October 15, 2009

Indian and US nuclear power: reversed fortunes

Filed under: Uncategorized — tommoriarty @ 12:52 am
Tags: ,

When I was a kid, sitting at the dinner table complaining about my potatoes, my Mom or Dad would say “Stop complaining, kids in India are starving to death.” If you are an American and as old as I am, then your parents probably said the same thing. Why did they say that?

Simple.  Because it was true.

While they starved, our technology brought us health and wealth. In the summer the corn and soy bean fields around my small town were worked by farmers riding John Deere tractors while in the third world desperate undernourished families labored with their hands and feet in the dust or mud. While their political and economic systems made them powerless to fight the droughts and floods that plagued their land, our engineers and scientists found new and efficient ways to harness the bounty of nature and tame its ravages.

While they put people into mass graves, we put people into space and on the moon. While they huddled around fires of sticks and dung, we built nuclear power plants.

While they got lean and determined, we got fat and lazy.

Times Change

Now Americans are governed by neo-luddites who shun clean nuclear energy and are willing to ruin our economic engine to garner “green” votes, while the Indians embrace the future.  The chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission, Anil Kakodkar, spoke of Indian electricity production and  recently said “The proportion of nuclear power by 2050 could well be around 50 percent” of Indian electricity.

If the United States doesn’t change course, our fraction of nuclear energy will be zero by 2050.

India thenand now


US then and now



  1. While your Photoshop creations are cutesy in a propagandistic sort of way, the “Then” in India is still “Now.” The embrace of technology and nuclear power plants don’t mean there’s any less poverty or any more health and wealth across the board in India, where human life is still a pretty cheap and dispensable commodity. Very few, if any, Americans would feel comfortable living there.

    Comment by Sensible Joe — October 15, 2009 @ 5:24 am | Reply

    • Dear Sensible Joe,

      The last famine in India was in the early 1970s. Since then, India has made (uneven) progress. I hope and expect that that progress will continue. If India can maintain a forward looking approach, my guess is that by 2050 they will look back over the previous 7 or 8 decades and see an arc of progress. Part of it will come from nuclear energy.

      I am afraid that the United States will look back and see its zenith 5 decades in the past. One of the primary ways to prevent this sad outcome is to provide abundant and reliable energy. The most effecive way to do that is through nuclear power.

      As for my “cutesy” images: A picture says a thousand words – but perhaps you were not able to understand the meaning my images. Its always a drag when you have to explain the “cutesy” satire to the one stick in the mud in the room. However, I will spell it out for you:

      The “India then” starving father and child is an actual (unphotoshopped) image from the famine of the early ’70s in India. While there is still malnutritian in India, this type of famine has not occurred in over three decades. That is progress and says much about the determination of the Indian people.

      The “India now” image is a (unphotoshopped) picture of an existing nuclear power plant in India.

      The “US then” (unphotoshopped) picture is a Nuclear Power Plant in the United States, which was built in the late 60s and early 70s. It is still operating today.

      The “US now” is a photoshopped version of a “hippie” with President Obama’s face added and the “No Nukes” sign added. It is meant to be symbolic of what has happened to the leadership in the US. Those folks from the 1970s who signed petitions and held signs against all things nuclear have now advanced to the top levels of the US government. They have either retained their luddite attitudes or pander to their luddite constituencies.

      Best Regards

      Comment by tommoriarty — October 15, 2009 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

  2. In Vermont, the green movement is trying desperately to close Vermont Yankee, our resident nuclear power plant in Shoreham, VT. Entergy, the company that currently owns Vermont Yankee, has added fuel to the fire through poor management practices, but does provide the state with over 500 megawatts of inexpensive electricity.

    While crying for closure of Vermont Yankee here in Vermont, the greens have also fought wind power as “visually polluting,” and dangerous to birds. Personally, there seems to me to be a huge disconnect here. For a group that is so concerned with CO2 emissions I would think that one of these two options would be acceptable. If we are to continue to lead the lives to which we are accustomed, we require the generation of clean renewable power. Nuclear is a reasonable option

    Comment by vtfarmer — October 26, 2009 @ 11:58 am | Reply

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