Mark Nelson is the managing director of the Radiant Energy Fund, which advises non-profits and industry about nuclear energy. Nelson, who spent much of the last two months in Europe, explains why the continent’s energy crisis is the result of decades of complaisance about energy infrastructure, why Britain is in worse shape than other European countries, how deregulation of the UK’s electric market fueled the disaster, why Germany has to preserve its nuclear fleet, and why Europe could be facing energy shortages for years to come.

Episode Transcript

Robert Bryce  0:04  
Hi, and welcome to the power hungry podcast. I’m Robert rice on this podcast, we talk about energy, power, innovation and politics. And we’re gonna hit on a lot of those today with my guest, Mark Nelson, he’s a return guest on the power hungry podcast. Mark, welcome to the power hungry podcast for the second time.

Mark Nelson  0:21  
Thanks, Robert, good to be here.

Robert Bryce  0:23  
You know, I have my guests introduce themselves. So I could say you’re the managing director at the radiant energy fund. But if you don’t mind, give us 30 or 45 seconds of an intro, even though you’ve been on the podcast before.

Mark Nelson  0:35  
Sure. I work to save nuclear plants and to expand them around the world. And I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure people know what the best energy sources and how to save it and how to build it. That’s what I do.

Robert Bryce  0:51  
Good. That was nice and short. So you’ve just come back from Europe, you were there for several weeks. I think you’ve been back now. Less than two weeks. What did you see what’s going on? I mean, the this energy crisis, and it is a crisis, it seems to be sweeping across Europe, what’s happening and why.

Mark Nelson  1:10  
So first of all, there was almost nothing to see, because at least when I was there two weeks ago, almost nobody had any awareness of what was coming. There’s been 20 3040 years of complacency. And people were just I think they’re just sleepwalking at the moment. Now there’s been there have been a few very big Wake Up Calls since I’ve been home. For one, they started running out of gas, gasoline diesel petrol. In the UK, that itself is not the same thing as the energy crisis. It’s going to be hitting in a few months whenever the cold weather hits in the UK, but it was a sign that something is going wrong. Something is going weird. And since petrol is an important precursor to all manner of services in the UK. It was one of the first drops of water coming from the sky as the hurricane approaches. I would say,

Robert Bryce  2:07  
Well, sir, you said that 30 or 40 years of complacency what explain that. What do you mean by that?

Mark Nelson  2:13  
Yeah, sure, energy was easy. A new energy producers were getting up to speed energy investors were losing their shirt all around the world. By expanding production too fast and too hard. The gas flowed cheap, the coal flowed easy only shut off by a need to decarbonize at the national level for for many countries around the world. Nuclear was already built, people weren’t building much more than nuclear plants are getting better and better in operation every year. That made while the power was coming in, and made it seem like energy was easy. And the only problem was how to turn off the nuclear, build the renewables and coast on the existing fossil fuel infrastructure.

Robert Bryce  2:53  
Well, let me hit on that center point, the one you hit in the middle there was Oh, build renewables. But from everything that I see, this whole idea of building renewables in Europe is in is encountering huge amounts of friction. And in fact, it appears in Germany to be stopped in its tracks. Is that is that the case?

Mark Nelson  3:08  
Yeah, but the folks who know that don’t even seem to be heads of state, it’s lower level ministry officials in charge of, quote, unquote, energy transition. So the fact that, you know, countries around Europe are, especially the ones that are anti nuclear are barely building, say wind turbines anymore. That’s not popularly known, certainly the press doesn’t really know. And if heads of state know, it’s just until they’ve run out of energy, it’s been a much smaller issue than any other thing that might be pressing, immigration, climate change conferences. You know, organic agriculture, there’s a number of things that just were more important than energy. When energy was easy. You know, the old joke about sex being like oxygen, no big deal, so you don’t get any of it? Well, it turns out electricity is very close to oxygen. And we don’t need a joke if the electricity is the oxygen is the respiration process of society. And we’re going to run things really close to the metal this year across Europe.

Robert Bryce  4:14  
Well, it’s interesting you say that, because when I was in Louisiana a couple weeks ago, seeing people queue up for gasoline to run their small generators, and I’m paraphrasing Roger pilc. He’s iron law of climate, but I’m calling it Bryce’s iron law of electricity, which is people will end countries will do whatever they have to do to get the electricity they need. And that’s sure it looks exactly your is

Mark Nelson  4:35  
go ahead. difference here is not all of them are gonna succeed necessarily, like not all of them are going to jerk back into shape. Find the fossil fuels they need, since they don’t haven’t built an alternative to what fossil fuels provide. And then reduce electricity by enough and survive the storm. Only some countries are gonna make that really big transition and exit the other side with a better system. I mean, the canonical example here for me, for all of us in the in the nuclear movement is France, France went through a crunch. Unlike other countries in Europe, they did not have ready access to tons and tons of fossil fuels, especially for domestic electricity production. And they didn’t have the escape valve that country like Norway did, where you just have a bunch of fjords, and you just stand them up, brands had to build nuclear, it happened to make them rich without fossil fuels in the electricity sector.

Robert Bryce  5:32  
So if I can interrupt just because so it was in 73, it was after the first oil shock, right. In France, their electric sector was particularly dependent on oil, right? And oil, oil quadruples, in price, if memory serves or something like 80%, dependent on on electricity derived from oil, and so they were facing a societal collapse, well, not a collapse, but just a crunch like Far, far worse than what was the case in the US.

Mark Nelson  5:57  
And by the way, I’m going to stop my story there. Because you brought up something interesting oil for electricity is something done in almost no major European country or anywhere in the US, you’re about to see it come back in a big way, Europe this winter, because at the moment, natural on a bt EU basis, natural gas is trading at a much higher cost than oil. Right now it’s trading at an extraordinary high costs that would make the idea of just producing electricity at that rate, that that fuel costs just incredible. Some of the numbers I’ve seen in the last week, just flipping by as traders, as energy traders on Twitter just can’t believe what they’re seeing. They’re seeing things that have never been seen. They’re seeing things like gas trading at the equivalent of $170 per barrel. Brent crude, right? And at that price for gas, you might as well just dump liquids in determines if it’ll burn and just burn it. Sure.

Robert Bryce  6:55  
So we’re seeing it’s interesting point that you made, because I think that’s definitely the case. And Goldman Sachs has made some some estimates that electric generation from oil is going to increase global demand, at least a million barrels a day, and they’re revising that apparently revising it upward. So we’re seeing kind of a return to the past in this regard, right? For the anyway,

Mark Nelson  7:14  
we call this an energy transition. First you start depending on flows like wind and solar and right transition to oil that comes out of the ground, you find it in buckets, and you you dump it in your your barrel to burn it. That’s where we are in Europe in terms of energy policy, which is to say, it’s not an energy transition. It’s an energy cycle and energy,

Robert Bryce  7:36  
resurrection, energy regression. Would that be fair? I mean, what was what was the word demands?

Mark Nelson  7:41  
Moving from wind to oil, in some ways is a return to highly available on demand energy that says that good or bad, depending on whether you’re trying to keep a grid afloat as a grid operator in Europe this winter?

Robert Bryce  7:52  
And they need to do that at all costs. Because there’s turns out

Mark Nelson  7:56  
Yes, yeah. Turns out that no matter what any country says about decarbonisation, if they did not replace coal and gas with nuclear, they’re going to move back to whatever can be burned. Whenever a calm spell hits Europe, which was most of this late summer and into the autumn. It’s just still,

Robert Bryce  8:17  
you made some interesting point, I think it was I don’t know if it was on Twitter. And by the way, I’m talking to mark Nelson, he’s on Twitter, he wants me to refer you to at energy balance is his Twitter handle. You made a point recently that all of the these energy models and energy modelers and you and I know who they’re who they are high profile academics at elite universities, putting out sophisticated, very complex models about moving the entire energy and power sectors to all renewables. What did you say about them that these wind droughts that and that have hit Europe? What are they going to have to do? What are they going to have to do to make their models true up given? What’s what we’re seeing?

Mark Nelson  9:00  
Well, so let me just say a general thing about energy modeling, about an academia in general, sure. to academics, there’s no difference between academia and the real world. In the real world there is that’s an asymmetry. It’s not a parallel. It’s not It’s not an even relationship between the two things. Sometimes the real worlds right and academics are wrong, and sometimes academics are right and the real realities I was in I was in Tallinn, Estonia a few days ago, and I watched a debate between, you know, a gentleman from the Green Party and a gentleman trying to set up a nuclear plant in Estonia, and it was in Estonian, I couldn’t really participate. That’s not one of my two languages that I know. And afterwards, I talked with the gentleman he was from the Green Party, big scholarly looking dude, Professor type. He had a big beard. Look to be about 6065 I He said to him, there’s an energy crisis in Europe because a lot of winter ovens were built and they’re not producing meaning it has to be made up for by natural gas. And he said, That’s not true. When it comes and goes, but it on average, it averages out. And I said no on, on average, across the entirety of continental Europe is down 20%, at least this year, in some highly wind dependent regions. Robert, I checked the numbers and I was off in Scotland, some of the big renewable companies are reporting a third last generation. at third, some of that from equipment, but the vast majority of it from just there being not enough wind over the course of an entire year at nation scales. So I say to this gentleman in Tallinn, I say wind is down 20%. It’s already happened. How can you say that’s not the fault of wind? And he said, It’s impossible. And I said, What? And he said, Do you know how I know, I have a PhD in atmospheric science. So we had a professor being told that the data is already in this is an experiment. This is a model already this year across the entire year, across the entire year through through October 1. Wind is down 20%, at least in the major European economies. And he said no, it’s impossible because I have a PhD.

Robert Bryce  11:23  
So doesn’t this put to live this whole idea that we’ve heard this over and over? Well, one, we can go all renewable, right? Then this this, this broad? claim, right, that’s made by some of the biggest environmental groups in the country and Sierra Club is one of the natural resource defense, you know, all these, but that the claim has been well, oh, well, the wind is always blowing somewhere. So if only we have enough transmission

Mark Nelson  11:47  
that literally and an Estonian accent in very good English, he said, The wind is always blowing somewhere, right? But But think about this just a basic physical level. If the wind is not blowing in one unit of space, let’s call that area A, then by definition, unit area B is not blowing into it or receiving it from a meaning you have calmness that, again, I’m not an atmospheric sciences person. But this is just, I was a bit of a math nerd. This is just some basic vector field stuff. Robert, the wind has to blow to somewhere from somewhere. And if it’s not blowing somewhere, it’s not blowing from somewhere, right?

Robert Bryce  12:24  
Well, I suppose I’m not sure I’m following you here. But it wherever it may be blowing somewhere, maybe so far from where you at that it doesn’t make any difference. So here’s

Mark Nelson  12:33  
the really important part in the real world, we worry about risk, we worried about the exact time events occur, the sequence in which events occur, right. So if you if you plan to survive for an entire year, and somebody says you should be able to, in fact, we can ensure that your heart will beat 99.9% of the year. If that point 1% of the year that your heart doesn’t beat comes on January 1, you’re not making it to January 2. Now,

Robert Bryce  13:03  
even though, even though on average, even though on average, your heart works really well, or on average for the whole year, you’re gonna have enough food, but there’s a month in the middle where you won’t have any

Mark Nelson  13:12  
or Let’s do another example. Sure, the resolution to a number of suppose that paradox is about the payoff from gambling, gambling approaches like that Martin Gale strategy where you just double or nothing every time until you win, how can you lose, right? It’s because in the real world, you bomb out in the real world, you go bust, and then you don’t get to participate in the next round, you don’t participate in the next round of gambling, you don’t participate in the next round of having your grid on. If in Texas and February, it goes too low during one second, during one second, if it falls way too low, and the turbans trip at the big plants. And then you’ve already shut off all the optional circuits, you don’t get to go into the next round and say, well, let’s run it back boys. And see if we do better the next second, you have to make it work continuously in every second to make it to the next second, this fundamental difference between in the energy models where if they do have model runs, and and they do 1000s of runs, millions of runs, or whatever they see that is showing a bigger paper or more results or more robustness, they don’t see it as the model seeking the exact backward looking thing that happens to have made it work. Now, this is something that happens all the time in the finance community where people make sophisticated models, they back fit, they back test to see if it worked with the prices that would have been seen, right? But that doesn’t mean that works with the prices that will go and the more optimized finely tuned or fragile your model is by not having a giant supply of huge, huge option value waiting you can turn on that bank of plants are this bank of plants or have this combination of failures happen and it doesn’t matter because you’ve got giant backup. They don’t see they see diminishing that and optimizing that and having their model bear At least survive it. They see that as a good thing in the real world when margins get lean. And realize business people know that when margins get lean uncertainty starts to dominate your thinking and the ability to survive and stay liquid or keep the grid up, that starts to lead to incredibly weird and difficult decision making that can go wrong. And whatever weather event is forcing it. That’s the difference between the real world and the models. What we’re seeing now is not the lights going out in Europe? What we’re seeing now is some crazy things happening before the lights go out.

Robert Bryce  15:34  
Well, so so let’s bring it back to Europe, because I obviously touched a nerve on the models for

Mark Nelson  15:41  
a lot of thoughts. I think the basic thing is they don’t read my shit tweets, but I read their work. So there’s another asymmetry there.

Robert Bryce  15:48  
Fair enough. So but these these, these natural gas prices, this is one of the things you know, Meredith angwin. And her work the fatal trifecta, right, this idea that and it seems to me that this is what is playing out in Europe in real time, which is over reliance, particularly in Britain over reliance on imports. And I want you to mention, I want you to talk about the fire on the on the electric line between Britain and France, over reliance on imports, just in time, gas and renewables. And it seems like this is exactly what is happening in Britain today. And it is causing an havoc in both the natural gas markets and the electric markets talk about that.

Mark Nelson  16:27  
Sure. So the UK went further than almost every other company, a country in substituting markets, which it felt it was a superior inventor and implementer of markets, right, the UK had a very large amount of pride over the last 40 years and being the best at implementing markets and running them successfully from London or whatever. And having British people have some of the highest levels of financial expertise and knowledge about markets in the world. They substitute a lot of boring, ugly, ideologically compromised state planning, that would ensure that the state keeps keeps going. Right. So Britain did more of that in other countries, the market recently decided that there wasn’t enough value in storing natural gas in Britain on British soil for the main facility that supplied storage for Britain to function, and in the year that it went out of service rough ROU Gh, the name of the facility, the rough facility, it sure enough, the market was not awarding enough revenue to justify continuing. Now if you make your money in markets, the loss of rough means volatility because the Justin time this gets so severe in Britain now that because there’s no there’s no countering high spot prices, or high pipeline prices or high LNG prices with just a bunch of cheap gas coming from storage. not cheap, because it was cheap to run the storage facility necessarily, and to buy the gas and to wait for the time to turn it. But at the moment that the gas is already stored in the facility, it’s very easy to enter it into the sure into the market grid, right? That there’s a difference. If we panic today, we can’t go fill up that gas storage facility on a moment’s notice and say, Okay, we’re running it back, we’re gonna do this model run again, one more time with a storage facility, right? So if you’re in trading, the high volatility is just more ways to make money with both upside and downside. So if you’re if you’ve got trading mentality at the top of the state, you don’t have to deal with the physical going bust that you do when you’re thinking about it is like a planning thing like what happens in an emergency. And so therefore, your appreciation of tail events just rots because you can always go bankrupt it’s just that now bankruptcy is redefined as the physical ability of the industrial systems of the UK to continue operating that’s what bankruptcy means now and out of the natural gas and electricity markets

Robert Bryce  19:05  
right and for the potential for people to freeze to death this winter because they don’t have enough gas. So right but what but what I’m acting but what I’m hearing you say and this is part of what we saw here in Texas is oh well we’ll trust the market this deregulatory atmosphere that oh well we’ll let the market we don’t need all this regulation. We don’t need the the the regulators to keep close tabs on the utilities we’ll let the utilities all figure it out. And now we’re seeing as we did in Texas, it seems to me and correct me if I’m wrong. In Britain, some of these retailers that were providing energy were providing energy their electricity or gas and they’re going bust. We’re seeing the greedy effect from Texas transferred to Britain Am I missing something I know

Mark Nelson  19:45  
a greedy came from the idea that concept it came from Britain. It’s not that it was invented in Texas. Britain is the one that developed all that. You know, there’s some killer quotes in an article I read a number of years ago With a gentleman, I think he’s on the political left analyzing how almost all of Britain’s Key Infrastructure got sold off too often state companies of other states. And Britain was like let’s privatized and then it was owned by the state controlled entities of other states. Is that privatization or is it not? Hard to say? Right? So for example, the British nuclear fleet guys sold off to the state nuclear company of France. Right? Right. They just took down the British nuclear signs and put up EDF energy, I’ve been to the head engineering headquarters, I was gonna, I was gonna go work for him. And it was like Brits who were like, yeah, we’re sort of owned by French people. Now. I’m awkward. But if that’s what the market says, and that nobody else bid on the on your crumbly old nuclear plants, then that’s what you do. Right? Well, when Margaret Thatcher was told that you could privatized electricity, make all these companies that like competed against each other to sell brands of electricity to the public. She says, You can’t exactly have different companies selling electricity. And people were like, No, you can’t actually and they convinced her, she left office by 1997, under a successor, john major, they had set up an electricity market, one of the very first in the world. And that’s when the rot started.

Robert Bryce  21:18  
Oh, that’s interesting. So that was 97, in Texas, deregulated in 2001. So there’s,

Mark Nelson  21:22  
a lot of times it was the same law firms the same dude’s the same professors giving testimony, it was just this creeping cancer that spread across the world in 2000. It didn’t look like a cancer, you know, sure. You had a little blip in Ron and California. But what’s a giant blackout and a massive cost increase in companies going bust everywhere among friends, it’s just our power grid. Rog, you know, it’s just, it’s just a little electricity. But that kept going. And it kept going. And eventually what happened was, you divide out all the public good attributes and dump them on certain entities, and you carve out the stuff where temporarily people can make money doing it, then when companies can no longer make money building the power plant, they just don’t, they just stop. That’s what happened in Britain, they just stopped building power plants, because they’re like, oh, market says, it’s not worth it anymore.

Robert Bryce  22:16  
Right? And there was no, there was no, and there was no reward. So let me let me stop you because what I’m hearing you say, right, what is rhyming in my head here is the government failure. Is that right? Is that Is that how you see it? Sure.

Mark Nelson  22:31  
The thing is, I don’t really care whether your power plants get built with socialism, capitalism, communism, whatever. It’s the foundational basis for everything else that will happen in your economy.

Robert Bryce  22:43  
And yet, there was not an understanding and I think this is the same thing we’re seeing we saw here in Texas, not an understanding of just how critical the network is. So it was

Mark Nelson  22:51  
somebody else’s problem and somebody else was paying. And they believed they believed these dumb professors who had never run a bacteria or anything in their life where uncertainty is dominant information a sin is a symmetries dominate, where the system does Okay, for 10 years, then fails all at once then blows up all at once. They didn’t, you know, the idea was if you know economics, there’s no such thing as knowing what a power plant is. It’s all just something to marketized and that you simply alter the market rules to fit maybe some weird aspects of electricity, or some weird aspects of

Robert Bryce  23:30  
Well, let me interrupt there because it seems like that’s exactly what I’ve what I’ve thought here in Texas is this idea, oh, we’re gonna sell electricity like a commodity? Well, no, it’s not a commodity. It’s a service. It’s a service. And the same can be said of the flow of natural gas. So well. Where is the Europe now is that which countries are doing better than others? Is France in demonstrably better shape than Britain who’s in the worst shape?

Mark Nelson  23:53  
So what’s weird about France is the way the electricity markets were set up.

Robert Bryce  23:58  
And by the way, I’m sorry, I’m interrupting. Again, I know but you went to how many countries you were in Europe for what, two or three weeks just in the last in the last month or so? Where did you go I

Mark Nelson  24:07  
headed to Germany first to participate in the final of a series of six demonstrations outside of the nuclear plants, each of which displaces a colossal amount of gas and coal. And you’ll you’ll hear what’s about to happen in Germany. But I went to Augsburg, Germany, where nearby the green dragon See, nuclear plant is more than 1300 megawatts incredible Sterling operational record, and is going to be shut down in a few weeks straight into the highest co2, coal and gas prices on record.

Robert Bryce  24:41  
They’re going to shut it down. I didn’t even know this. They’re shutting it down in the next few weeks, even amid the crisis.

Mark Nelson  24:47  
Well, Robert, as you come in, are you going to come and report live from Berlin November

Robert Bryce  24:51  
13? No, November 13. Is the shutdown day No,

Mark Nelson  24:55  
November 13. Is the day we intervene to make sure it doesn’t get shut down.

Robert Bryce  24:59  
Okay. Gotcha. But I didn’t know about that

Mark Nelson  25:02  
December 31, maybe on the stroke of midnight because the most powerful carbon free fuel free generating facilities in Germany become worthless one hour after midnight on December 31. You see,

Robert Bryce  25:15  
I’m sorry, I didn’t follow you there, the fuel free way set up the closure dates

Mark Nelson  25:19  
on the nuclear plants to be extremely like back heavy, where they’re shutting down in a matter of months, almost the same amount of power output over the course of a year that they’ve shut down progressively one reactor at a time since Fukushima.

Robert Bryce  25:34  
So how many megawatts are we talking about here?

Mark Nelson  25:37  
Well, 8.4 8.5 gigawatts. They’re really good units at this point and they’re very good at load following and they’re they’re very cheap. I mean, we’re the problem is they they picked off all the weak ones first, the weak nuclear plants. They’re only left with the absolute superstar best performing highest producing nuclear plants on planet Earth. That’s what they’re left with.

Robert Bryce  26:01  
Well, this just seems like as soon as you’re saying this is incredible. You know, I’ve been trying to follow the I’ve been traveling doing some other things, but I’ve been trying to follow this. This just seems like societal suicide that this is some kind of a purposeful deindustrialization of Europe, with Germany leading the way even though Germany has been the industrial heartland of Europe for decades. I mean, this is you’re telling me because I’m, I’m sitting here, almost stupefied that this is happening. I

Mark Nelson  26:29  
look, I’ve talked to reporters who want who interviewed me in Brussels because of the stand up Brussels and they said, Oh, don’t worry, Germany wouldn’t commit suicide. I’m sure we’ll find a way to keep the plants on then I talked to people actually in the nuclear industry, and they’re like, No, we literally won’t have staffing or even enough people to run the plant after that. That hour.

Robert Bryce  26:49  
And we’re trying to like okay, we’re talking about over the next we’re beginning of October, you’re talking about a November December the next 60 days. Eight gigawatts of German

Mark Nelson  26:59  
nuclear this split in half. A point five are shut down by December 31 2022. Okay, which exactly half are to be shut down by December 31 2001 2021? Yes.

Robert Bryce  27:12  
Okay. So we’re looking at we’re looking at four and a half gigawatts, four gigawatts between now and the end of the end of 21. It even though there was a headline today, I saw that one German power plant is out of coal, they just shut it down.

Mark Nelson  27:27  
They can’t get around coal, not the dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty stuff that you dig out from a giant pit under villages. They’re, they’re out of the black coal that now that they shut their black coal mines after import.

Robert Bryce  27:38  
So they’re out of gas, they’re out of coal, and they’re well,

Mark Nelson  27:41  
they’re not necessarily out of gas. Okay. You’re Russia beyond the contracts that’s already scheduled. If Russia is going to send more gas, I bet it’s going to be to Germany, to Siemens, that lovely relationship of perfect equality represented by Nord Stream two,

Robert Bryce  27:57  
because they have such a good history, the Germans and the Russians together, right. Yeah. The Russians

Mark Nelson  28:01  
have often enjoyed advancing into Berlin. Yes.

Robert Bryce  28:08  
Well, so But well, let me I wrote this down. So is are there any other countries that are doing better? I mean, you mentioned we talked about France is France in a real in relatively good position and

Mark Nelson  28:17  
says France is looking really pretty now. Because although their electricity wholesale prices high, almost none of that represents an increase in costs. This is complicated. Electricity markets are so complicated, that electricity experts no longer understanding and electricity traders no longer understand behaviors as the jet and as renewables increase, if the traders themselves cannot understand there’s only a certain number of people dumb enough or rich enough to keep subsidizing the system by losing money against the you know, in the US in the US the trading is so complicated the systems interfaces are so complicated that the markets themselves are rewriting rules constantly burning traders who made money and then going back and saying Nope, we made a computer error during that hour so we’re going to take it back that and they’re getting weirder and weirder and weirder, I see energy traders who have made a pretty penny knowing exactly how to play the utilities off each other the customers off each other the slow people the dump, you know the new the new mini Enron’s right right? Doing a great job making money not saying they’re dishonest, they just make good money to buy and sell electricity contracts. They see say things like I have no clue what’s going on in Texas and it’s only September. This but is going is that is going on many places because of the erratic and crazy nature of that just in time gas plus the maybe they’re maybe not renewables plus the weird way that the grid is wearing out unevenly in a different patterns under the strain of highly fluctuating loads and supplies right This brings us back to something you asked for that I didn’t talk about. Okay import of electricity into Britain through interconnectors. Right. The market did not distinguish between an interconnector and a power plant in Britain. The market designers were saying, if it’s a gigawatt, it’s a gigawatt. What’s the difference? It’s like saying that it’s like when Oh, who was it? Harold Macmillan was an old Tory a stodgy old man with a big mustache and, and you know, cigar and he was an old Tory, and he was uncomfortable with what that year was doing in Britain with just saying that a pound is a pound, whether it’s coming from a London banker or, or a factory up north, right, right. So the UK was making its decisions on whether or not to reinvest to scale up their factories, power plants, etc. For the to keep up with the level of the Germany’s and Japan’s of the world. Right, right. That’s what was under question. And if so, whose money and how? That’s your was saying the market is indicating that we’re best at activity B, not activity a. And then Harold Macmillan would say something like, sure it looks like we’re selling off the family silver, and then the Tory party would go wow, how could you say that you don’t understand. You’re the schoolish old man. And you said, Hey, all I know is that when my day back in the 30s, or 40s, you know, there’s a lot of young men who didn’t see a difference between their own resources and credit until they blew up but then you could always retire them to a stable out of the way country seat and they couldn’t they didn’t have to have him in London anymore. That’s all I was saying. I’ll just shut up now. Then that’s your herself thought that the electricity markets were crazy. They convinced her otherwise she left office, her successors put into the place. And at the at the time, it seemed like it was delivering so many benefits. Robert, how awesome that the consumer of Britain can save a ton of money by just importing cheap extra power from France, instead of having your own powerplant.

Robert Bryce  31:59  
But but but now that’s, you know, labor might have

Mark Nelson  32:03  
labor unions, it might have glitches, odd construction. Oh, it’s just so complicated. Better let a country with the comparative advantage and getting shit done. France, which is I mean, that same something, but the France built the the power plants, right and had the extra power because they built too many, which is what energy economist told me as a young, stupid grad student, they said, Oh, France built way too many power plants, it’s important to shut them down so they don’t have too much. Right. So that that was the attitude in France were in Britain, they said, oh, let’s just import it from France. But then something happened a few weeks ago, while I was in Europe. I was staying at the house of our dear movement ally, Bjorn Peters, and I got some notice, oh, there was a fire in the British side terminal for where the one two gigawatt power line comes in to the last one gigawatt of power, and they expect it to be gone until the weather clears up again in March of next year.

Robert Bryce  33:05  
So they’re looking at six months of potential electricity shortages. And at the same time, they’re looking at gas shortages.

Mark Nelson  33:13  
surely find Robert because you know, the central electricity generating board back in the 70s was severely overbuilding. Way too many power plants, costing consumers 20% too much because they had just a bit more and it wasn’t optimized like a market would well the market optimized Britain all the way down to not having enough power plants. And it’s a very efficient because it means each power plant now makes a lot more money, which is what a market should be designed to do. Right?

Robert Bryce  33:38  
Well, so let me interrupt you and Sue. Because what I’m hearing you say is this is the revenge of the markets and the revenge of the markets is going to be take a deadly swipe that a lot of people’s money and a lot of people’s wallets. So what’s the cure here? Is there a cure and again and how long Robert long is it going to take

Mark Nelson  33:57  
my impression is that the issue is beyond just saying money in wallets in Britain, money in wallets in Germany, money in wallets in France, money in wallets in Netherlands, the issue is beyond at this point, money and wallets in Britain, they’re going to have different issues. Money, what is money, money is debt debt is what you can pay back and what you can pay back cannot be linked to whether the weather is good or not. Right? In the most basic sense, the quality of a currency, the quality of what somebody’s word is based on them being able to deliver at the moment where we’re going to find is that when you set up enough of your economy to be based on the weather, a bunch of people have to break their promises. When enough people have to break their promises because the weather didn’t come in, you lose the ability to even talk in terms of costs and prices that are based on what people owe each other when they know they can deliver. And if the weather doesn’t matter. We now just I

Robert Bryce  34:53  
just want to be I just want to be clear about what you’re talking about. We’re talking about the weather you’re talking about the the ability of wind turbines to produce electricity

Mark Nelson  34:59  
isn’t Talking about the ability of a one pound note to mean the same thing one year that it did the last even though the weather was bad.

Robert Bryce  35:07  
Okay, but I’m trying to link this back to where we were with the energy energy part of this, you lost me

Mark Nelson  35:13  
there, it doesn’t know whether basic things are going to happen this winter, much less next year, they are shutting down fertilizer plants, for example. Yeah. paralyzer makes it nice to where you can be pretty sure within certain bounds of weather that the crops will come in, which is, that’s a modern, that’s a modern privilege, we just we didn’t have the ability to make sure that crops came in, in the past, Britain would go through famines followed by plague, you know, it’s just a whole thing. And that came from an inability to get away from the weather.

Robert Bryce  35:44  
So now without, with with CF industries, they’ve shut down to nuclear to fertilizer plants in the UK. And I’ve talked to some my friend, john Harpole about this, we’re looking at fertilizer shortages that then could within a matter of months, maybe a year, we’re going to see knock on effects and potentially food shortages, because we don’t have enough hydrocarbons to make fertilizer. Am I well, am I missing something here?

Mark Nelson  36:07  
I will say that the UK is one of the smallest major industrial nations by fertilizer generation, because well as fertilizer dropped by about, you know, 50% over the last 20 years is fertilizer production. Why is that? Well, the market found better uses for British natural gas, electricity production, right? Meanwhile, fertilizer can be easily bought on the world market, can’t it? Yes, unless Britain doesn’t have enough money to make it worth it for their farmers, because their farmers don’t have pounds that are worth enough, because nobody can pay their bills. Because I’m trying to say that when people try to price electricity this year in this year’s money, or they want to price industrial services, or how much it’s worth to subsidize electricity for the poor, all these things where you try to use a currency based on a system of energy generation that was weather independent, it breaks down if your system of energy and economy is based on weather, the weather cooperates, you don’t know what pounds will be worth, you don’t know how much your props will be worth. Because people are buying pounds. I’m saying that the the ability to have the ability to predict the future, including through prices, is a result of having exceeded the boundaries of whether in modern industrial society.

Robert Bryce  37:27  
And we’ve done that right. And we’ve done that by and we’ve done that by harnessing hydrocarbons and nuclear is that and now they’ve lost the ability to assure stable supplies of fossil fuels and nuclear and so you’re saying if I’m hearing you right, you’re saying that it’s it’s it’s it’s it’s subverting their entire economic system? Is that what you’re saying?

Mark Nelson  37:49  
I’ve been made fun of on Twitter for calling it a potential D growth spiral initiating event here. But let me let me say something that I experienced over my last 10 years, 11 years of going to Britain, one of my possibly one of my home away from home in many ways. British homes are not getting nicer. British infrastructure is barely improving. There are some new trains on there are some mega projects that are getting built. But like most of the power plants are falling into there are crumbling nuclear and otherwise, right. There’s not an impression of increasing material wealth outside a few pockets of London that are growing rapidly. Now in some ways, it’s charming. A lot of places are stuck in time. But when I accompany that real world lived experience of being in Britain of living in Britain, especially living in Britain on a student budget, with a chart showing a decline in electricity production and consumption year after year. I just can’t get excited on the decarbonisation numbers for Britain, where supposedly Britain was the only country that properly combined, retaining its nuclear while increasing, increasing production of wind and solar and ensure there’s some natural gas I just a lot of the people in my own movement and the pro nuclear movement who have exactly the same view of climate that I do, which is that it’s a very important issue we should work on cheered the closure of coal with out any thinking about whether or not that coal was closing because its services were being replaced. And now it appears it wasn’t that whatever Britain needed from coal it needs again today, and it doesn’t have it, and then it can’t

Robert Bryce  39:34  
build and it can’t and it can’t build it in anything like a timeframe that makes any sense for this winter. And we’re looking at if there’s a cold winter, then I mean, we it is potentially disastrous. I mean, we’ve seen increases in new and natural gas prices there 10 20% a day in some cases. I mean, these are these are

Mark Nelson  39:51  
fright over over all time records. Yes, over all

Robert Bryce  39:54  
time records. So is going back to the question. So is Britain more strict? than other countries in Europe, I mean, whose

Mark Nelson  40:02  
was it as it has a longer experience turning over absolute life or death infrastructure decisions on energy to market forces,

Robert Bryce  40:11  
without a concern for resilience and reliability?

Mark Nelson  40:14  
Yeah, I mean, I’ve heard it seems like every single CEO of off Jim, that’s the Office of gas and electricity markets, which is the, I don’t know, the equivalent of what used to be like a major planner of making sure there were enough coal plants built or whatever. They they’re always saying, Hey, guys, I know we love competitive markets, and I do too, or I wouldn’t have been appointed to this job. But when there’s not enough energy, and by next year, you will kind of have a risk and the year after that you’ll have a bigger risk by five years. I don’t know well, how we’ll make it through a single one week cold spell. I was hearing those lectures back and and my student days in 2013. I heard it CEO of off Jim give a speech to a tiny little audience, just like before dinner at the hall in Pembroke College. And he was saying, Oh, well, there is not enough. And we look to be losing our gas storage. And if interconnectors go down, and France uses its sovereign, right to cut off the the economic contracts, promising delivery of this or that energy commodity as it claims, it’s right, as a sovereign nation, we don’t as the UK, then we won’t have enough power. Any questions? And this was 2013. Robert,

Robert Bryce  41:22  
eight years ago, this was foreseen or at least there was the possibility of this so but there’s no possibility that they can begin drilling again to produce more gas in the North Sea or or in the I saw that the Holland is going to reopen the Groningen field as part of this net zero push and yet Boris Johnson was apparently in New York just the other day saying oh net zero net zero is carbon neutral. I mean there just seems like this massive disconnect not just in Europe but in the US as well between the reality of what is actually happening with the fragile zation of the grid, increasing prices and this idea that we’re going to go to zero carbon outputs without any investment in nuclear any understanding of what this does for affordability Am I but it sounds like you’re saying the same thing Am I am I Are we on the same page here?

Mark Nelson  42:12  
Yeah, they thought they were doing decarbonization policy and they were doing D growth policy I mean look look some things are okay if you like if you if you think there are painful lessons in store that lead to wisdom down the line, the UK Government seems to be panicked considering starting a whole raft of nuclear programs that some of us have been begging for for years

Robert Bryce  42:34  
well let me ask about that because that was one of the questions I wrote down is this is this that potentially the catalyst to then to get nuclear really on ramp in in Britain and elsewhere? Because it’s if this doesn’t do it, I don’t know what what could possibly make them understand it with the stakes here? So the question is, is this going to be the catalyst that makes nuclear happen in Britain and Britain and

Mark Nelson  42:58  
as yes in Britain? Hopefully they still are able to execute it and afford it after this winter

Robert Bryce  43:04  
but but would it be sighs well, because the cost they’re so enormous Is it possible so

Mark Nelson  43:10  
how do we how do we say costs are enormous the extra costs being paid by the economy for energy is going to total the total amount of size? Well, within what a few months?

Robert Bryce  43:21  
Well, that’s a good point. But I guess the other question is that then led up to the scaling up would it be would it make more sense at this point, even though they don’t exist truly they do not exist? There’s no conveyor belt, no assembly system for building nuclear small reactors at scale. But is it possible smrs could could in what three four or five years come in here? I mean, that the in the best case scenario,

Mark Nelson  43:47  
I mean, I mean, SMR developer you’re probably screwed and certainly their panic, their panic. I mean, the rumors are flying. Somebody at The Daily Mail gets their info from somebody who has is a lobbyist or something for Rolls Royce in their daily mail keeps publishing those stories on like, Rolls Royces reactor being amazing and doing cool things and stuff. But I assume that if there’s a panic build program, they would simultaneously announced that like, French sizewell c thing plus a British, you know, patriotic, nuclear submarine tied SMR program or something like that. They’ll just do everything. They’ll sign whatever it takes to make it look like they are taking the crisis seriously. None of it will provide any extra kilowatt hours.

Robert Bryce  44:31  
In the next six, six months or eight months, I

Mark Nelson  44:33  
mean, a very definition of cold comfort, isn’t it at this point?

Robert Bryce  44:39  
Nicely played there. Yes. So after Britain, is there another European country that is then facing a similar situation or is it well, Britain is in tension Ireland

Mark Nelson  44:53  
is just down the line, right? every possible sense. The difference is Irish gas production is going up again. Turns out that the secret almost all these energy transitions are just having a lot of gas at the right time. So Ireland has a lot of gas, but they only actually interestingly, as far as I know, Ireland produces a bigger percentage of the gas that needs then Britain does have its own at the moment.

Robert Bryce  45:16  
Hmm. More self, more self sufficient or making provides enough of its own own production. Well, so we talked about,

Mark Nelson  45:25  
but Ireland is at the end of the line for electricity. And Ireland and the UK have had days recently where both grid operators have called each other in a panic demanding everything they’ve got at any price. And there’s none to be had. So they just sadly walk away and set the intertitles zero

Robert Bryce  45:43  
I’m sorry, I don’t know what that means. What is the inter

Mark Nelson  45:45  
tie that cable between them to if both sides get on the phone and say I’m begging you I need anything you’ve got at any price? And both sides are saying not right. But they don’t have any that’s right table for the day,

Robert Bryce  45:56  
but they don’t have any trade to do so they don’t nets out zero. Is that okay? I got you. So it Ireland’s in trouble. Who else I mean, you’ve been you went all over the continent with Germany, you said by the end of the year could be even further in bigger trouble. And they are now

Mark Nelson  46:12  
early early depends on what have they shut off the nuclear plants and all of this also, we are just waiting to see whether the wind comes in, is the wind gonna come in? Or is it not some years, it doesn’t come in until next January or February. Some years the wind comes early. I don’t know it’s time to literally rebuild temples to pagan gods, because that’s how we do our energy planning now

Robert Bryce  46:35  
hoping for good for favorable weather, which in this case would be wind.

Mark Nelson  46:40  
If the German God provides then maybe Britons who survived the winter will switch to that religion. I don’t know in the end. Humans cry out for anything to make sense of a chaotic disorderly world dominated by unfortunate unfortunate weather. People make fun of religions all the time as superstitions are this but you need a lot emotionally to get through a world where you depend on the weather working to make your family survive. I don’t begrudge anybody anything they believed before pre modern times at all. Heck, now with the uncertainties facing us. It doesn’t matter whether you’re God’s real or not, you’re going to need all of them to get through this winter.

Robert Bryce  47:21  
Because if without enough, if the weather turns foul and stays foul, we could see mass mortality of airfoil

Mark Nelson  47:28  
fowl is now determined by whether it does or doesn’t produce enough renewable power.

Robert Bryce  47:35  
Okay, by foul I mean a bitter cold and

Mark Nelson  47:39  
bitter cold accompanied with a constant steady wind over all of Europe at the same time is is maybe doable a little bit because Europe’s built so much wind capacity,

Robert Bryce  47:48  
right? But the but their only real option in terms of a fallback is going to be small oil fired oil fired generation or using oil fired

Mark Nelson  47:57  
or anything that burns rate. There’s a reason why the forests have been regrowing for a few centuries in Europe. Right.

Robert Bryce  48:07  
So okay, so anything that could burn so we’re in that convert, right? Okay, so we’ve talked about Europe, I want to bring you back to the US because I know you’ve moved from California to Chicago, and I know about the recent. You work hard and long with Maddie Czerwinski and a bunch of other people on the Byron and Dresden plants. I haven’t had a chance to write about that yet. But please update us what happened and why did it happen? And why are you smiling about it? Because you deserve to?

Mark Nelson  48:36  
Basically, the environmentalists blinked and they said okay, to a delayed phase out of fossil fuels, because they didn’t have labor with them. They didn’t have. There are nice ways and not nice ways to say this. Let me just put it this way.

Robert Bryce  48:56  
Let me let me let me back. But let me back up because I need to set the table here I realize. So the Byron and Dresden plants in Illinois are two nuclear plants that Exelon has said that they were going to close and this was made clear more than a year ago. And they were slated for closure about now and there was a big battle in the legislature. I just wanted to get that. Get that upfront. So if people aren’t familiar with what was what the politics and the situation on the ground in Illinois were so anyway, please go ahead.

Mark Nelson  49:22  
Exelon was not willing to commit too many hundreds of millions of dollars and a huge hiring spree to operate their plants for an extremely long period without knowing for sure they could get through the next three to five years without losing money.

Robert Bryce  49:36  
Because they’re for profit corporation, they were willing one of them one of the biggest utilities in the country.

Mark Nelson  49:41  
They were willing to take the risk that they messed up the plant operation, they were willing to take that risk. They were not willing to take the risk that they went for 95% of the time, with a beautiful efficiency, securing the state’s grid and energy supplies while losing money. And in the end, I wasn’t going to go to Exelon and say change Your mind become a nonprofit or something, get donations from the same environmental nonprofits who say they care about carbon to take losses and run your plant anyway yeah, no, I was gonna do that instead they were going to close it right so we just had to deal with that. The question was whether and how much to subsidize those plants and what the political cost was going to be what the bribe was going to be to those who didn’t like nuclear in order to get them to do the right and basic thing for the economy for labor for the for for the error quite frankly. Right. And the question was what cost was that going to be

Robert Bryce  50:35  
and the battle and the battle and the battle was in the Illinois legislature to make over over what appropriations we’re going to be made the subsidies needed to keep Byron and Dresden open the sub

Mark Nelson  50:47  
sub laters most legislators they know their family they know their friend they watched the news blah blah blah but that doesn’t mean you know anything about the way electricity works sure almost nobody I talked to no matter how sophisticated seem to have an understanding of what like a contract for difference was or what the upside and downside risk was or like anything like that I did talk to some folks who were you know, coming from the finance background before their public service they got it more quickly but they right still struggling to understand Wait, what are electricity markets? Why are they messing up the plants if the plants are so good? Why doesn’t Exelon just do us a solid and they just use the number of things you had to explain to give somebody a proper understanding of how we had arrived at the position of needing to save those plants and and how to do it. Like, it was just big, the basic thing was, if the plant shut down, we’ll never decarbonize Illinois with the plants can be cleaner than California berries in short order, if you if you keep all the plants up, upgrade them, you know, don’t lose any right and that and that they had to have intervention to save, and that if you wrote the intervention policy, right, the taxpayer would make money on it. Exelon was willing to give up the windfall profits of any disruption, no matter how unforeseeable and unlikely of higher gas prices. Exelon may already literally be losing money on that bill. Now base if the gas prices stay the way they are, and they’re okay with that they just didn’t know for sure whether the gas price is going to blow up. But the net net here was demonstrating this to the folks in Chicago is say, you know, my voters won’t vote for something just rewards big business for being profitable, right? And you’re like, we’re talking about different things that the lights, the lights, the lights, staying on the coal plants going or staying like, these are basic physical things, and you want to talk to me about the impression it does or doesn’t make, I get it, they inhabit a political reality. Almost nobody knows about energy, almost everybody’s willing to defer to the energy lobbyist as long as it’s wind and solar. And and,

Robert Bryce  52:53  
and or the environment. Or the environmental groups are trying to kill nuclear but but the net result here does the net result is and correct me if I’m wrong, that for because of your activism, other people, people getting motivated, the legislature passed a bill that is now been signed into law by Governor Pritzker and Byron and Dresden are have funding and they’re going to stay open, even though it was clear and I doubted that they would be saved. I was not. I was not optimistic. You

Mark Nelson  53:20  
I told you it wasn’t done.

Robert Bryce  53:21  
I know No, I know. I know. But so anyway, I’m taking this as a long way to get it. Congratulations. I mean, you worked hard and long on that. And against long odds. And it you showed that nuclear plants when the chips are down, they can be saved if the pressure points are applied in the right way.

Mark Nelson  53:37  
And and the media showed that we showed that the wind and solar lobbyists have to hire their enthusiasts, even though they’ve got the media on their side, right? Until this until this winter, until this winter, everything we say we have to say until this winter, but traditionally all the media is on board without even needing to be paid. Even though you know a bunch of our by the wind and solar folks, they still have to pay citizens to care. They have to pay citizens to show up and US nuclear fanatics. Oh my god, that I mean, there were there were times where, you know, nuclear entities were scared that too much attention on the issue was bad, because negotiations going bad or some shit like that. And, you know, activists were ready to roll and we rolled, we rolled despite what the nuclear entities thought about, you know, communicating with the public about the importance of nuclear. So congratulations. And we just demonstrated and there was, not only could we not be paid to be there, we couldn’t be paid to stay away that we were going to go and we’re going to show how much we love the nuclear plants. And we did. And then the unions. I mean, they showed up right after same spot right in front of Lincoln, same permitting process, same everything and showed up with 500 strong union workers and families. One of the biggest demonstrations for nuclear in the history of the world. We’re going to beat it in Berlin, but Until you know, till then it was one of the biggest demonstrations in the world for nuclear. And that showed the incredible popular power of nuclear. As a result, the ratio of subsidies going to other technologies versus nuclear only had to be four to one or so five to one. So for every dollar go into nuclear, under the bill, if if the prices went down, something like $5 is going to go to wind and solar, now that the nuclear is going to give back money. Because the gas prices are so high, that ratio of the cost of the subsidy to nuclear versus a subsidy to wind and solar is going to balloon to like 10 to 120, to one, but whatever. You have to buy off wind and solar people, they are mercenaries. And they required that in order to vote for a basic bill that keeps the lights on in Chicago.

Robert Bryce  55:47  
Well, just one quick reference point. As I pointed out in 2018, when you look at CRS Congressional Research Service data in 2018, solar was getting 250 times more in terms of federal tax credits than than nuclear and wind was getting 160 times. So

Mark Nelson  56:01  
now that’s just one mechanism. There’s also the state programs and that that service would not have picked up on the subsidies that I don’t I don’t wish we had to have subsidies for nuclear. That was just while Wall Street was burning $300 billion in the oil and gas fields, right? Sure. I’m not saying that it wasn’t their right to go burn 300 billion in tight oil and oil and gas plays just while they were willing to run a highly nonprofit gas industry. It was killing our nuclear plants. I’m not for subsidies. I’m for nuclear because it’s the correct solution. It’s the correct technology. We thought for subsidies until Wall Street turned off the cash. Now that wall street turned off the cash we still had a lag period until the until the panic hit. And that’s the period that was killing off Byron and Dresden. We got to the end of that period, right as we say Byron and Dresden right?

Robert Bryce  56:51  
Where gas prices are starting to rise because the gap that the cash tap has been turned off in the shale fields. They are

Mark Nelson  56:57  
demanding shockingly, they’re demanding that oil and gas pay for itself, right.

Robert Bryce  57:01  
So I know we’ve been about an hour here mark and my guest is Mark Nelson. He’s the managing director at the radiant energy fund you can find him on twitter at energy balance. I know you need to run because we’ve been talking for right at an hour and it’s longer than we agreed to. So I know I’ve asked you in the past What are you reading? I’m just quickly what what’s on your bookshelf or have you had time you’ve been you’ve been dashing around the globe? Any books that are in hand or on your Kindle? What are they?

Mark Nelson  57:28  
So I work myself kind of to death but my rule on flies is that I turn I don’t get I don’t buy internet I just use it to unplug and that’s so that’s one of the main times I read right now and I don’t do Kindle I take a physical book because it reminds me to wait reminds me of what I’m not reading.

Robert Bryce  57:43  
I love me i’d love me a good pretty good printed book.

Mark Nelson  57:47  
Yeah, exactly. I’m currently I’m reading an extraordinary book about the occupation and rebuilding of Japan by the United States. After World War Two,

Robert Bryce  57:57  
what’s it gone?

Mark Nelson  57:59  
Shoot is called. I gotta grab it. I don’t I don’t stare at the cover much. I’ll get it to you and your readers. But it was published about 2025 years ago by a professor at MIT john Gower, I believe, anyway. Okay, if I remember before the end of my pitch for it, I’ll let you guys know. Okay. The most interesting thing for me is that my grandfather, after graduating with his engineering degree from Oklahoma State, was drafted straight into the army and went straight to Japan as a young man in 1946 1945. And he would have witnessed a lot of the world seen in that book, but he never really shared with my uncles and dad, they didn’t we didn’t family didn’t know much. And now he’s not here to tell us. I’m sort of rebuilding the experience he must have had in Japan, this extraordinary book, things like how the constitution got written. Things like how the aftermath of having been bombed by your new occupier that you now celebrate working with, you know, that both the fire bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that that’s a spiritual struggle, that’s just, we don’t think about very much. Yeah. And yet, it’s obvious that something went right in Japan. Where did it come from? How did it come from? Is there a difference between what works and what’s moral, the retention of the Emperor, that was itself a fascinating story, where much of Japanese society was calling for something like the minimum of changeover from the emperor who led the war to one who didn’t. And it didn’t happen because the absolutely key personal intervention of MacArthur himself because he was convinced that only the retention of that single guy as Emperor would lead to a peaceful occupation and early exit, whether it’s right or wrong, the book leaves in question. It’s just something that happened and the reconstruction of history after that is something that Japan is still struggling with today is it deals with an aggressive neighbor, nuclear restarts, armaments of various kinds, right?

Robert Bryce  59:59  
Fascinating. So last question, what gives you hope.

Mark Nelson  1:00:05  
So since we talked last I just witnessed on the streets of Brussels nuclear advocates from 12 different countries minimum, converting people on the spot through their joy and enthusiasm. I admit it was very fun to be able to shout out a little speech to the crowd, illustrating that we just, we just want to Illinois and that if it’s possible to win there, we can win anywhere, and that you just have to keep up the faith, keep the analysis Good, keep organized, stay active, don’t backstab, just keep moving, and stay brave during the energy crisis this winter, and we will be able to stop and reverse a bunch of these nuclear phase outs. These nuclear phase outs were decided on by weak and and, and pathetic politicians in times where the land flowed with milk and honey, and mistakes and consequences didn’t matter. These times have changed. We’re in times of consequence, and I believe we’re going to have leaders rise to the occasion. And we’ll be there right there to quickly get up them up to speed on energy to get them up to speed on what exactly the nuclear plants have been doing. That’s so amazing. We’re gonna save a lot of these things that people say there’s no chance to save Robert, we’re gonna do it.

Robert Bryce  1:01:16  
A Diablo Canyon is next on the list, I hope.

Mark Nelson  1:01:19  
Talk about that soon. Fair enough.

Robert Bryce  1:01:21  
Well, great, Mark, I will let you go. My guest, again has been Mark Nelson. He’s with the radiant energy fund. He’s the managing director there. You can find him on twitter at energy band sets energy ba MTS. Mark, thanks a million for being on the power hungry podcast.

Mark Nelson  1:01:36  
Great to be here, Robert. I expect I’ll see you soon.

Robert Bryce  1:01:39  
I hope so. Thanks to all of you in podcast land. Tune in for the next episode of the power hungry podcast. Until then, see ya.

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