President Obama recently announced his “blueprint” for addressing global climate change in a recent speech at Georgetown University. The President had plenty to trumpet about his Administration’s “clean energy” achievements. In 2012, the Administration’s Department of Interior permitted the development of 10 gigawatts of renewable wind, solar and geothermal energy on federal lands in the United States. By the end of July 2013, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will have launched the first-ever offshore auction of federal land along the Atlantic coast for offshore wind energy development between Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Block Island, NY. According to Stanford University, interconnected offshore wind farms positioned ten to fifity miles out along the Atlantic Seaboard from New England to Virginia could produce one third of the entire nation’s electrical energy just from renewable wind energy. Obama’s speech comes just weeks after the first-in-the-world offshore floating wind turbine was commissioned on June 13, 2013 in the Gulf of Maine and began transmitting renewable generated energy to the land-based electrical grid.
But the President could not shed the nuclear industry’s yoke that he has been harnessed in since the beginning of his first Administration. With the collapse of new reactor applications for lack of industry willingness to risk their own financing, President Obama once again took the opportunity to call upon the nation, (i.e. taxpayers) to buck up to an unknown amount in investment in “emerging nuclear technologies--including small modular reactors.” Nuclear power has forever been an “emerging” technology where after decades of financial subsidies and liability protection still fails the economic test. Now the industry and it’s champions’ latest new hope hangs on the development of new infrastructure, the equivalent of atomic big box stores for untested and uncertified reactor systems rated under 300 megawatts. According to a recent webinar on Small Modular Reactors sponsored by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, what was indisputably unaffordable as a behemoth “economy of scale” experiment will be even more expensive as a mini-nuke factory assembly line. To continue to stake addressing the climate crisis on a historically failed and dangerous nuclear industry represents a colossal energy policy blunder.