At this time of catastrophic climate destabilization caused by our excessive use of fossil fuels, governments around the world are looking at nuclear power as a way of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Besides the fact that uranium is a fossil fuel, the idea that nuclear plants generate carbon-free electricity is a preposterous public relations lie when one considers the entire life-cycle of nuclear reactors. In truth, virtually every part of the process requires the burning of vast amounts of fossil fuels — from the mining of radioactive ore to the transportation, milling, and enrichment of the ore into a substance called yellowcake, a high-grade uranium powder. The next energy intensive step is to manufacture fuel-rods using ceramic yellowcake pellets. Once manufactured, these highly radioactive fuel rods are then transported to our nation’s 98 atomic reactors. America’s uranium processing and fuel-rod assembly plants are all powered by our country’s electric-grid, which is approximately 64 percent fossil-fuel dependent. Additionally, all of our nation’s commercially operating nuclear plants are grid tied. They are connected to the grid to export their generated electricity as well as use it during both scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns, startups, and operations. Furthermore, a tremendous amount of greenhouse gasses are emitted during both the construction and decommissioning of nuclear plants along with the guarding of nuclear fuel and storage of spent fuel rods. In a 2008 study called “Valuing the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Nuclear Power: A Critical Survey,” the author, Dr. Benjamin K. Sovacool, professor of Energy Policy at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, analyzed more than 100 prior studies to arrive at a best estimate of the emissions from nuclear plants. His research found that the mean value of carbon emissions over the lifetime of a nuclear reactor is 66 grams per kilowatt-hour of electricity. So that’s 66 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour times 24 hours a day, multiplied by 365 days a year, times a reactor’s theoretical working lifespan of 40 years which comes out to a total of 23,126,400 grams of carbon dioxide that’s being discharged into our planet’s atmosphere during a reactor’s lifetime.
Santa Barbara Independent 9th March 2020 read more »
Only 26% of people aged 18-24 understand that nuclear power is a low carbon source of electricity, compared with 76% for renewables such as wind and solar, according to a new poll by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). Older people are more likely to say that nuclear power is low carbon. The poll found the level of understanding rising from 47% among 35 to 44-year olds to 61% among 65 to 74-year olds, although it remains well below levels seen for renewables. Other findings of the poll show that women are only half as likely as men to favour nuclear power, with 29% supporting it compared with 56% of men.
Energy Live News 9th March 2020 read more »