Brainstorm Green Panelists: Nuclear Energy and Renewables Are Not Enemies | AREVA North America: Next Energy Blog


By Jarret Adams

At Fortune’s Brainstorm Green conference this week, several panelists pointed out that nuclear energy and renewables are not fundamentally opposed, but can be complementary as the U.S. works to develop more low-carbon electricity generation. At AREVA, we are committed to providing solutions for CO2-free energy, including both nuclear energy and renewables. For us, this is a no-brainer. Here is CNET’s coverage of the discussion:

When environmentalists say that clean energy can supply all electricity needs in the near future, they’re being idealistic, said David Crane, the CEO of utility NRG Energy, which has invested in solar and wind, but is seeking to build a nuclear power plant in Texas. Compared to carbon capture and underground storage at coal plants, nuclear is more mature, he said.

Nuclear energy produces 20 percent of the U.S. electricity and does not produce greenhouse gases while it is doing it. And it has the advantage of being baseload, which means it operates 24/7. Renewables are growing rapidly and are increasing as a share of our nation’s electricity generation, yet most are intermittent.

“Renewables could get to 20 or 30 percent of generation (from about 2 percent now) and we can get there affordably. But if you take nuclear out of the equation, the choice is not 50 percent renewable, the choice is taking natural gas to 40 or 50 percent,” said James Connaughton, executive vice president for corporate affairs, public affairs, and environmental policy at utility Constellation Energy.

Constellation is part of UniStar which has selected AREVA’s U.S. EPR™ technology for its proposed Calvert Cliffs 3 project. A U.S. EPR reactor when complete would produce some 1,600 MW of CO2-free electricity around the clock – enough for 1.6 million households.

AREVA is not just a strong supporter of renewable generation – we are in the business. May we suggest some of AREVA’s 5 MW offshore wind turbines or some concentrated solar power generation developed at AREVA Solar’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Perhaps clean wood biomass is more to your liking, with a 55-Megawatt biopower plant from ADAGE, our joint venture with Duke Energy.

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