David Lowry: I just read the transcript of the interview with extreme eco-moderniser, Michael Shellenberger, in Drilled News. He asserts he is an unashamed advocate of nuclear, but it is evident from his own words in the interview, he does not comprehend some basics about nuclear power. Two examples: He asserts the land footprint of nuclear is small. Well, it does depend what you compare it with. By any normal evaluation nuclear power plants, and their associated on-site radioactive waste storage facilities, are very big industrial facilities. But that is not the only space you need for nuclear power. Uranium mines in the U.S. southwest have despoiled hundreds of square miles of the sacred lands of Indigenous Amerindians. Shellenberger seems to completely overlook this massive land abuse, which still suffers from barely any radioactive remediation. The newly-published [by the non-profit Nuclear Free Future Foundation – Ed.] Uranium Atlas, for which I did some research, gives full data. Second, Shellenberger just assumes nuclear is low-carbon. But proper life cycle studies — such as a very detailed [2009 study by Mark Jacobson of Stanford University in the journal Energy & Environmental Science – Ed.]* * — show its use is 10 to 18 times an emitter of carbon compared to the equivalent generation of power via renewables. He seems to cherry pick his sources to reinforce his arguments. That is poor scholarship. In a newly-completed chapter of the forthcoming book “100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything,” titled “Evaluation of Nuclear Power as a Proposed Solution to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security,” Dr. Jacobson argues cogently, “There is no such thing as a zero- or close-to-zero emission nuclear power plant. Even existing plants emit due to the continuous mining and refining of uranium needed for the plant. However, all plants also emit 4.4 g-CO2e/kWh from the water vapor and heat they release. This contrasts with solar panels and wind turbines, which reduce heat or water vapor fluxes to the air by about 2.2 g-CO2e/kWh for a net difference from this factor alone of 6.6 g-CO2e/kWh…[O]verall emissions from new nuclear are 78 to178g of CO2/kWH, not close to 0.”
Drilled News 31st July 2020 read more »
The four types of climate denier, and why you should ignore them all: A new book, described as “deeply and fatally flawed” by an expert reviewer, recently reached the top of Amazon’s bestseller list for environmental science and made it into a weekly top 10 list for all nonfiction titles. How did this happen? Because, as Brendan Behan put it, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. In an article promoting his book, Michael Shellenberger – with jaw-dropping hubris – apologises on behalf of all environmentalists for the “climate scare we created over the last 30 years”. Shellenberger was named a hero of the environment by Time magazine in 2008 and is a loud advocate of nuclear power, but the article was described by six leading scientists as “cherry-picking”, “misleading” and containing “outright falsehoods”.
Guardian 30th July 2020 read more »