“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.”

Colorado seeks 100 percent carbon-free energy without nuclear power

May 11, 2022, 7:02AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The administration of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis “appears uninterested in nuclear energy, bucking a growing consensus that nuclear power is an essential component in eliminating carbon emissions,” writes Scott Weiser in a recent Denver Gazette article. Weiser notes that nuclear power is not part of the governor’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap for 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2040.

Europe’s confused climate strategy

March 18, 2022, 3:55PMNuclear NewsMatthew L. Wald

Europeans are taking resolute steps to reduce their output of climate-changing gases, but some countries are moving in the wrong direction.

Many countries are adding solar and wind, which are low-carbon energy sources. Some have moved to biomass, the value of which as a climate cure is not clear. A few are adding reactors, while others are defining nuclear as dirty energy and natural gas as “clean” and are changing their generation mix accordingly.

Where’s the plan?

December 17, 2021, 3:27PMNuclear NewsMatthew L. Wald
The electric power transmission grid of the U.S. consists of thousands of miles of lines operated by hundreds of companies.

To do big things, like building the interstate highway system, or going to the moon, government usually has a plan. Electric companies and grid operators, which are responsible for keeping the lights on, always have a plan. But something unusual has happened in the past few months. About four dozen U.S. utilities, plus the federal government and many states, have promised to do something extremely big: to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions, or cut them drastically. But they are not clear on how.

Biden, senators agree to infrastructure deal

June 25, 2021, 9:33AMNuclear News



President Biden struck an infrastructure deal yesterday with a bipartisan group of senators to provide new investments for electric utilities, transportation, broadband, and other projects.

The deal coincided with a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SENR) hearing yesterday, which examined the infrastructure needs of the U.S. energy sector and considered the legislative proposal released last week by SENR chairman Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) . The proposal, labeled a "discussion draft," is currently in play for ongoing bipartisan infrastructure negotiations and includes provisions that would comply with rules on budget reconciliation, including a section that fully funds the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program and other Energy Act of 2020 programs. Manchin's proposal would also look to create a Department of Energy grant program for at-risk nuclear plants on an as-needed basis.

Nebraska ponders advanced nuclear

May 13, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News


Companies that build advanced nuclear reactors in Nebraska would be eligible for tax incentives should a measure now being considered by that state’s lawmakers, Legislative Bill 84, become law.

Under L.B. 84, sponsored by Sen. Bruce Bostelman (R., 23rd Dist.), a renewable energy firm that uses nuclear energy to produce electricity could take advantage of the ImagiNE Nebraska Act—a business tax incentive program signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts in August of last year. The bill adds “nuclear electric power generation” to the act’s list of renewable energy sources qualifying for incentives. (Sources already listed in the act include wind, solar, energy storage, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass, and transmutation of elements.)

Polish energy policy for next two decades adopted

February 4, 2021, 2:59PMNuclear News

Poland’s Council of Ministers has approved a long-term energy policy that emphasizes clean forms of energy, including nuclear.

On February 2, the country’s Ministry of Climate and Environment announced the official adoption of Energy Policy of Poland until 2040 (PEP2040), originally published in draft form in November 2018 and revised the following year. The full text of PEP2040 has not been published at this writing, but an 18-page abstract can be accessed online.

In its announcement, the ministry described PEP2040 as “a clear vision of Poland’s energy transformation strategy” and “a compass for entrepreneurs, local governments, and citizens in the transformation of the Polish economy toward low emission.” By 2040, the document states, more than half of Poland’s installed capacity will be zero-emission sources, adding that both offshore wind energy and nuclear energy “will play a special role” in reaching that goal.

Closing Duane Arnold puts Iowa at a disadvantage

January 7, 2021, 12:00PMANS Nuclear Cafe


An op-ed published in The Gazette, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa–based newspaper, laments the early closure of the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant in 2020. Author David Osterberg, a former Iowa state legislator, contrasts what happened in Iowa with Illinois and three other states, whose governments "decided that heading off climate damage and the loss of good union jobs was worth keeping nuclear plants there alive." The economic calculation in Duane Arnold's case treated its electricity the same as that from coal or natural gas plants. However, Osterberg states that “when it comes to global warming and local air pollution, they aren’t the same.”

4th Annual Texas Atomic Film Festival

April 26, 2012, 6:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The 4th annual Texas Atomic Film Festival (TAFF) is being held April 26 to May 3, 2012. The festival attracts short films (3 to 5 minutes) produced by students in nuclear engineering courses at the University of Texas at Austin. A public screening of the films, which focus on nuclear and energy related topics, is being held on April 26 at 12:30 pm at the UT Student Activities Center auditorium.

Solyndra, and its possible impacts on nuclear

November 29, 2011, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafeJim Hopf

I'm sure everyone has heard all about the Solyndra "scandal" by now. There have been too many news stories to count on this subject (no need to provide links). So, instead of delving into the details, or giving a blow by blow account of all the events and the hearings in Congress, I will focus on the impacts this whole affair may have on government support for nuclear, and for clean energy in general.

Can California meet its Renewable Energy Portfolio? Part III

August 11, 2011, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeUlrich Decher

The first two parts of this series (here and here) presented historical trends in electricity generation in California, and the growing use of in-state natural gas and imports of electricity from grids in neighboring states. They also showed that the use of "Unbundled Renewable Energy Credits" could meet the 33 percent renewable portfolio on paper, but may not benefit consumers in California with actual delivery of electricity.

Zero or net-zero?

May 24, 2011, 6:00AMANS Nuclear CafeMeredith Angwin

It's not as much fun as you might think to stand in front of an auditorium of young people, speaking about energy, and knowing that they simply do not believe you. No, it wasn't that they didn't believe me about nuclear safety-although that may also have been the case-it's that they didn't believe me about the role of renewables. Specifically, they didn't understand the difference between a net-zero energy facility and a zero-use energy facility.