Early Retirement of Nuclear Plants Crazy

February 07, 2022

Bloomberg:  "After the disasters at Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011, turning away from nuclear power seemed prudent. Now it looks like a serious error — and not just because global energy costs happen to be spiking. Over the next several decades, an orderly, affordable and politically sustainable transition to zero-carbon electricity is likely to require a much bigger nuclear component.

"On plausible estimates, nuclear power is roughly as clean and safe as wind or solar — and vastly cleaner and safer than biomass, gas, oil or coal. Like any such technology, it poses challenges, but with a sufficient commitment of effort and resources, these can be overcome. The sooner this is understood, the better the world’s chances of winning the war against climate change.

"The U.S. and especially Europe haven’t just chosen to invest less in building new nuclear plants. They’ve brought forward the retirement of facilities that were actually delivering cheap, carbon-free power. Belatedly, the world has come to understand that efforts to cut greenhouse-gas emissions must be accelerated. But the costs of doing so are becoming clearer, too. If the transition to zero carbon is unduly disruptive or seen as a big threat to living standards, support for the effort could collapse. In this light, retiring nuclear plants ahead of schedule is crazy.

"The immediate consequences of Europe’s flight from nuclear prove the point. Wholesale energy prices have increased by a factor of four since the start of the pandemic, and there might be worse to come. Germany, note, has been leading this retreat. It will shut down the last of its nuclear capacity this year. Aside from the shock of higher costs, Germany’s sudden dependence on gas from Russia has undermined the Western alliance and led the German government to outright appeasement of President Vladimir Putin as he threatens war against Ukraine."


America's Largest Source of Clean Energy

February 03, 2022

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Germany Spending 1 Billion Euros to Dismantle Clean Energy

January 06, 2022

Washington Post:  "Just before midnight on Dec. 31, Germany switched off three more of its nuclear power plants. Once it had 17; now only three are left, and they too will be shut down at the end of the year. Soon Germany will produce no nuclear energy at all. But the activists were wrong to celebrate. Germany’s hasty nuclear retreat is neither safe nor green. It’s a disastrous mistake that will have ramifications well beyond the country’s own borders.

"The Grohnde plant is a perfect example of what Germany is giving up. It was one of the most productive nuclear power plants in the world. It provided enough electricity to cover 15 percent of Lower Saxony’s annual energy needs single-handedly, saving 10 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year in the process. The site even made headlines in February 2021 for producing more electricity than any other nuclear power plant in the world. Now it will have to be dismantled at a cost of around 1 billion euros."

See also David Frum.

 


The Real Legacy of Fukushima

January 04, 2022

Washington Post:  "A little more than 10 years ago, the world held its breath as Japanese authorities struggled to contain an accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station following a major earthquake. At the time, many observers wondered whether nuclear power, with its radioactive waste and meltdown risk, was worth continuing to use. In retrospect, it was this very backlash — against a virtually carbon-free energy technology that the world needs to slash greenhouse emissions — that turned out to be among the Fukushima saga’s most substantial negative consequences."


Tackling Extreme Heat

December 31, 2021

High Country News:  "This summer, Phoenix, Arizona, became the first city in the country to publicly fund an office dedicated to tackling the issue of extreme heat. It’s part of a growing awareness among government officials that heat’s dangers need to be dealt with more strategically as the world grows warmer. In Phoenix, the nation’s third-fastest-warming city, the number of heat-related deaths has continued to climb."


California's Failing Climate Strategy

December 29, 2021

Wall Street Journal:  “'Assuming the same three-year average rate of reduction from 2017 to 2019 (-1.3%), California will reach its 2030 and 2050 goals in 2063 and 2111, respectively,' Next 10 writes. 'Slowing renewable energy growth, underwhelming transportation sector gains, and a worrisome cross-sector over-dependence on natural gas pose major challenges for the state.'”

"Last year the state added more natural gas power capacity than solar. The reason: Fossil fuels are needed to back up unreliable renewables, especially as nuclear power plants are forced to shut down and drought limits hydropower. It also has to import power from other states, some of which is generated by coal."


No Government Would Close Nuclear Plants

December 19, 2021

David Frum: "No government that really regarded climate change as its top energy priority would close nuclear plants before the end of their useful lives."

 


Diablo Canyon Plant Extension Economical

December 19, 2021

John E. Parsons: "We have carefully reviewed CEERT’s and PG&E’s cost estimates. This analysis strengthens the case made in our original report, that the cost of power from Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is economical and extending the plant’s operating life may offer good value to Californians."


Netherlands' Climate Policy Focused on Nuclear

December 19, 2021

World Nuclear News: "The Netherlands' new coalition government has placed nuclear power at the heart of its climate and energy policy. Some EUR 500 million (USD 564 million) has been earmarked to support new nuclear build in the period to 2025."

"'We want to make every effort to keep our country and our planet liveable and habitable,' wrote the VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie parties. Today they released the coalition's plans for the period to 2025 as the result of negotiations that began after the general election in March.

"'Nuclear energy can complement solar, wind and geothermal energy in the energy mix and can be used to produce hydrogen,' the document said. 'It also makes us less dependent on gas imports.'"


Conservative Climate Caucus

December 02, 2021

Nuclear Newswire: "The environmental benefit of nuclear has support across political divides. Recently, a third of all House Republicans launched the Conservative Climate Caucus. Its head, Rep. John Curtis (R., Utah), gave an interview. When he was asked about ideas for solving climate change, he gave only one specific policy: 'We can do nuclear at large scale and without a carbon footprint.'”