A draft of the Democratic 2016 platform doesn’t mention nuclear power in its wide-ranging discussion of global warming, even though nuclear doesn’t emit carbon dioxide (CO2).
The draft platform includes 24 mentions of the word “nuclear,” but only follows that with phrases like “annihilation,” “weapon,” and “warhead.” The phrases “nuclear energy” or “nuclear power” never appear in the platform.
The phrase “clean energy,” referring to wind and solar power, appears 18 times and references positive phrases such as “jobs,” “economy,” “superpower,” and “leadership.” The Democratic platform also excluded nuclear power from its 2012 and 2008 platforms.
Nuclear power provides 20 percent of all the electricity used in America, while wind and solar only provide a mere 4.7 and 0.6 percent respectively. It would take more than 100 years for solar to replace the electricity we currently obtain from existing nuclear plants, according to calculations performed by the National Review.
An average single nuclear reactor prevents 3.1 million tons of CO2 emissions annually and accounts for 63 percent of non-CO2 emitting power sources. Nuclear power is far cheaper than wind or solar power, making it “the most cost-effective zero-emission technology,” according to The Economist. The 2012 closure of the two-reactor San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California caused CO2 emissions to rise annually by 9 million metric tons, the equivalent of putting an extra 2 million cars on the road.
Even left-leaning think tanks like Third Way have concluded that “widespread retirement of America’s nuclear power plants would make it extremely difficult if not impossible” for the U.S. to reduce CO2 emissions.
Despite these environmental benefits, green groups with close ties to Democrats continue to lobby hard against nuclear power. Environmental groups have always lobbied against nuclear power, although it’s doubtful they will continue to get away with increasing the cost of nuclear plants and creating artificial delays in construction. Organizations like The Sierra Club still oppose nuclear energy, as they believe it leads to “energy over-use and unnecessary economic growth.” The Sierra Club officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in early June and has repeatedly attacked the GOP and Donald Trump in recent weeks.
Despite environmental opposition, most scientists and engineers agree that nuclear power is actually beneficial to the environment.
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