Twitter Dust-Up: Nuclear Advocate Rakes Nuclear Cost Overruns

May 11, 2022

Here, a bracing twitter thread from Jesse Jenkins of Princeton, a very well informed and sharp researcher on grid decarbonization. Dr. Jenkins has been consistent in favoring renewables plus nuclear energy as part of a global decarbonization plan, but here, he brings some tough love.

I’m just glad that someone finally gave me a credible number for electricity production from the long awaited Vogtle Nuclear plant project in Georgia, much delayed and hugely over budget.

And for the soft-headed off-the-gridders both left and right who are thinking, “no problem, I’ll just get solar panels on my roof”, there’s this.

Fun thread has lots of pushback from butt-hurt nuke bros.

Finally, if you want more and have some time, the Energy Gang podcast from last week throws a lot of shade on just about everybody’s assumptions about decarbonization, notably from Melissa Lott, Director of Research at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

One thing I did not know – that almost all of the advanced reactor designs currently in development require something called HALEU, High Assay, Low enrichment Uranium, as a fuel.

Currently, the global supply of that comes from – ta da! – Russia. I’ll make another post on that.


4 Responses to “Twitter Dust-Up: Nuclear Advocate Rakes Nuclear Cost Overruns”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    “And since I’ve upset team nuclear, I’ll throw this in for equal measure: Vogtle is still a better deal than New Jersey or Massachusetts ratepayers have been getting for rooftop solar at well over $200/MWh…”

    ?? What does “ratepayers” have to do with rooftop solar? Isn’t that a private household choice? Beyond the scams, some people are willing to fork out money for reliability and/or personal climate smugitude and/or taking advantage of subsidy programs that push the costs below a critical threshold.

    I didn’t buy a Leaf in 2014 because it was cheaper.

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    The risks and externalities of nukes are huge and unaffordable. No sane society would even think about it, especially when there’s a perfectly viable system with no risk.

    And yes, rooftop solar is a completely different deal. No transmission costs, it has value beyond its simple generation, and the same people pay for it and benefit from it.

    Rooftop solar and home batteries make a clean grid vastly more affordable
    David Roberts

    My new favorite chart:

    Rooftop solar with storage is its own nano-grid; it allows more utility solar on the grid, which allows more wind, AND reduces the need for peak generation capacity all out of proportion to its capacity and cost. And that cost, as stated, is to the people who reap the return of their investment so all this low-carbon energy+storage is practically free to the public. The current attempt to destroy rooftop solar in California, for example, is incredibly misguided and destructive; the fossil fuel- and right wing-funded disinformation cabal is mining the same vein of selfishness as Prop. 13 to keep the fossil & fissile fuel money and power pipeline flowing.

  3. John Oneill Says:

    At the moment, in Germany, 109 gigawatts of solar and wind capacity is producing less than 8 GW of power ( with a brief maximum for the last 24 hours of 25 GW). Nuclear is producing at 64% of remaining capacity, and has been all day – lowish for nuclear, but still nearly ten times better than wind and solar combined, if you need the juice now. A bird in the hand is much better than the flock in the bush.

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