1. This is the story of how voters around the world are embracing nuclear power in response to the high cost of renewables, the inadequacy of solar & wind for solving climate change, and a growing grassroots pro-nuclear movement. twitter.com/ShellenbergerM…
2. By a more than two-to-one margin (70% to 30%), voters in Arizona on Tuesday rejected a ballot initiative (proposition 127) that would have resulted in the closure of that state’s nuclear power plant and in the massive deployment of solar and wind.
3. In Taiwan, momentum is building for a repeal of that nation’s nuclear energy phase-out. Grassroots pro-nuclear advocacy inspired a former president to help activists gather over 300,000 signatures so voters could vote directly on the issue on November 24.
4. After groups rallied in Munich last month to protest the closure of nuclear plants, a wave of mostly positive media coverage spread across Europe, inspiring a majority of Netherlands voters, & the nation’s ruling political party, to declare support for building new reactors.
5. Now, in the wake of rising public support for nuclear energy, a longstanding foe of the technology, the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, has reversed its blanket opposition and declared that existing U.S. nuclear plants must stay open to protect the climate.
6. These events have surprised mainstream journalists, politicians, and energy analysts who, over the last three years, have dismissed and derided the world’s 454 operating nuclear reactors as antiquated given the declining cost of solar panels and wind turbines.
7. The declining cost of solar panels & wind turbines hasn't made the technologies more reliable & that, along with their huge material & land use requirements, have helped drive up electricity prices in places like California & Germany, even at a time of low natural gas prices.
8. Notably, growing voter support for nuclear energy comes both from progressives who tend to be more concerned about climate change and from conservatives who tend to be more concerned about the cost of electricity.
9. In Netherlands, grassroots advocacy for nuclear energy, and favorable coverage by the mainstream media — including long segments (in English) by two of the nation’s most influential TV journalists — has shone a light on the inadequacy of solar & wind to address climate change.
10. In Arizona, the campaign against proposition 127 focused on avoiding the mistakes made by California, where electricity rates rose five times faster than the rest of the country thanks in large measure to the closure of nuclear plants & the rapid deployment of solar panels.
11. “Proposition 127 is a recycled version of California’s failed energy initiatives being exported to Arizona courtesy of Tom Steyer, California energy hedge fund billionaire,” wrote an Arizona state Senator.
12. @TomSteyer , who made his money building coal plants in Asia, and has heavily invested in natural gas and renewables, spent a record $18 million of his own money in the doomed effort to pass 127.
@TomSteyer 13. In Taiwan, it appears that it is the combination of environmental, economic, and energy security concerns that has moved voters to overcome their fears of nuclear in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima accident and panic.
@TomSteyer 14. Taiwan imports 98% of its energy &, due to the nation’s nuclear energy phase-out, suffered a devastating electricity shortage last year that resulted in one death, threatened the nation’s semiconductor industry, & contributed to the declining approval of Taiwan's president.
@TomSteyer 15. Economics & environment are two sides of same coin. Had California & Germany invested $680 billion into nuclear instead of renewables like solar and wind farms, the two would already be generating 100% or more of their electricity from clean (low-emissions) energy sources.
@TomSteyer 16. These aren’t the first pro-nuclear victories. In 2016, Illinois & New York prevented nuclear plants from closing. In 2017, a South Korean “citizens jury” went from 60% opposed to 60% in favor of nuclear, followed by Connecticut & New Jersey saving their nuclear plants.
@TomSteyer 17. Increasingly, pro-nuclear advocacy is grassroots. In places like South Korea, Taiwan, & Europe, where electric utilities that own nuclear plants are government-owned & thus unable to engage in politics, it has been up to independent environmentalists to advocate for nuclear.
@TomSteyer 18. “We Dutch have been anti-nuclear since the 1970s,” said Olguita Oudendijk, co-founder of Ecomodernism Netherlands. “What turned us around is the high cost of renewables, the Nuclear Pride Fest, and serious media attention to the issue turned the public around.”
@TomSteyer 19. A poll of 18,000 Dutch voters released yesterday found that 54% favored the use of nuclear energy while just 35% opposed it. “Achieving climate goals weighs heavier than their objections to nuclear energy for voters,” the pollster said.
@TomSteyer 20. In Taiwan, a former president said, "Opposing nuclear energy is now outdated. What has become a trend is how to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to tackle global warming."
@TomSteyer 21. In most places, activists have focused heavily on debunking the many myths about nuclear power promoted by organizations like Greenpeace, including that cheaper solar panels and wind turbines will translate into lower electricity prices when the opposite is usually the case.
@TomSteyer 22. The inadequacy of solar and wind was highlighted by Arjan Lubach — the John Oliver of Dutch TV — last Sunday, who in a 20-minute segment educated viewers on nuclear power’s necessity and safety while making sly, sexual puns. (The segment was translated into English.)
@TomSteyer 23. A telling moment in the segment came when Lubach cut to a Greenpeace spokesperson who acknowledged that with nuclear energy “There are no carbon emissions, that’s true, so it doesn’t contribute to global warming, but there are other disadvantages.”
@TomSteyer 24. “Whoa whoa, wait a minute,” Lubach interrupted. “It doesn’t contribute to global warming but there are ‘other’ disadvantages? You can’t state a huge advantage and then say, “It becomes even worse.”
@TomSteyer 25. Asked about the difference in attitudes between the Dutch and the nation’s famously romantic, antinuclear German neighbors, Dutch ecomodernist Oudendijk said, “We Dutch are basically very rational people. We just want to solve the problem.”
@TomSteyer 26. Said TV comedian Lubach to an on-air correspondent, “I say we take nuclear energy out of the taboo-sphere.” The correspondent, who is in the "taboo-sphere," is dressed in protective gear to protect himself, he explains, not from nuclear but rather from STDs.
Create an account for weekly updates and features such as bookmarks & reading history.