I read today that Japan has imported a cool $200 billion worth of fossil fuels to replace the electricity that would have been generated by nuclear power plants had they not all been shut down after the earthquake and tidal wave that ended the reactors at Fukushima. Two hundred billion dollars! Now somebody (or lots of somebodys) made some profit on that. The $200 billion is above and beyond what Japan normally imports to meet their energy demands. That is truly astounding.
Talk about rubbing salt in an open wound. The loss of life and massive destruction was not the end of the disaster. The government of Japan consciously choose to enact policies that added an additional price tag of $200 billion to the catastrophe.
This got me to thinking about the phobias of all things nuclear. Do you think that the folks importing $200 billion of fossil fuels might have a slight interest in continuing to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about nuclear safety?
Therein lies my proposal. I think that a potential way to overcome the fear of nuclear is for a molten salt reactor company to chose a city of about 20,000 people and offer a reactor to them for some cut rate, something approaching free. Or maybe the entire electrical output of the reactor, for say 4.5 cent/kWh for a period of 10 years.
The city would help with the siting of the nuclear power plant (NPP) in exchange for cheap electricity. Then, over the course of years, other cities could see how reliable, affordable, green, clean, nuclear power could benefit them, too.
Not all cities are blessed with Pacific breezes and perpetually mild weather where a few solar panels will power some led lights and recharge an iPhone.
There are plenty of cities with harsh weather that are also economically depressed that might accept some good fortune. Perhaps the demonstration of a molten salt reactor using thorium might convince some that nuclear is the way to go.