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LETTER: Nuclear power practically dead

Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor.
Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor. - SaltWire Network


Peter Noakes and I agree on the urgent need for carbon action, including carbon pricing. We disagree on nuclear energy’s ability to play an economically meaningful part of the solution.

Wind, solar, and storage technologies (thermal storage for heat/cold, electric vehicles, grid batteries, power-to-gas) are plummeting in price. Efficiency and conservation are no-brainers: building envelope improvements, LED lighting, and high-efficiency heat pumps are proven methods. Many ways exist for highly renewable energy systems to be affordable and reliable, says science. Brown et al. (2018) conclude, “the 100 per cent renewable energy scenarios proposed in the literature are not just feasible, but also viable.”

Global data show renewable electricity adds output and saves carbon faster than nuclear power does or ever has. (Lovins et al., 2018).

Nuclear takes forever, 10-19 years from planning-to-operation, or gets abandoned. About half the nuclear reactors ever ordered in the US were canceled. New wind and solar farms take 2-5 years from planning-to-operation.

Nuclear power is practically dead. Look at the Vogtle nuclear plant being constructed in the US. It's taking forever as always, and the projected cost has spiraled from an original $4.4B to an estimated $25B including financing costs.

We're out of tomorrows. In Canada, existing hydroelectric reservoirs can act as giant batteries. Wind, solar, and efficiency measures are affordable, as are a myriad of storage solutions. These project costs are falling, they scale rapidly, and consistently come in on time and budget. None of this holds true for nuclear power.

Phillip Griffin,

North Wiltshire

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