Stark warnings about reviving nuclear energy

"Burning Money," image featured on cover of The Nation magazine by Gene Case/Avening Angels, used with permission.

Stephanie Cooke, author of “In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age,”  and a former editor of Nuclear Intelligence Weekly, has written an opinion piece (free with email) in the New York Times on how nuclear power will likely continue to fail us as we attempt to address our climate crisis:

“World leaders are not unaware of the nuclear industry’s long history of failing to deliver on its promises, or of its weakening vital signs. Yet many continue to act as if a ‘nuclear renaissance’ could be around the corner even though nuclear energy’s share of global electricity generation has fallen by almost half from its high of roughly 17 percent in 1996.

” …’the reality today, in most markets, is a reality of a slow but steady decline in market share’ for nuclear power…” despite the push for tripling nuclear power capacity by 2050, ostensibly to address climate change.

“For much less money and in less time, the world can reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of renewables like solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal power, and by transmitting, storing and using electricity more efficiently.”

Cooke contends the only roadblocks are “a hugely constrained transmission system, regulatory and financial roadblocks and entrenched utility interests” and an unwillingness of leaders “to buck their own powerful nuclear bureaucracies and choose paths that are far cheaper, less dangerous and quicker to deploy. Without them we are doomed to more promises and wasteful spending by nuclear proponents who have repeatedly shown that they can talk but can’t deliver.”

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