nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Uranium prices and the true financial and climate costs of the Megatons to megawatts program

the Russian price the Americans paid for fuel from bombs bears no relationship to the actual costs of producing it, not only in money, but in greenhouse CO2 pumped into the atmosphere.

Megatons to Megawatts’: Prices and true costs of nuclear energy, SEP 1, 2021 KELVIN S. RODOLFO, Rappler.com

Clearly, the uranium market is not a free one in any sense of the word, and never will be’The following is the 13th in a series of excerpts from Kelvin Rodolfo’s ongoing book project “Tilting at the Monster of Morong: Forays Against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and Global Nuclear Energy.”
Promoters of nuclear power say it’s “cheap.” If you want to invest in it, however, look at how fickle uranium prices have been. Over time, they have varied by more than eight times!

Clearly, the uranium market is not a free one in any sense of the word, and never will be’The following is the 13th in a series of excerpts from Kelvin Rodolfo’s ongoing book project “Tilting at the Monster of Morong: Forays Against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and Global Nuclear Energy.”
Promoters of nuclear power say it’s “cheap.” If you want to invest in it, however, look at how fickle uranium prices have been. Over time, they have varied by more than eight times!

Besides satisfying Russia’s urgent needed for cash, selling this cheap Megatons to Megawatts fuel was a means to two ends. The first is much-extolled: to shrink the huge global stockpiles of nuclear weaponry. But has the project really made us safer?


All the world’s nuclear weapons have declined from as many as 70,300 in 1986 to about 13,890 in early-2019. The reduction happened mostly during the 1990s. But today’s weapons are much more lethal; the nuclear countries, instead of planning to disarm, are retaining large arsenals, making new weapons, and increasing their use in geopolitics.

The second, central role of Megatons to Megawatts was to keep nuclear power financially affordable, so the power industry would continue to use it. Now that the Russian leadership is better-off financially, it is less eager to trade bombs for electricity, and the jittery global realpolitik may well also direct more uranium away from fuel and back to weapons once again.

Finally, and most importantly: what did the reactor uranium made from old Soviet warheads really cost in treasure, and in greenhouse CO2? We know the market price of this new fuel, but what were the true costs of its manufacture, from its mining, milling, enrichment to weapons grade, then its dilution back down into reactor fuel?

During the mad rush to gain nuclear equality with the US, the Russians spared no expense. Their oldest weapons contained uranium that had been enriched with technologies that used about 40 to 60 times more electricity for every kilo of highly-enriched uranium than modern centrifuges do. And more energy, money, and CO2 emissions were used to dilute that warhead uranium back.

Finally, and most importantly: what did the reactor uranium made from old Soviet warheads really cost in treasure, and in greenhouse CO2? We know the market price of this new fuel, but what were the true costs of its manufacture, from its mining, milling, enrichment to weapons grade, then its dilution back down into reactor fuel?

During the mad rush to gain nuclear equality with the US, the Russians spared no expense. Their oldest weapons contained uranium that had been enriched with technologies that used about 40 to 60 times more electricity for every kilo of highly-enriched uranium than modern centrifuges do. And more energy, money, and CO2 emissions were used to dilute that warhead uranium back down to reactor grade, for which work the Russians eventually received $8 billion.In short, the Russian price the Americans paid for fuel from bombs bears no relationship to the actual costs of producing it, not only in money, but in greenhouse CO2 pumped into the atmosphere. A later Foray will evaluate the true costs in greenhouse CO2 for making nuclear fuel. On top of  whatever values we arrive at, we must recognize that significant but forever unknowable amounts were generated by Megatons to Megawatts.

Our next Foray is about the intricate entanglement between nuclear weapons and nuclear power. – Rappler.com  https://www.rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/opinion-megatons-megawatts-prices-true-costs-nuclear-energy

September 2, 2021 - Posted by | business and costs, Uranium, USA, weapons and war

1 Comment »

  1. The uranium tailings pile north of Moab, Utah leached 25,000 gallons of radioactive and heavy metals into the CO River each day. $900 million to cleanup and 17 years. A 55 car train/5 days a week travels 35 miles north 52 weeks a year.

    Comment by Bobby Arbuckle | September 3, 2021 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: