Anti-nuclear Articles

 What can we do to dispell the misinformation generated by these people? My comments are in italics

Power plants leave me nukewarm

Article from: "The Advertiser"

Let us therefore logically examine the evidence against nuclear power.

1. Cost

Nuclear power has a long history of ever-increasing costs. Recently a Wall Street analyst predicted that because of the "the exorbitant unpredictable construction costs plus the global recession, many utility companies will be pressing the pause button on new nuclear plants".

To exemplify these concerns, the new European Pressurised Reactor, EPR, flagship of the industry, was mooted as the first new-generation reactor which would be built within budget and on time.

But the two French EPRs now under construction in Finland and France are years behind schedule, massively over budget and have serious technical flaws.

When cost is per megawatt, over the life of a nuclear power plant, including cradle to grave costs, it is the least expensive way to produce electricity today.

2. CO2

A nuclear reactor itself produces negligible quantities of CO2 but the massive industrial infrastructure - mining, milling, uranium enrichment, reactor construction and decommissioning, plus storage and transportation of radioactive waste, emits significant quantities of greenhouse gases.

Estimating all CO2 produced cradle to grave, per Megawatt produced, nuclear power produces much less than natural gas and equivalent to wind and solar.

3. Cheap uranium energy

As Professor Brook states, the quantity of uranium in the Earth's crust is vast but the energy required to extract it is problematic because as availability of high-grade ore decreases, the energy derived from fossil fuel to produce 1kg of uranium from ore increases exponentially. At a certain grade, net energy from a uranium resource is not possible and it reverts from an energy source to an energy sink.

That critical grade (called the energy cliff) is at about 100g uranium per tonne rock.

Supply and demand, as with fossil fuels, as demand increases more effort in finding/retrieving Uranium will result in increased supply.


4. Waste

Every year, a nuclear reactor produces an amount of radioactivity equivalent to one thousand Hiroshima bombs. The present nuclear fleet worldwide adds about 370,000 Hiroshima bomb equivalents of radioactivity to the existing inventory annually.

At present, the radioactive waste is stored in temporary and deteriorating facilities awaiting final safe storage in geologic repositories for 500,000 years. Such a facility is non-existent.

The economic and health costs of this radioactive debt will be immense.

Long-term costs of radioactive waste storage are inestimable, as are societal and medical costs of epidemics of cancer, leukaemia and genetic diseases arising as thousands of tonnes of leaking waste contaminate the global food chain.

Professor Brook misleads when he states that radioactive waste can be "burned" as energy in fast reactors.

Fast reactors are four times more expensive than conventional nuclear reactors, 40 have been constructed and failed and only one uranium-fuelled fast reactor operates in Russia.

If the waste problem were so simple and easy to solve, why hasn't it happened until today?

Nuclear power plants release less radioactivity to the environment than coal. Fast reactors can use the long lived radioactive elements, leaving relatively short lived waste. No valid studies have linked nuclear plants to increased cancer rates, in fact studies of nuclear plant workers have shown a lower than average incidence of cancer.

Helen Caldicott is co- founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility and author of Nuclear Power is Not the Answer to Global Warming.

This article was co-authored by Jan Willem Storm van Leewen, senior scientist at Ceedata and secretary of Dutch Club of Rome.

I find it ironic that these people accuse others of misleading when that is their stock and trade!



1 Reply

  • You gotta love Helen Caldicott. I debated her once on a public affairs talk show. She trotted out the same stuff as she does here, including the nonsense about the thousand Hiroshima bombs.

    The debate was me and Duncan Hawthorne (CEO of Bruce Power) vs. Caldicott and a Greenpeace guy. All through the debate, Caldicott kept saying “read my book!” Finally Hawthorne got fed up, and said “Of all the books in the world, yours is the very last I’d read. It contains no facts.” She said “what??” so he repeated it. It was hilarious.

    The good news is, most people can tell that she and Storm van Leewen are over the top and full of hyperbole.


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