Kerry: A Need For Nuke Power As Climate Diplomacy Dominates Atlantic Council in NY
U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry made it clear he doesn’t think wind and solar alone will be sufficient to meet global energy needs.
While addressing an Atlantic Council meeting on nuclear energy, U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry made it clear he doesn’t think wind and solar alone will be sufficient to meet global energy needs while achieving policy plans to rapidly scale back the use of hydrocarbons in the name of addressing climate change risks as outlined by the United Nations.
“You will have to have some component of nuclear—yet to be determined how big or where it’ll go. That’s going to be a market-based reaction,” said Mr. Kerry, who served as a Democratic senator from Massachusetts before serving as Secretary of State under former President Barack Obama.
The 2004 Democratic candidate for president said that “most scientists will tell you” the goal of Net Zero 2050 cannot be achieved “unless we have a pot, a mixture of energy approaches.”
“Clearly, we’re going to need nuclear to be a part of that,” he said on Monday.
Mr. Kerry’s pro-nuclear remarks come as climate-related diplomacy and other climate-themed events overtake New York City.
Over the weekend, protesters demonstrated against fossil fuels in the streets of New York City, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) among the participants.
Mr. Kerry voiced support for those demonstrators in his speech to the Atlantic Council.
In addition, the U.N. [held] its inaugural Climate Ambition Summit on Sept. 20.
A U.N. statement on the event states it “will showcase leaders who are ‘first movers and doers’ from government, business, finance, local authorities, and civil society who have credible actions, policies and plans to keep the 1.5°C degree goal of the Paris Agreement alive and deliver climate justice to those on the front lines of the climate crisis.”
The Climate Ambition Summit comes ahead of the next annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, which will begin in late November. It’s taking place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Even as he praised climate protesters, Mr. Kerry noted that a previous generation of environmental activists had fought hard against nuclear power, now seen as a pragmatic solution by many climate hawks.
“In my state of Massachusetts, where there was a huge fight over Seabrook Nuclear Plant in New Hampshire, we now happily get about 20 percent of all our energy from Seabrook, and nobody’s complaining—maybe about the prices a little bit, because that’s normal in today’s world,” he said.
A view of the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in Seabrook, N.H., on March 21, 2011. (Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images)
“The United States is now therefore committed, based on experience and based on reality, to trying to accelerate the deployment of nuclear energy, as part of the Biden program,” he added.
The diplomat, who came under fire from Republicans earlier this summer for his unwillingness to share details of his staff at a Congressional hearing, commented positively on Bill Gates’ TerraPower, which plans to build the next-generation Natrium nuclear reactor in Wyoming.
He also drew attention to his recent trip to Romania, where he visited a control room simulator for a small modular reactor developed by the American firm NuScale.
Mr. Kerry took issue with the continued construction of unabated coal-fired power plants and with the existence of subsidies for fossil fuels.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) study identified $1.3 trillion in “explicit” subsidies for fossil fuels in 2022, a stark increase from $500 billion in 2020. Such subsidies are ascribed to fossil fuel prices when they are lower than they would otherwise be if producers fully bore supply costs. The IMF authors attributed a substantial proportion of the increase to “temporary price support measures,” in line with surging fossil fuel prices during that period.
Whitehouse Touts ADVANCE Act
Mr. Kerry wasn’t the only high-level Democratic politician who addressed the Atlanticist forum .
In pre-recorded remarks, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) touted the bipartisan, nuclear power-related ADVANCE Act, which passed the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in July. The bill has not moved ahead in the House.
“Our legislation would strengthen the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s ability to safely and efficiently review the expected influx of applications and prepare them to license HALEU [high-assay low-enriched uranium] fuels,” the lawmaker said.
Russia currently dominates the production of HALEU fuels, which are key for most next-generation nuclear reactors. Uncertainty about Russian supplies of HALEU has been a worry for TerraPower and a central motivation for the Nuclear Fuel Security Act, another successful NDAA amendment.
“We spend nearly $1 billion each year on Russian uranium. Russia uses these revenues to fund its invasion of Ukraine,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in the Senate as the measure was under consideration.
‘Decarbonize Beyond Electricity’
Other speakers at the event expanded on how nuclear energy could be used to cut carbon emissions.
“We need to decarbonize beyond electricity,” said John Wagner, director of the Idaho National Laboratory. He cited industrial heating and hydrogen production as examples of such applications for nuclear energy.
Sama Bilbao y León, director general of the World Nuclear Association, concurred.
“Yes, we need to electrify as much as we can of our economy, but it is not going to be possible to electrify everything,” she said.
Ben Pickett of Nucor Corporation, which operates mills that recycle scrap steel using electric arc furnaces, explained that his company’s operations require “billions and billions of kilowatt hours per year.”
Earlier this year, Nucor signed a memorandum of understanding with NuScale Power. The latter could potentially develop small modular reactors for use in conjunction with Nucor’s steel production facilities.
“We’ve got customers now that are demanding much cleaner steels,” Mr. Pickett said.
He conceded that the idea of running steel production on advanced nuclear has met with a “mixed” reaction in his industry.
(TLB) published this article by Nathan Worcester via The Epoch Times as posted at ZeroHedge
Header featured image (edited) credit: John Kerry/YouTube screen shot
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