Utne Blogs > Environment

The (Nuclear) Power of the Market

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: environment, green, nuclear, renewable, power, energy, Rocky Mountain Institute, Amory Lovins, R.E.M.,

 If the future of nuclear power were as bright as its most enthusiastic supporters suggest it is, investors would be flocking to it like electrons to nuclei. But “the smart money is heading for the exits,” reports the Spring 2008 Solutions, the newsletter of the Rocky Mountain Institute energy think tank.

“The private capital market isn’t investing in new nuclear plants, and without financing, capitalist utilities aren’t buying,” write Amory Lovins, Imran Sheikh, and Alex Markevitch, in an article starkly titled “Forget Nuclear.” “In the United States, even government subsidies approaching or exceeding new nuclear power’s total cost have failed to entice Wall Street.”

The article goes on to crunch the numbers behind nuclear vs. renewable energy options, and lands, not surprisingly, yet authoritatively, on the side of renewables. In typical Rocky Mountain Institute style, the report is technical but not obtuse and even, in conclusion, quite impassioned:

“Isn’t it time we forgot about nuclear power?” the authors ask. “Informed capitalists have. Politicians and pundits should, too.”

Elsewhere in the issue, the institute thanks recent donors, and under the category of “Integrators”—those who gave $5,000 to $9,999—is R.E.M./Athens L.L.C., the business end of the little rock band from Georgia. I guess “Green” isn’t just the name of one of their albums.