Nuclear, solar, and wind energy is a strategic plan for survival
Last week “Split, don’t burn,” explained why nuclear power, along with solar and wind, is needed to stop carbon emissions. Nuclear, solar, and wind is the best energy strategy needed to meet the increased demand for clean electricity and stop carbon emissions.
There are several primary sources of clean and resilient energy. Solar and wind energy are not enough, nuclear running around the clock is needed. Dams are at risk with too much or too little water, and tides are changing with rising seas. Additionally, demand will grow to replace internal combustion engines with electric vehicles.
Nuclear power freaks out solar and wind fans. Truth be told, environmental pollution and a deeper understanding of the climate emergency made me rethink my concerns on nuclear waste.
Air pollution and contaminated water from fossil fuels are a much higher threat, unregulated to protect the frackers. Worldwide, 350,000 unborn babies died in 2019 from air pollution in their first month, according to the State of Global Air report. Poland and other countries have large clusters of infant mortality. They generate most of their electricity burning coal.
While oil executives keep rolling in the money and abuse stimulus bailouts, the industry promotes solar and wind energy not because they like it, but to shut down nuclear plants and keep carbon emissions warming the planet.
When Harvey flooded North Carolina, coal ash waste contaminated rivers and land, a toxic chemical soup without federal regulations. The power grid is part of the problem, igniting fires in California forests stressed by droughts. Distributed generation with small modular nuclear reactors and microgrids with solar and wind are the best way.
Nuclear energy uses uranium as fuel and fission to split the atoms releasing massive amounts of energy. Nuclear energy uses small amounts of fuel and is said to be dense. The unspent fuel is nuclear waste, stored safely on-site following strict federal regulations.
There is no reason to fear radiation, nuclear plants are safe, older plants can be retrofitted instead of retired. Retiring nuclear plants out of fear is expensive, dangerous, and wasteful. The perceived health risks pale in comparison to what the next decade is likely to bring.
Radiation is used by dentists, hospitals, and to look for weapons at airport security. Radiation is like fried chicken, you will be OK if you eat some wings once in a while, but if you eat a family bucket every day you may die from “chicken exposure.”
Americans buy too much stuff. Carbon emissions are embedded in everything we buy. To reduce carbon emissions we need to repair, reuse, recycle, and buy only what we need. Buying local and shopping thrift stores are other ways to reduce carbon emissions.
Do we need electricity around the clock?
When utilities say “we keep the light on all the time, today and in the future” they are talking about new power plants and transmission lines, that is how they profit. The climate emergency requires changing our ways.
Dogs run on sunlight and live a happy life – why don’t we?
What would life look like with partial electric energy availability? Emergency energy generators power selected outlets, flashlights, and outdoor solar lights plus many other solutions are available. If you have to relocate for severe weather, you will be ready to go.
People determine energy demand. There are many ways to save energy and eliminate waste.
In the privacy of your home clothing is optional. Wear your warm jacket and gloves when it is cold. Use your heater and air conditioner only when needed.
Other strategies ignore nuclear
The Solutions Project by Mark Jacobson based on water, wind, and solar. In 2010, Jacobson provided a high-level plan for the land resources needed by each country, with colorful maps. Mark Ruffalo is funding this group.
The Superpower by Tony Seba based on solar, wind, and batteries. Tony Seba is a sales and marketing guy claiming to anticipate technology trends. Superpower promises free electricity by 2030.
These two approaches will not stop carbon emissions.
Dr. Luis Contreras