A number of voices online have been watching the Copenhagen conference and are bringing up the role of nuclear. We’ve rounded up a few to highlight, let us know as you see more by adding comments here, and we’ll highlight those as well.
- Michael Avari looks at the Copenhagen convention and sees a direct connection to nuclear power in a post to his blog yesterday:
…The solution is simple and within our reach, but evidently beyond the vision of governments. In his testimony, Cristy further stated, “And, if the Congress deems it necessary to reduce CO2 emissions, the single most effective way to do so by a small, but at least detectable, amount is through the massive implementation of a nuclear power program. Other currently available alternatives simply cannot produce enough energy to be significantly noticed at a price and geographic scale that is affordable.”
Nuclear power produces no CO2. Yet, the United States produces only 19% of its power from nuclear energy as compared to France producing 86%.5 By contrast, the U.S. generates 49% of its electricity from coal—the worst offender of GHG, whereas France only 4.1%. What did the French do right? Steve Kidd, Director of Strategy & Research at the World Nuclear Association, answers that question succinctly with two things lacking in the U.S.: a unified national energy policy and a standard power plant design that increases safety while cutting costs….
Reaching the same percentage of electricity production as France would cut 2.4 billion tons of CO2 from our emissions, 129% of entire amount emitted by all of transportation. It would reduce total CO2 emissions by nearly 40%, without burdening our economy with new costs and regulations.
- Dan Yurman notes the connection between India’s commitments on climate change and their nuclear power polcies over at his blog.
- In a press release timed to draw attention to just such a connection, Constellation Energy says “Nuclear is key to Carbon Reduction.”
Constellation Energy says nuclear energy plays an indispensable role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions….
The Baltimore-based energy producer and marketer made the comments in a statement issued Monday on the climate change conference in Copenhagen.
Constellation says nuclear energy provides about 14 percent of the world’s commercial electricity, a number that needs to increase substantially if long-term emmission reduction goals are to be met. The company also says cap-and-trade legislation and incentives can ensure a cost-effective transition to cleaner energy if done right.
- Paul Genoa, NEI’s Policy Director, blogging from Copenhagen over at the NationJournal Blog:
In policies coming out of Copenhagen and subsequent international climate meetings that will shape the trajectory of clean energy job growth in the United States. By nature, clean energy technology like nuclear energy produces high quality jobs. However, absent clear, consistent and enduring clean energy support at the international and domestic level, the clean energy economy and the jobs required to sustain it will not be achieved. If we collectively meet this challenge, our children and grandchildren will inherit a cleaner world full of promise —largely due to the economic growth driven by infrastructure development.
- Finally, Charles Barton over at Nuclear Green has an excellent post about Alan Weinberg, who prophetically wrote in the 1970s about the danger posed by the CO2 emissions from building more coal-fired power plants instead of nuclear power plants:
Today Weinberg’s views on CO2 and global warming seem prophetic. In a 1976 paper “Economic Implications of A US Nuclear Moratorium. 1985 to 2010,” which Weinberg co-authored with Charles E. Whittle, Alan D. Poole, Edward L. Allen, William G. Pollard, Herbert G. MacPherson, Ned L. Treat, and Doan L. Phung, reveal to us exactly how accurate Weinberg’s vision into the future was. In the paper Weinberg and his associates assessed the the economic and environmental consequences of moratorium on nuclear construction in the United States. He assumed that no new reactors would be ordered after 1980, but that reactor construction would continue till about 1985. He then looked at the consequences to allow continued operation of reactors on line by 1985. Weinberg tried to think out the implications of the cessation of new reactor construction.
Weinberg and his associates understood that if reactor construction ceased, power companies would construct more coal fired power plants to meet consumer demand for electricity. Weinberg assumed that consumer demand would be driven by two factors population growth, and economic growth. He also assumed that technological changes would increase the efficiency of electrical use, but that these efficiencies would not offset the increase in demand.
Let us know if you find other blog posts about the importance of nuclear power as we continue the discussion at Copenhagen…
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