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June 24, 2008

Be Like Lithuania

An interesting little side quiz just took place on CNBC.

What nation relies on nuclear energy the most?

My guess was France. That was wrong.

The correct answer is the former-Soviet republic of Lithuania.

Yes, little Lithuania relies on old Soviet engineering, the same kind that gave us the Chernobyl disaster, to power its microwave ovens and televisions showing re-runs of "Stalin loves Lenin" and "How Gorby Met Your Mother."

So, here's a question: Why can't the U.S. be more like Lithuania.

I know there is the argument that most people don't want a nuclear reactor in their backyard.

But is a nuclear reactor in your backyard better or worse than a coal power plant?

Business Week took "clean coal" to task in its latest issue. The obvious oxymoron of clean coal energy is broadcast all over the airwaves as the technology that will save the U.S. and end our dependence on oil.

Yeah, at the risk of giving us all lung cancer from the emissions. Oh, and there is that pesky global warming caused by the CO2 emissions that we still have no way to control.

I know there is a fear of a terrorist attack on a nuclear plant. I understand the concern. However, I also understand that we can't live our lives in fear of the worst. Modern nuclear plants are safe and have back-up control systems. To live in fear of a coordinated attack on a nuclear power plant is also ludicrous because it fits into what Bruce Schneier calls a "movie scenario."

It seems like a likely target, but the true risk of an attack would need something on the scale of a full suspension of disbelief that everything would work perfectly to pull it off.

Maybe its time we stepped back and looked indiscriminately at nuclear power as a real option.

After all, if little Lithuania can do it with decades-old Soviet technology, why can't we?

This entry is tagged: business, Business Week, CNBC, Lithuania, nuclear power

Posted by bmiraski at June 24, 2008 9:41 AM