Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Monday, September 18, 2017
|Jasmine Bright photo|
The solutions to the climate crisis are clear: A rapid, just transition to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system. The only sure way to stop the global warming impacts of energy use is to transition as quickly as possible from antiquated energy models of the 20th Century and their polluting nuclear power and fossil fuel technologies … to the safe, clean, affordable and sustainable renewable, efficient, and smart technologies of the 21st Century.
Nuclear power in particular cannot solve the climate crisis. Indeed, its continued use exacerbates global warming by preventing the deployment of clean energy systems.
Among a myriad of other problems, nuclear power is:
Rooted in human rights violations and environmental racism: First Nations, people of color and low-income communities are targeted for uranium mining and radioactive waste. Radiation harms women and girls at twice the rate as their male counterparts. And radioactive pollution indiscriminately harms future generations, poisoning the environment for hundreds to thousands of years.
Too Dirty: Nuclear reactors and the nuclear fuel chain produce vast amounts of lethal radioactive waste, which grow whenever nuclear power is used. The nuclear fuel chain is responsible for far more carbon emissions than renewable energy generation and improved energy efficiency. All reactors routinely emit radiation and radioactive waste. Scientific bodies agree have confirmed that there is no “safe” level of radiation exposure.
Too Dangerous: Continued use of nuclear power will inevitably lead to more Fukushimas, Church Rocks, and Chernobyls. The technology and materials needed to generate nuclear energy can be diverted to nuclear weapons programs.
Too Expensive: Nuclear power is the costliest means possible of reducing carbon and methane emissions; its use crowds out investment in clean energy sources.
Too Slow: Use of nuclear power to reduce fossil fuel emissions would require an unprecedented nuclear construction program, beyond the capability of the world’s manufacturers within an acceptable time frame.
Clean energy, including solar, wind, geothermal, energy efficiency, distributed generation, electricity storage and other advanced technologies can meet the world’s energy needs without carbon and methane emissions, radioactive waste, and other pollutants.
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Please Join Us in Supporting the Don't Nuke the Climate Campaign! | Nuclear Information and Resource Service
David Blackburn says we need decentralised energy sources; David Lowry on nuclear not being zero-carbon technology; plus letters from David Hayes and Fred Starr
…Your incisive editorial makes many strong points, not least highlighting the exigencies of potential security compromises and terrorism vulnerabilities of the planned new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point. But there is a fatal flaw in the argument you set out. The editorial asserts: “Nuclear power has a trump card: it is a zero-carbon technology which delivers a continuous, uninterrupted supply.”
This is demonstrably untrue. On the latter point, you only have to consult the published operating record of reactors to see this is an unsustainable claim. All reactors have lengthy planned outages (shutdowns) for operational reasons; some have significant unplanned outages due to operational failures; and in the extreme case of post-accident safety prudence, such as in Japan, their 54 reactors were all closed for years after the 2011 Fukushima disaster – and became hugely expensive “stranded assets.”
On alleged zero-carbon status of nuclear plants, you repeat a similarly erroneous assertion made in your editorial of 1 October 2005 (Pre-empting debate), where you wrote: “The big advantage of nuclear generation is that it does not produce environmentally degrading emissions in the way that fossil fuel generation does.”
You printed my response to this assertion (There is nothing green about Blair’s nuclear dream, 20 October 2005) in which I set out the various ways the carbon footprint of nuclear power is substantial, if the whole “cradle-to-grave” nuclear fuel chain (uranium mining, milling, enrichment, fuel production, in-reactor fuel irradiation, storage and final long-term management) is properly calculated. I pointed out that the nuclear industry’s proponents, such as those gathered at last week’s World Nuclear Association jamboree in London, are fond of spreading fake news such as describing nuclear energy as “non-carbon emitting”. It is about time this dangerous falsehood was confined to the dustbin of history…
read: Beware nuclear industry’s fake news on being emissions free | Letters | Environment | The Guardian