Texas's Nuclear Power Failed Texas the Least During Its Power Outage

(Madison Hopkins/Better Government Association via AP)

It’s clear that Texas wasn’t prepared for the cold snap that hit it last week. Roads iced over, pipes burst, and more importantly, the electrical grid failed the state, with natural gas and “green” energy both bringing the state’s power flow to a screeching halt.

While those things failed, it should be noted that one of Texas’s nuclear reactors went down too, but only one. While everything else was failing Texas, the nuclear power plants still kept providing millions of watts to Texans. Moreover, we can see just how safe nuclear power plants are when the environment becomes dangerous.

According to the Washington Examiner, the South Texas Nuclear Power Station had one of its two reactors shut down, knocking out about 2.7 megawatts of electricity. The nuclear facility was not prepared for such low temperatures in Texas, and the reactor that shut down had a disruption in its feedwater pump going into the reactor. This automatically shut down the reactor on Monday.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, despite the biting cold shutting down the reactor, there was no danger to the reactor itself and the automatic shutoff was all part of normal safety protocols.

Meanwhile, in north Texas, the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant that houses Texas’s two other nuclear reactors was running along fine.

The majority of Texas’s power comes from natural gas and fossil fuels with wind power coming in second at anywhere between 18 to 25 percent of Texas’s energy, depending on the day. Texas Democrat Representative Rafael Anchia went to brag on how wind power was doing, saying that both wind and solar were performing at 1 gigawatt over what energy experts thought, but also noted that nuclear energy was hitting 100% of its generation targets during the freak weather, even with one generator down.

A nuclear reactor that was even a little better prepared would have been able to help a lot of Texans in their time of need. What’s more, Texas has only four nuclear reactors holding up a lot of households and hospitals. Imagine if Texas had more.

Yet, as I’ve highlighted before, Democrat politicians continue to stand in the way of nuclear power, the greenest and most reliable energy of all.

(READ: The Greenest Energy Isn’t Even Being Considered)

In fact, the Washington Examiner reported that Democrats continue to stand in the way in favor of wind and solar despite the fact that some have even shown support for nuclear:

The nuclear energy industry is faulting House Democrats for not offering it tax breaks as part of a massive package that offers benefits to a range of technologies.

“It’s unfortunate House Democrats have once again left the largest source of carbon-free energy out of this bill,” the Nuclear Energy Institute’s John Kotek, VP of policy development, told Josh.

Kotek suggested Democrats’ neglect of nuclear is strange given special climate committees in the House and Senate both released reports last year recognizing the need for nuclear to play a role in their net-zero emission goals. President Biden has also signaled support for nuclear power, as has his Energy secretary nominee, Jennifer Granholm.

Kotek has pushed for Ways and Means Committee Democrats as part of their GREEN Act reintroduced Friday to include investment and production tax credits for nuclear power that could be used for traditional large projects and also new smaller reactors being developed.

The bill extends wind and solar tax credits, while also providing incentives for carbon capture technology and offshore wind. It creates an incentive for energy storage and expands the electric vehicle tax credit. But it does not offer help for nuclear power, as was the case when Democrats first introduced the bill last year.

It’s good to have a diversified energy grid that contains everything from gas, to wind and solar, to nuclear, yet Democrats continue to stomp on nuclear despite its cost efficiency, its safety, reliability, and most importantly, how clean it is. It seems more interested in doing business with China, exporting the rare earth metals necessary to build solar farms, than actually investing in American nuclear power and pushing us more into a reliable energy source.

Despite their resistance to it, the benefits of nuclear power can’t be denied, and the excuses of pointing to Chernobyl and Fukushima (both accidents that happened as a cause of neglect, bureaucracy, and not keeping reactors up to date) will soon wear out their usefulness.