The decline and fall of nuclear power
On August 25, 2019, the Washington Post published an editorial condemning Independent Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, also a Democratic presidential candidate, for, among other things, excluding nuclear power from his version of the Green New Deal. The Post declared that: “Mr. Sanders also promises to make his plan unnecessarily expensive by ruling out a long-established source of carbon-free electricity: nuclear power. Not only would he halt the building of new plants, but he also would deny re-licensing to the existing ones that now provide about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity.” We took issue with the Washington Post’s claim that Sanders’s exclusion of nuclear power made his proposal “unnecessarily expensive,” especially given the fact that nuclear power is, itself, wildly expensive and relies for its continued existence on massive subsidies. So we wrote back, and our letter was published beneath the August 29th editorials, under the category “Taking exception.” It was startling, but not uncommon, to see the claim made by the Post, that nuclear power is somehow an “affordable option.” The editorial board provided no source reference for its claim that axing nuclear upped the price of Sanders’s plan. But there are plenty of examples that demonstrate how including nuclear power would place a continued economic burden on consumers, and even governments, and that this has always been the case.