I always thought it was conservatives who accused progressives of being driven by their heart and not their brain. A painfully uninformed David Frum wades into the debate over nuclear power with a post headlined, “Conservatives Heart Nuke Power“:
First Brad Plumer in the New Republic, then Matt Yglesias on his site have marveled at the supposedly strange enthusiasm of conservatives for nuclear power. What’s strange about it? It’s pure cold economic rationality. If you wish to move away from carbon-emitting electricity sources, nuclear is far and away the cheapest choice. If we’re not going to rely more on nuclear power, then the reduction in carbon emissions will have to imply some dramatic reductions in standards of living.
Former Presidential speechwriter Frum is best known for helping to originating the “axis of evil” metaphor (his first phrase, “axis of hatred,” was changed to “axis of evil” by Michael Gerson, Bush’s chief speechwriter, who wanted to use more “theological language,” as Frum explains in his book on page 238). He apparently hails from the Bizarro World, whose Code states “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness!”
New nuclear power plants are currently far and away the most expensive form of carbon free power you can (try to) buy — assuming you could find a nuclear vendor today that was actually willing to guarantee a price for their product in a Public Utility Commission hearing, which you can’t.
Indeed, the French government-owned nuclear giant, Areva threatened work stoppage in late summer at the Finnish nuke they were building over who would pay for cost overruns. Areva had made clear in May it wasn’t going to keep swallowing the price escalation risk “” see “Areva has acknowledged that the cost of a new reactor today would be as much as 6 billion euros, or $8 billion, double the price offered to the Finns.”
The most detailed independent cost estimate of nuclear power published this year — here on Climate Progress by a leading expert in power plant costs, Craig A. Severance (see “Exclusive analysis, Part 1: The staggering cost of new nuclear power“) — puts the generation costs for power from new nuclear plants at from 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour “” triple current U.S. electricity rates!
And that was just one week after Time magazine noted that nuclear plants’ capital costs are “out of control,” concluding: