The Nuclear Disaster in the Soviet Union
Watching the progress of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster, one wonders again why we continue to pursue this source of energy. The irony, of course, it that if we had spent half as much money on developing solar energy as we have on nuclear, we would now have on hand efficient photovoltaic cells truly capable of producing electricity “too cheap to meter.”
Instead, we have growing pools of spent nuclear fuel, which will be radioactive for thousands of years, and no more idea of how to dispose of it than we did 30 years ago.
We have reactors that cost 10 to 15 times what they were supposed to, which will have to be retired (meaning buried in cement) in another decade or so, when they become too irradiated to use. And we have this potential for unimaginable disaster.
Why did we choose scarcity over abundance? Two reasons. One, you can’t charge for sunlight, so there were no comparable profits to be made from solar energy. Two, nuclear reactors have a fringe benefit that our government likes very much: they produce plutonium, which we “need” for our ever-growing stockpile of nuclear weapons.
So take some iodine and watch the skies, America. The benefits of nuclear power will be coming to your town soon.