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Stan Kaplan's picture
Energy Consultant, KeyLogic

B.A., 1974, History, Rutgers University M.A., 1977, Public Policy, Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at AustinExpertise: Electric power and fuel marketsStan has...

  • Member since 2006
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  • Aug 21, 2020

More on the impervious reliability of nuclear plants.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 21, 2020

I would have thought these types of flooding events would have been planned for in the construction and protection of nuclear plants-- is the issue that climate change will make such floods more severe and more frequent? 

Also the unfortunate irony that nuclear energy is carbon free but its use in some places could potentially be threatened by the impacts of climate change that it's not contributing towards with its operation

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Aug 21, 2020

Matt, this has been known for decades. But as is typical with any nuclear news, it's impact is exaggerated, as it gets gurgitated and re-gurgitated, to make it more "newsworthy".

Let's take a look at what Moody's actually "warned":

"Nuclear operators face increasing climate risks, but resiliency investments mitigate impact

"Over the next 10 to 20 years, nuclear operators will face growing credit risks associated with climate change, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report. Utilizing data from Moody's affiliate Four Twenty Seven, the report examines the exposure of nuclear power plants to the heightened risk of extreme weather events or conditions brought on by acute climate change. 

"'Nuclear power reactors are some of the most hardened industrial assets in the US, but they still face rising climate risks, especially if they look to extend their operating licenses for another 20 years,' said David Kamran, a Moody's Analyst."

Early plants were designed to be resistant all possible impacts that were known at the time. But not only were the extreme impacts of climate change not understood until the 1980s, many plants were built at a time when it was commonly understood all new generation would be nuclear - that nuclear energy could solve the problems of industrial pollution and global warming.

Any veteran nuclear engineer will tell you, "Hey, don't blame it on us. We didn't think people would be stupid enough to try to generate clean grid electricity with windmills and PV panels!"

There is actually controversy in the nuclear community whether U.S. nuclear plants were designed to be too safe. In the early days, for example, some critics believed the hardened containment structures surrounding nuclear reactors were built to attempt to contain a nuclear explosion. Yet to this day, I'm forced to explain why a nuclear explosion is impossible at a nuclear power plant.

Explain all you want, there are some people who don't understand because they don't want to understand. They are, indeed, stupid enough.

Stan Kaplan's picture
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