[Marxism] Indo-US Nuclear Deal: EPW Editorial

dave.walters at comcast.net dave.walters at comcast.net
Sat Aug 18 08:10:10 MDT 2007


Sukla's argument by proxy continues along with the latest post from countercurrents. I only want to 
take up one part of this editorial:

"Nuclear power has a bleak future worldwide - despite
global warming, which the nuclear industry claims it
can mitigate. Nuclear power can only make an
insignificant contribution to greenhouse gas
reduction. A just-published Oxford Research Group
study says that for nuclear industry's contribution to
be significant, the global industry would have to
construct about one reactor a week for 60 years - an
absurdity."

First, stating that atomic energy has a "bleak future" might be one of those overstated arguments 
that proejects wishful thinking over serious reality. This has less to do with India's controversial 
nuclear program than the rather ignorant statement about the future world wide. So, excluding India 
for a moment, we should examine what is actually going on out there...

>From zero to many. That's the correct generalization about nuclear energy. Romania just put on a 
800 MW atomic plant *last week*. China just went on line with another Russian reactor at 1,000 
MWs. 30 countries than never seriously considered nuclear energy are now doing so, and quite seriously.

Accrording World Nuclear Association China has *now* 13,000 MWs of nuclear power 
plant constuction under way or about to start. That's 12 NPPs breaking ground right now. Between 
now and 2011 another 17 NPPs are being planned. Between now and 2015 at total of 70 NPPs 
are being planned. When the Chinese do something, it appears, it does so in a serous way. The 
Chinese plants, alone, account for ALL the "Renewable" MWs being proposed via solar or wind for 
the same period. These plants, each one of them, stems carbon emissions in the millions of tons per 
year. Everyone of these plants, were they not to be built, would be replaced with coal plants. There 
are no campaigns, I notice, to stop anyone from building coal plants anywhere. They are the single 
biggest stationary carbon emitters in the world. No campaign. I wonder how serious this is?

S.Korea, Russia, and Japan are all planning or building dozens of NPPs. I want to know why the 
writer things that nuclear energy has a 'bleak future'? Over 20 NPPs in the US, I might add, have 
had their operating licenses extended for *two decades*. Perhaps this is a commentary on the 
almost non-existenet anti-nuclear power movement in the US? The frist Construction and 
Operating License has not been submitted to the NRC to build a new reactor. 8 more are expected 
by the end of this year and beginning of next year. The list goes on and on and shows NPP, even 
under current globalizing capitalism seems quite alive and far from 'bleak'.

The idea that nuclear power can only make an insignificant reduction in greenhouse gases is not 
only insane, it's totally irresponsible. IF this were indeed the case, one has to wonder why people propose wind and solar which contribute almost *nothing* to carbon abatement. What kind of 
carbon emission would we have, and would it make a difference of any signifance if all 400 plus 
NPPs burned fossil? What do ya' think?

The MIT report states that to make a "significant" dent in emissions then we'd have to start building 
a NPP once a week. Right now, China is STILL building one *coal fired plant a week.*. To
 implement Germany's "phase out of NPPs", the gov't there is plannign on building *26 coal 
plants* burning that nasty lignite coal. Well done! Plants that pollute now, plants that kill people in 
the thousands right now...and not a peep from the anti-nuclear (and, perhaps, pro-carbon crowd). 
Anti-nuclear activism has a real reactionary aspect to it. Knowing full well that elimination of 
base-load carbon emitting power plants, accounting for at least 40% of all carbon emissions, 
is impossible with wind and/or solar because of reliability and cost, they seek to destroy the 
only bases load non-carbon emitting power source. At the end of the say such a program will 
maintain both poverty and pollution levels, killing thousands.

David Walters


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