Skip to main content

Quick Hits: Electric Cars, Solar/Nuclear, China

obama-tesla-cars What about electric cars?

Plans in Europe call for about 1 million EVs on the road by 2020, and a lot that push centers around increasing the number of nuclear power plants to feed these vehicles. Let's face it, an EV that's charged via electricity generated at an oil or coal-burning plant doesn't do much to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, so nuclear makes a lot of sense. And as costly and time-consuming as it is to erect a nuclear facility, it's likely easier and less expensive than relying on solar, wind or hydro-electric energy sources.

So what does all this have to do with electric vehicles? If the events unfolding in Japan lead governments to question the safety and viability of nuclear power, then new plants will be slow to come online. If car buyers know that their EV is likely burning the same CO2-emitting fossil fuels as their neighbor's internal combustion engine, what's the point of paying more for something that's just as dirty, more expensive and not as easy to fuel up?

I discussed earlier anxiety about radiation. Consider this anxiety about a slowdown in nuclear energy.

---

Qualified enthusiasm from Jigar Shah, CEO of Carbon War Room, a non-profit group championing clean energy technology. The interviewer for NPR is Farai Chideya:

CHIDEYA: So, are you supportive of the Obama administration's plans to expand the number of nuclear power plants.

Mr. SHAH: Well, we're supportive of carbon emission reductions. And so I think that, you know, that what we're trying to do is to harness the power of entrepreneurial effort to unlock market-driven solutions to climate change. And so if nuclear can stand alone without some of the government guarantees that seem to be very difficult to get through a Congress that is trying to cut cost, then, you know, I think that would be great.

Chideya notes that Shah has had an entrepreneurial interest in solar energy – something that would be dead on arrival absent “government guarantees.” Still, given his own concerns, his words in favor of nuclear energy are striking.

---

From China:

An official overseeing nuclear safety in China has said that the safety of the country's nuclear power facilities is guaranteed, while reaffirming its goal of developing nuclear power as a clean energy source.

"There is a guarantee for the safety of China's nuclear power facilities and (China) will not abandon (its nuclear power plan) for fear of slight risks," said Tian Shujia in response to reports that China will become more prudent toward developing nuclear power.

Remember, these are Chinese officials speaking through an official Chinese outlet. Still, the word is: nuclear energy remains strongly supported.

I’m not a car maven, but I believe this is Tesla Model S and the Roadster. By all means, correct me if you know better.

Comments

Horizon3 said…
You might want to throw in that 50% of the cost of building a nuke plant is caused by government and legal over reach, redundant regulations and frivolous lawsuits from environmentalist and anti-nuke groups.Not to mention union labor and their idiocies.

Yes those cars are what you say, and price tagged at well over $500k each. And neither will go over 200 miles on an 8 hour charge.
And that each one of those little charmers (as well as the clunker Volt)carries enough metallic lithium in its batteries to kill the population of New York State. But the proponents of said boondoggles are scared stiff of a few molecules per cubic mile of air of I-131 or CS-137.

Popular posts from this blog

Knowing What You’ve Got Before It’s Gone in Nuclear Energy

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior director of policy analysis and strategic planning at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

Nuclear energy is by far the largest source of carbon prevention in the United States, but this is a rough time to be in the business of selling electricity due to cheap natural gas and a flood of subsidized renewable energy. Some nuclear plants have closed prematurely, and others likely will follow.
In recent weeks, Exelon and the Omaha Public Power District said that they might close the Clinton, Quad Cities and Fort Calhoun nuclear reactors. As Joni Mitchell’s famous song says, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
More than 100 energy and policy experts will gather in a U.S. Senate meeting room on May 19 to talk about how to improve the viability of existing nuclear plants. The event will be webcast, and a link will be available here.
Unlike other energy sources, nuclear power plants get no specia…

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…