It was likely not a surprise to "Inside Washington" viewers that most of the usual suspects on the panel Friday saw the crisis in Japan as not being good for the future of nuclear powered electrical plants in this country.
What certainly must have raised a couple of eyebrows though was the strongest opposition to any further construction of such facilities coming from lone conservative Charles Krauthammer (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I think nuclear is dead as a result of this. Look, if Three Mile Island which was a picnic compared with this – one reactor, human error, no health hazard outside of it – as opposed to four reactors, no human error, human heroism in fact, and it’s a disaster of ultimate proportions and in Japan which, you know. It’s not like Chernobyl’s shoddy Soviet construction and expertise. That’s the gold standard and it’s, it’s, it’s gonna, there’s going to be a problem that will take weeks and will leave a residue for years. The resurgence of nuclear energy is dead. We will keep the plants we have, we’re going to inspect them. Look, the Germans have taken seven of their seventeen offline. The Chinese who are kind of reckless environmentally have suspended all construction. It’s over for nuclear. It’s not going to recover.
COLBY KING, WASHINGTON POST: A resurgence, but the resurgence of interest in the idea. The prospect of bringing some nuclear plants online not very good anyway it’s beginning. Why? Because Wall Street has to come in and finance those, those power plants, and there was no interest at all on Wall Street in taking that kind of investment.
KRAUTHAMMER: That’s why Obama, the federal government under Obama and Bush were offering huge loan guarantees as a way to step in override the market and encourage this, but that’s not going to go on. I think its day is done.
As the Left and their media minions love citing conservatives when one of them says something they agree with, it seems a metaphysical certitude Krauthammer's comments will make the rounds in the coming days.
As that happens, we should hope that it is part of a greater discussion concerning what our energy policy should be without nuclear.
The Left and their press are already opposed to coal due to the dreaded carbon dioxide. Oil is hated for similar reasons and is already over $100 a barrel.
In deference to Al Gore and his moronic followers, wind and solar are not close to being able to meet this country's electric needs, and the possibility of getting a new hydroelectric plant built is slim because it might kill some fish.
We as a nation appear to be approaching a tipping point where environmental concerns are about to make it impossible for us to power as well as heat and cool our homes, offices, and factories.
With all due respect to Krauthammer who is indeed one of my favorite writers and commentators, are we really going to allow what might have been a once in lifetime confluence of historic natural disasters dictate our energy policy for the coming decades?
Isn't there instead a far more rational approach to this matter whereby existing plants along the coasts are upgraded to account for tsunamis, and new facilities are built within reasonable distances from fault lines as well as the oceans bordering our eastern and western flanks?
My learned conservative friend should be advised that these reactors survived a 9.0 magnitude quake and all the aftershocks including ones in excess of 7.0. The problem was caused by a tsunami, which is not something we'd have to concern ourselves with at plants 50 to 100 miles inland.
That fellow panelists King, PBS's Mark Shields, and NPR's Nina Totenberg expressed skepticism for nuclear's future was one thing. For Dr. Krauthammer to not only share in the hysteria but also advance it was unfortunate.
Let's hope Charles has a change of heart before he writes his next column or it could be him causing a journalistic tsunami by taking such an extreme view on this important issue.