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Re: I thought of an initialy regulated industry!...

At 5:43 AM -0700 10/1/98, Jim Choate wrote:
>In regards the discussion about regulation and industry. I can think of only
>one industry that was regulated before the very first company opened their
>doors for business....nuclear power plants.
>Personaly, 3 Mile Island in a un-regulated industry scares the hell out of
>me...and I support nuclear power. Look at the fiasco of Chernobyl in a
>control market.
>I'd like to hear from any free market mavens who might want to use the
>nuclear industry as an example of how things could be so much better with no
>regulation regarding construction, operation, or waste disposal.

"Regulation" of the nuclear power industry had the predicted effect of
overly conservative designs being standardized. Specifically, the
Westinghouse boiling water designs, basically frozen in 1955 and little
changed since then.

Ordinary evolutionary improvement, plus revolutionary improvement, has not
been possible. (Some examples would include inherently fail-safe designs
like the Canadian CANDU reactor, and various improvements the French have
made in the original Westinghouse design.)

Waste disposal is even more of an example of a government-worsened problem.
If politicians were not grandstanding about the dangers of nuclear waste
and monkeywrenching plans, we'd have waste disposal sites.

(For example, there is no plausible evidence that storing waste in caverns
in dry desert areas in Nevada, California, New Mexico, etc. is dangerous.
And certainly better in all regards than storing waste in drums sitting in
places like Hanford, Washington, near the Columbia River. Etc.)

Personally, I favor the "Pournelle Solution": acquire a 10-mile by 10-mile
region of the Mojave Desert. Not in an "ecologically interesting" area of
Death Valley, but just out in the vast scrublands. Erect a double fence
around it, and perhaps even a minefield (if one is worried about thefts of
nuclear waste). Pile the spent fuel rods, medical gear, gloves, etc. on
pallets separated  by wide roads from other pallets. This "solves" the
waste problem for at least a matter of many decades, by which time various
technologies will likely have presented other and better solutions. Cost is
low, convenience is high, safety is good, environmental polllution is nil.

Finally, the "environmental burden" imposed by a coal-fired power plant is
vastly greater than that from a nuclear plant. Do the math on particulates,
carbon levels, etc. Many libertarians have proposed better schemes for
dealing with such environmental burdens....if fossil fuel-powered plants
had to actually pay their share of environmental costs, they'd be even more
expensive than nuclear.

Face it, nuclear has failed in the U.S. because of yahoos who think their
children will be mutated or something along those lines. (I dealt with
these yahoos at Intel when my lab was using a lot of radioactive sources.)

Cypherpunks is not the place to debate nuclear power, but I had to answer
these claims.

--Tim May

Y2K: A good chance to reformat America's hard drive and empty the trash.
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
ComSec 3DES:   831-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Licensed Ontologist         | black markets, collapse of governments.