Dan Shugar

Shug Speaks

New Nuclear is a Non-Starter. Here’s Why.

May 27, 2019

Colleagues – I normally don’t invest time commenting on why new nuclear power is a non-starter, because seemingly so obvious an imprudent decision should dissuade any investor. However, in light of a huge nuclear industry marketing campaign to keep existing plants subsidized and promote a false vision of affordable new technology, it is informative to review a sober assessment found in a Washington Post op-ed here from Gregory Jaczko, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who now embraces renewable energy as the founder of WindFuture LLC. 

He concludes, “History shows that the expense involved in nuclear power will never change.” The Fukushima Daiichi crisis made Jaczko seriously consider whether risks from human-caused global warming outweighed the dangers of nuclear power, and “the falling cost of renewable power changed the calculus” further. “The current and potential costs — in lives and dollars — are just too high.”

The serious ramifications of nuclear powerplant accidents weigh heavily on the public as well with only 45% the public somewhat or strongly supporting nuclear (Vox) and more than three-quarters of voters across party lines supporting solar energy (Solar Energy Industries Association).

Jaczko continues, “Could reactors be phased out here without increasing carbon emissions? If it were completely up to the free market, the answer would be yes, because nuclear is more expensive than almost any other source of electricity today. Renewables such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power generate electricity for less than the nuclear plants under construction in Georgia, and in most places, they produce cheaper electricity than existing nuclear plants that have paid off all their construction costs.”

I couldn’t agree more with Jaczko – nuclear is not a viable strategy for combating climate change. Choose renewables, choose safety, choose the planet.

Join the conversation on nuclear energy now on my LinkedIn page here.

Shug