It is interesting that those who scream the loudest about “no blood for oil” have helped make the nation dependent on foreign oil. But don’t expect any commentators in the media to highlight the contradiction.
I live about 30 miles outside of Washington, D.C. in southern Maryland and about 25 miles from the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant. The President was recently there, making a pitch for the building of more nuclear power plants. Bush noted that America has not ordered a nuclear plant since the 1970s. By contrast, France has built 58 nuclear plants in the same period of time. China now has eight nuclear plants in the works and plans to build at least 40 more over the next two decades.
America hasn’t built any nuclear plants largely because of the impact of Jane Fonda’s 1979 film, The China Syndrome, about an accident in a nuclear power plant. Media coverage of the actual nuclear accident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island plant that same year also contributed, of course. But the release of radiation from that mishap was contained, and there were no injuries or deaths, only mental distress caused by the media coverage.
On April 28 of this year, one of the founding members of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore, testified before Congress in favor of more nuclear power plants. You probably didn’t hear anything about it because his testimony was completely ignored by the major media.
The Hollywood version of the truth is that nuclear power is bad. But Hollywood also teaches that global warming is a terrible threat, as evidenced by the movie The Day After Tomorrow. The evidence is clear that nuclear power helps solve the potential problem of greenhouse gases but Hollywood and most of the political left are not interested.
One exception is New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who has broken ranks and says that “It’s increasingly clear that the biggest environmental threat we face is actually global warming, and that leads to a corollary: nuclear energy is green. . . Nuclear power, in contrast with other [energy] sources, produces no greenhouse gases. . .[F]or now, nuclear power is the only source that doesn’t contribute to global warming and that can quickly become a mainstay of the grid.”
Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, has called global warming a hoax. Kristof, of course, won’t admit that. What Kristof also doesn’t want to admit is that the biggest corporate backer of the global warming treaty was Enron, which was making large-scale investments in wind and solar power, before it went bankrupt. Ken Lay of Enron was one of 25 business executives on President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development.
Nuclear power should be supported because it can be demonstrated to be safe and reduces our dependence on foreign oil, not because it solves a perceived and much-disputed global warming problem that the media endlessly publicize. But it is fascinating nonetheless to see columnists like Kristof and some environmentalists come around on the issue.