By David Bradish
From NEI Nuclear Notes
Nuclear Green and Pro-Nuclear Democrats took a critical eye to Greenpeace's latest study called Energy [R]evolution
and weren't impressed. Greenpeace's study leaves nuclear plants off the
table as a solution in reducing CO2 emissions (surprise, surprise)
while renewables and efficiency are claimed to be able to handle it
all. Here's Nuclear Green's part one on Greenpeace's study:
cutesy feature of the report title, the rather uncreative play on the
words revolution and evolution suggests the report's fundamental
dilemma: the difficulty of charting a path to a renewables energy
future given the serious limitations of renewable energy sources.
thus appears to be disassociated from "science based emissions
reductions", because the shutdown of nuclear is viewed as being in the
interest of being "clean." Furthermore, the notion that over 50% of
American nuclear plants would be shut down for the sake of "the clean",
in the face of an emissions based climate crisis is highly unrealistic.
We must ask then if the [r]evolution
plan is a realistic route to a low climate risk future, or a green
fantasy wish list for the United States?
Of course the study is a green fantasy wish list. If it was a real study, it would look similar to EPRI's PRISM scenario (pdf), or Princeton's Wedge theory, or the Global Energy Technology Strategy Program (pdf) which was developed by "a core group of scientists."
Most independent analyses (including the ones above) show that any
credible initiative to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will require
additional nuclear generating capacity. Here's Pro-Nuclear Democrats' thoughts:
folks, the Greenpeace stance is not even a rational middle ground when
it comes to nuclear energy. How can anyone, any government, take
Greenpeace seriously when it vigorously attacks nuclear energy for the
sole purpose of defending its past credibility? Does anyone seriously
believe that people such as Patrick Moore and James Lovelock have
sacrificed their personal integrity to become sellouts by changing
their minds about nuclear?
Jason goes on to explain how the
lack of discussion of energy terms in the study like capacity factors,
baseload, intermittent, and emission-free paints a serious
mis-perception of the capabilities of Greenpeace's plan. Here's Jason's
example of what it means to be intermittent:
and wind energy fit this definition [intermittent] precisely and would
provide the majority of the Greenpeace future energy plan. Banking a
future energy system on technology that is supposed to work in
conjunction with a smart grid is betting the future on an uncertain
theory. Before any widespread system would be implemented, it ought to
be tested by a computer simulation. For that to work would require a
lot of data and sophisticated programming and then it still might not
get it right.
This confusion of terms and definitions
will undoubtedly continue. As long as we cannot agree to use the same
terms, formulas, and laws of physics, the energy debate will be going
nowhere fast. The omissions made by the Greenpeace document are not out
of neglect but motivated by political manipulation and aims to prey
upon the energy illiterate. We can only hope those who will be reading
the Greenpeace fluff will do a little research checking on the Internet
and find another opinion fact based evaluation.
And to wrap-up this post, here's a nugget from Nuclear Green's part two that looks at what "dirty" means in terms of labeling energy sources:
nuclear power dirty is not accurate, but is dramatic, and theatrical.
The use of the term dirty with respect to nuclear is not about science,
it is about removing questions concerning nuclear risk from the realm
of rational discourse, and attempting to resolve questions about
nuclear safety on an emotional rather than a rational level.
I would say Nuclear Green's nugget pretty much sums up the whole Greenpeace study: emotional not rational. Well done guys!