While America Pursues Renewables, Worldwide Expansion Is Underway For Nuclear Generated Electricity – OpEd


American political leaders such as President Joe Biden and California Governor Gavin Newsom continue “to dream the impossible dream” that intermittent electricity from wind and solar can run the world while countries such as Sweden, China, India, and Russia are changing from occasional electricity by renewables to electricity from nuclear that is continuous, uninterruptible, and fossil-free.

With regards to reliable electricity, Sweden has said their electricity policy goal is “changed from 100% renewable to 100% fossil-free”. The Swedish government unveiled a roadmap which envisages the construction of new nuclear generating capacity equivalent to at least two large-scale reactors by 2035. Sweden plans ‘massive’ expansion of new nuclear generated electricity by 2045.

The Swedish agreement also said necessary regulations should be developed to create the conditions for the construction and operation of small modular reactors (SMRs) to service smaller communities. In addition, the permitting process for nuclear power plants must be shortened.

Elsewhere, about 60 nuclear power reactors are currently being constructed in 15 countries, notably China, India, and Russia. Together, China and Russia account for 70 percent of new nuclear plants.

America continues its pursuit of reducing crude oil usage, in favor of wind and solar generated electricity. In addition, the “American renewables dream“ would mean sacrificing an estimated 6,000 useful products that rely on by-products manufactured from crude oil – products that range from asphalt for highways to fertilizers, cosmetics, synthetic rubber, medicines and medical devices, cleaning products, plastics, so many more.

Without fuels and without products now based on crude oil, we would be unable to operate the international and military airports that now accommodate a large number of the  more than 20,000 commercial aircraft  and a large number of the more than 50,000 military aircraft, as well as many of the more than50,000 merchant ships.

Without the fuels and products now based on oil, the world would see the elimination of all militaries and space programs as the world reverts to the pre-1800’s when civilization existed without oil!

The billions who live on this planet without the benefits of those products made from the petrochemicals manufactured from crude oil have provided are also the poorest, sickest, and most vulnerable humans on the planet.

For any electricity generation method, whether it’s coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind turbines, or solar panels, the most reliable are those that can generate continuous and uninterruptible electricity year-round to support hospitals, industry, militaries, electronics, and communications.

The nameplate rated capacity of renewables is very misleading as the generated electricity is intermittent and unreliable. Wind facilities only generate their stated output about 30-40 percent of the time.  Solar units typically only kick in 25 percent of their purported “capacity factor.” That means backup electricity  from coal, natural gas, and nuclear generating plants must be provided for the other 60-75 percent of the time that wind and solar are napping.

To the electrical engineer, the available wind and solar farms operational data shows that, it is not possible for wind and solar electricity to ever displace dispatchable, reliable generation of continuous uninterruptable electricity supplying the base load demand. In this regard, the proposal by some policymakers to replace major coal, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear power stations with a fleet of nameplate rated wind and solar farms that are dormant most of the time is not technically achievable, thus “they dream the impossible dream”.

Further, the minerals and components of renewable electricity from wind and solar are typically garnered overseas in developing countries, chiefly in China, Africa, and Latin America. What this means is that it will be on the backs of poor Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics to provide the low-cost, cheap labor that will drive a “Green revolution” – to include any potential child and slave labor as well as extensive environmental degradation to “their” country, as discussed in detail in the Pulitzer Prize Nominated book “Clean Energy Exploitations – Helping Citizens Understand the Environmental and Humanity Abuses That Support Clean Energy”.

As for the environmental credentials of “clean electricity”, governmental leaders need to look at the trail of environmental and human damage from the beginning to the end of the life of batteries, turbines, and solar panels. The cleanliness of “clean” electricity is one of the Big Lies of our time. Wind and solar electricity are not cheap or energy-efficient, after considering the energy required for mining, transporting, processing, construction, and disposal of the hardware at the end of the line.

Then we have the oxymoron situation, where policymakers are not yet cognizant that everything that “needs” electricity is made with the oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil, from the light bulb to the iPhone, defibrillator, etc., etc.! Thus, renewables are not displacing the need for crude oil.

Policymakers need to have a plan to be able to support the materialistic demands of the eight billion on this globe for all the products, infrastructures, and electricity that exist today that did not exist a few hundred years ago. Efforts to cease the use of crude oil, without a planned replacement, could be the greatest threat to civilization’s demands of the eight billion on this planet.

The so-called fossil fuel industry enables people to live lives of ease and comfort that were inconceivable for the masses before the 1800’s. The products and fuels manufactured from crude oil are the basis of modern life, providing thousands of products that are ubiquitous in modern society. These include items that we use practically every minute of the day from putting on our makeup and cleaning our teeth to undergoing medical treatment. Imagine the pharmaceutical industry without petrochemical products.

If we want to deliver continuous, uninterruptible, and emission-free electricity at scale, and at a low cost for millions of electricity consumers, to support the materialistic demands that did not exist a few short centuries ago, that pace will have to move to a warp speed timeline, like that in Sweden, China, India, and Russia with their focus on electricity from nuclear generation.

Ronald Stein

Ronald Stein, Founder and Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure of PTS Advance, headquartered in Irvine, California.

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