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Energy and Resources - Nuclear 55 Items

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The economics of a US civilian nuclear phase-out

Journal or Magazine Article, 2013

In the United States, which trades three-fifths of its electricity in competitive markets, the prohibitive capital cost of new nuclear power plants ensures that only a handful will be built. Nonetheless, with 40-year licenses being extended to 60 years, the 104 existing reactors’ relatively low generating costs are widely expected to justify decades of continued operation. But the generating costs of aging reactors have been rising, while competitors, including modern renewables, show rapidly falling total costs—and those opposed cost curves have begun to intersect. An expanding fraction of well-running nuclear plants is now challenged to compete with moderating wholesale power prices, while plants needing major repairs or located in regions rich in wind power increasingly face difficult choices of whether to run or close. Thus, even without events that might accelerate nuclear phase-out, as the Fukushima disaster did in Germany, shifting competitive conditions have begun to drive a gradual US nuclear phase-out. Its economics are illuminated by a detailed energy scenario that needs no nuclear energy, coal, or oil and one-third less natural gas to run a 158 percent bigger US economy in 2050—but cuts carbon emissions by 82 to 86 percent and costs $5 trillion less. That scenario’s 80-percent-renewable, 50-percent-distributed, equally reliable, and more resilient electricity system would cost essentially the same as a business-as-usual version that sustains nuclear and coal power, but it would better manage all the system’s risks. Similarly comprehensive modeling could also analyze faster nuclear phase-out if desired.


Reinventing Fire in Southern California: Distributed Resources and the San Onofre Outage

Report or White Paper, 2012

The prolonged shut-down of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California could mark an important turning point for the region’s electricity system. Distributed and demand-side resources offer a portfolio of solutions to help fill the near-term supply gap, while also advancing California’s long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and supporting local economic development and job creation. This discussion paper assesses the role the following distributed energy resources could play in the absence of SONGS: behavioral savings; demand response; energy efficiency; solar photovoltaics; combined heat and power and fuel cells; storage. That paper includes information on what the potentials for these resources are, how their economics affect adoption, how much time it takes to install them, and how long we expect them to persist. We also offer recommendations to unlock these resources and encourage their adoption by utilities and their customers.


Soft Energy Paths for the 21st Century

Journal or Magazine Article, 2011
Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Amory Lovins to outline his reaction to the Fukushima disaster and his suggestions for Japanese and U.S. energy policy for its house magazine Gaiko (Diplomacy). An abridged version was published 30 July 2011 in Japanese and is cited in this unabridged English version. It's a timely contribution to the rapidly growing movement in Japan to accelerate the strategic shift from nuclear power to efficiency and renewables, as Germany is already doing—an approach consistent with sound economics and with RMI's U.S. findings in Reinventing Fire. The abridged version of the article is available at http://www.gaiko-web.jp/ in Japanese.


Renewable Energy's "Footprint" Myth

Journal or Magazine Article, 2011
Many nuclear advocates argue that renewable electricity has far too big a land ‘footprint’ to be environmentally acceptable, while nuclear power is preferable because it uses orders of magnitude less land. If we assume that land-use is an important metric, a closer look reveals the opposite is true.


Would the World be Better off Without Nuclear Power?

Journal or Magazine Article, 2011
In April, 2011, Amory Lovins participated in an online debate for The Economist on whether the world would be better off without nuclear power. In Lovins' debate piece, he presents evidence to show that new nuclear build is uneconomic and unnecessary.


Learning From Japan's Nuclear Disaster

Journal or Magazine Article, 2011
In this article written in response to the Japanese nuclear crisis in 2011, Amory Lovins explains why nuclear energy is costly and dangerous and a poor alternative to renewable energy sources. Lovins argues that American nuclear plants are as risky as the Japanese plants and that there are lessons to be learned from the disaster.


Proliferation, Oil, and Climate: Solving for Pattern

Journal or Magazine Article, 2010
In this essay Amory Lovins discusses the problems of proliferation, oil, and climate. These three formidable problems, though treated as distinct, share common causes and solutions. New energy and climate solutions can strengthen security and prosperity by shifting strategy for the NPT Review Conference. Nuclear power’s astonishing eclipse by cheaper, faster, more climate-protective competitors—if acknowledged and exploited—can simultaneously bolster nonproliferation, energy security, global development, and climate protection, all at a profit. Foreign Policy published a condensed version of this paper, "On Proliferation, Climate, and Oil: Solving for Pattern" (RMI document ID S10-03) in January 2010.


On Proliferation, Climate, and Oil: Solving for Pattern

Journal or Magazine Article, 2010
Proliferation, climate change, and oil dependence share both nuclear non-solutions that frustrate U.S. foreign-policy goals and non-nuclear solutions that can achieve them. This synthesis of all three issues shows how reconciling foreign with domestic energy policy can solve these and other big problems at a profit. This essay, first posted 21 January 2010 in Foreign Policy, is expanded in the annotated paper,"Proliferation, Oil, and Climate: Solving for Pattern" (RMI document ID S10-02).


2010 Micropower Database (May)

Guide, 2010

2010 (May) Edition: The purpose of the micropower database is to present a clear, rigorous, and independent assessment of the global capacity and electrical output of micropower (all renewables, except large hydro, and cogeneration), showing its development over time and documenting all data and assumptions. With minor exceptions, this information is based on bottom-up, transaction-by-transaction equipment counts reported by the relevant suppliers and operators, cross-checked against assessments by reputable governmental and intergovernmental technical agencies. For most technologies, historic data from 1990 through 2008 or 2009 is available, as well as forecasts through 2013. Available information includes global annual capacity additions and output, global cumulative capacity, and capacity factor. The Micropower Database Methodology is also included here. The 2008 Micropower Database (RMI ID E05-04) is also available.

Note: A more recent version of 2014 Micropower Database (September) (RMI ID 2010-14) is now available. This update to the database incorporates recently released data that change the total installed micropower capacity by 2.9%.


Reply to William Tucker's Critique of Amory Lovins's Article "Nuclear Socialism"

Letter, 2010
On 26 October 2010, The American Spectator published William Tucker's critical article about Amory Lovins's "Nuclear Socialism" article in The Weekly Standard. The American Spectator didn't acknowledge or publish Mr. Lovins's 1 November reply, so on 14 December he posted it as a comment and RMI published it here.


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