A farmer works in his field near the cooling towers at the nuclear power plant in Saint-Laurent-Nouan, France, in 2016. (Regis Duvignau/Reuters)It’s a clean, reliable source of energy that the U.S. would do well to embrace.
Whither nuclear power? That question has become more important as energy policies evolve to emphasize emissions-free “green” energy and an increased electrification of the U.S. economy. Some environmentalists consider nuclear power to be crucial to reducing carbon emissions; others continue to vehemently oppose nuclear power and believe that our energy must come solely from renewable sources. The public, encouraged into hysteria by dramatizations of nuclear-plant accidents such as the film The China Syndrome and HBO’s Chernobyl, is split.
Meanwhile, the nuclear-power industry itself is in a parlous state for a variety of tangled reasons. In a recent Manhattan Institute report, I broke them down into four categories: (i) decades of construction cost overruns and plant delays because of poor designs, lack of manufacturing expertise, and changing regulations; (ii) political squabbling over spent-nuclear-fuel disposal; (iii) energy policies, including renewable-energy subsidies and mandates, that have distorted electric-power markets and made it harder for nuclear plants to compete; and (iv) lower natural-gas prices and