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No Earth Day for Nuclear Energy

3685512-md We have to just let Earth Day go. This is a day for our wind and solar friends, who of course have a lock on clean energy:

On this coming 39th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, Michigan is facing one of the greatest energy challenges in its history, with serious implications for the state's environment and its economy… As former governors, we support expanding Michigan's nuclear energy capacity. Carbon-free nuclear energy has long been a workhorse for the state's energy needs, powering one out of every four homes and businesses.

Because nuclear energy, wasn’t that the villain in the China Syndrome that made that nice Jack Lemmon die? Surely there’s no place for such evil in the world.

In these cases, groups are putting local environmental concerns first and the planet second. Wind farms, nuclear power plants and hydroelectric dams are ways of providing clean energy, which would reduce carbon emissions and the threat of global warming.

So we’re willing to bow out on this day of green eco-friendliness. We’ve read the headlines, we’ve heard the No Nukes protests. We get it:

Florida Power & Light has been working hard to emphasize its commitment to green, even as it proposes expanding its nuclear capacity. Its parent, FPL Group, has long been the nation's leader in wind and solar power. ''We believe in doing the right thing for our customers,'' Hay said.


The utility [Xcel] also plans to "up-rate" both plants so they can produce more power. If successful, nuclear would continue to generate about 25 percent of Minnesota's electricity for the next two decades.


And the waste – well that’s the best part!  It’s a valuable resource we will one day exhume from its storage sites to reprocess for even more energy and useful isotopes.  The fact that all the energy to power a city for years results in nothing but a few drums of solid waste shows how incredibly clean it is.  A coal plant produces tons of waste every day – and sends it right into the air.  That’s how non-nuclear plants store their waste – in our lungs.

We hang our heads in shame. Nothing to offer the earth – blue skies – crystal waters – frolicsome woodland creatures. Nothing to offer. We stand alone – shoulders drooped, hands in pockets, tears leaking from burgundy eyes.

No – nothing - nothing to offer. As if!

Poor us. If you blow on us a little too hard, all our petals fall off. Be sure to visit for a little roundup of what those dead enders think the nuclear industry has to offer on Earth Day.


gunter said…
Oh, poor nuclear power...

orphanned by the market, yet again... well, maybe the federal government sugar daddies will pick one or two of you up off the doorstep and bring you in from the cold, dark, cruel world of private investment and coddle you with billions more of taxpayer dollars.

In the meantime, incoming Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair Jon Wellinghoff announced on Earth Day that as for new fossil and more fissile power, well,"We may not need any, ever," he said. Seems like renewables and efficiency are coming on like gang busters. Wellinghoff's comparison of too expensive nuclear baseload to the cry for more "mainframes" vs. distributed computing is dead on.

Happy Earth Day!
Jason Ribeiro said…
"...more "mainframes" vs. distributed computing..."

Now that's a good example of an analogy designed for people who believe themselves to be smart, but don't want to think or listen to energy issues clearly in the language of energy. So rather than grapple with the issue honestly, you spoon feed enough of these nonsensical analogies around to keep up a campaign of fear and doubt while nuclear energy offers hope and a path forward toward a post carbon energy era.

Fortunately most people can and are beginning to grapple with energy issues better these days. Nuclear energy is more popular than ever with some 30 countries starting new nuclear energy projects. Recent Gallop polls show a steady increase of public support for nuclear energy to its highest ever.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, renewables "coming on like gang busters" with a 30% capacity factor (at best) and costs three or four times higher than nuclear generation on a kwhr-produced basis. Sounds like a gang that needs busting more than a gang buster.
Anonymous said…
I said it before and I'll say it again. The best way to see which non-emitting sources are the most economic are to simply tax or cap CO2 and let the market (that Mr. Gunter refers to) decide what to build.

Such a fair, objective, and even handed policy, however, is exactly the kind of policy Mr. Gunter and his friends do everything in their power to prevent. We all know that such a policy would result in huge amounts of new nuclear. So do they.....

Renewables like solar and wind were already recieving over 20 times the subsidy that nuclear does, per kW-hr generated, as shown in Table 35 on page 106 in Chapter 5 of:

Then comes the Stimulus Bill, which specifically focuses $100 billion in loan guarantees plus many other subsidies on renewables alone (renewables being an industry that is 1/10 the size of the nuclear industry, by generation). A humble proposal to have an additional $50 billion in loan guarantees be available to all non-emitting sources (where the loans are awarded based on merit-based competition) was completely unacceptable to the "environmentalists". Imagine, a mere chance to compete for loan guarantees that are 1/20 as large (relative to the size of the industry) as those specifically earmarked for renewables, is too much to ask.

Their policy is pretty clear. Massive subsidies for renewables only. No help of any kind for other sources. And, in case even these massive subsidies (orders of magnitude larger than any given to nuclear) are not enough, these people also insist on renewable portfolio standards that mandate the use of renewables, regardless of cost or practicality. And after all this, they have the gall to argue that nuclear is not competitive with renewables.

Based on their actions (and the specific policies they support), as opposed to their words, it is clear that Mr. Gunter and his friends are very much afraid of a free, objective, merit-based competition between nuclear and their favored renewable sources.
Soylent said…
Yupp, who needs nuclear when you can have expensive and environmentally ruinous wind and solar that can't function at all in a post-carbon grid?
Ondrej Chvala said…
gunter - it would be enough if the governments imposed the same rule for all energy resources, in particular to force all the other (than nuclear) energy producers to also pay to the plant decommissioning and the waste disposal funds. Also the enumerable external prices (about 8 c/kWh for coal using numbers) should be included in the cost.

Then let your beloved free market decide. Right now, when the toxic fossil fuel wastes are exempted from hazardous waste policies because the "federal government sugar daddies", the market is obviously skewed.
Anonymous said…
LOL at the poster berating Paul Gunter for his horrible, misleading analogy to mainframes vs. distributed computing, and how it shows he knows nothing about the energy industry. That was the FERC Chairman's analogy, not Gunter's.

So you're saying we have a FERC chairman who knows nothing about the electricity industry? I doubt it.
gunter said…

How do you spin this?
AmerenEU could not stick Missouri ratepayers with pre-financing an EPR at Callaway... so they dumped the project.

Looks like some of the plaster just fell off the "renaissance" underscoring Wellinghoff's prediction.
Anonymous said…
Yeah the law didn't pass to allow them to charge ratepayers during construction in order to save them money after operations begin. Another tragedy is that the taxpayers will still be paying for renewable energy projects across the country which have far less benefit.
Mark Flanagan said…
To Gunter:

On the other hand, how about this?

Governor OK’s GA Power Nuclear Expansion

You win some, you lose some. (The Georgia bill permits something similar to the Missouri bill.) It ain't nuclear science.

And I'd hesitate to count Missouri out. AmerenUE still have a COL application in at the NRC and could try again next session. Let's wait and see on this one

We really have to avoid tit for tat, though. It really doesn't get us very far.

That said, renaissance, full speed ahead!
Anonymous said…
"So you're saying we have a FERC chairman who knows nothing about the electricity industry? I doubt it." - Anon

ha ha ha dont doubt it
Anonymous said…
So you're saying we have a FERC chairman who knows nothing about the electricity industry? I doubt it.I don't. Some of his recent comments indicate to me that he doesn't understand a relatively simple concept like capacity factor. He is a lawyer by training, not an engineer or scientist. Those things alone give me pause.
Anonymous said…
I think he does understand capacity factor. I think he just decides not to mention it, like most other supporters of intermittent energy sources. The more honest ones talk about "$ per installed MW", but rarely (if ever) talk about the implications of that word "installed".
Anonymous said…
That makes it worse. He does understand it but doesn't use it when applicable and important to the topic at hand. That is deception by omission. Must be the lawyer training again. Whatever happened to the "neither add nor omit" standard?

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