1. Good interview!

    Re: “CATF acknowledges that there are also important roles for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and, possibly, carbon capture and storage, but without help from nuclear energy, efforts were not going to succeed.”

    Maybe it’s me splitting hairs, but there’s something kind of begrudging about nukes in this statement and the interview. Is CATF implying that if efficiency and windmills and algae alone could make their clear air goal then we can do without nuclear? How would CATF feel if it summed up that nuclear was more deployable and proven than “carbon capture” and “renewable”? How hearty would the endorsement be? I really didn’t hear any hard nuclear endorsements, just mostly reluctant “nuke could play parts” and “nukes would be helpfuls,” not any enthused “we want to do nukes!” I liked Rod hitting square at 22:45 and the guy halting for a lame PC reply (to me). That was telling. I don’t know, but they just don’t sound like they’re exactly hopping up and down for nuclear as high as they are for windmills and solar to me. It all sounds like echoes of the current green-committed nil-nuke administration. Maybe it’s just me. Not every hardcore green can be a Ben Heard I guess.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. “Is CATF implying that if efficiency and windmills and algae alone could make their clear air goal then we can do without nuclear?”

      No, Armond explicitly said that he believes we cannot do it without nuclear. Perhaps you had trouble following the distinctions between the different kinds of feasibility he talked about:

      – Feasibility: He does believe it would be technically feasible to decarbonize without nuclear (in other words the technology, science, and engineer exists or is sufficiently close to final development and deployment). To be clear, he believes that a no-nuclear decarbonization would require large amounts of carbon capture and sequestration of fossil fuel emissions, because 100% renewables would be technically infeasible.

      -Economics: He does NOT believe it would be economically feasible to decarbonize without nuclear, because nuclear avoids, addresses, or overcomes many of the issues inherent to intermittent, low density renewables. He believes an electricity grid consisting of mostly nuclear power (or also fossil fuels with carbon capture) could enable renewables to participate with a share of 20% to 30% cost-effectively, or maybe 40 or 50% renewables with more technical innovation.

      – Politics: He does NOT believe renewables alone can be built fast enough to address the climate problem, given the numerous squabbles about renewable development such as Cape Wind. He also believes the cost of a renewables-only approach would make decarbonizing politically infeasible. (Obviously, nuclear has its own share of political issues to address as well).

      So in other words, Armond Cohen believes a no-nuclear decarbonization strategy is technically feasible, but not economically or politically feasible. I believe that’s a pretty ringing endorsement of nuclear power, even though it comes from a place of begrudging acceptance. I say we need MORE begrudging supporters of nuclear power!

      If we are to flip any opponents of nuclear power to our side, we can’t expect that they will become nuclear cheerleaders overnight. If they see us harassing converts to our side as not being sufficiently enthusiastic, the emotional side of their brain will absolutely reject any logic we present to them. They would rather stay with their environmentalist friends than join a unwelcoming bunch of engineers, scientists, and techno-nerds.

  2. One thing I like about Ben Heard is he doesn’t hem and haw but comes straight right out with what he believes in!

    1. I don’t know of another nuclear advocate here in South Australia who works quite as hard as Ben does.

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