Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nuclear - Part 1


The figure above is of a modern efficient nuclear power plant.

It would seem that all the major forms of renewable energy that are proposed by environmental groups and activists are either very expensive and therefore aren’t cost effective, are limited in their location and aren’t capable of providing reliable base load power generation. This leaves just one real possibility for the generation of large amounts of electricity with minimal greenhouse impact and that is –Nuclear.



However, environmental groups such as “Greenpeace” and political parties such as “The Greens” and the “Australian Labor Party” won’t even entertain the thought of discussing it ‘s introduction into this and many other countries. Choosing instead to run “scare campaigns” when the subject is raisedby others raising the spectre of Chernobyl (seen above) revisited . After that disaster many myths were formed by the environmental movement with regards to Nuclear power, and Chernobyl in particular. The facts about Chernobyl can be read here and you will find they are nothing like the hype. Typical of these scare campaigns run by organisations like Greenpeace are the following claims:

It is an unacceptable risk to the environment and to humanity.

Nuclear power already delivers less energy globally than renewable energy, and the share will continue to decrease in the coming years.

Despite what the nuclear industry tells us,
building enough nuclear power stations to make a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would cost trillions of dollars, create tens of thousands of tons of lethal high-level radioactive waste, contribute to further proliferation of nuclear weapons materials, and result in a Chernobyl-scale accident once every decade.

The risks from nuclear energy are real, inherent and long-lasting.

Safety:

No reactor in the world is inherently safe. All operational reactors have inherent safety flaws, which cannot be eliminated by safety upgrading. Highly radioactive spent fuel requires constant cooling. If this fails, it could lead to a catastrophic release of radioactivity. They are also highly vulnerable to deliberate acts of sabotage, including terrorist attack.

Waste:

From the moment uranium is mined nuclear waste on a massive scale is produced. There is no secure, risk free way to store nuclear waste. No country in the world has a solution for
high-level waste that stays radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. The least damaging option at this current time is for waste to be stored above ground, in dry storage at the site of origin, but this option also presents major challenges and the threats.

Weapons proliferation:

The possession of nuclear weapons by the US, Russia, France, the UK and China has encouraged the further proliferation of nuclear technology and materials. Every state that has a nuclear power capability, has the means to obtain nuclear material usable in a nuclear weapon. Basically this means that the 44 nuclear power states could become 44 nuclear
weapons states.
Many nations that have active commercial nuclear power programs, began their research with two objectives – electricity generation and the option to develop nuclear weapons.
Also nuclear programs based on reprocessing plutonium from spent fuel have dramatically increased the risk of proliferation as the creation of more plutonium, means more nuclear waste which in turn means more materials available for the creation of dirty bombs.

So like Greenpeace's campaign on Climate Change, lots of unsubstantiated scares and use of “weasel” words like “could”, “might”, etc.

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