Nuclear energy and power devolution
I just got done watching Eugene Jarecki’s Why We Fight, a documentary on the American military-industrial complex (a term coined by Dwight D. Eisenhower in his extraordinary farewell address) and the enormous influence in exerts over our foreign policy. It’s depressing, but still, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
It got me thinking about the nuclear question again, and a post I wrote almost a year ago — one of my favorites — called "Renewable energy and the devolution of power." The idea was basically this: The kind of distributed-energy/smart-grid future greens envision would, if implemented, devolve political power outward from Washington. It would substantially increase regional self-sufficiency. This, as much as any technical debate, explains why the power elite has neglected to pursue it, and even fought against it.
It also, I think, explains Washington’s love of nuclear energy. Nuclear is a familiar template for them: a large industry with one or two dominant corporations, with lobbyists that move in and out of government positions — the usual chummy arrangement. It’s something they can understand and control.
If regions create their own energy, they have much less need for, and are much less in thrall to, D.C. That has enormous implications. I’m not sure renewable-energy advocates have really thought it through.