Engineering professor shows the flaws in pro nuclear film Pandora’s promise
He argues that nuclear power’s primary drawback — …. is that the amount of energy it requires is too high, from construction costs to waste disposal to the high volumes of water it requires. Kreith says we can’t afford to wait two decades — we need to accelerate the move to renewable energy before we run out of fossil fuels
the idea of nuclear solving our energy problems is “ridiculous” because the types of reactors that would be needed haven’t even been invented yet
CU prof: Don’t buy the promise of nuclear energy Pandora’s Promise is not realistic Boulder Weekly By Jefferson Dodge 26 Dec 13, A retired University of Colorado mechanical engineering professor is challenging a new documentary that espouses the virtues of nuclear power…….Kreith argues that the pro-nuclear stance outlined in Pandora’s Promise is not realistic, given that the technology needed to make it a viable source of energy is decades away. He says society should begin an aggressive transition to renewables like solar and wind now — while we still have the surplus energy needed to make that shift.
Kreith presented his views to a packed auditorium in CU’s Engineering Center on Dec. 12, showing clips from the film and countering its claims with his own charts and graphs. His central argument revolves a concept known as “energy return on energy investment,” or EROI, which compares the amount of energy that a given system, like a nuclear power plant, produces during its lifetime against the amount of energy that needs to be expended in its production. Dividing the amount of energy produced by the amount expended, both directly and indirectly, Kreith translates the EROI into a number.
He argues that nuclear power’s primary drawback — at least until the technology can be further developed over the next 20 years — is that the amount of energy it requires is too high, from construction costs to waste disposal to the high volumes of water it requires. Kreith says we can’t afford to wait two decades — we need to accelerate the move to renewable energy before we run out of fossil fuels, which represent our dwindling energy buffer that can’t be replaced……
He adds that the idea of nuclear solving our energy problems is “ridiculous” because the types of reactors that would be needed haven’t even been invented yet……..
the EROI for wind and solar make significantly more sense than nuclear, in part because the cost of those systems is falling, and the upfront construction capital is paid off more quickly.
Kreith displayed maps showing wind turbines and solar panels placed in optimal places around the country, where they could generate 83 percent of the nation’s electricity needs, without using water. Then he showed a map of the United States covered in red dots, each one representing two 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors, demonstrating what we would need to generate just 25 percent of our energy needs using nuclear…….
some proponents of nuclear power claim that “fast breeder” reactors — such as those using liquid metal as the coolant instead of water — could become an alternative to conventional nuclear reactors because they would be cheap, safe and produce much less nuclear waste. Kreith argues, however, that no such reactor exists, although the United States, France and Russia have all tried this technology and abandoned it…
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