Pricing Reliability
Rick Perry Wants to Subsidize Coal and Nuclear
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  • Jim__L

    “We’re not building any new nuclear power plants because the business case for doing so simply isn’t there”

    Nonsense. We’re not building any new nuclear plants because the regulatory burden is so high.

    Nuclear doesn’t need government to get irrational about market interference, it needs government to get rational about regulation.

    • D4x

      Without a link to the “Department of Energy’s recent grid stability study”, and, without the time to dig into it this week, I am going to assume that the regulatory burden on “natural gas-fired power plants” is NOT a barrier, and that is why Sec. Perry focused on existing nuclear and coal-fired power plants with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC),

      The Trump administration’s serious efforts to unwinding the regulatory burden placed on coal and nuclear is most likely going to take more time than an intervention by FERC. Horgan forgets his recent posts on ‘green’ opposition to fracked-gas?
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3741da8e502adf964abdc9682d34f13eb46a94532d0f3cd47afb9eb3d30a7be3.jpg

      Fracked-gas requires more pipelines, like the Kinder-Morgan pipeline that was cancelled to bring Marcellus shale gas through NY to MA, because the greens did not want fracked gas, after the coal-fired, and Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant had already been shut down.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0f455df68f014a586c48a666be3c7db85df10e448c33e974830b2ef2adb5a8de.png

      I have high confidence in Secretary of Energy Perry knowing how to cut through the briar patch, [figuratively: An intellectual or philosophical issue abounding with seemingly unresolvable problems.]

    • jimhopf

      Proof of what you’re saying is the fact that, back in the ’70s, we built nuclear plants for 1/3 to 1/4 of what current plants (e.g., Vogtle) are costing, even adjusting for inflation. Talking about very similar (LWR) technology. You would think that with advances in technology and lessons learned, costs would be *lower*!

  • CheckYourself

    Well, hard to argue against subsidizing one while subsidizing the other. I’m just worried about nuclear because it’s the most dangerous. Coal, natural gas, solar, turbines, etc., should be priority altogether over nuclear.

    • ronetc

      Are you being serious? If so, why do you think nuclear the most dangerous? Was “The China Syndrome” the last movie you watched?

      • SeaAyeA

        Because it is by its nature. That would be why I agree with CY.

        • jimhopf

          Boy there’s a real argument. Proud scientific illiteracy.

        • Joffan

          You realize that you have not given a reason, right?

    • Andrew Allison

      Coal and Gas are Far More Harmful than Nuclear Power (https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/kharecha_02/)

      • CheckYourself

        Nah. I’m talking in natural disaster, error, or terrorism.

        • Wayne Lusvardi

          See my comment above. The solution to pollution is dilution. The potential “harm” issue of coal power plants is not “dirty coal” but whether the plant is located in a Basin State or smog trap such as California or a Plains State such as Arizona.

        • jimhopf

          Nuclear (outside the old Soviet Union) has had one significant release of pollution over its entire ~50 year history, Fukushima. Even that worst-case event caused no deaths and is projected to have no measurable public health impact, now or in the future. Even pessimistic, hypothetical/theoretical estimates of the (too small to measure) impact top out at ~100 total eventual deaths. For comparison, pollution from coal power generation has caused on the order of 10 million deaths, along with global warming, over that same ~50 year period. Coal power generation causes more deaths EVERY DAY, than the Fukushima event ever will.

          Coal is thousands to millions of times more dangerous and harmful than nuclear. There is universal scientific consensus that coal is by far the most harmful source of electricity, while nuclear is one of the safest and least harmful, of not THE safest. Even solar and wind have caused more deaths than nuclear, per kW-hr.

          https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

          • CheckYourself

            Try Japan, Ukraine, US, and U.K. But I’m more concerned with the future, and ending reliance on non green energy altogether, or rather decentralizing and using the most green sources, as much as possible. That’s definitely not nuclear.

          • falstaff77

            Its only nuclear and hydro.

      • Andrew Allison

        You clearly didn’t bother to read the report, e.g. “Using historical electricity production data and mortality and emission factors from the peer-reviewed scientific literature, we found that despite the three major nuclear accidents the world has experienced, nuclear power prevented an average of over 1.8 million net deaths worldwide between 1971-2009”

        • CheckYourself

          Oh boy. Sigh. I don’t know if I’m just smarter than you or if English is not your first language (let me know), but I’m typing this in plain English. [Read very slowly] By its nature, nuclear is the most dangerous in the event of natural disasters, terrorism, and human error.

          I don’t care if you can point to Japan, Ukraine, and 3 mile island and a few others. Got it? That’s bad enough, but I’m talking potential future disasters as well.

          • Andrew Allison

            Actually, you’ve just demonstrated once again how dumb you are.

          • Only imaginary nuclear disasters count, real disasters don’t count…

          • jimhopf

            So, only accidents matter? Continual harm from normal operation does not? Overall harm is the only thing that matters.

            If it helps, think of it this way. Every single coal plant is having a serious “accident”, i.e., a “meltdown”, every single day. That is, the uncontrolled release of massive amount of pollution (toxic material) directly into the environment. As I said above, the pollution released (worldwide) from coal plants every single day has far more impact than that released by a worst-case nuclear meltdown event.

          • CheckYourself

            Every stage of running a nuclear reactor takes fossil fuels, mining, and releases CO2, including the expensive decommisioning.

          • Unelected Leader

            That reminds me of something kind of funny, but also sad. I had to go to LA about two weeks before the election last fall, and this guy wearing a green party shirt came up and started asking me some questions. He seemed more interested when he found out that I was not from the area. Long story short, the guy was clearly stoned and he told me, near verbatim, “oh I have a super small carbon footprint. I only drive to work and home.” Face palm. Besides the commute admittedly taking him the better part of an hour each way, there was no concept of where he’s at, how much and how far stuff has to be trucked in to support his mega city lifestyle, etc. I wish I could blame the weed entirely, but I have to believe there are more like him out there who don’t bake themselves by midday.

            This is the same with energy, however. I have yet to find a “Green” source of energy because virtually everything has to be mined, transported via fossil fuel burning vehicles, and does some form of damage. I suppose we can loosen the term up, green, but then it quickly becomes fairly meaningless. I suppose you’re right about decentralization and minimizing the use of the least green sources to the furthest extent possible, i.e. coal, gas, nuclear.

          • CheckYourself

            I know I know. Youve got some examples of that on this thread. Despite the devastation of a few hundred kids with cancer in Japan, well at least that’s a fairly thin island, and the plant was on the coast. There was the egregious Japanese government telling people not to leave it first if they were you know 20 miles away, turned out they needed to leave.

            But can you imagine somebody decides to blow up the plant in Nebraska or Iowa? Forget which side of the river it’s on. Or a huge F5 tornado hits it. Or the new Madrid fault finally gives which is apparently coming due. There’s an awful lot of open ground for hundreds of miles east of there.

          • Unelected Leader

            Well of course, that’s precisely what I’m worried about because I would be East (downwind) of it myself! Fingers crossed, assuming that stuff never happens, however, i’m still predominately interested in the decentralization you mentioned earlier. That would have such a great impact on security. I’ve been reading about the tech in development that’s actually making some progress, like windows that actually generate power, like a panel, yet they’re still fully transparent. That’s pretty interesting and exciting stuff.

            Seems that few people know these days, but American farms were briefly energy independent in the first half of the 20th century. They would have one or two wind chargers that powered juice in the house and maybe an outbuilding, and they would have a generator that burned, erm, what you get when you clean the pigsty, and that powered one or two more buildings or a workshop. Of course some houses were not even using the electricity, as they still used acetylene gas lighting. In fact, I grew up in a house that was wired, but it was still piped and had almost all of the fixtures in place for gas lights.

          • CheckYourself

            Oh my grandma has a house just like that! They actually do run the acetylene lights sometimes, but the old acetylene generator where you pour the carbide pellets and water, yeah that’s long gone. But! They can take a regular acetylene tank from a torch setup and run it through like four regulators and still use it just fine. Shame that the corruption of counties working with the providers forced them to hook up into the grid.

          • Starviking

            Got some references for the kids with cancer?

          • falstaff77

            “I suppose you’re right about decentralization and minimizing the use of the least green sources to the furthest extent possible, i.e. coal, gas, nuclear.”

            Using wind and solar means a green wash for using coal or gas, hidden behind the curtain. There no exceptions with major grids, not anywhere in the world. Nuclear has proven to zero out fossil electricity a couple times over.

          • jimhopf

            All of it negligible. That same argument could also be made for wind and solar. No source has zero net emissions.

            So, what to do? How about a *quantitative* analysis?! A comparison of total net CO2 emissions from all sources.

            Well, that analysis has been done. Many times. According to the IPCC (the world’s official global warming body), nuclear’s total net CO2 emissions (accounting for all parts of the process, including those you list) is negligible compared to fossil fuels and several times *lower* than most renewable sources, including biomass, hydro, geothermal and solar. Nuclear is roughly tied with wind as the lowest net emitting source of all.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_greenhouse-gas_emissions_of_energy_sources

          • Joffan

            How about hydro? Look up the 1975 Banqiao Dam Flood.

            How about coal? Too many to mention, almost. Say, the Soma mining disaster.

            Gas? Again, many, but San Bruno Calif.

            Nuclear is benign in comparison. No deaths expected from Fukushima radioactivity even though the tsunami was so bad it killed 18000 people.

          • CheckYourself

            ….. that’s gross. There are literally hundreds (mostly kids and women), in particular, with cancer in Japan right now because of it. You’re really sick to be so cavalier. If you genuinely didn’t know that, wow, okay. But you sure need to take your place in a chair and put the student hat on.

          • jimhopf

            Gosh, why would radiation target women and children (vs. men)??

            The conclusion of formal scientific agencies is that there are no measurable public health impacts from the accident. Even if you’re assertion about hundreds of cancers was true (and say, ~100 turn out to be fatal?), how does that compare with the ~1000 deaths caused *every single day* from fossil power generation? Fukushima being the only significant release of pollution from non-Soviet nuclear in ~50 years?

            It’s the same old BS. To paraphrase none other than Stalin, a handful of people killed by nuclear is considered a (utterly acceptable) tragedy, whereas the millions killed by fossil fuels is a mere statistic (nothing to get too upset about, hey “that’s life”!).

          • CheckYourself

            Well that’s pretty simple, Mr. wizard. Women, and especially kids, are more susceptible to radiation injury. You think a couple hundred kids with cancer is negligible? I guess you are a good candidate for Stalin’s protege then. You can’t separate nuclear from any other CO2 remitter because of how much energy it takes to make nuclear possible. But you didnt know that, just like you didn’t know kids are the most susceptible to radiation injury, because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • Joffan

            No, there aren’t. That’s the propaganda that you have swallowed, feeding off your prejudice. You are making the situation worse by spreading baseless fear. You need to un-learn a lot of erroneous things you think you know that really ain’t so.

          • Sam Gilman

            Hi Check,

            I live in Japan (on Honshu) and what you’re saying here is simply not true. There are not hundreds of people sick with cancer from Fukushima. There is in fact no good evidence of any increase in cancer, and dose assessments suggest there will not be in the future.

            Where are you getting your information from? Let’s look at your source and see what’s wrong with it.

          • Starviking

            I live with my family in Tohoku (Those are Fukushima tomatoes in my Disquis icon), there are likely no cancers from Fukushima at present, and the only thing which has been increasing is early detection of thyroid abnormaliites. That’s to be expected, as there is a major programme to screen for thyroid abnormalities. Of note is the fact that most thyroid cancers grow extremely slowly, so slowly that most have zero effect on a person’s lifespan.

          • falstaff77

            You’re sick to invent cancer cases.

          • Leonard Suschena

            On the scale of potential disasters, new nuclear units, like the AP1000 and thousands times less significant risk than existing operating, primarily due to passive emergency systems that, once initiated, don’t require any power sources other than monitoring systems. Much like todays automobiles, many significant safety features have been become standard and saved countless lives. Anti-lock brakes, air bags, crumple zones. So why not replace our existing flett of reactors with far safer ones. The US is closing existing plants, TVA completed Watts Bar 2 and Voglte 3 and 4 are the only plants under construction in the US, while the rest of world building hundreds of plants. The US will become a third world power, while other countries move toward reliable energy sources. There are 56 under construction and 160 ordered another 160 proposed.
            http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/facts-and-figures/world-nuclear-power-reactors-and-uranium-requireme.aspx

    • Suzy Dixon

      Yeah I definitely don’t want a Chernobyl, Fukushima, three mile, or that one in the U.K. can’t recall its name. But at the end of the day it’s the energy required. I mean, you’re digging up radioactive stuff, separating what you need which is highly energy intensive, to make it more dangerous, and then you have all this garbage left that’s radioactive. The terrorism or natural disasters really just seal the deal for me because human error is scary enough.

      • Aaron Oakley

        “Chernobyl, Fukushima, three mile”

        All scary sounding, but we need to be a bit more scientific. If we examine metrics such as deaths per TWh generated, nuclear turns out to be one of the safest energy sources we have. Bringing up Chernobyl in a discussion about contemporary nuclear power is like bringing up soviet era Ladas in a discussion about modern automotive safety. No-one is building RBMKs without containment. Its easy to talk about the dangers of radioactive stuff (which elements do you mean?) without specifics. The waste stream is completely contained, so as to avoid harm. Compare with coal, where radiactivity is actually released into the environment (levels vary, but coal contains some uranium and thorium in ppm quantities).

        I have a wife and two teenage daughters. I would not have a problem living near a NPP of modern design.

      • Paul Lies

        Oh, no, Suzy! You don’t need to worry. Exposure does not cause any risk or increase of cancer. Just like cigarettes don’t cause cancer risks to go up. I know because the tobacco industry told me so. They had “scientists” and “doctors.” So we can definitely trust the nuclear power enterprise, shareholders, and the government which has already chosen their side 🙂

        • Aaron Oakley

          Scientists and doctors not beholden to commercial interests support nuclear. Examples include climate scientists James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira and Tom Wigley.

          And if you don’t like radiation, then planet earth is not for you. There is always some (natural) background radiation wherever you go, ranging from around 2 mSv per year up to as much as 130 mSv per year in one known location.

          “Exposure does not cause any risk or increase of cancer.”

          Scientists would qualify this by saying that there are lower bounds where effects can be detected.

          • Paul Lies

            We aren’t talkin about background radiation, are we? We are talking about isotopes and at levels that render areas uninhabitable for decades.

          • Aaron Oakley

            Its not clear what you are talking about. What isotopes? What levels? Which areas? Biology doesn’t distinguish between natural and background radiation.

          • Paul Lies

            Oh sonny lol. Oh my goodness. Okay. First off, are you liking your own comments? Are TAI readers really so dense? WE distinguish the amounts AND the isotopes because they aren’t equal, and, in a way, so does nature with its prodigious abilities to distribute this nasty stuff when it’s concentrated in a particular area via current, wind, and fish that travel through the area and pick it up.

            Of course we are talking about several isotopes, but most notably Cesium 137. We’re talking about the largest recorded release of contaminants into the ocean. Seawater analyses taken near the discharge from Dai-ichi yielded readings of 130,000 Becquerels/liter (Bq/l) of iodine-131, 32,000 Bq/l of cesium-137, and 31,000 Bq/l of cesium-134. That’s unbelievably high since you dont know better. Although the leak in the cracked sidewall was eventually stopped, the total amount of contaminants that entered the ocean was unknown, and discharges, both accidental and deliberate, continued for several weeks. By early April, at sampling points about 30km east of Dai-ichi, the highest concentrations were about 38 Bq/l for iodine-131 and 4.5 Bq/l for cesium-137. The occurrence of cesium-137 is of greater concern of course because of its longer half life of several decades.

            From your standpoint of a position of sheer ignorance, a helpful reference for you: The natural radioactivity of seawater is 13 or 14 Bq/l, of which 95% comes from potassium-40, not cesium. 150 Bq of cesium is a health hazard. 150 Bq of K40 is not only tolerable, but needed for your health because it’s potassium, kiddo.

          • Suzy Dixon

            Ouch. Thanks for the info too.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            That’s all correct info. Of course that has nothing to do with newer, safer nuclear reactors (and in better places!). But it’s all the more reason to keep reactors safe from cyber, physical terror, and seismic hotspots as I’ve written below.

          • Aaron Oakley

            “Oh sonny lol. Oh my goodness.”

            It is an ironic thought that people with holes in their own knowledge are often arrogant and condescending.

            “Okay. First off, are you liking your own comments?”

            No.

            “We’re talking about the largest recorded release of contaminants into the ocean.”

            And now, let’s put that into context: The total release was in the order of 30 peta-Becquerels. Compare with the naturally occurring radioactivity of the ocean: ~15,000,000 peta-Becquerels. Puts the scaremongering into perspective doesn’t it?

            Of all the isotopes you list, the main one to be concerned about is I-131, as it goes to the thyroid when absorbed, and it has a short half-life (~8 days). Distributing Iodine tablets is advised here.

            “The occurrence of cesium-137 is of greater concern of course because of its longer half life of several decades.”

            It does not follow that the area in question will be uninhabitable for several decades.

            “standpoint of a position of sheer ignorance”

            A little introspection on your part is advised. The coverage of the event at hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-accident-updates.html.com is recommended.

            We must also ask ourselves about the alternatives. Were it not for nuclear, Japan would be burning coal, which has far greater health and environmental impacts overall. And if you fear radioactivity, I point out that most coal contains uranium and thorium in ppm quantities.

          • Suzy Dixon

            We are concerned with all of the fission products released, and especially the long lasting ones like Cesium. Currents take that crud north where it concentrates, and eventually to the NA west coasts. And as Paul said, a lot of the fish migrate through all of these areas from Japan toward Alaska and elsewhere. And the natural radioactivity of seawater is from potassium-40 and not cesium from a triple meltdown! Coal plants don’t meltdown irradiate land, water, and livestock and fish. Shouldn’t be using coal or nuclear. Just wind and solar with gas/coal to buttress it when absolutely necessary.

          • Aaron Oakley

            It doesn’t concentrate. There is no science to support the notion that fish will accumulate cesium. Biochemically, it behaves like potassium, and so that (diluted) cesium competes with he (natural) potassium in seawater. There is no evidence for impacts on the US.

            “Coal plants don’t meltdown irradiate land, water, and livestock and fish.”

            No, they just have greater health impacts than nuclear.

            “Just wind and solar with gas/coal to buttress it when absolutely necessary.”

            That’s a pipe dream, especially for Japan with its geography and population density.

          • Suzy Dixon

            Whales harvested by Japan have had increased cesium 137 and 134 levels. Off the CA coast, bluefin tuna have had increased 137 levels. Obviously higher levels up north. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Sigh. And that’s only a pipe dream for coal and nuclear shareholders and propagandists. The nuclear establishment isn’t getting their money worth from you if you’re a paid shill. Not even doing basic hw.

          • Aaron Oakley

            I suggest you look at the actual data concerning those increases. I suggest using reputable scientific organizations and the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

            “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

            Right back at you.

            “And that’s only a pipe dream for coal and nuclear shareholders and propagandists. ”

            Check out Japans population density, geography etc and show me how they can get electricity from “Just wind and solar with gas/coal to buttress it when absolutely necessary.”

            And it seems to me that people resort to the shill gambit are lazy and dishonest.

          • Suzy Dixon

            I have done. You haven’t. That’s why you are probably liking your own comments. Or is that just a coincidence that within seconds on a thread quiet for days? I actually don’t think you are a shill. I’ve run into a few. They are much more well read than you.
            Mary Yamaguchi, Traces of Radiation Found in 2 Whales Off Japan, Associated Press, June 15, 2011.
Daniel J. Madigan, et al., “Pacific Bluefin Tuna Transport Fukushima-Derived Radionuclides from Japan to
            California,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 109, no. 24 (June 12, 2012): 9483-9486.

          • Aaron Oakley

            “That’s why you are probably liking your own comments.”

            Telling that you need to lie about me.

            “Or is that just a coincidence that within seconds on a thread quiet for days?”

            Because I have followers who share my desire to tackle fear and ignorance?

            Have you actually read Yamaguchi et al.?Look at the levels reported. They are miniscule: in the order of a few Bq per Kg. Certainly nothing to worry about.

          • Suzy Dixon

            Yeah. Sure. That’s it. Followers. Yeah just some followers who were just waiting at the ready for you to comment again. lol. And there we go. Nuclear apologetics 101. Thank you! no more beating around the bush or questioning if the fish are picking this up for eating other organisms that are contaminated….because they are. You know it. I know it. And the sources cited know it. YOU, and the other apologists, simply want to write it off, and downplay ingesting a cesium. Okay. That’s where we are in this thread I guess. There is no safe amount of cesium to ingest, and it’s not like potassium 40. Just be sure that you ask for the irradiated tuna so the rest of us will have slightly better odds.

          • Aaron Oakley

            “Nuclear apologetics 101.”

            Crazy conspiracy theories are fun, but a poor distraction from the science.

            “There is no safe amount of cesium to ingest”

            On what basis do you make that assertion? (Hint: science doesn’t back it up.)

            “and it’s not like potassium 40”

            Biochemically, it is very similar to potassium. Potassium in the seawater will compete with any ingested cesium, keeping levels extremely low. And the reported levels –are– extremely low. Most of the internal radioactivity of those fish will be from K-40.

          • Do you not know how Disqus works? If you follow someone, you get an e-mail when they post a comment or someone replies to one of your posts.

          • Joffan

            Those who keep their profile private miss out on the “following” part of Disqus,

          • Sam Gilman

            Hi Suzy,

            I’m one of the people that follow Aaron. Am I allowed to upvote his coments? I thought I should run that by you, as it seems to be causing you trauma. (And if you would like to get followers yourself, all you need to do is change your privacy settings.)

            Anyway, the fish off the coast of Fukushima prefecture have been monitored fairly closely. It’s been well over a year since any fish caught have been above the very stringent safety limits the government here introduced following March 2011. This is from February this year:

            http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702030003.html

            Here is a history of the monitoring process results:

            http://www.jfa.maff.go.jp/e/inspection/

            The English version only goes up to July this year, but if you want I can link to the Japanese version to the end of September with notes on how to understand the tables.

          • falstaff77

            ” There is no safe amount of cesium to ingest, and it’s not like potassium 40. ”

            Could you explain how K-40 is not like Cs-137 in terms of radio-toxicity? They are both beta emitters, they are both water soluble. Cs-137 is far higher in activity than K-40, with Cs-137 at 3.215 GBq/gram and K-40 at 0.26 MBq/gram. But then K-40 is in the body for life, continually turning over, at about 16 mg. Cs-137 leaves (1/2) in ~70 days.

            The 16 mg of K-40 in the avg body renders 135 GBq/yr, every year. Cs-137 has activity 3.215 GBq/gram, rendering 19 GBq/microgram/70-days, so that 7 micrograms of Cs-137 for 70 days renders the same dose, once, as does K-40 in a year.

          • Look at the date, your report is from 2012, cesium is water soluble, Aaron is correct, your information is outdated. Each country sets limits for the amount of radioactive cesium allowed in fish and other seafood. After the accident at Fukushima, the Japanese government lowered its limit, making it one of the strictest in the world. If seawater contained the amounts of radioactive cesium shown here, fish living in it would exceed the limits for radioactivity in seafood sold in Japan (100 Bq/kg) and the U.S. (1,200 Bq/kg). So far, no fish have been caught in U.S. waters or imported to the U.S. that exceeded either of these limits. http://www.whoi.edu/visualWHOI/fukushima-and-radiation-in-the-ocean–how-much

          • falstaff77

            “…and it has a short half-life (~8 days). Distributing Iodine tablets is advised here….”

            *Was* advised. Clearly the I -131 is long gone.

          • Aaron Oakley

            That’s right. Many half-lives later, there is no I-131 left!

        • falstaff77

          “They had “scientists” and “doctors.””

          When you or yours becomes ill in need of specialized help, do you consult a “doctor” or random internet posters?

    • KremlinKryptonite

      Wow. This thread is all over the place. Seems that there are at least three different conversations going on.
      1. Is nuclear safe?
      2. Is nuclear green?
      3. Should we prioritize large power stations that millions depend upon, or decentralize as much as possible, and asap?
      I don’t know about the rest of you but I’m actually an engineer, so I feel compelled to add my two cents.

      1. Yes, it certainly can be. Some of the best reactors on this planet are in Canada. I can speak at length to the safety measures they employ, and in fact how they differ in operation from older reactors; however, suffice it to say the human error element has virtually been eliminated. Now, cyber security, a terrorist take over, or cataclysmic earthquake are really the only things to worry about. Seems like the first two can be mitigated as well, so let’s just place the reactors far from seismic hot spots. Japan is SOL in that regard.

      2. Not particularly. It’s better than before though. The CANDU reactors at least run on uranium that’s not enriched, so that means less energy used to make the plant viable and also means that the waste is less dangerous.

      3. I’m in favor of decentralization myself, but in the interest of pragmatism I would only be a stickler about it for those living snuggled up next to a volcano/on a fault.

      • Sam Gilman

        In terms of being green, it’s low carbon, and has a small environmental footprint.

        In terms of being safe, if you look at Fukushima, the problem was the placing of the cooling system in a basement in an area where tsunamis were a possibility (although it does need to be stated that the size of the tsunami was likely bigger than any experienced in well over a millenium.) Passive cooling would solve that problem. Earthquake proofing isn’t quite as big a challenge as one might think. For Japan, the problem is that alternative low carbon sources aren’t plentiful – industrial economy with a dense population packed into the valleys between biodiverse forested mountains, not very windy etc. (and geothermal potential compared to demand isn’t that plentiful). So don’t be surprised if nuclear continues to be used, unless it’s replaced with coal – which sadly is already happening.

        • KremlinKryptonite

          I quite likely know more about nuclear energy than perhaps anyone on this thread. I know that it can be more or less safe. I admire the strides taken in Canada, for example, to demonstrate this. There are, however, some areas simply not suitable for a nuclear reactor – places where the best of, and most redundant, safety measures still don’t account for the risk.
          Nuclear has become more green, but not much more. Carbon emission is not the only concern. CO2 isn’t the most potent GHG, and it’s not the most abundant.

          • Sam Gilman

            I don’t know how much you know about nuclear power (I suspect you’re not actually the most expert – one commenter here works at an NPP), but may I suggest you may have misunderstood something about global warming.

            CO2 may not play the biggest role in the greenhouse effect – that would be water vapour – but it plays a key role in the scale of the effect. If you pump water vapour into the air, it falls down as rain. The water vapour content of the atmosphere is determined by temperature. On the other hand, if you pump CO2 into the atmosphere, it stays there until it’s drawn back down by the carbon cycle. So CO2 is what is called a “driver” – our emissions can actually increase the greenhouse effect, both directly through the greenhouse properties of CO2, but also through the feedback of increased water vapour because of the increased temperature induced by increased CO2.

            This is why climate mitigation is focussed a lot on carbon dioxide emissions. There are other more potent greenhouse gases molecule for molecule (such as methane), but carbon dioxide is the biggest driver.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Oh, careful. I never said I was an expert or anywhere near it. I am an actual engineer though (chemical), and I’ve spent some time studying nuclear reactors on my own time. If someone here works at a plant then they may very well be the closest we have to an expert, but that would depend entirely upon their specific job and qualifications.

            uh, why bring up water vapor? I had to chuckle. That I can comment on (or rather laugh at). There is the positive feedback loop, but as you intimate it’s primarily determined by other contributors (unless there were 10,000 reactors releasing excess steam all day, every day. And that’s not the case).
            CO2 is the second largest contributor, but it is responsible for about 18% of the GHE, and it’s nowhere near the most potent molecule for molecule. There are about several more culprits at play here. Refrigerants. Fluorides. Ozone (which is ironically too thick in some areas, yet depleted at higher atmospheric levels over a broader area), and so on.

          • Sam Gilman

            The amount of CO2 we emit is why it matters.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Step back. You are looking at it in a linear way, but that’s not how we engineers look at it. Here’s why. CO2 is the second largest contributor, but again that represents less than 20% of the GHE. There are several other contributors that, molecule for molecule, do literally thousands of times more damage.
            This is why global warming potential GWP is so important.

            I’ll give you an example. If you could snap your fingers and release one molecule of CO2 and I do the same, but instead of CO2 I release sulfur hexafluoride, who just caused more harm? Answer: ME ME! In fact, I just caused 22,000 times more harm! That’s right. The molecule has that much more heat trapping potential than CO2. It’s actually at the top of the IPCCs GHG list.

          • Sam Gilman

            I’m looking at it in the way that mainstream climate scientists look at it. They are perfectly aware that CO2 is not the most potent greenhouse gas. That hasn’t knocked them off their focus on CO2 emissions as the main culprit of anthropogenic global warming. As a non-climate scientist, isn’t it a better idea for you to find out why they do have that focus?

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Okay. Evidently you don’t know what the IPCC is. And you also don’t know that climate scientists often consult chemists and engineers (if not working hand-in-hand with some of us), or why they bother to calculate GWP which uses CO2 as the base. You also don’t know that sulfur hexafluoride is inorganic, ie man made, and by definition part of anthropogenic climate change. Which is why it makes the top of the IPCC’s list.

          • Sam Gilman

            I see you are trying to assert how jolly clever and knowledgeable you are.

            So here are two easy questions: If CO2 is so unimportant to the IPCC, can you explain why the IPCC assesses energy source emissions in terms of CO2eq/KWh? Why does WG3 of the IPCC state climate change mitigation in terms of limiting growth in the ppm of atmospheric CO2?

          • KremlinKryptonite

            What are doing? I didn’t say CO2 was unimportant. You just made that up. C’mon now. The answer to your question is very simple. CO2 emissions are important, and more importantly you need a ruler. The same reason why the IPCC and climatologists the world over use CO2 as the base, or ruler, by which to measure GWP of other, much more potent, contributors.

            Send a climatologist screenshots of what I’m saying. Ask them if there’s any problem with it. They’re going to say, “no, and why do you ask?” In other words, they’ll be confused. And I think the confusion arises [for you and others] by looking at it in a linear fashion. If you simply can’t pull back, then you can think of it like a race among contributors, and the race is much closer than you’re giving it credit for. Climatologists are very, very concerned about trichlorofluoromethane, sulfur hexafluoride, hexafluoroethaneIf, and several others. Each with a GWP thousands, or even tens of thousands, of times greater than CO2, and long lifetimes of hundreds to thousands of years (GWP measures against CO2 over 100 years).

          • Suzy Dixon

            KK, you’re getting trolled. This is the same person. They are liking their own sock accounts. You are a regular around here and always pretty respectful and insightful, and now he/she is putting words in your mouth. Classic trolling.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Suzy, thank you and I hope that’s not the case. I certainly don’t appreciate someone intentionally putting words in my mouth, troll or not.

          • Sam Gilman

            It isn’t. Suzy is being paranoid.

          • Sam Gilman

            KK,

            You say:

            What are doing? I didn’t say CO2 was unimportant. You just made that up.

            Well, sadly, you were basically trying to downplay the importance of CO2.When I suggested that nuclear should be considered green because of its low CO2 output (and small environmental footprint), you said:

            Nuclear has become more green, but not much more. Carbon emission is not the only concern. CO2 isn’t the most potent GHG, and it’s not the most abundant.

            To which I pointed out that CO2 is clearly the dominant concern. Water vapour may be more abundant, and molecule for molecule other GHGs may be more potent, but CO2 is the main driver of global warming. To which you replied:

            uh, why bring up water vapor? I had to chuckle

            Which was rather odd and suggested that you thought something else was more abundant than CO2 or water vapour. You also said:

            CO2 is the second largest contributor, but it is responsible for about 18% of the GHE, and it’s nowhere near the most potent molecule for molecule. There are about several more culprits at play here. Refrigerants. Fluorides. Ozone (which is ironically too thick in some areas, yet depleted at higher atmospheric levels over a broader area), and so on.

            To which I pointed out that CO2 was important because of how much we emit. Your response:

            Step back. You are looking at it in a linear way, but that’s not how we engineers look at it. Here’s why. CO2 is the second largest contributor, but again that represents less than 20% of the GHE.

            And you went on to repeat the point that molecule for molecule other GHGs are more potent.

            To which I replied:

            I’m looking at it in the way that mainstream climate scientists look at it. They are perfectly aware that CO2 is not the most potent greenhouse gas. That hasn’t knocked them off their focus on CO2 emissions as the main culprit of anthropogenic global warming.

            Which led to your outburst:

            Okay. Evidently you don’t know what the IPCC is. And you also don’t know that climate scientists often consult chemists and engineers (if not working hand-in-hand with some of us), or why they bother to calculate GWP which uses CO2 as the base. You also don’t know that sulfur hexafluoride is inorganic, ie man made, and by definition part of anthropogenic climate change. Which is why it makes the top of the IPCC’s list.

            So all of the time when I kept stressing the importance of CO2 emissions in global warming (because of its abundance and the rate at which we emit), you kept objecting and telling me I had it wrong. So it looks like you were trying to play down the importance of CO2.

            But let’s go back to something in that last comment of yours I quoted, keeping in mind how you repeat the 18%/less than 20% figure as if that is meaningful in terms of global warming.

            You also don’t know that sulfur hexafluoride is inorganic, ie man made, and by definition part of anthropogenic climate change. Which is why it [Sulphur hexafluoride] makes the top of the IPCC’s list

            .

            Let’s put aside the fact that inorganic doesn’t mean man-made (regular salt is inorganic. Water is inorganic. Carbon dioxide even is considered inorganic): What list would this be? It’s not top of the list of what is causing global warming. From AR5 WG1, p. 161:

            Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) all continue to increase relatively rapidly, but their contributions to radiative forcing are less than 1% of the total by well-mixed GHGs. {2.2.1.1}

            More specifically, from p.

            8.3.2.4.3 Perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride
            These gases have lifetimes of thousands to tens of thousands of years (Table 8.A.1); therefore emissions essentially accumulate in the atmosphere on the time scales considered here. CF4 has a natural source and a 1750 concentration of 35 ppt (see Section 2.2.1.1.4). These gases currently contribute 0.01 W m–2 of the total WMGHG RF.

            And from table 8.2 (p. 678), we see that the RF of Sulphur Hexafluoride is 0.0041W m–2

            P. 677-8 contains this text:

            Table 8.2 shows the concentrations and RF in AR4 (2005) and 2011 for the most important WMGHGs. Figure 8.6 shows the time evolution of RF and its rate of change. Since AR4, the RF of CO2 has increased by 0.16 W m–2 and continues the rate noted in AR4 of almost 0.3 W m–2 per decade. As shown in Figure 8.6(d) the rate of increase in the RF from the WMGHGs over the last 15 years has been dominated by CO2.Since AR4, CO2 has accounted for more than 80% of the WMGHG RF increase.

            So the CO2 “less than 20%” GHE figure is misleading in the context of global warming. It’s a driver of change, where as water vapour isn’t. The increases in CO2 are predominantly what drive global warming.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Yawn. I caught you putting words in my mouth, the least you could do is apologize. Seems unlikely after this ramble. Im inclined to agree with Suzy at this point…I’ve been trolled. Lol. Hasn’t happened in a long time. Thanks bud. You go ahead and send those screen shots to a climatologist. You won’t, I’m sure, because I already told you what they’ll say. Toodaloo

          • Sam Gilman

            So I show you what you said – quoted verbatim – and what the IPCC actually says – again, verbatim – and your response is to first accuse me of putting words into your mouth, then to claim I’m out of line with climate science, and then to run away, complaining that I’m being unfair.

            You could, on the other hand, clarify your comments, and stop trying to big up yourself all the time, and we could have decent conversation about evidence.

            Ego or the planet. Your choice.

          • CheckYourself

            KK said “The answer to your question is very simple. CO2 emissions are important, and more importantly you need a ruler…” Sam, your trolling has been detected. Your trolling has been reported. I don’t know where you think you are, but this is a grown-up site.

          • Sam Gilman

            You are free to try to abuse the Disqus report system to quash views you can’t deal with. Or you could address the issue.

            Every time I said CO2 was the most important greenhouse gas, he objected. He claimed other GHGs were top of the IPCC list.

            Do you agree with him that there is something wrong with stating that CO2 is the most important GHG, or do you side with the IPCC?

          • CheckYourself

            The guy is 100% correct and re-reading your comments you fundamentally agree with each other lmao, and I think you’re just too dull understand what he is saying. I’m not a chemical engineer or any engineer and I know what he’s talking about. Hes telling you that CO2 is in second place for most abundant contributor, but it’s not a close second. CO2 variably accounts for 15 to 20 some percent. Of course I agree with the IPCC insofar as their listing contributors by potency. CO2 is nowhere near the most potent contributor. That’s a fact. You’re saying the IPCC has it all wrong? Jesus man.

            It’s not abuse of the system, you’re a perfect example of why it exists. Don’t worry, they don’t take individual comments down unless it’s CP or something like that. Just wanted to get it on the record, and if that record accumulates then your channel will be in jeopardy and under review. It’s best to be honest and not troll or lie 🙂

          • Sam Gilman

            I’m not lying, I’m taking climate change seriously and stating the issue correctly. Reporting someone for doing that more than a bit suspect.

            The statistic about CO2 accounting for 20% of the greenhouse effect is highly misleading when it comes to assessing its importance in tackling global warming, as is looking at GHG potency. As the IPCC states, and as I quoted, CO2 is responsible for more than 80% of the increase in radiative forcing in recent years.

            It is thus also misleading to try to deflect attention from CO2 by talking about gases which contribute less than 1% of recent increases in forcing.

            I think it’s very notable that in all this talk of potency, neither of you seem bothered by where it’s a real issue, which is with methane, where the volume we emit and the potency combine to make it a significant threat. Methane is of course also known as natural gas, a fossil fuel. The chief culprit for CO2 emissions is of course fossil fuels. You’re both downplaying the dangers of fossil fuels.

            Why would someone do that?

          • CheckYourself

            Still trolling. Nobody said that. And that’s precisely why you got reported – for trolling. KK didn’t say anything to contradict what you’re saying here on my thread. He appears to have spoken above your head though, and that brought out the troll in you. I have my disagreements with KK, but like Suzy said, the guy is around these threads a lot, and I do respect him enough to call you out for lying and misconstruing. Not going to let your sorry behind troll people that I respect on my threads without a report. Cry harder.

          • Sam Gilman

            “My threads”

            Do you own this site?

          • CheckYourself

            Why would I need to own the site and which site, Disqus or TAI? Disqus is used to facilitate a discussion on TAI, and here you are abusing it for trolling. This is all under and attached to my original comment. This is a thread that I started. That’s what a threaded discussion is. LOL I’m checkin’ out.

          • Sam Gilman

            Let’s look at your original comment:

            “II’m just worried about nuclear because it’s the most dangerous. Coal, natural gas, solar, turbines, etc., should be priority altogether over nuclear.”

            So your priority is building coal and gas, but you want to troll me by pretending you care what the IPCC says? Elsewhere on this page you’ve been spreading false information about Fukushima but when asked to provide the source for that false information, you didn’t bother.

            Coal burning kills hundreds of thousands a year through its particulates. It is a major contributor to climate change which already is killing at least 150,000 people a year and that is rising, possibly to really horrible numbers if recent research on humidity in South Asia is correct. Gas too contributes to climate change both through burning it and through leaks from gas pipelines.

            Save your crocodile tears.

          • TNI Censors Comments Now

            Hmmm. Been reading this thread for a while now. You were, urm, enlightened by KK here despite on a few particulars, and that seems to annoy you. Although, you appear to be in general agreement. Anyway, I’ve got two questions for you. Hopefully I don’t get “trolled” as they say. 1. Do you support the EV subsidies from both state govts and the federal government? yes/no. 2. Are you, as an apparent green [or so they’re called], interested in using the greenest energy sources possible — wind and solar, for example — above nuclear and coal/gas alike as much as possible and asap? yes/no.

          • Sam Gilman

            You’re reading the thread in the wrong order. KK was annoyed with me for pointing out nuclear’s low carbon energy production. The point he was making he was blowing out of all proportion to its significance. CO2 really is the major concern, followed by methane. SF6 is not.

            I support all of nuclear, wind and solar. (Which one is greenest is seriously up for debate. In terms of emissions, nuclear and wind are better than solar. In terms of impact on wildlife, nuclear and solar are better than wind. In terms of resource use, nuclear is better than wind and solar in terms of sheer volume of stuff needed. But they’re all way better than coal and gas in terms of the environment.)

            I don’t know enough about the subsidy system for EVs in the US to comment. But clearly, the electrification of transport (or conversion to low emissions hydrogen) needs to happen as quickly as possible. If subsidies are a good way of doing that, then sure. I don’t have any kind of allergic reaction to subsidies per se.

          • TNI Censors Comments Now

            No. No that’s not the case. KK replied to CY. You replied to KK. He never said that. As CY more succinctly put it, KK was enlightening you a little bit about the IPCC and GWP, how it’s calculated, and why CO2 shouldn’t be pursued at the expense of much more powerful polluters.

            No. That’s not up for debate.

            Fair enough. A yes, which you de facto gave me, means that you aren’t concerned with cost, losses (like Tesla losing $14,000/sale despite subsidies). That’s fine. Just wanted to know if you cared about it.

          • Sam Gilman

            No, the IPCC clearly states that over 80% of radiative forcing in recent years has been caused by CO2 releases. You’re grossly misrepresenting what the IPCC says. They are plainly focussed on CO2 as the biggest problem, while the gases mentioned by KK are a minor problem. The existence of gases which are per molecule more powerful greenhouse gases is beside the point if they are not being emitted in large enough quantities.

            If the environmental costs of using gasoline which are currenlty externalised were internalised, ICE cars would cost more. So they’re being subsidised by everyone.

            As for Tesla, the fanboys annoy me. I have my doubts about the hype, and there do seem to be concerns about their business model. But they’re not the be all and end all of EV production. If one company is taking more subsidies than others for the same progess, it’s worth reviewing the situation.

          • TNI Censors Comments Now

            You just restated KKs point. You don’t see that? He already said CO2 is the second most abundant. That’s what you’re saying too. Which, on a list excluding H2O, puts CO2 on top. With H2O vapor included, CO2 is around 20% responsible for GHE. He already spoke to that. He’s telling you that, broadly, or “step back” as he said, you’re looking at CO2 and many others competing for roughly 30% of the cause of the GHE. That’s all. Moving on. The IPCC lists contaminants by abundance, potency, etc. and ? What about it? KK and others here have already said that too.

            I don’t think you’re a troll, but I understand the frustration of the others because it’s like you’re not reading the comments entirely.

          • Sam Gilman

            You’re confusing contribution to the greenhouse effect with causes of anthropogenic global warming.

          • AnonymoussSoldier

            No they aren’t.

          • Sam Gilman

            Yes, they are.

            Pointing to the 20% figure as an assessment of what is important in addressing global warming is misleading. The 20% by itself actually tells us very little about how important CO2 emissions are in terms of global warming. Water vapour contributes about 60% of the greenhouse effect, but water vapour emissions have no impact on global warming. Pointing to potency also tells us very little. Sulphur Hexafluoride may be far more potent molecule for molecule, but CO2 emissions have contributed probably around 180 times extra radiative forcing over the six years covered in IPCC AR5 compared to SF6.

            The original point was about how green nuclear power was. The extent of nuclear’s greenness (it’s low CO2) was disputed on the grounds that other gases besides CO2 are also important in tackling global warming. But actually, the gases cited as also important are trivial. (If you people had talked about methane, there would have been a point, but I sense a pattern of trying to defend fossil fuels here).

            I get that you’re all friends here, but having a go at me for allegedly not understanding global warming (and I’m the only one actually citing chapter and verse of the IPCC) when one of you is recommending investment in coal is a bit rich.

          • AnonymoussSoldier

            No they didn’t. You have poor reading comprehension.

          • Sam Gilman

            We can go back and forth like this if you like, but only one of us is explaining their position with reference to the science.

            The other one is out of a Monty Python sketch.

          • AnonymoussSoldier

            Are you saying that you, and CheckYourself and Kremlin here are agreeing with Sammy? Sammy doesn’t want to hear about it! lmao.

          • KremlinKryptonite

            Praise the lord! Thank you.

        • A minor clarification, Sam, likely just a matter of semantics, but the backup electric generators were drowned out by the tsunami, which powered the cooling system. Same difference : )

          • Sam Gilman

            Sorry – that was my slip (brainfart) – I’ll edit to clear that up. Thanks.

        • Starviking

          And another thing about the tsunami was this: once it had happened and scientists investigated the area, they discovered a problem with the sediment that they use to track the penetration of tsunamis: it wasn’t carried as far as the water reached inland. This meant that historical tsunami strengths were likely underestimated significantly.

  • FriendlyGoat

    There is SOMEBODY out there who will argue for the subsidy of Coca-Cola and Kentucky Fried Chicken because some customers like them, some employees work in them and some shareholders own them. The trick is to have a government in place composed of people who don’t permit it. Whether we currently have one of those is an open question.

    • Bob

      I like Coca-Cola

      • FriendlyGoat

        Why soitanly (as pronounced by Curly, Three Stooges.)

  • marcossantiago

    ……..”coal is an extraordinarily dirty energy source. Coal pollutes locally by making air toxic to breathe (look to the smoggy skies of Beijing or New Delhi for proof), and it’s a global menace for the high amount of greenhouse gasses it emits.”

    There you go again Jamie. You can’t compare a modern coal power plant in the US with those polluting in China and India. Modern coal burning plants in the US burn about as clean as gas powered plants. As for your diatribe about green house gas emissions being a global menace, you still haven’t done your homework.

    • RedWell

      Coal: the energy of future.

  • Andrew Allison

    The first sentence tells us where this post is going. Of course, a simple discussion of the merits of considering whether base load providers are being adequately compensated for being there rain or shine, as it were, wouldn’t provide for a display of TDS. Renewables are being obscenely subsidized and their intermittency stresses the national grid. Shouldn’t they be paying for that rather than being paid for it? Renewables have made baseload power generation more, not less critical. Given that, despite being the obvious solution, nuclear is off the table until costs come way down, what the government needs to do is ensure that the diminishing, but enduring demand for coal can be met. The enormous surplus of natural gas suggests that producers don’t need help need help.

    • jimhopf

      You may be right about building new nuclear plants, but this article is mainly about preserving the existing ones. A small (~1 cent/kW-hr) subsidy would be enough to keep all existing nuclear plants running. This is negligible compared to the support renewables receive, but everyone is complaining about tiny nuclear subsidies and saying nothing at all about massive support (market interventions) for renewables.

      Where I disagree with this article is its refusal to discuss environmental benefits. Is it that we have to find other arguments (no matter how strained) because Trump, et al, is now in charge? Grid reliability arguments are weak. Even with significant renewables penetration, gas plants can provide backup and maintain reliability. On the other hand, environmental benefits or costs should be fully reflected in the market (by subsidizing ALL clean energy sources, or by taxing CO2 emissions and harmful air pollution). Nuclear deserves subsidies similar to renewables (barring the alternative of getting rid of all subsidies and mandates, and then applying CO2 and pollution taxes).

      Coal? There is no justification for providing any subsidy or support for coal. Quite the reverse, its pollution should be taxed. If we care about public health and global warming, our policy should not be to blindly support renewables, but to get rid of coal as quickly as possible (all alternatives to coal being just fine).

  • Wayne Lusvardi

    The “environmental” problem with coal-fired power plants is not “dirty coal” but the environment itself. Coal emissions are diluted where coal power plants are located in Plains States and Deserts (Arizona, Utah, Texas); and conversely, are trapped by heat inversion layers in Basin States (California). In other words, it is the topographic environment that makes coal power plant emissions potentially toxic or, at minimum, an irritant. The solution of pollution is dilution. Thus, environmental policy for power plants should first recognize the topographical environment in forming public policy. Instead of punishing states that have coal fired power plants the issue should be federalism and state rule.

  • jimhopf

    Nothing strange is afoot with respect to the alliance between “environmentalists” and Big Oil (and gas). They have been allies for some time, for very clear reasons.

    It is well known that the forced addition of intermittent renewable sources onto the grid has the effect of forcing “inflexible” coal and nuclear plants to close, and be replaced by “flexible” gas generation, which is more amenable to backing up intermittent sources. Some would argue, with good reason, that the *primary* effect of renewables mandates, etc.., is not the renewable generation itself, but the resulting switch from nuclear and coal to gas. That is, the number of kW-hrs that were switched from coal and nuclear to gas is actually larger than the number of renewables-generated kW-hrs.

    It seems clear that the (very rich, powerful and influential) oil/gas industry is quietly behind the renewables push, and it is likely much of the reason why that push has enjoyed so much political support and success. This is all the oil/gas industry’s main plan for gaining market share (at the expense of nuclear and coal). Yes, Virginia, renewables do not replace gas generation, or cause it to decrease, they cause it to increase, and the gas industry knows this.

    Nuclear advocates try to point out that the renewables path involves locking in the use of gas for most of our power generation, but few will listen. The “environmentalists”? Their hatred of nuclear and coal is such that they are willing to get in bed with the oil/gas industry (which they say they hate in public) and lock us into a future where most electricity is generated by fossil fuel (gas), as long as it gets rid of coal and nuclear. Their stance on coal is understandable. Coal is by far the worst and whatever replaces it is significantly better. Their stance on nuclear is not. (It is indefensible and immoral.)

    • Aren’t there now new nuclear technologies that avoid a lot of the old pitfalls of conventional plants?

      I’m not sure if there’s much point to subsidizing existing plants if we can replace them with newer and less dangerous technology. Seems to me the future of nuclear depends on this.

      However, what you say about coal seems self-evident. There is no reasonable argument to subsidize coal since natural gas can do everything coal can while being cheaper and polluting less. It is literally a win-win-win for everyone save coal miners.

    • Its not going to force coal-fired plant closures, its going to be slow attrition of old plants on old technology, and the decline in the coal resources that support them. i.e. New plants will be required in new areas. There is evidence of plants closing because new coal mines can’t meet the more stringent environmental conditions required to keep those plants open. This is a good example in Australia, west of Sydney. Arbitrary regulation is a global problem.
      http://click.email.fairfaxmedia.com.au/?qs=026aa402b3943fe0fa306dc745009b2b8a68988d4f49b4fb6d9ad6f5c0daf0aa4b19510b90a37a9297413e5ad3689494cb380b47e933d1f5

  • Ahmed Shaker
  • Pait

    Expect all right-wing libertarian free-marketers to start supporting subsidies for dirty big business in 4, 3, 2, 1 seconds….

  • I have to laugh at that article. If its not the global warming argument, its the comparison of ‘dirty coal fired power stations’ in the US with those in the China. All US plants are fitted with NOx and SOx scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators. There is no argument to be made that ‘coal is dirty’ in terms of air emissions. CO2 is a fertiliser for plants.
    The reason why old Chinese coal-fired plants are closing is because they are not equipped with this technology, and because they are incredibly small 25-200MW units whereas modern plants are 660-1000MW unit ‘each’. These are not being built around Beijing for good reason:
    a. Growing city
    b. Modernisation of power grid in the way of ‘new reality’
    c. Shifting position of future coal resources, i.e. More coal will come by rail from Mongolia

    It is true China is ‘shutting down coal plants’, but it has not stopped building new modern coal plants. Selective reporting might suggest that ‘even China is spurning dirty coal’, but the reality is that, coal demand is growing.

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