Nukes don’t replace oil
Over at the New Republic‘s blog, Adam Blinick writes:
As it stands, nuclear power is the only environmentally friendly, economic, and efficient source of energy that can help the U.S. wean itself off foreign oil.
For the record:
- Oil is primarily a transportation fuel. Nuclear power, in contrast, is a source of electricity. Ergo, nuclear power will do absolutely nothing to "help the U.S. wean itself off foreign oil" (unless we miraculously electrify our entire transportation and freight system in the next 20 years).
- In fact, nothing could help the U.S. wean itself off "foreign" oil. Oil is a fungible commodity sold on a world market. We all buy from the same pool. There’s no way to buy a barrel of oil that says "Made in the U.S.A."
These facts are well-understood and fundamental to understanding anything at all about energy policy.
If I were ignorant of the most rudimentary facts about energy policy, I would hesitate to make such sweeping and confident proclamations about it. But then, I don’t work for Even the Liberal New Republic.
UPDATE: Hard facts have been requested and procured. According to the EIA, transportation accounts for about 2/3 of U.S. oil use, “stationary uses” for about 1/3. The former number has been rising for years, and the latter falling. Note that electricity generation — for which nuclear could substitute — is a tiny sliver. Here’s a graph: