Paul Epstein responds to a recent NYT story on the much-ballyhooed “nuclear revival” with a letter to the editor:
There are many reasons to balk at constructing new nuclear power plants. Safety, storage, and security are significant obstacles, the last two of which may be insurmountable.
Ten seismic faults lie within a 20-mile radius of Yucca Mountain, located 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. And scaling up nuclear power would require the capacity of one “Yucca Mountain” every 5 to 10 years until the midcentury.
Nuclear plants take a decade to build, and estimates for the cost of a nuclear plant have just doubled from $6 billion to $12 billion.
Replacing carbon waste with radioactive waste is not healthy and probably not insurable. A better proposal, offered by Al Gore, is to build a cleanly powered smart grid. With a 10-year timetable and a cost of $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion, such a grid would maximize the benefits and minimize the potential consequences for our health and the global environment.
Cleanly powered smart grid, wo0t!