Equivalent to Removing 1 Million Cars from the Road

August 02, 2020


U.S. Department of Energy:  "Two of the most advanced commercial reactors in the world are under construction in Waynesboro, Georgia — marking a new era for the industry."

"The successful completion of Vogtle Units 3 and 4 will set the tone for what could be a nuclear resurgence in the United States. . . ."

"Vogtle Units 3 & 4 are expected to generate more than 17 million megawatt-hours of clean and reliable electricity. That’s enough to power more than 1.6 million average American homes."

"The reactors will also prevent up to 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually—the equivalent of removing 1 million cars from the road each year."

Nuclear Providing More Than Clean Power

July 29, 2020

Forbes:  “'I'm so confident that the United States nuclear-energy technologies can and will play a major role in providing the United States and the world clean reliable energy for many decades to come,' said Rita Baranwal, assistant secretary for the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy."

"Nonetheless, nuclear has to compete with cheaper natural gas, renewables, and battery storage."

“'Nuclear energy is revolutionary beyond electricity generation, though,' Baranwall continued. 'It can provide low-emission energy for water desalination to achieve worldwide water security. It can be used to decarbonize the industrial sector with process heat. It can also be used to decarbonize the transportation sector with hydrogen and electrification.'”

"Nuscale Power expects to receive approval in September from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its small, modular light-water reactor. The phone has been 'ringing off the hook' as the reactor approaches approval, Nuscale Chief Strategy Officer Chris Colbert said, because the stringent NRC approval is attractive to other countries."

"The approval process has taken 42 months so far, Colbert said. Now the challenge is to reduce costs for those customer countries."

Geopolitical Instability and Falling Oil Demand

June 28, 2020

The Atlantic:  "Two months ago, the world experienced a historic collapse in oil prices, as coronavirus-related shutdowns cratered global demand, briefly turning prices for May delivery negative. Prices have since rebounded modestly, but they remain unsustainably low for countries that depend on oil exports to generate government revenue.

"The resulting instability, from the Middle East to Africa to the Americas, raises a flurry of immediate national-security concerns. But the current crisis also offers a stark preview of the challenges the world will face if it negotiates a climate accord without also moving to stabilize the more than a dozen countries that depend on oil exports as their primary source for generating government revenue."

California Closing Reactors Generating 10% of State's Energy

May 18, 2020

Dr. Rita Baranwal: "Sadly, California’s remaining reactors are planning to close in 2024 & 2025 at the end of their operating licenses. These units could have been extended another 20 years, pending approval by the NRC, and continued to serve the state’s aggressive clean energy goals."

42 Faith Groups Announce Divestment

May 18, 2020

EarthBeat: "More than 40 faith institutions committed to divest their finances from fossil fuels while at the same time calling for the post-pandemic economic recovery to shift the world toward a low-carbon future. 

"The announcement was made from Rome on May 18, at the beginning of Laudato Si' Week, the Vatican-sponsored celebration of the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis' encyclical on ecology, 'Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home.'"

Reducing Impacts from Goods Movement

March 26, 2020


Florida East Coast Railway provides local intermodal freight service.  For example, at Ft. Collins, Florida, they transfer containers without the necessity of a costly gantry crane.  "We are committed to providing our customers with sustainable intermodal and carload supply chain solutions, providing reduced highway congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions."

Cycling Trips Surge

March 14, 2020


New York Times: "Halimah Marcus’s bike had been collecting dust for five years. But as coronavirus fears exploded in New York, she pumped air into the tires and replaced the batteries in the light mounted on the handle bar. By Monday, Ms. Marcus, 34, was biking daily to work instead of taking the R subway train. She has not been back on the subway. And she has a lot of company in the bike lanes."

"Citi Bike, the city’s bike share program, has seen demand surge 67 percent this month: Between March 1 and March 11, there were a total of 517,768 trips compared with 310,132 trips during the same period the year before. A growing wave of New Yorkers are embracing cycling to get to work and around the city as their regular subway and bus commutes have suddenly become fraught with potential perils, from possibly virus-tainted surfaces to strangers sneezing and coughing on fellow passengers."

“'It reduced my anxiety,' said Ms. Marcus, the executive director of a nonprofit digital publisher in Downtown Brooklyn. 'For me, riding is manageable, and I felt it would be beneficial to my mental health.'”

Industrial Heat

February 11, 2020


Vox:  "Climate activists are fond of saying that we have all the solutions we need to the climate crisis; all we lack is the political will."

"While it’s true enough as policy goes — we certainly have enough solutions to get started and make big changes — as a technical matter, it is incorrect. Truly defeating climate change will mean getting to net-zero carbon emissions and eventually negative emissions. That means decarbonizing everything. Every economic sector. Every use of fossil fuels."

"And actually, there are some sectors, some uses of fossil fuels, that we do not yet know how to decarbonize."

"Take, for instance, industrial heat: the extremely high-temperature heat used to make steel and cement. It’s not sexy, but it matters."

"Heavy industry is responsible for around 22 percent of global CO2 emissions. Forty-two percent of that — about 10 percent of global emissions — comes from combustion to produce large amounts of high-temperature heat for industrial products like cement, steel, and petrochemicals."

"To put that in perspective, industrial heat’s 10 percent is greater than the CO2 emissions of all the world’s cars (6 percent) and planes (2 percent) combined. Yet, consider how much you hear about electric vehicles. Consider how much you hear about flying shame. Now consider how much you hear about ... industrial heat."

"Not much, I’m guessing. But the fact is, today, virtually all of that combustion is fossil-fueled, and there are very few viable low-carbon alternatives. For all kinds of reasons, industrial heat is going to be one of the toughest nuts to crack, carbon-wise. And we haven’t even gotten started."



American Canyon Litigation Settled

February 08, 2020

The litigation commenced by CCEC against the City of American Canyon in July, 2019, has been successfully settled with the city committing to add a number of important measures to the Broadway District Specific Plan to address vehicle congestion, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.  As a result of CCEC's efforts, combined with the on-going work at the city and NVTA, the Broadway District Specific Plan will now be amended to include important new provisions--

  • Bus-on-Shoulder Program
  • Transit Priority Program
  • Transit Stops at Signalized Intersections
  • Class 1 Bike Paths Connected to Transit Stops
  • TDM Marketing Program
  • Transit Pass Program

The failure to include provisions of this sort in the Broadway District Specific Plan was pointed out to the city in detail before the plan was adopted, and the concern was rejected by the city.

Due to the substantial traffic congestion issues faced by the area as well as the high priority that California places on reducing GHG emissions, improving air quality, and providing affordable mobility to economically disadvantaged populations, the omission was a significant oversight. The settlement is a clear win for the community and the environment.

CCEC will monitor progress and implementation going forward.

Cost of Germany's Nuclear Phase Out

January 23, 2020

Energy Institute at Haas: "Many countries have phased out nuclear electricity production in response to concerns about nuclear waste and the risk of nuclear accidents. This paper examines the impact of the shutdown of roughly half of the nuclear production capacity in Germany after the Fukushima accident in 2011. We use hourly data on power plant operations and a novel machine learning framework to estimate how plants would have operated differently if the phase-out had not occurred. We find that the lost nuclear electricity production due to the phase-out was replaced primarily by coal-fired production and net electricity imports. The social cost of this shift from nuclear to coal is approximately 12 billion dollars per year. Over 70% of this cost comes from the increased mortality risk associated with exposure to the local air pollution emitted when burning fossil fuels. Even the largest estimates of the reduction in the costs associated with nuclear accident risk and waste disposal due to the phase-out are far smaller than 12 billion dollars."