Tom Blees
Global energy expert and environmental scientist Tom Blees

Global energy expert and environmental scientist, Tom Blees contends that in order to mitigate against climate change and make environmental preservation a priority globally, there must be a move to eliminate the burning of fossil fuels.

He says that the full range of electricity-generation sources − including nuclear energy power − must be deployed to replace coal and realistically meet the base-load power needs of an increasingly energy hungry world.

Speaking at the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa’s (NIASA) roundtable discussions in Johannesburg Blees stated:

“The contrast is starker for a country like South Africa that is focused on elevating the living standards of its people and the development of its infrastructure.” Blees has been in South Africa as part of a nation-wide guest lecture series to highlight the benefits of nuclear power both to the economy and the environment.

Nuclear power for a country like South Africa will and must play a critical role in the country’s economic and social development. The building and development of nuclear power plants in South Africa will not only secure South Africa’s energy future but generate thousands of jobs, develop a high specialised technical skill set and stimulate further interest in the sciences, generating a legacy of employment, skills development and science focused education,” he added.

Blees is world-renowned for his balanced and pragmatic view of the energy needs of a modern world.  While he acknowledges the role and importance of renewables, he is realistic about the technology’s inability to support base-load power needs of modern societies.

“Since hydroelectric power is near its maximum potential in many developed countries already (and the same environmentalists who promise an all-renewables future would be the first to protest at the building of any more dams), the bulk of the renewable energy will have to come from biomass, wind, and solar power. But biomass presents its own problems, and the intermittency and seasonality dependencies of wind and solar make these option extremely problematic.”

He also has a view on pricing and production of nuclear and states that in his view advanced nuclear power systems are now designed so that they can be built like aeroplanes, mass-produced in modular form and then assembled on-site.

Blees believes that this will enable prices to fall to the point where economics, not to mention enhanced safety, can drive a global energy transformation to bring dependable, abundant, emission-free energy to everyone on the planet… and he says that we’re ready to do this now.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Nuclear power is the only way to stop making CO2 that actually works.

    Wind and solar power are Myths that have been Foisted on most people:

    Fact: Renewable Energy mandates cause more CO2 to be produced, not less, and renewable energy doubles or more your electric bill. The reasons are as follows:

    Since solar “works” 15% of the time and wind “works” 20% of the time, we need either energy storage technology we don’t have or ambient temperature superconductors and we don’t have them either. Wind and solar are so intermittent that electric companies are forced to build new generator capacity that can load-follow very fast, and that means natural gas fired gas turbines. The gas turbines have to be kept spinning at full speed all the time to ramp up quickly enough. The result is that wind and solar not only double your electric bill, wind and solar also cause MORE CO2 to be produced.

    We do not have battery or energy storage technology that could smooth out wind and solar at a price that would be possible to do. The energy storage would “cost” in the neighborhood of a QUADRILLION dollars for the US. That is an imaginary price because we could not get the materials to do it if we had that much money.

    The only real way to reduce CO2 production from electricity generation is to replace all fossil fueled power plants with the newest available generation of nuclear; unless you live near Niagara Falls. Nuclear can load-follow fast enough as long as wind and solar power are not connected to the grid.

    MYTHS: The myths being perpetrated by wind turbine marketers are that:

    Wind and solar energy are free and will lower your electric bill

    and

    Wind and solar energy are CO2 free and will reduce the total CO2 produced by electricity generation.

    But

    Californians are paying twice as much for electricity as I am and Germans are paying 4 times as much as I am. The reason is renewables mandates. Illinois has 6 nuclear power plants and we are working hard to keep them. I am paying 7&1/2 cents /kilowatt hour. What are you paying?

    And

    Californians and Germans are making more CO2 per kilowatt hour than Illinoisans. It turns out that even without burning natural gas or coal to make up for the intermittency of wind and solar, wind turbines and large scale solar collectors require more concrete and steel per kilowatt hour than nuclear power does.

    FALLACIES: The fallacies in the myth are failure to do the math and failure to do all of the engineering required. The myth is easy to propagate among most people because there is quite a lot of math to do and there is a lot of engineering to learn. University electrical engineering departments offer electrical engineering degrees with specialization in power transmission [electric grids]. That is only part of the engineering that needs to be done to figure the whole thing out.

    • How many batteries do you think it would take to run an aluminum smelter 24/7? Looking at Ivanpah, one of the biggest solar power projects in the world, you can see that at full power on the most perfect sunny day you could provide only about 1/3 as much electricity as it would take to run such a smelter, and then only for maybe an hour or so.

      Or looking at an entire week of the power production from all of Germany’s solar power installations (and Germany has committed hundreds of billions of Euros to solar), one can see that in some weeks in the winter solar would be unable to meet Germany’s electricity demand even if they had 100 TIMES as many solar panels as they do now. Here’s the website, you can look at winter solar production yourself: tinyurl.com/38alt4c

      And I would suggest that you and Bob Wallace, whose comment appears below yours, take a look at what Google discovered about the inability of renewables to produce sufficient energy to power modern societies. You can read about it at these links:

      tinyurl.com/nz5xqhd
      tinyurl.com/px5fp4g

      And lest you be bamboozled by statistics, here’s an article that sorts out what can often be very confusing:

      tinyurl.com/nt2c9w6