* Nuclear energy has received less than 50% of the subsidies that renewables have. Renewables only recently ceased to "need" this, and they've been under development for decades. Nuclear power hasn't had investment in significant research since about 1970.
* Nuclear reactors are competitive in many countries, and in fact they are too in the US. Nuclear is the cheapest power per kilowatt-hour except when direct access to nearby fossil fuel sources is available, even using 40-50 year old reactor designs. Newer designs would be even cheaper. In fact this is irrelevant, however, because we're not looking for the cheapest power, we're looking for a way to supplement renewables with always-on electricity that doesn't fuel climate change.
Newer reactor designs will be safer, cheaper, and less expensive to build. They may even use something other than Uranium as a fuel. They will not contribute to nuclear weapons proliferation and they will not produce large amounts of waste. They will release less radiation into the environment than current coal plants do.
If all the people who believe 40 years of propaganda and misinformation spread by self righteous willfully ignorant individuals can do so, we can work toward a clean energy future using renewables and nuclear in time to limit global warming.
If we can't, once we start having wars over water and the world starts boiling in the heat of rising seas, we'll start building nuclear reactors after the fact. Assuming we survive that long.
* What you mean, but conveniently left out, is that nuclear reactors that are written off are competitive. Until they get too old to fix, then they're closed. That's what's happening at the moment in the Western world whether we like it or not.
When you talk about newer reactor designs, you are not talking about commercial reactors, but research reactors, for which the true cost/potential is unknown.
Nuclear isn't a good match for PV and wind, as those are cheaper when they're on. So you have a huge capital investment but only a low realized capacity factor.
that's what will happen to the current generation of solar and wind power plants
Have fun with the googling. Feel free to check out the toxicity of plutonium (separate from radiation) while you're at it.
That's the wrong conclusion. In a grid made of unreliables and nuclear power, electricity is worthless during the day and priceless at night. If you assume[^] cheap batteries, electricity is worthless in summer and priceless in winter.
[^] But remember, if you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME.
The numbers for subsidies of nuclear power come with some many caveats that they are useless. It does not cover the cost of insuring nuclear power, so you can actually pay to clean up disasters. It does not cover the massive amount of money that went into it for military purposes that civilian nuclear power benefitted from.
I don't think it actually covers the decommissioning costs either, because these seems to typically be much larger than first anticipated.
The subsidies of renewables meanwhile give a false picture because the cost varies considerably depending on where you are in the world. Germany pushed solar into what it is today, but it is not a country well suited for solar power.
And unlike nuclear, these subsidies have lead to massive price drops. Subsidies of nuclear power has not led to any drop in price of nuclear power. In fact the costs keep rising.
> Newer designs would be even cheaper.
Eh... thus far newer designs have been massively more expensive to build and much slower.
> Newer reactor designs will be safer, cheaper, and less expensive to build.
Ah yeah.... how old are you anyway? I have been hearing this claim for something like 20 years now. I remember the promise of pebble bed reactors for probably 20 years or longer. They were invented back in the 50s I believe. Yet we are still not seeing them being built. At least not here in the west.
I am tired of empty promises from the nuclear industry. Wind and solar has succeed where nuclear has failed. They have been given there chance AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN and failed to deliver.
> They will release less radiation into the environment than current coal plants do.
Ah yeah... until there is an accident. After Chernobyl we were promised nothing like this would ever happened again because that reactor was so bad, and bla bla bla. Oops then Fukushima happened. Always the same story "Nobody could have foreseen this!"
Ah yeah... that is kind of the point. That is why nuclear power is a terrible idea. There will always be something you did not think about.
This is remarkably sloppy logic. Chernobyl was a questionable design. Fukushima was a different design that's more common, but still old.
The two accidents had little in common. Did you really think when someone said that Chernobyl wouldn't happen again that they meant all reactor types everywhere would never have another accident of any kind? If so, you're pretty naive.
>There will always be something you did not think about.
True about every technology ever created, and not a good enough reason to avoid progress and invention altogether.
We’re seeing them be shut down because people don’t seem to want them.
> Ah yeah... until there is an accident.
Even with accidents nuclear has probably released less radiation than coal.
> * Nuclear reactors are competitive in many countries, and in fact they are too in the US.
Illinois has one of the largest nuclear deployments in the US. Our latest climate legislation was drafted by Exelon, and provides massive subsidy in the form of carbon credits to the nuclear industry. And yet even with this, they have no plans to replace their 50-year old reactor fleet and no projected path forward for them except seeking another taxpayer bailout in a couple decades to again extend the life of these obsolete reactors. Nuclear is not competitive, period, unless you choose not to look at the full life-cycle.
Here's what the collective of nuclear advocates at MIT concluded, but I'm sure that's just "propaganda and misinformation spread by self righteous willfully ignorant individuals", too.
For a large expansion of nuclear power to suc-ceed, four critical problems must be overcome:
* Cost. In deregulated markets, nuclear power is not now cost competitive with coal and natural gas. However, plausible reductions by industry in capital cost, operation and maintenance costs, and construction time could reduce the gap. Carbon emission credits, if enacted by government, can give nuclear power a cost advantage.
* Safety. Modern reactor designs can achieve a very low risk of serious accidents, but “best practices” in construction and operation are essential. We know little about the safety of the overall fuel cycle, beyond reactor operation.
* Waste. Geological disposal is technically feasible but execution is yet to be demonstrated or certain. A convincing case has not been made that the long-term waste management benefits of advanced, closed fuel cycles involving reprocessing of spent fuel are out-weighed by the short-term risks and costs. Improvement in the open, once through fuelcycle may offer waste management benefits as large as those claimed for the more expensive closed fuel cycles.
* Proliferation. The current international safe-guards regime is inadequate to meet the security challenges of the expanded nuclear deployment contemplated in the global growth scenario. The reprocessing system now used in Europe, Japan, and Russia that involves separation and recycling of plutonium presents unwarranted proliferation risks.
They have to keep extending obsolete reactors because they aren't allowed to build newer, safer, more efficient ones!
For a new plant type to be built, it first has to be approved by the US government. Then funding has to be acquired, insurance bought, permitting done. Unless the US government makes an effort to clear the way for new construction, all that overhead and cost makes new reactor types a non starter for any for profit business.
They could build more of the older types, but with the unreasoning fear associated with nuclear anything in the US population going on, the cost of doing so is ridiculous... and most of these companies don't much care about climate change anyway. They're about profit.
If you don't like those sources, look around. There are lots of government studies in many countries available.
If you are willing to read them, that is.