With recent multiple tragedies occurring simultaneously in Japan, we can all help the Japanese people to rebuild , mourn their dead and comfort those in need. We are now also in a better position to make decisions that will certainly affect future generations as to the wisdom of using nuclear power, and subsequent health and safety ramifications we are seeing unfold each day.
A few decades ago, as many of us remember, there was a big push for nuclear power generation and in particular, two proposed plants in California and one here in Colorado.
Many of us protested the proposals as too dangerous , with too many unanswered questions as to the wisdom of building in certain locales , necessary safeguards , the resulting nuclear waste and it’s safe disposal among other concerns.
What the nuclear “experts”, hired by General Electric, The Pacific Gas and Electric Co and other proponents told Americans at the time, was that the San Onofre and Diablo Canyon plants, (located near the Newport/ Inglewood/Rose canyon earthquake fault, and the Hosgri fault , respectively) could withstand magnitude 7.5 quakes and safely continue operation.
The proponents of nuclear generation also claimed that after construction, the resulting electricity would be “To cheap to meter”, in effect, promising Americans free electricity.
Well, as we have learned the hard way……they lied.
In fact, the Platteville Colorado nuclear plant was so far over budget and plagued with so many unforseen safety and production problems, that after 10 years of non-productive and VERY expensive attempts to bring it on-line, it was finally de-commissioned at a cost of $ 283 million, ( in 1989 dollars) to merely shut it down.
The remaining nuclear fuel rods, still at 90% of their power, remain stored on site……. 25 miles due east of Boulder and 20 miles northeast of Denver.
The plant has since been quietly , but expensively, converted to coal burning energy generation.
Newer sustainable, clean and plentiful energy technologies have been, and continue to be developed as safer, cheaper alternatives to nuclear power.
The next time anyone tells Americans that they can create nuclear power that is “Safe” and “Too cheap to meter”, it will be time to tell them “Thanks, but no thanks”.