Nuclear Power Making a Comeback?

An article in the New York Times indicates that nuclear power could be making a comeback. Personally, I think it is still a big maybe, but the high prices of natural gas, and the pressure that such prices exert on traditionally cheap sources of energy such as coal, have made both nuclear and renewable sources of energy (wind, solar, etc.) look relatively more attractive. The big problem as I see it is extreme environmentalism and NIMBYism. Still, the fact that people are even looking at more nuclear electricity generation and considering is a positive development, IMO.

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Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. Steven Plunk says:

    Nuclear power is a viable option. Safety advances have been made and reactors can be built for less money.

    If we can keep government regulation to a minimum and allow the private sector to work within a free market environment perhaps this will work out in the long run.

    Hey, the French make it work.

  2. ken says:

    The big problem as I see it is extreme environmentalism and NIMBYism

    When the problem of what to do with the spent fuel is a problem that lasts for 10,000 years or so, how is ‘extreme environmentalism’ a bad thing?

    I would think that anyone who considers himself somewhat rational would think that this is a problem that begs for an solution that meets the problem. By any definition that solution would be ‘extreme’ compared to more traditional solutions.

  3. Kent says:

    Ken-with-no-T might be interested in an article in the latest Scientific American on the very topic of what to do with that 10,000-year waste. The bottom line is that the best way to get rid of it is to burn it in a reactor, which also greatly increases the efficiency of the overall fuel cycle. This has been known for quite some time. What is new is that there are reactor technologies on the horizon that allow it to be burned without a plutonium extraction step, with its alleged proliferation risks.

  4. ken says:

    Kent, if that is a viable solution it looks completely different to the traditional solution of just storing the nuclear waste. But one question, if I remember correctly, doesn’t the reactor still produce more waste than can be actually ‘burned’?

  5. M1EK says:

    Declaring fear of nuclear waste “extreme” environmentalism pretty much shows that you consider “regular” environmentalism to be the guys that burn spotted owls in their SUVs. Hint: MOST Americans are leery of nuclear power. It’s not ‘extreme’.

  6. Steve Verdon says:


    Most people are leery of nuclear power because of extreme environmentalism that wants to return to a pre-industrial era. Further, just because “most people” hold a certain view it does not make them right.

  7. M1EK says:

    “Further, just because “most people” hold a certain view it does not make them right.”

    Of course that’s true. But it also means that anybody who classifies that view as “extreme” is an idiot.