Just The Facts

"Just The Facts" sets the record straight on the many myths about nuclear energy that appear in the media. Both proactively, and as part of a rapid response campaign, Beyond Nuclear will draw upon the 2014 World Nuclear Industry Status Report (and where necessary on prior editions and other sources) to set the record straight using empirical data. Nuclear propaganda is replete with plans and promises. The reality on the ground paints a very different story. This page presents the reality, not the myths. .................................................................................................................................................................................................................

From nuclear deniers to climate liars

Excerpt from Linda Pentz Gunter's November 20, 2015 Counterpunch column: Let's Call Them What They Re: Climate Liars.

"As everyone from Hansen to Huckabee doubtless knows, there are other ways forward.     They need look no further than the empirical evidence found in the 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report, where we see nuclear energy continuing to stagnate and even decline while wind and solar energy soar globally.   It’s time to follow the example of Germany and take nuclear power out of the energy equation.  Continued nuclear irresponsibility will have only one, tragic outcome;  allowing the climate crisis to slip beyond the point of no return."

Read the full article.


Third Way pushes the Old Way and we push back

In a recent oped in the LA Times, Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, once more made the 20th century case for so-called next generation reactors as an essential panacea for climate change.  You can read the full article here.  What follows is our letter to the editor.

Robert Bryce glosses over the “many hurdles” of nuclear energy almost as an afterthought late in his op-ed — Nuclear power must be part of a greener future.  Yet while he touches on the cost and waste problems, he omits the most obvious argument against choosing nuclear energy to address climate change: time.  

Even without the pie-in-the-sky techno fantasies of so-called “next generation reactors,” which so far revert back to the decidedly old — and failed — generation of sodium-cooled and other “fast” reactor designs — there is no time left to rely on energy dinosaurs of a past century.  The current reactor designs already underway around the world are constantly mired in delays and costs over-runs, including the four under construction here in the U.S. in Georgia and South Carolina.  This won’t be solved by squandering more time and taxpayer dollars while we “test and develop” yet another better nuclear mousetrap.  The collapsing climate does not afford us this luxury. 

There is also no basis on which to believe that allocating more time and resources to “new” nuclear, while lifting essential safety regulations, is likely to deliver more nuclear plants.  The U.S. Department of Energy has been funding a “next generation” favorite, the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) since the 1990s.  Today, there are still no SMRs in operation, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has yet to receive a license application.

The annual analysis by the World Nuclear Industry Status Report clearly shows the continued and dramatic upward trajectory of installed capacity and electricity production enjoyed by renewables worldwide.  Unlike costly and dangerous nuclear power, renewables are meeting energy needs quickly and without the problem of a deadly waste legacy or risking the diversion of radioactive materials.

The U.S. could lead the world in renewable energy development and deployment -- U.S. offshore wind could power most if not all of the country’s energy needs.  It’s time for the national laboratories to focus on modern, 21st century clean energy development, a commitment that is best for our country and the climate.


Setting the record straight on nuclear in the world

Despite what gets printed in the often highly selective news cycles, nuclear energy continues to decline.  The 2015 World Nuclear Industry Status Report, to be launched in the U.S. next week, finds that there are five fewer reactors (62) under construction in the world than a year ago, at least 75% of which are delayed.  “In 10 of the 14 building countries, all projects are delayed,” the report found, “often by years".  Five units have been listed as “under construction” for over 30 years.”  Nuclear continues to garner just 11% of the global electricity market, the report states.  Meanwhile, global investment in renewable energy has increased to $270 billion in 2014, four times the 2004 total.


Nuclear industry scrambles for damage control in light of reality

In light of the findings of the latest annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR), which confirm the decline of nuclear energy globally and the failure of “new generation” reactor designs to become a practical reality, the nuclear industry is struggling for damage control.  In its September 2015 "Update for Members", the World Nuclear Association (WNA) reported that its Fuel Report Working Group "discussed the merits of producing an annual nuclear capacity scenario update.  Such an update would be a useful communications tool and a counter to the industry-critical World Nuclear Industry Status Report.”  Note the use of the word “scenario,” very different from an actual reality.  Such a “scenario” will have to be creative, since annual nuclear capacity additions remain drastically down from their 1980s heyday, while renewable energy (excluding large hydro) dominates with 49 percent of new capacity worldwide in 2014. Nuclear energy languishes at around 11 percent of the world's installed commercial electricity generating capacity.  


Most nuclear plants "under construction" are delayed

75% of reactors under construction are delayed, "often by years."