As Japan struggles to contain the damage to its nuclear-power plants, there’s much hand-wringing in the United States over what the government’s policy toward the domestic nuclear industry ought to be. President Obama supports government subsidies in order to replace carbon-emitting energy sources.
That policy was wrong before the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and it’s wrong now.
Nuclear power in this country has long been a government affair. From the very start, the “private” industry had its accident liability capped through the Price-Anderson Act. The companies said that without help they wouldn’t make the investment. It was corporate-state all the way, part of the the Dwight Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program that was intended to make the traumatized post-World War II world feel better about atomic energy. Given its history of government support, no free-market advocate should look at nuclear power with good feelings.
If the free market void of all subsidies and privileges won’t support nuclear power — and there is good reason to think it wouldn’t — then it should not exist. Period. End of story.
That of course goes for all forms of energy. More details here.