Thursday, March 08, 2007

Is Nuclear Power Green? Part 2

Over at Gristmill, anti-nuclear zealot David Roberts is at it again. This time with the Christian Science Monitor article I referenced yesterday. Roberts:

The question is not whether nuclear power is "acceptable" or "good" by some subjective standard -- economic, moral, or otherwise. It's not even whether investments in nuclear power could lead to emission reductions. The question is: what is the maximum amount of climate change mitigation we can get for a given dollar of investment? Nuclear fails that test.
Hmmm, where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, Amory Lovins. Roberts quotes him in the post but that last sentence from Roberts above looks like he’s pawning Lovins’ words as his own.

We have dealt with Mr. Lovins’ arguments plenty of times, but we’ll go another round.
"It's easy to show that building more reactors makes climate change worse than it should have been," says Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy think tank in Snowmass, Colo. "That's because a dollar put into new reactors gives two to 10 times less climate solution for the amount of coal-power displaced than if you had bought cheaper solutions with the same dollars.
So what are Lovins’ solutions? Efficiency, cogeneration and renewables. And which one of these can replace a baseload source of power like coal? Only cogeneration. And what is cogeneration fueled by? Natural gas. Unless my memory escaped me, doesn’t natural gas create emissions by burning it? And if you’re creating emissions, how is it a “climate solution”? According to EIA, natural gas accounts for 20% of the U.S.’ total CO2 emissions. You have to have some convoluted assumptions to come up with a way that natural gas is a greater solution to climate change than nuclear. Mr. Lovins’ argument doesn’t even pass the logic test.

Mr. Roberts needs to ask himself if some of Mr. Lovins’ quotes make sense. Lovins’ quote here: "It's easy to show that building more reactors makes climate change worse than it should have been," should raise a red flag to readers all over. But I guess not, since they go unquestioned and repeated as gospel by the antis. Oh well. All we can do is keep repeating our message that if we want clean, affordable and reliable power, nuclear energy needs to remain an option.

2 comments:

Randal Leavitt said...

You can put whatever colour you want on nuclear power, but coal is red, covered in blood. That is my primary reason for wanting to replace coal with safe nuclear power. If coal was mined and used as safely as uranium and thorium it would not be cost competitive. Recent statistics are now starting to show wind farms are as dangerous as coal when viewed as deaths per unit of energy delivered. Especially in Canada the ability of wind turbines to hurl ice is amazing. Electricity bills should arrive with little red dots on them, one for each mining and air pollution victim.

Anonymous said...

The oracle at Snowmass - Lovins - has to be one the worst thinkers on the planet. He's been at this almost three decades and has been proved right, by my count, zero times.

He aspires to some kind of mien as a "scientist," but science is predictive.

-NNadir