As Renewables Drive Up Energy Prices, Voters In U.S., Asia & Europe Are Opting For Nuclear Power

As Renewables Drive Up Energy Prices, Voters In U.S., Asia & Europe Are Opting For Nuclear Power

Dutch TV news comedian Arjan Lubach — the John Oliver of the Netherlands — makes the case for nuclear power.ZML

</div> </div> <p>Voters in the U.S., Asia, and Europe are increasingly opting for nuclear power in response to rising electricity prices from the deployment of renewables like solar panels and wind turbines.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">By a more than </span><a href="https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/06/arizona-prop-127-election-results-voters-decide-energy-mandate-rules/1809288002/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/06/arizona-prop-127-election-results-voters-decide-energy-mandate-rules/1809288002/"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/11/06/arizona-prop-127-election-results-voters-decide-energy-mandate-rules/1809288002/">two-to-one margin</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> (70% to 30%), voters in Arizona on Tuesday rejected a ballot initiative (proposition 127) that would have resulted in the </span><a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/4/10/billionaire-energy-speculator-tom-steyer-bank-rolls-arizona-initiative-that-would-close-americas-single-largest-source-of-clean-energy" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/4/10/billionaire-energy-speculator-tom-steyer-bank-rolls-arizona-initiative-that-would-close-americas-single-largest-source-of-clean-energy"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/4/10/billionaire-energy-speculator-tom-steyer-bank-rolls-arizona-initiative-that-would-close-americas-single-largest-source-of-clean-energy">closure of that state’s nuclear power plant</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> and in the massive deployment of solar and wind.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">In Taiwan, momentum is building for a repeal of that nation’s nuclear energy phase-out. Grassroots pro-nuclear advocacy inspired a former president to </span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/17/taiwanese-government-sparks-hunger-strike-after-rejecting-signatures-for-pro-nuclear-referendum/#283ccafa6af9" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/17/taiwanese-government-sparks-hunger-strike-after-rejecting-signatures-for-pro-nuclear-referendum/#283ccafa6af9"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/17/taiwanese-government-sparks-hunger-strike-after-rejecting-signatures-for-pro-nuclear-referendum/#283ccafa6af9">help activists gather over 300,000 signatures</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> so voters could vote directly on the issue on November 24.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">And after </span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/24/momentum-builds-for-nuclear-power-with-referendum-approved-in-taiwan-and-pride-fest-in-germany/#ab5460975843" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/24/momentum-builds-for-nuclear-power-with-referendum-approved-in-taiwan-and-pride-fest-in-germany/#ab5460975843"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/24/momentum-builds-for-nuclear-power-with-referendum-approved-in-taiwan-and-pride-fest-in-germany/#ab5460975843">a coalition of grassroots groups rallied in Munich, Germany </span></a><span style="font-weight: 400">last month to protest the closure of nuclear plants, a wave of mostly positive media coverage spread across Europe, inspiring </span><a href="https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/meer-voor-dan-tegenstanders-van-kernenergie-in-nederland/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/meer-voor-dan-tegenstanders-van-kernenergie-in-nederland/"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/meer-voor-dan-tegenstanders-van-kernenergie-in-nederland/">a majority of Netherlands voters</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400">, and the nation’s ruling political party, to declare support for building new nuclear reactors.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Now, in the wake of rising public support for nuclear energy, a longstanding foe of nuclear power, the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, has </span><a href="https://www.axios.com/environmental-group-keep-open-nuclear-power-plants-6177b5b0-3885-48f3-a51a-4a76436609a3.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.axios.com/environmental-group-keep-open-nuclear-power-plants-6177b5b0-3885-48f3-a51a-4a76436609a3.html"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.axios.com/environmental-group-keep-open-nuclear-power-plants-6177b5b0-3885-48f3-a51a-4a76436609a3.html">reversed its blanket opposition</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> to the technology and declared that existing U.S. nuclear plants must stay open to protect the climate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">These events have surprised mainstream journalists, politicians, and energy analysts who, over the last three years, have dismissed and derided the world’s 454 operating nuclear reactors as&nbsp;antiquated&nbsp;given the declining cost of solar panels and wind turbines.</span></p>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400">But the declining price of solar panels and wind turbines has not made the technologies more reliable, and the inherent unreliability of sunlight and wind — along with their huge material and land use requirements — have helped </span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/23/if-solar-and-wind-are-so-cheap-why-are-they-making-electricity-more-expensive/" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/23/if-solar-and-wind-are-so-cheap-why-are-they-making-electricity-more-expensive/"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/23/if-solar-and-wind-are-so-cheap-why-are-they-making-electricity-more-expensive/">drive up electricity prices</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> in places like California and Germany, </span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/25/yes-solar-and-wind-really-do-increase-electricity-prices-and-for-inherently-physical-reasons/" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/25/yes-solar-and-wind-really-do-increase-electricity-prices-and-for-inherently-physical-reasons/"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/25/yes-solar-and-wind-really-do-increase-electricity-prices-and-for-inherently-physical-reasons/">even at a time of lower natural gas prices</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Notably, growing voter support for nuclear energy comes both from progressives who tend to be more concerned about climate change and from conservatives who tend to be more concerned about the cost of electricity. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">In Netherlands, grassroots advocacy for nuclear energy, and favorable coverage by the mainstream media — including long segments (</span><a href="https://www.rtlz.nl/opinie/video/4462896/hoe-minder-kernenergie-hoe-groter-de-opwarming" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.rtlz.nl/opinie/video/4462896/hoe-minder-kernenergie-hoe-groter-de-opwarming"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.rtlz.nl/opinie/video/4462896/hoe-minder-kernenergie-hoe-groter-de-opwarming">in English</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400">) by two of the nation’s most </span><a href="https://www.rtlz.nl/opinie/video/4462896/hoe-minder-kernenergie-hoe-groter-de-opwarming" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.rtlz.nl/opinie/video/4462896/hoe-minder-kernenergie-hoe-groter-de-opwarming"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.rtlz.nl/opinie/video/4462896/hoe-minder-kernenergie-hoe-groter-de-opwarming">influential TV journalists</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> — has shone a light on the inadequacy of solar and wind to address climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">In Arizona, the campaign against proposition 127 focused heavily on avoiding the mistakes made by California, where </span><a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/2/12/electricity-prices-rose-three-times-more-in-california-than-in-rest-of-us-in-2017" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/2/12/electricity-prices-rose-three-times-more-in-california-than-in-rest-of-us-in-2017"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/2/12/electricity-prices-rose-three-times-more-in-california-than-in-rest-of-us-in-2017">electricity rates rose five times faster than the rest of the country</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> thanks in large measure to the closure of nuclear plants and the rapid deployment of solar panels.</span></p>

California’s anti-nuclear pro-renewables policies have become a poster child for expensive energyNo on Prop 127

</div> </div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">“Proposition 127 is a recycled version of California’s failed energy initiatives being exported to Arizona courtesy of Tom Steyer, California energy hedge fund billionaire,” </span><a href="https://arizonadailyindependent.com/2018/09/25/the-california-invasion-no-on-prop-127/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://arizonadailyindependent.com/2018/09/25/the-california-invasion-no-on-prop-127/"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://arizonadailyindependent.com/2018/09/25/the-california-invasion-no-on-prop-127/">wrote</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> an Arizona state Senator. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Steyer, who </span><a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/4/10/billionaire-energy-speculator-tom-steyer-bank-rolls-arizona-initiative-that-would-close-americas-single-largest-source-of-clean-energy" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/4/10/billionaire-energy-speculator-tom-steyer-bank-rolls-arizona-initiative-that-would-close-americas-single-largest-source-of-clean-energy"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/4/10/billionaire-energy-speculator-tom-steyer-bank-rolls-arizona-initiative-that-would-close-americas-single-largest-source-of-clean-energy">made his money</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> building coal plants in Asia, and has heavily invested in natural gas and renewables, </span><a href="https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/10/16/arizona-clean-energy-ballot-measure-proposition-127-most-expensive-state-history/1660198002/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/10/16/arizona-clean-energy-ballot-measure-proposition-127-most-expensive-state-history/1660198002/"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2018/10/16/arizona-clean-energy-ballot-measure-proposition-127-most-expensive-state-history/1660198002/">spent a record $18 million</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> of his own money in the doomed effort to pass 127. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">In Taiwan, it appears that it is the combination of environmental, economic, and energy security concerns that has moved voters to overcome their fears of nuclear in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima accident and panic. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Taiwan imports 98% of its energy and, due to the nation’s nuclear energy phase out, suffered a devastating electricity shortage last year that </span><a href="https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/massive-power-blackout-in-taiwan-had-limited-impact-on-businesses" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/massive-power-blackout-in-taiwan-had-limited-impact-on-businesses"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/massive-power-blackout-in-taiwan-had-limited-impact-on-businesses">resulted in one death</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400">, </span><a href="https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/2107478/taiwan-blackouts-cast-long-shadow-over-leaders-plans-nuclear-free-future" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/2107478/taiwan-blackouts-cast-long-shadow-over-leaders-plans-nuclear-free-future"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/2107478/taiwan-blackouts-cast-long-shadow-over-leaders-plans-nuclear-free-future">threatened</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> the nation’s semiconductor industry, and contributed to the declining approval of the nation’s president. &nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Economics and environment are two sides of the same coin. Had California and Germany invested $680 billion into new nuclear power plants instead of renewables like solar and wind farms, </span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/11/had-they-bet-on-nuclear-not-renewables-germany-california-would-already-have-100-clean-power/#640433dfe0d4" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/11/had-they-bet-on-nuclear-not-renewables-germany-california-would-already-have-100-clean-power/#640433dfe0d4"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/11/had-they-bet-on-nuclear-not-renewables-germany-california-would-already-have-100-clean-power/#640433dfe0d4">the two would already be generating 100% or more of their electricity from clean</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> (low-emissions) energy sources.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">These aren’t the first pro-nuclear victories in recent years. In 2016, state governments in </span><a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2016/12/1/big-illinois-nuclear-victory-shows-why-both-pro-anti-nuclear-groups-must-change" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2016/12/1/big-illinois-nuclear-victory-shows-why-both-pro-anti-nuclear-groups-must-change"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2016/12/1/big-illinois-nuclear-victory-shows-why-both-pro-anti-nuclear-groups-must-change">Illinois</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> and </span><a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2016/7/27/how-nuclear-plants-are-saved" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2016/7/27/how-nuclear-plants-are-saved"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2016/7/27/how-nuclear-plants-are-saved">New York</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> acted to prevent nuclear plants from closing. In 2017, a </span><a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/10/19/victory-pro-nuclear-win-in-south-korea-gives-momentum-to-atomic-humanists-everywhere" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/10/19/victory-pro-nuclear-win-in-south-korea-gives-momentum-to-atomic-humanists-everywhere"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/10/19/victory-pro-nuclear-win-in-south-korea-gives-momentum-to-atomic-humanists-everywhere">South Korean</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> “citizens jury” went from 60% opposed to 60% in favor of nuclear. That victory was quickly followed actions in </span><a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/10/31/another-atomic-humanist-victory-this-time-in-connecticut-usa" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/10/31/another-atomic-humanist-victory-this-time-in-connecticut-usa"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/10/31/another-atomic-humanist-victory-this-time-in-connecticut-usa">Connecticut</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> and </span><a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/4/12/pro-nuclear-victory-in-new-jersey-but-at-the-cost-of-a-hefty-new-subsidy-for-solar" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/4/12/pro-nuclear-victory-in-new-jersey-but-at-the-cost-of-a-hefty-new-subsidy-for-solar"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2018/4/12/pro-nuclear-victory-in-new-jersey-but-at-the-cost-of-a-hefty-new-subsidy-for-solar">New Jersey</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> to save their nuclear plants.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Increasingly pro-nuclear advocacy is grassroots. In places like South Korea, Taiwan, and Europe, where the electric utilities that own nuclear plants are often government-owned, and thus unable to engage in politics, it has been up to&nbsp;independent environmental groups — and <a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/sign-the-letter/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/sign-the-letter/">outspoken climate scientists</a> — to advocate for nuclear power.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">The impacts of their work has stunned and thrilled pro-nuclear activists. “We Dutch have been anti-nuclear since the 1970s,” said Olguita Oudendijk, co-founder of Ecomodernism Netherlands. “What turned us around is the high cost of renewables, the </span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/24/momentum-builds-for-nuclear-power-with-referendum-approved-in-taiwan-and-pride-fest-in-germany/#ab5460975843" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/24/momentum-builds-for-nuclear-power-with-referendum-approved-in-taiwan-and-pride-fest-in-germany/#ab5460975843"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/24/momentum-builds-for-nuclear-power-with-referendum-approved-in-taiwan-and-pride-fest-in-germany/#ab5460975843">Nuclear Pride Fest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400">, and serious media attention to the issue turned the public around.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">A poll of 18,000 Dutch voters released yesterday found that </span><a href="https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/meer-voor-dan-tegenstanders-van-kernenergie-in-nederland/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/meer-voor-dan-tegenstanders-van-kernenergie-in-nederland/"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://eenvandaag.avrotros.nl/item/meer-voor-dan-tegenstanders-van-kernenergie-in-nederland/">54% favored the use of nuclear energy</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> while just 35% opposed it. “Achieving climate goals weighs heavier than their objections to nuclear energy for voters,” the pollster said. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">In Taiwan — where pro-nuclear activists went on hunger strike, and to court — to overturn the government’s attempt to keep the referendum off the ballot, a former president </span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/17/taiwanese-government-sparks-hunger-strike-after-rejecting-signatures-for-pro-nuclear-referendum/#857518a6af98" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/17/taiwanese-government-sparks-hunger-strike-after-rejecting-signatures-for-pro-nuclear-referendum/#857518a6af98"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/09/17/taiwanese-government-sparks-hunger-strike-after-rejecting-signatures-for-pro-nuclear-referendum/#857518a6af98">said</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400">, &quot;Opposing nuclear energy is now outdated. What has become a trend is how to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to tackle global warming.&quot;</span></p> <p>In most places, activists have focused heavily on <a href="http://environmentalprogress.org/the-complete-case-for-nuclear/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://environmentalprogress.org/the-complete-case-for-nuclear/">debunking the many myths</a> about nuclear power promoted by organizations like Greenpeace, including the notion that cheaper solar panels and wind turbines will translate into lower electricity prices when <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/23/if-solar-and-wind-are-so-cheap-why-are-they-making-electricity-more-expensive/" target="_self" data-ga-track="InternalLink:https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/04/23/if-solar-and-wind-are-so-cheap-why-are-they-making-electricity-more-expensive/">the opposite is usually the case</a>.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">The&nbsp;inadequacy of&nbsp;solar panels and wind turbines&nbsp;was highlighted by </span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjFWiMJdotM" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjFWiMJdotM"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjFWiMJdotM">Arjan Lubach</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> — the John Oliver of Dutch TV — last Sunday, who in a 20-minute segment educated viewers on nuclear power’s necessity and safety while making sly, sexual puns. (The </span><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjFWiMJdotM" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjFWiMJdotM"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjFWiMJdotM">segment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> was translated into English.)</span></p>

Taking nuclear out of "taboo-sphere"ZMT

</div> </div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">A telling moment in the segment came when Lubach cut to a Greenpeace spokesperson who acknowledged that with nuclear energy “There are no carbon emissions, that’s true, so it doesn’t contribute to global warming, but there are other disadvantages.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">“Whoa whoa, wait a minute,” Lubach interrupted. “It doesn’t contribute to global warming but there are </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400">‘other’</span></i><span style="font-weight: 400"> disadvantages? You can’t state a huge advantage and then say, “It becomes even worse.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Asked about the difference in attitudes between the Dutch and the nation’s famously romantic, antinuclear German neighbors, Dutch ecomodernist Oudendijk said, “We Dutch are basically very rational people. We just want to solve the problem.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Said TV comedian Lubach to an on-air correspondent, “I say we take nuclear energy out of the taboo-sphere.” The correspondent in the &quot;taboo-sphere&quot; is dressed in protective gear to protect himself, he explains, not from nuclear but rather from STDs. &nbsp;</span></p>”>

Dutch TV news comedian Arjan Lubach — the John Oliver of the Netherlands — makes the case for nuclear power.ZML

Voters in the U.S., Asia, and Europe are increasingly opting for nuclear power in response to rising electricity prices from the deployment of renewables like solar panels and wind turbines.

By a more than two-to-one margin (70% to 30%), voters in Arizona on Tuesday rejected a ballot initiative (proposition 127) that would have resulted in the closure of that state’s nuclear power plant and in the massive deployment of solar and wind.

In Taiwan, momentum is building for a repeal of that nation’s nuclear energy phase-out. Grassroots pro-nuclear advocacy inspired a former president to help activists gather over 300,000 signatures so voters could vote directly on the issue on November 24.

And after a coalition of grassroots groups rallied in Munich, Germany last month to protest the closure of nuclear plants, a wave of mostly positive media coverage spread across Europe, inspiring a majority of Netherlands voters, and the nation’s ruling political party, to declare support for building new nuclear reactors.

Now, in the wake of rising public support for nuclear energy, a longstanding foe of nuclear power, the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists, has reversed its blanket opposition to the technology and declared that existing U.S. nuclear plants must stay open to protect the climate.

These events have surprised mainstream journalists, politicians, and energy analysts who, over the last three years, have dismissed and derided the world’s 454 operating nuclear reactors as antiquated given the declining cost of solar panels and wind turbines.

But the declining price of solar panels and wind turbines has not made the technologies more reliable, and the inherent unreliability of sunlight and wind — along with their huge material and land use requirements — have helped drive up electricity prices in places like California and Germany, even at a time of lower natural gas prices.

Notably, growing voter support for nuclear energy comes both from progressives who tend to be more concerned about climate change and from conservatives who tend to be more concerned about the cost of electricity.   

In Netherlands, grassroots advocacy for nuclear energy, and favorable coverage by the mainstream media — including long segments (in English) by two of the nation’s most influential TV journalists — has shone a light on the inadequacy of solar and wind to address climate change.

In Arizona, the campaign against proposition 127 focused heavily on avoiding the mistakes made by California, where electricity rates rose five times faster than the rest of the country thanks in large measure to the closure of nuclear plants and the rapid deployment of solar panels.

California’s anti-nuclear pro-renewables policies have become a poster child for expensive energyNo on Prop 127

“Proposition 127 is a recycled version of California’s failed energy initiatives being exported to Arizona courtesy of Tom Steyer, California energy hedge fund billionaire,” wrote an Arizona state Senator.

Steyer, who made his money building coal plants in Asia, and has heavily invested in natural gas and renewables, spent a record $18 million of his own money in the doomed effort to pass 127.

In Taiwan, it appears that it is the combination of environmental, economic, and energy security concerns that has moved voters to overcome their fears of nuclear in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima accident and panic.

Taiwan imports 98% of its energy and, due to the nation’s nuclear energy phase out, suffered a devastating electricity shortage last year that resulted in one death, threatened the nation’s semiconductor industry, and contributed to the declining approval of the nation’s president.   

Economics and environment are two sides of the same coin. Had California and Germany invested $680 billion into new nuclear power plants instead of renewables like solar and wind farms, the two would already be generating 100% or more of their electricity from clean (low-emissions) energy sources.

These aren’t the first pro-nuclear victories in recent years. In 2016, state governments in Illinois and New York acted to prevent nuclear plants from closing. In 2017, a South Korean “citizens jury” went from 60% opposed to 60% in favor of nuclear. That victory was quickly followed actions in Connecticut and New Jersey to save their nuclear plants.

Increasingly pro-nuclear advocacy is grassroots. In places like South Korea, Taiwan, and Europe, where the electric utilities that own nuclear plants are often government-owned, and thus unable to engage in politics, it has been up to independent environmental groups — and outspoken climate scientists — to advocate for nuclear power.

The impacts of their work has stunned and thrilled pro-nuclear activists. “We Dutch have been anti-nuclear since the 1970s,” said Olguita Oudendijk, co-founder of Ecomodernism Netherlands. “What turned us around is the high cost of renewables, the Nuclear Pride Fest, and serious media attention to the issue turned the public around.”

A poll of 18,000 Dutch voters released yesterday found that 54% favored the use of nuclear energy while just 35% opposed it. “Achieving climate goals weighs heavier than their objections to nuclear energy for voters,” the pollster said.

In Taiwan — where pro-nuclear activists went on hunger strike, and to court — to overturn the government’s attempt to keep the referendum off the ballot, a former president said, “Opposing nuclear energy is now outdated. What has become a trend is how to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide to tackle global warming.”

In most places, activists have focused heavily on debunking the many myths about nuclear power promoted by organizations like Greenpeace, including the notion that cheaper solar panels and wind turbines will translate into lower electricity prices when the opposite is usually the case.

The inadequacy of solar panels and wind turbines was highlighted by Arjan Lubach — the John Oliver of Dutch TV — last Sunday, who in a 20-minute segment educated viewers on nuclear power’s necessity and safety while making sly, sexual puns. (The segment was translated into English.)

Taking nuclear out of “taboo-sphere”ZMT

A telling moment in the segment came when Lubach cut to a Greenpeace spokesperson who acknowledged that with nuclear energy “There are no carbon emissions, that’s true, so it doesn’t contribute to global warming, but there are other disadvantages.”

“Whoa whoa, wait a minute,” Lubach interrupted. “It doesn’t contribute to global warming but there are ‘other’ disadvantages? You can’t state a huge advantage and then say, “It becomes even worse.”

Asked about the difference in attitudes between the Dutch and the nation’s famously romantic, antinuclear German neighbors, Dutch ecomodernist Oudendijk said, “We Dutch are basically very rational people. We just want to solve the problem.”

Said TV comedian Lubach to an on-air correspondent, “I say we take nuclear energy out of the taboo-sphere.” The correspondent in the “taboo-sphere” is dressed in protective gear to protect himself, he explains, not from nuclear but rather from STDs.  

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