When New York’s Climate Action Council unveiled its draft climate plan in early 2022, it looked like the state was determined to repeat Germany’s mistake of abandoning nuclear power. But today, more and more people understand the vital role this technology will need to play to reliably decarbonize economies while generating societal wealth. In late 2022, the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) recommended the benefits of adding new nuclear capacity: it saves money, resources, and land. Yet the Empire State is largely sleeping through this cleantech revolution. Tell Governor Hochul to support nuclear –existing and advanced– as part of New York’s clean energy future without any further delay.
Here is a sample letter with talking points. (Cut and paste, or even better, use your own words):
SUBJECT: Advanced nuclear power is ESSENTIAL to a successful Climate Action Plan
Please SUPPORT nuclear power in New York’s climate action plan. Existing AND advanced nuclear is vital for all
of the following reasons:
- MEETING CLIMATE GOALS – Renewables can help, but they won’t get us across the finish line. Advanced
nuclear power is here today and advanced Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) will be on the market in the next
decade. That’s PERFECT TIMING for meeting the state’s ambitious goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040.
- RELIABILITY – New York’s Independent System Operator (NYISO) finds that even if the state relies heavily on
wind, solar, and storage, it will still need 29 Gigawatts of ADDITIONAL “firm” generation capacity to keep the
lights on when those sources are not available. (That’s nearly as much capacity as New York’s entire fleet of
fossil fuel power plants.) Nuclear power provides that firm capacity carbon-free. Even better, since nuclear
generates BASELOAD electricity 24/7, it can dramatically reduce the amount of large-scale industrial solar and
- FARMLAND AND NATURE – A 1 gigawatt nuclear power plant on just a couple hundred acres produces as
much energy annually as 30,000 acres of solar panels, and it makes that electricity when it’s needed instead of
just when the weather cooperates. Nuclear also requires less mining and materials than extraction-intensive
solar and wind. That means nuclear power saves FARMLAND, FORESTS, and TRIBAL LAND. It is the “greenest”
form of energy.
- YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR – The system-level benefits of reliable baseload nuclear power make it a far
more valuable asset than underperforming, intermittent sources that also need batteries, backup generation,
and lots of transmission. Relicensing existing nuclear power plants is the most cost-effective way of limiting
carbon emissions. And advanced nuclear power is projected to cost roughly the same as offshore wind, which
produces electricity less than half the time.
- SAFETY – Nuclear power has been in use for over 60 years, with 449 reactors now operating in 32 countries
worldwide. Over that time, it has proven itself on a watt-hour basis to be as safe as renewables. In the entire
history of commercial nuclear power, nobody has ever been harmed by spent nuclear fuel, yet fossil fuel waste
(air pollution) contributes to millions of deaths annually. Advanced reactors improve even further upon this
exceptional record with passively-safe design features.
- HIGH-WAGE UNION JOBS – Nuclear power generation has the highest-paying and most unionized workforce
in the energy sector. It creates clean, skilled, family-sustaining jobs for a vibrant economic future. And unlike
solar panels, wind turbines, or batteries, nuclear power does not rely heavily on overseas material supply chains
(especially from China). We have the companies, workers, and investment capital for this Made-in-America
industry to thrive.
CALL GOVERNOR HOCHUL
Call Governor Hochul’s office at 518-474-8390 and tell her that New York needs nuclear power.
To leave a brief statement on voicemail, press 3 and then 1, or follow the prompts to speak with a staff person.
Sample Voice Message
“I urge Governor Hochul to SUPPORT NUCLEAR POWER–both EXISTING and ADVANCED–as essential to a credible climate plan for New York. Carbon-free nuclear power is vital to fighting climate change, creating family-sustaining jobs, and ensuring abundant reliable energy for a prosperous future. Today’s upstate reactors have produced clean, reliable electricity for years and should be allowed to continue doing so. We must also start planning for ADVANCED NUCLEAR needed in the next decade to meet the state’s 2040 goal of carbon-free electricity. Thank you.”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”Margaret Mead