Ramez Naam – What role will nuclear power play in the clean-energy mix? What about fusion?

A brief interview with Ramez Naam at the Singularity Global Summit in San Francisco, August 14, 2017. Ramez generously gave a few minutes of his time …


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  • Once again someone making false claims about wind & solar costs vs nuclear costs. There's a guy who needs to watch the video "Thorium 2017". Once you pay an outrageous amount to install the wind & solar, then the "added costs" giant extra added bill comes in, which they NEVER charge to wind & solar IPPs, no the taxpayer or utility customer must pay the enormous added costs of long distance 3-10X oversized transmission plus extraordinarily high cost storage and/or backup generation. All added to your bill and called "grid upgrades" rather than the proper term "solar & wind added grid costs".

    Don't ya think it makes a hell of a lot more sense to pay 10% to 50% of the installed cost of the wind or solar for a local nuclear power plant, preferably meltdown proof, factory built, compact molten salt reactors. MSRs that last 60-100yrs not the 10-25yrs that the solar & wind last. Don't need the long distance transmission (300 km transmission of wind or solar costs as much as the substitute nuclear power plant), don't need the giant, eco-destructive storage facilities, whether they be batteries, pumped hydro or CAES. You can supply reliable baseload power 24/7, summer/winter, windy/calm, north/south, sunny/cloudy/rain/snow/monsoon/volcanic eruption and for peak daytime/early evening power you can either shutdown a few NPPs or store nighttime baseload power in EVs thus freeing daytime power up, or run desalination plants at night using spare nuclear electricity and waste heat, or ammonia production, or nuclear hydrogen for synthetic fuel production or use the secondary salt loop in the MSR to store molten salt just as solar thermal plants do, and run that through a steam cycle generator for peak daytime power. Whichever is more economical. That is vastly simpler and more reliable, vastly more eco-friendly and vastly more economical than these nutty wind & solar storage & long distance transmission scams.

    Besides on top of the daily wind & solar fluctuations that you can store at a high but possibly, hopefully, barely survivable cost, you still have major seasonal variations. As an example, in many regions, including Switzerland, mentioned in this video, winter solar is 6X lower than summer, with energy demand max in winter and EVs use ~2X the energy/mile in winter, wind is commonly missing in action during winter cold spells and summer heat spells that may last a month or more. And spring, when power demand is minimum, hydro, wind & solar are max. Try storing that for summer or winter. There is NO conceivable method of storing energy for these large seasonal fluctuations in wind & solar. That means burning fossil. Which of course is why Big Oil, just absolutely adores Wind & Solar, incessantly promotes it and funds it. Shell Oil calls wind & solar "their dancing partner". Yep 90% NG, 10% wind/solar, some dancing partner. More like greenwashing for their natural gas.

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