By Robert Bradley Jr. — August 24, 2021
“The nuclear industry’s disastrous history of cost and time overruns show very clearly that what they offer would be too little, too expensive and far too late. With renewables and energy efficiency cheaper and quicker to build and run than nuclear, they have already lost this argument and should have no place to spout their lies at COP26.”
– Richard Dixon, Friends of the Earth Scotland (below)
“The nuclear industry provides most of the world’s CO2-free power, but is barred from UN IPCC meetings and even barred from the adjacent exhibit hall. Clearly UN IPCC does not pursue the public interest. What is the ‘power structure’ of IPCC? Who says ‘no’ a priori? How are these people appointed? How paid? How reimbursed? What’s the org chart?”
– Robert Hargraves, nuclear advocate (below)
It’s an agenda, Mr. Hargraves. And it is good reason for the nuclear industry to 1) stop “greenwashing” for a carbon tax; 2) stop buying into environmentalist alarmism, including climate alarmism; and 3) let the market make energy decisions, without government subsidies or regulatory obstructionism from environmentalists.
Classical liberals and conservatives need not lament the current impasse between the nuclear lobby and the Progressive Left. Nuclear power is an industry that never should have been. A combination of federal subsidies, as well as rate base treatment under state public utility regulation, put an experimental, complicated, dangerous technology into play against established, improving power generation from coal, natural gas, and residual fuel oil, in particular.
The latest with U.S. nuclear is grim, with further delays and cost additions with Plant Vogtle #3 and #4. Only Bill Gates with his own cash and DOE/taxpayer monies ($80 million so far) is trying to get a new nuclear technology commercialized. But don’t be surprised if things don’t come together in the next years to even begin what is estimated to be a seven-year build.
Environmentalists at the beginning had hopes for nuclear, as did “too cheap to meter” technology optimists. But in recent times, Left environmentalists are dead-set against new (and even existing) nuclear. Some have even turned into free-market types by correctly arguing the generation too expensive.
“The nuclear industry has effectively priced itself out of the market for new power plants, at least in market-based economies,” stated Joe Romm in early 2019. “That’s why nuclear power’s share of global power generation has dropped to around 11 percent — its lowest level in decades.” (Make that — percent today). To his credit, Romm two years earlier lambasted then-DOE head Rick Perry for throwing good billions after bad billions of dollars at Plant Vogtle.
Unwelcomed at COP26
Here is the story from Paul Dobson, “‘We’re barred from COP26’: nuclear industry complains after rejected applications The Ferret (August 19, 2021), which prompted nuclear advocate Robert Hargraves to ask:
The nuclear industry provides most of the world’s CO2-free power, but is barred from UN IPCC meetings and even barred from the adjacent exhibit hall. Clearly UN IPCC does not pursue the public interest. What is the “power structure” of IPCC? Who says “no” a priori? How are these people appointed? How paid? How reimbursed? What’s the org chart?
To which I replied:
Wake up …. don’t try to appease the Left with nuclear, end the tacit support of climate alarmism.
Excerpts from Dobson’s article follow:
The international nuclear energy industry has complained about being excluded from the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow — prompting environmentalists to say it should have “no place” there.
This was “very disappointing”, the association told The Ferret. A Scottish environmental group, however, said that it was “right” to keep the nuclear industry out.
Nuclear power is seen by some as clean energy because they say it doesn’t emit greenhouse gases when producing electricity. But it has faced continual opposition from environmental groups due to high costs, complications with decommissioning and the need to dispose of radioactive waste.
The World Nuclear Association, which lists 183 nuclear companies as members, said it was “deeply concerned” that plans for nuclear exhibits in civil society’s Green Zone at COP26 had been turned down.
The Green Zone is billed as a space for organisations to host “workshops, panel discussions and keynote speeches” which “promote dialogue, awareness, education and commitments” on the climate crisis….
The [UK] Cabinet Office COP26 unit said it had received “a huge level of interest” from groups wanting to be in the Green Zone. “Discussions are still ongoing”, stressed a spokesperson, pointing out that “limited capacity” meant not all applicants could be accommodated.
COP26, which stands for the UN’s 26th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change, is being held at the Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow between 1-12 November. It is widely viewed as the last chance for world leaders to reach an agreement which mitigates the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
As part of the application process, organisations interested in making use of space in the Green Zone were required to provide details of their “sustainability or environmental policies”.
Businesses looking to host Green Zone events also had to be signed up to the Science Based Targets initiative and the Race to Zero campaign. These are UN schemes aimed at ensuring companies have “credible” plans to achieve net-zero emissions….
Friends of the Earth Scotland criticised the criteria for getting a platform in the Green Zone as too weak. “But if they are keeping the nuclear industry out then they are definitely getting that bit right,” said the group’s director, Richard Dixon.
“Having failed with the ridiculous claim that nuclear is cheap, the latest wheeze from the nuclear industry is to tell us that nuclear reactors are the answer to climate change.”
There was an “very urgent” need to reduce emissions, Dixon argued. “The nuclear industry’s disastrous history of cost and time overruns show very clearly that what they offer would be too little, too expensive and far too late.”
He added: ”With renewables and energy efficiency cheaper and quicker to build and run than nuclear, they have already lost this argument and should have no place to spout their lies at COP26.”
The World Nuclear Association, however, insisted that nuclear power could help “meet increasing demand for low-carbon electricity”. Nuclear reactors could also play a role in “eliminating the use of fossil fuels in the production of glass and steel”, it said.
The association’s rejected exhibits would have made these points. They were also going to showcase plans to use nuclear energy in the future production of green hydrogen, which the industry says could be used as fuel to help decarbonise the economy.
The association hoped that the exclusion of its exhibits was not “indicative” of the way it will be treated throughout COP26. “It is very disappointing that no nuclear exhibits were selected for the UK’s Green Zone exhibition,” said an association spokesperson.
“More and urgent action is needed to advance the use of a broad range of low-carbon technologies, including nuclear, if we are to avoid the catastrophe that runaway climate change would cause.”
The association also confirmed that two unnamed UK-based nuclear trade associations have applied to be included in side events taking place within the UN-managed Blue Zone at COP26….
The two UK nuclear associations hope to be involved in panel discussions with what they consider “fellow clean energy groups”, including the renewables industry….
In July, The Ferret revealed that 19 nuclear industry executives were among a host of companies, including major fossil fuel polluters, who were part of key UN climate negotiations in the lead up to COP26.
The anti-energy, anti-economics Left cannot get out of their own way. James Hansen, father of the climate alarm, understands that it is nuclear or bust against carbon-based mineral energies. He states:
People who entreat the government to solve global warming but offer support only for renewable energies will be rewarded with the certainty that the U.S. and most of the world will be fracked-over, the dirtiest fossil fuels will be mined, mountaintop removal and mechanized long-wall coal mining will continue, the Arctic, Amazon and other pristine public lands will be violated, and the deepest oceans will be ploughed for fossil fuels.
And, Hansen should have added, the landscape will be littered with industrial wind turbines, solar arrays, and batteries.
It’s just not easy being green when the greenest strategy is dense mineral energies, not wind, solar, and other dilute, intermittent power generation technologies.
Update: from Jennifer Morgan of Greenpeace International:
“Big polluting corporations have been banned from public buildings during the COP26 conference in Scotland this November.
Glasgow City Council unanimously passed the motion at a full council meeting, which is understood to be the first example of a host city counteracting the presence of particular vested interests while the crucial climate talks take place.
Maybe everyone is conflicted and polluting, meaning that COP26 should be called off.