Thursday, 21 February 2013

Nuclear: Less CO2 than solar, hydro, biomass

Nuclear: Less CO2 than solar, hydro, biomass: "Nobel physicist Burton Richter points out that nuclear power is well down the list of CO2 emitters, below biomass, solar and hydro, and on a par with wind and geothermal."
"Alex Cannara, an independent energy and environment analyst based in Menlo Park, Calif, wrote an articulate comment after a recent Bloomberg story about nuclear power, in which he explains the spirit and to a large extent the letter of what Richter’s presentation shows. Bloomberg had written that nuclear power is all but finished in Europe, quoting a Paris-based consultant saying that nuclear is “too capital intensive, too time-consuming and simply too risky.” Here’s Cannara’s rebuttal:
Hope they didn’t pay this ‘consultant’ much for: “Nuclear is too capital intensive, too time-consuming and simply too risky.”
Germany thinks it’s ok to emit tens of mega-tons more of CO2 because they like coal & ligniite better than nuclear? Remind us how many Germans have died from nuclear-power radiation. What about Americans? English? French? Oh yes, all zero.
Whoever wrote the advice above seems ok with the deaths and disease from combustion, mining, etc. — all things needed for windmills, by the way.
So when we see German coal & gas burning costing ~180 years of human life per TW-hour, we should say that’s ok, despite German nuclear costing less than 1/6 those years of life? Really?
Remember, making 1 large Siemens windmill requires processing about 2000 tons of materials via fossil fuels — steel needs coal and iron ore, etc. Concrete needs kilned limestone & mined/crushed aggregate., etc. So the emissioins burden of wind is higher than nuclear. And we’re not even talking about the vast tracts of land/sea taken for wind. Nor are we talking about species threats, maintenance emissions, worker dangers, and even maritime dangers for offshore windmills.
And here we thought the Germans the smartest — must have been some PR, or the beer. ;]
Cannara’s valid points hold up even more when you take into account the alternative nuclear technologies that could replace the conventional variety that has been operating for 50 some years. Reactor designs like molten salt, pebble beds and fast reactors augur a number of advantages including the conversion of nuclear “waste” into fuel, the reduction of long lived dangerous waste, failsafe meltdown-proof opeations and others. So could the use of thorium fuel instead of uranium. And the dream of fusion power is achievable."

No comments:

Post a Comment