Is Nuclear Energy Needed to Fight Climate Change? How Much Better Is Renewable Energy Than Coal?

Energy, Nuclear Power Plant, Grohnde

The reason that economic debates often trump (pardon the pun) environmental debates when finding answers to anthropogenic climate change, is because the senate is bulk climate denying Republicans, who are more likely to react to economic arguments. Republican senators will be necessary to pass surroundings regulatory legislation (now that Trump has ruined the Clean Power Plan, fresh energy/ environmental regulations are required ), and ideally a national carbon pricing system.

Energy policies which represent a cost savings; that are inclined to be energy investments, more than coal can be voted for by republicans.

The price of producing energy using a renewable fuel vs. fossil fuels is dramatically lower when only the expense of generating electricity (marginal cost) is considered. When the expenses of the negative externalities associated with fossil fuel production are added in with the LCOE*, the comparative price of renewable energy resources vs. fossil fuels is lower still. Hydroelectricity represents a cost source of energy for the United States. Producing energy from coal is harmful to public health and the environment, and is cheaper than gasoline or renewables.

It represents the per-MWh price (in discounted real dollars) of construction and operating a generating plant within a supposed financial life and duty cycle. – quote in the EIA

  • Cases of levelized costs of electricity include: up-front funding costs/ prices of initial investment (that are much greater for renewable energy compared to fossil fuel energy), marginal cost of this fuel source (that is a lot greater for fossil fuels, and almost nothing at no cost, abundant sources of renewable energy such as solar and wind energy, and very low price for hydro, geothermal, and biomass), cost of upkeep for the power plant/ energy farm/ dam, etc.. . , cost of transporting the fuel (again, zero for many renewable energy), costs associated with transmitting/ dispersing the energy, insurance prices for the energy generating facility, etc.. .

Nuclear is the form of electricity. The”good” thing about atomic energy generation is that there are little to no negative externalities with respect to the actual energy generation, i.e. little to no GHG emissions… and you only need to find Yucca mountains to bury the radioactive waste so individuals are not exposed to potentially cancer-causing radiation… oh, and we must hope that there isn’t a Fukushima-type catastrophe.

Having said that, 4th generation nuclear promises to be secure (if it ever gets built). New reactors can operate on thorium and uranium. Cost efficient layouts. As you can see in this graph, In fact, the cost of energy generation from innovative nuclear reactors is appearing viable. The important issues with plants are: the high capital cost of constructing new plants, and the possibility for another Fukushima and / or nuclear weapons proliferation till gen atomic is ready to be produced and deployed. The US Energy Information Administration estimated that for new plants in 2019 funding costs will constitute 75 percent of the LCOE.

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