Quote of the Day:

If Americans want a “Green New Deal,” they should try the nuclear option.

— John Rie and Alan Emery in this morning's Wall Street Journal


No, Rie and Emery aren't suggesting we change the way legislation is passed in Congress.

By nuclear option, they mean the literal nuclear option, as in nuclear power.

As they observe, a coal plant produces the amount of toxic waste in an hour that a nuclear plant produces in a year.

Of course, the Flintstones left hates nuclear power.

To them is screams Chernobyl , capitalism and all sorts of icky things.

But what is the reality? I urge you to read the entire  piece, but here is a nugget:

Nuclear power is clean, carbon-free, 24/7 power, 365 days a year. It’s scalable more quickly than other carbon-free sources and takes up far less space. From 1970-90 Sweden doubled its energy output by deploying nuclear plants while reducing carbon emissions 50%. Its economy expanded by 50% while fossil-fuel use dropped by 40%.

Over the next half-century, the world will need to meet a demand for all energy use of about 38.6 terawatts (billion kilowatts) of power in addition to existing hydropower. That comes to about 38,600 one-gigawatt power plants. That demand can be met in only two ways: by clean nuclear power or fossil fuels.

The proposed Green New Deal is based on solar, wind and hydro power. By themselves, those sources aren’t serious solutions to the problem of global energy demand. Wind and solar power output vary with nature, and both are short-lived power solutions, about three to five times as costly as nuclear over time. Both wind and solar installations have a lifetime of less than 30 years and require battery and power-grid technologies that haven’t yet been developed. The usefulness of hydropower is severely limited by geography.

Nuclear power, on the other hand, is a stable, profit-generating, 24/7 carbon-free source of energy at low cost to consumers using the existing grid and fully proven technology.

Will it be expensive? A better question: Will it be lucrative? The answer is yes—if utilities use the South Korean approach of building many identical nuclear plants. Using Korean cost estimates and including capital and financing costs, the price to build a one-gigawatt nuclear-energy plant is about $2.3 billion. For 6 cents a kilowatt-hour, the net annual revenues over costs are about $419 million. Over the life of the plant (80 years) the gross net revenue is about $33.5 billion.

But what about Chernobyl?

There have only been 150 deaths from nuclear plants worldwide since 1986, Chernobyl being the source of most of those deaths. Because the Soviets tried to keep the disaster secret, more lives were lost than would otherwise have been the case.

 Three Mile Island in 1979, which did not cause deaths and appears not to have increased the incidence of cancer in the vicinity, and the 2011 Fukushima plant disaster, which likewise caused no deaths and apparently did not increase cases of cancer, are often cited because they are rare.

Read the entire article.