Manhattan Institute: Foes of nuclear power impeding clean-energy progress

The Trillo Nuclear Power Plant in Spain.
The Trillo Nuclear Power Plant in Spain. | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The White House’s current Clean Energy Plan has fanned the flames of more debate between different energy industries and their importance as an energy resource, while also enforcing their contributions to new clean-energy goals.

The need to reduce CO2 emissions to not exceed 2030 and 2050 goals is becoming increasingly imperative, and the nuclear industry is working hard to gain more momentum, as it offers one of the cleanest energy sources.

“Opposition to nuclear energy has been a standard part of the leftist-environmentalism for decades,” Robert Bryce, an energy expert at the Manhattan Institute, recently told Power News Wire. “The hard reality is that if we are going to slow the growth of carbon dioxide emissions, nuclear energy must be part of the mix.”

Despite the necessity of nuclear energy, there have been several debates about the closing of certain nuclear plants, especially in the New England area, and how natural gas and alternative energy sources (wind and solar) are viable replacements for fossil fuels.

“Nuclear is particularly important in the northeastern U.S. because the region is constrained in terms of natural gas delivery, meaning there simply aren't enough gas pipelines.” Bryce said.

Bryce said that without nuclear power as a primary resource, carbon-dioxide emissions will increase. “We can see a case in point by looking at California and the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. When that plant was closed, the state made up for the lost electricity by increasing the use of natural gas. The result: CO2 emissions increased by 13 million tons over the prior year.”

Bryce also said the Obama administration's support for nuclear power has been “lukewarm.”

“Yes, the Department of Energy has provided loan guarantees, and the White House has held a meeting on advanced nuclear technology, but if Obama were serious about the issue of climate change, he'd be pushing hard on nuclear energy,” Bryce said. “He's not. That, in my view, is largely due to the fact that the Democratic Party remains opposed to nuclear.”

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