Georgia is one state that you would think would be wary of nuclear power economics. The first two reactors at Georgia Power’s Vogtle site, which came on-line in the late 1980s, were a record 800% over budget.
That is a number that is almost impossible to grasp. Nothing goes 800% over budget -- in the real world, projects get canceled well before reaching that point.
I’m thinking of making about $100,000 worth of improvements to my aging house, which is desperately in need of them. In that case, costs that were 800% over budget would take the total project cost to $900,000. But I could buy a very nice house for that amount instead, even in the Washington, D.C. area. Of course, I can’t afford an $800,000 house and I can’t afford a project that is 800% over budget, either.
Harvard Business School: Obama’s Clean Power Plan: Can Nuclear Power Beat the Global Threat of Coal?
Harvard Business School Professor Joe Lassiter believes nuclear power is an essential ingredient in fighting the worldwide threat of coal-fired power plant emissions. Lassiter, the Senator John Heinz Professor of Management Practice (Retired) at HBS, has spent more than a decade studying the intersection between immediate energy needs and environmental concerns. In a recent video, recorded at the Harvard iLab in June, Lassiter and venture capitalist Ray Rothrock discuss the case for using the next generation of nuclear power to combat the dual challenges of climate change and energy poverty (the lack of access to sufficient energy sources in developing countries).
MIT Technology Review: Tech’s Enduring Great-Man Myth
The idea that particular individuals drive history has long been discredited. Yet it persists in the tech industry, obscuring some of the fundamental factors in innovation.
Since Steve Jobs’ death in 2011, Elon Musk has emerged as the leading celebrity of Silicon Valley. Musk is the CEO of Tesla Motors, which produces electric cars; the CEO of SpaceX, which makes rockets; and the chairman of SolarCity, which provides solar power systems. A self-made billionaire, programmer, and engineer -- as well as an inspiration for Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies -- he has been on the cover of Fortune and Time. In 2013, he was first on the Atlantic’s list of “today’s greatest inventors,” nominated by leaders at Yahoo, Oracle, and Google. To believers, Musk is steering the history of technology. As one profile described his mystique, his “brilliance, his vision, and the breadth of his ambition make him the one-man embodiment of the future.”
Hawaii Business: Talk Story: Randy Iwase, Public Utility Commission Chair
Gov. David Ige surprised many when he appointed Randy Iwase to replace Hermina Morita at the PUC. Clearly, the former city councilman, state senator, deputy attorney general and chair of the state Tax Revenue Commission has administrative and political chops, but we ask if he’s up to the technical challenges and what his energy plans are.
Post Script: Inside the Downfall of BlackBerry (podcast by Stephen Lacey)
How does a company with 50 percent of the cellular phone market drop down to 1 percent in five years? This week, we'll explore the implosion of BlackBerry, the iconic phonemaker that has quickly become irrelevant in the consumer smartphone market. We'll talk with Jacquie McNish, the co-author of a new book called Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry. We'll discuss how BlackBerry executives misread the rise of smartphones, and how a rift between the company's two CEOs paralyzed innovation.
Song: Ben Watt and Bernard Butler cover Wang Chung.