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Local View: Expand safe, emissions-free nuclear power

From the column: "The industry lied to us and to the good people who joined the renewable industry thinking they’d be fighting climate change."

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Duluth Mayor Emily Larson deserves praise for urging residents to join the fight against climate change (“Duluth launches app to fight climate change,” Nov. 3). However, even if everyone cooperates, our efforts will be overwhelmed by the environmental damage created by solar farms.

When we decided to cut back on carbon, the Sierra Club, its clones, and our science-deficient legislators conveniently excluded 92%-efficient nuclear power from consideration because it wasn’t “renewable” — even though we have enough uranium and thorium to last at least 200,000 years. That’s crazy, and the carbon companies know it. Ads by the Australian coal miners’ union openly admit that nuclear power will kill the coal industry.

Instead, we chose feel-good wind and solar projects that generate only about 30% and 20% of their rated power respectively and require power plants that primarily burn carbon to cover their shortfalls. Exxon and BP love these frauds because they are carbon-dependent machines.

The UN rates nuclear power No. 1 for safety. Although the Chernobyl “accident” is the only event to cause radiation-related deaths (fewer than 80), we ignored reality and jumped into bed with wind and solar companies that hide their multiple flaws.

U.S. government statistics reveal that, per unit of energy electricity generated, nuclear power is 115 times safer than wind and 340 times safer than solar, both of which require expensive, environment-damaging storage systems like batteries.

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Our 1,600 square miles of solar farms and windfarms in the U.S. have shoved wildlife aside, increased species extinctions, and created toxic waste dumps all around the world. The volume of resources they consume dwarfs the resources needed by nuclear power, and they must be recycled as hazardous waste for about $30 per panel (from taxes) at the end of their short, 20-year lives.

Solar farms displace essential crops and eliminate forests that absorb carbon dioxide and liberate oxygen. Their dark panels can raise ambient temperatures as much as 50 degrees, which worsens global warming. The science is clear: If you care about global warming, paint your roof white.

We should be subsidizing the most efficient, safest, environment-friendly way to generate electricity. However, for every dollar allotted to 24/7 nuclear power, intermittent solar projects have received subsidies of $250 — and many states add more. The renewable industries lied to us and to the good people who joined them, thinking they’d be fighting climate change.

When reporter William Tucker asked Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, why he privately supports nuclear energy but won’t go public, McKibben replied, "If I came out in favor of nuclear … it would split this movement in half," as the American Spectator reported in 2015. His allegiance, once to nature, has shifted to his organization and a salary that depends on deceiving his members. Like McKibben, the Sierra Club and clones won’t view supportive presentations on nuclear power. They have accepted money from carbon companies and have kept their members, whose dues they need, in the dark.

Our science-deficient legislators have been easy marks for wind and solar reps — the science be damned. American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist Warren Buffett put it this way in a 2014 U.S. News and World Report story: “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

After Fukushima, where no one was injured due to radiation (but 1,200 died due to an absurd, fear-driven evacuation), Germany went full “green,” closing nuclear plants and expanding wind and solar. The result: Germany has the highest electricity prices in Europe, a carbon footprint twice as great as heavily nuclear France, and is even burning lignite, the dirty runt of the coal industry.

To combat climate change, 20 nations are expanding safe, carbon-free, highly efficient, emissions-free nuclear power but, hindered by willfully ignorant green organizations and carbon companies that push carbon-dependent alternatives, we have closed four nuclear plants and now fight to retain the remainder.

To paraphrase, “Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.”

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George Erickson of Eveleth is author of five pro-science books. He can be reached at tundracub7@gmail.com. His short, image-rich PDF of “Time to Get Serious” can be downloaded at tundracub.com.

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George Erickson

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