Nuclear Power Plant Shutdowns and their Consequential Impacts on Global Warming

There recently appeared a news article announcing the permanent shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in Southern California.  This plant was undergoing repairs and upgrades to its boiler system.  There were a number of factors which lead to this decision, one being the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disasters in Japan which fueled anti-nuclear advocate sentiments and contributed to heightened community fears about a nuclear power disasters.

What is not realized by anti-nuclear activists is that these existing power plants supply vast amounts of Clean electrical power to very large communities.  In the case of the San Onofre Nuclear facility it supplies electrical power to nearly 1,400,000 households in the southern California area.  The shut down of this facility means that electrical power from greenhouse gas producing power plants elsewhere will replace power lost by this clean energy power plant.  In fact carbon burning greenhouse producing power plant elsewhere have supplied power since its shutdown one and a half years ago and will now continue so indefinitely.  Anti-nuclear activist may declare this a victory and say that solar and wind power will eventually replace these CO2 producing power plants.  But the big question is when?  Keep in mind that 1,400,000 households need a tremendous amount of alternative clean power.  At the rate the US is now investing in alternative energy this may take several decades.

In the meantime power will continue being supplied by huge CO2 producing power plants instead of clean nuclear power.  Instead of reducing CO2 emissions, the shutdown of this power plant will result in even more long-term greenhouse gas emissions than had the plant continue operating to produce abundant clean energy.  Anti-nuclear advocates are also generally environmentalist who champion reducing greenhouse gases so though they are celebrating this shutdown as a victor, is it really?

Which is the greater threat to humanity, nuclear power reactors which have perhaps killed a few hundred people in their entire history of operations or Global Warming whose weather events kill thousands worldwide annually from super-storms, droughts, floods, heat waves, fire storms, etc?  Global warming is killing more and more every year while nuclear incidences have decreased over the years due to increased safety measures.  The one in Japan was due to emergency generators which were not properly designed to withstand tsunamis but now this flaw is being fixed.  The plant survived the actual earthquake.  But global warming continues to increase unabated.  With the shutdown of this nuclear facility it will get even worst.

Anti-nuclear environmental groups continue to urge the closure of all nuclear plants.  This will result in even more greenhouse gases being produced by replacement plants.  Where are our priorities with regards to increasing greenhouse gas emissions as we shut down nuclear facilities one at a time?  Where are our solutions for reducing greenhouse gasses faster than we are generating new sources of it?  Replacing power plants whether nuclear or CO2 producing ones by wind and solar is for now pie in the sky.  There are no concrete plans for doing this.  Our gridlocked government cannot help.  Many Republicans and conservative don’t even believe in global warming being caused by man.  Now environmental activists want to close down a major source of clean energy and in effect replace it with CO2 producing power plants.  It seem like we as a country are doing all we can to generate even more CO2 emissions instead of reducing it.

Scientists say that global warming is accelerating at a faster rate than earlier anticipated.  We have just surpassed the 400 ppm CO2 in our atmosphere benchmark indicating that we are reaching the point of irreversible greenhouse effects.  We urgently need to stop producing more CO2 and carbon consuming power plants yesterday, not to increase them today into the future.  Yet it seems that anti-nuclear activist and conservative are working together to in effect produce even more greenhouse gases.  Have we gone mad?

What gives?  Are we really serious and committed to reduce greenhouse emissions?  Or are we dooming future generations to suffer from increasingly catastrophic weather events?  Have we condemned the earth to the ultimate extinction of man?  If so perhaps we deserve it but why condemn future generations?

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