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Why Nuclear Power cannot be a Major Energy Source - (Fleming) PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 July 2006 16:12
David Fleming has written a clear 12 page article on why Nuclear power can't meet our energy needs. Its focussed on the lack of any feasible fuel to do so over any reasonable volume / time period. He also gives some useful material on how the nuclear fuel cycle works, and the various wastes produced at different parts of the cycle. You can read the whole article, a summary follows, each statement is backed up and referenced in the article.
  1. Nuclear energy could sustain its present minor contribution of some 21/2percent of global final energy demand for about 75 years, but only by postponing indefinitely the expenditure of energy that would be needed to deal with its waste.
  2. Each stage in the nuclear life-cycle, other than fission itself, produces carbon dioxide. The depletion problem facing nuclear power is as pressing as the depletion problem facing oil and gas.
  3. The depletion of uranium becomes apparent when nuclear power is considered as a major source of energy. For instance, if required to provide all the electricity used worldwide – while clearing up the new waste it produced – it could (notionally) do so for about six years before it ran out of usable rich uranium ore. and thorium reactors, do not offer solutions in the short/medium term.
  4. The overall climate impact of the nuclear industry, including its use of halogenated compounds with a global warming potential many times that of carbon dioxide, needs to be researched urgently.
  5. The option that a nation such as the United Kingdom has of building and fuelling a nuclear energy system on a substantial and useful scale is removed if many other nations attempt to do the same thing.
  6. The response must be to develop a programme of “Lean Energy”. Lean Energy consists of: (1) energy conservation and efficiency; (2) structural change to build local energy systems; and (3) renewable energy; all within (4) a framework, such as tradable energy quotas (TEQs), leading to deep reductions in energy demand.
  7. That response should be developed at all speed, free of the false promise and distraction of nuclear energy.