Nuclear is Quietly Making a Big Comeback All Around the World

Nuclear is Quietly Making a Big Comeback All Around the World. By John Miltimore.

In California, the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant supplies 8% of California’s energy, but in 2016 it was scheduled for decommissioning in 2024. Whoa! Not so fast.

On the very final day of the legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill that will extend the plant five more years.

This is a sharp turn for Newsom, who had long intimated that the Diablo Canyon plant should be closed. …

8% of California’s power comes out of this building

California is hardly alone in giving nuclear power a second look.

Belgium is one of several European nations looking to extend set-to-expire licenses to keep nuclear plants operational. France, meanwhile, has proposed building up to 14 new nuclear plants in the coming years. Japan, which shuttered its nuclear reactors following the 2011 Fukushima crisis, now wants to restart up to nine reactors. Meanwhile, Morning Brew reports that the UK, Poland, and the Czech Republic are all unfurling plans to build new nuclear reactors.

Nuclear power is suddenly in again, and it’s not hard to see why. Natural gas prices have skyrocketed globally.

European gas crisis:

In the United States, natural gas prices recently hit a 14-year high, but that’s nothing compared to Europe, where they recently hit an all-time high and are the equivalent of $600/barrel oil prices.

This has sent shockwaves throughout Europe, where businesses are reporting five-fold year-over-year price increases.

There is now little debate that Europe is in the middle of a full-blown energy crisis, in no small part because the nations pursued a “green” energy agenda that shifted from domestic production (especially in fossil fuels and nuclear power) and led to a reliance on natural gas imports from Russia, which have been disrupted by the invasion of Ukraine and Russian geopolitics. …

California:

California grid operators last week warned of blackouts and encouraged citizens to “set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turn off unnecessary lights.”

This is nothing new in California, which has an extensive history of blackouts even though it has one of the lowest per capita energy consumption rates in the country (largely due to its mild climate).

The reason for this isn’t complicated. California is seen as a green energy success story, and in some ways it is. Earlier this year, on one mild May day, California produced enough renewable electricity to meet 103 percent of demand, setting a new record.

The problem is some of these energy sources are intermittent. On most days renewable energy production falls well short of consumer demand, which is why roughly half of California’s electricity is still produced by natural gas — which is getting quite expensive as noted above. …

If you think California’s blackout problem is bad now … try … adding a million more electric vehicles to the economy, all of which must be charged with electricity, when the state’s ban on gas-powered vehicles goes into effect …

The anti-nuclear irrationalities are coming home to roost:

The twist over Diablo Canyon is noteworthy because the Golden State is the birthplace of the anti-nuclear movement in the United States. …

Renewable power is very dilute, so you need machinery spread over a large area to collect it

Where environmentalists go wrong … is to think tradeoffs are unique to nuclear power and fossil fuels. The fact is, all energy production comes with tradeoffs, and proponents of so-called “green energy” have a nasty habit of overlooking these tradeoffs.

Your neighbor with a “green means go” sign in his yard might point out that your F-150 guzzles a gallon of gasoline for every 25 road miles, but he probably ignores that it took tens of thousands of pounds of CO2 emissions to produce the battery that charges his Tesla. (And don’t even tell him where the cobalt in the battery comes from.)

Your aunt might proudly talk about the new solar panels on her roof, but probably doesn’t know that even on utility scale solar power has a carbon footprint higher than nuclear power, or that solar panels produce literally tons of toxic waste. …

Facing what many environmentalists say is a climate apocalypse, did it make sense for European governments to scrap nuclear plants — one of the cleanest forms of energy in existence — and import fossil fuels from Russia, a country hostile to freedom and historically inclined toward authoritarianism?

Similarly, did it make sense for California to scrap nuclear power in its quest to become a “100 percent zero-emission” economy?

What is the difference between the Titanic and California? When the Titanic sank, the lights were still on.


hat-tip Charles