Suggestions For Nuclear Power
A FB friend of mine wrote this well-reasoned plan for the return to nuclear power which I thought I'd share here.
As much as nuclear energy has a bad rap, I feel like society will be embracing it again as oil and energy resources continue to decline. Just as we will probably burn every gallon of dirty sludge we can drill out of the ground, no matter its ecological cost, we will use the radioactives we can mine as well. Renewables just aren't going to be the bridge to a de-carboned and sustainable future that it is being sold as. Yes, there are serious issues with nuclear. A big one is the waste by-products. And yet, given the option of losing millions to heat deaths we will probably say fuck it.
"A Nuclear New Deal" by Russ Minotaur
"Ok, the current mass robbery of the US public by big oil proves YET AGAIN that we need to get off the oil spike. Now the right will cry this is impossible and doesn't work. (Neither does trickle-down economics, but they never seem to want to give up on that...) I happen to know a way to get off foreign oil that will work if we do it. We go nuclear. Seriously, all-out nuclear. Just like France did successfully long ago.
The French have the best civilian nuclear energy program on earth. it's safe, efficient, cost-effective, doesn't have safety issues or problems with waste disposal. It's run along ultra strict government regulations that control the design, construction, and maintenance of nuclear plants along with the training and certification of people working there. The French civilian nuclear power system has never had a serious incident due to strict control of quality in terms of the plants and the workers there. The American nuclear power industry was a shameful mess in contrast, as it was run by the corporations for the corporations with profit being the sole guideline. Graft and incompetence were routine.
Yet even then there was proof the system could work if run right. At the overhyped 3-Mile Island incident, a near disaster occurred due to graft riddled construction and poorly trained workers. Nonetheless, the fundamental design of the plants was so good it worked despite a perfect store of corruption and incompetence. The reactor design contained the incident and no appreciable or dangerous radiation leaked out of it due to the magnificent quality of the design, a design so good it worked despite poor implementation and operation.
Now we need a "new deal" nuclear program, and a green new deal while we're at it. We need to get off the need for foreign oil, and eventually all oil. Right now, until the mythical fusion power plant finally materializes, the only valid way to do it is nuclear. Fortunately, while America's civil nuclear industry is a horrible mess, we do have a nuclear program that works. it's been running for nearly 70 years with a record of safety and efficiency that it essentially immaculate. It's called the US Navy.
Since the first nuclear submarine, USS Nautilus was launched in 1958, the naval nuclear program has has zero notable nuclear incidents. US navy personnel routinely spend months in close proximity to nuclear reactors and weapon stocks that are so well built and maintained that they show no notable incidence of radiation-related illness. If they did you can bet insurance companies would be screwing them over on rates. Even on the two nuclear subs that have sunk due to non-reactor-related issues, the radiation containment continues to work even at the bottom of the sea, the navy monitors them and finds no notable radiation leakage from either wreck.
Speak not to me of the Russian (SPIT!) nuclear submarines, they are not relevant to the discussion of the US navy's sterling nuclear record. We need to get off our corporate enforced oil addiction, and a nuclear program is the best way to go for now. We need a new nuclear program run by the US navy, run by an agency of people who have served in the US navy nuclear program and people they have approved. This new nuclear government regulatory force (and yes, it would be a FORCE, not a toothless oversight agency left impotent by regulations written by industry and signed by their politicians.) would oversee and approve every aspect of a new nuclear power system. Designs would be created and approved by this board, not by corporate design teams told to 'make it cheap".
Corporations could contract to build the plants under strict supervision by this agency, and any hint of graft would be heavily investigated by JAG. People working on plants would have to sign agreements allowing them to be investigated by JAG and subject to federal laws governing corruption, with real penalties. There would be great profit in this, maybe not as much as corporate oligarchs might want, but there's never enough profit for them so waah waah.
Personnel working at these plants would either be former US navy personnel who had been trained by the navy to work with nuclear systems or civilians who underwent a screening and training process overseen by the navy. You see, I may be optimistic, but I'm willing to bet that people who have served long enough in the navy to get certified as nuclear technicians and engineers just may have some concept of honor, duty, responsibility, and other words unknown to corporate America. So yes, naval personnel would be given hiring priority in all areas.
Again, regulation and investigation of wrongdoing would be handled by the JAG. Lastly, security would be overseen by the USMC. Former marines would be given hiring preference in security positions, other security workers would be evaluated and hired by these personnel. This program might produce a bit less profit than the suited leeches running our current grift of a nuclear industry might like, but it would also produce a safe, efficient, effective, well-built, and ran nuclear power system that would free America from foreign oil completely.
Of course, it will take a civil war to get it done as the left will reflexively oppose it because "NUCLEAR!!!" and the right will reflexively oppose it because "REGULATIONS!" Maybe this will be a good time for the mainstream public who is neither extreme right nor extreme left to unite, stand up and beat down the extremes at both ends of the spectrum, and force its will to be done for once.
I can dream, can't I?
Opinions from the community?