Amory Lovins: The view that climate protection requires expanding nuclear power has a basic flaw in its prevailing framing: it rarely if ever relates climate-effectiveness to cost or to speed—even though stopping climate change requires scaling the fastest and cheapest solutions. By focusing on carbon but only peripherally mentioning cost and speed, and by not relating these three variables, this approach misframes what climate solutions must do. The climate argument for using nuclear power assumes that since nuclear power generation directly releases no CO2, it can be an effective climate solution. It can’t, because new (or even existing) nuclear generation costs more per kWh than carbon-free competitors—efficient use and renewable power—and thus displaces less carbon per dollar (or, by separate analysis, per year): less not by a small margin but by about an order of magnitude (factor of roughly ten). As I noted in an unpublished 17 Aug letter to The New York Times: …[The Times’s 14 August] editorial twice extols “wind, solar and nuclear power” as if all three had equal climate benefits. They don’t. New electricity costs 3–8 (says merchant bank Lazard) or 5–13 (says Bloomberg New Energy Finance) times less from unsubsidized wind and solar than from nuclear power. Renewables thus displace 3–13 times more fossil-fueled generation per dollar than nuclear, and far sooner. Efficiency is even cheaper, beating most existing reactors’ operating costs. Competing or comparing all options…saves more carbon.
Beyond Nuclear 3rd Oct 2021 read more »