In its recent edition, The Solutions Journal asks this question in the context of the Fukushima disaster (Vol. 2, Issue 3, Apr 05, 2011 ).
The authors R. Costanza, C. Cleveland, B. Cooperstein and I. Kubiszewski argue that the external costs of the nuclear need to be reflected in the prices for electricity generated by all power plants. Costs for the risk of accidents, the safe disposal of waste and for climate impacts. They conclude that the market mechanism will help to find out “whether nuclear power plants, or some subset of nuclear power plants, should be part of the energy solution”.
The proposal is somewhat convincing on the economical level. However, it completely overestimates our ability to imagine or even control the development, the needs, wishes and abilities of human societies in the future. If Nebukadnezar would have had nuclear power plants, we would still have to keep a watch on his nuclear wastes, with absolutely no benefit for us.
Is there any good reason at all to burden our descendants with such a task? Economical or not?
IEES News editor