You cannot be for green and clean energy unless you support nuclear power.

There is an interesting article in City Journal about the nuclear option that the left is desperately ignoring these days. No, not a nuclear option in the Senate to kill the filibuster altogether. A nuclear option to replace coal power plants with clean nuclear power that isn’t dependent on wind or sunlight and can be relied on round-the-clock and in any season.

Unfortunately I ran across a sentence I had to take issue with.

“But then came the 1979 accident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island plant and the core meltdown at the Soviet Union’s Chernobyl in 1986. Both, understandably, led to calls for stricter regulations.”

Not so fast. My problem is with the interjection, “understandably.” Despite the fact that the Three Mile Island accident was certain serious and not to be treated lightly, “its small radioactive releases had no detectable health effects on plant workers or the public” (NRC “Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident”, last reviewed/updated June 2018 – publicly available on the NRC website).

Chernobyl was a type of reactor that nobody (except apparently the Soviets) was building anymore, precisely because of the chance that something like the Chernobyl meltdown might happen. The only operating reactor in the US that was even close to that design was the Hanford N unit, the last operating reactor at Hanford, which was eventually decommissioned in 1987 (a year after the Chernobyl accident). And I remember experts at the time explaining how Hanford likely couldn’t do what Chernobyl did, anyway, because despite facial similarities, it was designed quite differently (for one thing, it operated 300 degrees cooler than Chernobyl, and it possessed a dedicated cooling system, which Chernobyl did not). This is borne out by a GAO report (“Comparison of DOE’s Hanford N-Reactor With the Chernobyl Reactor”, GAO/RCED-86213BR, publicly available on the GAO website).

The only reason those accidents led to calls for stricter regulations was because the anti-nuclear movement (financed by the Soviet Union) was punching above its weight class, and politicians of the “we must do something about this immediately, immediately, immediately!” stripe were able to get such regulations put in place without much public scrutiny of the frankly minimal problems caused by Three Mile Island and the fact that an accident like Chernobyl was impossible at any operating American nuclear plant (with the possible exception of Hanford-N, but see the GAO report previously mentioned) at the time.

I don’t have a problem with the rest of the article, which is about what idiots Governor Cuomo and the State of New York are for demanding the shutdown of Indian Point Units #2 and #3 in favor of some vaporware promises of replacement with “renewable energy” (likely two large natural gas power plants which will add to New York State’s CO2 emissions, whereas Indian Point produced zero CO2). Given that Indian Point currently produces 11% of the electrical power used in New York State, and a quarter of the electricity used by New York City and Westchester County, I wish them luck with that.  But they’re sure as hell not going to generate that kind of power with supposedly-carbon-neutral solar or wind power.  And the price of power is just going to go up and up and up in New York State.  This isn’t really about clean green energy, is it, Mr. Cuomo?  Because I’ll bet an honest investigation would find that there have been plenty of “incentives”* thrown around in Albany by special interests to get the Indian Point units shut down well before the end of their working life.

And OBTW — where is New York State going to get all that natural gas?  Cuomo has banned fracking and pipelines from Pennsylvania to bring in fracked natural gas.  Follow the money…I’ll bet it leads to some interesting places.

My sister and her husband really need to start thinking seriously about getting the hell out of New York.


* And by “incentives”, I mean, “bribes”.