… is anyone actually surprised by this? Disappointed, sure – but surprised?
Nov 8 (Reuters) – (This Nov. 8 story has been corrected to show that the Energy Department provided $600 million to NuScale and others to commercialize small reactor technology, not $600 million provided to NuScale, in paragraph 2)
NuScale Power (SMR.N) said on Wednesday it has agreed with a power group in Utah to terminate the company’s small modular reactor project, dealing a blow to U.S. ambitions for a wave of nuclear energy to fight climate change and sending NuScale’s shares down 20%.
I went around on the internet looking for pictures of what NuScale’s reactor looks like at this time in its construction but it appears that it never got past the “here are some cool looking powerpoint slides” stage. I have probably just enraged someone by saying that, but I’m going to stick with that position unless I get some education otherwise. As usual for these things, it gets worse:
It seems as though NuScale spent that money building a cool-ass operations center that simulates a runnable reactor if there were such a thing. And some small scale demos that don’t do anything remotely like producing energy – let me guess, “proof of concept art.”
The problem is that if humans are going to overcome their energy addiction to oil, working small reactors were needed about 20 years ago. Now, it’s too late anyway. The Vogtle reactor in Georgia came online this year after 14 years under construction, and a cost overrun factor of about 3. NuScale basically burned through their money and made some cool demo-ware and more powerpoints and never even got to the stage where they fleeced taxpayers for $30 billion, or so.
I’m starting to feel like a conspiracist but it seems to me like the energy companies are desperate to hang onto “their” customer base, so they aren’t going to look kindly on solutions that peel customers off the grid toward energy independence. Of course, energy independence is what humanity needs, if they intend to survive what they have done to the planetary ecosystem. Meanwhile, the climate news is all tracking pretty much straight toward disaster.
In some forums we are reminded that we must vote for Joe Biden again, because the alternative is always worse. Never mind that he’s a warmonger, who supported US illegal wars in Syria and Iraq [which, trust me, had nothing to do with keeping the price of oil down], and unequivocally supports Israel regardless of what war crimes they commit – he also promised to stop issuing fossil fuel leases and apparently never even seriously contemplated trying to meet that promise. It was just campaign lies. Then, he waffled about how much a green new deal would be good if it was tied to his other programs, and then cut back substantially on the green provisions – which still made it the “greenest” thing a president has ever done, but it’s not enough. At this point in the game, pretty much nothing except full-on emergency braking is “enough” and even that would just take the edge off the disaster for a few thousand years. What really worries me is the way the “red wave” did not materialize in the 2022 midterms. Was it the republicans’ stupidity on abortion (sure, that had something to do with it) or was it because Biden got oil prices down, which drove down consumer costs and made inflation look less bad? [nyt]
WASHINGTON — As President Biden was planning a politically risky trip to Saudi Arabia this summer, his top aides thought they had struck a secret deal to boost oil production through the end of the year — an arrangement that could have helped justify breaking a campaign pledge to shun the kingdom and its crown prince.
It didn’t work out that way.
Mr. Biden went through with the trip. But earlier this month, Saudi Arabia and Russia steered a group of oil-producing countries in voting to slash oil production by two million barrels per day, the opposite of the outcome the administration thought it had secured as the Democratic Party struggles to deal with inflation and high gas prices heading into the November elections.
Biden doesn’t care. He’ll be safely inhumed before the climate disaster begins to really crush first world economies. In the meantime, he can play local electoral politics around oil, and rest on his laurels as “the most progressive president since LBJ” Of course we’ll have a choice between another round of Biden or another round of some republican nutjob, so it’s hobson’s choice: you are offered two bowls of shit, except one has sriracha sauce on it, which one do you eat?
As long as fossil fuel prices are held down, there will be no incentive to shift away from fossil fuels, and humanity will continue careening forward in its clown car, straight toward the cliff. Except it’s not a cliff: its an uncontrollable slope that just gets worse and worse and there’s no turning back and it’s “hang on and pray” and hope the bottom is not too horrible except that all the scientists have predicted that, yes, it is.