An Observation about Nuclear Politics

It seems that practically every story I hear about the very concerning situation in Japan regarding their damaged nuclear plants contains a requisite statement about how those events will affect moves to build new nuclear plants in the US.

However, it strikes me that rather than being a blanket cautionary tale about nuclear power in general, it might be that it is cautionary tale about where in a country as big as the US that we might want to build plants. Further, one suspects a lot is going to be learned from these events.

Regardless, the issue at hand at the moment should be the safety of the Japanese people, not US nuclear power plant construction.

FILED UNDER: Asia, Natural Disasters, Quick Takes, US Politics, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    > Regardless, the issue at hand at the moment should be the safety of the Japanese people, not US nuclear power plant construction.

    Not sure if a round of kick the can down the road is in order.. Events in Japan will unfold as they do, you and I will not be involved beyond sending over a few bucks to help out.

    Take some time to look at the recent PG&E gas line disaster in San Bruno CA, and the complete & utter incompetence shown by PGE. Then consider that they run Diablo Canyon.

  2. john personna says:

    I type this about 30 miles from San Onofre Nuclear Powerplant, which was built on the Southern California coast, to withstand 7.0 earthquakes and retrofitted to handle 25 foot tsunamis.

    Someone on TV yesterday said that we shouldn’t build more reactors in California, but that we had to keep the ones we had. Behavioral economists warn us against that kind of status quo bias, and asymmetrical thinking. If you think they are a good idea, you can build more. If you think they are a bad idea, you really have to take down the old ones.

    I suspect the outcome will be a little irrational. They’ll probably strengthen the California plants, at great cost, and they’ll probably still be a danger.