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RestoreGore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-07-07 01:08 PM
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How Green Is Nuclear Power?
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How Green Is Nuclear Power?

By Mark Clayton,
The Christian Science Monitor,
March 7, 2007.

"As part of a 'carbon-free' solution to climate change... at least 11 new nuclear plants are in the design stage in nine states, including Virginia, Texas, Kansas and Florida, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute website.... But that carbon-free pitch has researchers asking anew: How carbon-free is nuclear power? And how cost-effective is it in the fight to slow global warming? 'Saying nuclear is carbon-free is not true,' says Uwe Fritsche, a researcher at the ko Institut in Darmstadt, Germany, who has conducted a life-cycle analysis of the plants.

'It's less carbon-intensive than fossil fuel. But if you are honest, scientifically speaking, the truth is: There is no carbon-free energy. There's no free lunch'... Nuclear power has more than just a little greenhouse gas attached to it, when mining uranium ore, refining and enriching fuel, building the plant, and operating it are included. A big 1,250 megawatt plant produces the equivalent of 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year during its life, Dr. Fritsche says... Nuclear power may not fare as well when its life-cycle cost of reducing CO2 emissions is compared with other energy alternatives. An ko Institut study last year found that countries would get more bang for their buck by moving to other forms of energy - such as biomass and even some natural-gas power plants - rather than nuclear power.

Wind surprisingly has about the same carbon footprint as nuclear when manufacturing and load factors are included. But wind power also doesn't produce long-lived nuclear waste - storage of which includes an energy cost that's unknown and is not factored into the ko or most other analyses - yet... For those energy experts who have done life-cycle analysis of nuclear power, the big concern is that policymakers may be misled into believing that just because nuclear CO2 emissions are low, the cost of nuclear as an option to address climate change would be a bargain.

Better, they say, to take the huge amounts of money needed for nuclear plants and use it to build lower-cost solutions that will displace more coal. 'It's easy to show that building more reactors makes climate change worse than it should have been,' says Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy think tank in Snowmass, Colo. 'That's because a dollar put into new reactors gives two to 10 times less climate solution for the amount of coal-power displaced than if you had bought cheaper solutions with the same dollars.' Environmental groups, too, are well aware of the conundrum surrounding the claim of carbon-free energy. Most of them maintain that nuclear is not the answer to climate change. But their antinuclear arguments have centered on environmental damage from nuclear waste, potential accidents, and terror threats. 'First, nuclear was supposed to be too cheap to meter; now, they're framing it as a solution to climate change,' says Erich Pica, director of economic policy for Friends of the Earth.... 'We hope this Democratic Congress will be skeptical of that claim.'"

end of excerpts
I believe the nuclear industry is now clamping onto the "green" movement trying to give nuclear power credibility as an alternate energy when it is not, and I have yet to be convinced it is. If we really want to save this planet-NO NUKES.
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