Should New Coal Plants Carry the Risk of Bankruptcy?
An interview conducted in January 2008 and posted on line ever since is causing a bit of a stir in the blogosphere, on talk radio, and in the mainstream press. Part of the reason for the attention is the fact that some of the states where polls indicate a close balance between the two major party candidates happen to be important coal producers.
The phrase that is getting the attention from coal producers is the following:
“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.
Note the nuance – the action that would impose the risk of causing a bankruptcy is building a plant, not operating an existing plant. That is exactly the situation that many anti-nuclear activists have tried to create for anyone who is planning to build a new nuclear plant. What do you think? Should the possibility of bankruptcy loom for anyone who builds a new coal-fired power plant in the US?
Here are my thoughts as posted on the article linked above:
The politically interesting part about this tempest is that the interview with the San Francisco Chronicle took place in January and has been readily available for discussion ever since. Why wait until November to start talking about it?
As a former nuclear submarine officer who really likes nuclear power for its ability to produce massive quantities of reliable electricity without producing any emissions, I am in favor of a system that charges coal, oil and gas for the service that we are all providing by allowing them to dump their deadly waste into our common atmosphere.
The writing on the wall for the coal industry has been there for fifty years. There is a cleaner, cheaper alternative. Instead of shifting to that alternative, the coal industry has spent 40 years in a rear guard effort to defend its market share, doing everything it could to slow down the growth of nuclear power.
I have no tears for the owners of the mines. On the other hand, I do care about the mine workers but I know that a growing nuclear power construction and operating industry would have plenty of good paying jobs for hard working miners.
They might even prefer working in a clean, safe environment that does not offer the regular opportunity for injury and death in tunnel collapses. They might even enjoy the fact that they are no longer having to blow up their beloved mountains in order to feed their families in the rural areas of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. After all, those areas would make good locations for important parts of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Heck, just a few miles from the Virginia coal country is one of the largest known deposits of uranium in the US. https://atomicinsights.com/2008/01/coal-mining-versus-uranium-mining-in-virginia.html