Nuclear Energy for a Better Climate - American Nuclear Society, University of Illinois
Chicago Summit on Nuclear Power: What it means In Illinois.
October 18th, 2016. Local, State and National Policy leaders assert nuclear energy’s pivotal role in stopping global climate change. ANS helped organize in partnership with the department of Nuclear, Plasma & Radiological Engineering.
Summary of the Chicago Summit.October 30th, 2016
Author: S. Bobbins.
What is at stake in Illinois if Clinton and Quad Cities are closed? 2,400 highly skilled workers will be out of a job. These are some of the highest paying jobs in those areas. Millions of dollars will be lost in economic support at the state and local level. 23% of the carbon free energy will lost from Illinois, damaging the progression to a zero-carbon emission standard, and we have until December to save these. These are the “economic engines” as Donne Trotter said, that support the states and local budgets. Education and pensions are at stake. Illinois simply cannot afford to lose the plants. Legislation efforts are trying to push the Next Generation Energy Plan which outlines how financial support would be given to nuclear. One congressman put it as saying that, yes prices of electricity will go up but at least this increase is predicted and regulated whereas closing the plants leaves Illinois vulnerable to predatory pricing. Do you want to pick what is behind door one, which we know or do you want to pick the unknown behind door two? Either way it will cost tax payers money. John Kotek spoke as well saying that nuclear is necessary to reduce carbon emissions in the US because it is our largest and most reliable source of clean energy. The clean power plan wants to reduce emissions by 26% before 2030 and nuclear must grow to achieve this. If no action is taken, then half of our fleet is predicted to be lost. So what are the challenges that have put us in this situation? Well nuclear is struggling to compete in the wholesale market with its high cost of operation. The nuclear industry is working to deliver the nuclear promise to improve efficiency and reduce costs but this is an internal project to the industry and it is not enough. Proper valuation of these sources is needed and they must be compensated like renewables when they struggle. Replacing nuclear with renewables will not be enough and it may be an expensive route to take. It was also emphasized that these plants are built for the long haul and it is a risk to close them early. Nuclear does not have the same flexibility as other energy sources do, so when the market is against nuclear, we should help preserve this source. Someday nuclear will be the better and cheaper option and if half our fleet is gone when this happens then we are in trouble. We know what happens when plants close because we can see this. Look at Vermont Yankee. After it closed, there were reports of 2 million metric tons of Carbon added to the atmosphere in the New England area. Diablo canyon is in a highly aggressive renewable technology area but what is the plan to replace nuclear? Not enough renewables can sufficiently replace that plant. It is important to act now and protect the plants we have in Illinois because once they have to close there is no turning back. It takes about 10 years to build new ones so when Illinois finds itself in a situation where nuclear is needed again, it will be too late. Really, we should be building more nuclear plants but instead we must fight to save the plants that are already out there.
#SaveTheNukes Protest & March October 23rd, 2016, Chicago.
Author: A. Loumis.
ANS, NAYGN, Mothers for Nuclear, an array of other pro-nuclear groups and Environmental Progress protested against the shut down of Clinton & Quad Cities. Two nuclear plants in Illinois which supply 23% of Illinois' carbon free energy. Renewables currently supply 4% of Illinois' total energy, and it is expected to increase 25% by 2030. If we are to make our carbon reduction standards to a third of what they were in 2005 we cannot get rid of nuclear. We have to focus on phasing out coal and natural gas. Nuclear Energy is a renewable resource.
How fear of nuclear power is hurting the environment
TED talk with Michael Shellenberger