word which do nothing but continue to reinforce stereotypes and sometimes lies. But first, what is capitalism? What is its roots? How did it start? When you think of that word, what immediately comes to mind? What are its many forms (and I’m not talking about lame identifiers like ‘crony capitalism’ or ‘predatory capitalism’)? Those are starting points I think.

        However, some things really can’t be argued. It’s been proven time and again that at the core of capitalism is the same as with any economic system: human labor. Capitalism is clearly, and historically, a system that exploits it for the profits of the few. But when we talk about capitalism today, we only really talk about its corporate form, as if that’s the only version. We never talk about other forms, like for instance mid-sized, family-owned, generational businesses which also exploit labor to the max. Corporations may be the worst offenders, but there are others for sure. When Karl Marx wrote the Capital volumes, he didn’t single out the major corporations of his time like the East India Company or the Bank of England. He also spoke of industrial capitalists and simple manufacturers. I’ve worked for quite a few mid-sized family-owned businesses, they’ll enact mandatory overtimes on a whim while promoting their kids to positions of power regardless that they completely suck as people and as “leaders”. They’re no less destructive to so many.

        I recall a 2019 RNRH episode with Steven Pearlstein, one in which I commented, in which capitalism and Adam Smith were discussed. One of the better episodes for sure, and even though I had some issues with Pearlstein’s takes, it’s still a topic that doesn’t get explored except under the heading of “corporatism”. Even Chris Hedges knows what’s going on today is not “corporate socialism” but instead just capitalism. But still, there’s more to what’s going on today in America than just corporatism. Your lower levels are also incredibly destructive to the person and to families, and they indulge in corruption just as much. It’s not news that developers and real estate types pretty much own local governments and, sometimes, state governments. Duke Energy mostly own my home state of NC, and the guy who built my own neighborhood also owns the HOA, and it’s clearly there for him to extract even more profit long after he’s built homes. While none of that is on the level of Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Wall Street, ExxonMobile, Wells Fargo, etc, it’s still massive exploitation and, at times, destruction as was the case with Duke Energy in NC regarding its coal ash scandal. So citizens get exploited multiple ways; by corporations and by lower-level family-owned companies. But that never gets discussed.

        I don’t think any discussion of capitalism can be a meaningful one unless the lower-level mid-sized companies are included in the critiques. To not do so is what likely leads (albeit indirectly perhaps) to a miscommunication about socialism. Exploitation is exploitation, all day long. Ask any worker from any company.

        Link: https://ralphnaderradiohour.com/can-american-capitalism-survive/

    • Gabe says:

      I felt somewhat compelled to respond to this thread for a couple of reasons. Molten salts I believe are one of the technologies that Bill Gates is funding through his Breakthrough Energy project. It is a scheme that I don’t know well enough to fully evaluate personally, but so far I would agree that it comprises an experimental technology that does not appear at this time to be cost competitive with traditional sources. I have worked on a couple of renewable energy systems that could deliver cost competitive power at large scales, and if anyone would like to know more, you could reach out to me at gatiya@msn.com for additional info.

      On the issue of semantics – yes, it is important, but the emphasis on semantics is at the same time part of the larger problem. At one time, when two major competing social and political ideologies Communism and Capitalism existed on the world stage, specific reference points existed from which to begin the conversation. Since then, much fragmentation has occurred, and most in use terms are increasingly politicized in a reductive manner. It troubles me quite a lot that ideas, terms, and people are so reduced to trivialized and ridiculous avatars, not least because it makes meaningful conversations much more difficult, often I believe intentionally. “Corporate socialism” makes sense to me in the context of reclaiming the term socialism from the political right, which aggressively contributes to its vilification. Since Noam Chomsky was brought up, I did recently read his book on Anarchism, his preferred political philosophy, and he draws some interesting historical distinctions between it and Communism, particularly in the context of the Spanish Civil War. Anarchy is an interesting philosophy which seems counter to almost everything in American society today.

      In my first post, I stated that a clear and comprehensive discussion surrounding renewable energy policy must comprise a central part of forward movement. The devil is in the details, especially in the environment where legal and legislative authorities increasingly resort to fine print details and obscure riders to achieve their true objectives, which usually include prolonged hegemony and status quo. A Green New Deal (again, interesting from a semantic standpoint) sounds like a fine idea, but how likely is it really the best mechanism for moving forward? Increased governmental authority and radically still more deficit spending may indeed not be the best choice for today. The terms and conditions, not just the sound bite, contained in such a measure would be critical.

      • Bruce K. says:

        > I would agree that it comprises an experimental technology that does not appear at this time to be cost competitive with traditional sources.

        When you take away the political costs and the biases of nuclear power, it is much less expensive than other technologies.

        The key concept here is that experimental things are far more expensive and have not had the bugs worked out of them. The same was true of decoding DNA … first it took a billion dollars and years, and not they do it all the time for a few dollars.

        This is only different for nuclear power because of the fear factor and lack of understanding about nuclear reactors. That, and the unfortunate accidents that happened … that did not need to happen … because of human stupidity and mismanagement.

        There is no reason nuclear power cannot be safe, and the benefits are huge or I would not even be mentioning it. You emit no CO2 – the biggest positive factor. You do not need pipelines or a steady stream of trucks bringing fuel into a polluting plant. The managing of a nuclear power station requires much fewer people. There is not massive pollution given off that pollute the air, water and land.

        There is the human factors, and the waste of course, but there is a pretty good solution for that offered here: https://www.deepisolation.com

        Discussions of nuclear power should center around its safety, and to promote that it should not be done by for-profit corporations, and it should be far more transparent.

        Finally, there is a huge technological advantage the US holds right now and we can either accept the opportunity or allow China or some other country to snatch it away from us.

  6. Not a calamity at all, but at 38:28 of the broadcast, Ralph said that Canada has the first children’s museum. That is not true.

    In the first paragraph of “History” at the London Museum’s web site, it is stated that

    “Children’s museums, focusing on the educational and social development of children through hands-on, interactive exploration of exhibits and artifacts, have existed in the United States for over one hundred years. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s, however, that the idea was introduced to Canada by our founder Carol Johnston.”

    https://www.londonchildrensmuseum.ca/about-us/history

    In “Our History” at the website for The Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the following is stated:

    “Founded in 1899 as the world’s first children’s museum, Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) is New York City’s largest cultural institution designed especially for families. Proudly based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. . . “ [New York].

    https://www.brooklynkids.org/history-mission/

  7. Eric Bernhoft says:

    It isn’t just Republican governors who promote nuclear boondoggles. My first vote in 1976 was for Democratic Governor Dixy Lee Ray of Washington State, whom Richard Nixon had appointed to the Atomic Energy Commission. She famously remarked that the Trinity blast in 1945 was the “most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.” She heavily promoted the Washington Public Power Supply System (the acronym pronounced WHOOPS). Bonds were issued to construct five nuclear power plants; only one was completed, the rest were scrapped after the bond debt defaulted, the largest municipal bond default in history. My greatest regret is that Dr. Ray (her Ph.D. was in marine biology) didn’t live long enough to witness the disaster of Fukushima and the subsequent poisoning of her beloved Pacific Ocean.

  8. Don Harris says:

    Steve,
    It was good to see you provide some detailed responses to Delmar and Afdal.

    Please show them to Ralph as an example for him to follow in providing a detailed response to my questions on One Demand as that is the kind of response I have been trying to get from Ralph on One Demand for over five years and it has been over two years since Ralph said on Washington Journal (10-24-2018) he would have me on the Radio Hour to discuss it.

    Why won’t Ralph either tell me why he won’t inform citizens about this opportunity to create and utilize the leverage we need to provide politicians the incentive mentioned in my earlier comment to get politicians to stop taking big money?

    If there are good reasons I would like to know what they are and if there aren’t then why is Ralph not informing citizens about One Demand as it is a way for citizens to work together to demand that candidates stop taking big money by forcing candidates to choose between taking big money and getting our votes.

    Maybe if there was a posting on Reporters Alert about how Ralph has done the same thing to One Demand that he complains the rest of the media does to the guests he does have on the Radio Hour some reporters would pick up on that story and put some pressure on Ralph to rectify this oversight (?) that has resulted in at least the appearance of some hypocrisy.

  9. David Morse says:

    I was an electrical engineer at Indian Point, and I’ve spoken at several NRC public hearings. In order to replace the baseload 2,000 MW from Indian Point the state could have used renewables, but the sad fact is that they didn’t. Instead they built the CPV valley natural gas plant and the Cricket Valley gas plants, which only provide about 50 jobs each (if that). The Cuomo aide Joe Percoco was convicted for taking bribes over CPV valley: https://hudsonvalleypost.com/former-cuomo-top-aid-bribed-to-do-business-in-hudson-valley/ If the state had chosen to use renewables, for example, by installing 1.09 million 5kW residential solar installations (or equivalent in public facilities or community solar), this would have provided jobs for hundreds upon hundreds of my former colleagues, many of whom are electricians and mechanics well suited for this kind of work. There were no such actions taken. This country continues to refuse to invest in infrastructure, and I have now moved to Union City, CA, (East bay near San Francisco). Engineers from across the country are relocating here because huge dump-trucks of money are pouring into automation and artificial intelligence to eliminate jobs all over the world. The investment in infrastructure and renewables here is pretty dismal too.
    For those interested in how I got the 1.09 million 5kW installations figure: I assumed 33% capacity factor for solar (pretty generous for NY) and 90% capacity factor for our old plant (it’s usually higher). Capacity factor is the average output divided by the maximum capacity output. For our plant, max capacity was about 2000 MW, and for your average residential solar installation its about 5 kW. So the equation is: (2,000,000 kW * 90%)/(5 kW * 33%) = 1,800,000/1.65 = 1.09 million residential solar installations.

  10. Dale West says:

    Have not seen a solar panel or wind generator facility that required a 1000 year toxic waste internment or can cause an environmental disaster. If a renewable power plant private operator messes up nobody or the environment gets injured on a massive scale. As Erica Payne said – never trust the rich.

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