Fukushima will continue to scare people into not trusting the utilities or
government in operating nuclear power. The government is not willing to
subsidize the massive upfront costs to build a plant (some estimates for a new
plant are $15 billion), and now the rate payers and tax payers will have to pay
the $1 billion-plus to dismantle and clean up this nuclear plant. Banks
don't see nuclear as a safe investment.While the low natural
gas prices are not likely to continue, the one benefit of the nation's
rapid shift to natural gas currently is that these types of power plants are
very flexible in terms of ramping up and down to match load. Wind and solar,
the fastest-growing energy sources today, are variable in output, so natural gas
is the best "partner" to facilitate this rapid growth. That is, when
the sun sets or winds die down, natural gas can be ramped up to match load.
When the winds blow or sun shines, you can shut off natural gas plants to save
on the cost of burning fuel.Nuclear power cannot be ramped up and
down to meet the 21st century's emerging energy infrastructure.