This is becuse presidents are not actually “leaders” of the country much less the economy. And thank the gods for that!
The only hope we have right now, that works right now, to significantly curve carbon emissions is an expansion of nuclear. Smaller less complex and therefore theoretically safer plans just got approved for testing.
Just to pedantic, a wood-based campfire can be carbon neutral. The tree took carbon from the air, once it’s down, it will return, whether by decomposition or combustion. Problem at scale is that trees grow more slowly than we would burn them. Biomass is generally seen as carbon neutral, just not terribly scalable.
Beyond energy sources there’s also hope in mitigation technologies like carbon sequestration and in good public policy and in corporate citizenship that considers stakeholders besides shareholders. An expansion of safe nuclear power is one aspect, but is far from the only hope.
It certainly is not the only hope, it is just the only currently large scale immediately viable solution we have. We should continue developing all other options like solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, etc. we also need to develop better energy storage tech that does not involve completely raping the earth and it’s inhabitants to save the atmosphere.
That is what the British Government did ten years ago. Sizewell C will open in 2031 if everything goes to plan, and the other plants haven’t even got through the planning phase. We don’t want to cut the planning phase, unless Windscale and Chernobyl are your ideals.
No, that would be stupid. The biggest hurdles against nuclear are perception and sensationalism. I don’t mean sensationalism of people but sensationalism of negative effect on people. I am not implying fear is not warranted, it just ignores the sience and data. A nuclear meltdown like the ones you pointed to is a rightfully sensetional event but the damage to humans they caused pales in comparison to the effects of coal and other hydrocarbon plants. Furthermore, their main damage comes from failure where as coal and carbon plants effect is from regular opperation.
Then perhaps re-phrase what you said here (relevant bit bolded):
[side note: “curb”, not “curve”. ]
Also, just because nuclear is a technology that works now, its expansion is not going to happen “right now” – whether we’re talking about nuclear or renewables (which also work now), these are all decades-long projects. That’s even more the case if the global nuclear industry is willing to invest in proper safety and containment measures (something they didn’t do before the 1990s because it might cut into profits and executive careers, which led to the poor public perception and fear of nuclear energy that remains to this day).
The new small advanced reactors take 7 years to build. As far as averting catastrophic climate change is concerned, neither wind nor solar can replace hydrocarbon or coal plants. There is no time to ramp up production for the components of either one, not to speak of batteries needed to store power for non sun non wind hours. This is not to say that RnD should be halted in these three fields just because “nuclear”. If the goal is to slow down global warming in any significant way then right now, today, there is only one option where you can actually start building out.
And if we add time for the planning phase? 10-15 years, as I said in my first comment. I don’t think there are many places in the world that will be happy if tomorrow you just started building a reactor on a bit of land that you owned.
The energy.gov article you cite only mentions that developers or vendors can get ARDP funding if they successfully provide:
Advanced reactor demonstrations, which are expected to result in a fully functional advanced nuclear reactor within 7 years of the award.
The same article mentions a commercialisation expectation of the mid-2030s, in line with @the_borderer’s estimate. Perhaps your 7-year figure comes from another, uncited source?
In any case, there’s no consensus amongst the experts on advanced reactors being delivered and brought on-line in time, as much as we all want to see that. For example, from this 2019 WaPo article:
Edwin Lyman, a nuclear expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said TerraPower is one of many companies that is raising the public’s hopes for advanced nuclear reactor designs even though they’re still on the drawing boards and will remain unable to combat climate change for many years.
“We think the vendors of advanced nuclear power designs are saying they can commercially deploy them in a few years and all over the world,” Lyman said. “We think that is counterproductive because it is misleading the public on how fast and effective these could be.”
So, yeah, don’t pin your hopes on advanced nuclear reactors being deployed by 2028.
Not exactly a problem unique to the renewable energy industry. The soon-to-be late, unlamented coal industry blows up entire mountains to get at their dirty fuel. The renewables industry will probably be more careful about their materials sources’ mining practises.