Saturday, September 14, 2013

Nuclear power: expose how it actually costs MORE than renewable alternatives


There's one para I want to focus attention on:
" A comprehensive study found that nuclear reactors are much more costly than other alternative energy sources such as biomass, wind, geothermal, and some solar and conventional fossil fuels.[2] No insurance companies will insure nuclear power producers so taxpayers have to pay to insure an unproven, unsafe option. Why should we insure something insurance companies find too dangerous to insure? The government subsidies that nuclear power relies on come from taxpayer dollars without taxpayer consent. These costs are not included in typical discussions of nuclear viability."

Now I know that economic calculations are not really where the protests against Koodankulam and other nuclear projects in India, are coming from. Unfortunately, that's what gets thrown about when people cite support for nuclear power. Because of their distorted reality, they put economic efficiency over and above health and well-being of people, and it's compelling enough to make them ignore, deny the harms, readily accept assurances of safety. This sucks, is wrong. 

But there's a critical weakness here: nuclear is actually more expensive. The numbers to show it's the cheapest and "only viable" option, are distorted, and that distortion is easy to expose. As one component of the campaign, I suggest to bring out these discrepancies. Attack the one pillar from which the pro-nuclear lobby is presently getting its maximum legitimacy. This discrepancy, the lie of cheaper power, should be exposed in the posters, flyers, pamphlets, petitions, speeches, rallies, street plays... everywhere. By ignoring it we only strengthen the pro-nuclear lobby's arguments. That is what I've seen from talking with friends, uncles who are pro nuclear. To them, both sides of the debate are talking about completely different things, and the anti-nuclear bastion is simply not able to give them any real, positive alternatives. Strategy is as important as heart here.

I feel it will make the movement more impactful if in addition to the horrific damage due to radiation exposure, the target audience also understands how they're being fleeced of their money and paying MORE for nuclear power than other options. Once this is put out there, the whole idea of using nuclear at all, and the motives behind it, is thrown into question. For this, it's very important to get the numbers : all the combined costs, capital, running, security, damages, subsidies, transmission & distribution losses....  of these reactors, pitted against the combined costs of decentralized renewable alternatives.

I don't know how to get the numbers together, but on an international level it's already well underway. Got this idea when I read the article, I'm sure many others must be thinking about it too, and am passing it on; you might be in a better position to get the data together. All the best!

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