Wednesday, February 06, 2008

UCS: A Little Less Anti-Nuclear Than Before?

David Lochbaum's new piece has been posted on the BAS website. Titled "Fixing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission," it details the UCS' position on NRC regulation.

An excerpt:

The United States operates 104 nuclear power reactors, which provide nearly 20 percent of the nation's electricity. More than half have had their original 40-year operating licenses renewed for an additional 20 years. Encouraged by billions of dollars in subsidies and incentives in the 2005 Energy Bill, a handful of companies applied for licenses to build new reactors last fall, and other companies are expected to apply later this year. Recurring lessons from the past consistently inform us that unless the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) undergoes major reforms, nuclear power will remain both riskier and more expensive than necessary.
I'm actually kind of shocked. Maybe the tone of the article doesn't reflect the official position of the UCS on nuclear power very well, but in comparison to their past writing on the subject it's so... reasonable. Not that the article is 100% fair, but I think that the main thesis is perfectly defensible- that the NRC regulatory regime leaves a lot to be desired. I mentioned in a previous post that the UCS' position on nuclear power seemed to be softening somewhat; could this be a further symptom of that?


Charles Barton said...

The Union of Concerned Scientist is the most rational of the anti-nuclear groups. It is possible to dialogue with them. But they are still more than a bit crazy.

Sovietologist said...

'Tis true, they are somewhat irrational in their concerns- but I'm happy to see any signs of a positive shift from these groups on nuclear power.

DV8 2XL said...

Note that the term 'Scientists' is used in their name only in the very loosest sense of the term.

It is only marginally more appropriate than its use in the oxymoronic name 'Christian Scientist,' but not by much.

At any rate I am sure that their change of heart is more driven by a recognition that the winds are shifting, rather than some meaningful revelation on their part.