Connect with us

Energy

Why nuclear power is not the answer to climate change

The Nuclear debate rages on year after year, there is obviously more to the debate than most people hinge their arguments on…

So is this a viable option for reducing carbon emissions , see the full story below.

Published

on

TOO MANY REACTORS AND NOT ENOUGH CARBON REDUCTION

Nuclear Reactor

Studies performed by MIT, Commission on Energy, and International Atomic Energy Agency all agree that approximately 1500 to 2000 new atomic reactors would have to be built to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enough to make a meaningful difference.

There are currently 449 nuclear power stations (approx), If we were running around 2000 reactors in total we would exhaust our main uranium reserves in a few decades. We would then need to mine lower grade uranium, this would itself cause more greenhouse emissions. If the potential 2000 reactors were used to replace the coal stations, we would have a 20% reduction in greenhouse emissions. If used as a new capacity to replace true renewable sources, then our emissions would actually increase.

TOO MUCH MONEY

1500 more reactors would cost trillions of dollars. New reactors going online in the US in the 1980s and 90s cost on average 4 billion dollars each. Reactors to recently come online in Japan in the last few years were in the order of $2000 / KW.

Taking an average larger power plant of 1200MW and an average conservative cost of $1250 / KW, this gives a construction cost of 1.5 billion.

Yearly costs per 1000kg of avoided CO2 emmisions are $68.9 for wind and $132.5 for nuclear power.

TOO MUCH TIME

Construction of 1500 new reactors means that we will need to open a new reactor every 2 weeks beginning today, for the next 60 years. This is impossible as the current nuclear manufacturers are only capable of doing half this amount if they are pushed to their absolute capacity. Climate change cannot wait for Nukes.

TOO MUCH WASTE

Nuclear Waste

Operating another 1500 or more new reactors would create the need for a new Yucca Mountain sized radioactive dump site somewhere in the world every 3 to 4 years. Yucca Mountain has been in progress for almost 20 years and still is at least 10 years from being finished. The state of Nevada has also vigorously opposed the construction of the Yucca facility.

Due to the opposition to radioactive dump sites many countries including the US are attempting to reprocess the nuclear waste, as a means of managing the waste. This is a dangerous technology, linked with increased Leukemia rates amongst children living nearby reprocessing plants as a result of increased radiation being released into the surrounding environment.

TOO LITTLE SAFETY

Abandoned Pool Chernobyl
Abandoned Pool Chernobyl

Accidents have continued to happen regardless of what the nuclear industry tell us. The odds of a major nuclear accident are about 1 in every 10,000 reactor years. With 2000 total reactors we could look forward to a significant accident every 5 or so years.

TOO MUCH PLUTONIUM

Operation of another 1500 nuclear plants would require at least 10-12 new uranium enrichment plants and would result in thousands of tonnes of new plutonium ( each reactor produces about 500 pounds of plutonium per year as a waste product of it’s operation ). We don’t need more plutonium to deal with.

NUCLEAR EMITS CARBON TOO

The process of mining uranium, along with he milling, processing, enrichment, fuel fabrication, and long term radioactive waste storage are all essential components of Nuclear Power generation and along with the construction are all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions.

NUCLEAR IS NOT SUITED FOR A WARMING CLIMATE

Nuclear power does not work well in warming climates. During the 2004 European heat waves many reactors were forced to reduce output and some even shut down due to reduced river levels. The nuclear reactors require huge amounts of water to cool themselves done.

Solar cells may need a wipe down with a damp cloth from time to time if they manage to get a bit of dust build up on them!

NUCLEAR CANNOT REPLACE CARS

Nuclear cannot successfully replace fuel in cars, however solar systems can charge electric or hybrid cars.

So there you have it, Nuclear is not the Saviour of the planet. For an outline of what can be done to save our PaleBluDot, please stay tunned for our future post on what we can do to save our planet.

## Additional information since posting

Ken makes a good point that I had forgot to expand upon

“Nuclear Proliferation is a huge concern and we don’t need any more crazy people, governments or rouge states getting hold of nuclear technology or nuclear weapons material in any form”. Thanks for the comment Ken.

Continue Reading
3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Ken

    February 21, 2008 at 4:13 am

    You forgot proliferation concerns, although it’s implied in point number 6.

  2. Ken

    February 21, 2008 at 7:38 am

    First, I agree that safety is the primary concern, the MIT study says that newer designs are expected to have a 10E5 accident rate. I also agree that the economics are a problem. The report states that this may not be insurmountable.

    Here are some points that need attention:

    “Studies performed by MIT, Commission on Energy, and International Atomic Energy Agency all agree that approximately 1500 to 2000 new atomic reactors would have to be built to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enough to make a meaningful difference.”

    Then what hope do the alternative forms have of doing anything?

    “There are currently 449 nuclear power stations (approx), If we were running around 2000 reactors in total we would exhaust our main uranium reserves in a few decades. We would then need to mine lower grade uranium, this would itself cause more greenhouse emissions. If the potential 2000 reactors were used to replace the coal stations, we would have a 20% reduction in greenhouse emissions. If used as a new capacity to replace true renewable sources, then our emissions would actually increase.”

    This assumes slavish utilization of virgin uranium. It ignores the potential of breeder reactors, either a U238 or Th232 based fuel cycles which would last thousands of years.

    “Construction of 1500 new reactors means that we will need to open a new reactor every 2 weeks beginning today, for the next 60 years. This is impossible as the current nuclear manufacturers are only capable of doing half this amount if they are pushed to their absolute capacity. Climate change cannot wait for Nukes.

    Begs the question of how long it would take to implement the alternatives, Cape Wind won’t be up and running for years either. Also the answer really isn’t nuclear or something else, its nuclear and something else, like conservation, greater efficencies and alternative energy sources. Also, if you look down the list of the 500 plants currently in use, there are a lot that are only rated at 400 MW. These are going to be replace with reactors three times their power in this equation.

    “Due to the opposition to radioactive dump sites many countries including the US are attempting to reprocess the nuclear waste, as a means of managing the waste. This is a dangerous technology, linked with increased Leukemia rates amongst children living nearby reprocessing plants as a result of increased radiation being released into the surrounding environment.”

    Due to opposition by people ill informed of the risk.

    The Sellafield site was used for munitions manufacturing and population mixing during WWII and this is seen as a more likely cause for the up tick than the re-processing plant.

    There are reports that children living around nuclear plants in France have a lower incidence of leukemia (ie British Journal of Cancer (2004) 91, 916-922), I could use this as evidence that the “radiation” given off from nuclear power is protective. One possibility is that they aren’t exposed to as many heterocyclic compounds, mercury or radiation due to lower coal usage in their envrionment. I won’t suggest this because its may be a perversion of the statistics to suit my preconceived notions and the fact that I only read the abstracts. Think about it this way, if the Love Canal community was built next to a nuke plant, it would probably be hard to convince the anti-nuke crowd that the problem wasn’t the radiation leaking from the plant. In similar situations you could imagine that a real killer is ignored because you’re so cock sure that its the bad atom. The conspiracy theorist would say that the Nuke industry payed for the counter studies. Which studies show an increased risk in CL? Just asking for a reference. Chernobyl and Nagasaki in the decades after the war doesn’t count

    “The process of mining uranium, along with he milling, processing, enrichment, fuel fabrication, and long term radioactive waste storage are all essential components of Nuclear Power generation and along with the construction are all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions.”

    The net per KWhr compared between wind, solar and nuclear would allow the reader to determine if this is relatively a lot of a little.

    “Nuclear cannot successfully replace fuel in cars, however solar systems can charge electric or hybrid cars.”

    If you think about this for two seconds, this doesn’t make sense. In addition, ethanol can be made from rubbish but it takes a lot of electricity to produce the SynGas to feed the bioreactors. Driven by anything but coal, this makes sense, take your pick of power source, I don’t care, but this is a way that nuclear could fuel your car. Doing this you could potentially take waste out of landfills and fill your tank at the same time.

    So there you have it, alternatives are not the savior of the planet if Nuclear can’t perform this function.

    Read the MIT report, it says that Nuclear energy has its problems but should be kept on the table as a means of combating global warming along with three other efforts. It also backs up much of what Craig says here, but it gives you the impression that these are problems to be solved, at least in my opinion.

    http://www.mit.edu/afs/athena/org/n/nuclearpower/

  3. Pingback: Nuclear Energy is safe… trust us : PaleBluDot

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Energy

Honest Government Ad, National Energy Guarantee, NEG

The Juice Media have released another of their satirical truths, this time they articulate the Aussie Government’s Energy Policy

Published

on

By

Honest Government Ad NEG

Another ripper of a Video by TheJuiceMedia. These guys absolutely rock!

One of the great things I find with these guys is how quickly they articulate the issue, they are so right on the money every time they post and it is so succinctly done, they are so right here, the price of renewables has dropped dramatically in the last 4-8 years or so. that has really brought renewables into a position of being 100% competitive with traditional fossil fuel burning, polluting power stations, yet they will continue to ram shit down our throats about base-load only being possible via coal or gas. Don’t believe what these a..holes running our government are saying, it’s a load of shit. The Australian National University in Canberra ( one of our most respected Uni’s) have done a major study over a number of years, which clearly shows that Australia has thousands of appropriate locations to house small scale pumped hydro and that we could be completely operating from 100% renewable electricity with 20 years. The small scale pumped hydro they are discussing involves relatively small dams and they are closed systems to avoid major evaporation, so good for the environment and not taxing on land space requirements. Anyway, back to TheJuiceMedia’s video, this one is an absolute ripper, really on the money, hope you enjoy it. For more of their videos, check out their YouTube Channel, TheJuiceMedia on Youtube

Honest Government Ad | NEG (National Energy Guarantee)

Continue Reading

Energy

List of major Nuclear and radiation accidents and incidents

This list really does provide some sobering reading, especially given some of the decommission times required, at 50 years and counting …

Published

on

By

Fukushima

Fukushima, reactor 3 nuclear plant seen burning Image Credit: The Guardian

It has been reported that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he’s “Open to the idea of nuclear power if research emerges showing it stacks up economically.

Well Mr Morrison, we at Palebludot say, “There is more to consider than just the cost. I wonder if Scott Morrison has seen the table below from Wikipedia, which outlines the major Nuclear and radiation accidents and incidents. It makes for interesting reading to say the least.

Just a few points on the list below;

Chernobyl, Although listed below as costing 6.7 Billion, if you look at economic losses, figures of 235 Billion have been expressed and the fact that Chernobyl is still being managed 32 years later, is in itself so incredibly concerning. Along with this the latest containment structure built just recently is designed to last another 100 years and helping to contain any radiation while the decommissioning continues.

Sellafield in The UK is still being decommisioned some 51 years after the fire that brought this plutonium production plant facility’s operations to an early end.

Finally before taking a look at the list below, Id like to point out to all the people who like to claim that the latest generation nuclear plants are safe, Well in the 1950’s we were told nuclear was safe, In the 1960’s we were told nuclear was safe, in the 1970’s we were told nuclear was safe, in the 1980s we were told nuclear is safe, even after Chernobyl and into the 1990’s, we were told nuclear is safe, we are still being told nuclear is safe even after Fukishima, we are being told “The new nuclear reactors are so much safer. Well we at palebludot do not trust those that are telling us “Nuclear is safe” we believe that there is too much money involved, big organisations want control of the power, they don’t want small scale solar, pumped hydro or wind providing power for us, it puts power back somewhat in our hands and this is just one of the reasons the establishment are pushing for nuclear power

THE LIST, makes for sobering reading

Nuclear power plant accidents and incidents
with multiple fatalities and/or more than US$100 million in property damage, 1952-2011
Date Location of accident Description of accident or incident Dead Cost
($US
millions
2006 )
INES
level
[25]
September 29, 1957 MayakKyshtymRussia The Kyshtym disaster was a radiation contamination incident that occurred at Mayak, a Nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Soviet Union. 6
July 26, 1957 Simi ValleyCaliforniaUnited States Partial core meltdown at Santa Susana Field Laboratory’s Sodium Reactor Experiment. 0 32
October 10, 1957 Sellafield aka Windscale fireCumberlandUnited Kingdom A fire at the British atomic bomb project destroyed the core and released an estimated 740 terabecquerels of iodine-131 into the environment. A rudimentary smoke filter constructed over the main outlet chimney successfully prevented a far worse radiation leak and ensured minimal damage. 0 5
January 3, 1961 Idaho FallsIdahoUnited States Explosion at SL-1 prototype at the National Reactor Testing Station. All 3 operators were killed when a control rod was removed too far. 3 22 4
October 5, 1966 Frenchtown Charter TownshipMichiganUnited States Partial core meltdown of the Fermi 1 Reactor at the Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station. No radiation leakage into the environment. 0 132
January 21, 1969 Lucens reactorVaudSwitzerland On January 21, 1969, it suffered a loss-of-coolant accident, leading to a partial core meltdown and massive radioactive contamination of the cavern, which was then sealed. 0 5
1975 Sosnovyi Bor, Leningrad OblastRussia There was reportedly a partial nuclear meltdown in Leningrad nuclear power plant reactor unit 1.
December 7, 1975 GreifswaldEast Germany Electrical error causes fire in the main trough that destroys control lines and five main coolant pumps 0 443 3
January 5, 1976 Jaslovské BohuniceCzechoslovakia Malfunction during fuel replacement. Fuel rod ejected from reactor into the reactor hall by coolant (CO2).[27] 2 4
February 22, 1977 Jaslovské BohuniceCzechoslovakia Severe corrosion of reactor and release of radioactivity into the plant area, necessitating total decommission 0 1,700 4
March 28, 1979 Three Mile IslandPennsylvaniaUnited States Loss of coolant and partial core meltdown due to operator errors. There is a small release of radioactive gases. See also Three Mile Island accident health effects. 0 2,400 5
September 15, 1984 Athens, AlabamaUnited States Safety violations, operator error, and design problems force a six-year outage at Browns Ferry Unit 2. 0 110
March 9, 1985 Athens, AlabamaUnited States Instrumentation systems malfunction during startup, which led to suspension of operations at all three Browns Ferry Units 0 1,830
April 11, 1986 Plymouth, MassachusettsUnited States Recurring equipment problems force emergency shutdown of Boston Edison’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant 0 1,001
April 26, 1986 ChernobylChernobyl Raion(Now Ivankiv Raion), Kiev OblastUkraininan SSRSoviet Union Overheating, steam explosion, fire, and meltdown, necessitating the evacuation of 300,000 people from Chernobyl and dispersing radioactive material across Europe (see Effects of the Chernobyl disaster) 30 direct, 19 not entirely related and 15 minors due to thyroid cancer, as of 2008.[3][28] 6,700 7
May 4, 1986 Hamm-Uentrop, West Germany Experimental THTR-300 reactor releases small amounts of fission products (0.1 GBq Co-60, Cs-137, Pa-233) to surrounding area 0 267
March 31, 1987 Delta, PennsylvaniaUnited States Peach Bottom units 2 and 3 shutdown due to cooling malfunctions and unexplained equipment problems 0 400
December 19, 1987 Lycoming, New YorkUnited States Malfunctions force Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation to shut down Nine Mile Point Unit 1 0 150
March 17, 1989 Lusby, MarylandUnited States Inspections at Calvert Cliff Units 1 and 2 reveal cracks at pressurized heater sleeves, forcing extended shutdowns 0 120
March 1992 Sosnovyi Bor, Leningrad OblastRussia An accident at the Sosnovy Bor nuclear plant leaked radioactive gases and iodine into the air through a ruptured fuel channel.
February 20, 1996 Waterford, ConnecticutUnited States Leaking valve forces shutdown Millstone Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2, multiple equipment failures found 0 254
September 2, 1996 Crystal River, FloridaUnited States Balance-of-plant equipment malfunction forces shutdown and extensive repairs at Crystal River Unit 3 0 384
September 30, 1999 Ibaraki PrefectureJapan Tokaimura nuclear accident killed two workers, and exposed one more to radiation levels above permissible limits. 2 54 4
February 16, 2002 Oak Harbor, OhioUnited States Severe corrosion of control rod forces 24-month outage of Davis-Besse reactor 0 143 3
April 10, 2003 Paks, Hungary Collapse of fuel rods at unit 2 during its corrosion cleaning led to leakage of radioactive gases. It remained inactive for 18 months. 0 3
August 9, 2004 Fukui PrefectureJapan Steam explosion at Mihama Nuclear Power Plant kills 4 workers and injures 7 more 4 9 1
July 25, 2006 ForsmarkSweden An electrical fault at Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant caused one reactor to be shut down 0 100 2
March 11, 2011 FukushimaJapan A tsunami flooded and damaged the plant’s 5 active reactors, drowning two workers. Loss of backup electrical power led to overheating, meltdowns, and evacuations.[29] One man died suddenly while carrying equipment during the clean-up.[30] The plant’s 6th reactor was inactive at the time. 2+ Estimated 1100 – 1900[31] 7
12 September 2011 Marcoule, France One person was killed and four injured, one seriously, in a blast at the Marcoule Nuclear Site. The explosion took place in a furnace used to melt metallic waste. 1
Continue Reading

Energy

The Size of the Universe

See just how small our Planet really is in this big fat universe of ours. See this interesting comparison video at PaleBluDot.com.

Published

on

By

Size of the universe

This is just another in a line of “We are not that big in the whole scheme of things”. I wouldnt like to be an early explorer trying to circumnavigate some of these huge planets or stars.

Continue Reading

Trending