Why Excluding Nuclear, Fossils With Carbon Capture, & Biofuels From The Green New Deal Makes Financial & Climate Sense — #RealityCheck via Clean Technica

Mark Z. Jacobson


Here is why nuclear, fossils with CCS, and biofuels should be excluded.


For example, onshore wind and utility PV are now the cheapest forms of electricity in most countries, including the U.S. New nuclear today costs 4 to 6 times that of new solar or wind to produce the same electricity. Further, a nuclear plant takes 5 to 17 years longer between planning and operation than does a solar or wind farm.

Thus, every dollar spent on nuclear results in 1/5th the energy production and 5 to 17 years more coal and gas burning than if wind or solar were installed instead. This delay and lower energy production from new nuclear condemns millions more to die from air pollution, which today kills 4 to 9 million people worldwide.

By choosing to build several nuclear plants a decade ago that have yet to operate, China suffered an increase in its overall CO2 emissions by 1.4 percent between 2016 and 2017 rather than seeing a decrease of 3.4 percent if it had spent the money on wind and solar instead.

Given that many 100% renewable policies call for a full transition of electricity by 2035, and given the financial and time requirements of nuclear, it is all but impossible for any more than a few new nuclear plant to be in place in by then.

In terms of emissions, nuclear is not zero carbon. A new plant emits 9 to 37 times the carbon emissions over its life as onshore wind, partly due to the fossil fuels used in mining and refining uranium continuously and building the facility but more because coal and gas plants are emitting during the long planning-to-operation time of a nuclear plant.

Just as importantly, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is “robust evidence and high agreement” that nuclear power raises concerns about weapons proliferation, core meltdown, creation and storage of radioactive waste, and land-use degradation from mining. Wind and solar power do not have these concerns.

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