Time to Crank Out The Nukes

That, or turn out the lights.

The Associated Press reports:

The world needs to invest $45 trillion in energy in coming decades, build some 1,400 nuclear power plants and vastly expand wind power in order to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to an energy study released Friday.  The report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency envisions a "energy revolution" that would greatly reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels while maintaining steady economic growth. [emphasis added]

There are two kinds of people who support, endorse, and promote the current panic over human-caused climate change.

The first kind is represented by the people who truly believe that carbon emissions are a problem, that global warming is real and is a hazard to our health, and that therefore a solution must be found.  Now, as we've explored many time previously, the world is not getting warmer and even if it were warming, there are better ways to deal with it than shutting down our economy.

However, difficult as it may be to believe, there are people out there who truly believe that global warming is a crisis but do not want to send us all back to the Stone Age.  They are earnestly seeking actual solutions - yes, solutions to a non-problem, but solutions nonetheless.  This report is generated by such a group.  And it makes some interesting points, that are all the more interesting because they're true.

The first sentence of the article points out a fundamental truth that seems to have escaped most environmentalists: if you want to reduce carbon emissions, there is only one way to do it, and that is nuclear power.  For all the bloviating about wind, solar, tide, geothermal, and whatnot, the International Energy Agency declares the simple fact that none of those sources will ever be of great significance, at least not in our lifetimes.

Yes, someday there may be great technological leaps in the efficiency of solar panels.  Yes, someday we may figure out a way to economically generate electricity from the tides without totally fouling up currents.  And yes, in certain places current "renewable" technologies make sense, and we should use them.  But the fancy exotics so beloved of the granola brigade cannot produce the trillions of gigawatts required to keep the developed world ticking, much less to bring the developing world up to the standards they wish to reach.

No, the one and only way to produce tremendous amounts of energy without emitting any carbon is through the use of nuclear power.  We need a major nuclear power push merely to keep carbon emissions at today's levels, using new plants to meet the increased demands of growing wealth and population.  To make any progress in reducing carbon levels will require even more nukes.

Many famously green countries are realizing this, particularly in Scandinavia; any other approach to reducing carbon cannot help but devastate the economy, as the German Chancellor makes plain.  No less a eminence than the founder of Greenpeace has recognized the unique potential of nuclear power, as well as improved safety from far safer modern designs, and now supports it.

But in the Lieberman-Warner "Climate Change Act" recently debated in our Senate, was any mention made of the obvious answer?  No.

Which brings us to the other type of person advocating the global warming message: those for whom it is merely a means to an end.  There are, apparently, a great many people who may like green trees and pretty birds, but are far more in love with power.  Take away modern energy supplies and the modern world grinds to a halt.  Now that's power.

As any number of studies have shown, people like to be better off; but it's even more pleasant when you stay the same while your neighbor gets poorer.  This is exactly what "green" politicians are attempting to accomplish; they will never need to worry about paying for air-conditioning their offices or fueling their cars, we taxpayers take care of them.

As their lavish limousines roll through struggling neighborhoods, they can dispense government largess - again, at our expense - and not only feel good about themselves, but stay in office.  The higher the taxes, the more this is true; and what better way to con people into making unnecessary sacrifices than by telling them they're "saving the planet"?

The scientists at the International Energy Agency are no friends of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, conservatism, or even liberty and freedom as we've known it in the United States.  No doubt they are in vehement agreement with Barack Obama's position that, as Americans,

We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.

For all that, we can clearly see that they don't hate modernity and progress for its own sake.  They really, truly do want to find a practical solution for what they believe to be a problem.  And as we go through this election year, they've provided a great litmus test.

You can tell apart well-meaning conservationists from anti-human, anti-technology, anti-wealth Marxist environmental extremists with one simple question: What are your plans for nuclear power?  Someone who wants real solutions will support building nuclear plants - not by onesies and twosies, but by the hundreds and thousands, all over the world, mass-produced to modern standards.

We need new energy sources given how much oil the Chinese are buying and how much the Indians want to buy with all the money they get running call centers.  There aren't enough rivers left to dam, so no matter what anyone says, it's either build nukes or freeze in the dark.

The answer to that question separates the honest from the thieves.  No prizes for guessing which our Congress is.

Kermit Frosch is a guest writer for Scragged.com.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Kermit Frosch or other articles on Environment.
Reader Comments
According to the wall Street Journal June 19 p A4, Sen. McCain has called for the US to build 45 nuclear reactors by 2030. The 104 reactors we have generate 20% of the electricity used in the US; no new nukes have been built in 30 years.
June 25, 2008 11:05 PM

Real low cost Energy
by Troy Jordan
Electricity for $0.04 per KW
I began looking for alternative energy sources several years ago while managing the utilities for a large mental hospital.
1) After running the numbers in 1983 I determining that it requires more energy (BTUs) to make a gallon of ethanol than you get out when it is burned in an automobile or anything else. Ethanol also has less energy than even regular gasoline and can reduce gas mileage up to 20% compared to gasoline. It is stupid to pour money into continuing production of ethanol from corn or any food. Until we have a process that can create more BTUs output than required BTUs input.
2) Windmills are not the answer. Check out what happened in England in December 2010 when it gets really cold there is very little wind. Their windmills produced very little electricity during the coldest weather they have had in years. Huge investment in infrastructure of little to no use, fossil fuel plants had to carry the load when demand was highest and reliability was foremost.
3) Solar panels are not the answer. They only work when the sun shines, and at present the efficiency is only 10%. Solar cells now in experimental labs are almost 20% efficient but it will be years before those units are available and costs may be prohibitive.
For 2 and 3 above:
a) They can not be placed near where the most power is needed (large Cities).
b) It is necessary to build huge additions to the current power grid.
c) Both of these options also require huge tracks of land.
I have found what I believe is the most viable source for all of this nation's future electrical energy needs.
"The Liquid Fluoride Thorium reactor."
A proof-of-concept fluoride reactor (Aircraft Reactor Experiment) was built and operated in 1954 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A 3 megawatt reactor was actually made small enough to be placed on a bomber and flown around Texas and New Mexico to test for shielding of the crew. They envisioned nuclear powered bombers until ballistic missiles made such plans obsolete.
The Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE), was built and operated by Oak Ridge National Labatory from 1965 to 1969. The Atomic Energy Comission moved to shut down all research on fluoride reactors at ORNL in the mid-1970s, and the fluoride reactor team was disbanded and assigned to other projects.
a) These reactors will shut themselves down with no harm if there is a power failure.
b) They can not blow up or explode.
c) 100 Megawatt units can be manufactured in a factory and shipped on a tractor trailer truck for emergencies.
d) They can destroy spent nuclear fuel form other reactors.
e) The reactor operates at very low pressure (near atmospheric).
f) There is no need for a huge containment vessel.
g) One ton of Thorium fuel will produce a gigawatt of power for a year.
h) The US government already has over 330 tons of thorium stored in the Nevada desert.
i) Thorium is plentiful in the US and the world.
j) Fuel can be added while the unit is operation.
k) Fuel reprocessing is carried out while the reactor is in operation.
There is a wealth in information about this on the web. I have read that 2 or 3 billion dollars would be needed to rediscover technology that the tax payers have already paid for once if the regulators would cooperate.

July 20, 2011 12:33 PM

How different are these reactors from the ones the Navy is using on the ships? Sounds like it is past time to replace the regulators.

June 16, 2016 6:42 PM

Earl, Mr. Obama doesn't want the economy to prosper because people who earn money won't vote for more spending like people who depend on government. I'm convinced that he's really trying to kill our economy.

Mr. Obama's books show that he believes that all the world's problems are caused by American intervention in other nations' affairs and he believes that all the world's poverty is caused by American wealth. Therefore, he has a logical reason to make America both weaker and poorer.

Making America poorer is good politics for him. Mr. Obama does NOT want the economy to prosper because people who are earning money aren't as willing to support spending increases as people who depend on government.

This is part of "The Democrat War on the Poor" scratted wrote about http://www.scragged.com/articles/the-democrat-war-on-the-poor-1

Unfortunately, the rest of us are collateral damage to "The Great Government Job-Destruction Machine" as described in http://www.scragged.com/articles/the-great-government-job-destruction-machine

The fewer jobs there are, the more people depend on the government, which means more votes for the party of takers, and the poorer America is, the better for the rest of the world.

This Forbes article analyzes Mr. Obama's views in detail http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0927/politics-socialism-capitalism-private-enterprises-obama-business-problem.html and lists quotes which support this view of his desires.

June 16, 2016 7:14 PM
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