Editorial / Bloomberg: A Warming
World Needs Nuclear Power
Keep Three Mile Island open to protect the climate.
More than a third of America's nuclear plants could close in the next decade.
But when plants shut down, utilities often turn to harmful fossil fuels.
In light of the recent stark warning from the United Nations that the world is on course to reach the limit of tolerable warming in a scant 21 years, nuclear power is getting some overdue attention and enthusiasm.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is coming around to the view that nuclear power has a crucial role in climate protection. The Nature Conservancy , long silent on nuclear, is calling for capacity to be expanded — enough to provide a third of the world's energy by 2050 (from a little more than a tenth today). Most striking of all, the Union of Concerned Scientists — a leading watchdog for nuclear safety for decades — is now pushing to prevent existing plants closing before their time.
Nuclear accounts for almost 60 percent of emissions-free power in the U.S., and when plants shut down, utilities mostly turn to fossil fuels to fill the void. More than one-third of the country's plants, representing 22 percent of total nuclear capacity, are either scheduled to close or at risk of closure within the next five to 10 years, says a new UCS study . This could lead to a 4-6 percent increase in carbon emissions from the power sector by 2035.
Nuclear power is expensive, and it's under pressure from market forces — notably, the falling price of solar and wind power. Then why not simply let it lose market share to those safe, clean fuels? Because wind and solar can't immediately fill the gap. They still account for less than 8 percent of energy produced in the U.S. (nuclear is 20 percent). It's crucial that their growth displaces coal and natural gas, not nuclear.
In principle, a carbon tax is the best way to keep nuclear power competitive. As the voters of Washington state have again demonstrated , however, taxes on fuel remain prohibitively unpopular. (French President Emmanuel Macron has just made the same discovery .) Nonetheless, states can reward nuclear power's climate advantage in other ways — by giving zero-emissions credits for nuclear power, as Illinois, New York and New Jersey have done, or by revising their energy portfolio standards to stop utilities' switching from nuclear to fossil fuels.
If enough states take such measures, old plants could be kept running until the next generation of nuclear plants is ready. Building these might also require subsidy — for example, in the form of investment tax credits. These and other options need to be on the table as the world wakes up to the role nuclear power must play in avoiding a climate catastrophe.
Editorials are written by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board . ”Petroleumworld does not necessarily share these views.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published by Bloomberg, on Jan. 02, 2019. All comments posted and published on Petroleumworld, do not reflect either for or against the opinion expressed in the comment as an endorsement of Petroleumworld.
Use Notice: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues of environmental and humanitarian significance. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
Hit your target - Advertise with us
PW 300.000 plus request per week
All works published by Petroleumworld are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Petroleumworld has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Petroleumworld endorsed or sponsored by the originator. Petroleumworld encourages persons to reproduce, reprint, or broadcast Petroleumworld articles provided that any such reproduction identify the original source, http://www.petroleumworld.com or else and it is done within the fair use as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated. Petroleumworld Copyright© 1999-2018 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.
We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source. Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated.
Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments, share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!
Petroleumworld News 01 /03 /2019
We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Send this story to a friend
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.
Any question or suggestions,
please write to: email@example.com
Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8 +/ 800x600 pixels