Terry Tamminen, former secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, president of Seventh Generation Advisors, and an operating partner at Pegasus Capital Advisors, is also a contributor to CNBC's Guest Blog. He just blogged "Is Nuclear Energy Just Mission Impossible?", alluding to the Hollywood action flicks starring Tom Cruise. Here is an excerpt:
"...The wild card that is common to every nuclear facility and which puts this technology squarely in the mission-impossible category however, is not technology or waste — it’s human error.
The report from Japan last week about the Fukushima nuclear disaster makes that abundantly clear, as would any similar report about Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, or even the thus-far benign closure of Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, SONGS.
In fact, no one yet knows why pipes at SONGS are leaking radioactive steam, but the fact that engineers did not predict it and that everyone at Edison is surprised by the failure attests to the limits of human calculation — even after [the nuclear power industry's] half-century of experience...
...And when speaking of the cost-benefit analysis of nuclear power, let’s recall that this is the only industry that has a law protecting it from itself.
The Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act of 1957 caps the liability of power plant owners and their insurance companies for nuclear accidents at $12.6 billion, after which taxpayers are on the hook.
If the market were allowed to function in this case, would any new nuclear power plants be built in America — or existing ones re-licensed — if Price-Anderson were repealed?" More: CNBC