By Jarret Adams
Over at the Huffington Post today, Carl Pope of the Sierra Club has dished up another attack on the economics of nuclear energy that goes light on the facts and heavy on the rhetoric. Contrary to Mr. Pope’s wishes, nuclear energy’s revival already is well under way with more than 50 new plants under construction worldwide. More than 20 of these new reactors are being built in China alone.
The main question is whether Americans will see past the constant flood of disinformation about nuclear energy and support the revival as other industrial nations have done. In fact, nuclear energy is by far America’s largest source of electricity that does not produce greenhouse gases.
While new nuclear plants are expensive, the cost of electricity generated by these facilities over 60 year is relatively inexpensive. Once these costs are amortized, the operating costs of nuclear plants (at about 2 cents/kwh) are well below natural gas (at 5 cents/kwh) and even lower than coal.
Nuclear energy also has an excellent safety record in the United States. In fact (another fact), it is safer to work in the nuclear industry than in manufacturing, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Regarding ability to withstand hurricanes, the Gulf region nuclear plants withstood Hurricane Katrina without sustaining any significant damage and were among the first major power generation back online after the storm.
We at AREVA fully support renewable energy as another way to produce low-carbon electricity, especially if we are talking about our state-of-the-art offshore wind turbines, concentrated solar power, and advanced biopower facilities.
Why does Mr. Pope trash nuclear in an effort to promote renewables? In actuality, nuclear energy and renewables are complementary – a combination of the two is the best near-term way to remove CO2 emissions from our electricity grid. And why does he put in a plug for low natural gas prices?
Tweet TAGS: Carl Pope, Huffington Post, Sierra Club, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics