Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Comments:


  1. Burton Richter and Stephen Chu were at a disadvantage. Their microphones were quieter. Also the fact that their efforts seemed uncoordinated. Richter did not realize that the quote from Environmental Progress was in support of his side. The subsidy question was a waste of time. The real issue should have been the increases in CO2 that will result from the closings of Clinton and Quad Cities. The commentator failed to choose the best quote from Shellenberger. The effective increase in CO2 amounting to adding 3 million cars on the road.

    So the understated tone by the pronuclear side could have been better.

      1. @Rick Maltese

        You were right in the first place. Closing Clinton plus Quad Cities is the equivalent of putting 3 million more cars on the road.

        There are three units being closed with a total capacity that is close enough to 3,000 MWe. A useful thumb rule is that the emissions from 1000 MWe of new natural gas generation is close enough to the annual emissions of one million cars.

        I used the EPA’s emissions equivalent calculator at


        Of course, such a metric is about as accurate and useful as the number of homes served by a 1000 MWe power plant – there are a ton of assumptions that can be varied to produce wildly inconsistent numbers, but debate isn’t about precision.

    1. @Rick Maltese

      No doubt. Both Chu and Richter are somewhat less confident about the benefits of nuclear than I am. It might be that they are unaware or unaccepting of the scale of the business opportunities and financial threats to vested interests associated with decisions about energy. They are logical, fact oriented people who know that there is a need for some portion of our power system to be supplied by reliable, emission free generation and they know that nuclear energy in general fits that need.

      It still was a good debate.

  2. There is a PDF document, published by the NRDC, that is a compilation of EPA and (I think) EIA data on emissions and energy production by 100 major electric producers. I went to the trouble of transferring the data to a database, to ascertain and rank the various emissions -by- MWh against the various producers and their constituent energy production sources.
    It will be no surprise to most readers here that the cleanest producers were those highest in hydro and/or nuclear production. It was a slight surprise to me that my own supplier, Dominion Power, ranked better than the TVA, which also uses coal.
    Dominion gets 48% of its energy production from nuclear, which means that 16% of what powers this computer and my heat pump comes from the “renewable” isotope 239 of the “deadly plutonium” .
    synthesised in the reactors.
    Fanatical opponents like Helen Caldicott either lie or are monstrously ignorant, in saying that nuclear is far from GHG and poison gas “emission free”, but I note that even although California’s wind and solar also are theoretically, in most surveys, classed as emission free, their present “spinning reserve” is exactly the gas turbine reserve on which some companies made a killing in the peak power shortage that cost Governor Davis his job.
    The CO2, NOx, and SOx that coal and gas produce per MWh is also under-reported, because gas pipelines burn gas to deliver it to the power stations, and coal transportation uses diesel, or water slurry. Every aquifer that is being drained is a place where solar distillation off the oceans is inadequate.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts