About Nuclear!

The splitting of atoms (fission) releases vast amounts of thermal energy which can be used to boil liquid to expand as steam, turn a turbine which in turn rotates a generator to generate electricity. Nuclear energy meets 16% of electricity production requirements. Nuclear is a steam turbine to electricity technology. Nuclear does use fossil fuel (uranium) to fuel its process. While it can be argued that Nuclear energy is a clean or alternative energy generating technology, it does require careful scrutiny. Benjamin K. Sovacool, (Assistant Professor and Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore) identifies 99 serious nuclear accidents over the past 70 years. Neither is Nuclear energy emissions free. Mining and milling uranium ore, converting uranium to gas, enriching uranium, fabricating fuel pellets, generating power, reprocessing, transporting and storing spent fuel both at the reactor and at a permanent storage site, all use emissions causing energy. Nuclear power generates at least 33 grams of carbon-equivalent emissions for each kilowatt-hour of electricity produced. “Per kilowatt-hour, atomic energy produces only one-seventh the greenhouse emissions of coal, but twice as much as wind and slightly more than solar panels.” Kristin Shrader-Frechette (University of Notre Dame). In addition to well documented issues (e.g. spent fuel disposal and storage, military risk, radiation leaks and huge capital costs) less well researched is the long term availability of, extraction and processing costs of high quality uranium for a global roll out of nuclear plants.

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