CHICAGO-–  One Thursday April 30, Elon Musk of the TESLA Corporation announced the development of home and utility scale batteries that will revolutionize energy storage – and could effectively put an end to the specious argument nuclear industry promoters use to justify their product: “what are we going to do when the sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow?”

The answer – nothing.  The energy WILL be stored safely and effectively.

Arnie Gundersen speaking to an audience at Illinois Sierra Club, April 30, 2015
Arnie Gundersen speaking to an audience at Illinois Sierra Club, April 30, 2015

The announcement could also effectively mark the beginning of the end of nuclear power itself, said nuclear critic Arnie Gundersen at a debate on the future of nuclear power hosted at Northwestern University.

“We all know that the wind doesn’t blow consistently and the sun doesn’t shine every day,” he said, “but the nuclear industry would have you believe that humankind is smart enough to develop techniques to store nuclear waste for a quarter of a million years, but at the same time human kind is so dumb we can’t figure out a way to store solar electricity overnight. To me that doesn’t make sense.”  Gundersen is principle at Fairewinds Energy Education based in Vermont.

The program, “The Future of Energy:  Is Nuclear Power the Solution?” was sponsored by  Fossil Free NU, and featured Gundersen and Dr. Jordi Roglans-Ribas, director of Nuclear Engineering Division at Argonne National Laboratory.

“This is a game-changer, both in the energy sector and politically,” states Dave Kraft, director of Nuclear Energy Information Service in Chicago.

“This TESLA breakthrough demolishes one of the scare tactics being used by Exelon Corporation in its attempt to panic peddle the Legislature into giving them a $1.5 billion bailout for five money-losing nuclear reactors in Illinois,” notes Kraft.

“Industry claims that ‘renewables aren’t ready,’ are ‘intermittent,’ or aren’t scalable’ just ended up on the trash heap of history.  The TESLA breakthrough means that renewables CAN power Illinois, even if Exelon decides to close those five reactors,” Kraft points out.

The TESLA Corporation announced the Powerwall battery system on Thursday evening.  Models are available for home installation; and can also be scaled up to meet utility-scale needs.  Remarkably, the home system at $3,500 comes in at a price three times lower that the nearest competitor on the market.  The systems are compact, and will be available for sale by year’s end.  A $5 billion production center is being built in Nevada to produce the systems.

“If the Legislators are worried about job loss from Exelon’s reactor closures, perhaps instead of giving Exelon a $1.6 billion bailout for nuclear reactors that currently can’t compete with wind power without battery storage, the legislature should give it to Elon Musk to build a Powerwall production facility in Illinois,” Kraft points out.  “At least Illinois ratepayers and the economy will get something of benefit back for the giveaway, unlike with the Exelon bailout.”

“This development is undoubtedly a game-changer for the debate in Springfield about the energy legislation,” Kraft asserts.

“For a year and a half NEIS has been alerting legislators to the notion that this is a transformational moment in energy, and that the business-as-usual mundane and myopic discussions and decision-making about jobs and compromises do not fit this moment.  The TESLA announcement proves we were right.”

“This announcement forces the Legislature to choose which century the Illinois economy and energy systems will end up in – the 19th with Exelon’s anachronistic “big-box utility” business model, or the 21st with TESLA and all the rest that goes with it..  Legislators can no longer hide behind the nuclear boogeymen arguments that they have to give Exelon ‘something,’ or we’ll all freeze in the dark when the wind doesn’t blow, and jobs will be lost.  There are plenty of good, high-paying jobs ahead – if the Legislature chooses the future over the past,” Kraft observes.

“And – the lights WILL MOST CERTAINLY stay on,” Kraft concludes.

NEIS was founded in 1981 to provide the public with credible information on nuclear power, waste, and radiation hazards; and information about the viable energy alternatives to nuclear power.  For more information visit the NEIS website at:  http://www.neis.org



1.) “Did Tesla Just Kill Nuclear Power?

2.)  “Experts debate the future of nuclear energy at Fossil Free NU event,”

3.)  POWERWALL TESLA Home Battery System

4.)  Elon Musk Debuts the Tesla PowerwallYouTube

5.)  Arnie Gundersen on Worldview, April 30, 2015