Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where Atoms Collide

Timing is everything.

A few days before Christmas it was announced that Arizona State University had secured a $40.8 million federal grant to develop a device to measure radiation in humans that could be used in the event of a nuclear accident.

It appears that this news of possible greater nuclear ‘security’ may have helped to encourage the Governor of our nation's sunniest state, Jan Brewer, to today proclaim her faith that, “[nuclear energy is] the wave of the future.” It is odd that she would employ a water metaphor when speaking of thirsty nuclear power generation in the middle of a desert suffering both its fourteenth year of drought and an undisciplined community depleting its ancient aquifer.

Even if enough puddles and piss could be squeegeed together to slake the thirst of additional Arizona nuclear generation before the next generation of citizens catches on to the evaporative theft, another stark fact remains. It will be at least a decade before a single electron appears from a new nuclear reactor. Meanwhile, the Arizona energy gap looms, the costs of existing traditional energy are increasing, and the financial capital to risk on building an expensive, new nuclear plant is draining quickly from Arizona’s fragile economy. Happily, early alerts to the ascendant economics and the other advantages of solar energy, and the calls for its rapid adoption are finally being heeded.

The Governor also expressed her wish to reduce "the hidden tax of regulation." In Arizona, it is not the “hidden tax of regulation” that has brought the state to this terrible juncture. Rather, it is the state’s long history of the repression of solar energy and energy conservation as well as hidden, regressive taxes that have reduced Arizona.

Brewer further said, "We cannot quash the next generation of entrepreneurs with petty rules and fines." At least, rules and fines are transparent. We must support the next generation of thoughtful creators with effective rules, transparency, and a habit of accountability.

ASU team gets grant for nuclear detection
Arizona Gov. Wants More Nuclear Power in State