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Nuclear power should be part of the climate conversation

Source: 
Awareness Times

Around the world, there are important conversations going on regarding carbon emissions. Countries, companies and communities are all looking for solutions that move us toward a lower-carbon future.

As energy providers, we have an important role to play, and Im pleased that utilities in the United States have already made solid progress on carbon emissions. At Duke Energy, we reduced our carbon emissions 31% since 2005, which meets or exceeds the standards of the former Clean Power Plan and the 2025 U.S. commitment to the Paris Agreement.

Yet its clear we must do more.

Thats why we refreshed our climate strategy, establishing a carbon reduction goal of at least 50% by 2030 and net zero by 2050. We have a clear line of sight to achieving the 2030 goal with investments in renewables, storage, natural gas, energy efficiency and the retirement of coal plants serving as important solutions over the next decade. To reach our 2050 goal, we are strong advocates for investments in research and development to find new technologies necessary to close the gap to net zero including enhanced storage, carbon capture and advanced nuclear.

But to meet these short- and long-term goals, there is a resource that is often overlooked one that is carbon-free and runs 95% of the time. That resource is nuclear.

Nuclear provides more than half of our countrys carbon-free energy. For Duke Energy, nuclear accounts for more than 50% of our generation in the Carolinas. Nuclear is foundational to our climate strategy, and we are pursuing subsequent license renewals for our fleet. This will enable us to operate our plants for another 20 years.

Our ability to achieve these aggressive carbon reduction goals for the benefit of our customers and communities is dependent upon the reliability of nuclear energy.

Keeping our nuclear plants running will also help make the transition to cleaner energy sources more cost-effective. Case in point: A recent MIT study highlighted the high cost of powering the grid primarily with intermittent renewables and the importance of having diverse energy resources, like nuclear.

The conversation on carbon emissions will only accelerate in 2020 and beyond, and were committed to being part of the solution. But as we move forward, we believe nuclear deserves a seat at the table.

Discussions

Mark Silverstone's picture
Mark Silverstone on Jan 25, 2020 6:34 pm GMT

Yes, nuclear deserves a seat at the table.  But nuclear has to (re-) gain public trust and compete with emerging technologies.  That means addressing crucial issues including openess with respect to major and less major incidents and their resolution, the waste issue, honesty with respect to availability, especially in later life, hazards with respect to extended life, heat emissions, especially to water bodies, carbon emissions such as from mining, construction of plants and decommisioning and both initial and operating costs.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 27, 2020 4:10 pm GMT

I'm curious what you think the pathway to buliding this newfound trust would be. Is it in agreements, pledges? Or would those be hollow without the action to back them up? The actions would seem necessary, but if the lack of trust hinders them then you're in a bit of a catch 22

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