Skip to main content

Nuclear, The Clean Power Plan and the Press

NewsboyHow has the Clean Power Plan gone over in the press? In general, pretty well, though the response tends to scan with a paper’s view of other subjects, such as their views on coal-fired energy and climate change.

The New York Times, not always the best friend of the atom, rather grudgingly finds a place for nuclear energy.

It [the plan] will shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants and give fresh momentum to carbon-free energy sources like wind and solar power, and possibly next-generation nuclear plants.

You know what? This-generation nuclear plants fill the bill. But we’ll take it – possibly.

---

The only paper we saw that went a bit further on nuclear was the Virginia Beach Pilot, which includes a quote from Dominion’s CEO.

“The compliance targets for Virginia have moved in a positive direction that fairly recognizes the role of natural gas generation in reducing emissions,” said Thomas F. Farrell the utility’s chief executive. “The administration missed an opportunity, however, to provide appropriate incentives to ensure the viability of the existing nuclear fleet that is critical to meeting the goals of the Clean Power Plan.”

---

Mark Perry writes (furiously) in his op-ed column in the Detroit News:

No amount of pious rhetoric about reducing the nation’s carbon footprint can disguise the fact that the president’s plan provides no incentives for utilities to build new nuclear plants or renew the licenses of existing nuclear plants like Fermi 2. In contrast, the Obama plan subsidizes solar, wind and energy efficiency.

Never mind that there’s a growing body of research showing that the cost of solar and wind are expected to rise as they become a larger percentage of the electricity grid, due to the high cost of bringing on intermittent sources of energy. Further leave aside the fact that neither solar nor wind generate energy when the weather isn’t cooperating.

I’ve seen variations of this argument at several sites – see this piece by Jeff McMahon at Forbes for more. It does no harm to sound the klaxon, though we’ll have to see the extent to which states recognize the value of nuclear energy as a climate change agent. It’s too soon to assume it will be neutral or worse.

---

We might do a fuller review of academic responses in the future, but this one is unusually interesting and worth pointing out. 

Harvard Business School Professor Joe Lassiter believes nuclear power is an essential ingredient in fighting the worldwide threat of coal-fired power plant emissions. Lassiter, the Senator John Heinz Professor of Management Practice (Retired) at HBS, has spent more than a decade studying the intersection between immediate energy needs and environmental concerns. 

There’s a video at the site with Lassiter explaining his position.

"There's presently a billion private dollars invested in nuclear energy in North America today," he says, adding a minute later that "nuclear is ripe for disruption."

Provocative stuff.

---

From the Peoria Journal-Star

Coal was the source of half the nation’s energy a decade ago, now that’s at 39 percent and dropping, thanks to the emergence of much cleaner natural gas, wind power and nuclear.

And a bit more:

If opponents intend to argue states’ rights, well, the White House establishes goals here, not how to get to them — alternative energies, nuclear, cap and trade, fuel efficiency standards, all the above? — meaning they can be the laboratories we’ve long heard states’ rights proponents insist they’re supposed to be.

That’s kind of novel – not exactly what states rights advocates have in mind, I think. Frankly, most editorials have focused on the perils of/for coal as their main subject. I suspect nuclear energy – and its cousins in the renewable sphere - will figure more heavily as states bruit their solutions.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

A Design Team Pictures the Future of Nuclear Energy

For more than 100 years, the shape and location of human settlements has been defined in large part by energy and water. Cities grew up near natural resources like hydropower, and near water for agricultural, industrial and household use.

So what would the world look like with a new generation of small nuclear reactors that could provide abundant, clean energy for electricity, water pumping and desalination and industrial processes?

Hard to say with precision, but Third Way, the non-partisan think tank, asked the design team at the Washington, D.C. office of Gensler & Associates, an architecture and interior design firm that specializes in sustainable projects like a complex that houses the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. The talented designers saw a blooming desert and a cozy arctic village, an old urban mill re-purposed as an energy producer, a data center that integrates solar panels on its sprawling flat roofs, a naval base and a humming transit hub.

In the converted mill, high temperat…

Seeing the Light on Nuclear Energy

If you think that there is plenty of electricity, that the air is clean enough and that nuclear power is a just one among many options for meeting human needs, then you are probably over-focused on the United States or Western Europe. Even then, you’d be wrong.

That’s the idea at the heart of a new book, “Seeing the Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century,” by Scott L. Montgomery, a geoscientist and energy expert, and Thomas Graham Jr., a retired ambassador and arms control expert.


Billions of people live in energy poverty, they write, and even those who don’t, those who live in places where there is always an electric outlet or a light switch handy, we need to unmake the last 200 years of energy history, and move to non-carbon sources. Energy is integral to our lives but the authors cite a World Health Organization estimate that more than 6.5 million people die each year from air pollution.  In addition, they say, the global climate is heading for ruinous instability. E…