1. Yes, homelessness and (energy) poverty are the real fruits of the anti-nuclear movement. Long Island is just the most extreme case, where Shoreham was built for a king’s ransom – mainly due to delays in opening and operating the plant caused by anti-nuclear protests, and ultimately state government stonewalling driven by anti-nuclear sentiment. This lead to the utter collapse of Long Island’s electrical utility, along with the people of Long Island being required to pay for the cost of the plant that the utility built, which is only fair, as Shoreham was perfectly safe.
    Thus, the extortionate rates that the government entity responsible for maintenance of the Long Island electrical grid charges – to recover the compensation funds the former utility received from the state to shut down the plant prior to it coming on line – drive up electrical rates to staggering levels.
    This being Long Island, the housing market is, of course, congested there, with demand exceeding supply; when this is combined with the extraordinary rates there – this will inevitably lead to situations of underhousing or outright homelessness. (But just think of the NEGAWATTS we could earn rather than burn by wearing a thicker coat and sleeping on a park bench, rather than sleeping on the inefficient steam grate!)
    Still, in my guess-timation, Long Island is just the tip of the iceberg in what the anti-nuclear movement has achieved, which is much larger than just increasing homelessness.
    I bet that we could link the whole disappearance of industrial jobs in the US to high electrical rates. The US has always had high labor costs, compared to many European nations, even 150, 100, and 50 years ago. What it did not have then was high energy costs. It had the lowest energy costs in the world, and they were getting lower. With the kind of margins possible on manufacturing in a nation that only had a very small cost for energy, manufacturing supported the US middle class; it still probably would have today if we had continued the expansion of nuclear power. We had a smart thing going: we had electrical companies that could only make more money if they made more electricity, and they had gotten very, very good at that.
    When, in 1964, you could build a 636 MWe nuclear station (Oyster Creek) for what today would be around $460 m, and prices were not getting higher, you basically had practically unlimited energy on demand.
    Oh, yes, natural gas would still be used…for cooking…and fertilizer…but beyond that? Electricity had driven manufactured gas into rapid collapse in the 1960s, and had even expanded into RESISTANCE HEATING, a somewhat ridiculous use for electricity, if I do say so myself, but it paid the bills!
    GM, for instance, could afford to be “a social insurance company with an automotive manufacturing division” – even up to the 1990s, because of the legacy of cheap power in the Midwest. The steel mills had increasing access to coal, as the decoalification of electricity commenced in the 1950s and 1960s, and iron ore could be mined at inexpensive prices.
    Now, few steel mills are left. GM is on government life support. Manufacturing is the sick man of the US economy. Over the past three decades, the cost of living has increased for US citizens, but real wages have stayed stagnant! What happened? First, the oil shock of 1973, which made transport more expensive than it was before. Second, the cessation of large-scale power construction with the nuclear and effective coal moratoriums from around 1975 for nuclear, around 1990 for coal, until today.
    Compare Japan, France, Germany, Korea, and Taiwan. All have plenty of manufacturers (though Germany is having some trouble), basic industries, still produce goods sold the world over, even in the face of Chinese competition, and are in good shape. In the case of France and Germany, the French build the power plants the Germans use, although the Germans have preserved their installed base.
    The conclusion is inescapable: the death of growth in electrical power has essentially resulted in the deindustrialization of the Midwest, West Coast, and Northeast, and is in the process of killing the uniquely American broad-based middle class – and with that class, the American dream.

    1. Dave, although Shoreham was expensive, it still would have been a relatively cost effective plant if it was allowed to operate. The fact that many projects didn’t go so well and still ended up being cash cow producers is an amazing testimony to the strength of nuclear and the people behind it.

      1. I was not trying to make a point about the cost of Shoreham. Once something’s built that can produce a fixed amount of power 24/7/365, the cost to build it is no longer relevant except to those who are paying the loans (in this case, LILCO). This is because the plant is already there, and it isn’t going anywhere; thus, only the operating cost matters.
        The operating cost of Shoreham would have been negligible compared to the existing generators on Long Island. If I remember correctly, Long Island has another notable power plant. One with low capital costs…but steep operating costs.
        A smoking gun? Well, it smokes, all right.

  2. The thread that can be drawn to make the argument of the relationship between homelessness and affordable energy exists but it may be a bit thin in spots. The affordability of housing is a mix of many factors of course, but if all residents had free water and electricity, like citizens of Dubai, just imagine what an income boost that alone would be.
    I’ve long thought that slow innovation in housing construction techniques and design have been stymied over the years because homes are not homes, they are loan opportunities for banks. There is no vested interest, besides the home buyer, to keep prices/costs low.

  3. As I paid 30 cents a KWH for the electricity and we scrambled to turn off even more lights and try to conserve even more this month, I was strongly contemplating the relationship between stalled nuclear power and poverty. A nuclear power plant was built about 30 miles from my home, totally paid for, finished construction but never used for generating electricity. Now the government is scrambling trying to figure out how to lower utility rates in the face of a drought restricting hydro electric, tight supplies of natural gas, and the left over payments to independent owners of diesel generators who made 20 year must pay contracts for their ability to supply emergency electricity. Yes a great deal of poverty – if not homelessness directly – is laid at the feet of the anti-nuclear movement.

  4. Years ago, the Fusion Energy Foundation did a study on the lives lost in the developing sector because nuclear power was stopped from development. The principle is that the higher energy flux density of fission contributes to the transformation of the economy in a way that other power sources are intrinsically incapable of doing. The mistake made in

    1. I agree with that, and I also read the report you guys put out on possible other…influences over an infamous event in US history that is connected to the topic of this blog, I think it was on http://archive.org.
      Though I don’t usually go for conspiracy theories, I can see how it may have been in the interest of certain groups to rig the apparatus that failed to perform. Too many coincidences. Just too many coincidences.

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