Nuclear Plants Climate Change Dead End: California Report

US should focus on energy efficiency and renewables not nuclear, says report | Energy Efficiency News

Money para.:

‘Starting from scratch, it could take ten years or more to construct a new reactor, claims the group. Even if the US did make an unprecedented investment of the estimated $600 billion needed to construct 100 new reactors by 2030, it would still only reduce US emissions by around 12%. “Nuclear power is a foolish investment that will set us back in the race against global warming,” says Bernadette Del Chiaro of Environment California. ‘

The original report in .pdf is here

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7 Responses

  1. Not having (yet) red the report:

    The problem is, the only "renewable" power than can provide base load (guarenteed availability 24/7) is hydoelectric and geothermal.

    And there really is no place left except Yosemite Valley to put hydroelectric dams of significance in california, and geothermal is pretty exploited where its available. The situation is pretty similar in the rest of the US.

    Thus if you want your lights to work on a calm night without shoving tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, you unfortunately need nuclear power, and a LOT of it.

  2. A report on nuclear that nowhere mentions either thorium or small modular reactors is stuck in the 20th century.

  3. This seems rather like assuming because one solution isn't the only solution, we shouldn't do it. 12% is better than nothing, surely. Any coal fired plant we don't open in favor of a nuclear plant is a net benefit in terms of carbon emissions. We should absolutely be talking about efficiency savings, but we will still need to produce electricity, at which point the question is: do we want to do so while spewing carbon into the atmosphere, or do we want to do it in a clean way?

  4. Repeating a thing does not make it true. Cutting through the noise, nuclear power can in fact help us get through the climate crunch 1 2. It can't do it all by itself, and it's not a good long-term power source, but it can be about 15% of the medium-term solution. We will need many tools to get us through, with energy savings and efficiency foremost on the menu. But needlessly sabotaging some of the tools we may need to save ourselves and the planet is not a moral thing to do.

  5. Proponents of multiplied nuclear power don't mention the U-235 shortage, a sure path to fast breeders and a Plutonium energy economy, using one of the most dangerous toxins. Also, an ever-expanding national security establishment to make sure the crazies don't try to run under the wheels of Pu powered progress.

    It's a bait and switch techno-sales strategy. It assumes perpetual stability, ignores the history of plots going back to the dawn of airliner hijacking.

    The camera on every corner comes with the brave new target rich future.

  6. I'm quite excited about the promises of the Smart Grid to transform how we consume and store electricity.

    I'm a huge fan of the Rocky Mountain Institute because they do all their work on the premise that solutions which lack a business case will never be adopted.

    Our local utility is rolling out one of the first trials in the nation. Some day your freezer will know when peak demand is, and only defrost itself when electricity is the cheapest.

    The general expectation is that by smoothing out the demand curve, the utility will not have to build new coal-fired plants. Since they are limited by the PUC on rates and have limited avenues for new revenue, they see the Smart Grid as having real benefits to their bottom line.

    One important part of this concept is that we'll be driving electric vehicles sooner or later, and that we may allow the utility to buy back power we have stored in our car batteries when the peak demand exceeds conventional supply.

    RMI is big on this concept and has been promoting the idea of the Smart Garage as a part of the larger solution.

    Amory Lovins of RMI invented the term negawatt and that is where our efforts should be going: conservation.

    I also appreciate that RMI is willing to work with companies like Wal-Mart that most liberal organizations repudiate completely.

  7. First, such a thing is not really unprecendented – it was done in the US from the late sixties to the early eighties. 40 years later (now) we have the benefit of simpler, safer designs and a much larger economy to support their construction. We might need a few years to ramp, but then we could churn out reactors much faster than five per year.

    Regarding the costs, we need to realize that these are driven by red tape and excessive security regulation.

    We also need to realize that these reactors, even at $6 billion a piece, are cheaper and more lasting than a comparable amount of renewables.

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