Oliver Stone’s “Nuclear” Gets Big Reception at Davos

January 18, 2023

I get that enthusiasm for nuclear is high in many circles, and I wish everybody well, but a lot of the cheerleading, since about 1977, really, kind of misses the point, as I outlined in a recent post.

CNBC:

The environmental movement’s stance on nuclear power was “wrong” and derailed the sector’s development, according to the filmmaker Oliver Stone.

During an interview with CNBC’s Tania Bryer at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Stone — who’s made a new documentary called “Nuclear Now” — was asked where his passion to tackle the climate crisis came from.

“Passion comes from the fact that … it’s my children, hopefully grandchildren soon,” Stone, who was speaking to CNBC on Tuesday afternoon, replied.

“But what are they going to do? It’s going to be a miserable existence if we have worse and worse hurricanes, fires, droughts. It’s frightening.”

“We had the solution [nuclear power] … and the environmental movement, to be honest, just derailed it. I think the environmental movement did a lot of good, a lot of good … [I’m] not knocking it, but in this one major matter, it was wrong. It was wrong.”  

“And what they did was so destructive, because by now we would have 10,000 nuclear reactors built around the world and we would have set an example like France set for us, but no one … followed France, or Sweden for that matter.”

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22 Responses to “Oliver Stone’s “Nuclear” Gets Big Reception at Davos”

  1. Jim Torson Says:

    These people who claim the environmental movement sidelined nuclear are delusional. The thing that sidelined nuclear is ECONOMICS. It’s just too damn expensive.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Absolute crap! ” ‘Environmentalists’ ‘ are shutting down nukes NOW, protesting their existence NOW, and are (the) a major cause of the shitty economics. Too EXPENSIVE to save the damn planet FFS.

      • mbrysonb Says:

        Promises of cheap, reliable safe nuclear power have continued to fail for decades– they are still very expensive ways of producing energy, with serious limitations (cooling, risks of waste disposal, problems with design and construction of new reactors). OTOH, the progress of renewables continues, with better designs, lower cost, integrating energy storage (battery performance continues to improve as costs per KWH get lower).

      • renewableguy Says:

        Illinois Nuclear costs are higher than other energy sources. We are subsidizing nuclear at about 280 million a year. No clean energy bills get through without their getting their millions.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Coal helped fund a lot of the anti-nuke movement, which is the saddest part of all.

    • jimbills Says:

      The ‘things’ that really sidelined nuclear were Three Mile, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. Three Mile stopped new U.S. nuclear plants dead in its tracks during a period when nuclear power was increasing in the States. Chernobyl confirmed the worry, and new nuclear power basically died here for decades. Fukushima then killed nuclear in many other parts of the world.

      We always talk about the economics of scale. There’s no valid reason why that can’t happen with nuclear as well, but the simple fact is that we’re scared of it.

      The U.S. DID start regulating the crap out of nuclear, which has led to many of the cost overruns we see now – but again, all that is traced back to the major accidents and our reaction to them.

      https://news.mit.edu/2020/reasons-nuclear-overruns-1118

      It’s a tragedy all the way around. Nuclear could be a major factor in reducing carbon emissions. But, it’s not likely to do so any time soon. A million different reasons are given why nuclear isn’t good – the costs, the waste, etc. – but as a group we’re just plain skeered of it, and recent history is the reason.

      As a group, we SHOULD look at what is actually more frightening – a warming world, or the possibility of meltdowns and a backlog of nuclear waste, but we won’t do that. Our risk analysis abilities as a species aren’t based on rationality. They’re based on fear.

      • jimbills Says:

        Side note: everyone blames the guy with no power. Environmentalists are a TINY minority in the U.S. (I’d assume the world as well, but I’ll only speak for here). It’s easy and it’s effective to blame the granola crunchers. Stupid, stinky hippies! But, it ignores the fact that Three Mile and Chernobyl scared the pants off EVERYONE in the 1980’s, and caused the electricity companies run by money men in suits (decidedly not environmentalists) to cancels hundreds of new plants. The enviros didn’t do that, nor were they at fault for Fukushima, which killed nuclear in Germany, Japan, and other places.

  2. mbrysonb Says:

    Sheesh. The history is not very supportive (and I was a fan– long ago). Cost over-runs, trouble cooling plants in France in the summer (as water levels decline) when demand is high, long, ongoing history of over-promising and under-delivering, with cost-overruns over and over again. And the waste issue remains very troubling. Wind and solar look far more promising to me.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Sheesh. Wind and solar can do it alone only on planet fantasy. The thought is so bluddy silly. The world is cooking so work on SOLUTIONS not wishful thinking. BTW, the ‘waste issue’ is a created excuse, a unscientific furphy.

      • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

        Sheesh. Wind and solar can do it alone only on planet fantasy.

        From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
        “A straw man fallacy (sometimes written as strawman) is a form of argument and an informal fallacy of having the impression of refuting an argument, whereas the real subject of the argument was not addressed or refuted, but instead replaced with a false one.”

        The straw man here is “wind and solar can do it alone,” as if this forum hasn’t been replete with examples of both multiple generation technologies and multiple storage technologies.

        • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

          February 2022, western Europe suffered 14 days of BA wind. Solar production in February is your guess. If they were 100% renewable they would has frozen in the dark of those short cold days. That is not straw, that is fact. Claiming that pissant peaker plants can be expanded to last half a month without recharge is straw.

          • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

            If they were 100% renewable they would has frozen in the dark of those short cold days.

            That’s an argument for why fossil fuels were burned in Europe in 2022, not that a combination of new geothermal, wind, solar and various scales of storage would not work in 2030.

            When would new nuclear power plants be online for Europe? Would they be able to handle demand during heat waves?

          • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

            Have a good one RWC!

  3. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    There is no argument that renewables are superior to nukes. Win hands down. The argument is whether if they can do it alone. Silly silly wishful thinking. Look for solutions, they are needed.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Nuclear power plants have an economic problem in that the more “low-hanging fruit” of energy that is taken by wind, solar, geo, and storage, the smaller the niche where nuclear power plants are cost-effective. That is, if nuclear is limited to the areas where wsg&s are insufficient, it probably becomes less cost-effective itself.

      AFAICT, the cheapest nukes are thermal power plants that have a reliable* outside supply of cooling water. Those sites are rarer and rarer these days, so the new fleet of plants need self-sufficient cooling tech. France’s old much-vaunted nuclear fleet cannot be a model for future NPPs.

      As with nuclear submarine power plants, reusable designs make things cheaper, but the economics of SMNRs would suffer with any unique or added feature making them more expensive (since much of the economic edge is lost from them being “small” in the first place).

      _________
      *Reliable includes protection from SLR, storm surge, river flooding, lake temperatures, etc.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      “The argument is whether if they [renewables] can do it alone. Silly silly wishful thinking.”

      Silly wishful thinking that has passed peer review dozens of times.

      Silly wishful thinking that has been demonstrated already multiple times by small countries, that has happened for limited amounts of times in large countries despite minimal deployment of RE.

      Silly wishful thinking that is the opinion of actual electricity supply analysts.

      What is silly is that the only people saying WindWaterSolar are not up the task are nuclear advocates who are monomaniacally whipping the dead carcass of the moribund nuclear construction industry. First they said RE will never penetrate past 20% market share. Now that several countries have 50% – 100% RE penetration they have reverted to simple name-calling.

      Meanwhile, back at the solar and wind farm:

      Click to access CountriesWWS.pdf

  4. Ron Benenati Says:

    I find the argument blaming environmentalists to be absolute crap.
    Of course, totally expected crap. The fact that the desire to keep the
    status quo and continue with fossil fuels for so long has been a deliberate,
    poorly calculated choice. The fact that NOTHING significant has been done
    is a factor of lack of will.
    But the scum that has done perpetuated the slide to disaster will never one it.
    Like “labor” being the cause for inflation. They are paid too much, says the forces milking the system.
    The next stage of climate denial begins…”let’s blame the people pointing the finger at us.” Guess we have gone from “denial” to “deflection.” Will persecution of those who demanded justice at the hands of those who perpetrated the crime along with the endless many who have turned a blind eye be next?

  5. LaDelle Therese Says:

    Ugh. Stone is so unhelpful here. And his point is? Nothing but ad hominem thoughts about Stone based on this. At Davos no less. Gag.

  6. ubrew12 Says:

    Dig harder: the money to litigate and propagandize nuclear into oblivion may well have come from the fossil fuel industry, the only industry poised to benefit from its demise. Pay liberals to hate on nuclear, pay conservatives to hate on renewables, and what are you left with?


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