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RE: Salary Survey

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 28, 1999 12:18 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject: RE: Salary Survey
> >I don't think this is a very good example. Had "laissez
> faire" been a part
> >of this process, the nuclear power industry would still be
> alive and viable
> >today.
> I've been around the nuke business myself, and I feel very
> strongly that
> a laissez-faire attitude allowed too many utilities who
> couldn't pay the
> technical dues into the nuke business. They got nuke plants
> they couldn't
> build and run efficiently.

Specifically, they were granted license to build such plants, and were
further guaranteed by the Public Utility Commissions of the states where the
plants were built, that they would make a profit on them.

The whole thing was government strings atttached from beginning to end.
That's why the industry became such a boondoggle.

> The three best run nuclear power
> organizations
> are the US Navy program and the French and Japanese
> systems--all strictly
> government operations.

I'm not sure if that can be definitively shown. For one thing, the Navy's
operation is very limited in scope. They have a specific purpose for their
nuclear plants, and they don't vary from that scope.

The French and Japanese economies are very poorly run, "all strictly
government operations." Like the stateside programs cited above, they are
bound up in the regulations of those countries. I think they are probably
better examples of what I'm saying than what you're saying.

Why don't you mention how "well-run" the Soviet nuclear program was, on land
AND on sea? At least two nukes melted down, and at least one sub lost. "All
strictly government operations."

> I'll go this far with the bureaucracy point--the US program
> seems to have
> substituted procedure for technical leadership, unlike the
> way Rickover
> ran the Navy program.

Again, Rickover/Navy had a mission in mind for their nukes, and didn't vary
from it. That is not the hallmark of most other government implementations.
(And notice, you can put a single name to the Navy's success. "The Buck
Stops Here." Note also that this is true for other military program
successes--the Navy's Computer initiatives--Amazin' Grace--and the Army/Air
Force bomber program--Billy Mitchell.)

> I daresay this results from a lack of technical
> commitment with utilities whose chief interest is mailing out
> light bills
> and sub-contracting responsibility.

They don't care about this, but about making their "guaranteed" profit for
their investors. The funny thing about this example as a "ding" against free
market forces, is that there is virtually NOTHING free-market about public