The list of crippled, non-competitive and near-dead reactors lengthens daily. Few are more critical than San Onofre Units Two and Three, perched on an ocean cliff in the earthquake-tsunami zone between Los Angeles and San Diego.
While the world seems to have overlooked the consequences of the debacle at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the fact remains that the global nuclear power industry continues to suffer from several threats unknown to more conventional power stations.
Many proponents of nuclear power are the same "let the market work" advocates in economics and politics today. If the market were allowed to function in this case, would any new nuclear power plants be built in America -- or existing ones re-licensed -- if Price-Anderson were repealed?
The problem with nuclear power is not simply one of safety. It is one more of economics. So long as we depend on OPEC oil supplies, OPEC can drop its prices and make plant investments uneconomic overnight.