“Being real means that the renewable revolution requires nuclear power”: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists op-ed

May 11, 2022, 3:14PMANS Nuclear Cafe


In a recent opinion piece in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, mathematician and economist Michael Edesess writes that “The goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 [appears] unrealistic.” Edesess, a research associate of the EDHEC-Risk Institute, adds, “We must, in the final analysis, be realistic. Being real means that the renewable revolution requires nuclear power.”

Then: Edesess traces the history of interest in renewable energy sources to the 1970s when, he notes, climate change was not even part of the calculations. Back then, the thought was, “We only needed to reduce the oil we imported from the Middle East. Solar and wind could do that if only we could drive the cost down.” However, “For nuclear, driving the cost down was not the objective. The objective was to make nuclear power ever safer and safer. This drove nuclear power’s cost up.”