The nuclear energy necessity
The U.S. government needs to move quickly to encourage the development of more nuclear energy if it’s to meet the carbon reduction goals agreed to in the Paris climate agreement, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz testified in a Senate hearing Wednesday.The environmentalists are the problem in getting more nuclear plants. They have driven up the cost and engaged in tactics that make it difficult to timely complete new plants. Their actions are inconsistent with their stated objective of having less CO2 production. You get the feeling that they do not like energy of any type. Not only do they object to fossil fuels and nuclear, they also find fault with wind and solar and their impact on birds and other wildlife. That is how the earned the title of the anti-energy left.
With cheap natural gas and more efficient wind and solar power developments offering stiff competition, keeping existing nuclear plants operating and building new facilities that run north of $10 billion is becoming increasingly fraught.
“You have a major wave of [plant] retirements starts around 2030 [and] when you look at the planning and permitting processes involved, we don’t have a lot of time,” Moniz testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Having a strong, robust nuclear sector will be an important part of achieving a highly decarbonized electricity sector by mid-century.”
While expensive to build and operate, nuclear plants offer an advantage to other carbon-free forms of energy: they produce steady, reliable electricity whether or not the sun shining or the wind is blowing. (Emphasis added.)
But even if the power industry opted to shift towards more nuclear, the lead times are long. Building a new nuclear plant takes eight years on average and costs between $10 and $12 billion.
With so much of the country operating under deregulated markets where the cheapest form of power wins out, federal officials are in many ways limited in how much change they can make.