fbpx

Latest Posts

Home

Facebook

Twitter

Search
About

Japan is Restarting Their Nuclear Power Plants: When Will Minnesota Legalize New Nuclear Power Plants?

Japan has taken aggressive steps to restart their nuclear power program by restarting five nuclear reactors in 2018. According to the Energy Information Administration, these nuclear reactors have a capacity of capacity of around six gigawatts (GW). For reference, this is more than Minnesota’s coal and nuclear capabilities, combined. 

In total, more than 9 GW of nuclear capacity have come online since 2015 in Japan. If Minnesota had installed this same nuclear capacity, we would have been able to generate 100 percent of our electricity use with nearly zero carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, CO2 emissions from electricity generation in Minnesota have only fallen 25 percent since 2005, despite spending $15 billion on wind turbines.

This is because wind and solar simply cannot provide around-the-clock electricity, so we must burn coal and natural gas when the weather is not cooperating.

For example, in Minnesota, wind turbines produce electricity about 36 percent of the time, and solar panels produce electricity about 15.7 percent of the time, according to 2016 data from the EIA. This means when we build a wind turbine, natural gas or coal are still providing our electricity 64 percent of the time. When we build a solar installation, natural gas and coal are still providing our electricity 84.3 percent of the time.

Nuclear energy, however, operates around the clock, and therefore coal and natural gas would be essentially zeroed out.

The unreliability of wind and solar is why we always see an increase in fossil fuel use when countries like Japan when they shut down their nuclear plants. In fact, Japan saw their use of coal, natural gas, and oil increase dramatically after shuttering its nuclear fleet after the tsunami that hit Fukushima in 2011. According to EIA:

“The suspension of Japan’s nuclear fleet resulted in significantly greater dependence on liquefied natural gas (LNG), oil, and coal imports to make up for lost domestic nuclear generation. Japan has limited domestic energy resourcesand imports virtually all of the fossil fuels it uses. Therefore, Japan is the world’s largest importer of LNG and the third-largest importer of coal, behind India and China.”

“In 2017, natural gas accounted for nearly 37% of Japan’s electricity generation, followed by coal at 33%. LNG and coal imports rose last year as court injunctions delayed the planned restart of some nuclear reactors. Japan’s utilities spent approximately $30 billion each year for additional fossil fuel imports in the three years following the Fukushima accident.”

Despite nuclear’s actual ability to replace 100 percent of the coal and natural gas plants used to generate electricity, it is illegal to build a new power plant in Minnesota. 

The DFL house wants to enact a 50 percent renewable energy mandate by 2030 to supposedly “save the planet” from climate change.This will be an expensive and ineffective policy.

If they actually cared about reducing CO2 emissions as quickly, and as permanently as possible, their first order of business would be to legalize nuclear energy.

 

Comments

Subscribe

Categories

Upcoming Events

  • Morning in Minnesota Breakfast Series: Winona

    Location: Signatures Restaurant, 22852 County Road 17, Winona, MN 55987

    Please join Center of the American Experiment Friday, March 6 at Signatures for a FREE breakfast with economist John Phelan.

    Register Now
  • Lunch Forum with Amity Shlaes

    Location: Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Buy tickets HERE. About This Event: Enjoy our Early Bird Ticket Special through February 23rd! After this date, ticket price will increase to $30. Doors open at 11:30 AM, program and lunch begin at Noon. In Great Society, the New York Times bestselling author of The Forgotten Man and Coolidgeoffers a stunning revision of our last great period of idealism, the 1960s, with burning relevance for our contemporary challenges. Today, a battle rages in our country. Many Americans are attracted to socialism and economic redistribution while opponents of those ideas argue for purer capitalism. In the 1960s, Americans sought the…

    Register Now
  • 2020 Annual Dinner Featuring Sarah Huckabee Sanders

    Location: Minneapolis Convention Center Ballroom 1301 2nd Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55403

    American President: The Unorthodox Approach to Politics that Changed the World. Sarah Huckabee Sanders served as White House Press Secretary for President Donald J. Trump from 2017 to 2019. A trusted confidant of the President, Sanders advised him on everything from press and communications strategy to personnel and policy. For two and a half years, Sanders was at the President’s side, battling with the media, working with lawmakers and CEOs, and staffing the President on every foreign trip, including dozens of meetings with foreign leaders. Sanders is only the third woman and the first mother to hold the job of…

    Register Now