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Nuclear power – a way to stop other, faster, and cheaper, climate solutions

Electric Auke: ‘Don’t use nuclear power to stymie short-term solutions’
Every other week we take a look with sustainability expert Auke Hoekstra at what catches his eye about the preservation of our earth

9 April 2021, Innovation origins, MILAN LENTERS  If it were up to the Dutch Forum for Democracy party, Brabant would get a nuclear power plant. Eric de Bie, a provincial executive member, argued for this last week. Even though a study commissioned by the province from the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and the Nuclear Research Consultancy Group (NRG) shows that nuclear power is currently more expensive than green power. Still, FvD wants to go for nuclear power because of the lack of space. Far more space with solar panels and windmills would be required to generate the same amount of energy as from a nuclear power plant.

What does Auke think about this? Well, he considers building a nuclear power plant as a form of procrastination. “In the short term, a nuclear power plant will not solve the problem we have of too many CO2 emissions. The sooner we emit less CO2, the better. It’s just procrastination. All the extra CO2 that goes into the air in the time that it takes to build it needs to be removed again. Then any efforts into reducing all of that have to go even faster. Which invariably leads to extra costs, and techniques for filtering CO2 from the air are expensive. While you can already reduce CO2 emissions with the use of wind turbines.”

Moreover, the story that FvD is now bandying about is incomplete. The honest story would be quite different, according to Auke. “The potential for misuse cannot be ruled out. In any case, I am not comfortable with it. Terrorists could instigate a meltdown. Or countries that suddenly acquire a dictatorial regime can flout rules and use that knowledge to develop nuclear weapons,” Auke explains.

Higher energy bills as a result of nuclear power
In addition to those concerns, there are also a number of practical issues that FvD is now overlooking, Auke argues. “Building a nuclear power plant takes a long time and it often turns out to be much more expensive than stated in the original tender. In actual practice, it regularly happens that the construction is aborted. The storage of nuclear waste is also a huge problem. If we are going to go for nuclear power plants, let’s get this sorted out once and for all. Do they already have a storage site in mind? I don’t think so, because nobody wants one. Actually, FvD says they don’t want to build ugly windmills, but they forget to mention that our energy will become more expensive.”

Auke shrugs. “In fact, the actual question is: How much extra are we willing to pay in order not to have to look at a windmill? Quite a logical question and they have a point. Those things are hideous. I wouldn’t want one in my backyard either.”

But he quickly comes up with a solution for the question concerning space: “What if we put all those windmills out to sea? Of course, that’s already happening more and more. What’s more, we could install the solar panels on sunny fields vertically so that crops can be grown in between, for example. Mixed land use, that’s another way to use space differently.”………….

April 10, 2021 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change

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