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Controversy Explodes over Renewable Energy

July 11, 2017

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A heated debate in the pages of one of the country’s most renowned scientific journals has gained national attention. The debate is over whether a combination of wind, solar, and hydroelectricity could fully power the U.S. But both sides of the debate are completely missing half of the equation.

In a series of papers published over the last few years, Mark Jacobson of Stanford University (along with co-authors) has offered a series of transition plans for achieving a 100 percent wind-solar-hydro energy economy. These include comprehensive blueprints for the United States, for each individual state, and for the world as a whole. His message is clear: such a transition is not only possible, it’s affordable—cheaper, in fact, than maintaining the current fossil fueled system. There is no technical or economic barrier to an all-renewable future—only a political one, resulting from the enormous influence of fossil fuel companies on Congress and the White House. Jacobson’s plans have been touted by celebrities (Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo) and at least one prominent politician (Bernie Sanders).

However, during the past two years a group of scientists unconvinced by Jacobson’s arguments has labored to craft a critical review of his plans, and to get it published in the same journal that printed Jacobson’s own most-cited paper. They voice a concern that the growing popularity of Jacobson’s plans could lead to critical mistakes in policy making and investment choices. The lead author, Christopher Clack, and his 20 co-authors, attack Jacobson’s assumptions and highlight what they call serious modeling errors. Much of their criticism has to do with Jacobson’s ways of getting around solar and wind power’s most notorious drawback—its intermittency. Jacobson says we can deal with cloudy and windless days by storing energy in the forms of underground heat and hydrogen. Clack et al. point out that doing so on the scale Jacobson is proposing is unprecedented (therefore, we really don’t know if it can be done), and also argue that Jacobson made crucial errors in estimating how much storage would be needed and how much it would cost.

The stakes in this controversy are high enough that the New York Times and other mainstream media have reported on it. One pro-renewables scientist friend of mine despairs not just because of bad press about solar and wind power, but also because the reputation of science itself is taking a beating. If these renowned energy experts can’t agree on whether solar and wind power are capable of powering the future, then what are the implications for the credibility of climate science?

Jacobson and colleagues have published what can only be called a take-no-prisoners rebuttal to Clack et al. In it, they declare that, “The premise and all error claims by Clack et al. . . . about Jacobson et al. . . . are demonstrably false.” In a separate article, Jacobson has dismissed Clack and his co-authors as “nuclear and fossil fuel supporters,” though it’s clear that neither side in this debate is anti-renewables.

However, Clack et al. have issued their own line-by-line response to Jacobson’s line-by-line rebuttal, and it’s fairly devastating.

This is probably a good place to point out that David Fridley, staff scientist in the energy analysis program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, and I recently published a book, Our Renewable Future, exploring a hypothetical transition to a 100 percent wind-and-solar energy economy. While we don’t say so in the book, we were compelled to write it partly because of our misgivings about Mark Jacobson’s widely publicized plans. We did not attack those plans directly, as Clack et al. have done, but sought instead to provide a more nuanced and realistic view of what a transition to all-renewable energy would involve.

Our exploration of the subject revealed that source intermittency is indeed a serious problem, and solving it becomes more expensive and technically challenging as solar-wind generation approaches 100 percent of all electricity produced. A further challenge is that solar and wind yield electricity, but 80 percent of final energy is currently used in other forms—mostly as liquid and gaseous fuels. Therefore the energy transition will entail enormous changes in the ways we use energy, and some of those changes will be technically difficult and expensive.

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Our core realization was that scale is the biggest transition hurdle. This has implications that both Jacobson et al., and Clack et al. largely ignore. Jacobson’s plan, for example, envisions building 100,000 times more hydrogen production capacity than exists today. And the plan’s assumed hydro expansion would require 100 times the flow of the Mississippi River. If, instead, the United States were to aim for an energy system, say, a tenth the size of its current one, then the transition would be far easier to fund and design.

When we start our transition planning by assuming that future Americans will use as much energy as we do now (or even more of it in the case of economic growth), then we have set up conditions that are nearly impossible to design for. And crucially, that conclusion still holds if we add nuclear power (which is expensive and risky) or fossil fuels (which are rapidly depleting) to the mix. The only realistic energy future that David Fridley and I were able to envision is one in which people in currently industrialized countries use far less energy per capita, use it much more efficiently, and use it when it’s available rather than demanding 24/7/365 energy services. That would mean not doing a lot of things we are currently doing (e.g., traveling in commercial aircraft), doing them on a much smaller scale (e.g., getting used to living in smaller spaces and buying fewer consumer products—and ones built to be endlessly repaired), or doing them very differently (e.g., constructing buildings and roads with local natural materials).

If powerdown—that is, focusing at least as much on the demand side of the energy equation as on the supply side—were combined with a deliberate and humanely guided policy of population decline, there would be abundant beneficial side effects. The climate change crisis would be far easier to tackle, as would ongoing loss of biodiversity and the depletion of resources such as fresh water, topsoil, and minerals.

Jacobson has not embraced a powerdown pathway, possibly because he assumes it would not appeal to film stars and politicians. Clack et al. do not discuss it either, mostly because their task at hand is simply to demolish Jacobson. But powerdown, the pathway about which it is seemingly not permissible for serious people to speak, is what we should all be talking about. That’s because it is the most realistic way to get to a sustainable, happy future.

  • “…One pro-renewables scientist friend of mine despairs not just because of bad press about solar and wind power, but also because the reputation of science itself is taking a beating. If these renowned energy experts can’t agree on whether solar and wind power are capable of powering the future, then what are the implications for the credibility of climate science?…”
    If there’s is one thing I’ve come to believe about scientists is that they are not infallible and are not ‘objective, hence their interpretation of the exact same ‘facts’ can vary widely. Consensus can occasionally be reached but as Thomas Kuhn pointed out in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, ‘consensual’ worldviews or paradigms shift, usually because new data changes our understanding but also for less than ‘scientific’ reasons. Stephen Jay Gould’s Mismeasure of Man is a great example of how sociopolitical biases can impact science and its interpretation of agreed upon ‘facts’. Conflicting interpretations seem to occur when paradigms are fighting for supremacy, to say little of the ‘political’ pressures that influence science.
    Scientific ‘truth’ depends on a number of things, not least of which is the ability to test hypotheses and hope for the same results after repeated experiments. The unfortunate aspect of climate science is that this is not possible and much, if not all, of our conclusions are based upon subjective interpretations that make them susceptible to ongoing challenges.
    It seems to me that credibility may never be sustained as long as there are corporate and political institutions with something to gain by challenging scientific conclusions. As an endeavour conducted by humans who are as prone to bias and pressure as everyone else, scientists must expect their interpretations to be challenged at a variety of levels and not taken as gospel.

  • Rod Adams

    Your premise isn’t correct.

    Jacobson’s plans envision a substantial power down in which virtually every country and each individual state in the U.S. consumes 40% less energy in 2030 than it does today, despite the steady increases in population that will happen between now and then.

    Ecomodernists like me believe that aspect of Jacobson’s vision is deeply troubling because of the implications that it has for continued human suffering among the billions of people who already have severely restricted access to energy, especially the 1.3 billion people who have no electricity at all.

    Your plan is even more troubling. How will developed countries be able to help less developed countries if they savage their economies in order to squeeze into an artificially austere energy budget?

    You blithely dismiss nuclear energy as expensive and risky without acknowledging that the technology has an incredible safety and reliability record and an almost untapped potential for serious cost reductions similar to those that have been technologically achieved during the wind, solar and fracking revolutions. The key to getting better at any activity is practice; most of the world has allowed its nuclear plant building industries wither and die instead.

    The vast majority of the electricity that the nuclear industry was projected to produce from the viewpoint of analysis from the early 1970s has instead been produced by coal, natural gas and oil. That has been an incredibly profitable trend for the companies in the fossil fuel business and for all of the affiliated enterprises that support hydrocarbon production.

    The decimating of nuclear plant construction expertise was done, by the way, with the strong and steady encouragement of many of the same people who now tell us that we face a crisis because we are dumping too much CO2 into our atmosphere.

    Rod Adams,
    Publisher, Atomic Insights

  • In California and some other areas, there is active research into systems to orchestrate energy production, storage and consumption across the electricity grid. Your point that the grid has to change is correct — so of course that’s what is happening in some places. For example regulations and equipment for solar arrays is changing — in the past solar inverters were kind of dumb, but the new ones are able to offer a variety of very useful grid services to support line voltage and frequency, among other things, and also will contain communications capabilities allowing for remote control. What’s envisioned is the electric utilities will send out instructions about when to absorb electricity, when to release electricity, when to conduct various grid support functions, and so on.

    At a conference last Spring, a representative from the California Public Utilities Commission described the goals as :- Moving some consumptions from evening to daytime, time-shifting some electricity from daytime to night-time, etc ….

    The first stage goal is to time-shift enough electricity to erase the peak of the Duck Curve. There’s so much solar production in California that daytime fossil fuel electricity is essentially zero, but then when the sun sets they need to ramp up fossil fuel electricity to keep the lights on. Yes, that’s an example of the intermittency problem. With enough electricity storage, and enough time-shifting of electricity consumption, they’ll need less ramp up of fossil fuel electricity …

    See: “Reporting in from California’s Distributed Energy Future” @ https://longtailpipe.com/2017/03/08/california-distributed-energy-future/

  • I would be very curious where the authors of this post obtained the information “Jacobson has not embraced a powerdown pathway”. India is a country where millions live in poverty, with these people having minimal or no access to energy, yet Jacobson’s plan shows India using 43% less energy by 2050 than they do today. http://thesolutionsproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/100_India.pdf

    The authors also state nuclear power is “expensive and risky”, perhaps they should take the time to read this recent publication by Sense About Science “Making Sense of Nuclear” http://senseaboutscience.org/activities/making-sense-of-nuclear/

  • Don Crawford

    The energy that gives life to our planet is our SUN. The question is how to best harvest this energy and how best to distribute it to the earth for its many “operations.” . The argument here is how to best “Create” this energy, which is ever available to all. Energy can never be “created,” and it is never depleted. Energy is LIFE ITSELF, and LIFE IS ETERNAL, It only changes the Forms through which it penetrates.

  • ElectronCharge

    All very good points. It should be added that next generation nuclear designs are much safer yet, don’t require water cooling, and provide lower prices per KWH than solar or wind. There is no objective necessity to reduce energy usage, although it may happen organically in some areas.

    Arguably nuclear is more environmentally friendly, as it doesn’t require the large land footprint used by solar and wind. There is also the issue of the real environmental cost of large scale solar panel production and disposal.

  • Joseph Gainza

    Thank you for raising this vitally important point: powerdown is essential if we are to have a future on this finite planet. I have been concerned for years that environmentalists in Vermont, many who are cherished friends, argue for industrial scale wind generators on our Green Mountains without first asking what we use energy for. The environmental crisis will not be solved with business as usual thinking. We have to face the fact that we live on a fragile and finite planet and we must change the way we live and think about our relationship to the living earth and to one another. We could create a much better world where relationships, service and care for our common home inform our culture, politics and economy. As Tim Jackson says, we can have prosperity without growth. It will take a commitment to economic justice and greater economic and political equality. The economic elites know this and therefore many are blocking progress to a renewable future.

  • Goat512

    A future power grid that runs totally on renewable energy would have a transmission backbone that would span the United States, Canada and Mexico from east to west and north to south. Wind turbines, hydro and photo-voltaic generation would be occurring along all along this mighty grid. If the wind isn’t blowing in the south then perhaps it is blowing in the north or east. Likewise if it is cloudy in the north it may be sunny in the south and west. A very wide footprint ensures there is always power SOMEWHERE to be shared over the width and breadth of this grid.

    It would ship power along its main backbone as 750kV DC power, using ultra-high efficiency power converters to step up and down the voltage as needed. The high transmission line losses of AC would be replaced by the cool flow of direct current. Mr. Edison would be pleased to know that finally his DC power plan was put to use! Not to worry Mr. Tesla, AC power would still be converted and sent to businesses and homes at the end points of the grid.

    Now, just in case we do have too many bloody clouds and a long period of still air we would have breeder reactors on standby to step in as necessary to keep the grid up.

    The geographical, technical and economic barriers can almost certainly be overcome to produce this grid of the future. The political barriers, now that’s another story.

  • Richard, I think your premise is absolutely spot on. So much energy is wasted in developed countries that we could cut our consumption many times over, live happy and fulfilled lives, and still power up the developing world using modern efficient technology. The storage issue is proving to resolve itself faster than many of us believed possible. As in most well-functioning systems it will be a diverse and evolving mix. Our problem is a cultural one, not technological.

    Scott Vlaun
    Center for an Ecology-Based Economy

  • emmer97006

    it is said that americans will tolerate anything but inconvenience. perhaps that is what we need to change most of all. taking responsibility for one’s actions may be inconvenient. but perhaps there is a benefit.
    my family has a small solar voltaic array. as with two previous homes we owned and added solar space and water heating along with solar electric, we started with baseline energy use and developed a plan. we added envelope insulation and storm doors. we opened window to the sun in winter and not in summer. we made insulated window coverings. we turned the heat down, switched to cfl and led lights, and used energy star appliances. in short, all the things everyone knows we should do. that put the house at 550kw/month. then we put up a small 2kw array. surprisingly, the power usage dropped more than expected. perhaps because we are involved with the system more, we take more care in using it? this month usage was 237kw–a bigger drop than can be accounted for with a 2kw system.here in the pacific northwest, residential usage is about 1000kw/month, probably because electricity is cheap–about 10-cents/kw. if modest conservation can reduce that to 550kw, and a modest renewable system cut that much further, could we tolerate the modest amount of inconvenience needed to responsible for ourselves? could we scale that up?

  • durham kid

    Richard – you are 100% RIGHT on target – thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!

    I work in energy conservation and, with the exception of a few good groups like American Council for An Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Union of Concerned Scientists, very few people or organizations have ANY understanding of what we can do with conservation – as is evidenced by so many of the comments below, they erroneously think it means great sacrifice and suffering, while ignoring that the industrialized world could relatively easily reduce it’s energy use DRAMATICALLY, which would allow the rest of the world access to electricity that would give them the important step out of poverty.

    To put it bluntly, the first little bit of electricity one gets is infinitely more valuable in terms of improving one’s health and wellbeing; in fact, as a westerner, I would argue that more consumption in general actually is DETRIMENTAL to our health – both physical and mental. This is the concept that I fear your readers who want us to solve the world’s problems with nuclear power (or some other means) are simply not able to open their minds to.

    Keep up the good work – hopefully people will be swayed by your ideas and sound logic.

  • progressiveGreene

    When you convince the people living safely near the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that nuclear energy isn’t “expensive and risky” and that “the
    technology has an incredible safety and reliability record” and “an almost
    untapped potential for serious cost reductions” of those assertions, I’ll agree to more radiation sickness centers in the model you seem to be advocating. (oh, right, sorry- there aren’t people safely living in those areas anymore—- never mind)

  • progressiveGreene

    “per-capita electricity services the world needs”? How about addressing the real difference between need and greed before we build a bunch more toxic nuclear waste generation facilities which will burden our children for the next 100,000 years for 40 years worth of electricity? Will ANY nuclear advocates sign up their children and grandchildren (and their progeny for the next 100,000 years) to be the ones responsible for maintaining the nuclear waste? I’ve NEVER met one nuclear advocate who is willing to sign legal documents requiring their own kids and grand kids to babysit the deadly nuclear waste for the life of its toxicity. I wonder why . . . .

  • durham kid

    Nuclear power is not “blithely dismissed” – it has been in use for several decades and has never been economically competitive. The most basic of subsidies exists in the Price-Anderson Act of 1957, which limits the liability of a nuclear power plant disaster to a small fraction of what an accident would cost.

    Moreover numerous other costs are not included in the cost of nuclear generated electricity. I shudder to think of what a great target any nuclear plant is for terrorism – and how much the power would cost if it were to include the cost of security provided by the US military.

  • durham kid

    Joseph, I would suggest that the quote ought to read that we CANNOT have prosperity WITH continuous growth – it is simply impossible on our finite planet.

    But I am not Tim Jackson so I don’t want to put words in his mouth…

  • John Ingleby

    The Kombikraftwerk (“combined power plant”) project began in Germany in 2006, with the aim of simulating intermittent solar and wind sources of electricity to discover how much “base energy” from biogas and hydro generators would be needed to meet Germany’s overall demand for electricity.

    The simulations have been repeated several times since 2006, as more and more of Germany’s demand is being met from renewables each year. Overall, in 2016 some 35% of Germany’s electricity was produced from renewables. On April 30th 2017, the daily total reached 85%. (https://cleantechnica.com/2017/05/08/germany-breaks-solar-record-gets-85-electricity-renewables/)

    Such simulations are becoming even more complex as electric car batteries and domestic batteries (e.g. Tesla’s Powerwall) come into use. In UK we are also working with “demand side response” (DSR) contracts, which reduce peak power demands by shutting down heavy machinery at specified times.

  • Goat512

    Also I’d like to add that this pan-American grid would make use of “smart grid” technology to optimize generation and distribution to the highest efficiencies possible. A fail-safe topology would ensure if one part of the grid went down, the rest would continue operating. Also I want to add that even with this technology, the nations would have to make due with significantly less power per month (250kW/month maximum for residences?) and industries would have to adjust accordingly. Still, in my opinion, this would be better than continuing with business as usual until everything goes dark…

  • Zipinparadise

    Alright, we can remove our addiction to fossil fuel and unsustainable economic institutions. But FIRST, we must wake up and stop our addiction to the economic addiction of liberalism. How can we imagine producing a transition to a new era of 100% renewable and sustainable lifestyles, if we continue to support a political system that wants to keep us addicted and dependent on the economic status-quo power structure?

  • Fukushima

  • jimhopf

    It doesn’t require babysitting. Not any more than any other waste stream. Once the repository is sealed, the waste requires no more babysitting. It’s not different from any other type of waste disposal facility in that regard, except that nuclear repositories are held to infinitely higher standards. That is, demonstration using rigorous and conservative analyses that the waste will never have any significant impact, for as long as it remains hazardous, an impeccable, unprecedented standard that no other waste stream comes close to meeting.

    Given that they are generated in vastly larger volumes, are in a much harder to contain physical/chemical form, contain toxic constituents that *never* decay away (i.e., last *longer* than nuclear waste) and are disposed of with infinitely less care, *most* of our other waste streams will actually pose a large hazard over the very long term than nuclear waste will.

    I hear such arguments all the time, which are based on the assumption that nuclear waste is unique in terms of long-term hazard. Something that everyone seems to believe/assume, even though it has no basis. I often ask such people, “what is the (relatively short, apparently) time period over which all other (non-nuclear) waste streams magically become completely harmless?

    Personally, I’ve never met anyone willing to sign legal documents requiring their descendants to monitor the waste in our coal ash piles, chemical waste dumps, and garbage land fills for thousands of years. At least nuclear waste decays away exponentially (not that hazardous after ~1000 years). And at least the nuclear industry has gone to the ends of the earth to ensure that its waste stream will never cause any harm. Other waste streams? Just bury it and forget it. The risks/hazards of nuclear waste are not unique, only the (double) standards for disposal are.

  • jimhopf

    …being the only significant release of pollution in non-Soviet nuclear’s entire ~50 year history, and which caused far less loss of life than that inflicted EVERY DAY by worldwide fossil power generation?

    Fossil power generation has caused over 100,000 times as many deaths as non-Soviet nuclear has, over the last ~50 years, in addition to being a primary contributor to global warming. But hey, if nuclear is involved, being thousands of times better than the (fossil) energy sources that currently provide the great majority of our energy isn’t good enough. It must be perfect (or else people will insist on still using fossil fuels).

  • jimhopf

    No formal scientific body of govt. agency recognizes ANY measurable public health impacts from nuclear power (under normal operation, or even from Fukushima). You’re not entitled to your own facts. There is universal scientific consensus that nuclear is orders of magnitude less dangerous and harmful than fossil generation. The facts/numbers are clear.

  • jimhopf

    The military isn’t providing any such security. Unlike any other industry, nuclear is required to provide extensive security at its own expense.

    Estimates of any subsidy associated with Price Anderson liability limits are on the order of 0.1 cents/kW-hr. The free pollution subsidy and the direct subsidies that renewables get are ~100 times larger. It is fossil generation that would not exist if it had to pay its external costs. For example, coal’s costs would increase by ~10 cents/kW-hr. The only thing nuclear has ever been “not competitive with” is fossil generation that gets to pollute the environment for free.

  • Richard Rambone
  • Richard Rambone

    Renewables are cheaper, faster, safer. The race is over, give it up.

  • T. Ramakrishnan

    Great article and good discussion in the ‘comments’ section. Thank you.

    Seeking technical solutions to problems created by our political, economic, and social systems is a dangerous course to take, as has been demonstrated countless times in the past.

    We must drastically reduce

    1. Consumption – the more (wealth and/or income) one has, the more they should reduce consumption. And we must eradicate inequities within and across nations and socities. Per capita energy use, like many other “averages”, has little meaning, especially when the base population is huge, like in India and China.

    And,

    2. Population – This should happen more or less on its own as literacy (especially, female literacy) and living conditions (basic housing, sanitation, water, food, and health facilities) improve. This is easier to achieve if the haves reduce consumption and rabid accumulation of wealth/income.

    As M K Gandhi said, earth has enough resources to meet everyone’s needs but not everyone’s greed.

  • pmagn

    Too expensive n unsafe n unable to be implemented in time oh n ppl don’t want it.

  • pmagn

    Nations that develop n export FF use a sizable amount of energy doing so. I have hear in the region of ~20%

    Well there’s an additional amount to be used elsewhere.

  • Sam Gilman

    I’ve never met anyone who would sign a contract committing their children to do anything. Perhaps I just mix with a better class of parent than you patently are.

    On the other hand, I would be perfectly happy for any of my own kids to go into nuclear waste management.

    You really need some parenting coaching.

  • Sam Gilman

    What makes you think the retired high school teacher Arnie Gundersen is any kind of serious expert?

  • durham kid

    Jim – you are totally correct about fossil fuels getting a free pollution subsidy but I strongly disagree with you about some of your other points.

    First of all, the security that nuke plants have cannot and does not include security from serious terrorism attacks – which would include attacks from the air. While there is no way to extract this cost from the defense of the rest of the area, there are obviously increased costs when a nuke plant is in an area. If the military were NOT spending resources to guard our nuke plants, it would be highly irresponsible – as they guard other target-desirable sites (like LNG loading stations, etc).

    Nukes have never been self supporting: http://www.ucsusa.org/nuclear-power/cost-nuclear-power

    You can definitely google cost competitiveness for nuclear power and get the opposite view – but it appears that most of the promoters are connected to the industry in some way. The Wikipedia article, though admittedly needing more expert analysis, does a decent job of raising the issues and outlining the controversy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economics_of_nuclear_power_plants

    Then there are the intangibles: my pv system on my roof is under my control, not some powerful corporation. As the technology develops, I may add battery backup – but that will depend on how the politics plays out: it is better for society for me to put power back into the grid when I am not needing it, rather than having my panels idle by 9 am ro 10 am after a few days of sunshine.

    And how do you take into account the Chernobyl and the Fukashima ‘incidents’? What is the “cost effectiveness” of those horrific accidents?

    Perhaps the most important point: energy conservation has been and will continue to be our greatest energy ‘source’ for decades to come – we still have so much waste in the system. I work in the field and see it all the time. Since EC is SO much more cost effective than anything else, it is only a matter of education and economic accounting that pushes it to the top of the choices that we make. Recently, most of that has been done by utility sponsored programs – but again, that is because most companies do not look out more than 2-4 years for paybacks of investements, whereas the electric utility company has a much longer time horizon, given that the alternative is to build a power plant, which is a huge investment and takes 5 to 10 years or more.

  • durham kid

    JIm – you present a false choice – fossil versus nuclear.

    Economics will dictate that the most cost effective energy ‘source’ by far is energy conservation (a potential only barely tapped), after which a greatly reduced load can and will be satisfied with renewables.

    Yes, that’s only a summary – but if the public understood and knew about the potential EC, they would be a lot less interested in new nuclear plants with all their associated issues.

  • Calamity_Jean

    I assume you meant 250 kWh per month.

    It’s too soon to worry about how we would manage an 80%+ renewable electrical grid. Currently our electric supply is only about 10% renewables. By the time the grid is 40% or 50% renewable, batteries may be so cheap that we can keep two or three day’s supply “on tap” indefinitely. Other energy storage discoveries may have been made. We should postpone this discussion for several years. It’s a waste of time for now.

  • TimS

    Renewables are trillion-dollar fiasco in terms of CO2 reduction, e.g. Germany and California.

    https://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/3759/661/original.jpg

  • jimhopf

    The way to sort it out is to either give nuclear equal (direct) subsidy to renewables, and include nuclear in all portfolio standards (mandates), or tax or limit the emissions of CO2 and other harmful pollutants (from fossil generation) and let the market decide how to respond. In other words, allow nuclear and renewables to compete on a fair, level playing field. As long as renewables advocates / nuclear opponents continue to refuse to allow such a fair competition to occur, their proclamations of nuclear’s lack of competitiveness ring hollow.

    Nuclear power plants are not inflicting any additional costs on the US military, or police, etc.. And why should they spend undue resources on protecting nuclear plants against almost any attack when attacks on infinitely softer targets would actually result in a far larger loss of life (e.g., just showing up at a typical high school with machine guns)? And why don’t we require equal protection for all the other facilities that would inflict a greater lost of life if successfully attacked, such as chemical plants, large dams, LNG terminals, all tall buildings, any large gathering (events like the Super Bowl). None of those things have anywhere near the level of security (a complete double standard).

    Chernobyl is simply not applicable to nuclear power anywhere outside the old Soviet Union. Fukushima? It was the only significant release of pollution in non-Soviet nuclear’s entire ~50 year history. It has no measurable public health impact and will cost ~$100-$200 billion (most of that due to unnecessary over-reaction). Nuclear power has generated ~100 trillion kW-hrs over that same time period. So, that works out to an “accident cost” on the order of 0.1-0.2 cents/kW-hr (i.e., pretty negligible). This is also roughly in line with formal studies of nuclear’s overall external costs.

    For comparison, pollution from fossil power generation inflicts on the order of $1 trillion in indirect economic costs EVERY YEAR ($100 billion annually in the US alone, according to EPA), *in addition to* causing global warming and causing several hundred thousand annual deaths. Fossil power generation’s external costs are orders of magnitude larger than nuclear. As for renewables, their direct subsidies, not to mention outright mandates, are orders of magnitude larger than the fraction-of-a-cent external costs (such as the accidents costs I estimated above) associated with nuclear.

    You may like getting power from your solar array instead of a large corporation, and nobody is stopping you from doing that, but the fact is that residential power demand from detached (single family) homes is only ~10% of overall US power demand. How will solar power large industrial facilities, or high density dwellings (tall apartment buildings)? Also of note is the fact that all wind power and most of our solar power comes from central generation facilities owned by those same utilities (large corporations). One unfortunate fact is that utility-scale solar is literally half the cost of residential solar, and many of the favorable cost comparisons with other sources are based on utility-scale wind and solar.

  • jimhopf

    Uh, gosh, what does that have to do with nuclear power. Oh, and also the fact that it was a totally insignificant event that caused no loss of life or significant release of pollution. The only real question is why it receives so much coverage while vastly larger sources of danger/harm are not reported on at all. For example, fossil fuels go on killing millions of people every single year, year in and year out, but it is never in the headlines.

  • jimhopf

    No serious, objective people think that (intermittent) renewables can provide all of our energy. Not for the foreseeable future. That’s what this article is largely about. Again, the answer is to require the phase out of CO2 emissions and other harmful air pollutants, and let the market decide how to respond.

  • jimhopf

    What race? What competition? People like you have never allowed one to occur. Instead you insist on outright govt. mandates for renewables use (portfolio standards) along with heavy renewables subsidies. Put your money where your mouth is and let nuclear and renewables compete on a fair, level playing field. Otherwise, why should we listen to anything you say?

  • jimhopf

    Such posts being proof that nuclear opponents’ (and perhaps renewables advocates’) main objective has always been social engineering. There are many quotes from “environmentalists” of decades past, where they come right out and say that their main reason for opposing nuclear is that it would give humanity abundant energy, which would result in increased population, consumption, etc.. One was even quoted as saying that giving humanity limitless *clean* energy would be a disaster. And now those same people are trying to sell solar and wind as “limitless clean sources of energy”. Hmmmmmm…..

    Whatever else you may think of the linked article, look at the quotes from prominent, past “environmentalists”. (You can just skim the article, the quotes are in boxes.)

    http://www.environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/6/12/atomic-humanism-as-radical-innovation-2017-keynote-address-to-the-american-nuclear-society

  • I think that you all are missing the point. I feel that 100% renewable energy would be difficult to achieve, however, we don’t need 100% renewable energy, as just an 80% reduction in global GHG emissions is all that is required to arrest temperature rise.

    We will have to make more use of tidal power and hydropower, even install turbines in downhill portions of municipal water supply systems as Portland has already done.

    Intermitant supply can be solved 20% of the time by rapid ramp-up natural gas generating facilities and by wide-scale adoption of Tesla’s new storage battery technology.

    We don’t need 100% renewable power generation to solve our common crisis as 80% renewable power generation solves the issue just fine, and buys us more time to come up with a permanent solution.

    Either we rapidly-reduce GHG emissions or there won’t be a future across most to all of our planet, so all this arguing about whether 100% renewable power is possible is counter-productive, and I view it as a last gasp out of dinosaur power generation technolgies to shut out renewable energy as the per-MwH cost of renewable energy falls well below the cost of dinosaur power.

  • Agree entirely. For my critique of 100% WWS roadmap check out

    http://tinyurl.com/hzuh27g

  • Nuclear is cheaper and faster.
    See my http://tinyurl.com/hzuh27g
    at timothymaloney.net

  • durham kid

    Wrong, Jim – a lot of very serious, objective people know that renewables AND conservation CAN and WILL do the job. They have been doing so.

    Not sure what you mean by the “foreseeable future” but at the pace of technology these days, foreseeable future can mean in a few years.

    I ask that you keep an open mind and understand the basic facts: energy conservation is by far the most economical method of making energy – it has been doing so since around 1950, when it took 3 TIMES as many BTUs as it does today to create a dollar of GPD. If you consider that fact – a 300% increase in efficiency, no other fuel source comes remotely close.

    Put another way, without EC, we could never be where we are today – you could never have increased energy usage by a factor of 3 in such a short time.

    Due to economics, EC is being and will continue to be tapped first. After that the next most economical choice will be chosen. As you correctly noted, fossil fuels have only survived due to false economic accounting; I would present to you that nuclear falls in a similar boat – we need to phase out CO2 for sure but we also need honest economic accounting for all other energy sources as well.

    I’m not sure why you are so convinced of nukes being so wonderful. I am a physicist who has worked in energy conversation and dabbled in renewables my entire professional career (over 35 years) and I try to follow the discussion closely. I also try to keep an open mind about what is possible and what is not.

  • Dartanyun

    The massive 30 year decommissioning costs make it far more expensive.

  • Dartanyun

    “…giving humanity limitless *clean* energy would be a disaster”
    This is very true. We would completely strip the oceans and soils, and still destroy ourselves.
    As they say, “power corrupts”.

  • AndyinHawick

    The reference is to the publication with that title from 2009:
    http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/publications.php?id=914
    Well worth a read.

    Your comment is also pertinent and could be built into a similar thesis.

  • durham kid

    You make some good points, Jim. I completely agree with you that the playing field should be level; however, well-intentioned people can and will disagree on what a level playing field actually is – since a fair amount of this is subjective in nature.

    For example, what is the cost of a relatively unlikely risk that has major consequences (a nuclear meltdown)? And how do your value the loss of use of the area that is radioactive for a certain period of time? THe real cost of FUkashima is hard to quantify – the Japanese were still simply flushing seawater over the core and dumping highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean the last time I checked. What is the effect and how do you quantify that risk and cost?

    You are correct that there are plenty of soft targets that could be a mess if terrorists struck them – though a well place bomb (or commeriial airliner, for that matter) could create a LOT more deaths over the long term than 9/11. I don’t know how you can say that Fukashima is

    It is a double standard that many sites (Chemical plants , dams. LNG terminals do not get equal scrutiny – they should. Which would make them a bit more expensive, which would then result in the facilities that are less dangerous or better protected having an economic advantage – which is what we all desire. Perhaps – and this example may be absurd as I know little about- a large chemical facility (or a nuke) that is built underground would require much less defense – and thus would make us all safer at the lowest cost.

    Yes, I know that utility scale solar is much cheaper than my rooftop array; however, I installed my rooftop array myself and I value having it in my possession on my roof. No one would own and drive a personal automobile if cost-effectiveness were the ONLY factor to measure.

    As far as large solar being owned by corporations: while it is true that the vast majority are, there are also community solar projects here in Massachusetts where you can own a few panels in a remote large scale solar project that puts power into the grid to offset your use of power. The model is possible – and catcing on for those who want solar but do not have a location to put it – or want it at a better cost than owning it on their property.

    There is no reason that remote solar installations cannot power larger facilities and/or high rises using this model (or using the corporate model, if that is what the customer is comfortable with (which many people are, at least until they have problems).

  • durham kid

    Your usage is not bad – and one would have to inventory all your appliances to see how much better you could do. I have a small house and use about 125 kWh per month when there is no cooling or heating – actually I use a dehumidifier in a very wet basement all summer but very little AC (literally 3 or 4 days per year). My 2500 watt solar array makes a little more kWh than I use all year – and that is with some very significant shading from my neighbor’s pine trees for a good 3 months/year.

    Once I get an electric vehicle, I will need to add more panels to offset that usage – but that is a future project…..

  • durham kid

    Jim – my most important point is that it is NOT a choice between nuclear and fossil fuels; we need to expand the discussion to include other options, renewables and energy conservation being a pair that cannot be seperated.

    Either way energy conservation will continue to save our butts – while being the Rodney Dangerfield energy source. After that renewables can make up the difference – and with reduced cost, adding energy storage will make renewables will address the intermittency concerns.

  • durham kid

    Thanks Andy.

    It is such a radical concept that you really have to get people to truly think outside their comfort zones. But it makes a lot of sense that prosperity is only possible when we are trying to maintain rather than grow.

    Put another way: there is only one thing I know that never stops growing – and that is cancer – which does a really bad job on it’s host!

  • AndyinHawick

    Well said Richard.

    Some of the energy reduction will happen automatically as we transition to alternatives. EVs use ⅓ to ¼ of the ENERGY of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles because of the inherent inefficiencies of fuel engines. Heat pumps need less energy to produce the same amount of heat that burning fuel takes. LEDs produce a much more controllable light for a tenth of doing so with a tungsten filament lamp. As other commentators have pointed out, the energy used in fossil fuel exploration, extraction and refining will not be needed.

    We do also need to reduce the amount of energy that we consume and it does not even need to be onerous although for some people, any change is too much!

    I have been impressed by the work of Zero Carbon Britain (http://zerocarbonbritain.org) and I know that there is similar research being done in other countries too. This details a transition path that is only dependant on existing technologies and is aware of the scale issue that you point out. The other seminal work on this issue is David Mackay’s book, Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air (http://withouthotair.com) which tots up the various possible sources and uses for energy use in typical UK households, including societal infrastructure and manufacturing (embedded) energy.

    We need to transition to sustainable energy sources; we will make the transition; the sooner and quicker we make the transition, the cheaper, easier and less painful the transition will be.

  • John Hartshorn

    As a physicist you should be aware of the unbeatable energy density of nuclear. You should know that coal, oil, gas, and even solar and wind power kill more people every year than nuclear power has killed in it’s entire existence. A physicist should know how much useful land would need to be covered with solar panels and wind farms and energy storage systems (that currently don’t exist except in the imagination of greens) to fulfill the 100% renewables vision.

    Have you familiarized yourself with the rapidly developing field of small modular reactors? Most of these will be incapable of melting down or releasing appreciable radiation to the public, and they are all being designed to be much cheaper to build and operate than current plants. Have you considered the time we have available to decarbonize? We need to use all the tools in the box, not just the ideologically pure green ones. When it was just a matter of how we kept the lights on, the anti-nuclear ignorance of greens wasn’t too important, but now that we have to fix climate change AND power up the developing world in fast order the cultural myths spread by greens are doing serious damage and are unwittingly hurting the cause they profess to support.

  • durham kid

    As a critical thinker, John, I also recognize arrogance and the inablity to think for oneself, which is ironic that the link you promote is daretothink.org (the site looks to be put together by an individual enthusiast and not an industry promoting itself).

    Have you familiarized yourself with the MUCH BIGGER PICTURE that we cannot keep expecting to grow in consumption forever? Have you familiarized yourself with the enormous social, ecological, societal and financial costs of our present economic system?

    Are you familiar with what happens when someone (me in this case) challenges a sacred cow? That someone is accused of not loving his country and being a communist or socialist – because, again the small-minded person making the charge cannot understand that there are more than 2 or 3 options on the table. We no more need to chose between capitalism and socialism than we have to chose between nukes and fossil fuels – the choices are FALSE.

    We have heard all the promises of the nuclear industry for all these years – but they have not panned out. We do need to de-carbonize but nuclear is at best crap shoot and it will be extremely expensive – perhaps cost prohibitive. Meanwhile solar is proven, reliable and works on micro-scales as well as large scale. A truly democratic energy source, more so with the price going down so much in the past few years alone (70% reduction since 2010).

    Like most people, I assume that you know very little about the role that energy conservation has played and will continue to play in a future that will need to come to terms with how unsustainable our present lifestyles are – in many more ways than simply energy consumption.

    I would argue that it is you – and NOT the greens – who are spreading the myths when you promote nuclear power as a panacea to the energy problems – when the issues are so much greater than just energy production and energy alone.

  • WhatTheFlux

    Go nuclear or go extinct. Simple as that.

    Whatever problems exist with nuclear (waste, contamination, etc) can be much more easily solved than building a nationwide Rube Goldberg wind and solar scheme and hoping for the best.

  • WhatTheFlux

    Burden our children?

    Oh, yeah, like all those two-headed kids wandering the Chernobyl countryside, and the tens of thousands of radiation victims throughout Europe that were secretly buried by jack-booted UN thugs to cover up the scandal. Not to mention all the glow-in-the-dark sushi we’ve been ingesting by the ton since Fukushima.

    Got it…

    Our children will have a FAR greater burden if we don’t generate enough power to keep the lights on and the gears turning.

  • WhatTheFlux

    Which killed no one. And which the UN has concluded will kill no one in the future.

    The worst thing that happened is that the meltdowns gave the local soil a whopping one- third of the background radiation found all over Kerala, India, a crowded region where millions of people have farmed and lived for thousands of years with cancer rates equal to or lower than the rest of India.

  • WhatTheFlux

    Human behavior will dictate that every watt of energy we can produce will be used. Either with bigger or more appliances, toys, conveniences. Etc.

    See Jevon’s Paradox.

  • Richard Rambone
  • Richard Rambone

    Oh really? PV plant built on nuke site as renewables surpass nuclear
    http://reneweconomy.com.au/pv-plant-built-on-nuke-site-as-renewables-surpass-nuclear-91681/

  • Richard Rambone

    You are misinformed. Watch the videos I linked above.

  • Richard Rambone

    This page seems to have been targeted by nuclear astroturfers.

  • durham kid

    Let’s get real here – we waste so much energy that the burden we leave to our children is our own fault – because we refuse to look at the most cost-effective, greatest energy source there is – CONSERVATION.

    A society that squanders it’s resources, does not go for the cheapest, easiest-to-achieve goals (energy conservation) but rather spends them on some of the most expensive technologies that have proven to be the most expensive for the past 60 years (nuclear) is one that will go bankrupt.

  • durham kid

    Nonsense!

    If that is true, then there is no way you can satisfy any need and the whole thing is hopeless.

    The only human behavior that “dictates that every watt of energy we can produce will be used” is the person who has been programmed to consume, rather than to live within his or her means. I can’t help it if some people are mindless consumers – but I’ll do my best to not let their clueless actions destroy the habitability of the planet….

  • durham kid

    Well, why don’t all the nuke plants have cooling systems that flush their waste into the ocean with no controls? I mean, since it has “killed no one” and “will kill no one in the future”.

    Give me a break. Flux!

  • Here’s what I calculate.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2a54f0cd6a1b32129d60310020e6c695d1a7307ffd4c03d4c1d4afa993eda062.png

    The Plan refers to Jacobson’s Roadmap plan. Kepco refers to Korean Electric Power’s project for 5600 MW now building in United Arab Emirates. Look for the first 1400 MW to come on line this year, 4 years after starting construction.

    Search my webpage for “Figure D” for math context re: materials, land & money.

  • Don’t sweat it. Just saw the fuel-rods open, extract the unburned U-238 and plutonium, and shove them into a Gen 4 fast-neutron reactor or thorium liquid-fuel reactor.
    Heavy atoms all disappear. Then you’ve got only a few cubic meters of fission products – medium size atoms – to put into casks and bury.

  • Michael Akulov

    Finally the brave reason trumped the craven “political correctness” and says, “Stop rodent-like procreating, start homo-sapience-like creating Sustainable Civilization.”

  • Richard Rambone

    Experts calculate it differently, which is why you will never see a huge nuclear power buildout. In “Money” you have left out a lot, like decommissioning.

  • Richard Rambone

    What makes you think Gundersen is not an expert in nuclear power?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Gundersen

  • Richard Rambone

    Lol, you’re talking about reactors that do not work. Tell us about Monju.

  • Sam Gilman

    Wikipedia is incredibly cautious in what it writes about people who are still alive, but I’ll give you an example of the problem for starters: the wiki article says “His curriculum vitae [3] shows Gundersen is a licensed Critical Facility Reactor Operator from 1971-1972”. Most people would take that to mean reactors as in the sense of, say Watts Bar or Diablo Canyon, and Gundersen seems to enjoy people presuming that. But it doesn’t. It was a 100W reactor in a university lab that probably wasn’t even turned on.

    In other words, there’s a whole facade to Gundersen’s profile which is not what it seems. It’s often claimed he has forty years experience in the nuclear business. What actually happened was after a couple of years working for a nuclear engineering company, he was pushed into doing paperwork and contract management. At some point he made a libellous claim about his employers, was taken to court and lost. Soon after, he became a high school science teacher until he retired seventeen years later. His “involvement” in the industry latterly consists of being an anti-nuclear “expert” for hire – and he does charge.

    His position as “chief engineer” at Fairewinds was one he created himself. There were no other engineers. It was, for a long while, just him and his wife Marge. Fairewinds isn’t any kind of engineering company. It’s registered in the manner of an educational/religious charity, non-liable for the truth or otherwise of anything it says.

    On Fukushima, which is how I first came across him (I live in Japan) he has made consistently false, consistently scary claims. For example, his first utterance was the the situation was “Chernobyl on steroids” – which it wasn’t and physically never could have been. He claimed a fuel pool had exploded (it hadn’t) and had a scientifically impossible notion that the explosions that did occur were the result of a “prompt criticality”. He’s been involved in some extraordinary claims about radioactive material travelling distances across Japan that are plainly false. He’s made ridiculous and scientifically illiterate claims about Fukushima-originated radiation in the ocean (I can’t find the video for that, but it basically consists of him scaring people with the concept of a becquerel and how one estimate was that Fukushima had filled the ocean with 7 becquerels per m3, and so on, apparently ignorant that the ocean is actually 13,000 becquerels per m3 and an extra 7 would have been unnoticeable.

    So his inflated CV and how he makes stuff up is what makes me feel he’s not a great go-to source.

  • Ahmed Shaker
  • Ahmed Shaker
  • tesmith47

    the capitalist keep talking about how much it will cost , what they mean is how much it will cost us today and fuck the future generations!! we waste so much energy , some of us do motor sports stuff that use more energy in one week end than other humans use their entire life. we build offices sealed against air then cool them in the summer THEN insist that people wear a lot of excess clothes because of western culture i.e. wool suits and long sleeves etc.. we cool houses way more than is necessary we run a gigantic army because we want to take everyone elses resources to gobble up and squander. if we dont change this planet will be fucked and it will be the fault of western civilization!!!! yes, YOU WHITE FOLKS!!!!

  • tesmith47

    that is a flat out lie, nuclear is undetectable by people and it will damage the very stuff of future life dna,. nuclear is absolutely insane and you are too if you want it!!

  • tesmith47

    yu are so full of bull, you people would kill the human race and the entire earth just to make money. Kruschev was right about
    capitalist!!!

  • tesmith47

    your number may be correct but coaL and oil only kill the present generation, nuclear kills EVERY GENERATION

  • Sam Gilman

    Well, that was a bit random. I’ll have a go at understanding:

    So, what is it about the evidence for global warming that you don’t accept?

  • Richard Rambone

    He’s an engineer who knows enough about the business to be a trenchant critic, which is why the industry is now doing a character assassination, as per your post. Without links to prove your accusations of inaccuracy, your opinion is worthless.

  • Richard Rambone

    That only confirms what I am saying. I have been in plenty of these debates online, and this is one of the most heavily attacked by nuke industry shills. QED. Your overkill has shot yourself in the foot. You’ve given the game away.

  • Sam Gilman

    I don’t work for anyone remotely connected to any energy industry.

    You’ve been given examples of the false claims he’s made. Why don’t they matter to you?

    If you judge your experts not by their credibility but because they tell you what you want to hear, you’re just being a mark for charlatans.

  • Richard Rambone

    Once the repository is sealed, the waste requires no more babysitting

    Haha! So the caskets full of radioactive waste can be left lying around unguarded for the tens of thousands of years it’ll take to become harmless, eh? You’re funny.

    contain toxic constituents that *never* decay away

    Such as? Don’t be coy.

    (not that hazardous after ~1000 years)

    Lies! Nuclear wastes are hazardous for tens of thousands of years. This clearly is unprecedented and poses a huge threat to our future generations.

  • Richard Rambone

    You’re making stuff up. Provide links as proof.

  • Sam Gilman

    I’m always happy to provide sources. Here are some:

    Chernobyl on steroids claim:

    https://www.democracynow.org/2011/3/15/this_could_become_chernobyl_on_steroids

    Obviously false because the design of the reactor wouldn’t allow a Chernobyl to occur.

    “Prompt criticality” caused unit 3 explosion claim.

    http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/2011/04/27/426-gundersen-postulates-unit-3-explosion-may-have-been-prompt-criticality-in-fuel-pool/

    Not possible, and the cause was known anyway.

    Claim that a fuel pool exploded:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/fukushima-radiation-highest-ever-exceeding-capacity-measuring-device-fuel-likely-leaking

    It didn’t. The fuel rods were subsequently removed. Includes the claim “NRC inspectors reported finding a chunk of fuel rod nearly a mile from the plant.” No, they didn’t.

    Satisfied?

  • David Guagliardo

    we have plenty of clean and renewable ways to make electricity with out having to use nuclear power, who poison by products last 10 of thousands of years, and leak in centuries in any containment we put them in.. updating our grid infrastructure and finding ways to conserve energy is far more important

  • Stephen Williams

    duram kid, strange argument. UNSCEAR concluded no one was killed or is likely to be killed due to the radiation release from the Fukushima meltdown; therefore, why bother controlling controlling how much radiation is released into the oceans during normal operation? I don’t see the irony.

  • Richard Rambone

    Chernobyl on steroids claim

    Yeah, he actually said “could become Chernobyl on steroids”, so your claim that “his first utterance was the the situation was “Chernobyl on steroids”” is false. Meanwhile, radiation continues to be released into the Pacific via groundwater at Fukushima. We don’t know where that situation will end yet.

    “Prompt criticality” caused unit 3 explosion claim

    Once again, he said “may have” been a prompt criticality. This was during the event, when people were guessing. You have a horrible habit of twisting words and making false accusations.

    Claim that a fuel pool exploded:

    There is no proof on that page that Gundersen said that, only people saying what he said may happen.

    So your “proof” is bogus. I am not surprised.

  • Sam Gilman

    Ah – so the defence of Gundersen is that Gundersen isn’t really Gundersen. It’s a novel one. And nonsense. Each of the things he claimed was either false or ridiculous.

    But you have made your mind up. You chosen him as an expert because he tells you what you want to hear.

    Why bother with him? Why not just make things up yourself?

  • Richard Rambone

    Your statements bespeak someone who is unable to assess things clearly. The statements you attribute to Gundersen were not made by him. There is a huge HUGE difference between saying something may happen, and saying it DID happen. If you cannot parse and comprehend simple English, how much else of your world view is cockeyed?

    Anyone reading this who needs proof that Gundersen is the real deal can read his resume (CV) here. As you’ll see, he unquestionably IS an expert in this field. He was railroaded out of the industry because he uncovered safety flaws, and hence worked as a teacher for a while, and this has become a handy way for the industry to discredit him, which is disgusting.

  • Stephen Williams

    duram kid: How do we get the 3.5 people who live in energy poverty (over a billion of which have no access to electricity) to reduce their energy consumption? Or how about the 2 billion more people we expect to be added to the population by 2050? How is it possible to reduce energy consumption when billions of people are striving to raise themselves out of energy poverty?

    And how do we enforce a reduction in energy use across all developed and undeveloped nations? What is your actual plan to make this happen?

    As for Chernobyl, you do know, of course, that it was a Soviet-era reactor that had no containment building. No civilian reactors are run that way in the west. A Chernobyl-style accident is not possible in the west.

    As for Fukushima, health physics experts recommend that people return to their homes two weeks after the evacuation. Unfortunately, fear and misinformation won the day and many people’s lives were ruined (and many lost). It didn’t need to be so any more than at the many places on earth with higher background levels of radiation than at Fukushima.

  • Stephen Williams

    Ah, so you’re a shill for the anti-nuclear power movement. Nice that you are transparent about that.

  • Sam Gilman

    His CV is wonderfully padded. But it doesn’t actually say what it wants people to think.

    The 38 years experience is achieved by counting his self-appointment to his own organisation. His publications are almost entirely from that same organisation. Much of his expertise comes from him claiming things while working in his own organisation. His reactor operator license is not a license to operate a proper reactor, but a demonstration reactor on a university lab bench.

    The Chernobyl on steroids claim is ridiculous because it was physically not possible. But whatever, it looks like you’ve made your mind up.

    But I do have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

  • Stephen Williams

    Name one national electric grid that has successfully been powered by solar and wind energy. I can name several that have been successfully run with mostly nuclear energy.

  • Richard Rambone

    Let the CV speak for itself. We don’t need your slanted observations and outright lies.

  • Joffan

    So, you haven’t checked what’s happening at Fukushima since summer 2011. That was the last time that seawater was used for cooling. Since then it’s been fresh water, including recirculating decontaminated water. A lot has happened since you last looked, in fact, and it’s a bit breathtaking that you even feel competent to comment on something you take so little interest in.

    You might be interested in the extensive studies that have determined that the radioactive contamination will have no health effect on the public. Or the seawall that stopped even the slow seepage of contaminated groundwater from under the reactors (completed Oct 2015). Anyway you can catch up on progress here

  • Stephen Williams

    Richard, it is you who is misinformed. Try consulting the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory or the International Energy Agency. All agree that nuclear power is an essential part of a solution, as do most climate scientists as did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama Administration.

  • Joffan

    You need to work on those reading skills. Maybe try getting past the headline. Here’s what the page that you linked has to say about how much time that nuclear waste is hazardous:

    In fact, the radioactivity of nuclear wastes naturally decays progressively and has a finite radiotoxic lifetime. The radioactivity of high-level wastes decays to the level of an equivalent amount of original mined uranium ore in between 1,000 and 10,000 years. Its hazard then depends on how concentrated it is. Compare this to other industrial wastes (e.g. heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury), which remain hazardous indefinitely.

  • Joffan

    You’ve got that backwards, Stephen. Richard Rambone is playing the shill card to pretend that any arguments he can’t refute are paid for. He really needs it, too, because his own arguments are complete garbage.

  • Sam Gilman

    What have I lied about?

  • Stephen Williams
  • Stephen Williams

    Richard, what’s your secret to identify a nuke industry shill? Are you psychic? Or do you have a little black book that lists them all?

  • Richard Rambone

    I’ve already pointed that out. Your reading comprehension skills are abysmal.

  • Sam Gilman

    Rather, you are engaged in heavy cognitive bias. You tried to tell me the links didn’t show Gundersen making statements at odds with his supposed status as an expert.

    I also see that you are claiming that people who have a different view to you are being paid to have that view, based on zero evidence.

    So would it be fair to call you a conspiracy theorist?

  • Richard Rambone

    So would it be fair to call you a conspiracy theorist?

    No, that would be completely unfair, since I have not mentioned any conspiracies. But feel free to label me as such anyway. It would be consistent with your other inaccurate comments.

  • Sam Gilman

    You have: you think there are people being secretly paid by the nuclear industry to disagree with you on this very page.

    Let me try another tack: in tackling climate change denial, it’s important to grasp that there are people out there presenting themselves as experts who are not. So we need to make sure we check people’s credentials

    – do they have a track record of published peer-reviewed research?
    – do they engage with other experts, or are they basically media talking heads?
    – do they have a history of recognition by their peers (such as appointment to scientific bodies, professorial positions etc) or are they self-appointed and self-aggrandising?
    – is their funding independent of conclusions, or do they have a history of receiving money from people wanting a specific conclusion?
    – are they free of scandal?
    – can you find them making straightforwardly odd scientific claims?

    These and other things help us to distinguish between proper climate scientists doing genuine research, and the ragtag bunch of cranks, free market ideologues and fossil fuel funded stooges trying to disrupt the public understanding of the threat posed by climate change.

    Why should we limit such rigour to climate science? Why not apply it in this instance?

  • Richard Rambone

    I don’t like your ‘attack the messenger’ approach. Tell me why a 2014 review of the 66 nuclear reactors ‘under construction’ worldwide showed that 49 are running behind schedule, including all five in the US and most in China. The long and unpredictable build times of nuclear plants, and the extra costs that ensue, are a compelling reason not to depend on the technology for either power or to mitigate climate change.

    The International Energy Agency expects almost 200 reactor closures between 2014 and 2040. The likelihood of reactor start-ups matching closures over that time period has become vanishingly small. I wonder why?

    There has only been one reactor start-up in the first half of this year according to the IAEA’s Power Reactor Information System, and two permanent reactor closures.

    The number of power reactors under construction is on a downward trajectory ‒ 59 reactors were under construction as of May 2017, the first time since 2010 that the number has fallen below 60.

    US nuclear giant Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy this year.

    Pro-nuke journalist Fred Pearce wrote recently:

    “Is the nuclear power industry in its death throes? Even some nuclear enthusiasts believe so. With the exception of China, most nations are moving away from nuclear ‒ existing power plants across the United States are being shut early; new reactor designs are falling foul of regulators, and public support remains in free fall. Now come the bankruptcies. … The industry is in crisis. It looks ever more like a 20th century industrial dinosaur, unloved by investors, the public, and policymakers alike. The crisis could prove terminal.”

    It’s not outside the realms of possibility that you and the other rabidly pro-nuke commenters on this page are part of an effort to counter all this. There are PR firms that sell such services. This is not a conspiracy theory, these are facts (links to articles describing this phenomenon can be provided).

  • Richard Rambone

    That’s like asking in 1500 “Name one nation running on fossil fuels. I can name several running on wood and wind”. Silly question, but I’m not surprised. Ask it again in 30 years.

  • Richard Rambone

    Nuclear waste remains a terrible problem. Pu must be sequestered for 240,000 years to drop to 0.1% of its radioactivity today. That’s ~10,000 human generations. How dare we continue making waste that our descendants will hate us for? They will get no electricity, just a huge bill

  • Sam Gilman

    It’s not out of the realms of possibility that you’re on the Exxon payroll trying to block low carbon energy, Richard. It’s far more likely, let’s be honest, given their track record. So until you can prove you are not on Exxon’s payroll, do I get to call you a shill?

    China is building reactors in five years. Korea actually a bit faster. Decarbonisation programmes using nuclear have been faster than those using only wind and solar. China has recently adjusted expansion plans to scale back their wind ambitions a bit because of integration issues that take time: nuclear is now likely to play a bigger part.

    If you look at this map:

    https://www.electricitymap.org

    You’ll notice how the low carbon countries all do it mainly with nuclear and hydro.

    We really shouldn’t be having these silly conversations about speed. The evidence is clearly the other way.

    Now, I am NOT arguing against wind and solar. I support their expansion. Climate change is serious and we need to an all-of-the-above approach. My argument is with those who would seek to limit climate change mitigation and so condemn us to an environmental disaster.

    If the IPCC recommends nuclear, what is an environmentalist doing dismissing it?

  • Richard Rambone

    Outside of China, which is a low regulation environment, there are huge delays and cost overruns in nuke builds. We don’t have the time or money to waste on these follies. Renewable are cheaper, safer and faster.

    Anyone who really cares about AGW would not be arguing that we should spend our precious treasure on nukes.

  • Stephen Williams

    And you feel that all these scientists and scientific organizations lack your thorough understanding on handling nuclear waste?

  • Stephen Williams

    Well, there’s the problem. I know of nations that have replaced fossil fuels with nuclear energy to power entire national electric grids in under 20 years. Apparently you find nuclear energy much more of a concern than climate change, ocean acidification, and the over 3 million people who die prematurely every year due to air pollution from fossil fuels–given that you’re willing to wait 30 years on technology that has yet to be proven empirically. That’s fine. Now I know where you’re coming from.

  • Sam Gilman

    By the way, for someone who calls people shills with no evidence whatsoever, complaining about evidence-based credential assessment as “attacking the messenger” looks like straightforward hypocrisy.

  • Richard Rambone

    willing to wait 30 years on technology that has yet to be proven empirically.

    It’s statements like that that show your extremism. We all know that renewables are proven empirically; there are thousands of examples all over the world.

    Uranium is non-renewable, thorium is a pipe dream. The only truly sustainable energy is the giant fusion reactor in the sky called the sun. You don’t have to do anything. It just works. It shows up everyday and produces ridiculous amounts of power. The sooner we harness the solar and wind power that flows from the sun, the better.

  • Richard Rambone

    Your comment history is very instructive. You’re a one-trick pony. If not a paid shill, then very close to it.

  • Sam Gilman

    If we’re going to look at installation: Solar is stalling in a number of countries.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/451458ae63b64f66ae9a61f285655fb898058503753f5da3a58229711f3f9a1f.jpg

    The fifth country not listed is Japan: solar is beginning to flag here too.

    So, according to you, we should abandon solar? It’s peaking at levels far below what we know nuclear can do. If not – why not? I don’t think we should, but you have an obligation to be consistent in your arguments.

    And are you suggesting that the IPCC does not care about climate change? Isn’t that a bit silly?

  • Stephen Williams

    No. We know that renewable energy has not been proven empirically on a national grid-level scale (let alone proven with regard to the great majority of energy use which does not involve electricity). ‘If you were correct, you could point me at an example. But you can’t. But apparently, you are unable to admit that.

    The fact that you discount what you consider to not be renewable from being considered shows you are an extremist–not all that interested in ameliorating climate change. (Being “renewable” has noting to do with decarbonization in next few hundred years.) The renewable criterion appears to trump all else as far as you are concerned.

  • Richard Rambone

    You submit an image from a blog, I submit from the EIA
    http://cdn.powermag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/solar_wind_generation_eia1.jpg

  • Richard Rambone

    Places with 100% renewable energy

    You’re beating a dead horse.

  • Sam Gilman

    The two items are not incompatible. Surely you understand that.

  • Sam Gilman

    You can find me criticising climate change deniers, anti-vaccinists, fearmongers and people like you who want to block climate change action.

    Your history is kept private.

  • Richard Rambone

    I don’t accept cherrypicked graphs from blogs. Come up with stats from proper sources.

  • Sam Gilman

    It’s sourced to the BP statistical review 2017, a widely used and respected source on worldwide energy stats.

  • Richard Rambone

    Unless it’s Pu, which needs 240,000 years. Renewables do not leave a legacy of cadmium and mercury everywhere, btw.

  • Richard Rambone

    I don’t think you can say I work for Exxon. Just read my comments on this page.

    Your comments are 99% pro-nuke. You either work in or for the industry.

  • Richard Rambone

    So the blogger says.

  • PaulK2

    I find considerable fault with the Jacobson plan, and I also find considerable fault with the Clack rebuttal.

    The Jacobson plan’s fundamental shortcoming is a lack of consideration of the power of practical research and development to bring down the middle-hanging fruit, which by my estimation becomes low-hanging fruit quickly. The only problem, as in, there isn’t much of a problem, is developing the new technology which is right here. I didn’t say it’s out there, I said right here, although I’m perfectly willing to speculate that some other inventor has better technology and can beat me to market.

    I’m perfectly aware of the intermittency of both solar and wind power; in fact I’m counting on it as an inventor. This multi-trillion dollar technological race to cover the 2/3 of electrical power that solar can’t cover might go to the swift, might go to the ultimate low-cost supplier, might go to the ecologically correct supplier, might possibly go to some corrupt friend of the government and it might go to the best supplier of decentralized power storage.

    The entrants in this race include:

    Solar power towers, if they can solve the bird-frying problem. It’s solvable with better engineering, guys! Don’t wait too long to invent it!

    Low temperature solar thermal to electricity conversion. This patented option (#8823197) wins the price wars whenever solar power towers give off free waste heat or steam, but it won’t work everywhere.

    Aluminum-based battery storage will avoid massive mining operations for rare elements such as lithium.

    That old standby, hydropumping, or simply saving the water behind a dam until it’s really needed when the wind is calm. Allete and Manitoba Hydro have such a combined operation. Building dams and creating pondage has various environmental problems, so this is only a standby option.

    Large hydrogen tanks near cities, with fuel cells.

    Long-term storage of either renewable (wood, frozen cow manure) or nonrenewable fuels for tertiary power generation.

  • Sam Gilman

    Nope. Sorry. I have no connection whatsoever to any energy industry save paying my bills.

    You’re smearing me for taking the same line as the IPCC, and as James Hansen.

    Do you know who the IPCC are? Do you know who James Hansen is? Are they part of this conspiracy theory too?

  • Stephen Williams

    Not really anywhere near 100%. I haven’t gone over the list exhaustively, but I’ve looked deeply into a number of these claims (Burlington, Palo Alto, Aspen, etc.). These places actually have no idea where their electrons are coming from (unless someone has invented a way to “brand” electrons so we can tell from what power source they originated). These places all buy renewable energy credits to make it appear they are 100% renewable. What mix they actually use is anybody’s guess.

    The table is strange in other ways, as in the claim for Quebec: “99% renewable electricity is the main energy used in Quebec (41%), followed by oil (38%) and natural gas (10%)”. That’s just weird.

    I do agree that some places have come remarkably close thanks to abundant natural resources in the form of hydro power. Unfortunately, there’s not much room for growth in hydropower at this point.

    Note that I am a fan of renewables. I have a 7 kw system on my roof. But I want an honest discussion of how we can successfully decarbonize that’s not simply a marketing promo for renewable energy (which is what I mostly see in the press).

  • Stephen Williams

    I’d put your statement a little differently: How dare we not get rid of that nuclear waste (really, spent nuclear fuel) that our descendants will hate us for!

    Well, OK let’s get rid of it! I’m all for recycling it, but (in the U.S. where I live) President Carter banned recycling by executive order. I’m all for using Generation IV reactors that can use up all the actinides to make electricity, leaving behind waste that is only radioactive for 300 years or so. But the U.S. Congress, under President Clinton, killed the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) program, whose prototype had run for 30 years and was show empirically to be walk-away safe. Since we’re no allowed to make electricity with it, I’d settle for deep geologic disposal (what a waste of so-called waste), but Harry Reid long blocked that.

    My preference is for using up spent fuel to make electricity in Generation IV reactors. Heck, we could even get rid of our plutonium stockpiles that way (as Britain is considering using PRISM reactors).

    What’s your plan for getting rid of the waste?

  • Sam Gilman

    No, that’s a different stat. That’s renewables more generally, minus hydro. It also includes wind and (not really low carbon) biomass. But then again, there did appear to be a levelling off in Europe which may be a reflection of what the report says about the levelling off in solar in those countries in the graph.

    “Renewable” isn’t a single tech. It covers a variety of sources that have a variety of advantages and disadvantages, including both good and bad environmental profiles. The label is rather misleading.

  • Richard Rambone
  • Richard Rambone

    The blogger graph you supplied cherrypicked some countries where solar has leveled off for whatever temporary reason. It was not reflective of the true picture, and as such was designed to mislead, which is not surprising coming from a one-trick pro-nuke pony.

  • Joffan

    The whole spent fuel mixture together is what is relevant. It will be comparable to uranium ore in less than 10000 years.

    For plutonium to be relevant it would need to be separated – and if you separate plutonium out, you might as well use it in a reactor as fuel, which puts in back in a mixture.

  • Richard Rambone

    My preference is for using up spent fuel to make electricity in Generation IV reactors.

    They don’t work. Monju was abandoned and billions wasted. They are a catastrophic failure: complex, expensive, unreliable and accident-prone.

    The waste? Bury it somewhere deep and stable, and blow up the tunnel. And never make that mistake again.

  • Richard Rambone

    The waste problem remains unsolved.

  • Sam Gilman

    They are the countries with the biggest share of solar in their electricity supply.

    That share figure matters. It’s the share that is the constraint on solar expansion, as the literature shows.

    Here’s the excel file to show that your insinuation the stats were wrong was false:

    http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/en/corporate/excel/energy-economics/statistical-review-2017/bp-statistical-review-of-world-energy-2017-underpinning-data.xlsx

  • Sam Gilman

    No, he’s criticised by anti-nuclear ideologues. There is a difference between ideologues and scientists.

  • Richard Rambone

    It’s the share that is the constraint on solar expansion, as the literature shows.

    And this is temporary.
    What is holding back the growth of solar power?

  • Sam Gilman

    From your link:

    Gielen says solar could supply 10% of the world’s electricity by 2050 as technological solutions are developed to cope with its shortcomings

    Do you see the problem with a policy that limits low carbon energy choices more or less to intermittents?

  • Richard Rambone

    You’ve picked one very conservative comment there. Solar and renewables are growing exponentially. Even the IEA, which has shockingly underpredicted renewables again and again, says solar will provide 16% by 2050. I feel confident in suggesting that PV and CSP, plus a lot of demand destruction via conservation, will see solar and wind providing almost if not entirely 100% by then.

  • Sam Gilman

    The climate isn’t really bothered by how you feel. It’s about the amount of greenhouse gases released. Reputable mainstream sources do not share your confidence. They are evidence-based, not feeling based. Your own source is clear that this is not exponential growth in renewables, but S-curve growth, and as the BP stats show, in some places, we may already be seeing a flattening out.

    Surely, if you were serious about climate change, you would want to be right. You would want to go with the best quality information, and not just information that makes you feel happy.

  • Richard Rambone

    The nuclear power industry is dying. I’m interested in things that work for the very long term, and the only ones that do are renewables. Nukes may help as stepping stones to that future, but there are vast question marks over that.

  • Sam Gilman

    Oh look, a link to an anti-nuclear ideologue’s opinion.

    Look at you. You’re celebrating what you think is the decline of one of the most important low carbon sources we have, while promoting another source that your own sources suggest would take decades to come close to emulating. You’re going against the IPCC, for pity’s sake.

    This is why I post on this topic. The anti-nuclear movement is an obstacle to tackling climate change.

  • Richard Rambone

    Sammy, you’re attacking the messenger again. Instead of falling back on ad hominem arguments, look at what Mr Green says in that article. It’s all pretty accurate.

    I’m not so much anti-nuclear as anti-waste. I don’t want to line the pockets of the shareholders of companies like Westinghouse while at the same time waiting interminably for the CO2 problem to be ameliorated. We need QUICK, we need CHEAP, we need SAFE. On all these measures nukes fail.

  • Sam Gilman

    Deaths per TWh: nuclear comes out safest.

    Speed: your own links contradict you

    Cheap: modelling shows that the cheapest mix includes nuclear. It is illiterate to think that the cost of power from solar panels is constant no matter the grid penetration. It rises as grid penetration rises.

  • Sam Gilman

    As for ad hominems? Jim Green’s paid position is to be anti-nuclear. If he changed his view he would be out of a job. He’s also notorious for his attacks on others.

  • Richard Rambone

    Speed: most build are now waaaay behind.

    Deaths: we know ionizing radiation is dangerous, so leaks are not good. The actual number of deaths or cancers, deformities etc is yet to be fully and conclusively decided. And who knows what the waste will do thousands of years from now, let’s say in a post-Internet world where our species has lost the knowledge and resources required to safely sequester this stuff?

    Cheap: nuclear is the most expensive of all. We cannot afford it, and that’s why there will be fewer nuke plants in 2050 than now.

  • Richard Rambone

    AFAIK Green is not paid by anyone, unlike the many pro-nuke astroturfers one meets online.

    But stop attacking him, and address the shocking picture he paints of a dying industry!

  • Sam Gilman

    He’s the anti-nuclear coordinator for FoE Australia. That’s on his Wikipedia page. He’s a professional activist.

  • Richard Rambone

    Regarding his FoE group: “The local groups generate their own funds. National campaigns and projects rely on individual donations, foundations, merchandise, and bequests. FoE Australia currently receives no government or corporate funding”

    Clear enough?

  • Sam Gilman

    Eh? That doesn’t say he’s not paid.

  • Sam Gilman
  • Richard Rambone
  • Sam Gilman

    You mean from a different dedicated anti-nuclear organisation?

    Without sites like SkS joining the dots for you, people like you would be eaten for breakfast by the Heartland crowd.

  • Michael Mann

    Totally backwards, abundant, clean energy would enable us to replenish the oceans, the soil and prevent conflict over limited resources while raising the standard of living of humanity. A higher standard of living has also proven to be the best way to reduce the population explosion…

  • Dr. A. Cannara

    There’s nothing new about this. It’s not an ‘explosion’. It’s simply reminding folks of why, for instance, the Jacobson paper in 2009 was wrong, along with many followup talks & papers by him and the likes of Lovins.

    Jacobson couldn’t justify his assumptions in discussion with me in 2009 and has simply made more unscientific assumptions since. What the Chevron, Precourt and other $ donations to Stanford have done to influence his thinking is unknown, but the WWS 100% ‘renewables’ concept has long been loved by fossil-fuel interests, because they know it to be impossible and a guarantee that they’ll always have business selling combustion products to back up variable, climate-sensitive sources.

    Similarly with Lovins, who at an NCSE conference claimed that 4% variability in power service was somehow acceptable and equivalent to the .01% supplied by true utilities. The goal seemed to be finding more billable hours for RMI.

    There’s an unfortunate lack of responsibility to being honest brokers of facts in the ‘renewables’ biz. Our descendants will pay dearly.

    The graphic shows the pitifulness of wind’s power density, as does this…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc7rRPrA7rg

    These are short examples of what our media should have been explaining to us all, so we’re inoculated to ‘renewables’ marketing…

    https://www.facebook.com/thies.beckers/posts/10211975887845459 (power, energy & what we need)
    https://youtu.be/ZQlBowr8dNs (used nuclear fuel)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTFWm8At79U&feature=youtu.be (materials efficiency)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEv8Kj0WI6M
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlkRT-TCO8g (rebuttal to Joe Romm)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlkRT-TCO8g (nuclear necessity)
    https://www.patreon.com/posts/another-100-show-11228998?utm_campaign=patron_engagement&utm_medium=post_notification_email&utm_source=post_link
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WN7rzuO7Fgs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSbj1PHxhog&feature=youtu.be (water)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FARZBZAGon4&feature=youtu.be (energy morality)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RPHD0H-g14
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqZTsy3Dav8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqX5BHP1rp8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGt5Yp7SGfA

    Dr. A. Cannara
    650 400 3071

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f5d745ba1ad5540c6fedd20250f51fa617da51516e6ac492d4cba5f79ca83511.jpg

  • Sam Gilman

    The point I’m making is: antinuclear expertise of the sort you are citing isn’t actually science based. Its chief figures do not publish in the peer reviewed literature. Instead they are funded by anti-nuclear supporters to create a parallel universe of “research” that does not accord with mainstream science.

    This may come as a bit of a shock to you. It certainly did to me in 2011.

  • Michael Mann

    Actually radiation is easily detectable down to extremely tiny levels, well below any health concerns, much easier than detecting most chemical toxins.

  • Michael Mann

    Yes, I’m satisfied, If Gundersen has been careful in his use of language to prevent litigation, he has also been intentional in his efforts to mislead the public for his own financial gain.

  • Richard Rambone

    Well, you tried everything from impugning his funding to claiming that this is not research. Of course it’s not, and yes of course he has chosen to be remunerated via his activities as an activist, just as the other side are activists.

    But never do you directly address the facts he raises. This is very telling.

    But anyhoo, nothing you or I say will change the fact that the nuclear industry is sagging and probably dying. Wake me up if that changes.

  • Sam Gilman

    He is openly funded to come up with anti-nuclear propaganda, with zero peer review from recognised experts.

    The IPCC has transparent peer review from experts.

    Which is more likely to be right?

    Only an ideologue would say the former, surely.

  • Richard Rambone

    Everyone knows the IPCC is cobbled together and consists of a whole lot of compromise statements and sops to various interests, both political and corporate. I can imagine the nuke lobby had quite some input.

    One of the oddest things about the IPCC is that they expect some form of carbon removal technology to be invented to make their figures work. Sad, as Trump would say.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/07/ipcc-report-sucking-carbon-air-climate-report-biomass

  • Sam Gilman

    I’m sure you can imagine it, but you’re doing what every conspiracy theorist does: inventing a reason why information you find ideologically inconvenient can be ignored. If there was interference, an evidence-based person should be able to show it. The IPCC position is based on running many, many models of how climate change mitigation in energy might occur, and found that without nuclear it was a near impossible task.

    Meanwhile, when you’re shown that sources that suit your ideology are variously mistaken and riddled with conflicts of interest, and which are not imagined but a matter of public record, you ignore it, deny it, find excuses for it. Even when your own sources contradict your ideology, you just reject it in textbook examples of cognitive dissonance.

    Are you sure this is a good way to do environmentalism? Because for me, being evidence-based is fundamental. I don’t get how people familiar with climate change politics don’t see that. I don’t understand how you manage to be so contradictory.

  • Jag_Levak

    “Yeah, he actually said “could become Chernobyl on steroids””

    If he’d said the reactor could fall over, crack Honshu in half and set the northern half adrift, that would be okay because he said “could”? People who have real scientific or engineering expertise generally try to constrain their hypotheses to things which are at least physically possible. When the speculation veers into flights of fancy on a par with magic, that’s a fairly strong indication the person either doesn’t know the basic principles involved, or doesn’t care to be constrained by them. I used to be a fan of Gundersen–back when I really didn’t know much about what he was talking about. This was the video where I realized he’s a complete fraud:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9lv5foUItM

    Nobody who knows the first thing about physics or engineering could have proposed such a laughable theory. And Gundersen’s specialization in nuclear engineering was supposedly in spent fuel racks, and yet he apparently didn’t have a clue about their structural strength or about the borated separators between the fuel assemblies.

    “Meanwhile, radiation continues to be released into the Pacific via groundwater at Fukushima.”

    Radiation continues to be released from you. Seriously. You are a gamma radiation source. Obviously, the crucial piece of information is the amount. I notice that part is conspicuously absent from your Fukushima claim.

    “Once again, he said “may have” been a prompt criticality.”

    More specifically, he has said it “may” have been a nuclear detonation (impossible) caused by a prompt criticality originating in the fuel pool (never happened), caused by a hydrogen deflagration above the pool collapsing the racks at the bottom of the pool (totally absurd, flatly contradicted by evidence) into a moderated prompt-critical configuration (despite the boron separators), thereby launching the spent fuel in the pool high into the air and throwing it as far as two miles away (never happened).

    “This was during the event, when people were guessing.”

    Here’s a quote from Gundersen late in 2013, still peddling his preposterous theory (now modified to include the word “moderated”) while also taking a swipe at the steam explosion theory proposed by Ian Goddard (who used video evidence of the explosion aftermath to demolish the exploding pool hypothesis not long after Gundersen proposed it):

    “I’ve been saying all along that I think Unit 3 had something called a prompt moderated criticality in the fuel pool and that particles of fuel would be found lying outside Unit 3 is an indication that that happened. If the fuel had come from inside the nuclear reactor, it would have had to go through the containment and through a very circuitous path, so to my mind its very unlikely”

    http://enenews.com/gundersen-major-problems-inside-pool-fukushima-unit-3-pieces-nuclear-fuel-rods-blown-during-criticality-explosion-building-could-shatter-big-quake-hits-video

    And this would have been more than two years *after* the underwater videos showed the racks were all intact, uncollapsed, definitely not exploded, and not even knocked out of position. The video of the explosion showed his “theory” was implausible, the aerial video of the explosion aftermath did likewise, the underwater video showed conclusively it did not happen, and physics establishes by several different means that it could not have happened. And yet, there’s Gundersen riding his hobby horse theory as if it were real. Why? If it is because he actually believes it could have happened, his claims to be any sort of nuclear expert are bogus. If he knows better, then he’d have to be deliberately peddling a baloney theory–and I think I can guess why a professional fearmonger would do that. Either eventuality makes him a fraud or a hustler.

    “You have a horrible habit of twisting words and making false accusations.”

    How about if he’d said “Gundersen could simply be a reprehensible, opportunistic, lying, con-artist, but then again, he might actually be as monumentally ignorant and clueless as he appears to be.” It has the requisite qualifying words, so that would be okay, right?

  • Sam Gilman

    Thank you for the detailed explanation!

    The Chernobyl on steroids remark was the immediate red flag for me in the early days of the crisis. By that time, I already understood enough that this made no sense. I think it helped that these kinds of comments translated into the immediate scale of risk facing people here; there were genuine experts in various places trying to explain the difference between Fukushima and Chernobyl (such as the absence of containment, the positive void coefficient and the presence of carbon in the reactor that could set off a fire that could continually eject material very high). So when Gundersen turned up casually saying the opposite, it was immediately clear he was a wrong ‘un.

    But what was striking at the time also was how unprepared the media were to explain the risks. There was definitely a problem of science communication. The Japanese press were far better, but the foreign press just kept going on and on about radiation sickness, which no one was at risk of.

  • Jag_Levak

    “The Chernobyl on steroids remark was the immediate red flag for me in the early days of the crisis.”

    He definitely didn’t seem so circumspect about couching it in hypothetical terms early on. Here’s an early video where he flatly states ” My term is ‘this is Chernobyl on steroids’. … This will be worse than Chernobyl.” (@ 2:00)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0D0M211zsw4

    “But what was striking at the time also was how unprepared the media were to explain the risks.”

    Or were doing everything they could to sensationalize the risks. For many, it seemed that if it wasn’t scary, it wasn’t newsworthy.

  • Michael Mann

    LOL, see the “proof” in Gundersens’ own videos, that he uses terms like “could” “may have” it seems that even then he knew he was wrong but still said it in such a way to be frightening and misleading.

  • Richard Rambone

    These libelous statements should not be allowed to stand at this site. I see from your posting history that you’re another one trick pony. Figures.

  • Michael Mann

    Has Gundersen ever attained a PE? https://www.nspe.org/resources/licensure/what-pe

  • Ike Bottema

    You can be sure that if Gunderson had the ring, he’d have PEng in the top line of his CV, so no.

  • Ike Bottema

    The waste problem remains an unsolved political stalemate … in the United States. Other nuclear nations are moving ahead with well-developed technology and plans to employ that technology.

  • Stephen Williams

    They do work. As I already said, the IFR prototype ran very well for 30 years. That fact doesn’t fit your narrative, so you apparently simply ignore it so you can make false claims that confirm you worldview.

  • Stephen Williams

    No. It can be recycled (as is done in France) or used in Gen IV reactors (e.g., GE Hitachi PRISM) or stored in deep geologic disposal site. If you’re concerned about toxic waste, then perhaps you should advocate shutting down the solar and wind industries, both of which have a very poor record, unlike the nuclear industry, of dealing with their associated toxic waste (which is happens to be toxic forever, unlike some other, much better regulated waste streams).

  • greenthinker2012

    I do not share your confidence. Fossil fuel use is increasing every year worldwide. In fact the rate of increase is accelerating every year. We need to decrease our fossil fuel use by 80% by 2050 and yet we have not even slowed down.

  • Michael Mann

    Actually nuclear “waste” is actually valuable fuel, and it happens to be 1/300 the volume of solar waste. http://dailycaller.com/2017/07/01/solar-panels-generate-300-times-more-toxic-waste-than-nuclear-reactors/
    Richard, I see you do not allow anyone to see your comment history, what is it are you trying to hide?

  • Sparafucile

    That’s OK — the climate hasn’t noticed. It’s been stable for the last 20 years.

  • Sparafucile

    You forgot to mention two of Jacobson’s (many) other flaws — and perhaps the largest two — his counting on technology that doesn’t yet exist, and his abject disregard for the economics.

    (eg: imagine the economic factors involved to extract from the ground the amount of lithium necessary to back up his 80% intermittent grid, or imagine the land use scenarios for siting so many terawatts of solar and wind generation.)

  • Jag_Levak

    “These libelous statements should not be allowed to stand at this site.”

    By definition, it can’t be libel if it’s true. If you think you can point out anywhere that I asserted something contrary to fact, I cordially invite you to take your best shot.

    “I see from your posting history that you’re another one trick pony.
    Figures.”

    If you go back more than four years, back when I was an anti-nuke, you’ll find I rarely commented on this topic. I make it the main topic for this identity now, partly to atone for having previously held and promoted a view I now deem fallacious, and partly because I that’s how high I rate the importance of this issue. But the mere fact of specialization in a topic does nothing to disqualify or invalidate what one has to say on the subject. If you want to mount a real argument against anything I said, you’ll have to address the actual substance of what I said.

  • Sparafucile

    An attempt at sarcasm?

  • Sparafucile

    That’s it — if you can’t beat the argument, then impugn the motives.

    You lost the moment you began.

  • Jag_Levak

    “nuclear kills EVERY GENERATION”

    Okay, I’ll bite. How does it do that?

  • Joffan

    The studies that followed the populations subjected to irradiation and fallout from Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed that there was no effect on subsequent generations.

    The mythology of generational harm is a scare mechanism intended to stop people making rational choices for nuclear power. I urge you to refuse to let such fairy stories control your thinking.

  • I double checked the BP data and added Japan. Feel free to use this graphic anytime the urge strikes.

    http://i.imgur.com/YCwk4Jj.jpg

  • The problem is not that it’s toxic. The problem is once it has decayed sufficiently it becomes much less radioactive, and therefore easier to steal by criminals wanting to make a dirty bomb of some sort. However, you should save *your* energy because liquid fuelled reactors are being designed today to consume nuclear waste.
    Personally I’d like to see more debate about how the countries of the world can agree on a global carbon price. There’s a new (rather weighty) PDF here with contributions from mainstream economists such as Nordhaus and Stiglitz that suggests a way. However you only have to read the first three pages to *get* how the game theory they propose works. http://carbon-price.com/wp-content/uploads/Global-Carbon-Pricing-June-2017.pdf

    Or you might prefer to watch this presentation instead on how to induce the cooperation. It’s from the lead editor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmVOjt0DU_s

    Once a carbon price is in place investors will be incentivised to scale up low carbon energy enormously. However I doubt they’ll be asking you or me which one to deploy. I suspect they will choose whatever is likely to turn them the biggest profit, based on their own due diligence.
    Small doses of radiation are essentially harmless and probably even beneficial to health. This is now known in the scientific community. Numbers matter to them, not scary headlines very much.
    My fear is the likes of Heartland etc. will fund anti-nuclear activism next, so they can keep going strong for a few more decades. We need renewables *and* nuclear – especially in the developing world where most of the energy growth is happening. However, those people can’t afford to pander to anti-nuclear activism. They have people trying to live on $1/day and the economic growth needed to lift people out of poverty depends on cheap energy. It also lowers the fertility rate, so abundant cheap zero carbon energy is needed to curb the population explosion whilst saving the planet at the same time.

  • Jag_Levak

    “I don’t like your ‘attack the messenger’ approach.”

    To say that Gundersen has made claims that are hyperbolic, preposterous, and demonstrably false is not “attacking the messenger”. It is directly attacking the message. Attack-the-messenger is a deflection strategy to avoid addressing the message.

    “Tell me why a 2014 review of the 66 nuclear reactors ‘under construction’ worldwide showed that 49 are running behind schedule,”

    Because they are behind schedule. But 1) being behind schedule is nothing unique to nuclear, and is actually pretty typical of large projects. If they had been given more time in the original schedule, they might now be on schedule, but work probably would have proceeded slower and the construction would have expanded to fill the allotted timeframe, in which case the project could be on time under a loose schedule and still have a slower build rate than being behind under a tighter schedule. 2) Whether behind or not within one field has no bearing on relative buildout rates between fields. 3) There are also dozens of development projects aimed at revolutionizing the way we do and build nuclear. Future nuclear will not be restricted to the way we do it now.

    “The long and unpredictable build times of nuclear plants, and the extra costs that ensue, are a compelling reason not to depend on the technology for either power or to mitigate climate change.”

    They are, at most, a good reason to develop faster and cheaper ways of doing nuclear power.

    “The International Energy Agency expects almost 200 reactor closures between 2014 and 2040. The likelihood of reactor start-ups matching closures over that time period has become vanishingly small. I wonder why?”

    It seems unlikely that there will be a matching number of current-tech nuclear plants built over that period. You have no good way to assess the likely buildout rates for forms of nuclear power which are still in development.

    “The number of power reactors under construction is on a downward trajectory”

    And I would expect the interest in present-tech nuclear will fall off even faster the closer next-gen reactors come to being available.

    “US nuclear giant Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy this year.”

    That is no more an argument against nuclear power than the failure of Solyndra was an argument against solar power.

    “Pro-nuke journalist Fred Pearce wrote recently:
    “Is the nuclear power industry in its death throes? Even some nuclear enthusiasts believe so.”

    I believe the old ways of doing nuclear are coming to a close. Most nuclear proponents agree the way we are doing nuclear must change. There is just disagreement over how it should change and how quickly.

    “With the exception of China, most nations are moving away from nuclear”

    China is pursuing multiple advanced reactor development projects in parallel, and has stated their intention to secure and defend international intellectual property rights on their new reactor technologies. They not only foresee a time when the reactors they are building now will be obsolete, they are actively working towards making that happen. They seem to think the international market will be there for better reactors whenever they are ready to go.

    “The crisis could prove terminal.”

    It certainly will for the portions of the industry which do not prepare for the coming changes.

    “It’s not outside the realms of possibility that you and the other rabidly pro-nuke commenters on this page are part of an effort to counter all this.”

    It’s not outside the realms of possibility that our world leaders are actually reptiloid aliens from another planet impersonating humans. Just because something is possible doesn’t make it likely, or even plausible. And by the way, casting insinuations like that is what attack-the-messenger looks like.

    “There are PR firms that sell such services. This is not a conspiracy theory,”

    “Theory” is definitely too grand a term for such a notion.

    Shills typically have disposable identities, with fairly low comment counts before they burn through them. They also generally conceal their posting histories. You fit that profile more than most you are disagreeing with here. Shills also tend to stay on message. PR firms don’t hire them to disagree with and undercut each other. Sam and Sparafucile have had a long-running disagreement on climate change. Michael Shellenberger and I have had strongly dissenting views on the best way forward for future nuclear. Who would pay for that? I’m also critical of many aspects of today’s nuclear industry and present reactor designs, and I’ve voiced support for approaches being pursued by start-ups which are just getting going. The start-ups don’t have money to burn on PR, and why would the existing industry fund criticism of itself, and support for possible future rivals?

  • I’m on your side but consider not posting long strings of video links or the moderators will need to change the Disqus settings to allow text only. Using occasional graphics or a video to bolster your thoughts is fine, but what you just did, plastering your comment with a dozen or so video links scrounged off the internet, isn’t really acceptable. It’s lazy. Anybody can scrounge video links off the internet supporting their position and post them, regardless of which side you are on.

  • Richard Rambone

    populations subjected to irradiation and fallout from Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed that there was no effect

    Novel view: radiation is harmless. When you can convince the general public of that, you may get your way.

  • Joffan

    Quote-clipping because you can’t answer the actual statement. Interesting.

    The very extensive and thorough Life Span Study looked for effects on subsequent generations. There were none, even among populations that definitely were affected by radiation from the bombs.

  • Richard Rambone

    The levelling off effect is temporary as grids come to terms with solar and storage solutions are further developed. Not all graphs go straight up all the time. Here’s an example

    http://energypost.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Shellenberger-world-could-lose-2x-more-nuclear.jpg

  • Richard Rambone

    Agreed, but the answer is not a multi-trillion dollar nuke buildout

  • Richard Rambone

    I believe the old ways of doing nuclear are coming to a close.

    I believe the entire industry is coming to a close.

    http://energypost.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Shellenberger-world-could-lose-2x-more-nuclear.jpg

  • Richard Rambone

    It’s only in the myopic world of the nuke fanboy that renewables waste is worse than radioactive waste. And that’s why nobody takes you guys seriously and your industry has no future.
    https://antinuclear.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/terminal-nuclear-industry.gif

  • Richard Rambone

    Yes, those same Life Span Studies (LSS) found that, inter alia,

    Health end points other than cancer have been linked to radiation exposure in the LSS cohort. Of particular note, a dose-response relationship with mortality from nonneoplastic disease was demonstrated in 1992, and subsequent analyses in 1999 and 2003 have strengthened the evidence for this association. Statistically significant associations were seen for the categories of heart disease, stroke, and diseases of the digestive, respiratory, and hematopoietic systems

    But hey, don’t ever reveal the full story. That’s the way the pro-nukers roll, yo.

  • Joffan

    And how does that explain you lying about the fact that there is no effect on subsequent generations?

  • Michael Mann

    Richard Rambone (if that is his name) doesn’t seem interested in logic he has a different agenda, unfortunately that agenda includes spreading FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) about nuclear energy which in the short run may induce anxiety hurting individuals without the knowledge to mitigate his propaganda and in the long run hurt society by reducing the abundance of clean energy in the form of safe, clean, nuclear power plants. It is difficult to analyze his history because his profile remains hidden, he obviously is not proud of his posting history.

  • Michael Mann

    Which is it? Is nuclear power a huge multi-billion dollar behemoth with paid secret posters everywhere or is it a bankrupt industry with no money and no future? You seem to claim both in the very same post although most would agree the two positions are diametrically opposed.

  • The levelling off effect is temporary as grids come to terms with solar and storage solutions are further developed.

    Debate definition: I think nuclear will need to be a major part of a future low carbon energy mix and you don’t.

    The levelling off effect is may be temporary if solutions can be found to compensate for their sporadic nature (hypothesized HVDC super grids or some as yet to be invented scaleable economically feasible electricity storage technology). Otherwise solar eventually hits limits as the top five solar grids are already demonstrating. 8% is nothing to sneeze at but as electricity use continues to increase, the precent solar will continue to drop unless more solar is added. See Figure 1:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c642254ac63158554e7a743ef38b86bbc9c33b979d9f2829990ca67593ad14dd.jpg
    Figure 1 Top Five Solar

    Not all graphs go straight up all the time.

    …or down for that matter. See Figure 2. Also see Figures 3 and 4.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/534d137719fca7aa6c891f1537cf5736acf65dc637249fdba2cd425fddea8287.jpg
    Figure 2 German emissions since closing nuclear.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f438aff85e903d8a9eabb8adc44c3a16568b529beb05c7422c0d21172c86805b.jpg
    Figure 3 Nuclear with and without impact of antinuclear terror tactics on German and Japanese nuclear

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/749a53e548bc4363ec1e876a7eaaa12762ccc5e2cc19e7712b55eb23aa088b09.jpg
    Figure 4: German vs French emissions

    Also consider reading:
    http://www.biodiversivist.com/2017/07/the-50-nuclear-50-renewables-low-carbon.html
    http://www.biodiversivist.com/2017/06/bounding-renewables-nuclear-debate.html

  • hyperzombie

    Richard Rambone
    He may not know much about power generation, but with a name like that I bet he knows the Pron industry well.

  • Richard Rambone

    In utero exposure to ionizing radiation can be teratogenic, carcinogenic, or mutagenic. The effects are directly related to the level of exposure and stage of fetal development. None of your spin or studies can change that fact, but nice try.

  • Richard Rambone

    It’s both. Can’t you understand that. It’s a giant that’s falling over.

  • Richard Rambone

    Germany is using coal as a stop-gap after closing nukes, hence the uptick. The coal will be phased out eventually as renewables pick up the slack. This was well publicised in Bloomberg and other sources.

  • Michael Mann

    I understand logic is not your thing.

  • Richard Rambone

    Finally someone gets the joke!

  • In utero exposure to ionizing radiation can be teratogenic, carcinogenic, or mutagenic. The effects are directly related to the level of exposure and stage of fetal development. None of your spin or studies can change that fact

    According to Wikipedia, exposure to solar radiation is known to be associated with the development of skin cancer, skin aging, immune suppression, and eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

    None of your spin or studies can change that fact : )

  • Michael Mann

    He thinks meeting the future energy needs and protecting the environment is a joke? Not sure I get it, but I did find his video on You-tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8ubBE7Pnqs

  • Richard Rambone

    What you pretend not to know is that industries in trouble spend heavily on PR. Most people know that products that are heavily advertised are products that are not selling. Is this news to you? I doubt it.

  • Richard Rambone

    Absolutely agree! I wear a $200 Akubra hat every day and I’m very cautious about the nuclear fusion reactor in the sky, even though it is life giving in other ways.

  • Michael Mann

    Are you implying that I am paid to post? Or are you admitting that you are paid to post? Why do I only see explosive natural gas commercials on TV and no nuclear energy commercials? It’s all very confusing you seem to want to post that nuclear is big business to those people who hate big business and that it is a pauper to those who don’t think nuclear power has the resources to help fight climate change. Kind of throw everything against the wall and see what sticks, quite the propaganda machine, but doesn’t it work better if you don’t say both in the same post. I thought that is why you hide your profile.

  • Richard Rambone

    Different Dick Rambone! Funny though

  • Richard Rambone

    Are you implying that I am paid to post?

    Am I? If the cap fits, wear it.

    I thought that is why you hide your profile.

    I keep my history private to stop stalkers following me from site to site, which is what happened in the past.

  • Sparafucile

    “With the exception of China, most nations are moving away from nuclear”

    You might want to research the number of nations presently building their first nuclear plants RIGHT NOW, before sticking with such an absurd assertion.

  • Michael Mann

    So you admit that you are paid to post? Wow! I thought you guys tried to keep that a secret. I am not now and have never been paid to post, how much are you paid?

  • Richard Rambone

    Wish I could be paid! But nobody wants to sponsor common sense environmentalism anymore.

  • Sparafucile

    Sam does have his cognitive challenges (like an inability to tell data from propaganda). But by focus or chance, his assessment is accurate here.

    Perhaps it’s because he and Gundersen, at their cores, are so much alike.

  • Sparafucile

    You don’t know that CVs are, almost by definition, SELF-SERVING publications?

  • Richard Rambone

    presently building their first nuclear plants RIGHT NOW,

    It’s going to be an expensive learning process never to be repeated for most or all of them, I predict

  • Michael Mann

    This is what you wrote: “Are you implying that I am paid to post?
    Am I? If the cap fits, wear it.” Since I am not now nor have I ever been paid to post, I figured you must have been talking about yourself. Are you a solar/wind supplier or just PR for an anti-nuclear consortium?

  • Sparafucile

    That’s Sam’s usual retort when he loses an argument – to baselessly accuse his opponent of believing in conspiracy theories.

    But just because Sam’s can’t construct a good argument doesn’t mean that I suffer from the same incapability.

    Gundersen can know his topic, and STILL exhibit strong confirmation biases that lead him to draw abjectly erroneous conclusions, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This has been his behavior for many years.

    Think of Paul Krugman — he’s a poster child for this kind of cognitive failing.

  • Sparafucile

    So now you reject your previous fact-free assertion, in favor of unfounded speculation? I suppose that’s an improvement.

    Baby steps…

  • Richard Rambone

    Neither. I am a computer geek, now retired.

  • Michael Mann

    Interesting most computer geeks that I know are better at logic… and pro-nuclear. pro-science, anti-climate change.

  • Haha! So the caskets full of radioactive waste can be left lying around unguarded for the tens of thousands of years it’ll take to become harmless, eh?

    Pretty much.

    The teams of of scientists and engineers who developed the storage system for Finland have made sure these solid pellets of spent fuel can’t escape from the pure copper container, then the bentonite, and finally, through a mile or so of billion year old granite bedrock to cause higher than normal cancer rates over a human lifespan some day far into the future.

    Ever hear of Otzi the ice mummy who lived over 5,000 years ago? Here’s a picture of his 99.7% pure copper axe:

    http://i.imgur.com/YAiVLiW.jpg

    …a few rubs with a rag and it would shine like new. He also had high levels of arsenic, probably related to mining ore for copper. Unlike nuclear fuel which gets less radioactive every day, aresenic is forever, and both are mild carcinogens.

    This is why the Finnish engineers chose copper as the first barrier. They have proof of its durability even in wet environments.

    http://i.imgur.com/A3RwpQZ.jpg

    There will be no marker indicating it’s location. Look how hard it was to find King Tut’s tomb buried a few feet under the sand as opposed to miles down in granite bedrock. The idea that some future generation will find it, gain access to it, not realize their mistake and rebury it, borders on the absurd.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1cecd8ed995ae77e659b0a34be0a93292717d9821ce0cc7507d77efbdd81efc6.jpg

    You’re funny. Lies! Nuclear wastes are hazardous for tens of thousands of years. This clearly is unprecedented and poses a huge threat to our future generations.

    100% renewables is clearly unprecedented. The nuclear waste issue has been greatly exaggerated by antinuclear groups as part of their campaign of fear.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bc8e3eb0fea98414badd7ecf910c925edc54b5cfe4aab744c5cd27d7e565e012.jpg

    Consider reading:

    Nuclear Energy Waste–Making Mountains Out of Mole Hills

  • Stephen Williams

    I did not write that renewable waste is worse than radioactive waste. Why are you making things up? Talk about spin!

  • Richard Rambone

    Logic is in the eye of the beholder when this topic is discussed. I’m VERY pro science and anti-AGW. Here a study for you:

    Study: Renewables Overtake Nuclear Years Earlier Than Expected

    Nuclear capacity has declined over the last four years – a trend which
    is projected to continue, regardless of planned new reactor startups. On
    the other hand, almost all renewable energy sources are experiencing
    strong growth rates

  • Absolutely agree! I wear a $200 Akubra hat every day and I’m very cautious about the nuclear fusion reactor in the sky, even though it is life giving in other ways.

    That’s right. In low doses radiation can be beneficial. It’s only harmful at excessive doses. Almost half of all Americans will get skin cancer. Yet you get your boxers in a bind about forms of radiation that have several orders of magnitude less negative impact on human health than solar. You will never meet anyone harmed by exposure to radiation related to nuclear power stations.

  • Unless it’s Pu, which needs 240,000 years.

    From the Wikipedia article on Pu:

    Several populations of people who have been exposed to Plutonium dust (e.g. people living down-wind of Nevada test sites, Nagasaki survivors, nuclear facility workers, and “terminally ill” patients injected with Pu in 1945–46 to study Pu metabolism) have been carefully followed and analyzed. These studies generally do not show especially high Plutonium toxicity or Plutonium-induced cancer results, such as Albert Stevens who survived into old age after being injected with Plutonium. “There were about 25 workers from Los Alamos National Laboratory who inhaled a considerable amount of Plutonium dust during 1940s; according to the hot-particle theory, each of them has a 99.5% chance of being dead from lung cancer by now, but there has not been a single lung cancer among them.”

    …Plutonium has a metallic taste.

    Rambone continues:

    Renewables do not leave a legacy of cadmium and mercury everywhere, btw.

    Let’s put that claim into perspective. The list below is for chemicals to make solar panels. Industrial waste is only a health concern if improperly dealt with. Consider the huge amount of mining for materials required per unit energy produced for solar PV and the chemicals used to produce them:

    1. hydrochloric acid
    2. trichlorosilane gas
    3. silicon tetrafluoride
    4. sulfur difluoride
    5. tetrafluorosilane
    6. sulfur dioxide
    7. sulfur hexafluoride
    8. sodium hydroxide
    9. potassium hydroxide
    10. hydrochloric acid
    11. sulfuric acid
    12. nitric acid
    13. hydrogen fluoride
    14. phosphine
    15. arsine gas
    16. phosphorous oxychloride
    17. phosphorous trichloride
    18. boron bromide
    19. boron trichloride
    20. lead
    21. trichloroethane
    22. ammonium fluoride
    23. phosphorous
    24. phosphorous oxychloride
    25. diborane
    26. ethyl acetate
    27. ethyl vinyl acetate
    28. ion amine catalyst
    29. silicon trioxide
    30. stannic chloride
    31. tantalum pentoxide

    Source: http://www.solarindustrymag.com/issues/SI1309/FEAT_05_Hazardous_Materials_Used_In_Silicon_PV_Cell_Production_A_Primer.html

    And from Japan tries to chip away at mountain of disused solar panels :

    By 2020, Japan’s Environment Ministry forecasts the country’s solar-panel waste will exceed 10,000 tons. After that, the pile really starts growing: reaching 100,000 tons in 2031 and topping 300,000 tons in 2033, the 20th anniversary of the feed-in tariff. Between 2034 and 2040 the amount of waste produced is expected to hover around 700,000-800,000 tons annually. The projected peak of 810,000 tons is equivalent to 40.5 million panels. To dispose of that amount in a year would mean getting rid of 110,000 panels per day.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/42b46cd9325b1b4e0b5d94e68186787c7769ed91564009153f334a7297805fd5.jpg

  • Sam Gilman

    In talking to Richard Rambone, I’ve realised how insightful this way of looking at things is.

    Overall, the world is still at very low levels of solar. On average, it’s still in the steep part of the S-curve. But given that the issue is integration, rather than availability of solar power, it makes sense to see what happens when markets mature.

    I have no doubt that there are policy issues at stake here, and technological changes will allow further expansion (It would actually be very worrying if Greece and Italy got stuck at such low levels with such good insolation). But it shows the importance of government action in decarbonisation, and undermines the idiotic argument that if certain countries aren’t building nuclear, then no one should. If countries are stalling on solar, does that mean everyone should? Well, no, of course not.

  • Sam Gilman

    “Sam and Sparafucile have had a long-running disagreement on climate change.”

    ROFL! That’s a very genteel way of putting it.

  • Silly me, why would I imagine a multi-billion dollar industry that is sinking to its knees … There has only been one reactor start-up in the first half of this year according to the IAEA’s Power Reactor Information System, and two permanent reactor closures.

    Sinking to its knees? See Figure 1.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e30ae1c36fd6cc17c06a3a3e0162fda49b95183d870d43988510b8c4cf3a4dd.jpg
    Figure 1 Nuclear output

    …would employ keyboard warriors to influence the public debate on key sites such as postcarbon.org? Am I nuts or something?

    Coal’s main competitor has always been nuclear. A paid shill for coal would attack nuclear while promoting a source that isn’t a threat, like solar. Outed! ; )

    Tell me why a 2014 review of the 66 nuclear reactors ‘under construction’ worldwide showed that 49 are running behind schedule, including all five in the US and most in China.

    … to garner readership via a sensationalist headline? Hydro and offshore wind farms are also often behind schedule and over budget, along with many other projects. See Figure 2.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6d19233e4b150f97ee4b18e0e3c1fc10ff9c84294a877f151961d3ee6ea4d134.jpg
    Figure 2 Mega projects

    Source: http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-spotlight-on-power-and-utility-megaprojects/$File/ey-spotlight-on-power-and-utility-megaprojects.pdf

    Note in Figure 3 what has happened to Germany’s solar and wind. Solar’s downturn is a result of subsidy reduction. The downturn in wind is the result of weather and delays in completing transmission lines.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c202383bd8cea6e91f1d54202712d183651ece14d47079444cf23a2bac5f1926.jpg
    Figure 3: German wind and solar

    From Engineering and Technology:

    Professional services firm Ernst and Young conducted an analysis of the performance of 100 of the world’s largest megaprojects, including nuclear power plants, hydropower projects and offshore and onshore wind farms. It found that the majority of them were running wildly over budget, with the average value being $2bn.

    Almost three quarters of all hydropower, water, coal and nuclear infrastructure projects were over budget by 49 per cent on average, with hydropower and nuclear projects typically suffering the greatest cost overruns at $4.6bn and $4bn, respectively.

    Project delays were longest for coal and hydropower technologies, at nearly three years on average.

    From the New Yorker, Trouble with Megaprojects:

    The projects include not only tunnels, bridges, dams, and highways but also airports, hospitals, skyscrapers, cruise ships, wind farms, offshore oil and gas rigs, aluminum smelters, communications systems, Olympic Games, aerospace missions, particle accelerators, the Affordable Care Act Web site, entire cities—the list goes on and on.

    Nine out of ten megaprojects experience cost overruns, and most take much longer to build than expected.

    …because such projects take so long to build—more than eight and a half years for the average large dam—they are vulnerable to a kind of entropy, in which even unrelated events can produce huge setbacks. The planners of Pakistan’s Tarbela Dam, for example, projected seven-and-a-half-per-cent inflation during construction, but the project took eight years longer to complete than expected, by which time inflation had jumped three hundred and eighty per cent and the total cost of the dam had quadrupled.

    The Seattle project neatly corroborates Flyvbjerg’s findings. It is now due to be completed at the end of 2017, two years behind schedule, and Bertha’s delays have only added to the steadily mounting and still uncalculated costs

    Rambone continues:

    The long and unpredictable build times of nuclear plants, and the extra costs that ensue, are a compelling reason not to depend on the technology for either power or to mitigate climate change.

    The cost to build nuclear varies a great deal from country to country. Here in the U.S., we have lost the ability to build it cost competitively. If we want to build our own instead of having another country build it for us, we’ll have to crawl back up the learning curve. KEPCO is building a nuclear plant every two years for the UAE. See Figure 4. China is building one every month or so.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9499c314efd98166ccbb7da686acdb8be4f59209f790268c1a16c69ebd8868cf.jpg
    Figure 4: KEPCO costs.

    China’s nuclear is also quite competitive. See Figure 5:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/95a4b3cd8c66835c73dee5af2fc18a18612f7c6d908b2aa77933569c56f728cf.jpg
    Figure 5: China Nuclear

    And cleary, nuclear has proven that it can scale faster than wind and solar. See Figure 5.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e91b7531843c6a5e2c2b4fa4554ac89e9ed71c53159d18685dcd35be9d446215.png
    Figure 5 Speed to build for nuclear

    Also see: http://imgur.com/a/SZxqK

    The International Energy Agency expects almost 200 reactor closures between 2014 and 2040. The likelihood of reactor start-ups matching closures over that period has become vanishingly small. I wonder why?

    Good question considering that in the IEA World Energy Outlook 2016, they expect to see a 68% increase in nuclear’s share of electricity generation by 2040.

    Source: http://www.foronuclear.org/en/news/latest-news/122704-significant-increase-in-nuclear-share-by-2040-according-to-the-international-energy-agency

    2040-2014 = 26 years. According to the NREL, that’s the functional lifespan of a solar panel, which means that every solar farm built before 2014 will be closed by then. A few years later and it will be wind farms built before 2014 that will all be closed.

    The number of power reactors under construction is on a downward trajectory.

    See Figures 1 and 6.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c642254ac63158554e7a743ef38b86bbc9c33b979d9f2829990ca67593ad14dd.jpg
    Figure 6 Top Five Solar

    59 reactors were under construction as of May 2017, the first time since 2010 that the number has fallen below 60.

    See Figure 1 again.

    US nuclear giant Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy this year.

    Bad news isn’t hard to find for any energy source. A list of over 100 solar company bankruptcies:

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/The-Mercifully-Short-List-of-Fallen-Solar-Companies-2015-Edition

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Honoring-the-fallen-solar-soldiers

    Pro-nuke journalist Fred Pearce wrote recently:

    “Is the nuclear power industry in its death throes? Even some nuclear enthusiasts believe so. With the exception of China, most nations are moving away from nuclear ‒ existing power plants across the United States are being shut early; new reactor designs are falling foul of regulators, and public support remains in free fall. Now come the bankruptcies. … The industry is in crisis. It looks ever more like a 20th century industrial dinosaur, unloved by investors, the public, and policymakers alike. The crisis could prove terminal.”

    Boeing and Airbus make everybody’s widebodied airliners. Each country does not try to build their own. Makes sense that the world will eventually have its nuclear built by a few companies, likely KEPCO (currently building nuclear power stations in the same time frame LASCO assumes it takes to build a typical wind farm–two years) and China General Nuclear (bringing a nuclear power station on line about every 45 days or so).

    From that same article Pearce said:

    Japan’s emissions have risen to record levels since the post-Fukushima shutdowns, and the government has abandoned targets to cut them by 2020. In Germany, much of the slack from nuclear closures has been taken up by burning more brown coal, leaving the country that likes to boast about its solar and wind power with among the highest CO2 emissions in Europe.

    France’s emissions are lower, thanks to its current reliance on nuclear power. But the French Academy of Sciences last month warned that reducing nuclear’s share of the energy mix was incompatible with further reductions in CO2 emissions.

    Rambone continues:

    It’s not outside the realms of possibility that you and the other rabidly pro-nuke commenters on this page are part of an effort to counter all this. There are PR firms that sell such services. This is not a conspiracy theory; these are facts (links to articles describing this phenomenon can be provided).

    Riiiight …says the coal company shill pretending to be pro-wind and solar while being paid to counter nuclear energy, coal’s major competitor. We’re on to you, dude : )

  • Jag_Levak

    “I believe the entire industry is coming to a close.”

    And is that belief based on anything more than mere wishfulness? Are you more knowledgeable about all the forms of nuclear power under development than all the countries, corporations and teams which are sinking many hundreds of millions of dollars into them? Presumably they would not be doing that if they thought there was no future for nuclear power.

  • Outside of China, which is a low regulation environment, there are huge delays and cost overruns in nuke builds. We don’t have the time or money to waste on these follies. Renewable are cheaper, safer and faster

    You know a debate is drawing to a close when repetition sets in. All of that was refuted in a comment here:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3420984609

    You’re so full of it! South Korea’s new President Moon Jae-in said on June 19 that his government will halt plans to build new nuclear power plants and will not extend the lifespan of existing plants beyond 40 years. President Moon said: “We will completely re-examine the existing policies on nuclear power. We will scrap the nuclear-centred polices and move toward a nuclear-free era. We will eliminate all plans to build new nuclear plants.”

    He was referring to nuclear power stations in his country. Not planning to stop KEPCO from creating a favorable trade balance by building stations for other countries, as Boeing does with airliners. And keep in mind that he’s just another politician capitalizing on false antinuclear propaganda, much as many politicians did with false anti-Semitism propaganda in 1930s Germany. His term of office will end long before South Korean nuclear power does. And he might take a lesson from another politician:

    As the court ordered the government to reimburse utilities, Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble were left to fill a hole of 6.3 billion euros ($7.1 billion) plus interest in an election-year budget they promised to balance for the fourth time in a row.

    Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-07/merkel-nuclear-tax-blunder-returns-to-haunt-her-in-election-year

    Wow, that’s almost enough money to build two 1400 MWe KEPCO nuclear power stations.

    Anyone who really cares about AGW would not be arguing that we should spend our precious treasure on nukes.

    A politician’s power grab isn’t quite the same thing as rational energy policy. Two very recent meta-studies have found that inclusion of nuclear results in the lowest costs. Anyone who really cares about AGW would not be arguing against the world’s largest and most successful low carbon energy source. That’s like going in to a naval battle without your aircraft carriers just because they’re nuclear powered …not real smart

  • You submit an image from a blog, I submit from the EIA

    Because your image is in a comment field under a blog post, does that make it one notch less reliable than one found in an actual blog post? The data in the image in the blog came from the 2017 BP statistical review. If you know how to use a spreadsheet you can very easily verify it. Also see Figure 1:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/defc3d8f8036b1a547799bd55f4ada356db787828d728ae0f8bd8d9ac5e0bdf2.jpg
    Figure 1

  • Richard Rambone

    Wow! So now the pro-nukers are selling the line that plutonium is as safe as regular dirt. Harmless! Scientists know that either acute or longer-term exposure carries a danger of serious health outcomes including radiation sickness, genetic damage, cancer, and death. The danger increases with the amount of exposure.

    I’m glad you set me straight on this. Those scientists, what are they thinking?

    And recycling of solar panels does not exist? That’s news to me. A 2016 study by IRENA estimates the recyclable materials in old solar modules will be worth $15 billion in recoverable value by the year 2050. IRENA predicts solar panel recycling can help spawn new industries and will create green job opportunities.

  • Richard Rambone

    Sounds so good, pity it’s still not happening on a wide scale. I’ve read about these perfect schemes for decades now, yawn.

  • Richard Rambone

    You will never meet anyone harmed by exposure to radiation related to nuclear power stations

    Oh, so we need to update the studies that show all the present and future health effects of Chernobyl, including the thyroid cancers in children. That’s good.

  • Richard Rambone

    I won’t address all the convoluted and slanted arguments you present to justify your support of nukes due to lack of time and interest, and quiet confidence that the tide of history is moving against expensive, highly complex and therefore fragile solutions like nuclear.

    My posts elsewhere on resilience.org show I am fervently anti-fossil fuels, so claiming I am a coal shill is absurd.

  • So the blogger says. Actual stats for renewables from that report are quite different

    That isn’t true. See Figure 1 for the explanation.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/defc3d8f8036b1a547799bd55f4ada356db787828d728ae0f8bd8d9ac5e0bdf2.jpg
    Figure 1

  • The blogger graph you supplied cherrypicked some countries where solar has leveled off for whatever temporary reason. It was not reflective of the true picture, and as such was designed to mislead, which is not surprising coming from a one-trick pro-nuke pony.

    You are referring to the graph in Figure 1.

    Not cherry-picked. The graph shows that solar has stopped making headway in the five largest solar grids. Every serious researcher expects that to happen, even Jacobson, which is why he hypothesized the use of giant intercontinental HVDC super grids. Without this super grid, wind and solar hit economic limits much sooner as a result of their sporadic output.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c642254ac63158554e7a743ef38b86bbc9c33b979d9f2829990ca67593ad14dd.jpg
    Figure 1

  • Sam Gilman

    It’s graphs like the one there that make it so tempting to fall into a conspiracy theory about fossil fuel interests sponsoring all this renewables-only propaganda.

  • From the link you provided:

    Gielen says solar could supply 10% of the world’s electricity by 2050 as technological solutions are developed to cope with its shortcomings.

    Which seems like a reasonable goal (i.e.,90% won’t be solar).

  • Richard Rambone

    The situation is in a lot of flux right now. If you combine 24/7 Molten salt CSP with HVDC transmission, you could power the entire grid with solar. It just depends on political will.

  • My posts elsewhere on resilience.org show I am fervently anti-fossil fuels, so claiming I am a coal shill is absurd.

    Every bit as absurd as your repeated insinuation that pro-nuclear posters here are being paid by the nuclear industry.

  • The nuclear power industry is dying. I’m interested in things that work for the very long term, and the only ones that do are renewables. Nukes may help as stepping stones to that future, but there are vast question marks over that.

    Interesting, I just followed your link and found two sentences that you copied and pasted into another comment (i.e., it is plagiarized content):

    ….the International Energy Agency expects almost 200 reactor closures between 2014 and 2040. The likelihood of reactor start-ups matching closures over that time period has become vanishingly small.

    …and my response to it in another comment:

    …in the IEA World Energy Outlook 2016, they expect to see a 68% increase in nuclear’s share of electricity generation by 2040.

    Source: http://www.foronuclear.org/en/news/latest-news/122704-significant-increase-in-nuclear-share-by-2040-according-to-the-international-energy-agency

    2040-2014 = 26 years. According to the NREL, that’s the functional lifespan of a solar panel, which means that every solar farm built before 2014 will be closed by then. A few years later and it will be wind farms built before 2014 that will all be closed.

  • I don’t accept cherrypicked graphs from blogs. Come up with stats from proper sources.

    But we should accept your cheery-picked stats from antinuclear tabloids? Come up with stats from proper sources. Oh, and the graphs are simply plots of the data found in the 2017 BP statistical review.

  • durham kid

    Can’t help you or anyone who would buy the absurdity of this line of argument.

  • … look at what Mr Green says in that article. It’s all pretty accurate.

    You are referring to the one you plagiarized content from? And, actually, it’s quite inaccurate.

    I’m not so much anti-nuclear as anti-waste. I don’t want to line the pockets of the shareholders of companies like Westinghouse

    But you’re OK lining Warren Buffet’s pockets?

    “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” Buffett told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska this weekend. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

    Rambone continues:

    …while at the same time waiting interminably for the CO2 problem to be ameliorated. We need QUICK, we need CHEAP, we need SAFE. On all these measures nukes fail.

    This must be what it feels like to debate a parrot …all the above already debunked in this comment.

    Quick? See Figure 1 and read: http://imgur.com/a/SZxqK

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e91b7531843c6a5e2c2b4fa4554ac89e9ed71c53159d18685dcd35be9d446215.png
    Figure 1 Nuclear deployment speed

    Cheap? Depends on who is building it. See Figures 2 and 3

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9499c314efd98166ccbb7da686acdb8be4f59209f790268c1a16c69ebd8868cf.jpg
    Figure 2

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/95a4b3cd8c66835c73dee5af2fc18a18612f7c6d908b2aa77933569c56f728cf.jpg
    Figure 3

    Safe? See Figure 4 and read: http://imgur.com/a/02SK7

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6e7acc350e44c0d75b41750ce79465f9155bbea7c8fe12290d09812a436003f9.jpg
    Figure 4

  • Speed: most build are now waaaay behind.

    You’ve said that four times now. Debunked here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3420984609

    Deaths: we know ionizing radiation is dangerous, so leaks are not good. The actual number of deaths or cancers, deformities etc is yet to be fully and conclusively decided.

    You’ve said that three times now. It wasn’t true the other times either. Debunked here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3420176124

    And who knows what the waste will do thousands of years from now, let’s say in a post-Internet world where our species has lost the knowledge and resources required to safely sequester this stuff?

    That’s the fifth time you’ve said that. Also not true. Debunked here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3419996516

    …and here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3420177022

    Cheap: nuclear is the most expensive of all. We cannot afford it, and that’s why there will be fewer nuke plants in 2050 than now.

    That’s the sixth time you’ve said that, and also not true. Debunked here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3421857944

  • AFAIK Green is not paid by anyone, unlike the many pro-nuke astroturfers one meets online.

    Conspiracy theorists aren’t the best debate partners.

    …address the shocking picture he paints of a dying industry! It’s amazing how you guys avoid discussing the fact that your industry is shrinking!

    Riiight …shrinking …shrinking. You keep saying that but:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e30ae1c36fd6cc17c06a3a3e0162fda49b95183d870d43988510b8c4cf3a4dd.jpg

  • But anyhoo, nothing you or I say will change the fact that the nuclear industry is sagging and probably dying. Wake me up if that changes.

    Yeah, you keep saying that but look at the numbers:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e30ae1c36fd6cc17c06a3a3e0162fda49b95183d870d43988510b8c4cf3a4dd.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/180dbba1ad285dcc92164572d45496051baa0f3a13ff4a6146186e1b3e1d244a.png

  • One of the oddest things about the IPCC is that they expect some form of carbon removal technology to be invented to make their figures work. Sad, as Trump would say.

    I agree with you on that one, but they also expect some kind of affordable storage technology to be invented to make solar and wind work.

  • Agreed, but the answer is not a multi-trillion dollar nuke buildout

    Not sure what you mean by that but:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/180dbba1ad285dcc92164572d45496051baa0f3a13ff4a6146186e1b3e1d244a.png

  • Germany is using coal as a stop-gap after closing nukes, hence the uptick.

    Duh …

    The coal will be phased out eventually as renewables pick up the slack.

    Renewables? Not a lot of slack being picked up lately.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d1214907bccc82443ae936a8b3b5ad0cd643fb1af2a3e4b6ff988ab4366c0afb.jpg

    This was well publicised in Bloomberg and other sources.

    It was? Then why no links to those sources?

  • Your comment history is very instructive. You’re a one-trick pony. If not a paid shill, then very close to it.

    Your comment history is very instructive. You’re a one-trick pony. If not a paid shill, then very close to it.

  • Your comments are 99% pro-nuke. You either work in or for the industry.

    Uh huh, and because your comments are 99% pro-renewables, you either work in or for the industry.

  • Hansen is widely criticised for his pro-nuke stance.

    Well of course his is. You would expect antinuclear propaganda victims to attack even Hansen. Romm is an extremist idealogue …his website is a tabloid. From your link:

    The IEA is the international body responsible for energy analysis, and one of the few independent agencies in the world with a sophisticated enough energy and economic model to credibly examine in detail the role of various low carbon technologies in a 2°C scenario (2DS) aimed at averting catastrophic climate change.

    From the IEA:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/180dbba1ad285dcc92164572d45496051baa0f3a13ff4a6146186e1b3e1d244a.png

  • What you pretend not to know is that industries in trouble spend heavily on PR. Most people know that products that are heavily advertised are products that are not selling. Is this news to you? I doubt it.

    Huh, I don’t ever recall seeing a commercial for nuclear energy. But I do regularly see promotions for wind and solar, ergo, they are in trouble?

  • Nuclear waste remains a terrible problem.

    Discussed in previous comment here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3419996516

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bc8e3eb0fea98414badd7ecf910c925edc54b5cfe4aab744c5cd27d7e565e012.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/95911bcc462d27b3719ebe237c4f4f3983714b6f863382562bf0a63aa35087f5.jpg

    Antinuclearists fight any attempt to build a permanent repository because it would eliminate one of their antinuclear arguments. They don’t want the waste issue solved.

    Pu must be sequestered for 240,000 years to drop to 0.1% of its radioactivity today. That’s ~10,000 human generations. How dare we continue making waste that our descendants will hate us for? They will get no electricity, just a huge bill

    Discussed in previous comment here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3420177022

  • The waste problem remains unsolved.

    Discussed in previous comment here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3419996516

    Antinuclearists fight any attempt to build a permanent repository because it would eliminate one of their antinuclear arguments. They don’t want the waste issue solved.

  • Sparafucile

    And they don’t want any spent-fuel reprocessing, either.

  • It’s only in the myopic world of the nuke fanboy that renewables waste is worse than radioactive waste.

    It’s more complicated than that, Rich. Radioactive waste that is carefully sequestered from the environment is much less worse than millions of tons of solar waste that isn’t. No industry does a better job of caring for its waste than the nuclear power industry (not to be confused or conflated with military nuclear weapons waste). Already discussed here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3420177022
    …and here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3419996516

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bc8e3eb0fea98414badd7ecf910c925edc54b5cfe4aab744c5cd27d7e565e012.jpg

    And that’s why nobody takes you guys seriously…

    Maybe your view is a little myopic?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6a1ad358cd658d5f036aac8d69380931a6b1a7d5b42d8b40daed8f2c6780f109.jpg

    …and your industry has no future

    Future low carbon girds will be a mix of energy sources, including nuclear, wind, and solar.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e30ae1c36fd6cc17c06a3a3e0162fda49b95183d870d43988510b8c4cf3a4dd.jpg

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d1214907bccc82443ae936a8b3b5ad0cd643fb1af2a3e4b6ff988ab4366c0afb.jpg

  • They don’t work.

    More specifically, like storage and coast-to-coast HVDC super grids for wind and solar, they have not been proven economically feasible yet.

    Existing nuclear technology is perfectly adequate for the foreseeable future, but technology keeps advancing. A breeder reactor was brought into commercial operation in Russia last year.

    The waste? Bury it somewhere deep and stable, and blow up the tunnel. And never make that mistake again.

    Above, you appear to be ceding that nuclear waste can be safely sequestered from the environment. Discussed here: https://disqus.com/home/discussion/postcarbon/controversy_explodes_over_renewable_energy/#comment-3419996516

  • PV plant built on nuke site as renewables surpass nuclear

    Better yet, displace coal power stations with nuclear power stations. See figure 1.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/345960a8839120b122a9cbe006a78646fc4e8145c476e029c106def803521d78.jpg
    Figure1

    And it’s deceptive to lump wind and solar in with the environmentally destructive, much reviled, hydro and biomass to make progress look greater than it actually is. “Renewable” output (hydro, biomass, geothermal) was surpassing nuclear on occasion way back in the eighties before there was hardly any wind and solar.

  • That’s like asking in 1500 “Name one nation running on fossil fuels. I can name several running on wood and wind”. Silly question, but I’m not surprised. Ask it again in 30 years.

    Well, as the article above attests, Jacobson’s 100% renewables game plan has several fatal flaws. Odds are very good that future energy mixes will have significant nuclear. I’m going to side with the IEA study:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/180dbba1ad285dcc92164572d45496051baa0f3a13ff4a6146186e1b3e1d244a.png

  • It’s statements like that that show your extremism. We all know that renewables are proven empirically; there are thousands of examples all over the world.

    …says the pot to the kettle. See Figures 1 and 2

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1c68d3fff46509d7ba2e4a8290fac3daf86b9b80c492940a06e01b5696d70039.jpg
    Figure 1

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2ffd34d9887d8a0942e2c3863548d58853c1f7a3331bac920a4d235bfd53ffdc.jpg
    Figure 2

    Uranium is non-renewable, thorium is a pipe dream.

    Levels of renewability are not the issue. That’s a smoke screen. Rapid decarbonization is the overarching goal. There’s plenty of uranium to decarbonize energy use far into the foreseeable future.

    The only truly sustainable energy is the giant fusion reactor in the sky called the sun.

    Apparently you are also a fan of nuclear energy. We simply disagree on the means of harvesting energy from it.

    You don’t have to do anything …

    …except build a few trillion dollars woth of panels and gargantuan coast-to-cost HVDC super grids.

    It just works …

    …on cloudless days.

    It shows up everyday …

    …actually not.

    …and produces ridiculous amounts of power.

    Not so much, see Figure 3

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f438aff85e903d8a9eabb8adc44c3a16568b529beb05c7422c0d21172c86805b.jpg
    Figure 3 Solar nuclear

    The sooner we harness the solar and wind power that flows from the sun, the better.

    Apparently, Jacobson has failed to show that is possible. Throw nuclear into that mix and we would find common ground.

  • You’re beating a dead horse.

    According to the article above this comment field, the 100% wind, water, and solar idea is a dead horse.

    Jacobson’s study is all about wind and solar (90+ percent), not more hydro dams and biomass. So, enough with the “renewables” smoke screen to hide the actual contribution from wind and solar. See Figure 1:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/defc3d8f8036b1a547799bd55f4ada356db787828d728ae0f8bd8d9ac5e0bdf2.jpg
    Figure 1

    It’s humorous that the Wikipedia list in your link of “Places with around 100% renewable electricity” does not include my city, which has more than 90% renewables thanks to hydo and a smidge of wind.

  • Lol, you’re talking about reactors that do not work. Tell us about Monju.

    Lol …100% wind, water, and solar don’t work. Tell us about storage and coast-to-coast HVDC super grids for wind and solar. : ) Existing nuclear tech is adequate into the foreseeable future.

    Russia put a commercial breeder reactor into operation last year.

  • Experts calculate it differently

    …no they don’t.

    …which is why you will never see a huge nuclear power buildout.

    Huge is a matter of definition and see Figure 1

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/180dbba1ad285dcc92164572d45496051baa0f3a13ff4a6146186e1b3e1d244a.png
    Figure 1

    In “Money” you have left out a lot, like decommissioning.

    All nuclear power stations are required by law to have carefully monitored and audited decommissioning funds in place. Google the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  • This page seems to have been targeted by nuclear astroturfers. I guess Westinghouse needs to get some contracts signed, or something like that. Follow the money.

    You keep saying that as if by repeating it over and over you can somehow make it come true.

  • Stephen Williams

    I was parroting your line of argument, durham kid. I’m glad you find it absurd. 😉

  • postcarbon

    We appreciate that people have taken the time to respond to the piece and to one another but feel that it’s now time to close this thread. Thank you.