While the context of George Monbiot’s article on nuclear energy is British politics, it’s directly relevant to the US as well.
Ten cents of investment, he shows, will buy either 1 kilowatt-hour of nuclear electricity; 1.2-1.7 of windpower; 2.2-6.5 of small-scale cogeneration; or up to 10 of energy efficiency. â€œIts higher cost than competitors, per unit of net CO2 displaced, means that every dollar invested in nuclear expansion will worsen climate change by buying less solution per dollar.â€ And, because nuclear power stations take so long to build, it would be spent later. â€œExpanding nuclear power would both reduce and retard the desired decrease in CO2 emissions.â€
Itâ€™s certainly a good idea, as people like Sir David recommend, to have a â€œdiversified energy portfolioâ€. But, as Lovins points out, â€œthis does not mean â€¦ that every option merits a place in the portfolio purely for the sake of diversity, any more than a financial portfolio should include bad investments just because theyâ€™re on the market.â€ Building new nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom would be a political decision, not a scientific one.