Ruth Sponsler produces the excellent blog We Support Lee. (William States Lee III is the name for a proposed new nuclear plant in South Carolina near the border of Ruth’s home state of North Carolina.)
She has been finding some interesting information about the political and economic ties between virulent anti-nuclear activists and fossil fuel interests. One of her most interesting recent posts is titled Anti-nuclear Politics and Coal Interests in Germany. In her well reasoned essay, which is full of reference links, she traces a link between the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the heavily subsidized German coal industry.
Of course, there will inevitably be people that point to me and try to cast aspersions on my own motives. After all, they can say that my information might be tainted because I am involved in the nuclear industry.
Here is the difference – I loudly and frequently proclaim that I have a deep financial interest in the market acceptance of nuclear power. It does not currently provide me with any income – in fact, my investors and I have spent several hundred thousand dollars plus countless labor hours over the past 15 years laying the foundation for Adams Atomic Engines, Inc. and what we envision will be its commercial success.
In contrast, the SPD and many other adamantly anti-nuclear, pro fossil fuel groups, falsely hide behind a mantle of environmentalism. They claim that they are against nuclear power, but tell us that they favor such energy choices as no energy (aka conservation), or warm and fuzzy renewable sources like the wind and the sun. They fail to mention that, after decades of effort and massive tax payer and utility rate payer support, the wind and the sun together provide less than 1% of the world’s commercial energy supplies.
When nuclear power plants shut down, either temporarily or permanently, their production is replaced by burning fossil fuel. When nuclear plants are started up and operated, the fuel sources that they displace are fossil fuels, starting with the most expensive fuel first.
In the first wave of nuclear power plant construction – the period from about 1963-1995, that fuel was largely OIL. From France to Japan to the United States, the vast majority of the market share obtained by nuclear power plants came from the reduction in the use of oil for electrical power production. That freed up that oil to be used for higher value, more difficult to replace uses, like powering automobiles and trucks. The effect on the oil industry was quite large – nuclear power production grew rather steadily from 1980-2004. Today, nuclear plants produce about 30% more energy each year than SAUDI ARABIA!
If the electricity produced by nuclear power plants world wide was instead produced in oil burning, state of the art, power plants, it would require burning more than 12 Million barrels of oil per day. That is almost 2 times as large as the PEAK in oil production from Alaska and the North Sea combined. (These figures come from US Energy Information Agency tables – for details on the tables and the conversion computations, please ask specifically.)
Source: US Energy Information Agency – Nuclear power and oil production tables with some unit conversions applied.