America! We Have a Problem – The Green Nightmare – Part 1 the Nuclear Problem

America! We Have a Problem – The Green Nightmare – Part 1 the Nuclear Problem..

The President of the United States and radical environmentalists have said the United States must be carbon neutral, i.e., net zero emissions, by 2050.

The essence of their plan is summarized here:

  1. Close all coal-fired power plants.
  2. Build wind and solar plants with required storage.
  3. Eliminate the use of natural gas for home heating and water heating.
  4. Eliminate natural gas for power generation.
  5. Mandate that all new light vehicles be battery powered.
  6. Promote zero emissions for large vehicles.
  7. Use negative carbon strategies.

The generation of electricity in 2020 is as shown in this graphic.

How much electricity is needed to meet these goals?

The 2021, Electrification Futures Study, by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has said that accomplishing goals 3 and 5, will require doubling the power generation capacity of the United States.

Where will this additional electricity come from?

Problem # 1: Nuclear Power

As things stand today, there will only be 6 nuclear power plants in operation in 2050, and this assumes that the two units under construction in Georgia are completed. But, 4 of these would be closed by 2054.

As things stand today, it will be necessary to replace over 90% of all existing nuclear power plants by 2050, or renew the operating licenses of 86 nuclear power plants for 20 years, In other words:

  • Replace 86 existing nuclear power plants with some other type of generation, OR
  • Renew the operating licenses of 86 existing nuclear power plants by 2050.

Here are the facts.

In 2012 there were 104 nuclear power plants in operation.

Since then, 10 plants have been closed.

Another 8 plants are scheduled to close by 2025, leaving only 86 nuclear power plants in operation.

There is every reason to believe more nuclear power plants will be closed beyond the 8 that have already been announced. 

The plants that have been closed are being closed for political reasons or because the rigged auctions being used by the RTO/ISOs are making nuclear plants uneconomic.

These closures are in spite of the fact that existing nuclear power plants generate electricity that is far less costly than that produced by wind or solar, and that they provide baseload power by producing electricity 24/7, 365 days per year.

The closure of eighteen fully operational, safe and reliable power plants is tragic, and a huge cost to all Americans.

Two steps are necessary for these 86 plants to receive their second renewal. The plant owner must request the renewal, and then the NRC must approve the renewal.

As of this writing, 4 plants have already received their second renewal, and the owners of 11 other plants have either submitted their application to the NRC or have said they intend to ask for the second renewal.

This leaves 71 plants where the owners have not yet indicated whether they will request the NRC to grant a second renewal.

The only conclusion that can be reached relative to nuclear power is: (1) nuclear will supply less electricity in 2050 than it does today, and (2) nuclear will not be able to provide any of the additional electricity required to meet the administration’s climate goals, which, in turn, according to the NREL study, require a doubling of electricity generation.

Where will the additional electricity come from?

Possibly from new nuclear power designs, such as small modular reactors.

However, these new designs have three hurdles to overcome. The first is to get NRC approval. The second is to be able to build these plants at a cost that is much lower than $6,000 per KW. And, of course, thirdly, to overcome the environmentalists who oppose nuclear power.

Will we be able to even replace the 18 reactors that have been, or are scheduled for closure? Or, for that matter, keep all the other 86 in operation?

Part 2 will examine the other problems associated with doubling our electricity supply.

Source for reactor information

 . . .

Related Articles:

Is U.S. Nuclear Power Dying

The Death of Nuclear Power



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16 Replies to “America! We Have a Problem – The Green Nightmare – Part 1 the Nuclear Problem”

  1. Donn,
    You are exactly right. America consumes about 100 Quadrillion Btu’s each year and as population grows and if we can keep our same or better standard of living, will continue to use 100 Quadrillion Btu’s of energy each year or more. Wind and solar as your chart above showed, were less than 10% of the total 100 Quadrillion Btu’s. With loss of old nuclear plants, then stopping coal and natural gas production is beyond stupid.

  2. Great summary of our dwindling power capacity. Should be aired on CNN, etc. It might help their falling ratings. Maybe someday Elon Musk will pick of the slack and go nuclear.

  3. Aside from the absurd proposition that we can be carbon neutral without nuclear energy, I’m really angry at the anti-natural gas prong of the Green New Deal. We have a seamless distribution network right into our homes. Perfect for cooking, perfect for heating and NOT linked to the electric grid, which has already reduced our carbon emissions with zero pain the consumer. But even this benign, cheap, transportable fuel has to go for the negligible benefit of reducing speculative warming a fraction of a degree that will be lost within the error bars of the already erroneous supercomputer models. Wouldn’t it make more sense in a potentially volatile climate future to possess all the tools needed for cooling, heating, electrification?

    • Thanks for your comment.
      Natural gas is a marvelous fuel, but it is under attack because it is methane, a greenhouse gas.
      As Dr. Happer has shown, a doubling of methane in the atmosphere will have very little effect on temperatures.
      The next article will show that trying to eliminate natural gas for generating electricity is absurd.

  4. Don. Thanks for continuing these articles on the electrical grid. I just completed you book, The Looming Energy Crisis and it just reinforced what I already knew. We will be in serious trouble if we continue down the path we are on. I was also happy to see you were a Villager. I too live in The Villages Duniden and love it here. Keep doing what you are doing. We need to make our elected officials aware of the problem and urge them to come up with solutions before we become a third world country with daily blackouts. I may not see it in my lifetime but I worry for my children and grand children.

    • Thanks for your comments, and thanks for reading my book.The Villages are a great place to retire and live. My greatest concern is about my grand kids and great grand kids, and whether they will have the freedoms I enjoyed.
      In fact, it’s my motivation for writing my articles.

  5. This is insane beyond belief, Do they know that 47% of homes are heated by Natural Gas and millions more are heated by oil? Also what if science can never find the elusive promised sufficient car Battery?
    They are absolutely energy ignorant and the cost will be astronomical and require massive amount of imported expensive metal and minerals from unfriendly sources.

    • Thanks. No question. The proposals for eliminating CO2 are insane. My next two articles address the remaining issues, while the first only reviewed the status of nuclear power.

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