State, climate need benefits of plentiful, clean nuclear power

Alan Medsker, a campaigner for Generation Atomic and a member of the Climate Coalition, authored an opinion piece entitled “State, climate need benefits of plentiful, clean nuclear power” for the Daily Herald, which is well worth reading.  In it, he makes the case for nuclear providing the clean energy that we are increasingly reliant upon, as we battle the coronavirus and take our social interactions online. He writes:

We are in the midst of a pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen in our lifetimes. Pandemics have happened in the past. But this time is different from any other in our history. This time we have a new tool — our technology powered by electricity.

To slow the spread of the virus and “flatten the curve,” we are asked to social distance. For many of us this means meeting on Zoom while our children do e-learning and ordering our food online for no-contact delivery, rather than going to the office or school and our favorite restaurant. It means staying in our warm, well-lit homes watching TV, rather than going out to a movie. It means using FaceTime with Grandma and Grandpa, rather than visiting them in their retirement community. This technology requires electricity.

When people do get sick, the nurses and doctors in our hospitals are able to treat them with the help of lifesaving technology, like ventilators. This technology requires electricity.

Here in northern Illinois, we are fortunate that much of the electricity we need to power our technology is generated by our six nuclear power stations. These plants produce over half of all the electricity in our state while emitting no CO2. We have more of them, and more clean electricity from them, than any other state. They generate nearly 90% of our clean electricity, using the most reliable and safe generation technology available. In addition, these plants take up tiny plots of land and do their work without intruding on the nature around them. Most people I ask don’t even know where these plants are because the physical and environmental footprints of these remarkable facilities are so small.

Our nuclear plants have been serving us for many years, but they are nowhere near ready for retirement. Nuclear plants don’t really have expiration dates, and some of ours are already licensed to run well into the 2040s. And when a nuclear plant’s operating license nears expiration, a 20-year extension, which requires a thorough, lengthy inspection, can be applied for.

Our nuclear plants are meticulously maintained, and components are regularly refurbished or replaced. They run better, with more power output, than they did when they were new. The dedicated and talented folks who operate these plants work hard 24/7 to ensure that our nuclear power plants run smoothly now and will be here to serve us for many more decades. Which means it’s that much less work to achieve a 100% clean grid.

Our nuclear plants, simply put, are the crown jewels of the electric grid in Illinois.

To continue reading, please click this link: State, climate need benefits of plentiful, clean nuclear power to get to a version of the article that is available without restriction from the Daily Herald paywall.