Trouble at the nuclear renaissance:
In an unusual state foray into nuclear regulation, the Vermont Senate voted 26 to 4 Wednesday to block a license extension for the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, citing radioactive leaks, misstatements in testimony by plant officials and other problems.
This highlights why I think all this talk about nuclear loan guarantees from the Obama administration or new subsidies as part of a climate/energy bill is a bit misguided. The problems with nuclear power in the United States are considerably more fundamental than a loan guarantee here or there. To build nuclear in a remotely economical way, you need to put a bunch of basically identical plants down and that means you need some relatively expeditious way to get a bunch of plants built. In America, meanwhile, it’s extremely difficult and time-consuming to undertake just about any large-scale infrastructure project, to say nothing of stuff like nuclear plants that freaks so many people out.
What’s needed is to really step back and look at countries where they use a lot of nuclear power (France and Japan, basically) and look at what it would take to make a comprehensive shift in that direction. Then we can evaluate the merits of that approach. Just throwing more money at a model that doesn’t work doesn’t seem likely to change much.