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No. of Recommendations: 10
"You should choose both. "

Actually we should, like our finances, spread the risk and generation.
We have multiple options at various price points with various technical challenges yet we can and should do multiple items with the view of reducing the "externality" costs that are often ignored. I do not ignore or negate nuclear, just take into account the externality costs/challenges as follows:

Solar: sun shines everywhere and is available during the peak request times (during the day and on hot days (AC)) and newer panels are much more efficient, also there are lots of areas to install them like roofs; challenge is high up front infrastructure costs and challenges to build out a "smart" grid.

Wind: low costs and technology has advanced a great deal in recent years; challenge is that wind can be erratic, there are sighting issues, and there are a limited number of "best" sites available (small scale is still available for home though).

Hydroelectric: Mostly done folks; the best sites for cheap hydro are completed (often with high externality costs already in place - think Salmon R Gone).

Biomass: some development can be done here although limited to location and available "feed stock" (note that many cities already capture natural biogas at landfills)

Geothermal: not well developed yet, has good potential if developed carefully; challenge is limited number of sites and infrastructure build out from sites to deliver output.

Insulation: Yep, we can reduce need by better designs of buildings, siting, etc. Challenge is getting people to pay for the up front costs and getting the construction industry to change (they are very conservative).

Efficiency: a lot of things we use in our modern high energy civilization have been poorly designed for efficiency....many improvements and challenges here...just getting folks to switch over to better light bulbs (LED) has been a challenge.

Tidal power: great potential for coastal areas, many challenges

Nuclear: New better designs are available and can be scaled to smaller units which will make them more economical; challenge is retiring older units and the still unresolved storage of spend fuels/equipment/tools for a very long time. Also we tend to ignore the very high costs and damage done in mining and refining raw materials used for feedstock...check out the history of "Boom and Bust" mining in the southwest in the 1950's-1970's which has left scars, contamination, and waste piles threatening water suppliers (Moab still has a nice large tailings pile threatening the water supply of millions.....oh, and even more scary is the Hanford site in Washington state).

If you list the external costs (costs which society picks up), even admit to them we should shut down all coal as soon as possible, then fracking, and be very, very, careful with nuclear.


I live in a state where nuclear wastes were dumped for decades and we now have ongoing threats to our land and water because of it so am not a proponent of nuclear until we maximize our other options. Idaho, a trivia item, has more burned down, blown up, and destroyed nuclear power plants than any other state since this is where the DOE/DOD did tests for "what if" scenarios.

The advantage of nuclear is smaller waste piles, lower carbon footprint, and reliable electricity generation on demand....the disadvantage is the waste products are very dangerous for a very long time.
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