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15 Comments

  1. This is generally not true, i.e. that environmentalists “never worried about how much their imposed requirements for additional studies and impact statements costs”. The piling on of as much cost as could be piled on, by delay and by additional requirements, was the tactic. The strategy was aimed at stopping whatever it was they were protesting. What anti nukes have succeded in doing, and aim to do, about nuclear power is the clearest example, but there are numerous others.

  2. According to the intro to this discussion on the Brainstorm Green site the guy Rod is calling “the Sierra Club representative” is Michael Brune. Meet the new face of the Sierra Club in the US.
    Brune took over as Executive Director from Carl Pope. Pope was running the operation for 17 years, but iis now taking a back seat. They call him the Chairman. Brune is formerly of the Rainforest Action Network. He is known for more direct action than people are used to from the Sierra Club. Obviously, as this clip shows, he has no problem with pushing forward bald faced lies right in front of a panel who all know he is lying, even as they laugh in his face. The only time I took an interest in what Brune was doing he was cranking out lies about carbon capture for the RainForest Action Network in alliance with Al Gore.

  3. I was happy to see that myths about nuclear were easily shot down in public. The dude from the Sierra club was practically laughed at by the person from NRG Energy, because his argument was incredibly weak. Hopefully their position on nuclear will change in the future.

  4. Watching this gives me a great deal of hope, primarily because it shows that while the leading antinuclear forces have managed to change lies, they still believe that they can depend on the ignorance of the population to get away with it. Yet polls consistently shows that in the face of this mendacity, support for nuclear energy grows, proving that their ideas are not getting the penetration they once did.
    Secondly, although it was mentioned only en passant, I believe the public is acutely aware of the gas industry’s habit of keeping prices low while they penetrate a market, then cranking it up with one flimsy excuse after another. Those that rushed to take advantage of various ‘off oil’ programs for heating in particular have no love for this industry, after basically being bent over by these guys a few years later. While it may not have made them huge fans of nuclear energy, it certainly has made them very wary of any promises made by gas.

  5. Even major nuclear energy CEOs like James Connaughton of Constellation Energy seem to see value in and propose, as a desirable future, a circumstance where renewables assume a larger percentage over time of US power generation (20 – 30%?). When you have superior technology, like nuclear, that is more reliable and delivers more economical and higher quality power without the requirement of major new investment in power distribution technology why not just build that. The unpredictable intermittency of renewable energy is disruptive to energy quality and reliability. An energy system tailored to accommodate for the weaknesses inherent in intermittent and unpredictable renewable energy just ends up as a weaker and more expensive system. Why attempt to be gratuitous and energy inclusive and embrace all generation if you can do a better job and drive down the cost of energy by just installing nuclear?
    also
    LFTRs can be refueled as they run and do not have to shut down for refueling. LFTR Thorium nuclear could easily set new records for continuous power generation and high capacity factor.

    1. The technical name for that is ‘ throwing them a bone.’ Makes the nuclear side look flexible, and open-minded. It’s just a PR ploy and little more.

  6. Mr. Brune could perhaps be challenged to share the data he looked up the night before that shows nuclear plants are down 15% of the time. This would be big news to most of us, I expect.
    On what I see as the “plus” side, the Sierra Club is working harder to stop the construction of coal plants than any organization of which I am aware, and should be, in my view, lauded for this. It is hard for institutions to change their position, as there exist shared views across a whole range of issues, and being anti-nuclear was one of the bedrock shared views.
    Still, one of the Sierra Club’s spokespeople, when asked about nuclear recently, referred to “the base.” We need to continuously engage to change the mind of the “the base” and also the leadership.
    It might also be useful for the nuclear side to stop nodding its head in agreement when someone says nuclear is too expensive, and start pointing out the EIA 2016 power price predictions. These actually can be looked up.

    1. Frank – good point about the Sierra Club’s battle against coal. I have often suggested to friends who are environmentalists that if they take action to fight nuclear, they are, by default, fighting FOR the expanded use of coal, since that is the only other source of low cost on demand power.
      I guess that a logical extension of the above would say that any battle against coal is, by default, a battle FOR nuclear. That holds true even if the fighter claims to want a different power source.

      1. I wouldn’t go so far Rod. The other option to replace coal is gas. To me this clown sounded like he was in NG’s back pocket for sure.

  7. Gas is definitely the fossil fuel of choice for the Sierra Club, but there are not too many utility executives who would select gas as the replacement for a baseload coal burner. The exception to that would be a case where the PUC allows fuel cost adjustments on a frequent and generous basis.

  8. Nuclear plants, on average, probably are down by 15% from peak power – in April. As part of an plan agreed in advance. When peak power is not needed.
    But even 85% of peak is pretty damned good.
    So Brune never did make any remark that connected up to his false assertion on nuclear availability, or explain why he wanted to say it. He was likely just saying it to try to promote the feasibility of the idea of baseload achieved by combined opportunistic power sources – which would be TREMENDOUSLY expensive, given all the overcapacity interconnection required. Oh, and gas, haha, the surprise at the bottom of the cereal packet.
    Good on the panel for stopping him, although they could have done even more to challenge.

  9. Watched all 5 segments. Mr. Brune didn’t blink at any time from his assigned screed against nuclear. I remain baffled when an otherwise intelligent person refuses to acknowledge objective facts. The land-use and transmission line challenge alone ought to be enough to muzzle the enthusiasm for the mirage of wind and solar power. Use them for off-grid, remote locations but other applications are much harder to justify.

    1. This is the honest and simple truth. Until wind and solar play by the same rules as other energy sources – they generate when they need to, for as long as they need to (e.g. they bring their own storage) – they don’t belong on the grid. Land use, transmission line use, and massive “plow everything in sight” habitat destruction also carry their own costs; wind and solar don’t need any subsidies in this regard either.
      As for the “costs” of nuclear – this is due to absurd regulation – bring down the level of regulation to a reasonable level consistent with the public safety – and the cost problem will take care of itself.

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