Why not nuclear?

Since the dummy in the White House has totally caved in to the Green New Deal, the serious importance of generated electricity has become profoundly obvious to the rest of us.  It now seems that, by promoting the foolish assumption that "renewables" would still be able to sustain our standard of living, a valuable vaccination against such nonsense has occurred.

Some years ago, Scientific American ran a feature article on nuclear energy.  The economic comparison between the use of nuclear fission and natural gas combustion was particularly interesting.  A natural gas power plant (or a coal-fired plant, for that matter) is fairly easy and, thus, inexpensive to throw together.  The price of the fuel, however, has a major impact on the cost of generating those ol' megawatt-hours...and the price of natural gas is considerably volatile.

Meanwhile, the cost of refined uranium is pretty much insignificant when it comes to the operating budget of a nuclear power plant.  Such an operation is, instead, much, much more capital-intensive, since nuclear plants are rather expensive to construct.  The implied benefit in all of this is that the cost of nuclear power generation is really quite steady, especially when compared to natural gas.

There are longstanding concerns over dealing with the radioactive waste generated by reactors.  Long-term storage is the norm.  Anti-nuclear zealots fret over the vulnerability to terrorism or just plain accidental release.  But such events are extremely rare, and carbon-based fuel combustion also releases "hot" isotopes into the atmosphere, since they occur naturally in fossil fuels.

Sunlight, however, is really what does the most zapping of our planet.  Also, in Apocalypse Never, former anti-nuclear zealot Michael Shellenberger points out that some of the major players in the anti-nuclear movement are heavily invested in natural gas.  He goes so far as to mention Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris by name.  It was in the news that Brown's sister had serious involvement with a gas well that was leaking enormous volume into the atmosphere.

To further reduce the amount of radioactive waste, work continues on liquid sodium reactors.  Unlike water reactors, sodium reactors are much cleaner, but they are considerably more expensive to build.  Hence, Bill Gates is helping back a project in Kemmerer, Wyoming, formerly known as a frontier coal town.  Most reactors use water as the heat exchanger, from the core to the turbine, but water produces a fair amount of "hot" isotopes, whereas sodium doesn't, because it's relatively transparent to neutrons.

Way out there in left field is the continuing quest for fusion energy.  After all, we harnessed the technology behind the atomic bomb, so why couldn't we do the same with the hydrogen bomb?  The sun runs on fusion, as do all of the other stars.  But they have immense gravitational compression that fuses hydrogen into helium.  All we have thus far is extremely energy-intensive particle acceleration to do the same.  Bottom line:  Were fusion to ever become commercially feasible, it would have to run for several years just to break even because of all of the energy consumed in its development.

Because of the preliminary implementation of the ideology of the Green New Deal, we have become particularly sensitive to not just the source, but the availability of energy.  Adoption of "renewables" isn't just about the flick of a switch; profound consequences are hanging in the balance.  The useful idiots who pushed this junk were completely surprised by their failure to fill the gap.  I wouldn't expect any serious answer to this question...from them.

Image via Pixabay.

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