Warmists Are Suddenly Coming Out In Favor Of Nuclear Power

Yes, yes, there have always been a few members of the Cult of Climastrology who support nuclear power, but, the CoC is so chock full of extreme-enviros who were unhinged over nuclear power that most have said “nyet” to it as a way to reduce mankind’s carbon footprint. That might be changing, as we see in this Boston Globe editorial

To fight climate change, environmentalists say yes to nuclear power

Analogies to Richard Nixon going to China tend to be overused.

But here’s one that’s the real deal: On Thursday, the venerable Cambridge-based Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report on nuclear power endorsing measures to keep financially struggling nuclear power plants alive to combat climate change.

They aren’t the first environmentalists to reach the same conclusion, but it’s a convincing report — and, symbolically, a really big deal. The group’s name is practically synonymous with skepticism toward nuclear energy, and it played a leading role in the fights against nuclear reactors in New England in the 1980s.

In the report, the group outlined a hard truth about the future. With climate change accelerating, as a new UN report underscored, the time to be fussy about how to reduce emissions has passed.

“These sobering realities dictate that we keep an open mind about all of the tools in the emissions reduction toolbox — even ones that are not our personal favorites,” wrote Ken Kimmell, the group’s president. “And that includes existing nuclear power plants in the United States, which currently supply about 20 percent of our total electricity needs and more than half of our low-carbon electricity supply.”

Perhaps they’ve finally figured out that wind and solar aren’t even close to being ready for prime time, especially when other groups of enviros file suit to block construction of solar and wind projects, as well as transmission lines when they are. They’ve work to not only block hydro-electric projects, but want existing dams torn down.

Nuclear has it’s own dangers, but, especially since the same enviros block all attempts to create a repository for the spent fuel, but, it’s a lot better than coal. The advancements in plants allow more power and more use of the fuel, leaving less mess and much safer plants. Combine this with natural gas and you will have more stable power and, since they are so concerned, few carbon dioxide emissions. And, they won’t get pushback from skeptics. It’s good to see them coming back to reality.

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4 Responses to “Warmists Are Suddenly Coming Out In Favor Of Nuclear Power”

  1. Jay Dee says:

    The big problem with nuclear power is that bureaucrats have locked the nuclear power industry in its Model T phase. Only pressurized boiling water reactors can get bureaucratic approval despite known safety and disposal issues. Walk away safe? Nope. Deep burn cycles that sharply reduce disposal issues? Nope. Thorium reactors? Nope. Look up the CANDU reactor. There is amazing room for improvement if we could get the bureaucrats to either get with the program or get out of the way.

    • Richard Bell says:

      The Department of Energy was responsible for the silly design choices. The use of enriched uranium fuel allowed civilian nuclear reactors to subsidize the enrichment facilities needed to produce reactor fuel for the nuclear navy. The shallow burn cycle had been intended to support reprocessing and utilities were to be paid for the U235 still in the spent fuel. President Carter killed the reprocessing idea. Reprocessing spent nuclear fuel would limit the waste to be stored solely to the fission fragments, which reduces the volumes from oil drums to one cup measures.

      IIRC, both boiling water reactor (BWR) and pressurized water reactor (PWR) designs got approved. The silliness was not locking civilian nuclear power in its Model T phase, but not even allowing civil nuclear power to get to its Model T phase. To protect against common mode failures, where an unpredicted situation in one reactor caused expensive rebuilds of several reactors, no more than two examples of a specific reactor design were ever built. Unless the US Navy has been keeping secret how common mode failures have been causing large numbers of SSN’s and CVN’s to return for refit, the fear of common mode failures may have been completely overblown.

      The CANDU reactor does have many good things about it; although, the reactor tubing does not have the hoped for lifetime. The burn cycle is deeper, but the thermal efficiency is lower (shifting from heavy water to regular water for heat transfer and going to supercritical steam conditions may improve the thermal efficiency). The Xenon poisoning issues of the CANDU reactor (if it must be shut down for more than a few hours, the accumulated Xenon will absorb so many neutrons that the reactor cannot start up, before the Xenon decays, after most of a week). The reactor tube lifetime issue may be solvable by using reactor tubes with a shorter designed life, but designed to be replaced while the reactor is operating at 100% rated power. Xenon poisoning after the reactor shuts down due to a load rejection (the generator is disconnected from load, due to transmission grid faults) could be prevented by having a dummy load at the nuclear generating station consisting of a large bank of resistors in a larger pool of cooling water to allow the reactor to keep running at a reduced power level that can still feed neutrons to the Xenon as fast as the Xenon is created (the Xenon is a daughter nucleus of a fission fragment)

      However, the worst regulatory mistake was to ‘speed up’ the process of building and operating a nuclear power reactor by having separate permits for construction and operation. This process gave two opportunities for anti-nuclear activists to force delays, and any delay imposed on granting the operating permit could have staggering effects on the rate of return on the utility’s investment.

      The carbon footprint of a nuclear power station is mostly limited to the emissions of the process heat needed to refine and shape the materials that go into its construction. While the production of cement releases large amounts of CO2, with the exception of the CO2 generated by supplying the process heat, an equal amount of CO2 can be sequestered as it cures (knowledge of the ingredient composition allows plaster and cement to be carbon dated).

  2. Ken in NH says:

    Of course they’re suddenly for nuclear power. Their own comfort depends on it and they kept it out of their backyard. It’s fine as long as the plant is in backwards New Hampshire. Up to now, they were probably hoping that Hydro-Québec would save them from continued reliance on nuclear power from NH, but Granite Staters have been fighting plans to route power through our state from Quebec to MA without any benefit to us. And Seabrook, the nuclear power plant these ponces rely on, is under regulatory threat.

  3. Broadsman says:

    What the climate worriers support is forms of nuclear power that are not yet ready. They will not support the commercial products running or being offered for sale.

    This way they can be FOR nuclear power without being responsible for actually having more nuclear power.

    It’s a ruse and a scam.

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