Roper: Everything’s on the table to save the planet, except the one thing that might work

By Rob Roper

At the Sept. 2 meeting of the Cross Sector Mitigation subcommittee of the Climate Council, member Christine Donovan asked hired consultant David Hill a reasonable question: “If we have missed an important pathway [to decarbonization] or have been promoting a pathway that isn’t really a highly effective pathway for the state moving forward, will you all be telling us that?

The expected answer would be, “Of course!” If there was some way to meet the carbon reduction benchmarks mandated in the law, then one would expect the person you’re paying good taxpayer money to help find a solution to say so. Not so David Hill.

His answer: “We’re not looking into the small modular nuclear reactor pathway for Vermont right now. It’s not been discussed. It’s not been put forward. … By the end of this report we will not be coming out with something that says you really should be doing small modular reactors or carbon sequestration.”

Why didn’t a single member of the subcommittee loudly follow up with, “Well, why the hell not?” The committee might find at the end of their research that the small modular nuclear reactors are not the right solution for Vermont, but to not even look into it — technology that provides large quantities of baseload energy with zero carbon output from a small geographic footprint — is inexcusable and negligent.

Other states are looking into and moving forward with small modular nuclear power for economic and climate related reasons. Idaho has a pilot project going called the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) involving six 77 MWe NuScale Power Modules which is expected to be on line in 2030. Montana is also revamping its regulatory structure to pave the way for a small modular nuclear future.

Vermont should at least be considering this technology. It’s worth noting, the six 77 MWe modules of Idaho’s little pilot project could power every household in Vermont with some left over and could do so in such a way as to preserve our ridgelines and pastures from massive, ugly and less reliable wind and solar facilities. NuScale, a company that builds the reactors in question, has a video on their website comparing the geographic and environmental footprints of carbon free energy producers. To make 1,000 megawatts from wind, for example, would require 94 square miles of Vermont ridgelines. The same amount of solar would require 17 square miles of open fields. Small, modular nuclear could do the job on just 0.14 square miles in any out of the way place we find appropriate.

So, why isn’t the Vermont Climate Council at least curious about the small modular nuclear pathway?

This from David Hill’s LinkedIn description with emphasis added: “David is the Principal Investigator for the Vermont Solar Market Pathways project supported by the US DOE’s SunShot Initiative. He is also leading work on the development and launch of SunShares a subsidiary of VEICproviding a unique community solar business model pairing employers with employees. … David is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors for the American Solar Energy Society.”

Hmmm. A cynical person might draw certain conclusions from this. One might also look at who donates money to the party and politicians who lead in the Vermont Legislature — wind and solar developers vs. small modular nuclear manufacturers — and wonder if all this legislative activity is less about saving the planet and more about feathering the nests of the politically connected.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of NuScale
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9 thoughts on “Roper: Everything’s on the table to save the planet, except the one thing that might work

  1. It should be noted that the only Presidential candidate advocating for the use of the newer designed nuclear power plants was Governor William Weld who ran in the Republican primary.
    It was one of the reasons he got my vote.

  2. Silly rabbit, you can only save the world from climate change with communism. The NWO priests told me so, I see it on CNN every night!

    Those who deny this science will lose their jobs and if we have to bring back burning at the stake we’ll do it. We are working on identifying all those who disagree. Gonna be a big Bon fire, books burn long time, communist delight.

  3. The Navy has been using Nuclear power since 1955 (the sub Nautilus), without incident… Maybe if the greenweenies would take their hate nuke blinders off they see
    it’s a efficient safe and low cost to operate power system. Modern units can actually burn the spent rods from older units removing the need to store for ever nuke waste..
    The obvious is oblivious to the left however… stuck on stupid is their motto..

  4. The US, UK and Russia have a huge 70 years of experience building nuclear-powered submarines.

    Russia has a floating platform with a complete nuclear plant, which was towed several thousand miles to the East, to provide power to a north Siberia city

    Russia has huge nuclear-powered ice breakers, about $1 billion each. They break up 3 meters of icecover at a steady speed.

    Australia will be getting about 10 nuclear-powered submarines, built in the US.
    The French submarines were diesel-powered, i.e., totally useless to intimidate far-away China.

    There is absolutely no reason for the US cities not to have small, modular, factory-built nuclear plants, which would be floated, piece by piece, to a nearby site.

    Remember, nuclear electricity is near-zero CO2, great for fighting global warming, and takes up very little land area, unlike diffuse sources, such as solar, wind, biomass, reservoir hydro.

  5. The small nuclear is not being discussed because they would rather nickel and dime us to death..trying to be green..This State has a bad record of trying to make it affordable for the middle class taxpayers to live here.. why would they change now? One thing I wonder is how will they get all the electricity to power up all those green vehicles etc, when their wind and solar fail. I mean we will still have little or NO sun some months and still below zero temps..the Vermont weather will not change enough, just because those that make these dopey choices want it to!!

    • There are two reasons Nuclear was driven out of VT.
      The looney left did not have any control over this option, it was by the Feds, who had given VT Yankee another 20 yr green light to operate at the time of the shutdown. They also did not get the money, because ownership is out of state. This is the same mindset at work in Hydro Quebec. The methane non-sense is just that; methane is going to be around anyhow, no matter what. And, the money goes to Canada.
      Until the populace puts these jello-brained looneys out to pasture for good, we are at the mercy of all this hooey that is being spewed on a daily basis. Remember this, under their plan, there will be a huge shortage of electricity, especially in winter. So is anyone up for freezing to death in a dark room? Not Me. I hope the oil companies are planning to convert to nuclear energy electricity generation, off shore far enough so the looneys will never find them. We are going to need it.

  6. Nuclear Electric power, whether Statewide, or small regional is
    THE OBVIOUS ANSWER ! ! ! ! ! Safest possible!!
    breeder reactors recharge fuel rods.

    ONLY WATER POWER COMES CLOSE!!

    NOTHING BUT NUCLEAR AND WATER SHOULD BE CONSIDERED !! !! !!

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