There’s a lot going in the nuclear world. Let’s take a look.
The news: France, not U.S. likely to get contract with India. “France is expected to get first-mover advantage with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) exploring commercial contracts for setting up a cluster of European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) and sourcing uranium from French companies for fuel-starved Indian civil nuclear reactors.”
The takeaway: “Unlike their American counterparts such as General Electric or Westinghouse, the French companies do not require India to enact nuclear liability protection in order to do business. Nuclear liability is the damages to be borne in the event of an accident involving the nuclear power plants set up with help from the US.”
There is a remedy for this, however. It’s called the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damages (aka CSC). The CSC establishes an international liability regime that creates common, international standards for handling nuclear facility accident claims. While the U.S. has ratified the convention, many other countries have not. Instead of trying to rebuild America’s nuclear industry through subsidies, market guarantees, and risk socialization, the federal government should focus on more sustainable, market-based policies, such as opening the global market place to U.S. suppliers. The CSC does exactly that.
[A]ccording to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 21 companies say they will seek permission to build 34 power plants, from New York to Texas. Factories are springing up in Indiana and Louisiana to build reactor parts. Workers are clearing a site in Georgia to put in reactors. Starting in January, millions of electric customers in Florida will be billed several dollars a month to finance four new reactors.”
The takeaway: Despite daily haranguing against the viability of free-market economics, recent growth in the nuclear sector is proof-positive that the market still works—if we let it. With many clamoring that the nuclear industry needs subsidies, many companies are already building and expanding in the United States. It’s not just AREVA with its creation of 540 jobs for its new facility. As evidenced by the NY Times piece, a handful companies with a stake in nuclear energy are building and expanding – all without handouts from Washington.
Despite this success, it seems that every pro-nuke in Washington wants to open the coffers to industry in the name of expanding nuclear power. But the reality is that all of those dollars will come with strings. The last thing we need is to create a government-dependent nuclear industry. The importance of nuclear energy to the country is simply too important to condition its future on federal bureaucrats.
Note to Federal Government: I know that you are here to help, but for once, how about if you concentrate on protecting public health and safety and let industry get down to the business of producing clean, safe, affordable nuclear energy.
The news: Feds reject protest to nuclear waste storage plan: “Mothers for Peace had contended there wasn’t sufficient study of whether the casks planned for Diablo Canyon could withstand potential terror attacks while protecting human health and the environment, but the NRC said no more study was needed.”
The takeaway: The scare tactics used by the antinuclear and environmentalist groups are a relic of the past. Professor Balogh, author of an anti-nuclear book, confirmed,
There is no question that some of the passion of the antinuclear movement has drained away.”