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  1. Again we see that the fossil fuel industry is using their right to employ money-amplified free speech to persuade the world that man cannot possibly change the world’s climate and that continued use of their products is mankind’s wisest course of action. At least we are now at a point where accusing Big Carbon of being actively antinuclear is no longer dismissed as a left-wing conspiracy myth.

  2. I don’t know if it’s possible – I’m certain it would be a challenge, but I still sometimes think that those who wish to see us more quickly convert to a nuclear energy future, should try by every means possible, to get the big oil/”energy” companies to be the ones to drive that change.
    The situation currently is that A) “Big Oil”/”Big Coal” are very well funded and have very deep pockets from their fossil fuel operations, B) The Nuclear Industry is small (at least, compared to oil and coal), with needs for very high levels of capital to build nuclear plants, C) The Nuclear Industry is hobbled by an over-bearing regulatory regime, and lawsuits from ‘intervenor’ anti-nuclear groups, which are in large part being funded by the big fossil-fuel industries, D)The big fossil companies are, in addition to their indirect attacks through anti-nuclear groups, also directly lobbying congress and the executive branch, in order to try to both reduce their own regulatory burdens, but also to increase the burdens and/or reduce the help government might give to encourage nuclear.
    But, if you can get one or two of the big oil and/or coal companies to really jump into nuclear, the whole dynamic could change. I mean, those big companies could probably build 8 or 10 Nuclear Plants each, just from their huge oil and coal profits. Get the three or 4 biggest ‘energy’ companies in the world to move into nuclear, and you could probably see them building a combined 30-40 Nuclear Plants in 10 or 15 years.
    Why would they want to do that, when it has the potential to reduce demand (and thus price) for their ‘primary’ product? Because, first, their primary product, it appears will be likely, is going to get harder and harder to find and produce in the same quantities and at the same prices they can currently produce at, second, even if they start building nuclear plants, it’s going to take a LOT of nuclear plants being built before it even *starts* to hurt the price of oil and coal, and third, it can prepare them to continue to be leaders in the energy market in the future when they would start to become less profitable and powerful because their products were in decline. These companies need an ‘end game’ for the future, when they can’t get oil, gas, and coal at the rates of production they need to sustain their high profits. They need to start that transition now (or soon), while they are still flush with oil/gas/coal profits and still have a few decades of pretty high production levels left (so they can be using their ongoing fossil revenues to provide the capital for their investment in transitioning to nuclear energy – to pay for not only building the new plants, but hiring and training a new ‘corps’ of nuclear energy employees).

    1. “Get the three or 4 biggest ‘energy’ companies in the world to move into nuclear, and you could probably see them building a combined 30-40 Nuclear Plants in 10 or 15 years.”
      Our requirements will be for around 5-10 thousand nuclear plants mid-century, with another order of magnitude increase over that by century’s end.

      1. If you do a joule per joule replacement of fossil fuels with nuclear, than yes the numbers to get into the tens to even hundreds of thousands, but keep in mind how much energy is used just moving fuel around. A lot of that won’t be necessary as more nuclear plants come online. Think of all those oil tanker, coal trains, and gas pipelines that will no longer be needed.

  3. 5-10 thousand plants by 2050? Yeah, I don’t see that happening . . . Why would we need that many? Right now we have about 100 plants, which supply 20% of our electricity, don’t we? So it would seem like to get 150% of our current energy levels (100% to match current generation, plus an extra 50% for growth in demand), we’d need, say, 600-700 new plants (in the U.S.). Even taking the whole rest of the world into account, I can’t see the theoretical maximum need for nuclear plants being more than about 2000-3000. Where are you getting the 5-10 thousand figure?
    Even if we theoretically need that many, would it really be *possible* to build that many? Seems to me we have a bit of a limit on the number of factories which can build reactors, the number of engineers and workers who are trained to do nuclear construciton, limit on the number of operators – I suppose that we could *someday* have enough properly trained people to construct and operate 5k-10k plants, but how could we *possibly* grow the industry that quickly? You’d need an awful lot of capacity which simply doesn’t exist right now, I think(?), to build that many plants?

    1. I’m getting the 5-10 thousand figure from the considerations I put into this essay:
      http://channellingthestrongforce.blogspot.com/2010/03/is-nuclear-power-sustainable.html
      I agree that reaching that target will be difficult, and we likely will not make it, but the resources to do it can be deployed if we organise things properly. I se no reason why we shouldn’t be able, after about 10-15 years training and tooling up, be able to install 300GW capacity per annum worldwide.

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