TOO MANY REACTORS AND NOT ENOUGH CARBON REDUCTION
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
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
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.
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
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)
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 …
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
|Date||Location of accident||Description of accident or incident||Dead||Cost
|September 29, 1957||Mayak, Kyshtym, Russia||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 Valley, California, United States||Partial core meltdown at Santa Susana Field Laboratory’s Sodium Reactor Experiment.||0||32|
|October 10, 1957||Sellafield aka Windscale fire, Cumberland, United 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 Falls, Idaho, United 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 Township, Michigan, United 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 reactor, Vaud, Switzerland||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 Oblast, Russia||There was reportedly a partial nuclear meltdown in Leningrad nuclear power plant reactor unit 1.|
|December 7, 1975||Greifswald, East 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 Bohunice, Czechoslovakia||Malfunction during fuel replacement. Fuel rod ejected from reactor into the reactor hall by coolant (CO2).||2||4|
|February 22, 1977||Jaslovské Bohunice, Czechoslovakia||Severe corrosion of reactor and release of radioactivity into the plant area, necessitating total decommission||0||1,700||4|
|March 28, 1979||Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, United 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, Alabama, United States||Safety violations, operator error, and design problems force a six-year outage at Browns Ferry Unit 2.||0||110|
|March 9, 1985||Athens, Alabama, United 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, Massachusetts, United States||Recurring equipment problems force emergency shutdown of Boston Edison’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant||0||1,001|
|April 26, 1986||Chernobyl, Chernobyl Raion(Now Ivankiv Raion), Kiev Oblast, Ukraininan SSR, Soviet 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.||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, Pennsylvania, United States||Peach Bottom units 2 and 3 shutdown due to cooling malfunctions and unexplained equipment problems||0||400|
|December 19, 1987||Lycoming, New York, United States||Malfunctions force Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation to shut down Nine Mile Point Unit 1||0||150|
|March 17, 1989||Lusby, Maryland, United 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 Oblast, Russia||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, Connecticut, United States||Leaking valve forces shutdown Millstone Nuclear Power Plant Units 1 and 2, multiple equipment failures found||0||254|
|September 2, 1996||Crystal River, Florida, United States||Balance-of-plant equipment malfunction forces shutdown and extensive repairs at Crystal River Unit 3||0||384|
|September 30, 1999||Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan||Tokaimura nuclear accident killed two workers, and exposed one more to radiation levels above permissible limits.||2||54||4|
|February 16, 2002||Oak Harbor, Ohio, United 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 Prefecture, Japan||Steam explosion at Mihama Nuclear Power Plant kills 4 workers and injures 7 more||4||9||1|
|July 25, 2006||Forsmark, Sweden||An electrical fault at Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant caused one reactor to be shut down||0||100||2|
|March 11, 2011||Fukushima, Japan||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. One man died suddenly while carrying equipment during the clean-up. The plant’s 6th reactor was inactive at the time.||2+||Estimated 1100 – 1900||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|
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.
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.