FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dr. James Hansen’s Nuke Problem

Dr. James Hansen has repeatedly billed himself as an advocate of nuclear power.

Yet sometimes things are so far removed from reality as to not be what they appear to be.

Hansen published an article with three co-writers Thursday in The Guardian. It advocates nukes as a solution to global warming. All have impressive resumes in the fight to save the Earth. But their argument for nukes makes sense only as parody.

Consider this direct quote: “A build rate of 61 new reactors per year could entirely replace current fossil fuel electricity generation by 2050.”

61 new reactors per year! But that’s just for starters.

Another 54 new reactors per year must cover “population growth and development in poorer countries.”

So “this makes a total requirement of 115 reactors per year to 2050 to entirely decarbonize the global electricity system in this illustrative scenario,” the authors said in The Guardian article.

“We know that this is technically achievable because France and Sweden were able to ramp up nuclear power to high levels in just 15-20 years,” they said.

Yikes! Breathe deep! Or be awestruck by the brilliance of the parody.

Right now less than 440 commercial reactors more or less operate worldwide, depending on how one counts those shut since Fukushima.

Now multiply 115 new reactors a year from now until 2050. Can you do it with a straight face?

Team Hansen provides no calculations on the cost, size or reliability of these projected nukes.

We do hear about “next-generation nuclear power with a closed fuel cycle.”

But none exist today.

None could be designed, financed or built in time to save us from climate chaos. All would drain the on-going boom in wind and solar.

And, what about: Raw materials? Construction capacity? Siting? Regulation? (think China) Insurance? Ecological impacts? Heat emissions? Terror threats? (think ISIS) Decommissioning?

How about cooling water? Massive marine die-offs and ecological imbalance are standard wherever nukes operate. On a warming planet, is there really enough cold water to cool all these thermal monsters? Is creating these gargantuan quantities of waste heat really how we want to fight global warming? Where are the out-take pipes on solar panels and wind mills?

How goes it with reactors currently under construction, like Finland, Flamanville, Vogtle and DC Summer?

Does Dr. Hansen embrace current reactor designs?

If so, what do we do about: California’s Diablo Canyon (surrounded by earthquake faults), Ohio’s Davis-Besse (crumbling) and New York’s Indian Point (unlicensed and uninsured)?

Consider that the Ohio Public Utilities Commission staff has just recommended a $3.9 billion ratepayer bailout to keep both Davis-Besse and several ancient coal burners online for at least eight more years. What do we do about that?

James Hansen published an article with three co-writers Thursday in The Guardian. It advocates nukes as a solution to global warming.The Guardian article likes the “ramp-up” in Sweden and France. But both are now ramping down.

Nuke waste “does pose unique safety and proliferation concerns that must be addressed with strong and binding international standards and safeguards.” But we’re assured that “technical means to dispose of this small amount of waste safely” do exist.

Really? Where are the prototypes? The track records? How is Yucca Mountain doing?

We’re told those who advocate a 100 percent renewable solution to power our world “ignore the intermittency issue.” We Solartopians make “unrealistic technical assumptions” and want a mix that “can contain high levels of biomass and hydroelectric power.”

Yet the paradigm shift is everywhere.

Prices for wind and solar plummet while nuke costs soar. Installed wind and solar capacities soar while nuke projections wallow in delay and debt.

Germany’s masterful Energiewende and the startling rise of rooftop solar and next generation wind are just the tip of an iceberg. Only decentralized renewables and increased efficiency can save us.

And then there are the batteries. And the revolution in demand management.

The case Team Hansen makes for nukes demands at least three blind eyes: one to current reactor realities (catastrophic), another to the timeline necessary to solve climate chaos (desperate), a third to what’s really happening in renewables and efficiency (spectacular).

We certainly are indebted to Dr. Hansen and his co-authors for their years of service to the environment and waking up the world to the devastating impacts of global warming.

Now we are thankful again for this latest thorough and convincing argument that the atomic fiasco must end.

More articles by:

Harvey Wasserman wrote SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth. His Green Power & Wellness Show is at www.prn.fm

Weekend Edition
August 17, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Daniel Wolff
The Aretha Dialogue
Nick Pemberton
Donald Trump and the Rise of Patriotism 
Joseph Natoli
First Amendment Rights and the Court of Popular Opinion
Andrew Levine
Midterms 2018: What’s There to Hope For?
Robert Hunziker
Hothouse Earth
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Running Out of Fools
Ajamu Baraka
Opposing Bipartisan Warmongering is Defending Human Rights of the Poor and Working Class
Paul Street
Corporate Media: the Enemy of the People
David Macaray
Trump and the Sex Tape
CJ Hopkins
Where Have All the Nazis Gone?
Daniel Falcone
The Future of NATO: an Interview With Richard Falk
Cesar Chelala
The Historic Responsibility of the Catholic Church
Ron Jacobs
The Barbarism of US Immigration Policy
Kenneth Surin
In Shanghai
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
The Military Option Against Venezuela in the “Year of the Americas”
Nancy Kurshan
The Whole World Was Watching: Chicago ’68, Revisited
Robert Fantina
Yemeni and Palestinian Children
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Orcas and Other-Than-Human Grief
Shoshana Fine – Thomas Lindemann
Migrants Deaths: European Democracies and the Right to Not Protect?
Paul Edwards
Totally Irrusianal
Thomas Knapp
Murphy’s Law: Big Tech Must Serve as Censorship Subcontractors
Mark Ashwill
More Demons Unleashed After Fulbright University Vietnam Official Drops Rhetorical Bombshells
Ralph Nader
Going Fundamental Eludes Congressional Progressives
Hans-Armin Ohlmann
My Longest Day: How World War II Ended for My Family
Matthew Funke
The Nordic Countries Aren’t Socialist
Daniel Warner
Tiger Woods, Donald Trump and Crime and Punishment
Dave Lindorff
Mainstream Media Hypocrisy on Display
Jeff Cohen
Democrats Gather in Chicago: Elite Party or Party of the People?
Victor Grossman
Stand Up With New Hope in Germany?
Christopher Brauchli
A Family Affair
Jill Richardson
Profiting From Poison
Patrick Bobilin
Moving the Margins
Alison Barros
Dear White American
Celia Bottger
If Ireland Can Reject Fossil Fuels, Your Town Can Too
Ian Scott Horst
Less Voting, More Revolution
Peter Certo
Trump Snubbed McCain, Then the Media Snubbed the Rest of Us
Dan Ritzman
Drilling ANWR: One of Our Last Links to the Wild World is in Danger
Brandon Do
The World and Palestine, Palestine and the World
Chris Wright
An Updated and Improved Marxism
Daryan Rezazad
Iran and the Doomsday Machine
Patrick Bond
Africa’s Pioneering Marxist Political Economist, Samir Amin (1931-2018)
Louis Proyect
Memoir From the Underground
Binoy Kampmark
Meaningless Titles and Liveable Cities: Melbourne Loses to Vienna
Andrew Stewart
Blackkklansman: Spike Lee Delivers a Masterpiece
Elizabeth Lennard
Alan Chadwick in the Budding Grove: Story Summary for a Documentary Film
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail