Trail of Nuclear Tears, Exposong Nuclear’s Horrid Truths (Part one) OpEd News.com June 18, 2007 - “……………………………There is no bigger myth within the nuclear energy than their claim that nuclear energy and commercial reactors are and environmentally friendly CO2 source of electricity. From the very beginning of the uranium fuel cycle, the massive creation of and dumping of CO2 into our environment begins, as well as a trail of far deadly contaminants.
First, you have to get the uranium out of the ground…uranium mining is very equipment intensive, and the large pieces of equipment use MASSIVE amounts of fossil fuels. Further, it takes tons and tons of of ore containing trace amounts of uranium to get enough actual raw uranium to be of any use. This means said materials have to be carted to processing plants…again, said transporting of such vast quantities of these raw start up materials burn up vast amounts of carbon based fuels, adding to nuclear CO2 contributions to Global Warming.
Once the materials have been mined, they then must be milled, or crushed. These milling operations are usually fairly close to the mines. Once the materials are crushed, various impurities are removed (creating vast amounts of waste), and the end product of this segment of the processing creates what is known as yellowcake. This yellow cake is then packaged into 55 gallon drums, and is ready…TO BE SHIPPED AGAIN, thus using even more fossil fuels………Depending on the country, and enrichment means to be used, the uranium trioxide goes through even more processing at a conversion plant……At this point, the materials are ready…TO BE SHIPPED AGAIN, this time to a fuel fabrication facility
…………………….Factor in the building of the nuclear facilities, and the vast amount of fossil fuels that will be burned in decommissioning, and it is obvious who the major contributor to Global Warming really is.
It would be nice if this was the end of nuclear energy’s CO2 contributions to the environment, but it is not. It would be nice if these CO2 emissions were the only contaminants and contributions to Global Warming that nuclear reactors created, but sadly, it is but the tip of the iceberg.
The fuel rods as one example still have to be SHIPPED to the reactor sites. Again, additional fossil fuels being burned up, and we have not seen one watt of electrical energy produced as of yet….”.
Climate change puts nuclear energy into hot water - Could climate change be the latest jinx on nuclear power? International Herald Tribune By James Kanter May 20, 2007 PARIS:“.……………there is a less well-known side of nuclear power: It requires great amounts of cool water to keep reactors operating at safe temperatures. That is worrying if the rivers and reservoirs which many power plants rely on for water are hot or depleted because of steadily rising air temperatures.
If temperatures soar above average this summer – let alone steadily increase in years to come, as many scientists predict – many nuclear plants could face a dilemma: Either cut output or break environmental rules, in either case hurting their reputation with customers and the public.
Governments and the energy industry are just starting to grasp the vulnerabilities of water-hungry power plants. If the complications prove serious in countries where inland sources of water are growing scarce, where seafront nuclear stations are unwelcome or impractical and where alternative cooling technologies are too expensive, it could take the bloom off of nuclear as a source of clean energy and leave it more unclear than ever where sizable new power supplies might come from.
We’re going to have to solve the climate-change problem if we’re going to have nuclear power, not the other way around’ said David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer who is with the Union of Concerned Scientists.’As the climate warms up, nuclear power plants are less able to deliver,’ he said.
France relies on nuclear power more than any other country and is held up by advocates of nuclear power as a model for how to generate enough cheap and reliable electricity to sell surpluses abroad while reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
But global warming is exposing France to new risks………………
Officials at Électricité de France have been preparing for a possible rerun of a ferocious heat wave that struck during 2003, the hottest summer on record in France, when temperatures of some rivers rose sharply and a number of reactors had to curtail output or shut down altogether.
In countries like Australia, where the government is considering introducing nuclear power, and the United States, which gets about a fifth of its electricity from nuclear power, some officials and operators warn of similar pitfalls if plants are built in areas where there already are water shortages………”
Nuclear risk up in a warming world - (edie news summary 25 January 2007) “Higher risk of flooding in a warming world must be factored into plans for new nuclear power stations in the UK, the Met Office has said. Rising sea levels, stronger winds and more powerful storm surges caused by climate change would strongly affect nuclear plants, traditionally built in remote coastal areas where cooling water is always at hand.The Met Office study, commissioned by nuclear power company British Energy to assess the impacts of climate change on nuclear plants, concluded that the stations would need better flood protection and coastal defences, and would also need to be built further inland……….”
Nuclear power faces stormy seas threat- Alert Net By Daniel Fineren LONDON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – “Dozens of nuclear power reactors around the world could be threatened by rising sea levels and violent storms……
Nuclear power plants need plentiful water for cooling so are usually near the sea or on rivers. All of the UK’s operational plants, most of Japan’s and many in the United States are on the coast……With sea levels likely to rise for at least the next 1,000 years, according to a United Nations report to be published on Friday, bolstering the flood defences of the world’s many coastal reactors looks set to become a more costly and time-consuming job — one that could last for centuries……………
.Nor are inland river-cooled reactors invulnerable to global warming. Hot weather makes it difficult to keep them cool and operate safely. The hotter it gets, the more frequently they may have to close, just when power demand is highest.”
16 June 07 Report: nuclear unable to curb global warming 25 Jan 07 UK Met Office study – nuke plants at risk from rising sea levels2003 – France- reactors shut down in heat wave
Tags: global warming