At about 10:15 tonight, these were headlined news stories on the Washington Post website.
- Amy Adams will play Lois Lane in the new Superman movie.
- Geraldine Ferraro is dead.
- Food dyes may influence hyperactivity.
- Tourists are looking at cherry blossoms in Washington.
- Four teams of college basketball players have made it to the NCAA finals.
If you had the fortitude and patience to read further, you might have come across stories about the Middle East, where apparently there is some degree of civil and social unrest; about the US Congress, which may possibly shut down the whole of government because of inter-party snittery; and about Japan, where it seems there is something amiss at one of the nuclear power plants.
You needn’t worry about that nuclear thing, however. The Post last week ran a feature piece called Five Myths About Nuclear Energy. The first myth — which is to say, the most significant of the mistaken beliefs about nuclear energy — is that
The biggest problem with nuclear energy is safety.
Safety is certainly a critical issue, as the tragedy in Japan is making clear. But for years, the the biggest challenge to sustainable nuclear energy hasn’t been safety, but cost.
There. Don’t you feel better now? The Washington Post tells us that the challenge is cost, not safety. So stop worrying about radiation and all that stuff. Worry about the money. Keep in mind, however, that the Post article also includes this note:
Of course, cost and safety aren’t unrelated. Concerns about safety lead to extensive regulatory approval processes and add uncertainty to plant developers’ calculations — both of which boost the price of financing new nuclear plants. It’s not clear how much these construction costs would fall if safety fears subsided and the financing became cheaper — and after the Fukushima catastrophe, we’re unlikely to find out.
I guess that means it won’t cost such an awful lot to fix whatever needs fixing in Japan. What’s going to cost is all that goddam regulatory stuff. You know, those unreasonable demands government makes on large corporations.