The United States (and many other countries, such as Britain) faces an energy crisis of its own making. Due to a variety of bone-headed “deregulation” schemes, there is now no financial incentive for companies to build new large, baseload generating plants (nuclear, coal, hydro) and there are massive dis-incentives in the form of zealous greens and myopic regulators that will fight them every step of the way should they attempt to solve this problem.
While these facts are on the ground and manifestly self-evident (no new nuclear plants have been built in decades, not counting the TVA re-powering one site) and new baseload coal plants are extremely few and far between, journalists have been touting the “re-emergence” of nuclear power based on almost no hard evidence. As soon as these articles came out, I immediately pointed out the immense difficulties in building one of these plants, which range from the fact that there are 1) no financial incentives large enough to offset the massive risks 2) these estimates are “pie in the sky” and not backed up by cases of building in the USA 3) the history of these sorts of projects, on the other hand, is well documented and grim. This type of “reporting” is typical when reporters have only the barest knowledge of the facts at hand; as such they “humanize” the story and take uninformed or biased opinions verbatim without challenging the facts.
The Wall Street Journal had an article in their May 12, 2008 issue titled “New Wave of Nuclear Power Plants Faces High Costs”. Per the article:
“A new generation of nuclear power plants is on the drawing boards in the U.S., but the projected cost is causing some sticker shock: $5 billion to $12 billion a plant, double to quadruple earlier estimates.”