Times Free PressWatts Bar Unit 2 Ready to Be Fueled by Year's End

Nearly 43 years after construction began, the Unit 2 reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant got an operating license Thursday to become the first new American nuclear power plant added to the electric grid in nearly two decades.

The staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said the TVA unit is ready to load nuclear fuel and begin power generation by the end of the year. The startup of a second reactor at Watts Bar, which comes 19 years after America's last new nuclear unit began power generation, also at Watts Bar, cost TVA more than $6 billion over four decades of starts and stops during its construction.

Bloomberg: Americans Have Never Been So Sure About Climate Change -- Even Republicans

Maybe it's the pope. Or the freakish year in extreme climate records. It might even be explained by the United Nations climate talks and the bright lights of the presidential election cycle. Whatever the cause, U.S. views on climate change are shifting -- fast.

Three-quarters of Americans now accept the scientific consensus on climate change, the highest level in four years of surveys conducted by the University of Texas at Austin. The biggest shocker is what's happening inside the GOP. In a remarkable turnabout, 59 percent of Republicans now say climate change is happening, up from 47 percent just six months ago.

Inside Climate News: Exxon Sowed Doubt About Climate Science for Decades by Stressing Uncertainty

Exxon wanted scientists who disputed the mainstream science on climate change to oversee Washington's work with the IPCC, the authoritative body that defines the scientific consensus on global warming, documents written by an Exxon lobbyist and one of its scientists show.

The company persuaded the White House to block the reappointment of the IPCC chairman, a World Bank scientist. Exxon's top climate researcher, Brian Flannery, was pushing the White House for a wholesale revision of federal climate science. The company wanted a new strategy to focus on the uncertainties.

"To call ExxonMobil's position out of the mainstream is thus a gross understatement," Michael MacCracken wrote. "To be in opposition to the key scientific findings is rather appalling for such an established and scientific organization."

Climate Central: Here’s What It Will Take for Success at Climate Talks

Scientists agree: we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions drastically in the next decade if we are to avoid the worst ravages of climate change. World governments agree: the way to do that is to forge a global agreement at the climate talks scheduled for this November and December in Paris. Such an agreement would run from 2020 to 2030 and beyond, and encompass all the world’s economies, developing and developed, big and small.

With less than two months until that meeting convenes, major issues remain unresolved. Whether they can be settled in the short time available will determine whether Paris is a success -- and whether the world can measure up to the major tasks ahead.

AutoBlog: Tesla Will Build China's Model 3 in China

Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk says the California-based automaker will produce its Model 3 electric vehicles for the Chinese market in that country. It's all in the name of cutting costs, and prices, of course.

Musk said at China's Tsinghua University that the company will work with a China-based manufacturer to produce the lower-priced sedan within the country, according to reports in both Teslarati and Reuters. No details were provided as to what that production partner might be, but building within China could cut the price of the Model 3 by 30 percent relative to having China-bound Model 3s made in the U.S.