Tag Archives: energy

Still no Nuclear Renaissance

Back in college, the professors liked talking about how there was a nuclear renaissance just around the corner. While they acknowledged that the capital costs of new reactors was high, government guaranteed loans and a new generation of smaller reactors were supposed to take care of that.

With that support, nuclear power was supposed to expand, due to favorable operating costs. But that does not seem to be the case, and it turns out reactors can’t compete on that front.

Natural gas is cheap, and solar is trending cheaper. Nuclear power is not traveling along the same path. It might be viable in some future (carbon pricing, a surge in energy demand, etc.), but not now.

Pollution and a Sort of Nuclear Winter

A nuclear winter would likely be caused by a nuclear exchange and not nuclear power. That aside, China has is headed towards a similar spot climate wise:

Chinese scientists have warned that the country’s toxic air pollution is now so bad that it resembles a nuclear winter, slowing photosynthesis in plants – and potentially wreaking havoc on the country’s food supply.

China does have nuclear power and is seeking to build out more plants, but they can’t increase capacity fast enough (including with other energy sources) to replace their current reliance on fossil fuels.

Hopefully solar energy keeps dropping in price, although it won’t help if we’re already in the midst of a fossil fuel inspired nuclear winter.