What is striking is this --
Since 2005, new U.S. reactors (if any) have been 100+% subsidized--yet they couldn't raise a cent of private capital, because they have no business case. They cost 2-3 times as much as new windpower, and by the time you could build a reactor, it couldn't even beat solar power. Competitive renewables, cogeneration, and efficient use can displace all U.S. coal power more than 23 times over--leaving ample room to replace nuclear power's half-as-big-as-coal contribution too--but we need to do it just once. Yet the nuclear industry demands ever more lavish subsidies, and its lobbyists hold all other energy efforts hostage for tens of billions in added ransom, with no limit.
Nuclear After Japan: Amory Lovins
By Amory Lovins
As heroic workers and soldiers strive to save stricken Japan from a new horror--radioactive fallout--some truths known for 40 years bear repeating.
An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million people is an unwise place for 54 reactors.
The 1960s design of five Fukushima-I reactors has the smallest safety margin and probably can't contain 90% of meltdowns.
The U.S. has 6 identical and 17 very similar plants.
Every currently operating light-water reactor, if deprived of power and cooling water, can melt down.
Fukushima had eight-hour battery reserves, but fuel has melted in three reactors.
Most U.S. reactors get in trouble after four hours.
Some have had shorter blackouts. Much longer ones could happen.
Overheated fuel risks hydrogen or steam explosions that damage equipment and contaminate the whole site--so clustering many reactors together (to save money) can make failure at one reactor cascade to the rest.
Nuclear power is uniquely unforgiving: as Swedish Nobel physicist Hannes Alfvén said, "No acts of God can be permitted."
Fallible people have created its half-century history of a few calamities, a steady stream of worrying incidents, and many near-misses.
America has been lucky so far.
Had Three Mile Island's containment dome not been built double-strength because it was under an airport landing path, it may not have withstood the 1979 accident's hydrogen explosion.
In 2002, Ohio's Davis-Besse reactor was luckily caught just before its massive pressure-vessel lid rusted through.