Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I Really Wish Harvey Wasserman Would Actually READ the Paley Commission Report

From NukeFree.org:

Fifty years ago the pushers of the "Peaceful Atom"---including Lewis Strauss, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission---promised electricity that would be "too cheap to meter." The pledge has turned into the biggest lie in U.S. financial history. Far from being cheap or reliable, nuclear power plants have drained the American economy of hundreds of billions of dollars. That money could have financed green power sources that would have avoided the global warming crisis and freed the US from dependence on foreign energy sources.

The key decision was made in 1953. A year earlier, Harry Truman's Blue Ribbon Paley Commission reported that the future of American energy was with renewable sources. Predicting 15 million solar-heated homes by 1975, the Truman Administration knew that our best route to energy independence and economic security was with green power.

In 1953, Bell Laboratories made an historic breakthrough, perfecting photovoltaic (PV) technology to the point that cells made of silicon could transform sunlight into usable electric current. The first cells were used to power space satellites. But the prospect of making homes and offices energy self-sufficient with PV rooftop installations was a monumental moment in technological history.

In an essentially military decision, Dwight Eisenhower chose nuclear power instead. Pledging to share the Peaceful Atom worldwide, Eisenhower turned the US away from green power.

Um, no. Given what the Paley Report actually said this is absurd on its face, but that doesn't keep Wasserman from repeating it over and over again. Seeing as he's been known to style himself as a historian in his spare time, one would hope that he would actually, you know, read his sources.

For more bizarre pseudohistory from Wasserman, check out his latest column, where he demonstrates that nuclear power is at the root of all of Ohio's problems. Of course, the solution to these problems is through increased investment in the most expensive forms of electrical generation available:
In the meantime, electric prices and green energy are in deep in limbo, and have dragged down any hope of an economic revival. Except for municipal utilities like Cleveland and Bowling Green, northern Ohio endures some of the nation's highest electric rates.

The region does not lack green visionaries---or resources. Bowling Green owns four extremely successful wind turbines, and may build more. The Cleveland Foundation and others are pushing hard for a renewable energy infrastructure along the lakefront to manufacture wind turbines, solar panels and fuel cells. The Museum of Science hosts the only utility-scale windmill in a US downtown.
Does Wasserman seriously think that siting a utility-scale windmill in the center of an urban area is a good idea?

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