[Marxism] Fwd: [pen-l] Fwd: Is a Controversial Nuclear Plant to Blame for Soaring Thyroid Cancer Rates in New York? | Alternet,

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Wed Dec 13 07:56:14 MST 2017

But Nick, I don't think you understand energy transitions quite that well.
First...renewables at best replace only a small amount of fossil fuel and
that *transition* is very evident in Germany. The French replacement of
their oil generated generation did not "use more fossil fuels"...except in
terms of the actual production of the components. So...a thing you ought to
ponder, Nick and others reading this:

1. Use of fossil fuel isn't going away totally. Not in our lifetimes.
But....the fact is that France is better off by lowering their carbon
footprint. They are not producing more carbon because they switched over 20
years to being fully nuclear. This is not even a debate about this. The
Swedes have done basically the same thing with around 50% nuclear and 50%

2. To follow the "100% carbon free" plans of the wind, water and solar
folks means far more "production" of fossil fuels than nuclear. For wind,
the amount of material: copper, aluminum, steel, rare earths, can concrete
that go into making a unit of electricity is about 8 times of that of the
highly dense footprint of nuclear. Solar is slightly less than nuclear.

3. The real issues that 100 MWs of installed solar doesn't equal 100 MWs of
installed nuclear (or coal, or hydro, or gas). Since it is available around
the clock one doesn't have ramp up those coal plants they have so many of
in your country, Australia, and which has become the carbon anchor of
countries like Denmark and Germany.  No one can get around the fact that
solar is available only 20% of the day on average (18% in the U.S.). There
is no utility scale electrical storage, it doesn't exist. And Nick, turning
this back at you: we don't have time to wait for "cheap storage solutions
which are on their way". We'll use far too much fossil fuel if we do...

The bottom line is that nuclear can replace fossil fuel on a MW per MW
basis. Wind and solar can't.

The real political problem is that climate change activists in their
majority care *more* about ending nuclear, the worlds largest source of
clean energy, than they car about getting rid of coal and natural gas. This
is the illogical anti-science of the left and environmental movement. It
is, however, changing thanks in part of your buddy Geoff Russell (and
others there like Barry Brooks and Ben Heard) and world wide we now have
James Hansen who realized that one also needs nuclear to advance the clean
energy penetration in the grid. It is also not only about Australia, it's a
global issue. Overall...carbon effluent is not going down (save for the
period when the world's economy took a shit in 2008). No one is building
*enough* low carbon energy resources to make a real difference and that is
the tragedy. The reason I'm 'downplaying' Australia is the reason you note.
It has no nuclear industry (ergo it produces huge amounts of carbon). it's
a different sort of fight. In countries with previously strong or growing
clean energy nuclear like France, the leading "100% Carbon/Nuclear Free"
organization called "France without Nuclear" totally prioritizes getting
rid of France's massive nuclear grid...in favor of CO2/Methane spewing gas
turbines! The same is quite true with the German Greens. To be fair, the
almost total lack of an anti-nuclear movement in Britain has even affected
various pro-renewable groups including the Greens who are less strident
about nuclear than their cohorts everywhere else.

I'd like to see wind and solar continue to try to match the "quality" of
nuclear energy. We have countries that are doing both and we'll be able to
see which is a more solid tool to phase out coal and gas. (in fact *most
nations* don't counterpoise WWS to nuclear...they are happy to have both).
That is the real discussion.


More information about the Marxism mailing list