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Nuclear myopia — Promoting nuclear power as a solution to climate change is short-sighted

Contrary to public perception, nuclear power is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions when considering the amount of fossil fuels required for mining, uranium enrichment, building and decommissioning of power plants, and processing and storing radioactive waste. In fact, nuclear power emits twice as much carbon as solar photovoltaics and six times as much as onshore wind power, according to the nonprofit organization Beyond Nuclear.

If the potentially catastrophic risks to nuclear power plants posed by political instability and military conflict were not apparent prior to Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, they are abundantly clear now.

Bright future for clean energy must be holistic and long-term

Nuclear myopia — Beyond Nuclear International Promoting nuclear power as a solution to climate change is short-sighted
By Kim Friedman
We must think holistically about what constitutes “clean energy” when we consider climate change investments and our energy future. President Biden’s recent announcement of his $6 billion effort to save “distressed” nuclear (fission) power plants is misguided and short-sighted.

Although reducing carbon emissions is critical to slowing the pace of climate change, it must not be our only litmus test for moving toward a “clean” energy future, similarly to how our overall health cannot be measured solely by our blood pressure or weight.

In the case of nuclear power, we must consider its high cost compared to renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. According to Climate Nexus, the minimum cost per megawatt hour to build a new nuclear plant is almost 3 times higher than utility-scale solar ($112 vs. $46, respectively) and almost 4 times higher than wind power ($122 vs. $30, respectively). That’s like paying $70,000 for a car when you could purchase an equivalent car, in terms of its overall value, for one-third or one-quarter of the cost.

There are also numerous environmental and community-based reasons to wean ourselves off of nuclear power. Intercontinental Cry, a non-profit newsroom that produces public-interest journalism centered on Indigenous Peoples, states that 75 percent of uranium mining worldwide occurs on Indigenous land, including in the United States. Furthermore, unlike solar and wind power, uranium reserves are not a renewable resource; eventually, we will run out of uranium.

We have spent over half a century trying to find a suitable storage option for spent fuel rods and have failed miserably. Consequently, these rods, which remain radioactive for as long as 10,000 years, are generally stored on site at active or shuttered plants all over this country. They are sitting ducks for domestic or international terrorists, and they pose a serious potential threat to surrounding communities’ drinking water supplies if radioactive water leaks and makes its way into the ground.

Contrary to public perception, nuclear power is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions when considering the amount of fossil fuels required for mining, uranium enrichment, building and decommissioning of power plants, and processing and storing radioactive waste. In fact, nuclear power emits twice as much carbon as solar photovoltaics and six times as much as onshore wind power, according to the nonprofit organization Beyond Nuclear. …………………… more https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2022/07/10/nuclear-myopia/

July 11, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change

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