According to a new report by the environmental group Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, renewable energy won’t be able to make up for the loss of carbon-free electricity resulting from a wave of nuclear-power plant closures in the coming decades.
This group’s report, which also includes policy proposals, represents a growing urgency among some environmentalists that carbon-free nuclear power should be part of the equation addressing climate change; how to address concerns, such as what to do with radioactive waste is part of the equation.
The report notes that nuclear reactors that have already shut down are being replaced mostly by natural gas, “sending U.S. emissions in the wrong direction.” Noting that any federal policy driving nuclear power is unlikely in the near term, the report says action by states and corporations will be key. Some states are already taking action, and New York’s electric-grid operator floated a proposal last week about how it could put a price on carbon emissions within its system, which would help nuclear plants. Nuclear energy’s carbon-free attribute may not be attractive enough for cities and companies without coming up with a federal answer to store spent fuel: “solving the long-term waste challenge will likely be important to win support for nuclear power from cities and businesses,” the report states.
Nuclear power provides 20% of America’s electricity, though more than 50% of its carbon-free power.
Jane McKinley says
Interesting points, however why just give in to an energy source that brings with it severe risk in terms of plant/community safety and the clean disposal of spent fuel? It doesn’t look promising that the current administration is going to take any action to support renewable and sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar. Indeed, they are encouraging further development of the coal industry and backing out of the Paris Agreement. Scary prospect.
In the absence of government incentives and policies, the responsibility falls on us, the consumer, to take a serious look at our energy consumption habits and cut back on nonessential usage. And to, of course, elect officials who take the consequences of continued usage of fossil fuels and it’s impact on the environment seriously.
Note: Great points. Our problem is increased demand for power and how we will meet it. The outlook is to increase the use of fossil fuels as industry estimates that renewables, for whatever reason will not be able to meet demand. Nuclear power is not perfect, but smaller, cleaner nukes have been proven very effective elsewhere. Thanks for the great comment.