The Need for Nuclear Power

Among the nation’s many economic woes is the soaring price of oil.  Indeed, of all problems now facing the country the ‘Energy Crisis", is my opinion, the most serious of all, but potentially the easiest to solve.  First the problem.  The dependence of the US economy on oil is great and unfortunately growing.  Much of this oil comes from non-US based sources. Oil is needed to fuel the country’s obsession with monster cars and lack of sensible national mass transit alternatives.  At the same time oil still accounts for a significant amount of US electricity generation.  Obviously, as oil prices rise it costs more to generate electricity and that cost is passed on in the form of higher electricity rates, leading to higher general inflation levels.  A total lose lose situation.  When I first started out on Wall Street in 1972 I was assigned the electric utility industry to follow.  At that time nuclear power was the wave of the future.  It was the low-cost option for electricity generation and it was the most envirnomentally friendly.  By some estimates nuclear energy was deemed the power of the future.  Then came Three Mile Island.  The incident at GPU’s reactor was a mere industrial accident which released as much radiation as a chest x-ray. However, it bankrupted the utility, and was the beginning of the end for nuclear power development.  Concerns over nuclear safety were grossly overdone and films like the "China Syndrome" didn’t help matters.  This was very unfortunate, since nuclear power is still the best cost option for producing electricity and is the most environmentally friendly.  It is an obvious answer to much of the energy problem facing the nation today, but while there is talk of some new generation plants no construction has begun anywhere.  This is a national disgrace.  France dervives more than 75% of its juice from nuclear plants.  Japan is also a heavy user.  It’s completely absurd that nuclear power is not at the forefront of energy solutions. 

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