Nuclear power isn’t a perfect solution. (But then, neither is any other form of electricity generation.)
Terry Gross’ Fresh Air radio show (on National Public Radio) today aired an interview with NY Times energy reporter Matthew Wald. Mr. Wald, who’s covered the industry for 30 years, presented what I judge to be an even-handed summary of the nuclear power industry today. He first discusses the history of nuclear power in the United States and then discusses the industry’s future.
Mr. Wald points out that, like every other form of energy production, there are costs associated with nuclear energy, at every stage: from the mining of Uranium, to disposal of spent fuel. It seems that there are no cost-free solutions — every step requires compromises. To his credit, Mr. Wald points out that coal-, oil-, and hydro- centric energy production also entail costs, including loss of human lives.
Mr. Wald states that in general, the operation of nuclear power plants has become safer. He compares it to passenger-carrying aircraft: the early ones were pretty dangerous; today’s aircraft are pretty safe, thanks to lessons learned while operating them.
I salute Terry Gross for presenting a timely show!