The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

They’re STILL pretending there’s a “Nuclear Renaissance”

The Myth of the Nuclear Renaissance The game is already over for nuclear energy. U.S. News Linda Pentz Gunter July 18, 2016Desperate times for the nuclear industry call for desperate rhetoric. Hence the reach, once again, for “renaissance,” even though the facts support no such thing and the industry itself dare not even resurrect the mythological moniker. [“The New Nuclear Renaissance,” 6/11/2016]

With nuclear power priced out of the market – not only by natural gas but, more importantly for climate, by renewables – die-hard nuclear proponents are dressing up old reactors in new propaganda.

Sodium-cooled, fast and even small modular reactors are all designs that have been around – and rejected – for decades.


Sodium-cooled reactors are prone to fires, explosions and super-criticality accidents. A rapid power increase inside the core of such a reactor could vaporize the fuel and blow the core apart. Far from “walk away safe,” these on-paper designs have not been submitted to the kind of rigorous “all scenarios” testing that could definitively designate them as meltdown proof.

 The reactor that consumes its own radioactive waste as fuel is not the waste management panacea its sounds like. It could theoretically “transmute” wastes by reducing the proportion of long-lived isotopes contained in them. But radioactive fission products would remain, some of which are very long-lived. Management of these radioactive wastes would still be necessary for several hundred years. They would not magically vanish.

Small modular reactors that deliver lower amounts of electricity than large ones present an economy of scale that has proven to be a deterrent to investors. Capitol costs per kilowatt for these reactors are estimated at double those for a traditional light water reactor.

Furthermore, so-called “new” designs that are still on the drawing board will remain there for years to come, too late for climate change that can be answered quickly and far more cheaply by immediate and widespread implementation of wind and solar energy, whose prices are falling precipitously.

 Not that climate change is the agenda here: Sen. James Inhofe, for one, is the most notorious climate denier on Capitol Hill. Rather, this is a thinly-veiled effort to resurrect the Argonne laboratories from obsolescence while propping up an industry that otherwise will crumble under the weight of its own disastrous economics……

The real race the U.S. is letting China win is in the renewable energy field. China’s renewable investments in 2015 totaled $100 billion, according to the just released 2016 World Nuclear Industry Status Report,” more than five times the amount the country invested for new reactors, which was $18 billion.

The game is over for nuclear energy and there is no extra time, even in China. “Construction starts for new nuclear reactors fell to zero globally in the first half of 2016 as the atomic industry struggles against falling costs for renewables and a slowdown in Chinese building” the report found.

 If there is $1 billion to spare for energy “innovation,” why not spend it on renewables, energy sources that could not radioactively contaminate vast areas for decades, use no fuel and produce no waste? That would be truly “modern.”

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that bridged Medieval times to the so-called Early Modern Age. Like nuclear energy, it is of the past, not the future.

July 20, 2016 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: