On Thursday, two Congressional Democrats, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, unveiled a sweeping “Green New Deal” initiative to fight climate change and revitalize the economy. As part of that initiative, the Green New Deal calls for the entire country to be powered by renewable energy. While solar and wind energy are prominently featured, one power source is deliberately left out: nuclear. That’s absolutely the right call. At first glance, it seems at least strange and perhaps short-sighted for any environmental plan that would move the U.S. entirely off fossil fuels to leave out nuclear power. After all, nuclear plants can produce an enormous amount of energy with no carbon emissions. Nuclear power can be generated consistently, where wind and solar are intermittent by nature. Nuclear plants could replace current coal or natural gas plants, or supplement solar or wind installations in populous areas. And nuclear power is popular enough that plenty of environmental advocates like left-leaning think tank Third Way—the kind of people who used to oppose nuclear because of its unavoidable waste problem—want to see it incorporated into our long-term environmental strategy. However, despite the advantages, nuclear simply has too many downsides to ever be a viable way to produce electricity in the U.S. Primarily, it’s just too damn hard and expensive to build new nuclear capacity in 21st century America.
Popular Mechanics 8th Feb 2019 read more »