Nuclear Is Obviously Clean Energy | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Jon Sanders.

    A couple of years ago, I asked whether Gov. Roy Cooper could finally support nuclear power, since even Pres. Joe Biden was. Our existing nuclear power plants have pulled off a "rare feat in politics": "Nuclear produces zero emissions while at the same time being the most reliable and lowest-cost source of electricity. It checks all the boxes."

    I had to ask for several reasons. Nuclear power was conspicuously absent from the Cooper administration's initial "Clean Power Plan," but after weathering the bulk of public comments questioning its absence, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) answered with what former DEQ Secretary Donald R. van der Vaart called "a straightforward, categorical rejection of nuclear power."

    The North Carolina Utilities Commission's recently announced initial Carbon Plan wisely would extend our nuclear fleet's licenses and look into adding more. The Locke Foundation's Center for Food, Power, and Life had proposed a model "Least Cost Decarbonization" scenario to the Utilities Commission that would ultimately rely primarily on nuclear and storage by 2050 to achieve the goal of "carbon neutrality" by 2050.

    Model Least Cost Decarbonization Portfolio: Total Installed Capacity by Year

    The reliability of our nuclear power was on major display during the unprecedented Christmas Eve blackouts of 2022. While freezing of some instrumentation lines kept coal and natural gas facilities from producing as much power as expected, and while solar didn't produce at all except for the few hours when the sun was shining (which occurred after peak demand), nuclear's productivity was so steady one might mistake it for the upper bound line of the chart:

    Beyond the obvious - that nuclear is the most efficient, reliable source of electricity, which also happens to be a zero-emissions source - our scenario avoided Cooper's preferences for intermittent solar and wind for several reasons. Solar and wind:

  • are extremely expensive
  • require enormous swaths of land
  • are intermittent and unreliable (they are at the mercy of nature; at best, solar can produce for less than half a 24-hour day)
  • require backup generation for other times (adding to their expense) - and the backup source is invariably a source of carbon dioxideucl emissions

    I have long questioned why state law excludes nuclear from its list of "renewable" energy sources. A decade ago, in a report on the state's renewable energy portfolio standard (REPS), I pointed out that "nuclear, which emits no carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, or nitrogen oxides, is expressly listed as an unapproved [renewable energy] source." It seemed a glaring flaw.

    That flaw would be remedied in Senate Bill 678. In its second edition as of this writing, SB 678 would rename the REPS the "Clean Energy Portfolio Standard (CEPS)," and it would add "nuclear energy resources, including an uprate to a nuclear energy facility" as well as (nuclear) "fusion energy" to the definition of "clean energy resource."

    Carolina Journal has a story on SB 678 - sponsored primarily by Sens. Paul Newton, R-Cabarrus; Buck Newton, R-Wilson; and Dave Craven, R-Randolph; with several cosponsors - and the importance of those changes.


    My colleague André Béliveau spoke in favor of the change, pointing out that, "Any endeavor seeking to lower carbon emissions while also seeking to maintain the reliability of any energy grid must have nuclear as part of the mix. Adding nuclear power to the legal definition of clean energy is a great next step."
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )


( May 31st, 2023 @ 7:04 pm )
Listin to that British TV documentary and you will learn why that emission rate is a big red herring. It is meaningless. Step outside your narrative and listen to some real science for a change.
Big Bob said:
( May 31st, 2023 @ 6:33 pm )
I can figure out the emission rates, and holy cow, its a lot!
( May 31st, 2023 @ 5:28 pm )
Says the man who only thinks there is a problem because he cannot process any infomration outside the globalist narrative on climate alarmism. COs has never driven warming or colling in the past, and there is no reason except pliticized science fiction to say that it suffenly does now. Watch that British TV documentary and listen to all those prominent scientists on it, Little Bobbie, and you might learn something.
Big Bob said:
( May 31st, 2023 @ 10:05 am )
Said the man who has no clue of the size and scope of the problem. No one argues that there is a natural cycle of cooling and warming. The argument is: does adding vast amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere, over time, accelerate the warming?
( May 31st, 2023 @ 9:41 am )
You are a broken record of irrelevant information, but that is because you cannot get past the dogma of your globalist narrative. Changes in CO2 have never before had any impact on warming or cooling of the climate in Earth's history, but the one thing that does happen naturally during those natural warming cycles is that oceans release large amounts of dissolved CO2, which drarfs anything prodcued by humans. This is a RESULT of warming, not a cause of it.

Maybe you would like to expalin the Medieval Warm Period, when it was warmer than today? Were there a bunch of SUVs around in those days that have somehow been lost to history and forgotten? Did it come from horse farts from all those knights riding around? Heck no, it was a normal natural cliamte cycle that has always happened on Earth.
Big Bob said:
( May 31st, 2023 @ 8:54 am )
How much CO2 John, how much is added each day?
( May 30th, 2023 @ 4:24 pm )
The fact that we are in a natural warming cycle, as the Earth has always gone through for centuries at a time is what is real. The notion that human CO2 has anything to do with it is nothing but political propaganda. The Earth wil move at some point into a natural cooling cycle, and based on sun spot predictions by astronomers, that may not be far off. Wind and solar are sscams by grifters who are doing a lot of environmental harm and jacking up our electric rates.
Big Bob said:
( May 30th, 2023 @ 12:36 pm )
True. Because climate change is real. Current Wind and solar technology is more of a stop gap until we can get off fossil fuels.
( May 30th, 2023 @ 7:57 am )
Actually, more and more thinking lefties are backing nuclear. Also more and more thinking lefties are realizinng the problems with wind and solar. If you don't beleive that, watch far left filmmaker Michheal Moore's documentary "Planet of the Humans" that absolutely demolishes wind and solar as energy sources.
Big Bob said:
( May 29th, 2023 @ 9:22 pm )
Really? How many far lefties would agree to nuclear power? I'm far more centric than you give me credit. There really are 80 million of us and we voted for JB.
( May 29th, 2023 @ 1:23 pm )
Your responses are nothing but the tunnel vision of the key talking points of the globalist narrative. You have not even tried to counter any of the scientific arguments which are based on the information from those prominent scientists interviewed in that British TV documentary linked before that expose climate alarmism as a bunch of bunk.
Big Bob said:
( May 29th, 2023 @ 11:26 am )
I think my response to you was fair and well measured. Not everyone is going to agree with you. On this issue, most wont. Time will tell. We might even be alive to say "I told you so" Wouldn't that be funny!
View All Comments

March Jobs Report: Decreasing Unemployment, But Concerns Lie Beneath the Surface Powering our Communities, A Business Perspective, John Locke Foundation Guest Editorial, Editorials, Business, Op-Ed & Politics Farming Subsidies Disproportionately Hurt Small Farms


Back to Top