Vox: Shutting down nuclear plants doesn't make a lot of sense

If you’ve been reading HotAir for a while then you know I’m not a huge fan of Vox or some of the work it does. Sometimes what they come up with is just weird but sometimes it’s interesting, especially when the site admits to being wrong. Often the site seems like knee-jerk progressivism but once in a while Vox does publish something that cuts against the grain a bit, like this piece arguing that aid to Central America might not do anything to reduce illegal immigration to the US.

Today, Vox‘s Cleo Abram just released a new video today which is pretty well done. I’ve watched a few of Abram’s videos this year and I think she’s a big improvement over their former video guy, Carlos Maza. The main reason she’s better is that she doesn’t seem to starting these stories from a pre-determined progressive conclusion and working backwards. In this case, she put together a 10-minute clip about the decision to shut down the Indian Point nuclear reactor in New York.

As the NY Times pointed out almost 6 months ago, shutting down Indian Point was considered a win by former Governor Cuomo and AOC, but the short term result was that New York City suddenly became dependent on more fossil fuels. Here’s what the Times said about it:

So far, most of the electricity produced by the nuclear plant, known as Indian Point, has been replaced by power generated by plants that burn natural gas and emit more pollution. And that trade-off will become more pronounced once Indian Point’s last reactor shuts down on April 30.

“It’s topsy-turvy,” said Isuru Seneviratne, a clean-energy investor who is a member of the steering committee of Nuclear New York, which has lobbied to keep Indian Point running. The pronuclear group calculated that each of Indian Point’s reactors had been producing more power than all of the wind turbines and solar panels in the state combined.

Again, the Times reported this months ago so Vox isn’t that timely or original in making this point. Still, give them credit for not succumbing to the temptation to create a video that argued some sort of twisted argument contrary to what progressives have been saying all along, i.e. “Ackshully, more fossil fuels are good news in this case!”

Instead, Cleo Abram just walks through the explanation of why shutting this reactor down, while viewed as a victory by some on the left, actually looks pretty counter-productive to anyone who supports dramatic action to reduce CO2 emissions. In fact, she makes a pretty clear case that opposition to the reactor was mostly based on irrational fear.

Here’s the full video. It’s not that long and there’s more that could be said about some of these topics, including how we might reduce the cost of nuclear power and how to deal with spent fuel, but as a primer this is pretty good.