Sunday, May 25, 2008

Alternatives to oil look a lot better

Italy makes a voltafaccia regarding nuclear power:

Italy announced Thursday that within five years it planned to resume building nuclear energy plants, two decades after a public referendum resoundingly banned nuclear power and deactivated all its reactors.

Obviously, I think that's a good thing. What's worrisome is how rapid the turnabout was, and in the face of oil prices that really aren't that high. Yes, the dangers of nuclear power are greatly exaggerated, but I don't think this change is due to a rational and deliberate consideration of new arguments and evidence. I think it's all about money.

One of the stated reasons is the carbon-free nature of nuclear power. I'm worried that the Italian government's attachment to that is less strong than they claim. If there are problems with nuclear power, like if the resistance among parts of the Italian population is stronger than they expect, they may find that cheap energy matters more than clean energy, and look to coal. After all, they're already building new coal plants.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Rich said...

I agree that the decision probably was mostly financial, but calling the price of oil not being "that high" in an absolute sense is irrelevant. Their economy (as most developed nations) is reliant on a resource that has increased more than 500% in just 6 years. How is that not expensive?

May 25, 2008 at 4:43 PM  

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