I use a made up word, “historisis” to describe why we do things in our software that we could do better but don’t. History forced us down a path, and it is too difficult/expensive/long to backtrack and move down another.
“Historisis” happened to our nuclear program also back in the 50’s and 60’s. Historisis forced us from a method of nuclear power that:
- had zero risk of meltdown
- was VERY efficient
- left little to no radioactive mess
- used a locally abundant fuel
to one that could (and did) melt down, used an expensive fuel and caused radioactive trouble for thousands of years. No, we didn’t use that method. We used uranium based fission instead. Why? We needed plutonium to make hydrogen bombs:
Uranium reactors had already been established, and Hyman Rickover, de facto head of the US nuclear program, wanted the plutonium from uranium-powered nuclear plants to make bombs.
The calculus and exigencies of the Cold War caused historisis that derailed nuclear energy in this country for 50 years.
Read the nuclear energy article above and you will understand that we still pay the costs of the Cold War today.