SV: [OPE] Power
From: Martin Kragh (Martin.Kragh@hhs.se)
Date: Fri Feb 15 2008 - 10:56:24 EST
> I put nuclear first, because it is the only currently proven and viable alternative
> for large scale 24/7 electricity generation to coal and oil.
Jerry has pointed to some of the most obvious problems of nuclear technology, but there are vast amounts of "hidden costs" that need to be emphasized as well.
Firstly, nuclear power plants do not procure any CO2 in use per se, but the production, transport and refinement of uranium do. Secondly, the threat to our environment does not lie in the CO2 as such, it is the heating up of the biosphere which is the problem. And a nuclear power plant is in this sense less effective than even coal, since only about a third of its energy is put to use - the rest is wasted and absorbed in the nature. This represents an enormous waste. Further, uranium and plants need to be constantly cooled by water, this applies to depleted uranium in storage as well, thus a problem that will last for thousand of years even if we would stop nuclear energy right now. Huge amounts of water is thus being heated, and thrown back into the oceans 24/7. In the light of environmental changes, this can pose extreme threats in the future, if not already now.
In France, 37 plants are located near rivers and lakes. During the warm summers of 2003, 2004 and 2006 these got so heated up, that many reactors had to shut down or downgrade their production. At other plants, the shortage of water in the lakes also made the "petering out" of radioactive fuel insufficient, and the levels regulating this ratio had to be changed, thus leading to even higher heating up of the water temperature than what should be allowed in the first place. In Spain, they were made to shut down the reactor procuring 20 % of the country's supply when the water temperature became to high.
Considering that nuclear energy in fact supplies only a fraction of the global supply of energy, its costs are unproportianally large. The "Sustainable Development Commission" which reported to the British government last year showed that a doubling of the amount of nuclear plants would only lead to a decrease of 8 % in CO2.
Further, German medical reports have shown that families living within a distance of 5 kilometers from a plants faced a 60 % higher risk for their children to develop cancer. The risk for leukemia increased 117 %.
Considering the progress made in wind and solar energy, and the enormous over supply of energy in the West, what is all this nuclear capacity good for? The costs and risks (nuclear weapons threat not counted) are way too high. The threat posed by nuclear technology needs to be more discussed, scrutinized and critisized.
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: Fri Feb 29 2008 - 00:00:03 EST