On nuclear, the Dutch get it. Why can’t Minnesota?
World Nuclear Newsreports that a new coalition government in the Netherlands has placed nuclear power at the heart of its climate and energy policy. The government will spend about $564 million U.S. dollars on building new nuclear power plants.
According to World Nuclear News:
“We want to make every effort to keep our country and our planet liveable and habitable,” wrote the VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie parties. Today they released the coalition’s plans for the period to 2025 as the result of negotiations that began after the general election in March.
“Nuclear energy can complement solar, wind and geothermal energy in the energy mix and can be used to produce hydrogen,” the document said. “It also makes us less dependent on gas imports.”
“This government is also taking the necessary steps to build two new nuclear power stations,” the policy continued. “This means, among other things, that we will facilitate market parties in their explorations, support innovations, invite tenders, review the government’s contribution (financial and otherwise), and put legislation and regulations in order where necessary.”
The energy crisis that is causing natural gas and electricity prices to skyrocket in Europe has shaken awake a continent that has been complacent on energy for far too long.
Politicians in Europe — particularly in Germany — were content to pretend they were being “green” while building unreliable wind and solar facilities and shutting down reliable coal and nuclear power plants. The results have been predictably bad.
As a result, countries like Britain, France, and the Netherlands are experiencing a renewed enthusiasm for new nuclear power plants. Will Minnesota follow their lead, or will we pursue the same policies as California? Time will tell, but for now, it appears we are more likely to take the latter’s policies.
It has been illegal to build a new nuclear power plant in Minnesota since 1994, despite the attempts by conservative lawmakers to legalize them on several occasions.
Ironically, it is the liberal politicians in St. Paul — who claim to believe that climate change is an existential crisis — who are the most ardently opposed to building new nuclear power plants, even though they are the only realistic technology for reducing fossil fuel consumption in the future. Instead, they seem to think that solar energy works at night.
The regional grid operator has said we could face blackouts this January if we have an extreme weather event like a polar vortex. Hopefully, we won’t need to experience the problems of California before we abandon California-style energy policies.