Re: nuclear counterfactuals are irrelevant
"The amount of money being poured into "renewables" would make a VERY big hole in the carbon problem if it had gone into molten salt nuclear reactor R&D instead (and then building MSRs)"
Renewables have reduced carbon burning. Obviously, when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining, fewer tons of fossil fuel are shoveled into thermal plants. The percentage of electricity generation by coal has gone down, the percentage of electricity generated by renewables has gone up. In the USA gas plants still generate the majority of electricity, But since renewables are by far the majority of new generation, gas will drop too. Yeah yeah we all know renewables are intermittent, and gas plants continue to step in when renewables aren't generating. But renewables plus storage are becoming more popular, so the gas plants will fire up less.
It's no use crying over spilt milk "we could have built nuclear like crazy and it would have (somehow) got cheap and we would have no worryies about intermittency." It didn't happen! In the world we live in, new nuclear produces expensive electricity 24 hours a day, and for much of that time it's undercut by renewables. It's not surprising electric utilities aren't interested. Nuscale is now saying it will make hydrogen at times when its electricity isn't wanted, which raises the question why not plug some electrolyzers into the renewable grid to intermittently make hydrogen, without the expensive nuclear plant.