Ask most environmentalists what they want, and "CO2 reduction" would top their list, since most of them blame the scourge of global warming on mounting levels of carbon dioxide that humans are spewing into the atmosphere.
As a stark reminder to them that nuclear power is a "green" technology - it does not emit CO2 during operations - consider the warning this week by U.S. Assistant Energy Secretary Peter Lyons.
Speaking at the 10th annual Platts Nuclear Energy conference in Washington, D.C., Lyons said that four recent premature nuclear plant closures - and possibly more to come - could leave the U.S. way short of its 2020 carbon reduction goals, Environment & Energy Publishing reported via its E&E News site.
"This is a trend we are clearly very, very concerned about," E&E quoted Lyons as saying.
The four - San Onofre, Kewaunee, Crystal River, and Vermont Yankee in California, Wisconsin, Florida and Vermont, respectively - all closed over the last year and could be just an opening act. E&E reported:
DOE is reviewing one scenario under which a third of the country's approximately 100 reactors would be shuttered. Lyons said such a situation could throw a wrench in the Obama administration's goal -- outlined in the president's Climate Action Plan unveiled in June -- of cutting emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. "If you look out longer, for retirements that could occur by 2035, you're starting to see a very substantial impact on the nation's [quest] for clean energy," Lyons said.
Advance your knowledge of advanced nuclear:
- Business! Innovation! Startups! It must be nuclear power
- Bombs away: Key uranium supply to U.S., from Russian weapons, ends. Time for thorium?
- U.S. Energy Secretary: Use nuclear reactors for clean industrial heat
- Conventional nuclear giant Areva strikes thorium deal
- Hans Blix: Nuclear must use thorium to reduce weapons risk
- Nobel physicist: Thorium trumps all fuels as energy source
- Novel reactors atop MIT energy contest finalists
- Look who's talking: ExxonMobil says world has to double nuclear
- Bill Gates stop chasing nuclear 'wave', pursues variety of reactors
- A nuclear reactor to clean up the oil sands industry
- As thorium tests begin in Norway, the nuclear industry watches closely
- Alternative nuclear energy race heats up as Canadian company enters
- Turning Japan's nuclear past into its future
- And the DOE energy innovation award goes to ... A new type of nuclear power