Friday, April 06, 2007

TCS Daily on the Supreme Court and GHG

From Max Schulz:

The irony is that the beneficiary of Monday's ruling won't be wind power, solar power, or any of the other renewable technologies favored by the Green establishment. Their economic and technological limitations are too severe for them ever to occupy more than a small niche in the American energy economy. Instead, one of the winners from Massachusetts v. EPA just may be something that many of the environmentalists who brought the suit have long abhorred: nuclear power. Like renewables, nuclear power generates electricity with no pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions. But unlike renewables, nuclear is capable of generating reliable power on a massive scale, which is what our country's future energy demands will require.

Nuclear power is on the verge of making a comeback in the United States. Thanks to several favorable provisions in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, as well as a streamlined licensing process, it is possible we could see the construction of new plants start within several years. The economics for new plant construction are still being worked out, particularly with regard to financing and federal loan guarantees. But there can be no doubt that federal efforts to hamstring coal can only help nuclear. Moreover, any future regulatory scheme allowing nuclear power plant operators to earn credits for generating emissions-free electricity would enhance nuclear's attractiveness to investors.
Hat tap to Instapundit, who would seem to welcome a spate of new nuclear build.


Rod Adams said...

I interpreted the ruling in the same favorable way. The stars are beginning to align. It is definitely time for the nuclear engineers and technologists to engage in honest and earnest discussions about HOW to build a large number of plants effectively.

We need to incorporate lessons learned from the past building cycle and from other more successful models. We need to become better project managers, planners, and financial people. We need to talk early and often with those people who have the power to add costs through interference.

We need to recognize that there are a lot of interest groups out there who have legitimate concerns. Our technology can make a huge positive impact in the world, but we cannot be dismissive of the questions.

Find some environmentally interested people and try to engage them in conversations. Try to share your knowledge without being arrogant. (I find that quite difficult - it really is hard to be humble about the characteristics that nuclear power can bring to the table.

Just some thoughts for your consideration and discussion. I am not trying to lecture - but to inspire dialog and success.

Anonymous said...

The single best thing we can do right now is to keep existing plants operating.

There are some important battles shaping up in the Northeast: Vermont Yankee - Vermont being THE state with the BEST GHG profile because of nuclear energy.

Yankee Pilgrim is another battle.

Here in New Jersey we have Oyster Creek.

This plants must not go the way of Maine Yankee.

Thanks to Rod, by the way, for making me aware of new coal facility on the Maine Yankee grounds, and to Ruth Sponsler for spreading the word on this one.

We need to drive home the fact that every nuclear power plant that is shut and not replaced by new nuclear is, in fact, replaced by fossil fuels.


Anonymous said...

In my state the kooks browbeat a utility into trashing construction of a nuclear plant and replacing it with a coal-fired unit. Now the same idiots are complaining about the smog and ash and GHGs released by the coal unit. The politicans who fought against the nuclear unit are now crying the blues about proposals for carbon taxes and caps, and the recent ruling about regulating CO2. But they get mad when I remind them that they brought in on themselves. They could have avoided all of these headaches if they hadn't let the kooks buffalo them into trashing the nuclear plant. But they don't want to hear it. I guess it's just human nature to avoid facing up to the fact that you are stupid.