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Re: Natural gas

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Josh Nelson provides some possible answers -- and, be still my heart, some charts -- explaining why nuclear power gets so much more attention than natural gas. There were also a bunch of good comments beneath the original post.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 22, 2010; 2:27 PM ET
Categories:  Climate Change  
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Comments

That's electricity *production* once things get going. What about the differences in emissions in the mining of the fuel and construction of the generators? I suspect the overall carbon footprint might look somewhat different.

Posted by: constans | February 22, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

When we get carbon legislation, it will probably not require real reductions until well past 2020 - the reductions from cap n trade will mostly be offsets in the early years. Currently our gas fleet is underutilized and could easily back off the 50 oldest dirtiest coal plants. Gas offers a quick low cost way to back off coal now. It is also an excellent platform for renewables. It is very difficult to follow wind with a coal plant. Gas and hydro are the only resources that can compliment intermittent renewables.

Nukes are important and it really is not an either or. Even so without reprossessing spent fuel we will have to eventually import uranium. Nukes are also very very expensive and the current generation are water hogs. Still in many parts of the country they will end up being important resources.

The real key is to get the low hanging fruit (the oldest dirtiest coal plants)NOW with NG and back fill that resource with wind and energy efficiency to create a ballance portfolio.

Posted by: mbaker64 | February 22, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Klein and Nelson both exhibit the typical collectivist moronics that assumes lobbying precedes government intrusion.

The simple answer to Klein's dim query is that nuclear is more practical in both the short and long term.

Posted by: msoja | February 22, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

ps - you can build a gas plant in 18 months. A nuke could take 10 years. They both have a role to play.

Posted by: mbaker64 | February 22, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Wait, what greenhouse gasses does wind produce?

And why is biomass listed so low?

Posted by: adamiani | February 22, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for examining every available energy option. One criticism of nuclear I had not heard until recently is that it consumes an inordinate amount of water. For many areas west of the Mississippi, that may be trading one problem for another. Worth examining though.

Posted by: BigTunaTim | February 22, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

--"[A nuke] consumes an inordinate amount of water."--

Yeah, we need a couple new government agencies (and maybe another couple to check those two) to remind nuke plant builder/operators to check the water supply before they start.

Any other suggestions?

Posted by: msoja | February 22, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

^projects partnering nat gas with solar and wind are now being introduced in a couple of different states with more on the way.

^the shale gas finds have eliminated the price volatility problem.

^upfront capital costs for nuclear are enormous--lots of government cash required. meanwhile, the shale gas plays have been made by private industry innovations.

Posted by: jackjudge4000yahoocom | February 22, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

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