New York Times Pushes Nuclear Power as the Solution to Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

In the face of the utter failure of large investments in renewables to deliver CO2 reductions, greens are increasingly embracing nuclear power as the solution to climate change.

Nuclear Power Can Save the World

Expanding the technology is the fastest way to slash greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize the economy.

By Joshua S. Goldstein, Staffan A. Qvist and Steven Pinker
Drs. Goldstein and Qvist are the authors of “A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow.” Dr. Pinker is a psychology professor at Harvard.

April 6, 2019

Where will this gargantuan amount of carbon-free energy come from? The popular answer is renewables alone, but this is a fantasy. Wind and solar power are becoming cheaper, but they are not available around the clock, rain or shine, and batteries that could power entire cities for days or weeks show no sign of materializing any time soon. Today, renewables work only with fossil-fuel backup. 

Germany, which went all-in for renewables, has seen little reduction in carbon emissions, and, according to our calculations, at Germany’s rate of adding clean energy relative to gross domestic product, it would take the world more than a century to decarbonize, even if the country wasn’t also retiring nuclear plants early.

But we actually have proven models for rapid decarbonization with economic and energy growth: France and Sweden. They decarbonized their grids decades ago and now emit less than a tenth of the world average of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour. They remain among the world’s most pleasant places to live and enjoy much cheaper electricity than Germany to boot.

Read more:

The rise of mainstream green advocacy for nuclear power is long overdue.

I have never understood how anyone who thinks CO2 is a looming threat can argue in good faith against the evidence of two countries which have affordably reduced their CO2 emissions to a tenth of what everyone else emits, by embracing nuclear power.

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Alan Robertson
April 7, 2019 6:12 am

Some have suggested that much of the hysteria around Global Warming was created in order to build public acceptance and overcome fear- based rejection of nuclear power.

R Shearer
Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 7, 2019 6:27 am

The Germany situation is counter to this, although it is true that mainstream environmentalism is anti-nuclear.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 7, 2019 7:08 am

I find that hard to believe as most groups that push global warming propaganda also actively pushed a rabid anti-nuclear agenda for decades.

Reply to  Trevor
April 7, 2019 9:59 am

Because the “greens” of today are the “environmentalists” of the 1970’s. The “environmentalists” of The China Syndrome. I know … because I was one of them … until … I witnessed their unhinged, irrational, hate and attack on Nuclear power. They screamed that everyone involved in the Nuclear industry were LIARS. Liars that didn’t have a solution for melt downs, liars about storage of nuclear waste. Liars about how much they should pay in insurance policies. Liars about birth defects next to power plants. Liars who created three eyed frogs living next to Homer Simpson’s Nuclear Power plant workplace. Until … I learned it was these rabid, zealots fighting Nuclear Power who were the LIARS. They’re the same ones who are tethered to their cell phones … but are also fighting the 5g technology and new cell towers being built in their neighborhoods. My own little leftist N.CA town is spending time and money searching out ways to STOP the FCC from allowing 5g cell towers in our town. And you wonder why China is beating US to the 5g technology. These “environmentalist” “greens” are all luddites driving Teslas.

James Francisco
Reply to  Kenji
April 7, 2019 11:56 am

In other words crazy stupid people that have always existed but are now allowed to put their hands on the controls.

Reply to  James Francisco
April 7, 2019 6:24 pm

Very succinctly put.

And I might add crazy stupid people are now regenerating crazy stupid people in all levels of our schools … ensuring an endless supply. It’s frankly amazing there are ANY young people who can think for themselves.

David R
Reply to  James Francisco
April 10, 2019 7:32 am

They are too busy worrying about what gender they are.

old white guy
Reply to  Kenji
April 8, 2019 5:25 am

as usual they ignore the fact that CO2 is not a problem.

Smart Rock
Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 7, 2019 8:00 am

That was reportedly the rationale behind Margaret Thatcher’s founding the Hadley Centre in 1990. She had a hate on for the coal miners’ union and wanted some sort of theoretical justification for moving from coal to nuclear as the main source of electricity in the UK.

The pro-nuclear phase didn’t last long; it was determined that nuclear option was “too expensive”. But the Hadley Centre and then the CRU assumed lives of their own and are now part of the foundations of the climate science industry.

You could hardly find a better illustration of the “law of unintended consequences”.

Reply to  Smart Rock
April 7, 2019 8:57 am

“She had a hate on for the coal miners’ union”

As did any rational person.

Reply to  MarkW
April 7, 2019 9:11 am

Mark W

So all those having to make their living by going down the mines were not rational.

Maybe I wouldn’t be too rational if I had to spend my days working underground in those conditions. So nice logic there.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  harrowsceptic
April 7, 2019 9:40 am

You can hate the unions without hating the miners.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  harrowsceptic
April 7, 2019 2:54 pm

Yes you can.

Mike, retired, but still getting the ALPA magazine in the mail.

Reply to  harrowsceptic
April 8, 2019 3:50 am

Have you ever been down a coal mine, a working mine?

I have.

Back in the 1960s.

When £10 a week was a living wage.

If I were a coal miner I’d want the sort of salary that only politicians command, for the shortened lifespan, filth, dirt and lung disease.

Britain had picked the low hanging fruit of mining by the 1960s. The industry was in decline and needed to close most mines. Nuclear was an alternative, but flirtation with the EU and the Euro put interest rates so high (as well as a billion in Soros’ pocket) that the capital cost was excessive: However North Sea Gas was coming onstream, was cheap, used much less labour and it was easy enough to bang in Rolls Royce jet engines to run off it, and strap a steam plant on the exhaust and an alternator on the back of that, and generate very flexible electricity for less than the interest payments on a nuclear power station.

Now with interest rates close to zero, and gas prices much higher, nuclear makes sense – or would except for the massive regulatory overburden thrown at it by an anti-nuclear EU – yet another reason to leave the EU.

Reply to  harrowsceptic
April 8, 2019 1:05 pm

I said nothing about workers.
That you equate the two is just your particular perversion.

Reply to  MarkW
April 7, 2019 2:15 pm

MarkW. Am I to assume from your statement that you are rational? I can understand you having a profound dislike, perhaps even hating Scargill, but to hate the miners union and by implication the miners, I pity you

Reply to  jolan
April 7, 2019 2:57 pm

Hold on there, I don’t know uk politics but it’s possible to hate a union without hating the minors.

Reply to  jolan
April 8, 2019 1:06 pm

That you assume that anyone who hates unions must also hate the workers is an entirely irrational position.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 7, 2019 8:55 am

“Some have suggested”

That would explain why the vast majority of those who push the global warming myth are also 100% against nuclear power.

Reply to  MarkW
April 7, 2019 10:09 am

I got 2 words for you “therapy” – kidding, I’ve always wanted to use that line from So I Married An Axe Murderer

Actually 1 word – redistribution >>> according to the LEFT, global warming, as caused by the horrendously harmful CO2, is a planetary problem so any rational thinking group would be “for” things that reduce that oh so terrible CO2 gas – like say nuclear power generation. Alas they, the left, are against such power generation – which only goes to show that this global warming issue has NOTHING to do with their concerns of rising planetary temperatures, it only has to do with how to redistribute monies eg. taxing people with money and spending it frivolously as governments see fit.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 7, 2019 9:11 am

They are wrong about the real reason

Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 7, 2019 6:20 pm

Support or hostility for nuclear energy is a simple dividing line for Greens who claim to “believe” in catastrophic climate change. Nuclear energy, in all but the weirdest green fantasies, creates at most only a series of focal risks, never a general “destruction” of the planet. Catastrophic climate change threatens total global destruction, maybe in as little as twelve years (cf. the most worthy source of science, AOC).

So logically believers in catastrophic climate change must support rapid conversion to nuclear energy, the non-carbon technology that is proven to work 24/7/365, unlike solar and wind.

Those who deny nuclear energy yet clearly promote catastrophic climate change reveal themselves to be phonies. What they hate is industrial civilization and the wonderful life it has permitted for the majorities of humans. Or they are just morons.

Reply to  Alan Robertson
April 8, 2019 3:39 am

Well they are absolutely wrong.

The Green movement hates nuclear because the Green movement is a wholly owned subsidiary of extant petroleum fossil fuel companies itself

That is why renewable energy does not work.
That is why Greens are anti-nuclear.
That is why Greens are anti-fracking.
This is why Greens are anti-coal.
That is why Greens are pro any technology which has little or no impact on the consumption of existing reserves of fossil fuel.
That is why Greens are pro any technology that increases the price of electricity, thus allowing more profit margin for gas operators.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 8, 2019 1:09 pm

“the Green movement is a wholly owned subsidiary of extant petroleum fossil fuel companies itself”

A good psychiatrist can help you with your delusions.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 8, 2019 2:38 pm

You forgot your /Sara tag.

Reply to  Michael Combs
April 8, 2019 3:45 pm

If you get overly cynical, do you need a /Mark tag?

April 7, 2019 6:14 am

The Greens are going to have a hard time convincing the more fanatical leftists. Nuclear power has been verboten for decades. I wonder if we’ll see a circular firing squad develop as the leftists attack each other for promoting a policy that is outside the message.

Reply to  SMC
April 7, 2019 6:27 am

The real issue the Left wants out of the climate change scam is world socialism led a small powerful groups of elitist leadership.

We need to adopt a large scale nuclear build-out not because of CO2 emissions.
We need nuclear power build out to commence now simply because fossil fuels are finite resources that will be increasingly difficult to extract as easy reserves become ever more depleted.
Waiting until you don’t have the easy high-density chemical energy (diesel fuels) to build out very energy intensive manufacture and construction of nuclear plants will make that inevitable transition all the more slower and costlier when the energy crisis returns.

That needs to be the rational argument, not the contrived climate problem whose origins lie in socialism.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
April 7, 2019 6:48 am

“We need nuclear power build out to commence now simply because fossil fuels are finite resources that will be increasingly difficult to extract as easy reserves become ever more depleted.”


The future will deal with the future. Mind you own business.

Reply to  Gamecock
April 7, 2019 7:19 am

The Aesop Fable of the Ant and the Grasshopper argues that rational planning on a foreseeable event. The foreseeable event is the end of easily recoverable, abundant fossil fuels. We don’t know the year that peak will occur, but we can be confident it is coming. By ignoring that WE accept a fate of energy poverty from the inevitable decline of fossil fuels, and continue the build out false wind/solar solutions that only put money in crony capitalists’ pockets. China is cleverly content on sending the West subsidized solar panels for a reason. Cheap solar panels from China are the cotton candy version of energy for Leftist children.

Or we can do as China has clearly decided what is the rational approach on nuclear build-out. We use the abundant fossil fuels we have now to prepare for a future when those fuels are readily available by investing in nuclear now while we can afford it.

Our natural gas reserves can then be better used as a transportation fuel as CNG and as the feedstock for fertilizers rather than burned for grid electricity. Oil is better used as the feed-stock for plastics. Make our baseload grid power from nuclear as Sweden and France has done saving fossil fuels for transportation and food needs. Nuclear is an investment in the future.

A clear analogy.
Wise people fund their IRAs and 401Ks while they are abundantly making money during their productive years. The foolish spend all their money and do not invest in an IRA or 401K retierment savings, waiting until it is too late to build one when they need it the most. That is the analogous choice we have with nuclear now.

The Ant and the Grasshopper Moral story is the choice we face on energy.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 7, 2019 7:48 am

Where is your evidence that so-called fossil fuels will run out? We have more now after decades of using them. More and more are found on a regular basis.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 7, 2019 8:41 am

Physical limits on fossil fuels and their extraction exist.
Fracking for tight shale oil is more difficult (and thus more expensive and resource intensive) than conventional oil.
Fracking for shale gas is similarly more difficult than conventional shallow gas.
Oil from tar sands is more expensive than either conventional or shale oil and has an even higher cost on water resources.
Surface coal mining and the transportation of coal is inherently a petroleum fuel-intensive endeavor.
Each step in the evolution along the fossil fuel path becomes more expensive and limited.

Eventually, even the abundant shallow, surface mined coal of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin will play out in economic terms because it takes copious amounts of diesel fuel to run the giant trucks and bulldozers. The long coal trains with engines that move the coal hundreds of miles to be burned uses copious amounts of diese- based fossil fuels.
When don’t know when each fossil fuel resource will be economically non-viable because economics are a human endeavor. But physical limits apply and fossil fuels will increasingly become more difficult to extract and turn to useful fuels.

Petroleum is better used for plastics for the long-term.
Natural gas is better used for fertilizers and as transportation fuel rather than a base load electrical source because nuclear can be the base load electrical generation power source.
I am not arguing against using fossil fuels. I am arguing the physical reality that they are limited resources. And we need to use the petroleum in a more long-term sustainable manner for materials rather than burned as energy where possible.
Currently, nuclear power for the entire continental US from thorium and possibly U-Pu breeder reactors for plutonium is well within what is technically achievable.
Spent fuel radioactive waste disposal is the currently the big hurdle that the US must solve. But that is a political problem, not a technical problem.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 7, 2019 9:01 am

The sun going nova as it runs out of hydrogen is a foreseeable event.
However I’m not going to start making plans for it now.

Making plans for an event that won’t happen for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years is a fool’s errand and a complete waste of time. It’s a waste of time because the technology that will be available to those who do have to face the problem will be something that we can’t even imagine today.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 7, 2019 9:24 am

It is true that people have projected peak oil almost since the first Pennsylvania well in 1859 and they have been wildly wrong about it for going on two centuries.

But surely you recognize that oil and gas supplies are finite? Since you say “so-called fossil fuels”, should we infer that you think oil and gas is abiotically generated and not formed by organic sediments, or only sometimes formed by the conventionally accepted processes?

If one accepts the theory of fossil fuel formation, and dismisses abiogenesis, then it must be obvious that these fuels are finite (even abiotic oil would be finite btw). What is relevant in any case is how much can be extracted more affordably than using nuclear or other sources. If abiotic oil and gas is continuously flowing up into the crust from a practically limitless supply, then I could understand your point. But if that is in fact your belief, then where is your evidence that abiotic oil and gas is real?

My view is that investing modestly in thorium and other advanced nuclear technologies is a wise plan. There is no need to invest heavily in a crash program to “decarbonize” immediately, because CO2 emissions are net beneficial, but eventually “decarbonizing” will be thrust upon us as Joel has argued.

I doubt that we risk much by delaying the start of a build-out for several decades though. The objective should be to build cheap, modular units that are passively cooled and inherently safe. This technology is not quite ready yet. Rushing it on a false premise would be a wrong approach.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
April 8, 2019 7:02 pm

“The foreseeable event is the end of easily recoverable, abundant fossil fuels.”

“Foreseeable event?” What do you think will be the global demand and average price for oil and natural gas in, say, 2050?

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
April 7, 2019 8:59 am

Fossil fuels are a finite resource. However we have hundreds of years supply. At least.
No need to rush into something else due to a fear of running out.
Let’s keep using them, allow technology to advance on it’s own, and then let our great, great, great grandchildren use the best available technology replace fossil fuels when they do start to run out.

Rich Davis
Reply to  MarkW
April 7, 2019 9:35 am

Yes, that’s pretty much my view as well. Although it seems prudent to continue to fund research and development on advanced nuclear designs which may prove to be even cheaper than natural gas.

Of course the best approach is to let markets work and just have government focus on eliminating the process-as-punishment regulatory apparatus and frivolous litigation that is unfairly crippling the nuclear power industry, leaving only prudent public safety regulations.

Malcolm Carter
Reply to  MarkW
April 7, 2019 2:11 pm

It is well established that the use of nuclear saves lives. Per terawatt.hour of electrical generation it is estimated that coal fired plants lead to premature deaths of 15 Americans while. Per terawatt, oil kills 36, gas is estimated to kill 4, solar 0.44, wind 0.15 and nuclear 0.09. This estimate for nuclear includes Chernobyl. Nuclear energy is estimated to have saved 1.84 million lives worldwide and they represent only 10 percent of the electrical supply.
Estimates of deaths vary depending on source but the above values seem to be representative.

Reply to  MarkW
April 8, 2019 5:28 am

Let’s keep using them, allow technology to advance on it’s own,

Technology is not a living creature that develops on it’s own, someone has to develop it.

That means that someone must have a reason to fund research on it. In the special case of nuclear we have so much regulation that a pure private initiative is difficult.

The government can play a crucial role in speeding up the realization of the fourth generation nuclear reactors which are safe from meltdown and eats it’s own fuel.

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
April 8, 2019 1:11 pm

As long as government doesn’t get in the way, technology always advances as individuals and companies try to find cheaper/more efficient ways to do pretty much everything.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
April 7, 2019 2:49 pm

A rational argument for cheap electricity is that the EV eventually becomes less expensive than petrol. Sufficiently so that the range and durability issues melt into the background.

At least that would be an argument to use against the fact-resistant Left

Sam Pyeatte
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
April 9, 2019 4:48 pm

We are nowhere near running out of oil, gas or coal. New quantities are continually being created deep underground and pushed towards the surface. Essentially we will never run out. No matter how we eventually generate electrical power, we will always need hydrocarbon molecules to produce a wide range of products, many of which have yet to be visualized.

Ben Vorlich
April 7, 2019 6:15 am

If you think CO2 is the cause of a warming climate, if you think that a warming climate is a problem and if you think electricity is the solution then the only way to go is nuclear.
I don’t think a warming climate and increased CO2 are problems, but nuclear power is a good way of producing electricity.

R Shearer
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
April 7, 2019 6:34 am

If costs could be reduced and overblown safety concerns addressed, then perhaps the market would support nuclear power and its potential to lower CO2 emissions. I find merit in utilization of EVs to reduce actual pollutants in numerous urban locations.

Reply to  R Shearer
April 7, 2019 7:46 am

Nuclear power became so heavily regulated that you could build a nuclear power plant but it’d bankrupt you to do it. Obama was trying to do the same thing with coal fired plants.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  R Shearer
April 7, 2019 12:21 pm

I’d be happy to use any type of vehicle cheaper to run at similar performance to competing technology. These days i use either public transport – a diesel bus, or a bike for short trips. Neither being particularly environmentally friendly, diesel fumes and a carbon fibre frame. On the other hand I do long trips several times a year from Central England tto Central France and Central Scotland. Until an EV can do the France trip on a single refuel they are not really an option.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
April 7, 2019 8:21 am

Nuclear power is the right answer today and going forward regardless of the effect CO2 has on the surface temperature. Unfortunately, both the fear of atomic energy and CO2 alarmism arise from the same fundamental human frailty of believing the worst about what’s not understood. It’s just far too easy to scare weak minds with fear mongering.

Bryan A
Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 7, 2019 9:24 am

Well, for the next 10 years, until Fusion is functional. 10 years from today, from tomorrow, from next year, and 10 years from the end of the next decade. Solutions are always 10 years away

Rich Davis
Reply to  Bryan A
April 7, 2019 9:44 am

Traditionally the number given since the 1950s has been 30 years. But maybe to be consistent with GND timelines, that’s why we have recently seen 5- or 10-year promises.

They will still be funding tokamak research when fossil fuels really do run out!

Reply to  Bryan A
April 7, 2019 10:06 am

My favorite speculative fusion source is MEMS based micro-fusion. Rather than use high temperatures to randomly get atoms to close enough to fuse, direct ions together one at a time using high E-fields. You might be surprised how powerful the electric field arising from 1 Volt across 1 nm is.

April 7, 2019 6:18 am

If they were actually being totally honest they would have started without this genuflection statement, “Wind and solar power are becoming cheaper,..”

wind and solar have declined from “ungodly expensive”, to simply “very expensive.” methods to make unreliable electricity. The sooner they stop trying to bow to the wind-solar rentseekers like crony-capitalist Tom Steyer, the better.

R Shearer
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
April 7, 2019 6:37 am

What do you want to bet that Steyer has diesel or natural gas generator power backup at his properties?

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
April 7, 2019 8:50 am

The only reason ‘renewable’ energy is down to ‘very expensive’ is due to subsidies. Unfortunately, those pushing alarmism don’t count subsidies as part of the cost as the mindset pushing alarmism and other socialist nonsense is that money is as free as the paper it’s printed on.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 7, 2019 9:22 am

They consider subsidies — which is when a government gives you money for a certain action — the same as tax breaks — which is when a government lets you keep money you earned.

Reply to  Wade
April 7, 2019 9:51 am

“They consider subsidies … lets you keep money you earned.”

Except that the only money they’re ‘earning’ is from the subsidies. Otherwise, they would be taking a loss on every Joule.

For the benefit of those who don’t know that 1 Watt is 1 Joule/sec, 1 Joule == 2.77778e-7 kw-hr. When you purchase kw hours of electricity from the power company, you’re buying Joules. If a light bulb can’t tell the difference between 1 Joule and any other, how can the planet tell the difference between the next W/m^2 of forcing and all the others such that the next one results in 3.4 W/m^2 of surface emissions above and beyond the forcing, while each of the others increases surface emissions by only 0.62 W/m^2 beyond the forcing?

I’ve asked this question many times in many ways, some might even say too many times in too many ways, and not one alarmist has even tried to come up with an answer, unless they did and realized a truth whose consequences to their political identity are so harsh, they have no choice but to deny the obvious.

Reply to  co2isnotevil
April 7, 2019 12:02 pm

@co2isnotevil: Agreed: And there is also the mis-use of the word subsidies. The left think that so called “big oil” is subsidized, when in fact their tax revenue is huge…. and they equivocate that subsidies on green energy is lower. But in fact, green energy is given other people’s money (truly subsidized) whereas oil energy is not given other people’s money!

Reply to  mariolento
April 8, 2019 1:13 pm

To most on the left, if you still have more money than they do after paying taxes, then the government is subsidizing you by not taxing you enough.

mario lento
Reply to  MarkW
April 8, 2019 2:09 pm

Exactly… it’s not our money, it’s what the government fails to confiscate.

Nick Schroeder
April 7, 2019 6:26 am

How much copper and other mining messes are needed to electricate the transportation sector?
An extension cord the length of I-80?

April 7, 2019 6:26 am

Make 4th gen Molten Salt Reactors the standard, low-pressure safety, no water, no pressure domes, walk away safe. Build them on assembly lines. See 250 MWs Thermal, 20′ 30-ton shipping container. Perfect for microgrids or modular power plant use. Case for the Good Reactor

Reply to  Walter J Horsting
April 7, 2019 7:07 am

Show me even 1 that actually works. Theory is fine. Results are better.

Reply to  DonK31
April 7, 2019 11:16 am
William Astley
Reply to  DonK31
April 7, 2019 12:56 pm

We have the optimum solution for a thermal spectrum, burner design reactor.. The problem is the public and congress do not know that, as the solution is too good.

The problem is the solution, molten salt mass produceable burner design, is commercial destructive, it so much better in all categories, that it will make the fuel rod, water cooled reactor design obsolete.

Why are we still building fuel rod, water cooled reactors?

We need a pro/con discuss of the different designs that are ‘Fourth’ generation. Why is there a fourth generation fuel rod , water reactor with water?

We need to convince the public that the design is safe.

It needs to be a cheap as coal and needs to be mass produceable.

There is a Canadian company with US affiliate that is at stage 2 approval in Canada for the standard, simple, optimum burner, thermal spectrum, molten salt reactor.

There is no new engineering required to construct a molten salt reactor.

We built a molten salt reactor 50 years ago and then did not document the results of the test.

The molten salt thermal reactor is six times more fuel efficient than the pressure water reactor, roughly 1/3 to 1/5 the cost, and produces 1/9 the amount of long lived waste as compared to the pressure water reactor.

The molten salt reactor is cheaper as it does not have the catastrophic failure modes that the pressure water reactor has.

Reply to  William Astley
April 8, 2019 3:56 am

The Molten salt reactor has not been developed commercially yet.

No one knows how much it will cost.

It’s protagonists worship it with all the fervour of climate change alarmists…

meanwhile e.g. a bog standard BWR is available at sensible cost IF government regulations (which haven’t yet got started on molten salt) were relaxed to sane levels.

As far as long lived isotopes go, so what? long lived isotopes are as scary as the real world.

Reply to  Walter J Horsting
April 7, 2019 9:05 am

You need enough pressure to keep the water from boiling before it reaches the turbines.
The same as every other type of power generation plant.

Rod Evans
Reply to  MarkW
April 7, 2019 9:47 am

You are either completely ignorant of how nuclear power plants work, or you are just throwing out your comment to be controversial.
I hope it’s the latter please confirm.

Reply to  Rod Evans
April 8, 2019 1:15 pm

Rod, you are either completely ignorant of how power plants work, or you are just trying to show off your ignorance. I’ll leave it to the peanut gallery to determine which.

Reply to  MarkW
April 8, 2019 3:30 am

In the MSRs the reactor coolant (molten salt) is at very low pressure in comparison to the PWR designs, no massive, vastly expensive, over engineered pressure vessel is required – no “lid” to blow off, no sudden phase change failure to cater for. Have a look at the British design undergoing licensing procedures in N.B.

April 7, 2019 6:27 am

WOW now I have seen everything!!!! The NYT has actually printed an article that can be considered to be politically not correct.

Reply to  MR166
April 7, 2019 8:21 am

It is an opinion piece – not necessarily representative of the NYT’s view. But it’s a start.

April 7, 2019 6:29 am

1. Its about time.
2. They’re gonna get letters. Nasty letters.

R Shearer
Reply to  rovingbroker
April 7, 2019 6:38 am

They might even print some.

Reply to  R Shearer
April 7, 2019 3:28 pm

1087 comments so far.

Reply to  R Shearer
April 8, 2019 7:28 am

Comments were closed at 1087.

Michael in Dublin
April 7, 2019 6:40 am

If it takes so long to build a nuclear reactor, would the building of new gas-fired electricity generators not quickly offer us a considerable reduction of carbon dioxide compared to say the coal and buy us more time till the technology improves sufficiently for us to have unsubsidized cleaner alternatives?

The following chart answers the question, “How much carbon dioxide is produced when different fuels are burned?” I cannot find one including wood and wood pellets. Can someone help?

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
April 7, 2019 7:02 am

Once again ignorance abounds as to current nuclear power technology – old facts never die – they are repeated by those who are ignorant that thy no longer are “nuclear facts”

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  kent beuchert
April 8, 2019 5:20 am

Your comment is unhelpful. You do not say if it is my comment that reflects ignorance nor do you attempt a brief answer to any of my questions.

Amos E. Stone
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
April 8, 2019 12:17 pm

Michael, don’t take it personally. From what I’ve seen Kent would advise the nuclear option if you’d asked for a knitting pattern, though I’m pronuclear myself.

Does this help?

Bill Powers
April 7, 2019 6:44 am

You can only understand their thinking, to date, if you travel to their Magical Land Of Make Believe. You get their by clicking the heals of your ruby slippers together 3 times while repeating their is no place like a CO2 free Home.

The adults in the room always understood that it was never a matter of IF they will embrace Nuclear Power it was always a matter of when.

April 7, 2019 6:57 am

State of the art nuclear power stations now installed and working are miles better than most of the world’s current fleet.

A contrast between the 1188 MWe Westinghouse reactor at Sizewell B in the UK and the modern Westinghouse AP1000 of similar power illustrates the evolution from 1970-80 types. First, the AP1000 footprint is very much smaller – about one-quarter the size, secondly the concrete and steel requirements are lower by a factor of five* … link

We don’t have to wait for new technology. The complaints about nuclear power are based on outdated designs. Current technology is safe*, efficient, and economical.

*People will argue that the old technology was safe. Let’s say that the up-to-date technology won’t have the kind of high profile incidents that gave nuclear power a bad name in some quarters.

If some of the promising technologies now under development eventuate, then so much the better.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
Reply to  commieBob
April 7, 2019 8:14 am

Then why is construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4 (AP1000 designs) so far behind schedule and over-budget?

Reactors 1 and 2 (Westinghouse 4-loop) started construction in 1976 and went online in 1987 and 1989 respectively (11 and 13 years to complete). Total cost was $19.071 billion USD. Reactor 3 started construction in March 2013 and was originally projected to be in operation in 2016; that has now slipped to November 2021. Reactor 4 was started in November 2013 and is currently projected to begin operation in November 2022. Current estimated cost for units 3 and 4 is now $25 billion USD.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 7, 2019 6:39 pm

Meanwhile China has put 4 AP1000’s into production. They have even have an EPR on stream, ahead of the struggling French and Finnish projects.

Reply to  Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 8, 2019 4:06 am

Subtle sabotage.

You can use regulations to slow and or halt construction.

For example steel that is used in high neutron flux environments needs to be quite special in the elements it is made of.

So lets say someone orders that steel, to the specification, but fails to request a full audit trail of all the tests needed to priove it meets that spec.

Two years later, the nuclear auditor requests the paperwork, and it is nowhere to be found. Ok random sampling will show that the steel is in fact OK, but no, the auditor says it must be all torn down and replaced with steel for which the correct paperwork exists.

Or perhaps instead of 20 safety circuits the nuclear authority decides it needs 21. So new cables to new sensors must be run. But the design plans that were signed off 5 years ago don’t show this cable. New plans must be drawn up FOR THE WHOLE PLANT and certified – in itself a massive expensive time consuming process.

Bureaucracy, zealously applied enough, can kill anything.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 8, 2019 8:01 am

I had a golfing friend a few years ago that was a quality control inspector at Jenkinsville. A fully trained and licensed engineer. He said it was his job to look over a welder’s shoulder to inspect every weld he made. He wasn’t alone. There were two other engineers with him. Every welder had 3 engineers.

April 7, 2019 7:00 am

But if we accept that the whole green scam is just a smokescreen for world government i.e. Communism, then no way can they,
the top people, ever accept Nuclear, just as they will not accept Hydro, which has to be the cleanest ever possible.

Perhaps the younger Greens are slowly realising that no electricity will mean no fun playing with their electronic toys, then yes they would go for Nuclear. Looking forward to the Civil War within the Green movement


Reply to  Michael
April 7, 2019 7:19 am

The fanatics won’t be converted. Reasonable people, on the other hand, will wonder why we shouldn’t use nuclear if CO2 is such a problem. That will make it much harder for the fanatics to use CAGW as a tool to push their political agenda.

Reply to  commieBob
April 7, 2019 9:59 am

“That will make it much harder for the fanatics to use CAGW as a tool to push their political agenda.”

A really good point IMO.

Mark Pawelek
April 7, 2019 7:03 am

two countries which have affordably reduced their CO2 emissions to a tenth of what everyone else emits, by embracing nuclear power

In the electricity sector only.

Amos E. Stone
Reply to  Mark Pawelek
April 8, 2019 12:28 pm

The population of the UK is about 64 million. The population of France is about 67 million. France uses twice the electrical power of the UK because they use electricity instead of gas to heat their homes. Carbon free nuclear electricity. If it matters.

April 7, 2019 7:04 am

General De Gaulle, thanks to whom we have a reliable nuclear plants in France, testing the sound installation before delivering a speech:

“Vive la France !”

April 7, 2019 7:09 am

The solution will NOT be the creations of obsolete gen 2 or even gen 3 massive , expensive light water reactors.
Molten salt small modular reactors, built in factories installed with little needed for site preparation, inherently safe,inherently cheap to build and to operate, capable of producing power cheaper than any
technology – $40 per MWhr (4 cents per kWhr) levelized costs, air cooled – no need for cooling body of water – can be installed virually anywhere – within a town or city . China and India rushing development of their
particular designs.

April 7, 2019 7:10 am

“The rise of mainstream green advocacy for”…blaming countries that have reduced their emissions
..and not blaming countries that have increased theirs

This is not our problem……in the mean time…’other’ countries are building 100’s of new coal plants

April 7, 2019 7:12 am

If the honestly believed their global cooling/global warming/climate change claptrap, then yes the green forest elves would support nuclear with fuel reprocessing. Instead, this is just the latest move to get rid of coal, especially coal-fired electricity, so let’s focus on unicorn farts and pixie dust as our alternative source of energy.

April 7, 2019 7:13 am

I’ve always been a supporter of nuclear power. And, yes, I would accept a nuclear power plant in my vicinity. One of the problems is what to do with the nuclear waste (spent fuel). AFAIK, it is still being stored on site. And although a perfect solution was found, everyone is still suffering from the NIMBY syndrome.

Ahhh, and I see that The New York Times’ function isn’t only to report the news, but create the news.

Reply to  littlepeaks
April 7, 2019 9:12 am

It’s more expensive but currently Russia, France and England reprocess spent fuel. If you can remove certain elements like plutonium 239 and use it as fuel than the remainder will have reduced its radioactivity by 98.9% in 40 years.
Gates proposal for a molten chloride reactor would use current stockpiles of waste as fuel.

Reply to  littlepeaks
April 7, 2019 9:22 am

There are an estimated 176 million lbs of spent fuel rods sitting in onsite cooling pools in the US. That is a potentially catastrophic externality that has never been dealt with; the can just keeps getting kicked down the road. I don’t think reprocessing that much “waste” is realistic, nor dumping something produced in one state in another state that doesn’t want. IMO the only reasonable solution would be to consume that material in gen 4 reactors. Kill two birds with one stone.

Reply to  icisil
April 8, 2019 4:10 am

No, you don’t think.

That’s about 1000 cubic meters, so a block 10m x10m x 10m

Smaller than a condo.

Not really very big. (uranium is VERY heavy).

Of COURSE its reprocessable. It simply isn’t cost effective as uranium is dirt cheap.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 8, 2019 9:46 am

OK, genius, how long would it take in the US to reprocess 400 metric tons of fuel rods (include loading and transport times to reprocessing facility)? That’s what was in reactor 4 at Fukushima Daiichi (about 1535 rods).

Amos E. Stone
Reply to  icisil
April 8, 2019 12:36 pm
Reply to  icisil
April 8, 2019 1:19 pm

It hasn’t been dealt with because the anti-nuke kooks won’t permit reprocessing nor will they permit any kind of permanent storage.
Then the useful stooges use the fact that spent fuel rods are backing up as evidence that nuclear is just too dangerous to permit.

Reply to  littlepeaks
April 7, 2019 9:24 am

My first comment went into moderation. I have a theory that I will now test (don’t use the word k!ll). Repost:

There are an estimated 176 million lbs of spent fuel rods sitting in onsite cooling pools in the US. That is a potentially catastrophic externality that has never been dealt with; the can just keeps getting kicked down the road. I don’t think reprocessing that much “waste” is realistic, nor dumping something produced in one state in another state that doesn’t want. IMO the only reasonable solution would be to consume that material in gen 4 reactors. K!ll two birds with one stone.

Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2019 9:34 am

My theory appears to be correct. Typing k!ll instead of you-know-what allowed my comment to sail past moderation.

Rich Davis
Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2019 10:09 am

Let’s see if I can kill that theory. Posting at 10:09am PDT

Rich Davis
Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2019 10:13 am

I replicated your theory. My reply to your message went into moderation. This reply at 10:13am PDT doesn’t have that word

Reply to  Rich Davis
April 7, 2019 10:52 am

Comments that go into moderation appear immediately, but say “unapproved”. Sometimes they come out of moderation quite fast, but not always.

Reply to  icisil
April 7, 2019 11:25 am

That happens to me every time I post the link to Oak Ridge’s Molten Salt Reactor video. Never know how long it will take to post. People always want proof that Molten Salt Reactors have actually been proven to have worked.

Reply to  davidgmillsatty
April 7, 2019 11:37 am

Every comment of mine incurs a delay (minutes, usually) before appearing. I attribute that to WordPress throughput, i.e., the time it takes to filter comments. Comments that go into WordPress moderation (i..e., somebody has to examine it before approving its appearance) appear immediately with the annotation, “Unapproved” (that wording also appears in the URL)

Reply to  davidgmillsatty
April 8, 2019 8:05 am

Define “worked.”

Reply to  icisil
April 8, 2019 8:45 am

There is a list of words that automatically trigger moderation, for obvious reasons (as I’m sure you can imagine).

As for how quickly it makes it through moderation, well, that just depends on when a moderator logs on and sees it. The perfect storm is when all the moderators decide to go drinking together, and nobody’s minding the tiller. 😉


Reply to  littlepeaks
April 8, 2019 1:17 pm

It only needs to be stored on site for a few months, after which it can be sent to a re-processing plant. If the US would permit such plants to be built.

April 7, 2019 7:15 am

I guess it was too much to hope for that the NY Times would actually be aware of the advanced nuclear technology which will make totally obsolescent the massive light water nuclear reactors which they are recommending. Incredible stupidity. Apparently never heard of molten salt small modular reactors. They are only the object of massive development efforts by a dozen private companies and two national govts (China, India).

April 7, 2019 7:17 am

Scott Adams, in his “Deep Dive” into “Climate Science” is finding a lot of BS, speculation and “we don’t knows”, implying the “science isn’t settled”.

Every engineer in the US has read Dilbert and with the majority of Newspapers sold in the US are for “the comics”.

Scott Adams in pushing Gen IV Nuclear, hard, his reasoning that “Bill Gates is for it” and if catastrophic AGW is a real or not, it is obviously worth pursuing by both sides of the Climate debate to “save the world”.

The New York Times is hedging its bets that Scott Adam’s Gen IV crusade might get traction and if his deep dive into “Climate Science” reveals “Mostly BS”, the Times’s full on embrace of “we’re all going to die!!!! Warmunists” for the last 20 years will come back to bite them with the people that read their crap.

Reply to  UNGN
April 7, 2019 8:04 am

Adams is pushing Gen IV Nuclear from a persuasion standpoint. Bill Gates was a persuasion point rather than the actual rationale. Adams is applying some significant persuasion-fu to Gen IV as a vehicle to take climate change off the table as a 2016 issue. He is speculating whoever adopts it first wins 2020. The opening statement includes Gen IV Nuclear energy, safe, and burns nuclear waste for fuel. Given his success in not only predicting Trump’s win in 2016, but explaining how he did it during the campaign, I’d pay close attention as the ground seems to be shifting. The other thing he mentioned was good work by Rick Perry and that good work not being mentioned by anyone. If you aren’t beating your own drum in the complete absence of media coverage, nobody will ever know. Cheers –

Reply to  UNGN
April 7, 2019 11:16 am

As I understand it, Gates is pushing standing wave nuclear technology, which is extraordinarily complex and difficult to implement (according to Eric Sorensen). I’m not aware of his advocacy for MSR.

Michael Jankowski
April 7, 2019 7:28 am

Bulk of this could have been written 30 yrs ago when the global warming scare was in its infancy. NYT and others have been “deniers” ever since.

April 7, 2019 7:37 am

WOW. If the NY Times is for it, what they are actually saying is that they are against it.
Demoncrat reasoning.

Reply to  Jerry 2
April 7, 2019 3:22 pm

Like John Kerry on the Iraq war: “I was for it before I was against it.”


Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
April 7, 2019 7:37 am

… greens are increasingly embracing nuclear power as the solution to climate change.

It’s a single guest editorial in the New York Times; I wouldn’t assume that constitutes a trend.

Dr. Plinker is a psychologist; Dr. Goldstein is an International Relations professor. Only Qvist appears to have a relevant professional background:

Joshua S. Goldstein is an International Relations professor who writes about the big issues facing humanity. He is the author of six books about war, peace, diplomacy, and economic history, and a bestselling college textbook, International Relations. Among other awards, his book War and Gender (2001) won the International Studies Association’s “Book of the Decade Award” in 2010. Goldstein has a B.A. from Stanford and a Ph.D. from M.I.T. He is professor emeritus at American University in Washington, DC, and research scholar at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he lives. See

Staffan A. Qvist is a Swedish engineer, scientist and consultant to clean energy projects around the world. He has lectured and authored numerous studies in the scientific literature on various topics relating to energy technology and policy, nuclear reactor design and safety, and climate change mitigation strategies – research that has been covered by Scientific American and many other media outlets. Trained as a nuclear engineer (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), he is now involved in renewable energy development projects and also works with several “fourth generation” nuclear start-ups. For more information, see

And besides, saving the world from climate change is the wrong reason to embrace nuclear; a larger supply of inexpensive, clean and reliable energy are the right ones. Recent experience indicates that CCGT is the better near-term choice to get there.

Walter Sobchak
April 7, 2019 7:44 am

The New York Times is not pushing anything.

The article you quoted and linked is an “op-ed”. Op-eds are written by people who are not members of the NYTimes staff or editorial board. They are published, on a page that is opposite the editorial page, to show case ideas that are different than those proclaimed by the unsigned editorial opinion pieces on the editorial page. Those are the official opinions of the NYTimes.

Op-eds do not show anything about the opinions of the editorial board or the staff journalists of the NYTimes. AFAIK, the NYTimes has not renounced its opposition to nuclear power and to the continued operation of Indian Point.

Call me when the NYTimes has really changed its mind.

Kevin kilty
April 7, 2019 8:10 am

Eventually, of course, even left-wing people will have to bow to reality, and embrace nuclear. At that time the left will simply revise their history and will claim credit for the world-saving transition. However, the evolution will be difficult, and probably nasty. Jane fonda was quoted in the mid-1970s about failure of the left to completely halt construction of a nuclear power plant as “at least we cost the capitalists a lot of money.”

The left have always hated nuclear power–at first because successful opposition would have aided the USSR.

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Kevin kilty
April 7, 2019 9:39 am

It is still powered by Russian propaganda and money and Arab oil money too.

Reply to  Walter Sobchak
April 8, 2019 1:21 pm

Why would the Arabs care. Only a tiny amount of oil isn’t used to generate electricity.

April 7, 2019 8:32 am

Mark Jacobson, call your office.

Jon Salmi
April 7, 2019 8:42 am

Molten salt reactors need to be moved from always ‘just around the corner’ to actuality through realistic funding and research that could reify the concept. This would also help separate the environmentalists from the one-worlders. One worry, where would green plants get enough CO2 to keep up the ‘greening-of-the-Earth.

James Clarke
Reply to  Jon Salmi
April 7, 2019 11:53 am

Molten salt reactors are on their way. We do not ‘need’ them at present, but there is a growing number of people who want them, and for a lot of good reasons. Climate change is not one of those reasons, as going nuclear will not have much of an impact on climate. This is because CO2 does not have much of an impact on climate, as the geological history of the planet clearly demonstrates.

This is a case of “building a better mouse trap”. Scalable reactors will simply be a better, more efficient way to produce electricity in a growing number of applications. Government support for the R & D is growing in India and China, but the technical stuff will be figured out with or without government support. I would not be surprised if the private sector ends up producing nuclear solutions before the governments do. It’s just a good idea that has been suppressed by fear and government interference.

We would probably be even more flush with cheap energy today if politicians didn’t make such poor choices around nuclear energy in the 1950s and 60s.

William Astley
Reply to  James Clarke
April 7, 2019 1:04 pm

High density regions need a cheap, safe burn reactor, as it pollution free.

The molten salt reactor is cheap as it simple, safe, six times more fuel efficient, produces 1/9 th waste, and the waste is chemically bond in the thick vessel.

The molten salt reactor is just a pot with six internal screw type pumps and six heat exchangers.

The molten salt reactor can compete with coal and natural gas.

It would be interesting to compare the molten salt reactor that can be mass produced and constructed in four years/site to large scale wind and sun gather vs amount spent and CO2 reduction.

William Astley
Reply to  Jon Salmi
April 7, 2019 1:16 pm

I agree.

There is no technical solution to CAGW.

A realistic nuclear solution would change the conversion with the cult of CAGW. i.e. They would have a good choice and spending money on the good choice would help everyone. There is a win-win realistic solution

We are at point A. We need to get to point B.

Roughly 70% of the public is scared of the nuclear power. (Almost all women are against nuclear power)
The fuel rod, water cooled reactors are expensive and take too long to build.
The fuel rod, water cooled reactors are inherently unsafe.
Fuel rod, water cooled reactors have melted down and spread radioactive material.

To get to Point B.
Nuclear reactor is as cheap as coal, it is has no catastrophic failure modes, and can be mass produced/

April 7, 2019 8:44 am

The main thing is that the Deep State newspaper printed such an op-ed.

Johnathan Birks
April 7, 2019 8:58 am

We even have a repository for spent fuel rods, Yucca Mtn., for which taxpayers spent billions. Harry Reid killed it, ostensibly because it was in the same time zone as Las Vegas, but actually because envirofascists have always rejected nuclear.

Reply to  Johnathan Birks
April 7, 2019 3:25 pm

There’s also the NIMBY objection by those who live near the site too.


steve case
April 7, 2019 9:09 am

” … greens are increasingly embracing nuclear power as the solution to climate change.”

“The Solution” implies that there is a problem. There isn’t a problem. Just because the green mob realizes that their prescription won’t work, doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to continue to be on course to tell everyone they don’t like that they have to play by their rules or suffer consequences.

There is no mob quite so terrifying as a self-righteous mob. Norm Pattis (Source)

Retired Kit P
April 7, 2019 9:10 am

“massive light water nuclear reactors”

The only thing massive about LWR is thermal output.

A LWR is so small that it can fit in the hull of a submarine. My initial training was on naval propulsion LWR which also produced electricity.

This small size allows LWR to be placed in a relatively small containment building for stationary power plants. This passive safety features ensures 100% safety for my children living near the nuke plant.

I have worked at stationary LWR in the US, Spain, and China which was the last before retiring. China being a communist country was different. A small city was built near the power plants for the workers. My wife and I lived in a high rise apartment with an ocean view. I walked to work although there was a shuttle bus.

So why did China plan a site for multiple 1600 MWe LWR? Each plant would require two mile long coal trains a day from the coal fields on the other side of China. There was a massive 5000 MWe coal station 5 miles down the road importing coal from other countries including the US.

There is just a bit of irony in that left coast greens oppose both exporting Powder River Coal a 1000 miles across the rockies and nuclear power at the same time.

The point is simple. We build power plants to make electricity we need. We build nuke plants when the cost of getting fossil fuels to the power plant make nukes economical. We build wind and solar that we do not need so those who skipped science in school can feel good about themselves.

John Garrett
April 7, 2019 9:17 am

Good grief !

After all these years, did Pravda finally get around to hiring somebody who can add, subtract, multiply and divide?

April 7, 2019 9:18 am

Either way it’s encouraging. I think Moore and Gates have gave nuclear power a huge shot in the arm. Wish Trump would get behind it quite actively, but I don’t think so.
Fukushima was a huge setback for the technology, but people need to understand its old technology and that already very safe nuclear can be made even safer.

Reply to  Grant
April 7, 2019 10:24 am

“Fukushima was a huge setback for the technology, but people need to understand its old technology and that already very safe nuclear can be made even safer.”

Not just old technology, but a really evil, greedy corporate decision. TEPCO engineers lowered the elevation of the Fukushima Daiichi plant in order to make it closer to sea level and thus reduce cooling water pumping costs (documented in TEPCO communications).

Reply to  icisil
April 8, 2019 4:13 am

And yet no one didd, or will die, from radiation at Fukushima..

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 8, 2019 9:21 am

Only a fool could say such a thing.

Reply to  icisil
April 8, 2019 1:23 pm

Reality is not your friend, is it?

Reply to  Grant
April 7, 2019 3:52 pm

I think Shellenberger deserves some credit too. He presents a convincing case for nukes in his TED talk and I expect that being an anti-nuke to pro-nuke convert might give him some street cred with those still opposed.

Richard Hood
April 7, 2019 9:22 am

Coal burned with the ZECCOM™¹ *(Zero Emissions Coal Combustion) Process and Natural Gas burned with the ZENGCOM™¹ (Zero Emissions Natural Gas Combustion) Process will be much quicker than Nuclear, solar or wind power, and much less expensive than any other option, because most of the conventional power plant continues to be used as it is now.

Reply to  Richard Hood
April 8, 2019 8:14 am

CCS is dead and buried.

Pun intended.

Reply to  Richard Hood
April 8, 2019 1:23 pm

No matter how many times you re-post your ad, you don’t seem to be picking up many new investors.

Tom Abbott
April 7, 2019 9:48 am

I think this will become a trend on the Left.

Nuclear electricity generation is the only solution to the problem they have set themselves. Fossil fuels can power the world, but they don’t reduce CO2; windmills and solar thermal reduce CO2 but they can’t power the world; nuclear can power the world and reduce CO2. The Left just has to get over their unjustified aversion to nuclear.

The realization will start out slowly and grow from there.

April 7, 2019 11:09 am

Every AGW proponent claims we need to electrify transportation. Have any of them thought through the scope of that endeavor? Problems that never seem to be addressed.
1. The energy needed for transportation in the USA is equivalent to 75% of that used presently by present electrical use.
2. To make all transportation electrical means that electrical usage will increase by 75%.
3. Using excess Solar for charging of automobiles will have to be during the day and require charging stations at their place of employment.
4, The Peak power usage will more than double because of the new load from EV and Battery charging for night time use.
5. Distributed small scale generation [ roof top solar ] will require extensive, costly replacement of the present protection system used on the electrical grid. the present system is designed to protect from the center [power plant ] outward to the end users. Distributed generation turns that problem upside down and backwards and must protect in both directions at the same time for different currents. That will require a control system as complicated as the internet to communicate the control signals the the end user protective devices.
6. The cost of all of this Green Dream electricity is going to necessarily cause the cost of your electricity to skyrocket.
7. The Green Dream can not be paid for by allowing an end user with a rooftop solar system to get paid the same for the electricity that he sells the electric company when the sun is shining and his house is empty as they pay electric company for their electricity when the sun is not shining and using electricity during the Max Peak load period. The electric company will go broke under that price plan.

ONLY Nuclear Power reduces CO2 AND keeps the cost of electricity affordable to support manufacturing and the economy development. Nuclear power is already safer than Air Travel – The last major Air accident Instantly killed more people than commercial nuclear power in total or will die from any previous events.

April 7, 2019 11:09 am

And herein lies the environmentalists’ dilemma that they’ve boxed themselves into. Being good useful idiots they’ve successfully demonized fossil fuels and nuclear energy on the premise/promise that wind and solar can replace them. Realizing that their assumptions are wrong what is their fall back? They don’t have one. They can bitch and squeal and demonstrate until the cows come home but it won’t change the truth that we can’t get there from here and gullibility has been over ruled by reality. The fact is people are not willing to take a step back in living standards and would rather put up with the consequences and adapt when it really comes down to it even if the AGW scam were true. Nuclear can solve most energy demands but will only delay the inevitable. Even nuclear is a finite energy source but at least it’s a viable for the foreseeable future. Maybe this time they’ll have a proven replacement ready before pulling the plug. Just another example of shoot, ready, aim that they’ve become experts at…… and missing the target.

Reply to  markl
April 7, 2019 1:27 pm

We have used far less than 5 percent of the energy in the fuel rods in a NPP. All of the fuel rods used to date in the USA could be reprocessed and “New” fuel made rather than storing it. Then this could be done again and again at least 20 more times. That is enough for another hundred or more years. Then, before this already mined Uranium runs out we could start extracting all of the Uranium in the ocean or even mining it from the earth. By then, robots could do this and not cause the workers to be subject to the uranium ore. Hopefully before then we will have discovered how fusion works and not even need that or the Green Dream. Even Scientific American claims there is another 250,000 years of nuclear fuel – for all energy needs.

Reply to  Usurbrain
April 8, 2019 4:15 am

No, there is only about 10,000 years,.
Even using breeder technology.

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 8, 2019 9:00 am

” Hopefully before then we will have discovered how fusion works and not even need that or the Green Dream. “

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 8, 2019 9:18 am

Not defending the Scientific Americain claim, However all guestimations most people give for nucler fusion are based upon the methods used today to extract energy for generating electrical power. that is heating water, making steam, staem driving a turbine, the turbing rotatinh a generator. That givs us less tha 35% of the Thermal power of the nuclear fission process of that concersion process. Just as people are expermiting with new ways to collect energy from the sun into electricy, eg Nanoantennas or ‘Rectennas,’ methods such as that could be used to greatly increase the production of electricity from nuclear fission. This would be acheived by collection more of the fission products and turning them into electricity. A 3 timed improvment is easily achievable, by collecting a broder spectrum of fission products I believe a tenfold increase could be achieved – and that is still less than the result of E = MC^2

Reply to  Leo Smith
April 8, 2019 1:26 pm

Sounds a lot like those who have been claiming we only have a few decades of oil left.
There is lots of uranium in the crust. As technology improves, our ability to get at smaller and less concentrated deposits improves.

April 7, 2019 1:09 pm

The problem is that nuclear is extremely costly due to the inevitable political opposition from greenies and other lefties, which makes cost overruns inevitable and extreme. Other than that, it is safe and environmentally and human friendly.

Wiliam Haas
April 7, 2019 1:12 pm

The reality is that the climate change that we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. They could stop using fossil fuels altogether but so doing would have not effect on the Earth’s climate.

Neutron Powered, High Side, Sideways Racer
April 7, 2019 1:17 pm

A summary of the world-wide nuclear power situation at 2018.

Walter Donway
April 7, 2019 1:56 pm

No. Ideological Green don’t want this.

You’ve got to take on board: Green ideology doesn’t want “non-polluting” growth. For Greens ALL economic growth is by definition pollution. You’ve got to grasp that. Or you never will understand the irrational ferocity with which Greens assert that the world is doomed and humans are the cause.

For Greens, man in any role but beast among beasts is creating pollution. Man lives by using reason to understand, control, and change nature to meet his needs. For ideological Greens, that is the essence of pollution. Man, adapting nature to himself when other species adapt themselves to nature, is the metaphysical FREAK destroying the natural order. Man is unnatural, a perversion created by evolution. The Green battle is to reverse economic progress of all kinds. Green progress is the unwinding of the Scientific/Industrial/Technological Revolutions. If nuclear power is the cheapest, most efficient way to meet human needs, to grow the economy–and emits less carbon than one Green’s fart–they don’t want it. The solution isn’t non-polluting energy. The solution is to undo the perversion that is man.

Steven Pinker is genuinely an Enlightenment thinker with the view that reason, science, technology and engineering can solve problems like “global warming/catastrophic climate change” and permit economic growth to continue unchecked. The ideological Greens are Postmodernists who reject the Enlightenment root and branch. And reject its chief productions: the scientific, industrial, and technological revolutions.

April 7, 2019 3:31 pm

Warmistas and Greenies are being drawn inexorably away from their failed fantasies of wind-turbines and solar farm non-solutions by the huge forces of finance and cost. The fact that the push to reduce CO2 remains completely on unproven grounds is of no interest to them. At least the return to nuclear solution does not pose a huge threat to the future of civilisation as wind and solar do. These Warmistas and Greens can be identified as they are the Luddites moving about in Teslas usually.

Dennis Sandberg
April 7, 2019 3:35 pm

Anyone familiar with corrosion issues is repulsed by the thought of “molten salt” in or around a nuclear reactor. (Hasteloy N doesn’t even come close to solving the materials problem). Suggesting that molten salt reactors are ready here and now is wrong by decades. Molten salt reactors are a distraction from serious debate about the near term implementation of nuclear energy. The only chance for a nuclear renaissance that we in America have is the NuScale SMR, currently scheduled to be on line in 2026. Lets show support!
NuScale SMR enters first manufacturing phase
26 September 2018
NuScale Power has selected BWX Technologies Inc (BWXT) as the first manufacturer of its small modular reactor (SMR). This marks the transition to the manufacturing phase and represents major progress in bringing the technology to market, NuScale said yesterday.

April 7, 2019 3:57 pm

There will never be a place for nuclear energy in the GND.

The nuclear path might actually fix the (non)problem…or at least satisfy CO2 emissions targets …without renewables.

The problem with that:

1.) No need to transfer $50Trillion (more) to the government/CC industry.

2.) Couldn’t pull off establishing a communist utopia in North America (under their supervision, of course).

April 7, 2019 4:11 pm

I like nuclear, particularly small modular, but recent idaho PV plant has signed long term supply contract for $0.03/kWh. That is cheap enough to (combined with batteries for night time and liquid hydrogen from water electrolysis to get through winter and other PV interruptions) undercut all other power production other than existing hydro electric.

PV/battery/hydrogen is going to take over because it is now the cheapest option – which is a pretty good result in my opinion. Nuclear and Fossil Fuel and probably wind will slowly die out, and Greens will need to find something else to blame/complain about.

Reply to  Foyle
April 7, 2019 6:25 pm

You’re living in a fantasy world.

Reply to  Foyle
April 8, 2019 1:29 pm

Have you actually investigated the cost of batteries? Especially enough batteries to power the country through the night.

And let’s not forget that you are going to need at least 4 or 5 times as much PV in order to charge those batteries during most days.

April 7, 2019 5:56 pm

Leftists are slowly beginning to realize their imaginary Utopian State run on grid-level wind and solar power would lead to, like almost all their hair brained ideas, economic collapse…

The REAL energy cost/kWh of wind/solar is up to 5 times more expensive than natural gas/coal, combined with the inextricable problems of being too: diffuse, intermittent, unreliable, fluctuating, and inefficient, and the requirement of 100% immediate backup by conventional power, and it’s laughably low energy desensity, make grid-level wind/solar an impossible proposition.

Eventually fossil fuels will need to be replaced by another energy source, and the ONLY viable options are: hydroelectric and nuclear, but just let the market decide when and what form of nuclear power is best.

Liquid Floride Thorium Reactors (LFTRs) seem to be the safest, cheapest, and most sustainable type of nuclear power, and China is on track to have a commercial LFTR design available in about 10 years.

Rather than wasting $trillions on stupid wind/solar projects, which will never be able to replace fossil fuels, just let the free market decide what and when the next generation nuclear power source is best.

Steve O
April 7, 2019 6:10 pm

If CO2 emissions are a serious problem then nuclear power is the ONLY answer. The reason greenies have been reluctant to accept the obvious is that they have spent their entire lives preventing and obstructing the development and implementation of nuclear power.

Think what it means to reverse course. Who gets the blame for the current risk of destruction of the planet? It’s just too much for them.

April 7, 2019 6:45 pm

I doubt that the Luddites of the Left will buy it. It is significant that the NYT chose to publish the article.

Ronald Bruce
April 7, 2019 6:55 pm

why do we build any unreliable renewable power like Wind and Solar when they have to have 100% non renewable backup. why not just use the backup power supplies in the first place and save the extra expense and degradation caused by bird Choppers and bird fryers.

Dennis Sandberg
April 7, 2019 7:20 pm

One has to wonder why the NY Times is suddenly a tad pro-nuclear. For decades they have been singing the praises of wind and solar while anyone that has spent a few hours studying the issues realizes that wind/solar is a hoax. Could it be we’ll be seeing more “truth telling” now that Trump’s Climate Commission is gearing up”? Fine line between a hoax and criminal fraud. Doesn’t hurt to show a little “fair and balanced”to keep the legal department happy.

Walt D.
April 7, 2019 8:47 pm

the Solution to Climate Change?
Perhaps it would be a good idea to first establish that we have an actual problem.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Walt D.
April 8, 2019 12:59 pm

Well, right now the problem is all the people who want to try and DO something about it.

April 7, 2019 9:45 pm

I would be in favor of this if we also reprocessed fuel and used techniques such as transmutation to greatly reduce the danger of the waste products.


Retired Kit P
Reply to  crosspatch
April 8, 2019 8:18 am

The danger from nuclear waste is zero so how do you propose to reduce.

Driving is dangerous. How do I know? Thousand die every year.

Nuclear waste is not dangerous. How do I know? No one has been hurt by nuclear waste.

It is like climate change. Something being a problem is not based on the number of loons saying the sky is falling.

Henning Nielsen
April 7, 2019 11:36 pm

“…two countries which have affordably reduced their CO2 emissions to a tenth of what everyone else emits, by embracing nuclear power.”

This is misleading, it refers to electricity generation, not the co2 emssions in total for these countries.

Reply to  Henning Nielsen
April 9, 2019 6:02 am

What is your plan for using wind and/or solar for all energy uses in a method that is guaranteed to produce less CO2?

[?? .mod]

Reply to  Usurbrain
April 9, 2019 10:35 am

@.mod – [?? .mod] ?????
Most of the push is on utility electricity. I believe few Environmentalists even know that a large portion of electrical “energy” – 22%, is generated and never sees the grid as they are used making steel, aluminum, etc. And even fewer know that much of the 28% in transportation is NOT automobiles. I have a serious problem with the idea that ALL Energy can be replaced by “renewables” i.e. wind, solar, tide, hydro, pulling trainloads of rocks up an incline, pumped storage, batteries, etc. etc. and Fossil fuel eliminated. How can Aluminum and steel be made from wind or solar? To me it approaches being impossible. I also worked four years on the Railroad while going to college. Where will RRs get their electricity. Most electric RRs presently generate their own electricity and distribute that electricity on their ROW. How will this work with an “All-Electric” nation? Then there are the many other manufacturing facilities that have their own generation stations. What happens to them. And I haven’t even talked about HVAC systems. Converting the USA to 100% renewable energy in the next 30 years, without Nuclear is impossible. Including ALL energy users in that mix makes it an order of magnitude more impossible.
There are many processes taking place across any country that could easily have been converted to the “Unreliables” due to the nature of their operation, Public water supplies could easily use wind/solar simply by adding a few more storage tanks and reservoirs. As a kid my neighbors and uncles used an Aermotor to pump water into a tank for their “Running” water. They had to, they had no electricity. Sanitation systems could cut their power use from the grid by using “Unreliables” when available requiring only automatic switching circuits. Same for much of the distribution of material through pipelines. However even these changes will only reduce some of the peak loads on the grid.

[Thank you for the greater, more detailed explanation. .mod]

April 8, 2019 5:30 am

Let’s keep using them, allow technology to advance on it’s own,

Technology is not a living creature that develops on it’s own, someone has to develop it.

That means that someone must have a reason to fund research on it. In the special case of nuclear we have so much regulation that a pure private initiative is difficult.

The government can play a crucial role in speeding up the realization of the fourth generation nuclear reactors which are safe from meltdown and eats it’s own fuel.

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
April 8, 2019 6:50 am

Sorry for the repeat. I had some delay issues on the network. Moderator may remove the repeated posts

Reply to  Jan Kjetil Andersen
April 8, 2019 1:31 pm

Government regulation makes it hard for private companies to invest in nuclear.
Instead of rationalizing the regulations, the lovers of government assume that the only possible response is for government to just take over.

As I said a few days ago.
For some people, the solution to every problem is more government.
Even for those problems that were caused by government in the first place.

April 8, 2019 6:16 am

Fourth generation nuclear reactors which are safe from meltdown and use it’s own waste as new fuel, is the way to go.

-All Actinides (chemical elements with atomic numbers from Actinium(89) to Plutonium (94) can be used as fuel.
-Fifty times better use of Uranium fuel than traditional nuclear reactors
-The waste products are small and short lived compared to traditional nuclear reactors.
-The radio-toxicity of the fission products reaches the uranium ore mine level at about 300 years
-Enough resources to fuel the world for the next 1000 – 10 000 years



April 8, 2019 6:35 am

Fourth generation nuclear reactors which are safe from meltdown and use it’s own waste as new fuel, is the way to go.

-All Actinides (chemical elements with atomic numbers from Actinium(89) to Plutonium (94) can be used as fuel.
-Fifty times better use of Uranium fuel than traditional nuclear reactors
-The waste products are small and short lived compared to traditional nuclear reactors.
-The radio-toxicity of the fission products reaches the uranium ore mine level at about 300 years
-Enough resources to fuel the world for the next 1000 – 10 000 years


April 8, 2019 8:20 am

Every 4th generation reactor will be replaced by a 5th generation reactor.

“Heaven is a release away.” – GC

Reply to  Gamecock
April 8, 2019 10:19 am

That philosophy is a way to turn you away from all improvements.

I am talking about a technology that is within reach. The US may turn away from this, but other countries may not, and those who pursue this will be at an advantage in the not to distant future.

Reply to  Jan kjetil Andersen
April 9, 2019 2:47 pm

Define “advantage.”

Reasonable Skeptic
April 8, 2019 9:09 am

Green Advocate: Yes Nuclear is the way forward….
Denier: So you finally agree with us?
Green Advocate: Yes!
Denier: So you have been lying this whole time?
Green Advocate: Not lying at all, just telling you our truth.
Denier: Would you be lying about anything else?
Green Advocate: Nope.

Joe G
April 8, 2019 9:13 am

Nuclear isn’t really a solution:

“global power consumption today is about 15 terawatts. Currently, the global nuclear power supply capacity is only 375 gigawatts”…”we would need about 15,000 nuclear reactors.”

“[There are] 440 commercial nuclear reactors in use worldwide…”

Reply to  Joe G
April 8, 2019 9:52 am

You are talking about all energy use, not only electricity.

We could start with the electricity production which is 3 terawatts, or about 2000 to 3000 reactors.

We do not have the technology to replace all energy with electricity, but if we for example were to replace gasoline cars with electric wehicles, we would only need a third of the energy since electric vehicles are so much more energy efficient.

[??? .mod]

Reply to  Jan kjetil Andersen
April 8, 2019 11:04 am

I see mod’s question marks. May be my comment need a bit of clarifying.

Joe G says above that the global power consumption is 15 terawatt.

The actual global power consumption is only 3 terawatt.

The simple explanation is to say that Joe G is wrong. However, 15 terawatt is about correct if we convert all energy used worldwide to terwatt. That is how I read Joe G. , and that is what I based my comment on.

If you take the energy used by all gasoline and diesel cars and present it in terwatt, you come a long way to the 15 terawatt presented above by Joe G.

But we were to replace that diesel and gasolone energy by nuclear enegy, we would have to replace the diesel and gasoline cars with electric vehicles.

Since electric vehicles are about three times more effective energy-wise than fossil fueled vehicles, we would only need a third of the terawatts of energy in the diesel and gasoline.


April 8, 2019 11:42 am

I would suggest the NYT advocate for nuclear in Germany right after they complete the shutdown of the their nuclear industry.

Joel Snider
April 8, 2019 12:10 pm

I frankly snicker at the thought of a nuke plant going up in Manhattan.

I’d like them to do it just to watch the sh** fit.

Dennis Sandberg
April 8, 2019 12:46 pm

3x’s more efficient?…ok if nuclear, but with NG about 1/2 the energy is lost converting NG to electricity, and some more is lost because of the inefficient transfer of the electrons through wires, transformers, the battery and finally to the electric motor. Much more cost effective to simply run our cars and trucks on compressed natural gas ((it’s not the energy it’s the money – electric generation plants are expensive). Granted, we need to upgrade our ICE’s designed to burn gasoline and diesel to run better on CNG but that’s quick and easy technology.

Reply to  Dennis Sandberg
April 8, 2019 2:04 pm

I was describing nuclear. The result is a bit different when natural gas is used.

Using EPA numbers, the average energy efficiency for new American cars was 25 mpg in 2016. In comparison, Tesla model 3 energy eqvivalent use is 125 mpg, and model S is 100 mpg. That means four to five times better than an average gasoline car.

A natural gas engine has approximately the same energy efficiecy as a gasoline engine so we can use the same numbers for NG.

Taking enegy use in battery production and energy loss in transmission lines into consideration we end at approximately three times better.

A lot of energy is also lost in each step from well to shipping to refinery to gas station for diesel and gasoline, but not so much for natural gas.

Beta Blocker
April 8, 2019 6:27 pm

Dennis Sandberg: “Suggesting that molten salt reactors are ready here and now is wrong by decades. Molten salt reactors are a distraction from serious debate about the near term implementation of nuclear energy. The only chance for a nuclear renaissance that we in America have is the NuScale SMR, currently scheduled to be on line in 2026.”

The NuScale SMR offers the only near-term pathway America has for putting the Nuclear Renaissance back on track. If their SMR technology isn’t successful, and if their full scale rollout project at INL in eastern Idaho doesn’t stay on cost and on schedule, decades will pass before another attempt is made at building a new generation of nuclear plants in the United States.

In the mid-2000’s when we were doing project planning for a new generation of nuclear power plants, the most important questions we had to face concerned management’s ability to keep a nuclear project on track towards completion at the estimated cost and on the predicted construction schedule. Thirteen years later, the massive cost overruns and the schedule delays experienced at VC Summer and at Vogtle 3 & 4 validated those concerns in spades.

If it is done with nuclear, it must be done with an exceptional commitment to high quality assurance standards and with tight project discipline at all levels of the project organization. If you don’t have that kind of commitment, you end up buying the plant twice.

The original project teams at VC Summer and at Vogtle 3 & 4 made every mistake it is possible to make in managing a multi-billion dollar nuclear construction effort. They didn’t miss a single one. VC Summer was cancelled and the original project team at Vogtle 3 & 4 was replaced.

The basic problem with the large 1100 Mw unitary reactors, in comparison with the SMR’s, is that the reactor technology itself, and the methods used to construct the plants and their safety systems, present more opportunities for making mistakes in all phases of fabrication and construction.

On paper at least, the project team now designing, fabricating, and constructing the first NuScale SMR plant has all the talent and the experience needed to get the job done on cost and schedule while still complying with the NRC’s strict quality assurance requirements. Will they, or will they not, come through?

Reply to  Beta Blocker
April 9, 2019 8:56 am

Thanks Beta Blocker — quite interesting:

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