Monday, October 31, 2016

Watts Bar 2

The first US nuclear reactor to come online in the last 20 years is in the Tennessee Valley Authority. Watts Bar 2 came in 6.5 Billion dollars over budget, allegedly due to nuclear regulation.

Of course, no one from CNN to the LA Times to Forbes backs that up. Everyone seems hung up on the 20-year construction delay.  Watts Bar 1, a sister reactor, went online in 1996 and it took almost nine years to build Watts Bar 2. You’ll find a lot of sprawling think-pieces which provide these basic facts, generously padded with timeline of nuclear disasters from Three Mile Island to Chernobyl and ending in Fukushima.

News articles on the subject seem authoritative until they describe the iconic cooling towers used to remove excess heat as “reactors.” Everyone is quick to bemoan the cultural insecurity which caused nuclear decline, whether it’s coded as regulatory smothering, environmental hyperactivism, or investment cowardice.

Really though, the focus should be the loss of technical literacy which makes supporters and opponents of nuclear power incapable of speaking intelligently on the subject at all.


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