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Lamar Alexander (R-TN) calls nuclear “the cheap clean energy solution,” renews GOP call for 100 new nukes, which would cost some $1 trillion

By Joe Romm on July 7, 2009 at 9:46 am

"Lamar Alexander (R-TN) calls nuclear “the cheap clean energy solution,” renews GOP call for 100 new nukes, which would cost some $1 trillion"

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Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is somewhat bizarrely called a Senate “fence-sitter” by the E&E News analysis (which I’ll blog on shortly).

If you’re watching the Senate climate hearing, then you just heard the most uninformed endorsement of nuclear power ever offered in the U.S. Senate.

One can say many things about 100 new nuclear power plants as a climate solution, but it isn’t “the cheap clean energy solution”:

Sadly, I expect some sort of nuclear energy title will be required to get a climate bill through the Senate.  The only “good news” is that it will fall more into the category of “taxpayer money flushed down the toilet” than “needless weakening of an already too-weak bill.”

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5 Responses to Lamar Alexander (R-TN) calls nuclear “the cheap clean energy solution,” renews GOP call for 100 new nukes, which would cost some $1 trillion

  1. Kejad says:

    How much would 100 GW of wind projects cost? I’m guessing it’s pretty much the same.

  2. gmo says:

    I have been fairly ambivalent on nuclear as the security and waste issues do not bother me so much. The cost and water usage issues do concern me as they do not get as wide a play as waste and security. I am not reflexively opposed to it like “drill, baby, drill”, but I would agree there appear to be better ways and would prefer those.

    Fission as it would figure to be built now does not look like a great part of the solution. It may not even be good. But from a climate perspective at least it certainly seems better compared to BAU coal and oil. Sort of like natural gas in being not ideal overall but at least if in place it would have lower carbon emission intensity.

    So this post illustrates a personal dilemma. Assuming it would increase support and help achieve passage, which is no sure thing I know, I would be inclined to accept a huge money pit of 100 new nuclear plants. I would like to believe that path would be abandoned relatively quickly if revealed as much more expensive and less desirable compared to other options. If it gets in the game and shows it cannot cut it, hopefully it would quickly be buried on the bench. Who knows? Maybe it even somehow actually works with reasonable costs and waste solutions.

    But the “it’s only money” rationale is not really completely comforting since it really is not only money, plus the money cannot just be ignored.

  3. PurpleOzone says:

    After Hiroshima, nuclear power was developed as a peaceful use of a terrible power. The federal government kicked-started this industry with subsidies.
    But the subsidies never ended. Also, the nuclear power advocates assured the investors that there was ‘one chance in 10 million’ of an accident at a nuclear power plant.
    After the 3 Mile Island accident destroyed a plant, losing the banks $ 1billion of investment, no new plants were funded.
    Now the investors want the government to guarantee all potential losses. They know Chernobyl ruined the countryside around.
    I don’t think new power plants can be built without huge U.S. taxpayer investment and potential liabilities.

  4. Leslie Anderson says:

    Try $1.9-$4.1 trillion in excess costs for 100 new nuclear reactors! See http://www.vermontlaw.edu/Documents/061909-cooperRelease.pdf for estimate from economist Dr. Mark Cooper.