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Clean energy vs nuclear: the battle intensifies via Greenworld

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For those who think nuclear power is a climate solution even disregarding its enormous financial costs and inability to be built quickly enough to make a difference in reducing carbon emissions, there is more bad news: a new analysis of nuclear’s carbon footprint, published yesterday in the Ecologist, finds that nuclear power–at least new nuclear power–cannot even lay claim to being a low-carbon energy resource.

All of this, of course, has serious practical implications–especially as it is beginning to become more widely understood. If we want a clean energy, carbon-free future, we’re going to have to implement a system based on clean energy.

That reality became stunningly evident in Illinois this week, where Chicago Mayor and former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel joined with clean energy advocates and environmentalists in announcing a new coalition to push for clean energy in the Illinois. The Clean Jobs Coalition wants Illinois’ Renewable Energy Standard improved, from 25% by 2025 to 35% by 2030.

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The practical reality is that Illinois, like every other state, cannot get to 35% renewables with a grid designed to accommodate Exelon’s behemoth baseload nuclear reactors. To reach the 35% goal, those uneconomic reactors will have to close.

While a few states, well, only Ohio and West Virginia, have backtracked on their renewable energy standards, most states are sticking to them and even, as proposed in Illinois and Maryland at the moment, are working to increase them. And as renewable energy grows, nuclear power and coal are going to have to move over and make way. That’s the battle before us now and it’s why the nuclear industry’s battle against renewables is intensifying. They understand the real world, even if many of their backers don’t.

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