Article Critique-Cost Accounting for Nuclear Energy

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Article Critique

Costanza, Robert, et al. “A True Cost Accounting Approach to Nuclear.” Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit. 5 Apr 2011. 6 Aug 2011.

In his article, “A True Cost Accounting Approach to Nuclear,” Robert Costanza first presents the example of hidden clean up costs of the nuclear disaster in the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan. The cost of which are paid in large part by the national government and taxpayers rather than the industry. Costanza explains that this makes judging the value of nuclear power difficult. The author proposes that all forms of energy incorporate their full costs including climate impacts, risk of accidents and the safe disposal of waste to determine their true value rather than considering them externalities. Robert Costanza is a University Professor of Sustainability and Director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University. He is also the cofounder and former president of the International Society for Ecological Economics. Costanza is well qualified for the topic and clearly expresses his main purpose in his opening paragraph. The author helps visualize the topic with the recent nuclear disaster in Japan that many of us experienced through the media. Constanza states that “taken as a whole, the safety record of nuclear energy has been relatively good”. Specifically, “France generates approximately 75% of its electricity from nuclear power and has been running plants for decades without major incident”. The author provides information on new plant designs called generation III reactors that have improved safety features over the 1970’s generation II reactors such as the one at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Then candidly Constanza points out the plants built before the 1990’s are beginning to show their age and the risk for disaster begins to increase. In detail, he explains the problem of long term waste disposal. Recently a proposal of a storage...
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