Nuclear Power

Will Environmentalists Force California to Choose "Dirty" Energy Over Clean Nuclear?

Closing the state's last nuclear power plant is anti-environmental and just plain stupid.



Activists want to shut down California's last nuclear reactors located at Diablo Canyon. However, these efforts are being opposed by other environmental activists who don't want the Golden State to forego the carbon-free energy generated by the plants. In January, a group of 50 prominent scientists, conservationists, and climate change activists issued an open letter urging Governor Jerry Brown and other state officials to keep the reactors operating.

The letter signed by Whole Earth Catalogue Founder, Stewart Brand and former NASA climate scientist James Hansen, among others, specifically noted, "Diablo Canyon provided 22 percent of all the clean energy electricity generated in California in 2014. If closed, it will likely be replaced by natural gas and California's carbon emissions will increase the equivalent of adding nearly two million cars to the road."

On Sunday, Breakthrough Institute co-founder Michael Shellenberger and former Missouri Botanical Gardens head Peter Raven, published an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle explaining that those people who are concerned about the future of climate change should be in favor of keeping the Diablo Canyon plants open. Why?

"Diablo Canyon produces twice as much power as all of California's solar panels, 24 percent more than all of its wind, and 40 times more than its largest solar farm," observed Shellenberger and Raven. "Also, Diablo Canyon provides power to 3 million Californians on a patch of land the size of three football fields. Achieving the equivalent from a solar farm would require 145 times more land; from wind, 500 times more."

Interestingly, an article today on the controversy in Mother Jones points out that California's "rate of reducing carbon emissions is slower than the national average—a 7.5 percent reduction since 2000, compared with 9.6 percent nationwide." Replacing Diablo Canyon reactors with natural gas plants would make that record even worse.

in the run-up to the Paris climate change conference, the godfather of climate change awareness, James Hansen and three other prominent climate researchers published a letter in The Guardian which stated:

To solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not on prejudice. The climate system cares about greenhouse gas emissions – not about whether energy comes from renewable power or abundant nuclear power. Some have argued that it is feasible to meet all of our energy needs with renewables. The 100% renewable scenarios downplay or ignore the intermittency issue by making unrealistic technical assumptions, and can contain high levels of biomass and hydroelectric power at the expense of true sustainability. Large amounts of nuclear power would make it much easier for solar and wind to close the energy gap.

The climate issue is too important for us to delude ourselves with wishful thinking. Throwing tools such as nuclear out of the box constrains humanity's options and makes climate mitigation more likely to fail. We urge an all-of-the-above approach that includes increased investment in renewables combined with an accelerated deployment of new nuclear reactors.

Bemusingly, Hansen was denounced almost immediately as a strange new "denialist" in The Guardian for his support of nuclear power by climate change fundamentalist Naomi Oreskes:

There is also a new, strange form of denial that has appeared on the landscape of late, one that says that renewable sources can't meet our energy needs.

Oddly, some of these voices include climate scientists, who insist that we must now turn to wholesale expansion of nuclear power. Just this past week, as negotiators were closing in on the Paris agreement, four climate scientists held an off-site session insisting that the only way we can solve the coupled climate/energy problem is with a massive and immediate expansion of nuclear power. More than that, they are blaming environmentalists, suggesting that the opposition to nuclear power stands between all of us and a two-degree world.

Take that, you "renewables deniers!"

But seriously folks—if you think man-made climate change is a problem, then blindly opposing nuclear power as part of the solution is, well, counter-productive, if not just plain stupid.

For more background see my recent article, "Advanced Nuclear Power Resurgence in the U.S."

NEXT: Why Trump and Bernie Are Bae, Not Rand

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  1. I remember buying a mac powerbook from teh whole earth catalog/store. Back when you downloaded porn as multi part text files.

    1. Jerking off to binary is still my preferred method.

  2. Progressives act a lot like religious believers. One of the ways they do so is by advocating for self-sacrifice.

    You must atone for your greed. You must sacrifice your standard of living. You must do without.

    The best progressive is the one that calls for the most self-sacrifice.

    1. But seriously folks – if you think man-made climate change is a problem, then blindly opposing nuclear power as part of the solution is, well, counter-productive, if not just plain stupid.

      But what if you think man-made climate change is merely a symptom of a problem, the problem being that there are just too damn many humans and a bunch of them just need to go die, preferably in a earth-friendly manner? Starving to death shivering naked in the cold is what these people really want out of us, they just prefer to call it “eco-friendly, locally-sourced, low-impact, post-consumer consumer-post production”.

      1. The truth is often ugly, but this is it. These neo-malthusians want to rid mother Gaia of about half of her human population and that’s that. When you look at it this way, this movement has been going on for over two-hundred years. Somebody forgot to tell them about Adam Smith and reality.

      2. There are not enough game show bells to ring for this correct answer.

    2. Ken Shultz|2.3.16 @ 2:56PM|#
      “Progressives act a lot like religious believers.”

      That’s because they are.
      We have the pristine pre-Edenic paradise, where man was in harmony with a balanced ‘nature’, and then the curse of knowledge is acquired by man, which leads him astray from mother earth, and threatening the rapture when the mud-momma RECLAIMS HER RIGHTFUL PLACE IN A HORRIBLE DECIMATION OF THE SINNING POPULATION!
      Haven’t you read Jack’s posts?

    3. The best progressive is the one that calls for the most self-sacrifice

      Since none of them actually act on that, I think the correct term is best hypocrite.

      1. The most effective villain is the one who best externalizes the price of his beliefs.

  3. What lazy news editors never mention;

    Smog Warning Days have been rare for decades in N.America and now fracking’s abundance is ending the oil wars with affordable energy for many generations to come.
    Climate science had never agreed a CO2 crisis was as real as they already agreed smoking causes cancer and how do you have a; “99% certainty” for a CO2 ARMAGEDDON after 35 years of global disbelief and climate action failure?
    Are the climate change science gods also only 99% certain the planet isn’t flat?

  4. It’s good to hear that some environmentalists are actually thinking rather than merely emoting over nuclear energy. It certainly be nice if we got more nuclear power plants out of this CAGW bullshit in the long run.

    1. “It certainly be nice if we got more nuclear power plants out of this CAGW bullshit in the long run.”

      Ever thought about moving to China? That’s where the nuclear action is these days. Totally state run and financed, of course. But Libertarians these days accept the necessity of state involvement in electricity generation.

      1. Why would he have to move to china? Your post really makes no sense.

        1. “Why would he have to move to china?”

          Because China is the only place in the world where nuclear power plants are being constructed in numbers beyond a small handful. If he wants to live in a country with many new nuclear plants, China is the best choice.

          “Your post really makes no sense.”

          If you are confused you are free to ask any questions. Just as you did here.

          1. Guess what, you condescending prick, it still doesn’t make any fucking sense.

            1. Trying to make sense out of a mtrueman post is like trying to find those hidden pictures in the splotchy paintings.

              1. “is like trying to find those hidden pictures in the splotchy paintings…”

                … or like reading something that’s not pitched to the level of middle school students.

  5. Everyone knows you can’t sow a garden with nuclear power plants, or something.

  6. No Ron, the plan is to make California choose no energy, clean or dirty. These people hate prosperity and people. “Saving the environment” is just the means to that end.

    1. ^This!^

      Living in California is a constant reminder that you’re an energy glutton. We have double-pane windows, LED lightbulbs, use natural gas for our heat, dryer, etc – Yet PG&E sends us notice every month that “on averate, we’re using more electricity tnan our neighbors.” Never mind it’s not true – they want you to feel guilty, and conserve even more. the fact of the matter is electricity sources, and the electrical grid in this state is fragile, because environmentalists haven’t allowed growth to keep up with demand for over 30 years.

  7. I feel weird agreeing with James Hansen.

    1. Is it because of the dead eyes that all the muppets have?


        1. JAME: “It reduces the carbon or it gets the hose.”

      2. He’s really good at catching predators.

          1. I knew Arnold Shwarzenegger was good at catching predators, I didn’t know he was the soup Nazi guy.

    2. It does feel sort of icky, like a creepy uncle pulling you onto his lap.

  8. “The climate system cares about greenhouse gas emissions ”

    Nope, totally not a religion.

    1. And how about the ‘health of the eco-system’? I mean, do we stick a thermometer up its ass?

      1. Only if there is no rectal bleeding

  9. To quote the late, great, dumbass Episiarch, this blind opposition to nuclear power is pure animism, just like with guns. Don’t you people know that nuclear power plants just meltdown spontaneously?! Fukushima! Chernobyl! Gojira! Only wind and solar can save us from ourselves.

    1. And yet, I’m the only thing that saves the Earth from being dominated by King Ghidorah.

      So you picks your poison.

      1. While I have you here, what’s the deal with the two tiny singing chicks?

        1. I fuck’em both. I need two so that one is always ready to go, when the other one is worn out and needs to rest.

          1. You’ve got a micropenis! You admitted it!

            1. They’re magic. Their vaginas act as a sort of canned tuna-smelling (or in their case, sushi smelling) bag of holding, and expand to accommodate any sized cock as needed.

              1. Also, Dear Ron Bailey:

                I hope having stories go up on Reason is worth the damage to your professional reputation that I assume ensues when normals come in and read these comment threads.

                Sorry about that.



                1. One of the terms of the restraining order is that you’re not supposed to address him directly.

      2. Yeah but somehow Mothera still managed to kick your ass. Go figure.

    2. late, great, dumbass

      He is not gone, but he is forgotten. His mom on the other hand…

      1. She leaves a trail, like a banana slug.

        1. Not any more, they ripped up the linoleum.

        2. Also like a banana slug, she expects that the mating act will end with her partner attempting to gnaw off her penis, even though that’s only happened twice.

          1. It grows back.

    3. If nuclear power is responsible for Jimbo’s existence, that is reason enough to oppose it.

  10. Serious question: why would anyone think a climatologist is qualified to talk about energy sources? Outside of their specialty, they know no more than the loud guy at the next barstool.

    1. Climatologists are the new polymaths. Didn’t you get the memo? They know everything that’s important to know.

      1. No, the only true polymaths are physical chemists. They also have the largest penises and are devastatingly attractive to small childre… uhhhh. the ladies.

      2. They’re the new high priests of the AGW religion. Their word is the word of Gaia.

    2. Don’t you dare talk shit about the loud guy at the next barstool.

    3. why would anyone think a climatologist is qualified to talk about energy sources?

      People think that for the same reason Catholics think priests are qualified to advise them about their sex life.

    4. You mean I SHOULDN’T be getting my scientific research from Cliff Claven?


  11. I find it humorous that Oreskes, a rabid climate change fundamentalist, is a specialist in model validation.

    She also served on the Yucca Mountain project as part of the team performing model validation (I’m assuming safety and risk analysis). Yucca was killed by requirements of almost infinite reliability.

  12. I tried to make this point on the Flint water thread that vanished:

    If these reactors are “government infrastructure” they need to be closed as soon as possible. Government Infrastructure is always and everywhere the embodiment of waste and unsustainability.

    I include as “government infrastructure” anything that is privately owned and operated but burdened with government price controls. It’s the same as government infrastructure, but with a crony capitalist veneer.

    Infrastructure crumbles – it’s what it does. So the less infrastructure the better. When 60% of Americans lived in rural communities, we had a lot less infrastructure and no debt. Now that 90% of Americans are sophisticated enough to live in urban environments we have gobs of unsustainable infrastructure, shitloads of debt, and muni bond analysts.

    1. But humans were meant to live in vertical cities with trains–lots of trains. It’s been that way since Cain killed Abel.

      1. And walkable neighborhoods. If people lived in walkable neighborhoods, we wouldn’t have so much war and violence.

        1. Well, only in the walkable neighborhoods.

          1. That is why everyone should be in one.

    2. By your definition, the entire power generation and distribution system everywhere is “government infrastructure”.

      1. It certainly is NOW. Which is why it’s “crumbling”. Had government stayed the fuck away the various private systems would be the envy of civilization.

  13. In other news, I was just struck by a thought. (Don’t worry, I’m okay, I walked away without it leaving the slightest impression on me.)

    I was talking to someone about the way Trump just comes out with whatever lie he has in his head at the moment and they said “Yeah, he lies like it’s his religion or something.”

    And it hit me – Trump famously does not touch alcohol, is notoriously fanatical about things being clean and unclean (germophobe they say), calls people dogs as a high form of insult, obviously thinks lying to the enemy is not really lying, wears a prayer rug on his head, produced Trump Steaks but wouldn’t touch Trump Pork Chops, frequently talks about what a moving experience watching the Twin Towers fall was… much more evidence do you want that Trump is a Muslim?

    1. “wears a prayer rug on his head”

      Well, that explains it. I thought it was a boy scout taxidermy project gone wrong.

  14. OT: Conspiracy by the numbers…

    In this work, we establish a simple mathematical model for conspiracies involving multiple actors with time, which yields failure probability for any given conspiracy. Parameters for the model are estimated from literature examples of known scandals, and the factors influencing conspiracy success and failure are explored.

    1. This is just more government disinformation to keep us from getting to the bottom of contrails and the faked Moon landing.

    2. I wonder if being able to classify information and enforce secret with guns make a difference? we now know that the CIA did conceal facts from the Warren Commission.

    3. There are so many flaws in that paper to make its predictions kind of questionable.

      1) The probability distribution as a function of time for a conspirator leaking about the conspiracy is treated as a Poisson distribution. But that’s not how it works; conspiracies are naturally dedicated to carrying out an act. As the project progresses, the likelihood of defections or infighting grows. As the project progresses, there is more evidence to leak, and thus the creditability of a leak is more plausible. For example, if I were to warn people in 1937 that the Germans were planning to slaughter Jews on an industrial scale, all I would have would be some memos using euphemistic language. In 1944, I would have photographs and blueprints and operational records etc.

      2) The access of all members of the conspiracy to damaging information is assumed to be the same. This kind of popped out while I was reading their analysis of climate change is a hoax. They list all the members of a bunch of organizations as being potential whistleblowers. Of course as was shown by Richard Tol in his rebuttal of the latest 97% consensus paper, most climate scientists are doing things that have only a tangential connection with the question of whether anthropogenic global warming is detectable. The guys advancing that hypothesis number only in the low thousands, and most of them legitimately believe in what the IPCC says, because they have no reason to doubt the process.

      1. In the Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult, Rothbard wrote something very applicable here:

        Every religious cult has two sets of differing and distinctive creeds: the exoteric and the esoteric. The exoteric creed is the official, public doctrine, the creed which attracts the acolyte in the first place and brings him into the movement as a rank-and-file member. The quite different creed is the unknown, hidden agenda, a creed which is only known to its full extent by the top leadership, the “high priests” of the cult. The latter are the keepers of the Mysteries of the cult.

        But cults become particularly fascinating when the esoteric and exoteric creeds are not only different, but totally and glaringly in mutual contradiction. The havoc that this fundamental contradiction plays in the minds and lives of the disciples may readily be imagined. Thus, the various Marxist-Leninists cults officially and publicly extol Reason and Science, and denounce all religion, and yet the members are mystically attracted to the cult and its alleged infallibility.

        There are hundreds of thousands of scientologists in the world. About 1500 of them have access to the esoteric knowledge that is amply documented by Operation Clambake. Every decade there are 2 – 3 whistleblowers that document some nasty shit the cult is engaging in.

        1. 3) Which brings us to the next thing. When conspiracies are exposed, what if no one listens? There have been 3 major scandals covering the IPCC’s actual procedures departing from their written guidelines. These scandals include an editor rewriting a major section of AR-4 and sabotaging the review process so that scientific research that falsified his claims could be excluded, the use of grey literature (which contributed to the claim that the Himalayas would be ice free by 2035), and a rule change rammed through without the reequired international consultation to reduce transparency during the review period by classifying the changes as clarifications and error removal. This is, of course, just the IPCC. The AGU, NOAA, the UEA have all had their own scandals, and the examples of noble cause corruption are legion throughout the whole movement.

          But the math is pretty nice. 🙂

          1. I think the ease of pulling off a conspiracy is bell curve. Small conspiracies of two or three people are easy to pull off and conceal. The difficulty increases as you add more and more people. At some point, however, the numbers get large enough that one person blowing the whistle is no longer sufficient to outweigh the rest of the conspiracy denying it. As the numbers get larger, it also gets more and more difficult to convince people it exists; the old cliche of if you are going to tell a lie tell a really big one. After this point, the larger the conspiracy is, the easier it becomes to conceal.

          2. Math is fun. As someone who’s been fascinated by conspiracy theories and theorists, I thought it was an interesting attempt to actually quantify how they might fall apart.

      2. OMG and they cite the thoroughly discredited Lewandowsky Moon Landing Hoax Paper!

        8. Lewandowsky S, Oberauer K, Gignac GE. NASA Faked the Moon Landing therefore (Climate) Science
        Is a Hoax: An Anatomy of the Motivated Rejection of Science. Psychological Science. 2013;

        HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

        1. From what I’ve been able to gather the paper wasn’t so much “thoroughly discredited” as it was challenged and examined by people who disagreed with it. Meh. All’s fair in love and science.

            1. I’ll take your word for it.

              1. Don’t take my word for it. Read the links. I could be full of shit for all you know.

                1. I read them, thanks. I just didn’t want to continue a discussion before I fully understood what was in them.

  15. Well you see, the problem is you’re assuming Environmentalism is about doing what’s right to help the environment. Environmentalism is REALLY about doing what seems like it will help the environment, so this initiative is fine.

    1. But it just FEEELLSS bad to support nuclear energy. I just feeeeeel that that the invisible radiation the government is hiding is going to make me grow a third arm, and nuclear energy just feeeels unnatural and dirty.

      1. I wish it would make me grow a third arm, because that would be really useful.

  16. You know what I’ve noticed recently? When I talk to my kids about things they always start their sentences with “I feel like…” rather than “I think…”

    Are all kids like this?

    1. Nip that shit in the bud. Aggressively.

  17. Last thing I worked on in California was to try and get a variance to the rule barring the oil refineries from making “capital improvements” (arbitrarily capped at something like $5 million). The refineries wanted the variance so they could invest in new technology that would reduce NOX, SOX and PM10. When I would present it to staff at the AQMD (which regulates stationary sources of pollution) they said “nope.” When I informed them that this investment would actually help the problems they had been screaming about for 18 months regarding proliferation of asthma in low-income communities (science they maintained was settled) they simply asked “will it let you manufacture more gasoline?” I told them that, yes, it would increase refinery efficiency and likely would make the plants capable of better throughput/output. In not so many words they kindly told me to fuck off.

    The very same week they gave a 10-year waiver to dry cleaners allowing them to continue to use perchloroethylene, a known carcinogen and groundwater contaminant.

    I think you can guess what the perceived differences are between ExxonMobil and your local dry cleaner and it isn’t just wallet size.

    1. I think anyone involved in environmental law has seen behavior like that. I hate the environmental movement with the heat of a thousand suns. And that is not because I don’t care about the environment and human health and safety. It is because I do care about such things and most people who call themselves “environmentalists” are disgusting leftists who care nothing for the environment or other human beings or much of anything beyond their ignorant, superstitious political beliefs.

      1. I was so shocked by the experience that I actually moved to DC because I thought I’d have a better chance at getting something done. Fuckin’ California.

    2. So you’re saying that they hate people.

  18. “Everywhere I look something reminds me of her…”

  19. Nuclear is not clean or carbon free. It requires fossil fuels to mine uranium, process uranium, build the plant, process the waste, etc. If you add up all the energy needed to get a nuclear plant up and running, there is actually a net loss of energy as it requires more energy than it produces.…..uce-no-co2

    1. You are telling me that building a nuclear plant has a net value of negative. If that were true, no nuclear plant would ever be profitable. And many clearly are.

      That is just nonsense.

      1. Also good point…pure nonsense

      2. Oh, you should look at that page.

        They’re including the fuel used to invade Iraq (for their oil, naturally) in the calculation.

        1. LOL. yeah because if we hadn’t invaded Iraq, there would be no oil available in the US. Wow.

        2. Check the citation for the article; ‘peak oil’; stupidity on parade!

          1. I noticed the byline that read and knew what was coming. 😀

            Even then I was surprised by it? mostly photos with few arguments or little data.

      3. .And there is no way in hell a solar or wind farm would ever out-produce even a tenth of those costs if that were anywhere in the vicinity of being factual.

        And the link you provided refers to carbon-neutrality, not energy. Most of that bullshit would be true for renewables as well.

        You ignorant slut.

    2. Ah so what would you propose?

      If it is wind and solar, i can tell you those things arent reliable (need to be backed up) and dont sprout out of the ground

      1. Coal. it is cheap, abundant and an amazingly efficient source of energy. Think about the amount of energy contained in a single pound of coal and how much of it can be extracted and used to generate electricity. it is enormous when you think about it.

    3. By your argument, no capital project, including solar, would ever pass muster, since they all require petroleum based fuels in order to be built.

      Go back to the Dark Ages, it’s where you belong.

      1. You don’t need to go as far back as the Dark Ages? you can go back to the 19th century and get back to low carbon energy.

        1. Too much whale oil.

          1. Peak whale oil was real and a very big deal. People were facing the prospect of going back to vegetable oil for light. The oil industry was at the time a miracle. Had they not figured out how to drill for oil and refine kerosene from it, the world would have become a very dark place.

            1. But isn’t it interesting how these new technologies just show up? It’s as if there were some sort of incentive to solve problems as they arise without needing central planning.

              1. Danger! You’re verging into Superfreakonomics territory!

        2. Yeah, nobody burned coal and wood in the 19th century.

          1. It’s not needed as much when you have cheap human labor.

  20. Do wind and solar proponents not realize that materials need mind and components manufactured and transported?

    1. Solar panels and windmills are magical.

      1. They sprout from the earth when the moon is full and the faerie folk run freely, seeding the ground with billions of dollars worth of federally guaranteed loans.

  21. Your link opens to an article originally published in some ‘peak oil’ bullshit paper; you’re not helping your cause. Have you seen oil prices recently?
    I’d love to hear the ‘peak oil’ ignoramuses explaining how this is ‘really peak oil, but….’

  22. I’ve just about reached peak patience with environmentalists. The Mayor of Montreal was playing green tough guy with pipeline companies alongside environmental groups and activists last night on the news. The thing that Canadians don’t seem to grasp is Canada is BUT ABOUT NATURAL RESOURCES and the need to export it. You kill this, you in effect sour the economy. Canada never bothered to enhance and diversify its economy so it now has to live and die by the oil sword. In this way, it actually enrages me these days the space activists take up. They literally are taking livelihoods away from people. It truly is bizarre to listen to Canadians then complain that our dollar is as low as it is. No shit – we’re a one-trick pony economy. But hey, you can always blame the greedy Americans, right?

    On top of it, the idiot politicians think a fricken carbon tax will be a net positive in their counter productive and misguided ‘save the climate’ scheme.

    1. Take a look at catafish’s comment above. I have no doubt what he is saying actually happened and there is nothing unusual about it. I can give plenty of examples to confirm it. They are not environmentalists. They are leftist humanity hating assholes.

    2. You kill this, you in effect sour the economy.

      So Canada is going on strike then?

    3. Last time I was in Montreal there was a global warming protest going on near my hotel. Some idiot was up there going on and on about the “fascist corporate tar fields”. I was standing next to this Montreal cop watching this and said to the cop “yeah, it is just terrible that all you Canadians struck oil and are now getting rich”. Even the cop laughed.

    4. My last trip to Calgary was really depressing. Sure I understand that tar sands are high-$-extraction and the market is killing things but when several thousand people have lost very high paying jobs in engineering and construction because of it, MAYBE pols shouldn’t be kowtowing to enviros to pile on, particularly as you point out, there ain’t much else to fall back on.

      1. That’s the thing that bothers me. It’s not like the U.S. who can dick around throwing money around to Solyndra to make nice. The USA has a highly diversified economy. I used to be a broke and lemme tell ya, outside oil and bank/insurance stocks, it was very hard to build a true diversified portfolio of Canadian equities. I’m just keeping it real. It’s asinine to pretend otherwise.

    5. On top of it, the idiot politicians think a fricken carbon tax will be a net positive in their counter productive and misguided ‘save the climate’ scheme.

      I doubt the thought process of the politician goes much beyond “revenue good, no tax bad.”

      peak patience with environmentalists

      I like this.

      Re: the rest, anyone who grew up in a family full of Bible thumping blowhards can see the similarities between those personalities and environmentalists, socialists, or anyone else who belongs to a pomo secular religion (though never us peaceful and uber-tolerant libertarians). Cultic tribalism seems to be hardwired into us.

      The really frightening thing is all the people who are unaware of that fact and and dedicate their lives to destroying everything that’s made the modern world wealthy and moderately peaceful.

  23. “Closing the state’s last nuclear power plant is anti-environmental and just plain stupid.”

    A quote I got from some guy at a free market environmental think tank:
    Criticizing recycling on efficiency grounds is like criticizing communion wafers on nutritional grounds.

    Environmentalism is predominantly a religion. The point is not to achieve some state in the environment, but to achieve a state of piety in the environmentalist.

    1. And signal to the world you have achieved it. If you can’t do it publicly and signal your virtue, there is no point in doing it for these people.

  24. “If closed, it will likely be replaced by natural gas …”

    What does it take to open a power plant in Ca? My guess is that it will be replaced with nothing. They will pipe electricity in from out of state.

    1. “What does it take to open a power plant in Ca?”

      A lot of time and a lot of tax money. One of the more recent plants in Finland started construction in 2005, slated for completion in 2010. Still uncompleted, the latest date for completion is now 2018. Costs originally were budgeted for 3 billion euro. They’ve tripled since then.

      1. m: Keep an eye out for my column on nuclear cost trends this Friday.

        1. “my column on nuclear cost trends”

          You mean implausibly optimistic nuclear industry cost projection trends, of course. I’ve been reading enough to know what to expect.

          1. I guess we’ll just take your word for it then, mister mtrueman sir.

            1. “I guess we’ll just take your word for it”

              You are free to do as you please. Personally, I can’t wait until Friday!

              1. It pleases me to call you on your bullshit and watch you squirm away.

                1. “It pleases me to call you on your bullshit…”

                  I don’t see anything but name calling here. No surprise that you’re unable to rise to something beyond that, but you could put in some effort.

                  1. I’ll put in the effort if and when you ever manage to say anything of substance. Until then, fuck off.

                    1. For my slower readers: One of the more recent plants in Finland started construction in 2005, slated for completion in 2010. Still uncompleted, the latest date for completion is now 2018. Costs originally were budgeted for 3 billion euro. They’ve tripled since then.

  25. Here in Virginia the enviro-nuts want to shut down a local coal plant but they also oppose a pipeline to funnel natural gas that would make a cheap energy replacement of the coal plant.

    I do think many of them have been brainwashed by the AGW-cultists into believing that cheap renewable energy is there if we could just stop all the evil big-oil big-coal big-nuclear interests from somehow preventing solar and wind from powering the world.

    It’s seems like it should be fairly easy to prove these people wrong — if you can’t generate enough power from wind and solar within the confines of your own property to power your home, the technology isn’t feasible – because automatically that means you would need more land to generate power for every other house and business as well.

    I could generate enough power for my house from gasoline with a relatively small generator and probably coal too (eww), and hell even newer nuclear reactors are pretty small.

    1. Oh no. You don’t understand. We should cover flyover country with solar panels and then pipe the electricity into northeastern cities where people actually live.

      1. I realize they have contempt for all the people that live in flyover country but they’ll abandon that plan as soon as you mention some endangered waterfowl that lives in the middle of the Ozarks.

        1. Well Duh!!? That’s because waterfowl are far more important than the lives and well-being of republicans in flyover country.

        2. They’ll only find out about the endangered waterfowl when one company decides to take down its rivals.

          Like Weyerhaeuser, who sent ornithologists to count spotted owls in forest? on land owned by the competition.

          Weyerhaeuser doubled their profits that year.

  26. ‘Clean nuclear’.

    How clean are Chernobyl and Fukushima? Idiots.

    1. How clean is any location after a 9.2 earthquake?

      1. Clearly we need common sense earthquake control.

    2. Holy false dichotomy, Batman. I don’t recall anyone suggesting that we build Soviet-designed RBMK reactors.

    3. Idiots?…yes, clearly you are.

    4. Can you come up another example? After fifty years of nuclear power there have been only two or three (depending on how you define catastrophe) catastrophic failures at nuclear power plants. Yet nuclear power has produced enormous benefits. Our wars have caused more problems with little benefit. You do know that there is question whether the extent of the no-go regions around these examples is really necessary. Additionally, we can learn from these failures so as to prevent them recurring.

      Life is tough. Too many snowflakes today fail to understand just how short, miserable, and brutish the human life was before modern technology.

      1. I understand you come from a long line of short, miserable brutes. My ancestors managed to overcome the obstacles of life without nuclear and lived happy, productive lives filled with challenges and adventure.

        1. Whether you will admit it or not, a vast majority of your ancestors lived short, brutal lives in abject poverty. The only reason the lives of your recent ancestors, and yourself, haven’t completely sucked is because of advances in technology, such as that necessary to the production of cheap, reliable electricity.

          1. “necessary to the production of cheap, reliable electricity”

            I’m sure that it seems that way to you, but you underestimate man’s capacity to adapt and thrive in conditions you would find personally intolerable.

            1. “you underestimate man’s capacity to adapt and thrive in conditions you would find personally intolerable.”

              No, I don’t, nor do I have the desire to return to such conditions.

              1. ” I have the desire to return to such conditions.”

                Then generate your own damn electricity. Why involve me in your state socialist schemes?

                1. If you’re being forced into something against your will, blame the ones holding the gun to your head, not me.

                  1. “blame the ones holding the gun to your head, not me”

                    I’m happy to blame them. Just as you’re happy cheering them on and encouraging them.

                    1. “Just as you’re happy cheering them on and encouraging them.”

                      I would ask you to provide evidence for this absurd claim, but it’s apparent that there is no limit to your mendacity.

                2. Then generate your own damn electricity

                  You ignoramus. Without technology there would be no electricity. The early generators were extremely large and expensive. You’re so ignorant you don’t even realize how ridiculous you sound.

                  1. “The early generators were extremely large and expensive.”

                    Nobody said he had to use an early generator. For all I care he could use a late bicycle.

                    1. Again you show your ignorance. Very little wattage can be generated by a human pedaling a bicycle connected to a generator. Dozens of people pedaling generators would be required to power the average home–excluding the stove/oven and other major appliances. We use a large amount of energy per person in the industrialized world. That amount of power cannot be replaced with people power.

                    2. “Dozens of people pedaling generators would be required to power the average home–”

                      Not my problem. It becomes my problem when he expects me to pay for his nukes, live near his mine tailings, give up my land to eminent domain, suffer the consequences of leakages and other such mishaps, watch while my betters get more corrupt etc. All the shit you expect with a generating system that thrives only in communist countries like China.

        2. Oh look mtrueman pants shitting over nuclear again!

  27. Y’know, I’d take such concern over California environmentalists if this didn’t just reek of concern trolling. That is to say… when you don’t think someone should do their job at all, it’s not very persuasive when you say “y’know, you could be more effective if you only…”

  28. In January, a group of 50 prominent scientists, conservationists, and climate change activists issued an open letter urging Governor Jerry Brown and other state officials to keep the reactors operating.

    Jerry Brown must have a very conflicted and confusing morning while he’s opening envelopes.

  29. But seriously, Ronald, it’s a strange title to your article when the entire point of it is all the “environmentalists” who want to keep it open. Hansen, Emanuel, dozens of signatories, and even Mother Jones.

    The fact is, which you don’t mention, it’s company executives who are on the fence about applying for extensions. And even Governor Brown, who opposed nuclear in the past has said he is now open to nuclear, so he might support Diablo continuing. You just need to get company executives to man up.

    The link you point to from Sierra says nothing about nuclear. It’s about coal. They might oppose it, but it sex they are an outlier based on the numerous “activists” in your article who support it.

    Focus your attention on business executives who are dithering, rather than a few protestors.

    1. *seems, not sex.

      1. fuck off, joe

    2. “Focus your attention on business executives who are dithering”

      They are not dithering. They are too busy paying off debts to risk sinking precious capital into a money pit. You want nuclear action, go East young man. The North Koreans, bless them, are determined to provide their people with nuclear generated electricity regardless of cost. Same with the communists in China.

      1. You are right. It is all about the money when it comes to nuclear. It’s not about “activists, ” as Ronald is always suggesting. But they are dithering:

        “But the utility is on the fence. “We have not made a decision to move forward with license renewal,” a spokesperson said, adding that the company is in the middle of a study on seismic activity in the area. (The plant is near a few major fault lines.) ”

        Far be it for Ronald to put the blame where it belongs when his favorite straw man (environmentalists) is available.

        1. Guys: Already said above, but keep an eye out for my article on nuclear power construction trends – out on Friday.

          1. Will do. Thanks for the heads up.

        1. Broken clocks, MJ, Jack, other non-sentient sources that occasionally show numbers that match reality.

      2. What would you propose instead for the energy generation?

      3. If you think the Norks are generating clean electricity via nuclear, I’ve got a bridge to sell you – you rank nutjob.

        1. “- you rank nutjob”

          What is clean electricity?

    3. J&A: Grrr. I put in the wrong link. Fixed now. Thanks.

  30. Mtrueman thinks CAGW is a major problem…yet shits pants over nuclear which is unfounded….while proposing massive wind and solar subsidies for which those forms of energy arent all that reliable.

    You are really looking to address the problem!

    1. “Mtrueman thinks CAGW is a major problem…”

      Not really. It could be a big problem. We just don’t know the extent of it. Yet. I’m more concerned with the waste products of nuclear (caesium and strontium isotopes) than I am with the waste products of burning carbon (CO2). I’m leery of continually emitting billions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, but the nuclear wastes are more worrisome. Actually, I’m on the fence about this Californian plant. Once completed and online, it makes sense to squeeze as much power out of them as we can.

  31. I provisionally agree with Hansen, Brand, et al, about this, but the first rule of debate is to know your opponents’ arguments better than they do, so you can present them and authoritatively refute them. The author doesn’t even deign to present the opposition’s argument. Better to deal with your opponents as honorable people with whom you disagree, and actually take the effort to refute their position, rather than simply asserting that they are wrong and relying on the invocation of authority figures and a previously-established consensus among their readers.

    I’m not one to invoke Fukushima to strike fear in the hearts of nuclear advocates, and don’t know how Diablo and Fukushima compare. But I do know something the author didn’t mention, which is that Diablo is on a fault line. So there are questions to be answered ? or at least asked ? if this is to be anything other than a bully piece to show how much smarter or more ethical one faction is than the other. CO2E is our most imminent threat. Nuclear power has risks, too, just as solar and wind also have undesirable environmental impacts. If an article wants to advance understanding, it has to acknowledge the valid concerns of both sides. Diablo is in a shitty location. Is it earthquake-proof? Tsunami-proof?

    Ask questions, then answer them. Take the concerns of others seriously, and then explain why they are not a problem, or not as big a problem as other concerns.

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