Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Saving the Planet Step 1 – Keep the Nuclear Fleet Operating as Long as Possible

Nuclear Energy in South Carolina (Credit: forbes.com) Click to Enlarge.
On the cusp of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York where there was a collective outrage at the slow pace of decarbonization in the world, we lost another operating nuclear plant before its time as Three Mile Island Unit 1 closed after 45 years of operation.  It made the news because of its more famous (or infamous) sister plant, TMI Unit 2 that had the USA’s worst nuclear accident 40 years ago.  Of course, only the nuclear industry continues to talk about an accident that harmed no workers and had absolutely no impact on the public – other than fear.  Certainly nothing to talk about after 40 years, and more so, should be a point of pride if this is the worst nuclear accident that ever happened in the US.  But that discussion is for another day.

Today we want to focus on the importance of keeping the current nuclear fleet operating as long as possible.  Once again, we go to the IEA report issued in May, “Nuclear Power in a clean energy system”.  It notes the ”failure to expand low-carbon electricity generation is the single most important reason the world is falling short on key sustainable energy goals, including international climate targets.”

Probably the most important point made in this IEA report is about the absolute failure of renewables to make a dent in carbon emissions on their own.  As stated, “Despite the impressive growth of solar and wind power, the overall share of clean energy sources in total electricity supply in 2018, at 36%, was the same as it was 20 years earlier because of the decline in nuclear.  Halting that slide will be vital to stepping up the pace of the decarbonisation of electricity supply.”  That’s right.  Spending vast sums of money on renewables and closing another major source of low carbon electricity at the same time is a losing proposition.  This is not progress, it is lunacy.

Read more at Saving the Planet Step 1 – Keep the Nuclear Fleet Operating as Long as Possible

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