How to make nuclear economic

Tax the hell out of coal, is in essence the argument of long-time environmentalist Stewart Brand in this interview and his new book.
e360: One of the main arguments against nuclear is economic — it’s not viable in the marketplace. How much should the market play in pushing these technologies, versus the government?

Brand: It’s a strange kind of desperate argument. Probably that question applies most in the developing world where coal really is king, is the cheapest. If the market rules, coal wins almost everywhere. I’ve been saying, and I say in the book, that we have to get used to the idea that there’s a very serious role for the government here, basically to make coal expensive, and let the rest fight it out.
Coal is cheap everywhere, not just in developing countries. His admission that under pure market rules coal is unbeatable is a different tack than those environmentalists who optimistically hope for the advent of renewable power at massive scale... but I think he is being more realistic than they are. After all, renewables are nowhere near being able to satisfy our current demand, let alone the likely future growth:
... the greenest people in the world probably are the squatters in the slums of the world — a billion people. How lucky we are that they’re there, they’re getting out of poverty, they’re green as hell but they would really like electricity 24/7 and fresh water and sanitation and some other things that are going to involve more energy use. That’s either coal or nuclear as far as I can tell.
The whole interview is interesting, and the book looks interesting too – I’ve added it to my (long) reading queue.

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