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This letter concerns Mycle Schneider article in the April 2014 newsletter arguing that nuclear power is at dusk, not dawn. He presents many statistics, and makes what appears to be a convincing case. However I believe that he is not seeing the forest through the trees. He seems to think that renewables, that is solar, wind and biofuel will ultimately power the world. A Google search of worldwide sources of electricity shows that this is simply untrue. Google it and dozens of images will appear, all showing about the same thing. I have taken one from the Canadian Nuclear Association showing the breakdown of sources of electric power worldwide. It is shown below, along with the link to it. It shows that 98% of electric power is generated by fossil fuel (67%), nuclear (15%) and hydropower (16%) leaving all of 2% to all other renewables, after more than 20 years of heavily subsidized development. Can he seriously believe that renewables can power an energy hungry world any time soon?
He seems to assert that renewables are the fastest growing power source. Wrong again. It is coal. Google world coal usage and again, dozens of images will pop up, all about the same. Below is one from The Energy Collective and the link to it. It shows that coal use has risen by 60% in the past few years.
But if fossil fuels have to be reduced because of resource depletion, climate effects, or both, what else is there besides nuclear power? It simply has to be an important part of the mid century power mix. Paraphrasing Mark Twain, the death of nuclear power has been greatly exaggerated.
Retired from NRL