Carl Wurtz is the president of Californians for Green Nuclear Power, a group “dedicated to promoting the peaceful use of safe, carbon-free nuclear power, and to keeping Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant” operating. In this episode, Wurtz explains why it’s unclear if Diablo Canyon will be kept open, why California often has to pay neighboring states to take its electricity, why a “vote for solar and wind is a vote for gas” and why “batteries are useless” for grid-scale electricity storage. (Recorded May 24, 2022.)
Robert Bryce 0:04
Hi, everyone, welcome to the power hungry Podcast. I’m Robert Bryce. On this podcast we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And I’m pleased to welcome my guest Carl Wirtz. He’s the president of Californians for green nuclear power, Carl, welcome to the power hungry podcast. Thank you. Now, I didn’t warn you, Carl. Guests on this podcast introduce themselves. So I’m blindsiding you here. But that’s the tradition here if you had So imagine you’ve arrived somewhere you don’t know anyone. You have 30 or 45 seconds, and they ask you Well, who’s Carl Wirtz tell us?
Carl Wurtz 0:36
Okay. Professionally, I have a company that designs production management systems for industry. I’m semi retired now. So I spend a lot of spare time working with my group Californians for green nuclear power. My passion is protecting the environment for future generations and promoting nuclear energy. Because I believe that’s a great way to do that to achieve that end.
Robert Bryce 1:04
Gotcha. And you went live in where do you live in California?
Carl Wurtz 1:07
I’m in Burbank, California.
Robert Bryce 1:09
Okay, so Southern California. Yeah. Gotcha. Well, good. So you, you introduce yourself. So Californians for green nuclear power? How old is this group and what is what I see on your how you describe it on your website. But tell me what, what what your group does and where we can find it.
Carl Wurtz 1:27
Okay, I was not an originator of the group, the group started in San Luis Obispo, in 2016, I was involved with early on, I’ve always been a passionate pro nuclear supporter. I come from Illinois, where there when I growing up, there were six nuclear plants, all in the vicinity of Chicago and environs. And people do not have it’s a different culture, people do not have the fear of nuclear energy, because it’s just there, there are these buildings that generate a ton of great clean energy, that don’t make noise that don’t make any pollution. And it’s just a fact of life. There. Also, it’s a pronuclear culture, you know, the, the Argonne National Laboratory, the Manhattan Project, a lot of nuclear development happened there. Right. So we learned as kids in school, we learned that nuclear energy was the way of the future. And at the time, you know, in the 1960s, and 1970s, when I was when I was growing up. The main problems, environmental problems that we faced were pollution, air and water pollution. And every when I when I learned about nuclear energy, I just thought this is just a great way to get rid of all the smoke and the chemicals that are poisoning the environment. And so it was just it was just a given for me at that time, and for a lot of other people. So when I got out to California go school, I was just amazed at how afraid everybody was a nuclear energy. And I didn’t know why. But I realized that. And this took this was quite a process for me. I realized that the unfamiliarity with it, people were forming their opinions based on movies and television reports and television reports always exaggerate. It’s got to be newsworthy if it bleeds, it leads, but it nuclear. There has to be some slogan for that. But you know, so it was just a different mentality. And I had to try to understand that to talk to people about it, because people were very dismissive of it. They say you promote nuclear energy, why would you want to do something like that? And so, you know,
Robert Bryce 3:35
explaining to this is a cultural difference. And I want to talk about that, because I think that that’s key about why this anti nuclear sentiment is so strong in California. But I want to just jump to if you don’t mind, just jump to the point about you. You’re focused on saving Diablo Canyon, right? That that is the immediate goal of as I see on your website, that that’s the immediate goal of the group dedicated to promoting peaceful use of safe carbon free nuclear power and to keeping the obligating nuclear power plant open and operating. So if you don’t mind, I the cultural story is important and I want to come back to that and but I just said this before we started I wanted to interview you because I’ve been reading what you’ve been writing and I thought it’s some of the most succinct analysis of what’s happening in the California electricity markets but but tell me give us an update about Diablo Canyon. We’ve just now in the last few days the Palisades plant in Michigan, was has been prematurely shuttered by Entergy, which bodes ill for Diablo Canyon as I see it just right now, but what’s your feeling? Is it now that Gavin Newsom has come out in favor of keeping Diablo Canyon open? Will that happen?
Carl Wurtz 4:42
Well, I don’t know that he’s come out in favor of keeping Diablo Canyon open. What he’s said publicly is that he supports keeping all options available.
Robert Bryce 4:49
Okay, so I’ve overstated it and so he’s always waffle. He’s waffling a little bit as we were closer with the words.
Carl Wurtz 4:58
I don’t know. I don’t know that nobody really He knows right now I have been trying to find out information. I’ve contacted the Department of Energy. I’ve contacted PG and E and very, it’s very tight. People are being very tight lipped about it. I don’t, I won’t. I don’t distrust what he says about it. I think probably it’s a political decision at this point because of because of the reliability problems we’re having with our grid. And he’s realizing that we don’t have the baseload power that’s necessary to keep the grid operating. And then there, I’ve just heard yesterday that there are huge power outages in San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, Tuscadero area,
Robert Bryce 5:38
which is the county where the plant is where Diablo Canyon is.
Carl Wurtz 5:40
It has nothing to do with Diablo Canyon. But yeah, I think people there are and understanding how essential it is to keeping the grid going. Because it’s not it’s not because of Diablo Canyon that we’re having these problems. And if anything closing Diablo Canyon will make it worse.
Robert Bryce 5:58
Well, I think that’s so abundantly obvious. I mean, I’ve seen different estimates that Diablo Canyon by itself provides between what six and 10% of all the juice in California. I mean, this is a very large amount of the share of your state’s generation. I mean, compared to in Texas, no plant accounts for more than just maybe single, low single digits percentages, but this is a really,
Carl Wurtz 6:19
South Texas doesn’t generate that much. I thought so it’s
Robert Bryce 6:23
about what is it? 2000 megawatts, but our peak is 70,000 megawatts? Oh, yeah. You know, I mean, our peak is far higher than California is right. Your opinion or your user? Your high peak is what 40 or 50,000 megawatts at most. Right? Yeah. So you know, these these plants in Texas? I’m not bragging on Texas. I’m from Oklahoma. But yeah, I mean, it’s a bigger state, we consume a lot more power than California. But so you’re not saying when I’ve talked to some people that said, Oh, well, you know, Newsom is in favor of it, but he’s using some words that say he wants to explore the options. So you think from what I’m seeing, or what you’re telling me is that this is not a done deal, that there’s still a lot of work to be done if Diablo is going to be saved.
Carl Wurtz 7:05
My impression, and I can’t state this for obvious reason. But from what I hear from people who work there, from people who are involved with policy in DC, from what I understand, they are working very hard to make it happen. Behind the scenes, and and, you know, there’s a lot of pushback already from environmental groups, which was expected. But the bottom line is, it’s working right now it’s safe. It’s never had a problem a serious problem with with an accident or anything like that. And that’s by design. It’s really want a state of the art nuclear plant, why not keep it running for another 10 years, and we’ll see if renewables can power the state 100% renewables, I don’t believe that will ever happen. But if we need to, if we need to try that keep Diablo Canyon open, and let’s find out first. People are, you know, there are a lot of people, solar is a very big industry in California, right? People are very anxious to get a piece of this pie. It’s a lot of electricity. And so again, there’s a conflict of interest there. You know,
Robert Bryce 8:14
well, let me let me spell on that. Because you said something before we started recording, you said, and I want to make sure I’ve written this down correctly, you said there’s a big difference between what’s profitable and what’s good for the environment. So explain that to me, because you said solar has a lot of power in the state what? So what’s that big difference? What was your there’s a lot of meaning behind her a lot of inference behind what that what you said there a lot of the big difference between what’s profitable, what’s good for the environment and explain that.
Carl Wurtz 8:42
Okay, well, let me backtrack a little bit, you know, in the David Schumacher is a film producer. And he created a film in 2019, I believe, is earlier that 2018 are called the new fire about new young people starting interested in nuclear energy. And I contributed to the film I and I met David and he’s a wonderful person, very active in our cause. But I had a conversation one day with him, he explained to me, something that I thought was really cut to the heart of why we’re having problems with nuclear power. And he said, it’s all about fuel. And I said, What do you mean? And he said, Well, I’ve had been having conversations with the head of environmental, the Sierra Club with Natural Resources Defense Council with Environmental Defense. Forget what the name is, anyway, these big environmental organizations and in closed door meetings with these people, you know, trying to get find out why this is an issue. I find out they say, Yeah, we know, nuclear power probably should be, should be the way of the future. But if we come out and advocate for nuclear power, we’ll lose half of our donation. base right away.
Robert Bryce 10:02
I’ve heard this the almost the exact quote from Bill McKibben to who was the other was the journalist that Mckibben said it almost interesting you say, in almost the exact same way. I mean that, oh, if we come out of Google, half of these people would leave it was an A nuclear rally. And what who’s the late author? Who is a pro nuclear William Tucker Bill Tucker. Tucker reported on this, that Mckibben said almost the exact same thing to him now, six, eight years ago, something like that. But that’s remarkable. So I’m sorry, I never upped it. But I do that a lot. Go ahead. So you’re you’re finishing your point about Schumacher and him talking with these NGOs.
Carl Wurtz 10:44
He said it he said it’s all about fuel. And I said, in what way and he said, Okay, global sales of uranium, are $8.7 billion, are what worth $8.7 billion revenue. In 2021. Global sales of natural gas were let me get my notes here were $553 billion dollars. global revenue in coal is $791 billion. We have a several orders, two orders of magnitude difference, right profitability of this stuff. It’s all about selling fuel, it’s not about the nuclear plants, nuclear plants are minor expense compared to the amount of energy that’s available fuel. If you build a natural gas plant and get a piece of the fuel, they have the money for the fuel that’s running that plant, you have guaranteed income for 5060 years into the future. Right. And so it’s it’s a lot more profitable to tear nuclear plants down and build natural gas plants,
Robert Bryce 11:54
which is what we saw in New York with the closure of Indian Point, exactly, exactly what we saw in in, in Vermont with the closure of Vermont Yankee that everywhere. What we saw with the closure of San Onofre, whenever nuclear plants closed there, they’re replaced by gas fired generation is, is that your impression as well?
Carl Wurtz 12:12
Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, natural gas, can people come out shell and Chevron come out and say, Oh, well, you know, it’s we’re looking forward to the renewables future to and we’ve got this little solar farm that’s generating a little energy, but it’s all about fuel.
Robert Bryce 12:28
Well, so but then how does that square follow you in terms of the coal and natural gas story, but then how does that explain then this mad headlong rush toward renewables? Because there’s no fuel costs there? But isn’t there a lot of money stay at stake as well on it? You know, you’re, you’re talking about what’s profitable, and what’s good for the environment. There’s a lot of money in the renewable and then we’re in the solar and wind business. No.
Carl Wurtz 12:52
Yes, there is. But as I think you’re aware, solar and wind are 100% dependent on natural gas for backup power. And no, they talk about batteries and which is just it’s a non solution for so many reasons. I don’t even want to get go in that direction. Now.
Robert Bryce 13:12
No, I’m going to come back to batteries because April 2 case you talk about batteries. But but so you’re saying a vote for Well, let me see. Are you saying a vote for natural vote for solar and wind as a vote for natural gas?
Carl Wurtz 13:26
Yes, absolutely. Yeah.
Robert Bryce 13:29
And would you put it that would you put it that exact way?
Carl Wurtz 13:31
Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s there’s there is, as far as I’m aware, there’s no solar or gas farm in the world that doesn’t have natural gas to back it up. Natural gas is the is the perfect complement because it starts up quickly. It can adjust to variations in output. It’s relatively cheap still, although it’s getting more expensive, right. There there’s really no other option right now.
Robert Bryce 14:01
That’s at scale. That scale Right? Right. So let me turn to will before I turn to your piece that you published on May 2, which was the reason why I contacted you to have you on the podcast. So what are the biggest challenges then in keeping Diablo Canyon open? Is that PG and he has already said it’s going to close it and they don’t they don’t want to back up what what where’s the friction here? Given that this from I’m sitting here in Austin, Texas when I look at California I think well, this is a lay down hand. I mean, this is so simple. Hello da you’re live no way to get technical Carl I know you’re my son. Hello stupid when you’re doing your your prices are going up. Your reliability is going down. You don’t have enough generation. Yes, of course you should reverse course and keep this plant open. But what are the what are the key hurdles in making that happen then in your view?
Carl Wurtz 14:55
You know, Robert, this is kind of what got me into this whole thing with Sen and Ofri. If We’re in California for green nuclear power. I was actively involved in trying to keep sending Ofri. Open. And
Robert Bryce 15:08
that’s and that’s, that’s in Southern California, north of Los Angeles. Am I right? Or is it south of LA? I’m trying to remember. It’s on the coasts. It’s between LA and San Diego. Okay. So south of Los Angeles, and you’re in Burbank. So on the coast west of you, then
Carl Wurtz 15:21
okay. Yeah. But but, you know, it’s just to get back to what we were talking about the learning about why their clothing is playing became somewhat of an obsession for me and took me into a deep dive of not only California regulatory policy, but of the American Electric Utility standard, which became a standard for the world goes back to 1935, with the public utility Holding Company Act. And there’s all kinds of little variations and stuff. And Pete, when you start talking about utility regulation, people’s eyes glaze over. It’s kind of like, you know, it’s just not that interesting until you kind of understand the motives for why these things happen.
Robert Bryce 16:02
But it’s an incredibly important little understood, but incredibly important. But anyway, and this is again, the the American essay the what was the term use the caption for what was that the the name of the law, or the Regulation
Carl Wurtz 16:14
Act? Was the Public Utilities Holding Company Act of 1935?
Robert Bryce 16:18
Right. And there was a section that yeah, I’m familiar with that. I’ve written a lot about that. But that you’re talking about a more specific part of that. The public utility Holding Company Act, the American utility regulatory,
Carl Wurtz 16:30
oh, no, it’s this is an informal, it basically created the American you utility regulatory model,
Robert Bryce 16:37
okay, is the framework that was set up in 1935. During the New Deal, that framework is what you’re referring to? I’m with you now. Okay. I thought you were talking about a specific, specific section of the law or something, but please go ahead. I’m interrupted.
Carl Wurtz 16:51
Okay, so that created a framework that basically acknowledged that utilities are a natural natural monopoly, right? So we have to regulate them. There. They weren’t regulated in the 1920s. And utilities ran roughshod over all these people who were using electricity, they’d sign up for an electricity account, and also what my bill doubled. How can they do that? Well, because they’re a monopoly, you don’t have any other option. Roosevelt, when he came to office, decided that elect access to electricity was as important as access to clean water, right, sanitation, to police and fire departments. He decided that everybody had a natural right to electricity, and they had to be regulated. He forced them forced utilities to build the transmission out to farmers in remote areas, not because it was profitable. It wasn’t they they fought against that tooth and nail. But because he felt that everybody had a right to electricity. And that’s part of the reason why we have the amazing transmission system that we have today. Right? Anyway. So this this, you know, utilities hated this from the very beginning. They I have, we can, you know, we can’t have the government breathing down our necks, and they fought it every step of the way. But it lasted for 70 years. until 2005, when it was repealed. And since then, we’ve seen what what that what they what proponents of repeal argued for was we’re going to put power the free market here, we’re going to make electricity a free market commodity that can be bought and sold, we’re gonna have competition to competition is going to keep the price down. But the bottom line was the retail consumer, the end of the road was still a monopoly. You know, it is for everybody. You don’t nobody in the country has two sets of wires that come to their house and say, Well, I’m gonna pick Verizon electricity, or I’m gonna pick this. And that’s the bottom line, you have no choice. And when that’s the situation, it goes all the way up to the the, the, the, the, the consumption framework. In other words, you can’t have you can’t have freedom of choice. In retail, if you just make it wholesale only. It doesn’t doesn’t work that way, you still have all these conflicts of interests that that basically take away the ability of free market to keep prices competitive.
Robert Bryce 19:22
So that the deregulation if I can interrupt because this is an issue that I’ve thought about a lot in Texas, right and we in Texas, the Texas in California fact that Texas and California have had the same affordability, reliability issues and very different states very different political systems. But you’re going the same direction is what how I’ve been thinking about this deregulatory framework has failed the consumer. Is that Is that where you’re going with this? Dive into that if you don’t mind and, and why does it because it’s a monopsony right? The the RTO controls is the only buyer right for the generator so they don’t win. There really isn’t a free market but It’s Quasar deregulated is that how would you describe it?
Carl Wurtz 20:04
Well, okay, here’s here’s what happened, you know, the public utility Holding Company Act. One of the things is it made it impossible for utilities to utility holding companies to do business with their subsidiaries, because they realized that all these affiliate transactions had had, what they were doing is they were buying natural gas from their own subsidiary, raising the price and presenting the bill to ratepayers saying, Oh, look at how much we have to pay for natural gas, we have to raise rates, right. And so what the public utility Holding Company Act was they split natural gas and electricity, you could not have the same company selling natural gas and electricity in a subsidiary or anything, and they actually got rid of all holding companies that had subsidiaries that were selling electricity and natural gas at the same time. After hook was repealed in 2005, they’re back Sempra sells electricity and gas. Pacific Gas and Electric sells Gas and Electric. It is in the same conflicts are coming back again. We don’t know if electricity consumers in California don’t know if Pacific Gas and Electric the electric arm of Pacific Gas Electric, which is a subsidiary subsidiary of the holding company, is buying gas from the natural gas are and marking up the price and billing ratepayers for it. And I’ve tried to I’ve done some deep diving into the filings of PG and E. And it’s almost impossible to find out what they pay for natural gas to generate electricity. Because they’re buying it from themselves.
Robert Bryce 21:46
Is it but but isn’t it so the gas is part of that. But we also see these big utilities such as Florida Power and Light NextEra Energy that has subsidiaries that are wind energy developers. Right. So there’s a whole other set of subsidiaries among in these big utilities that are doing the renewable part and they have a retail arm. Right. So is that that is is that part of the conflict that you’re seeing as well?
Carl Wurtz 22:09
Well, when they have a subsidiary in there, and they’re buying directly from the subsidiary, when when the idea was they would buy deregulation, they would force utilities to spin off these companies so that there would they would be free market participants in a wholesale market, right. But what Diablo Canyon or what pg&e did, is they created a subsidiary for Diablo Canyon called Diablo Canyon LLC. And it’s still their subsidiary. And so in theory, Diablo Canyon LLC competes in a wholesale market for electricity, but in reality, all the profits flow through to PGD corporation. So it’s really kind of a sham, how deregulation has occurred. This this is California. I don’t know if it’s the same in Florida or Texas, but
Robert Bryce 22:53
well, so then let me ask that question. Because it was deregulation been good for the consumer?
Carl Wurtz 23:02
incentive in the sense, no, in really no sense. Is it good for the consumer? And why not? Because electricity prices are higher, they’ve shot up since 2005. If you look at electricity prices from 1960, in California, they kind of go up 1% or 2%. And after 2005, they go up at a 45 degree angle. It’s crazy how expensive electricity has gotten in California. I think it’s one point it was the San Diego Gas Electric was the most expensive electricity in the country, except for Hawaii, which is
Robert Bryce 23:36
an Iowa right. Well, that’s interesting. Yeah, I’d be interested in seeing that pricing data, because there’s similar issues have been, you know, are are being discussed here in Texas, that deregulation wasn’t good for the consumer that in fact, in regulated markets, consumers have paid less. But to me, the issue then is also about where the ultimate responsibility if you had the integrated monopoly, ultimately, if you have some problem where you have somebody who’s accountable, but but that is, is it this excessive faith in the market, you talked about free market will will we’re going to let the free market work in electricity. Let me ask it this way. Why doesn’t a free market work in electricity? Why? We talked about this, but let me ask that question. Specifically, why is it a failure in an intellectual failure to think that free markets can work in the electricity business?
Carl Wurtz 24:24
Because it’s impractical, you’d have to build separate transmission lines to everybody’s home, to have a separate retail market. And even though that works in software based solutions, like cable television, you can have two cable television companies working over the same connection. It’s possible. But you can’t do that with power electricity. It’s still monopoly for retail consumers
Robert Bryce 24:47
because it’s a natural physical monopoly. You’re having one wire that’s coming to the house and because of that, it should be then a natural monopoly with one accountable company instead of greedy or some of these other When I tell electric providers that don’t own anything but a telephone and you know a website, right, and they don’t have any wires, they don’t own any poles, they don’t own a generation, and yet, they’re an electricity provider. I’ve never understood how they’re even an electricity provider,
Carl Wurtz 25:12
you and me both, and a lot of other people are starting to understand are starting to wonder how that can happen. The people compare it, you know, people in the industry compared to deregulation of telecoms in the 1980s. But it’s not physically the same physical thing, you can have as many different telecoms as you want. It’s all radiation traveling through the air, there’s no physical connection to your cell phone. Right. So you can’t you can’t just use that same paradigm, that business paradigm with something where you need to, you need a solid connection with wires, you know?
Robert Bryce 25:48
Yeah. So let me read what your may 2 piece which as I said was why I contacted you, because I just thought it was and I’m gonna read this because I think you just stated it so very well. The title is called the failure of California’s electricity policy part two. And it’s just a quick station break. My guest is Carl Wirtz. He’s the president of Californians for green nuclear power, you can find him at CG n p.org. And you can also Google him and read what he’s been writing lately, which is terrific Carl Wirtz Carl with a C. Wu R tz. But you wrote this, it isn’t a lot a lack of renewable electricity that is holding California back. It’s when renewables provide too much electricity at the wrong times. And not enough when the time is right. It’s attempting to lower carbon emissions by using resources that require gas fired electricity to back them up, or keep them from destroying the grid. It’s putting blind faith in solutions that may work for flashlights or even electric cars, but will never be practical per for providing the immense power needs of an electrical grid, enough battery capacity, and then you go into parenthetical about about batteries. But most of all, California’s environmental policy is failing for a lack of honesty. The only thing remarkable about comparing last April’s grid mix to this year’s is their sameness, despite all of cases hyperbole, we’re making little or no progress at lowering climate emissions. Some have simply been exported by replacing in state gas consumption but unspecified imports a euphemism for electricity from out of state gas and coal plants. In Me, you stated it so clearly there. Why isn’t this getting more play? I mean, I read the LA Times, you know, some of these reporters in the media, Allison California, and it’s all singing the same tune, oh, we’re gonna be more renewables and you’re saying no, this is wrong. This is BS?
Carl Wurtz 27:32
You know, I think a lot of it is it’s kind of a complicated subject and you understand energy, I understand energy. Not probably not as good as you, but the physics of it. I mean, it’s not it’s not necessarily easy to, you know, it seems logical that if you don’t have enough renewables at night, just build big batteries and start from during the day. I mean, it’s, it seems completely logical if you don’t understand the physics of how batteries work, and why it’s completely impractical to do something like that. So I think when you explain it to people, people just think, Oh, you’re, you know, you’re selling for the nuclear industry or whatever. And it’s just, you’re just another special interest. We’ve got a lot of those already. You don’t need another one. But I tried to, I’m glad that you understood it. I’m trying to make it as understandable as possible for people who don’t, because I think it’s just so important that we cut through the crap and get a clean, clean system of energy, when it’s reliable. When it doesn’t, we don’t have to wait for the sun to shine or the wind to blow to to power are the world’s fifth biggest economy. You know, it just it doesn’t make any sense to me at all?
Robert Bryce 28:49
Well, in your reliability, just going down down the tubes, you know, you’ve seen it, maybe you saw the report that was issued last year, on the number of backup generators that are being built in California in the Bay Area. And in Southern California, it means gobsmacking that Californians are looking at what’s going on and they’re saying hell, we can’t rely on the grid, we’re gonna have to create our own micro grid because we don’t we don’t believe the system is reliable. So have you followed the rate increases as well? Carl, can you speak to that in terms of the affordability, it’s something I’m very interested in it that’s not to be on what you be on what you’ve been working on, but the price increases a remark or shocking as well.
Carl Wurtz 29:26
I think the average price of electricity in California is 22 cents a kilowatt hour, which is among the highest in the country. San Diego Gas and Electric is particularly particularly high. I don’t know exactly why that is. But each utility is a little bit different. They have their own regulations and their own applications for the public public utilities commission to see what they can get. But you know, I mean, that’s one answer that they can’t provide for you. Why is my why is my bill so high? And people is telling me oh, Solar is is the lowest price electricity. Now, you know solar and wind are are grid parity now they can compete with anything. Why is my bill so high? That’s what the bottom line comes down to, you know, and
Robert Bryce 30:15
that the facts around the bill don’t match the rhetoric about cheap. I mean, I saw John Kerry last month on PBS said, Oh, well, they’re just needed someone when they’re cheaper than they’re just cheaper. He said I think is and but we’ll there’s no evidence in California that that’s the case. California is expending push this experiment further than any other state and correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re in the vanguard here, but the rates are going toward the moon.
Carl Wurtz 30:39
That’s That’s exactly true. And you know, it’s we’re not the first though we’re not in the vanguard, Germany. Isn’t the Vanguard, fair enough with its energy Vanda and they’re they have the highest electricity rates in the world. When I’m talking about non island countries, island countries are a different animal, of any any country in the world. Germany has the highest, I’m sorry, Germany has the highest electricity prices in Europe. Right. I think I think they’re in the world besides island countries, but just off the charts expensive. And you know, they say that, well, solar and wind energy is free, then then where are rates so high? And there’s actually quite a backlash in Germany against that.
Robert Bryce 31:23
Right? Well, I think that’s it. If solar and wind are so cheap wire rates so high, that’s great. That’s classic. The let me read from another piece. Well, actually, I want to wonder where you talk about batteries. You wrote about this piece in April called the failure of California electricity policy in one image. And it was a really good chart, and my spec, and my spreadsheet skills are very minimal. I mean, I don’t think I could do the work that you did. But you showed California electricity demand, and then you showed the different types of energy and when they’re produced, and it very clearly showed the duck curve. So can you walk us through there? And we don’t have the image to show. But can you walk us through what that image says and why it matters?
Carl Wurtz 32:09
Yeah, basically, what it does is it and these are figures, and cannibalized images that were available at California Independent System Operator, which is caso, CA. And what they do is, the first time I saw their their website, it looks very impressive. And they create these charts of solar energy from 12, midnight to the next 12 Midnight each day, the curve that it follows. Obviously it’s during the day, it’s there’s this big lump in the middle, wind is a little bit more regular. Truly along the bottom, demand follows a very predictable curve, though. And that’s the duck curve, they call the duck curve, because the back of the duck goes up like that, it comes down in the evening and then goes up to to its peak consumption about seven or 8pm at night, right kind of time of year. So that creates kind of the the dark look of it. And solar energy at seven or 8pm is virtually non existent in California or anywhere else for that matter. So there’s all kinds of ways that’s when gas consumption goes off the charts, right. If we’re going to decarbonize, we have to figure out a way to provide energy during that time. Anyway, they part of the problem with the charts at COSO, is they show the supply, but they don’t show the demand with it. So what I wanted to do is to overlay those two pictures to show why meeting 75% Or they say we generated 95% of our electricity from solar, why it doesn’t make sense. What they’re doing is when demand comes down like this and solar is coming up to meet it in late afternoon, they have to cut off solar because if it goes over the if it generates more electricity than there is demand it will take the grid down you have to generate almost exactly the same amount of electricity to meet demand right? too little or too much the grid becomes unstable very quickly like it did last year in Texas
Robert Bryce 34:16
right. But so can keep but I think the key point there was that you pointed out that you that at those peak times in your your your your graph shows this that then around what is it around three o’clock two o’clock that the state has to export a ton of power and pay neighboring states to take it off of their hands, which is truly remarkable. I mean that you’re you know somebody Oh, well we just need more transmission or California needs to interconnect with other states and you know, have better transmission. Well transmission is hard, which is a whole other separate discussion. But the graphic shows this dramatic increase in exports and then almost mimics the rise in natural gas generator Shouldn’t as well during that that peak period. So it’s a really good graphic that you put together. But it I think it’s one of the things again that I thought, well, I need to talk to this words guy because he’s done this kind of this kind of work. But what the hell, I mean, you’re having to export 2000 megawatts at peak or more than that nearly 3000 megawatts at at certain times in the day. This is an enormous amount of power.
Carl Wurtz 35:25
And interestingly, this is kind of an epiphany last week. We they call it negative pricing, meaning other company, we basically have to pay other states to take our electricity because we can’t get rid of it fast enough. Right. Okay. So if we pay other states for electricity, we’re violating federal energy regulatory commission laws for interstate commerce. So instead of saying, we’re, we’re paying them to take our electricity, we have to say we’re selling it to them at negative prices. It’s it’s this crazy, kind of doublespeak that they have to use to avoid getting prosecuted for interstate regulatory regulations.
Robert Bryce 36:10
I would be a violation the Commerce Clause,
Carl Wurtz 36:13
right, right. Right.
Robert Bryce 36:15
I hadn’t thought we’re selling it to them at negative prices, which is a euphemism for, we’re paying them to take this crap that we can’t
Carl Wurtz 36:22
Robert Bryce 36:26
I hadn’t thought of that. I liked that. i That way you framed it. And that is an epiphany. I hadn’t thought about that. But so that they’re FERC regulations. He walked me through that that the FERC regs, which would be based in Commerce Clause about cross border cross interstate, interstate transactions, that that would violate the Commerce Clause and FERC regulations?
Carl Wurtz 36:47
Well, wouldn’t it? That gets into a very, very complicated area that honestly, I’m not that familiar with, because California has been basically apart from FERC for many, many, many years. They’ve generated all their electricity, they’ve, they haven’t bought any electricity from out of state. But that’s changing very quickly. And so it’s it’s in flux very much right now. I know in PJM, and the East Coast, there are all kinds of conflicts that people are trying to work out very quickly right now, because of the the internet, the National, the national economy in electricity, both buying and solar. And that’s, that’s a whole other subject that I’m not that well versed in.
Robert Bryce 37:35
Sure. Let me back up in California. We talked about imports and exports, but California is still the biggest importer of electricity in the country. Right. You import electricity from other states, including from Arizona, right? That was one of the things that were they they your count the some power from Arizona comes through California and California is putting dibs on it. Right. I mean, you’ve got to you got a big imbalance both in imports and exports. No.
Carl Wurtz 37:57
Yes, we do. And the the FERC regulations pertaining to exporting selling electricity out of the state only pertain to PG and E and that’s part of the reason why they’re allowed to. Again, this is a delving an area that I have limited knowledge and it’s basically they’re basically saying that PGE would have to have to abide by certain regulations that would might prevent them from selling Diablo Canyon, if they sold electricity out of the state. That’s my understanding of it anyway.
Robert Bryce 38:30
So you live in Burbank, do you have solar panels on the roof of your house? No, I don’t. I have solar on the roof of my house. Eight and a half kilowatts that I put on and I got three different subsidies. And, you know, occasionally I feel pangs of guilt. But I’m, you know, this is this is I got paid to do it. And this is the industry that I’m in. So I wanted to do this myself.
Carl Wurtz 38:50
I you know, people think I’m anti solar. And I’m not, you know, if you can put solar panels on your roof, go for it. It’s clean energy, because you’re using it right there. It’s debatable whether you’re forcing other people to subsidize you. I don’t think that’s a that’s that big of an issue. It’s where we start getting into these these huge solar farms, nine square mile solar farms, like Topaz in California, is just like, why are we taking nine square miles to generate an average of 300 megawatts of electricity? It makes no sense. It makes no sense. It’s just way too much land use. And we I’m a birder too, by the way. So we have that in common and I see these environmental impacts that we’re having on birds on desert tortoises. It’s people say, well, it’s just it’s just empty desert. No, it’s not empty desert. There’s a whole ecosystem out there that is being hurt by these huge wind and solar farms. So if you want to put it on your on your under roof, I’m fine with that. But there’s no reason we should be taking up this much land to generate a little bit of electricity. Well, I look,
Robert Bryce 40:10
I completely agree you and I didn’t call just to put you on the Zoom call just to talk about birds and but I’m an avid birder and the idea that we’re gonna be leveling for us, we’re going to be, you know, covering the desert. It’s it’s crazy town, this makes no sense whatsoever. And so, let me ask you about the environmental groups because they have been mute on these issues, largely mute and big proponents of renewables. The here’s the question, so of the NGO groups, and I don’t call them environmental groups, they’re climate activist groups, they’re not green groups, they’re NGO groups. Who’s Who’s Who are the ones that you think are the most responsible if you’re gonna say these are just commitment said you may not be able to change the world, but you can embarrass the guilty well embarrassed to guilty, who are the who, which groups are deserved most blame and should be bearing the most guilt for what is happening at Diablo Canyon?
Carl Wurtz 41:03
Well, the Environmental Defense Counsel, is it Ed? I’m forgetting the name of my hand Natural Resources Defense Council, Natural Resource Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, EDF Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, they’ve all been fighting Diablo Canyon reopening, or they’ve all been they’ve all been advocating for it to be shut down. Union of Concerned Scientists, there are there are a lot of ones. There are conflicts of interest within their organization, in that some of them are involved in funds, which sell solar and Sierra Club on the website, you can buy solar panels, there’s there are all kinds of conflicts of interest. And why I don’t?
Robert Bryce 41:57
What motivates them? What’s the game for them? What do you what do you explain?
Carl Wurtz 42:03
Well, like I say, conflicts of interests. So if you’re selling on your website, solar panels, you have an A inherent bias to promote solar, as an environmental organization, even if it’s not the best way to generate electricity, even if it has a huge environmental impact. It it there’s an inherent bias in favor of natural gas too, as well, because we need natural gas to fill in the blanks for solar and wind. You know, it’s I don’t want to get into specifics because I don’t know the specifics. But they make it very difficult to find out the specifics of who they’re getting money from. If you look at a lot of these nonprofit organizations, they will just they will redact you know, $3 million contributions from this entity or that entity. And other pro-nuclear organizations, environmental progress, has done a lot of research into that kind of thing. And it’s discovered a lot of the I would I would advocate going to their website and check out some stuff. Because I don’t want to I certainly don’t want to accuse somebody of something that they’re not doing. Right. There are conflicts of interest, no doubt.
Robert Bryce 43:21
Well, I didn’t really maybe I knew this, but I had to refresh it. Maybe you just jogged my memory here. But yes, here’s the California this is the Sierra Club. national organization. Press release for March 12 2019. Sierra Club is providing an opportunity for its more than 3.5 million members and supporters to go solar with Sun Power is part of the new program, Sierra Club members and supporters who purchase our Lisa SunPower home solar system receive $1,000 Malin rebate and SunPower will give it Sierra Club $1,000. So they’re they’re promoting solar. I’m wondering if they’ve done any analysis on how much of that solar with those solar panels are coming from China, whether they can contain poly silicon from from shinjang province? I mean, I’m saying that seriously. I mean, have they done any due diligence on any of this to see where they’re, you know, where these solar panels are coming from? Because that’s the other part of this is about supply chains. Can you talk about that at all, Carl, in terms of supply chains in nuclear in the United States and what you know, we need to we’re going to have to ramp up our own uranium, if we’re going to wrap over our own uranium supplies or get the Canadians to provide more where have you thought about that in terms of if we’re going to you not only want to save Diablo you want to build more nuclear? So once we’re there have you thought about those challenges in terms of supply chain and where we go from here?
Carl Wurtz 44:38
For uranium? Yeah, I’ve done quite a bit of looking at that. It’s it’s been complicated by the thing with Ukraine and Russia. We are Russia provided I forgot I think it’s 15% of our uranium, Canada I believe provides most of it then Australia then there are several other sources Nigeria
Robert Bryce 44:57
and maybe I think is the right Yeah, okay.
Carl Wurtz 45:01
But But anyway, I there’s a lot of uranium in the world. And, you know, once we get people out, I don’t want to get into nuclear waste, because that’s a whole other thing. But we have a lot of an incredible amount of nuclear fuel, standing in, in, in upright casks as nuclear waste, when when nuclear waste is committed to these upright cask storage, upgrade stash cask storage devices, only 5% of the uranium in it has been used. If it was reprocessed, we could recover 95% of that energy and use it again and again and again. So, you know,
Robert Bryce 45:48
the reprocessing is the pinch point, right. I mean, this was when we’re going back to the Carter administration, right, in terms of doing that reprocessing here. But wouldn’t you say that what pops in my head is, well, we need industrial policy and American, we don’t have it, we need a robust industrial policy to embrace nuclear energy and all the supply chains around it. But that’s going to take time, and it’s going to take a lot more Carl word says to make this happen is that is that. But how do you see that? Do you see, I see some very encouraging signs as I’ve been pronuclear for a very long time. And I see some encouraging things happening, new scale going public, right, you know, the announcement in Eastern Europe that France is going to go full bore on nuclear. So the Brits, there are a lot of things that are happening. They’re quite positive. And then there’s the closure of Palisades and still the specter of the closure of Diablo Canyon. Are you optimistic as you look forward at all this? How do you how do you you’ve been at this for a while what how do you handicap what’s going on?
Carl Wurtz 46:49
I you know, I don’t know. It’s it’s, it’s very strange. I feel it. In one way. I feel like we’ve got a very good good solid argument and the other time other times I feel completely out of control of the situation. Something will go you know this, this whole thing with Diablo Canyon may go south, I have no idea what the forces are behind the scenes that are making this happen. But I think in the end, there’s a growing understanding of how important nuclear energy is. For for for fighting climate change. There was a a open letter signed by three or four. Software, the top climatologist in the world, James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, from MIT, Tom wiggly and Ken caldera. And the upshot of their letter was nuclear power paves the only viable path forward on climate change. Right. And then the wording is very important. They said the only viable path meaning that’s the baseload, right, we can put solar on top of that, whatever. But we need the baseload path to provide the power that we need day and night and when it’s windy and and when it’s not windy. Right? Because it will never happen. We’ll never get rid of coal and get and in natural gas without it.
Robert Bryce 48:13
Right. Yeah, I’m familiar with that letter. I think it was 2016. If I’m not mistaken, I’m not. Well, don’t hold me to it. But I’ve quoted from it and written about it several times. Let’s talk about batteries. Because you also in your April 2, I think was April 2 to the piece called The failure of California electricity policy and one image, you asked the question, you say, What about batteries? Can’t they fill in the blanks for solar and wind? And you answer it. No electricity produced by all grid scale batteries in California, as shown by the yellow line, it’s hiding in the graph on the x axis. For the makers, for the purpose of making any significant contribution to grid electricity batteries are useless. That’s a pretty definitive statement. Why are batteries useless?
Carl Wurtz 48:55
Because they’re too expensive. It’d be like trying to power your car with flashlight batteries, it’s you’d have to have so many so much battery capacity. And I’ve done a bunch of calculations on this, it changes a little bit, the cost of batteries has gone down. But it really makes no sense at all, you’d have to have over a trillion dollars worth of batteries. And we’re talking about four times California’s annual budget each year, just to power the state for one day, when there’s cloudy weather when there’s a little wind it and then after that day, assuming you’ve gotten rid of all the natural gas plants, the state goes dark.
Robert Bryce 49:33
So say that again. So you’re saying that didn’t produce enough batteries. And I’m assuming you’re using Tesla power walls as a benchmark or something. Because I’ve done some similar calculations, but you’re saying to produce enough batteries to power California’s grid for one day would require roughly a trillion dollars
Carl Wurtz 49:52
in better in battery capacity
Robert Bryce 49:55
to provide the capacity to meet that that 24 hours of demand. I But done. I’ve done similar calculations, but I just want to make sure so you’re but but in their batteries that have been there’s the big What is it the Moss Landing that the plant that VISTA owns? Do you know anything about what that what the status of that plant is?
Carl Wurtz 50:12
Well, I think it’s offline right now because they had a fire there right months ago. But when it is online, yes, it’s the biggest battery battery farm in the world. And Moss Landing, a lot of people don’t don’t understand a very another basic thing about batteries. And that is batteries are not charged by renewable energy. We see these paired facilities where they put all these battery batteries stacked up next to a solar farm. And we say, all this is clean energy, we’re going to save it for later. They’re not charging from their solar farm. They’re charging from a grid mix, right? And because they’re charging from a grid mix, and in efficiencies in the batteries, they’re wasting energy, they’re making it dirtier than it would if it just came off the grid. So we’re not we’re not we’re not because it
Robert Bryce 51:00
because of the round trip efficiency you’re talking about. Right? Right, I see. Which is what is 2020 to 30%. I don’t know, that’s about right. 20 to 30% on that when you put it in, you lose juice, and when you pull it out, you lose more juice.
Carl Wurtz 51:15
Yeah, there’s what they call bi directional inversion, meaning you have to convert AC to DC to go into the batteries. And then you can when it comes back, you have to convert DC back to AC. And that’s not a perfectly efficient process. It’s estimates go anywhere from 15 to 20% losses there, then there’s resistance inside the batteries themselves. Now lithium ion batteries are at least 95% efficient if they’ve gotten much, much better, right. But there will always be these losses going back and forth. I mean, they’re it’s not perfectly efficient. It’s not completely clean. You know, I mean, and the thing about Go ahead, loss landing has no solar or wind farm within 20 miles of it. I think it’s charged by Moss Landing powerplant with it, which is the fifth biggest nach natural gas plant in California. So it’s charged by the direct output of a gas plant and it’s wasting energy. So so you’re getting dirtier energy than a bus landing just generated the energy, but it’s just allowing them to timeshift it. So they can generate electricity at night and then power the grid during the day.
Robert Bryce 52:23
So are they arbitraging? Is that the purpose of the plan to arbitrage pricing and from different times of the hour different different times time and date pricing?
Carl Wurtz 52:30
Exactly. And that’s what the purpose of all batteries are. You know, people say it’s an environmental investment, not at all it’s about it’s about buying, buying low and selling high.
Robert Bryce 52:41
So again, follow the money for money, which is the oldest maximun politics follow the money, right? Did they get that? Was there a state subsidy and building Moss Landing? Or is that part of why Vista did it?
Carl Wurtz 52:55
I don’t know. I think there probably was a state subsidy for the batteries. But I don’t know exactly how the funding work.
Robert Bryce 53:02
I got you. Well, so tell me, you know, just cast it forward. And my guest again, is Carl works. He’s the president of Californians for green nuclear power. You can find more about their group at CG np.org You can donate there. You can find Carl, what Carl has been writing lately, which I found has just been really good as PISA the failure of California’s electricity policy. Part two is on California globe. website. So you can find him there. But I’ve just appointed you, Governor Carl, or maybe electricity, electricity, electricity potentate in California. What do you do? What do you know? Because you’ve had let’s face it, and I’m watching it from Texas, and I’ve been in California many times. Terrible policy, I mean, terrible regressive in our energy policy. And for a long time, what are the what are the things you would do right away that would would help straighten this out? What are the things that you would mandate or you would start advocating for that, and that would that you think would have the most impact?
Carl Wurtz 54:06
I hate to be self defeatist about this, but I really think that advocacy is limited on what you could achieve. I’ve always felt
Robert Bryce 54:14
from employees that I’m sorry to interrupt, but you think advocacy is limited because of the the strength of the NGOs. What your because that you said you sound defeatist, but but explain why the advocacy is limited in terms of its value.
Carl Wurtz 54:28
Well, in terms of in terms of grassroots stuff, in terms of getting out marching down the street and stuff like that. I don’t, you know, or writing to your Congressman, I don’t want to discourage that because it can only help but just in terms of, of how much it helps. I don’t know that it’s worth anybody’s time to do that. I really can’t say that. That’s the case. We’ve we’ve written more letters that I can remember and never gotten a response. And it just Pollock’s doesn’t work that way. At least in California. I’m assuming it’s pretty much the same elsewhere, but I think I think right now, what I felt for a while is that the electric grid is going to have to go south big time for people to understand rural reliability. You know, growing up in Illinois, we had power outages all the time. And we understand what it’s like to lose a refrigerator full of food, because you’re, it’s out for a day, and all of a sudden gonna throw everything away. You don’t have any access to television, to your to your internet to whatever. You’re just down for the count, you’re got candles, you’re lighting candles like they did 300 years ago. But the, you know, it really will have to come to that. But for people understand reliable energy.
Robert Bryce 55:43
Well, fair enough. So you’re saying we are going to California is going to need another crisis, that things are going to have to be bad, but I don’t disagree. But then I put you on the spot here and I’m apologize for that. Or maybe I don’t apologize that you came on. So he gives you a little bit, but what would you do? I mean, if I was gonna if I was gonna make you governor, I would assume the first thing you would just say, well dammit, we’re keeping Diablo Canyon open, we’re gonna, we are not going to close this and I’m gonna do whatever I can to prevent it from closing, I’m, I’m gonna give you those first of your three action items if I’m appointing you, Governor. But what else would you what else would you do? Because you need really a reworking of the policy framework in California, don’t you to to disabuse people about the renewables? What? What would you if your czar, what would you how would you handle it?
Carl Wurtz 56:29
You know, I haven’t really thought about that, because I haven’t been in a position to do anything about it. However, I think probably, in general terms, I think simplifying, like, like an any engineer engineering task, make it more complicated than it needs to be makes it less reliable. i Son as an engineer, he he’s following a career path. I’m I’m kind of living through him and in one sense, but I’m very interested in engineering. And anytime you anytime you make an engineering problem more complicated, you make it less reliable. And that’s what’s happened to California. We have all of these different generators, 1500 different power plants. Now, it’s hard enough to to get a reliable supply of grid electricity for everybody the way it is now. And we want to add more suppliers. But there’s there’s a bill in in California Assembly now that Newsom wants to make it possible. I don’t know if it’s a new samode sponsored by an assemblyman, but they want to make it possible for anybody to contribute electricity to the grid at anytime, that we need everybody to pitch in and power the electrical grid. And I’m thinking this is just a recipe for disaster, people don’t understand how hard it is to provide a reliable supply of electricity.
Robert Bryce 57:49
That’s an interesting point that you make there because and that rhymes with what how I see it because I’ve thought a lot about if you think back to the days of Edison and Insel, their, their idea was we’re going to make the biggest we’re going to build the biggest power plant we can and we’re gonna run that sucker as hard as we can as long as we can and sell power. 24/7. Right, that was, you know, Edison just started with lights, but then it became motors, right. And power was the other part of the big growth for industry. But your point about making it more more simplifying the grid, I think that that makes a lot of sense. So okay, so we’re working through this now I’m still gonna put us Are you save Diablo Canyon? And maybe you look at trying to reopen Saturn Ofri? I don’t know. You simplify the grid. And then what about renewables and transmission? Do you give up on renewables and say, No, we’re going full force nuclear now we’re going to deploy more nuclear, we’re not going to build any more renewables do how forceful and what direction would you take in that regard? I’m prompting you here.
Carl Wurtz 58:46
Okay. You know, Robert, I don’t know how practical it is to try to go full bore nuclear, I think that would be the best solution. I mean, France did it in the 1970s. They got, they took 75% of their carbon emissions out of their electricity supply in 13 years. I mean, that’s it’s never been achieved anywhere else in the world. 10 times, they cut their carbon emissions in half, 10 times faster than Germany did it between 1990 and now, so I don’t I don’t I think that would be the ideal way politically, I don’t think it’s possible. I’m thinking something that would have to happen incrementally. But I don’t know what the best way to go about that would be, I would just
Robert Bryce 59:33
well, so first things first, keep Diablo Canyon open and then look at it and follow on from there. Okay,
Carl Wurtz 59:39
and I’m just gonna throw in here. One thing that people don’t understand the grid was designed in a very specific way to carry electricity from big power plants out to outlying areas, right. The big wires are all by the power plant and it’s like a tree branches of a tree they split out into smaller electric electricity. lives, we’ve run into a problem now called binding grid constraints where people try to run it backwards. They think you can go any way on an electricity grid. But that’s not how the physics of it work. You cannot just reroute a ton of electricity through these smaller wires because they will melt from the poles literally. So there’s all kinds of soft because
Robert Bryce 1:00:21
you’re running too much amperage through them then, but yeah, okay.
Carl Wurtz 1:00:25
So there are all kinds of protections built into the software Kajsa that figures out that you can’t do that. And that’s part of the reason why we’re having these problems. It’s all congestion problems
Robert Bryce 1:00:34
around transmission, which is incredibly difficult to build anywhere, but it’s especially difficult to build in California.
Carl Wurtz 1:00:41
Yeah. And interestingly enough, and if I’m getting off base style, go ahead. We’re going back to electricity set system that was that was that existed in in the 1880s, in New York City in Philadelphia, where they had a different, a different generation, a different coal plant in each block, right. And they had power poles with hundreds of lines running down them. And they were trying to have competitive competition back then, too. And it was a mess. It was constant fires and explosions and MIT are no standards. If you bought a lamp that fit one plug, it wouldn’t fit in the plug next door. And all the stuff that was a process that was worked through in the first three years of electricity in United States and standardized everything, and said we’re gonna have big power plants that generate alternating current electricity, it will spread out like, like branches of a tree. And, and now we’re going back to those that the old way of doing it, and we’re bringing the same problems that we had back then.
Robert Bryce 1:01:45
Well, it’s interesting that you put it that way, because I’m fascinated by those early days of electrification. But the way the word that pops in my head is you’re saying that it’s the balkanization of the system.
Carl Wurtz 1:01:54
That the that’s a good way to put it. Yeah. Yeah.
Robert Bryce 1:01:57
So just a couple last questions, Carl, if you don’t mind so and thanks for your time. It’s been fun to to find out about your group and what you’re how you’re thinking about these things. So what are you reading these days? I this is a question I asked all my guests. Do. You reading books, your novel reader? What do you read?
Carl Wurtz 1:02:13
Oh, that’s a good question. Um, I just ordered Tristram Shandy, which was something I was not familiar with. And I just always book I always wanted to read because I’m a big fan of Voltaire. But what else?
Robert Bryce 1:02:30
Being a big fan of Voltaire, I don’t think we’ve had any Voltaire fans on the podcast. So okay.
Carl Wurtz 1:02:36
As far as technical stuff, I read physics, my daughter is a physicist, so I try to understand what she’s doing. She’s way off the theoretical. And so it’s I kind of understand very little, but I try to keep keep up with a little bit with what she’s working on. I honestly, I mean, I probably read less this year than I have, and in many years past, because have just been so busy with policy stuff. But
Robert Bryce 1:03:06
the one that I’ve finished most recently is bad news by Bhatia Ongar Sargon about and I need to have her on the podcast, but it’s a really good book about the news media and woke culture. And you know, the change in the in the media business from the early days when reporters were generally working class and today they’re the elites. And so, you know, that’s one of the reasons why, in my view, they don’t care about rural America. They don’t report on rural America because they don’t know that that’s not their people. That’s
Carl Wurtz 1:03:35
Robert Bryce 1:03:37
So last question, then car what gives you hope? What, what makes you optimistic about the future you’ve been? You’ve been pretty, I wouldn’t say measured in your optimism around Diablo Canyon. But what you’re obviously been putting a lot of time into Californians for green nuclear power. What makes you hopeful?
Carl Wurtz 1:03:54
Well, it makes me hopeful is I see a shift happening, a nuclear renaissance happening that there are a lot, there are more people every day understanding how important it is to have nuclear energy. And I still think that this, I still have the same beliefs that I had 50 years ago, which is that nuclear power is the way of the future. And it’s just a matter of getting people over a lot of misperceptions and irrational fears. But it’s a cultural thing. I really think that that will happen eventually. It’s just a matter of time.
Robert Bryce 1:04:25
And so it’s going to require especially in California, because I didn’t ask you about that was the part about California that I you know, why is this nuclear anti nuclear sentiment? Excuse me so strong culturally in California, but that’s maybe a longer discussion. We have time for the peculiarities of California as a state.
Carl Wurtz 1:04:45
That’s another another podcast,
Robert Bryce 1:04:47
or 10 or 12.
Carl Wurtz 1:04:50
Good. Well, listen, Carl,
Robert Bryce 1:04:51
it’s been great fun to chat with you. I wish you luck. Again, his. My guest is Carl Wirtz. He’s the president of Californians for green nuclear power CG np.org is where you find him Carl thanks a million for being on the podcast thank you Robert and thanks to all you power hungry podcast land out there tune in for the next episode it’s gonna be as good as this one or maybe even better until then see you