The Optimal Amount of Nuclear Power Generation?

Is it zero?  I don’t think so. I believe that it is important to keep our options open.  The NY Times reports about a new nuclear plant being built in Georgia and highlights that this is a rare event.    This story raises an important human capital point.  Suppose you are a young engineer at UCLA, MIT or Stanford.  Are you going to specialize in nuclear engineering if you don’t expect that new plants will be built?  The answer is “no” but then a death spiral takes place. If few of the top young students enter this field, then does technological advance in this field slow down?  Yes! and then does the probability of another nuclear disaster increase? Yes!  We end up with an aging nuclear capital stock and little “new blood” entering the field.   This intersection between human capital and the allocation of talent across fields in helping society to mitigate environmental externalities is an under-studied topic.

Reader Comments

6 Replies to “The Optimal Amount of Nuclear Power Generation?”

  1. I agree with your assessment. But it goes much further than that. Nuclear power is an alternative to greenhouse producing power plants. There are anti-nuclear groups who want not only no more nuclear plants but they want to shut down all existing ones. That means more greenhouse gas producing power plant will have to come on line to replace this loss in power. Alternative sources just don’t exist at present and probably not for another decade of so. That means even more greenhouse gases and global warming. The lives lost from all nuclear disasters is insignificant compared to the annual lost of lives due to global warming around the world and it is getting much worst. Nuclear power has to be one of the options for the production of clean energy. It is a viable source of clean energy and can be abundant into the foreseeable future. Go to rSocialConscience for more on this.

  2. I agree with your assessment. But it goes much further than that. Nuclear power is an alternative to greenhouse producing power plants. There are anti-nuclear groups who want not only no more nuclear plants but they want to shut down all existing ones. That means more greenhouse gas producing power plant will have to come on line to replace this loss in power. Alternative sources just don’t exist at present and probably not for another decade of so. That means even more greenhouse gases and global warming. The lives lost from all nuclear disasters is insignificant compared to the annual lost of lives due to global warming around the world and it is getting much worst. Nuclear power has to be one of the options for the production of clean energy. It is a viable source of clean energy and can be abundant into the foreseeable future. Go to rSocialConscience for more on this.

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