2013-08-15

Master of Disaster?
Imagine... Nuclear Power proves to be a Sustainable Energy Source


-- a _kt75 | reprint compilation


 


Intro Nuclear Power? Today considered risky, dirty, dangerous - in other words: nuclear power per se cannot be considered sustainable. But imagine the following scenery: i) the danger of nuclear accidents is minimised and if an accident happens, the consequences can be handled in a reasonable way; ii) the issue of nuclear waste is solved, i.e. life cycle of the raw materials (uranium) is closed. - Would, under the above conditions, nuclear power still be considered a non-sustainable energy alternative? A number of articles reflected on this topic and come to the following conclusions:

Paper 1: Nuclear Power is the most practical, sustainable, and environmentally friendly energy generation option available to the United States in the near future. It is “green,”—it does not endanger the environment. It is sustainable—enough fuel to meet U.S. needs for well over a hundred years is readily available. With further technical developments, nuclear power can become “renewable.” It is safe. Yet for many the idea of Nuclear Power is politically unsavory and upsetting—it is associated with negative events and disturbing images: the incidents at Chernobyl and Three-Mile-Island and the terror of nuclear warfare. In this narrative, we define the energy problems that the U.S. currently faces, carry out an analysis of options, and present the conclusion that nuclear power must play a major role in meeting U.S. energy needs for at least the next half century. Finally, we provide a counterpoint to common
objections raised in opposition to the use of Nuclear Power. Read on...

Paper 2: This paper provides a review and analysis of the challenges that nuclear power must overcome in order to be considered sustainable. The results make it clear that not only do innovative technical solutions need to be generated for the fundamental inherent environmental burdens of nuclear energy technology, but the nuclear industry must also address difficult issues of equity both in the present and for future generations. The results show that if the concept of just sustainability is applied to the nuclear energy sector a global large-scale sustainable nuclear energy system to replace fossil fuel combustion requires the following: (i) a radical improvement in greenhouse gas emissions intensity by improved technology and efficiency through the entire life cycle to prevent energy cannibalism during rapid growth; (ii) the elimination of nuclear insecurity to reduce the risks associated with nuclear power so that the free market can indemnify it without substantial public nuclear energy insurance subsidies; (iii) the elimination of radioactive waste at the end of life and minimization of environmental impact during mining and operations; and (iv) the nuclear industry must regain public trust or face obsolescence as a swarm of renewable energy technologies quickly improve both technical and economic
performance. Read on..., read more...