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Mendez Questions Hansen

Questions for the Record
Submitted by Senator Robert Menendez to
Dr. James Hansen
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing
Keystone XL and the National Interest Determination
March 13, 2014

Menendez question #1:
Given that a new nuclear power plant would probably cost more than $12 billion, it seems few companies are willing to take the risk to build new plants here.  This reluctance occurs despite the fact that new nuclear plants receive a production tax credit, and that the federal government has agreed to foot some of the bill in the case of a catastrophic accident.  What makes you so bullish on nuclear power when other technologies, with less carbon emissions, are attracting much more investment in the United States than nuclear power?

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The feasibility of switching to nuclear power

   Based on the empirical data from the Swedish light water reactor program of 1962-1986, the; potential for global nuclear power expansion to replace fossil fuel electricity production was estimated.

   The data shows that if the  world built nuclear power at the per capita rate of Sweden during its expansion, fossil fuel electricity could be replaced within 5 years. Taking in to account relevant factors such as the relative economic output, current and past unit construction time and costs, future electricity demand growth projections and the decommissioning of existing nuclear plants, the estimate is that the global share of fossil fuel electricity could be replaced in 25± 2 years.

   This assumes that the relative expenditure globally does not exceed that of Sweden during its expansion. Given the increasing urgency regarding changes in the earth's climate due to greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel sources, this can be considered a rather conservative assumption.

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Our Mission

We are the SCGI, an international 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to informing the public and policymakers about technologies and strategies that can lead to an energy-rich world. SCGI provides a forum for many of the world's prominent scientists, authors and activists to collaborate and share their knowledge regarding solutions to the world's energy, resource and environmental problems.

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Can We Solve the Energy Problem Without Nuclear Power?

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held a symposium on February 15 addressing the question of whether greenhouse gas emissions from global energy production can be cut by 80% by 2050. Dr. Richard Lester, chairman of MIT's Department of Nuclear Engineering, delivered an insightful examination of whether this can be accomplished without nuclear power. He has been kind enough to allow us to post the entirety of his talk on our website for the benefit of our readers. His perspicacity in elucidating the issues will likely be appreciated by those who are serious about the interlocking issues of climate change and energy production. Click here to read the entire speech.

Irresponsible Physicians Oppose Nuclear Energy

An article in Forbes by James Conca

Physician group's claims on nuclear energy are wrong

The Columbia Generating Station’s nuclear power plant in Richland, Washington that, together with hydroelectric power, gives Washington State the lowest carbon, cleanest energy footprint in America, delivered with the lowest cost per kWhr of any state. Photo credit: Energy Northwest

According to a report by Physicians for Social Responsibility, shutting down the Columbia Generating Station in Washington state and building a natural gas-fired facility as its replacement could generate $1.7 billion in savings for ratepayers over a 17-year span, but the claim isn't backed up, writes scientist James Conca. "[W]hile this report supposedly says it's all about cost, it's really all about anti-nuclear politics," he argues. Forbes (12/15)

Read the article in Forbes


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