Poll

How would you rate the use of nuclear power as part of a climate policy plan?

Essential to climate policy
14 (73.7%)
Not essential but would help
4 (21.1%)
Not sure
1 (5.3%)
Wouldn't help but wouldn't hurt
0 (0%)
Would be harmful
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 19

Author Topic: How would you rate the use of nuclear power as part of a climate policy plan?  (Read 577 times)

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Via Steve's blogpost today, I found this graph, originally from here:



In which category would you put nuclear power?

My understanding is that, globally speaking, nuclear power is in category #1: "Essential to climate policy". Solar and wind are important parts, but by their own aren't enough.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

Offline Calinthalus

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I think it would be essential.


However, I'm open to being proven wrong.  Currently, wind and solar lack the stability that our current power grids would require.  Both wind and solar have peaks and valleys in production.  Day/Night/Clouds etc.  Nuclear can add a stability because it will always put out exactly how much it is asked to no matter the external conditions.  Without large storage facilities, we won't get that kind of stability out of our current batch of renewable sources. 


I'm crossing my fingers for an orbital solar array in my lifetime, but I'm not holding my breath.
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Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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My understanding is that, ideally, we'd do renewables as much as possible with nuclear filling the remainder. So, I voted 'essential.'
If global warming is real then how come I just felt this chill down my spine?

Online Harry Black

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I would think it was essential.
But Im not sure how it shakes out if someone is promoting nuclear but no other solutions? So if there was a republican (or any plan) plan that had it at the centre but didnt address other things like renewables or industrial output etc, it might give me pause for thought if there was a plan that had all BUT that.
Mh logic would be that its easier to add in or change on one issue than all the others. And a multifaceted approach is definitely needed.

Offline Shibboleth

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I think that a good nuclear winter could slow down global warming.
common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Offline arthwollipot

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I think that it would be extremely helpful, but I also believe that there are other ways to provide baseline coverage that don't involve nuclear. I don't know what they are yet, but I'm pretty sure that nuclear power isn't unique.
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Offline daniel1948

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Question: Can we build enough nuclear power capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to make a difference, in the time available before the human race is totally fucked? And can we do it at a cost that would leave us with enough money to be able to continue building renewables? And can we find any place to put the nuclear power plants that are not in somebody's back yard? And if the purpose is to displace fossil fuels, are there any legislators that would support nuclear power, considering that probably the great majority are either anti-nuclear or in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry?

Okay, that's four questions.

I guess my answer to the poll question would be "It's already too late."
Daniel
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Offline Ah.hell

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Not essential but it would help a lot. 

Online 2397

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It needs to not be ruled out. There are a number of ways we could prevent catastrophic climate change. Currently we're not doing anywhere near enough, and I think we should be open to as many solutions as possible, if different ones work better for different areas and communities.

I wouldn't try to push for nuclear everywhere, but it also needs to not be cut off from funding by e.g. the EU because some member states have more opposition to it than others.

Offline daniel1948

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I heard (back in the day when I hung around with people who opposed all nukes) that if nuclear power plants were required to carry full insurance, they would be too expensive to build, but that the federal government puts liability limits on nuclear power, effectively accepting the risk and giving the plants free insurance. I don't actually know if this is true. But if it is, and you think nuclear power should be part of the nation's energy policy, should the plant operators (and by extension the customers) have to pay the full cost of insuring the plants? If my understanding above is true, this would greatly increase the cost of electricity produced by nuclear power.

Full disclosure: I am a big proponent of solar, as noted elsewhere. And I am skeptical about the prospects of dealing with the waste safely in the very long term.
Daniel
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Offline The Latinist

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Re: How would you rate the use of nuclear power as part of a climate policy plan?
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2019, 01:29:03 PM »
I don’t know of any carbon-neutral alternative for balancing renewables in places where hydroelectric cannot do so, nor do I think there is any currently-viable storage solution that could do so.

Daniel, you may be right that it is too late for nuclear power to help us avoid serious consequences of climate change; but there is no technology other than better nuclear that I can see replacing nuclear even in the mid-long term in which we *could* build new nuclear plants.  Sure, we should have gone all-in 20 years ago; but we can’t let that stop us doing our best to mitigate what will be happening 20 years from now.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: How would you rate the use of nuclear power as part of a climate policy plan?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2019, 01:33:25 PM »
It needs to not be ruled out. There are a number of ways we could prevent catastrophic climate change. Currently we're not doing anywhere near enough, and I think we should be open to as many solutions as possible, if different ones work better for different areas and communities.

I wouldn't try to push for nuclear everywhere, but it also needs to not be cut off from funding by e.g. the EU because some member states have more opposition to it than others.

Some countries, like Iceland, has the possibility to use geothermal power, and therefore doesn't need nuclear power. But this is not the case in the entire world, obviously. So that's why I wrote the OP with a global point of view. ;)
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Offline Calinthalus

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Re: How would you rate the use of nuclear power as part of a climate policy plan?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2019, 01:38:15 PM »
Yeah, when I said "essential", I was thinking on a more global scale.  It would not be essential somewhere that tidal power, geothermal, or hydroelectric power could be used for that constancy. 
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Offline random poet

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Re: How would you rate the use of nuclear power as part of a climate policy plan?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2019, 01:42:16 PM »
Nuclear plants are still our most effective and efficient means of power production. We should have replaced all fossil fuel based power generation with nuclear 30 years ago (the sooner the better). Now it is too late, yes. Climate change is past the point of non-return. We should still probably do it wherever renewables are too complex or too costly to implant or are otherwise impossible with our current level of technology, in case it can help some ten generations in the future, I guess? (If humans are still around, with the kind of civilization that requires an electricity distribution infrastructure, which is unlikely.)
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: How would you rate the use of nuclear power as part of a climate policy plan?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2019, 03:18:39 PM »
Nuclear plants are still our most effective and efficient means of power production. We should have replaced all fossil fuel based power generation with nuclear 30 years ago (the sooner the better). Now it is too late, yes. Climate change is past the point of non-return. We should still probably do it wherever renewables are too complex or too costly to implant or are otherwise impossible with our current level of technology, in case it can help some ten generations in the future, I guess? (If humans are still around, with the kind of civilization that requires an electricity distribution infrastructure, which is unlikely.)

I'm not really sure you can say it is "too late" to mitigate potential further damage:

Quote
UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It’s Actually Worse Than That.

That is not to say it’s over or we’re doomed. Stalling warming below four degrees is better than surpassing it, keeping temperatures below three is better still, and the closer we get to two degrees the more miraculous. That is because climate change isn’t binary, and doesn’t just kick in, full force, at any particular temperature level; it’s a function that gets worse over time as long as we produce greenhouse gases. How long we continue to is, really, up to us, which is to say it will be determined in the province of politics, which is to say public panic like that produced by the IPCC report can be a very productive form of policy pressure.

Quote
Answering Questions About Nuclear Power

It’s too late

This is often the final objection, and also, in my opinion, the weakest argument. Once I handle all the arguments against nuclear, often I hear – well, it was a great option 20 years ago, but now it’s too late to mitigate global warming. I think this is nonsense. In 20 years, I wager, people will be making the same argument.

First – we are partly talking about delaying the decommissioning of existing nuclear plants. (Again – see Germany.) This take literally zero time. By extending their lifespan, we can reduce the number of coal plants that would otherwise replace them. This can buy us time to build those next generation reactors. We should also explore ways (including investing money as necessary) to speed up the process of building new plants, which is mostly due to red tape anyway.

Even if it takes 20 years to bring new plants on line, I don’t think in 2040 we will have the carbon emission problem solved. I also wager we will still be burning coal in 2040. It’s also not as if it will ever be too late to do something about global warming. Even if we miss our targets for avoiding the worse outcomes, that doesn’t mean we give up at that point. There is still benefit in reducing the harm.
"I’m a member of no party. I have no ideology. I’m a rationalist. I do what I can in the international struggle between science and reason and the barbarism, superstition and stupidity that’s all around us." - Christopher Hitchens

 

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