chamiya

How green is nuclear power?

It is NOT green!!

They just want you to think so, cause a lot of money is involved!!

Have you ever seen a documentary about children of Chernobyl? (if not, go watch it!!)

This is a very good video about this too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qay1up9TNQI

(A bit fun and ironic!)

Coal plants are very bad too, because they create bad air, Co2, acid rain, and lots other toxic chemicals in the air.

So the nuclear people say 'nuclear is better' because they do not directly pollute air. But it is just a marketing trick.

What about radiocative chemicals from the nuclear plants?! They say they 'store them safely', but nobody wants to live near those! And in old abandoned mines sometimes there can be earthquakes or floods etc. - so they are not 100% safe..

It is just about A LOT of money!!

Germany said no to nukes and gives a lot of financial incentives to solar energy. More research and finances should go into really more GREEN energy!!

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Just because nuclear energy might be a low carbon energy source doesn’t mean it’s environmentally friendly, renewable or safe. We dont have the money to waste or the time needed for nuclear energy. The solution is renewable energy and energy efficiency.

There is a pretty interesting discussion about nuclear energy already going on over here: http://www.enviro-space.com/index.php?showtopic=994

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How green is nuclear power?

No form of energy-production is green - solar panels, hydro plants, coal burining plants all have an impact on the environment. The real question is which method of producing electricity is able to meet our demands with least amount of environmental impact and, to my mind, that's nuclear. Here's a somewhat dated article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...6041401209.html

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No form of energy-production is green - solar panels, hydo plants, coal burining plants all have an impact on the environment. The real question is which method of producing electricity is able to meet our demands whith least amount of environmental impact and, to my mind, that's nuclear. Here's a somewhat dated article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...6041401209.html

This is interesting. I personally come from the belief that we need to simply use less energy. We need to make things more energy efficient and we need to make things last longer.

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This is interesting. I personally come from the belief that we need to simply use less energy. We need to make things more energy efficient and we need to make things last longer.

Yes but you forget the capitalistic mantra that have been carved into our heads since we were small: consume more, consume more, consume more!

The truth is we dont need more power or electricity as more and more countries invest in energy efficiency. And the energy demand we have can easily be replaced by truly clean, green and renewable energy sources. Like I wrote in a blog post on Green Blog:

"Advocators for nuclear energy often claim that we need more electricity or we will get energy shortages in the future. But this is far from true. Sweden has a surplus of electricity and has had ever since 1980. In 2007-2008 the energy usage dropped by 2%. And according to reports from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and the Swedish Energy Agency our energy surplus will increase considerably in the next 10-15 years without any new nuclear reactors or political actions needed. They expect that by 2020 Sweden will have a 60% energy surplus (40 TWh) of what today's nuclear energy plants contributes. And this is mainly because of the construction of new wind farms, biomass plants and energy efficiency efforts.

And Sweden can't sell the energy surplus because a majority of the countries in Europe also have a surplus of electricity. Denmark, a neighbouring country to Sweden, even has considered donating away its energy surplus to other countries."

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Yes but you forget the capitalistic mantra that have been carved into our heads since we were small: consume more, consume more, consume more!

The truth is we dont need more power or electricity as more and more countries invest in energy efficiency. And the energy demand we have can easily be replaced by truly clean, green and renewable energy sources. Like I wrote in a blog post on Green Blog:

"Advocators for nuclear energy often claim that we need more electricity or we will get energy shortages in the future. But this is far from true. Sweden has a surplus of electricity and has had ever since 1980. In 2007-2008 the energy usage dropped by 2%. And according to reports from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and the Swedish Energy Agency our energy surplus will increase considerably in the next 10-15 years without any new nuclear reactors or political actions needed. They expect that by 2020 Sweden will have a 60% energy surplus (40 TWh) of what today's nuclear energy plants contributes. And this is mainly because of the construction of new wind farms, biomass plants and energy efficiency efforts.

And Sweden can't sell the energy surplus because a majority of the countries in Europe also have a surplus of electricity. Denmark, a neighbouring country to Sweden, even has considered donating away its energy surplus to other countries."

One thing I have noticed, is that since the economy has been down here in the US, that people are starting to lose the consume more attitude. People are liking the fact that we can sell them a lighting product that uses less electricity and will last for years. The sticker shock is going down as people are starting to see the true benifits of saving energy over the long haul.

I agree that it's just a matter of time, and we will be easily over producing eletricity. Then it will be far easier to have solar and wind supporting our needs.

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I agree that it's just a matter of time, and we will be easily over producing eletricity. Then it will be far easier to have solar and wind supporting our needs.

For decades, global energy consumption has increased each year - despite of us being aware of the risks of climate change - and that's not likely to change any time soon. Yup, countries such as Sweden may be able to reduce consumption while increasing production of renewable energy - but that's not likely to happen in countries such as India and China.

You may find this thread interesting.

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For decades, global energy consumption has increased each year - despite of us being aware of the risks of climate change - and that's not likely to change any time soon. Yup, countries such as Sweden may be able to reduce consumption while increasing production of renewable energy - but that's not likely to happen in countries such as India and China.

You may find this thread interesting.

"Over at our Nuclear Reaction weblog we've been chronicling the meltdown of the nuclear industry for a while now. Last year the number of nuclear reactors connected to the world's electricity grids fell by one. In January this year two more were removed, while the next reactor scheduled to go online is the Iranian build in Bushehr, a project which almost no-one outside Iran wants to see proceed.

Meanwhile China builds a wind turbine every two hours. What looks like the technology of the 21st century to you?"

Quote from: http://weblog.greenpeace.org/makingwaves/a..._nuclear_p.html

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@layla i think it is about money yes but also about creating something sensible that is going to provide enough energy for the country. Renewable energy does not create as much energy as nuclear now this is a scientific fact.

@brettbh I completely agree with you.

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@layla i think it is about money yes but also about creating something sensible that is going to provide enough energy for the country. Renewable energy does not create as much energy as nuclear now this is a scientific fact.

It doesn't. But it can.

Check this out:

Sweden’s biggest wind farm is in planning stage, will supply as much energy as a nuclear plant

Wind and solar energy could power 40% of global electricity demand by 2050

But one thing is for sure. The nuclear energy does not create as many high-tech and green job as renewable energy does. It just creates expensive waste that we have no clue what to do with it. Oh wait. We can always build nuclear bombs with them! :huh:

@brettbh I completely agree with you.

China's leaders are investing $12.6 million every hour to green their economy: http://ow.ly/3yhl

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I think you've actually changed my opinion their simon because the fact that the wind farm only cost 4.5 billion euros compared to reports of upto 24 billion US for a nuclear plant (http://scitizen.com/stories/Future-Energies/2008/11/How-Much-Will-New-Nuclear-Power-Plants-Cost/) makes me wonder why isn't the uk government looking into this more... instead today on the news i see reports that they are investing in carbon captcher for coal and has plans to create 6 new coal plants.... looks like could be a future disaster if it goes ahead because this technology of carbon captcha has not been implemented on a large scale before....

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I think you've actually changed my opinion their simon because the fact that the wind farm only cost 4.5 billion euros compared to reports of upto 24 billion US for a nuclear plant (http://scitizen.com/stories/Future-Energies/2008/11/How-Much-Will-New-Nuclear-Power-Plants-Cost/) makes me wonder why isn't the uk government looking into this more... instead today on the news i see reports that they are investing in carbon captcher for coal and has plans to create 6 new coal plants.... looks like could be a future disaster if it goes ahead because this technology of carbon captcha has not been implemented on a large scale before....

Nuclear energy is madness because it is Expensive, Dangerous, Not Cost-Effective and Will Worsen Climate Change. Simply put: nuclear power is not the answer to our energy and climate crisis. :cute:

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Interesting discussion everyone!! :)

I agree with Hotrod & Simon:

first we need to reduce consumption & make things more energy efficient etc, add insulation, higher energy efficiency standards for new things & buildings, etc!!

If not, there will be a need for a new nuke or coal plant every 30 years or so!!!

/Oh wait, that's what the 'establishment'/nuclear lobby want anyway!! :(/

There is a concern of people throwing perfectly good things away (like old CRT TVs or computer monitors) just because they aren't 'in' anymore.. So I do think the transition would ideally be slow with regard to these things (to avoid a massive e-trash problem!) - luckily, the economic/financial crises has lessened the amount of e-trash being thrown away, but it's still horrible numbers & quantities!!

Bex, the nuclear and coal plant lobbies are VERY strong!! :(

There's a number of scientists & workers in these industries & OF COURSE they are afraid for jobs!! And OF COURSE they just want to make more money!!

They've been trained that 'things are perfectly safe' & that's what they want you to believe!!

Our nuclear power plant here in Slovenia is on earthquake area!!

They say that because the manufacturer (Toshiba) is from Japan - earthquake area! - too, the technology is 'safe'! But a few years ago there was trouble in Japan!! And not so long ago there was a bit of trouble here in Slovenia too - but they just want to hush things up!!

It is very problematic that a nice lady called Romana Jordan Cizelj representing Slovenia in the EU parliament is a nuclear scientist!! - & she's now in charge of energy & 'climate crisis'?! Of course she's pushing the 'nuclear' agenda!! ugh!!

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/expe...EN&id=28291

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romana_Jordan_Cizelj

I wonder how many other 'independent' politicians there are out there...?!!

There are LOTS of nuclear powerplants being built, in China, etc...?! Or so I hear...?

Toshiba has a powerful marketing strategy & they are not just pushing laptops this time!! :(

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Hi all, I came across your website and just registered to post a wee comment about this nuclear issue here.

I think it is important to talk about what is physically possible when having a discussion on sustainability. I would like to recommend David MacKay's book Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air for some information on this subject. It is written by a Cambridge researcher who does some fairly basic calculations and attempts to create a renewable energy plan for Britain.

You will be surprised at his findings. People always talk about how many homes a wind turbine can power, but they fail to mention that we would need country sized areas of these renewable generators to power our current lifestyles. He takes into account every natural resource we have available to us and we still fall short by a significant margin.

I believe that nuclear will have to have a place in any realistic energy plan, regardless of Al Gore's economic concerns or Greenpeace's ineffective protests. It's either that, carbon capture coal or importing energy from desert states.

I would also like to point out that James Lovelock says nuclear is our only hope and he's a guy worth listening to.

MacKay's book is available free here: http://www.withouthotair.com/

Thanks :)

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Hi all, I came across your website and just registered to post a wee comment about this nuclear issue here.

I think it is important to talk about what is physically possible when having a discussion on sustainability. I would like to recommend David MacKay's book Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air for some information on this subject. It is written by a Cambridge researcher who does some fairly basic calculations and attempts to create a renewable energy plan for Britain.

You will be surprised at his findings. People always talk about how many homes a wind turbine can power, but they fail to mention that we would need country sized areas of these renewable generators to power our current lifestyles. He takes into account every natural resource we have available to us and we still fall short by a significant margin.

I believe that nuclear will have to have a place in any realistic energy plan, regardless of Al Gore's economic concerns or Greenpeace's ineffective protests. It's either that, carbon capture coal or importing energy from desert states.

I would also like to point out that James Lovelock says nuclear is our only hope and he's a guy worth listening to.

MacKay's book is available free here: http://www.withouthotair.com/

Thanks :)

And here is another example of people who fail to acknowledge the fact that renewable energy is not just wind turbines.

Also, James Lovelock has said that:

"Professor Lovelock FRS has given a recent assessment in which he discards nuclear (“It is a way for the UK to solve its energy problems, but it is not a global cure for climate change. It is too late for emissions reduction measures”)..."

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And here is another example of people who fail to acknowledge the fact that renewable energy is not just wind turbines.

Also, James Lovelock has said that:

"Professor Lovelock FRS has given a recent assessment in which he discards nuclear (“It is a way for the UK to solve its energy problems, but it is not a global cure for climate change. It is too late for emissions reduction measures”)..."

I'll acknowledge the lovelock quote: nice find. The important thing to note here is that he is talking about CO2 reductions, an altogether different cup of tea. Sure we could bury lots of charcoal to combat climate change, but where are we going to get our electricity from? How can Britain's energy use become sustainable?

I think I said quite clearly that MacKay takes into account all natural resources available to us. You should read his book. He proposes putting a solar panel on every south facing roof in the country, filling the whole Atlantic shoreline with wave power, the whole North Sea shore with offshore wind, tidal power where we can, changing crops to biofuels and hydro in Scotland. Even an optimistic estimate falls far short of our energy needs.

It's no good hyping up offshore projects and localized solar if it's only going to produce a small percentage of our energy needs and remember that the UK has some of Europe's best natural resources. We desperately need change now. Perhaps nuclear is one option, just until we manage to build a massive European grid and a few country sized solar arrays in North Africa.

EDIT: I'm not saying we shouldn't get those solar panels and turbines up, just that we should stop saying no to other options.

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Myotis, 'as we live' is totally unsustainable, & will have to change!!

We are already producing less waste in our home & we are also on the way to using less electricity...

of course both are ongoing efforts..

if everyone tried, at home & where they live, & in offices, factories etc... A LOT could be done!!

The problem is, if we just keep on building nuclear plants, in 30 years another & then another will be needed!!

If we start using less energy & living more sustainably, in time, we could phase out the existing most heavily polluting powerplants as well..

But A LOT of money was invested into the nuclear industry, so it's trying to lobby & present itself as 'green'... (similarly to the 'incinerator industry' - I read a discussion on a Slovenian energy site that 'they need to learn from incinerator industry for marketing & lobbying successes!!' ugh!!) & it's really sad that even some smart & intelligent people fall for it.. :(

Are you for incinerators too? :huh:

& WHY is nuclear being so heavily marketed? Of course, when you have a bunch of experts & knowledge & resources (even if it's for a very toxic industry) you push it!! And Toshiba are marketing experts!!

Who gives a damn for public safety where lots & lots of money is in the question?!!

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Myotis, 'as we live' is totally unsustainable, & will have to change!!

I think you're right in arguing that lifestyle changes are required, but as these cannot be forced upon us, I am skeptical about the scale of change we can implement. Replacing incandescent light bulbs is a no-brainer and we've known about it for over 15 years now, but I bet you have a friend or two who still use them. Realistically, the government needs to overhaul the tax system to provide market incentives for going green. UK Lib Dems seem pretty keen on the idea, but other major (and more popular) parties are lagging.

I'm sure that once we get our act together about heat pumps, solar heating etc. then a lot of wasted energy can be saved, but there will be a few setbacks:

- Firstly, much of our energy use is embedded. Everything we use and consume has a footprint, including goods and services made abroad. Once you factor this into the equation (if we start producing locally, or take responsibility for imported energy), our per person energy consumption increases.

- Secondly, energy use is projected to increase. 5 years ago we didn't have broadband internet. 10 years ago we didn't have mobile phones. 15 years ago we had very few personal computers. All of these gadgets consume vast quantities of energy. Think about what will be available to us in the future. You would be surprised at the crazy amount of power is used by going online. Efficiency gains in electric components should be wiped out by these developments.

So there are obviously limits on reducing our energy use, disregarding massive lifestyle changes or a population decrease and if we want the public's support on this, we can't change too much too fast. If renewables cannot supply our needs then we have to use clean coal, nuclear, or import energy.

On a level economic playing field with a strong price signal preventing the emission of CO2, we don’t expect a diverse solution with a wide range of powercosts; rather, we expect an economically optimal solution that delivers the required power at the lowest cost. And when “clean coal†and nuclear go head to head on price, it’s nuclear that wins. (Engineers at a UK electricity generator told me that the capital cost of regular dirty coal power stations is £1 billion per GW, about the same as nuclear; but the capital cost of “clean-coal†power, including carbon capture and storage, is roughly £2 billion per GW.) I’ve assumed that solar power in other people’s deserts loses to nuclear power when we take into account the cost of the required 2000-km-long transmission lines (though van Voorthuysen (2008) reckons that with Nobel-prize-worthy developments in solar-powered production of chemical fuels, solar power in deserts would be the economic equal of nuclear power). Offshore wind also loses to nuclear, but I’ve assumed that onshore wind costs about the same as nuclear.... Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not trying to be pro-nuclear. I’m just pro-arithmetic.

I don't know anything about lobbying or the politics behind this. I don't see why that is an issue, the most important thing we need right now for any climate platform is a realistic social, economic and scientific model. Of course I don't like it. Where I am currently living, the state owned power company tricked a minority tribe (they were illiterate) into leasing a small part of their island; it was used to dump leaking barrels of nuclear waste and has been ignored ever since. But as it stands nuclear is on par with wind for fatalities/GWyear, the numbers really are insignificant.

Are you for incinerators too? :huh:

I've no idea where this came from, why don't we have a constructive conversation?

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It's late here and I am tired so I will just reply to a few points you made:

I'll acknowledge the lovelock quote: nice find. The important thing to note here is that he is talking about CO2 reductions, an altogether different cup of tea. Sure we could bury lots of charcoal to combat climate change, but where are we going to get our electricity from? How can Britain's energy use become sustainable?

But you are saying against yourself here. It's about emission reductions as well as sustainable energy. And with renewable energy you will get both of that. With nuclear energy you will only get one of those things: emission reductions. But those emission reductions will come too late and will be too expensive. And nuclear energy is not a sustainable energy source. The fuel to run nuclear energy will eventually be depleted, just like oil. With todays usage(!) the fuel is said to be depleted within 60-80 years, and that is according to the more positive reports.

I think I said quite clearly that MacKay takes into account all natural resources available to us. You should read his book.

No I probably won't. Because he sounds like a nuke-hugger. ;)

I've read James Lovelock's books and his positive viewpoints of nuclear energy. His viewpoint of nuclear energy is interesting, to say the least. His idea of dealing with the highly toxic and deadly nuclear waste is to spread it out in the rainforest - to keep humans away from cutting it down.

We desperately need change now.

Yes I agree. Time is unfortunately no longer on our side, as you probably know. So why are you such a vocal supporter for nuclear energy?

Because if we were to ignore the waste problems, the potential terrorist threats, the extreme costs and the nuclear weapons we still have one major problem. And that is the fact that it takes years to build a nuclear reactor. And especially now when the nuclear industry luckily haven't been much active in building new plants.

Perhaps nuclear is one option, just until we manage to build a massive European grid and a few country sized solar arrays in North Africa.

A few country sized solar arrays? What are you talking about? According to experts:

"...only a fraction of the Sahara, probably the size of a small country, would need to be covered to produce enough energy to supply the whole of Europe." source

I think you're right in arguing that lifestyle changes are required, but as these cannot be forced upon us, I am skeptical about the scale of change we can implement.

Lifestyle changes are a must. And if we don't accept that fact it doesn't matter if we invest in nukes or wind.

But maybe the UK could start by making their homes more energy efficient? It seems I constantly hear on the news that the old homes and houses in the UK are far from insulated and releases major quantities of heat. Energy efficiency is the key to success.

- Secondly, energy use is projected to increase. 5 years ago we didn't have broadband internet. 10 years ago we didn't have mobile phones. 15 years ago we had very few personal computers. All of these gadgets consume vast quantities of energy. Think about what will be available to us in the future. You would be surprised at the crazy amount of power is used by going online. Efficiency gains in electric components should be wiped out by these developments.

According to who? It seems you don't take into account the progress that is being made in terms of energy efficiency. Just because we get more electric tech stuff doesn't nessecarily mean the energy usage will increase. In Sweden and many other countries the energy usage is actually going down creating unwanted surplus of electricity.

"Advocators for nuclear energy often claim that we need more electricity or we will get energy shortages in the future. But this is far from true. Sweden has a surplus of electricity and has had ever since 1980. In 2007-2008 the energy usage dropped by 2%. And according to reports from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and the Swedish Energy Agency our energy surplus will increase considerably in the next 10-15 years without any new nuclear reactors or political actions needed. They expect that by 2020 Sweden will have a 60% energy surplus (40 TWh) of what today’s nuclear energy plants contributes. And this is mainly because of the construction of new wind farms, biomass plants and energy efficiency efforts.

And Sweden can’t sell the energy surplus because a majority of the countries in Europe also have a surplus of electricity. Denmark, a neighbouring country to Sweden, even has considered donating away its energy surplus to other countries."

Over and out. Sleep well.

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No I probably won't. Because he sounds like a nuke-hugger. ;)

Jesus Christ, this illustrates perfectly just how much emotion comes into play when talking about environmentalism. Do you consider yourself well informed? Do you view all sides of an argument before making a decision? Have you read anything I've written or just cherry picked a few points to counter?

Yes I agree. Time is unfortunately no longer on our side, as you probably know. So why are you such a vocal supporter for nuclear energy?

Because if we were to ignore the waste problems, the potential terrorist threats, the extreme costs and the nuclear weapons we still have one major problem. And that is the fact that it takes years to build a nuclear reactor. And especially now when the nuclear industry luckily haven't been much active in building new plants.

It takes years to build anything. An equivalent area of wind turbines to a nuclear power plant is 100km2. You think that can be done in a few years? Have a look at this:

I heard that nuclear power can’t be built at a sufficient rate to make a useful contribution.

The difficulty of building nuclear power fast has been exaggerated with the help of a misleading presentation technique I call “the magic playing field.” In this technique, two things appear to be compared, but the basis of the comparison is switched halfway through. The Guardian’s environment editor, summarizing a report from the Oxford Research Group, wrote “For nuclear power to make any significant contribution to a reduction in global carbon emissions in the next two generations, the industry would have to construct nearly 3000 new reactors – or about one a week for 60 years. A civil nuclear construction and supply programme on this scale is a pipe dream, and completely unfeasible. The highest historic rate is 3.4 new reactors a year.” 3000 sounds much bigger than 3.4, doesn’t it! In this application of the “magic playing field” technique, there is a switch not only of timescale but also of region. While the first figure (3000 new reactors over 60 years) is the number required for the whole planet, the second figure (3.4 new reactors per year) is the maximum rate of building by a single country (France)!

A more honest presentation would have kept the comparison on a perplanet basis. France has 59 of the world’s 429 operating nuclear reactors, so it’s plausible that the highest rate of reactor building for the whole planet was something like ten times France’s, that is, 34 new reactors per year. And the required rate (3000 new reactors over 60 years) is 50 new reactors per year. So the assertion that “civil nuclear construction on this scale is a pipe dream, and completely unfeasible” is poppycock. Yes, it’s a big construction rate, but it’s in the same ballpark as historical construction rates.

A few country sized solar arrays? What are you talking about? According to experts:

"...only a fraction of the Sahara, probably the size of a small country, would need to be covered to produce enough energy to supply the whole of Europe." source

Oh yes, my bad. I ment to say really, really big. Whats the difference? The costs and political considerations are still astronomical.

Lifestyle changes are a must. And if we don't accept that fact it doesn't matter if we invest in nukes or wind.

But maybe the UK could start by making their homes more energy efficient? It seems I constantly hear on the news that the old homes and houses in the UK are far from insulated and releases major quantities of heat. Energy efficiency is the key to success.

Yes, we can do all that, but there are limits. See what I wrote above about embedded energy use above. Also don't forget that us frugal, tree-loving eco-warriors are still a minority. Most of my friends are highly educated and morally conscious people, but they remain uninformed and apathetic about the environment. I'm the only person I know that has bought carbon offsets for flights. Don't be fooled by the internet, it creates an illusion by bringing like-minded people together.

According to who? It seems you don't take into account the progress that is being made in terms of energy efficiency. Just because we get more electric tech stuff doesn't nessecarily mean the energy usage will increase. In Sweden and many other countries the energy usage is actually going down creating unwanted surplus of electricity.

This is a fair point, I concede that energy use will decrease, but not to the extent that countries with a high population density can cope with just renewable energy. It's great if Sweden can get by and even export energy (though methods for storing it during wind lulls and night time will be needed for a truly carbon neutral country). So, you guys are sorted, as are several other European nations with a good resource to population ratio. What about the rest? Don't you find it at all disturbing that the UK, with such an abundance of renewable options and efficiency measures accounted for, won't be able to power it's own needs? I've said this several times, but seem to have been ignored.

And Sweden can’t sell the energy surplus because a majority of the countries in Europe also have a surplus of electricity. Denmark, a neighbouring country to Sweden, even has considered donating away its energy surplus to other countries."

Do you have a source for this? A renewable energy surplus is good, a fossil fuel surplus is bad. How will the field change once we go green, can you still predict the majority of EU will have a surplus?

But you are saying against yourself here. It's about emission reductions as well as sustainable energy. And with renewable energy you will get both of that. With nuclear energy you will only get one of those things: emission reductions. But those emission reductions will come too late and will be too expensive. And nuclear energy is not a sustainable energy source. The fuel to run nuclear energy will eventually be depleted, just like oil. With todays usage(!) the fuel is said to be depleted within 60-80 years, and that is according to the more positive reports.

In terms of sustainability, uranium won't last forever, but it will last a lot longer than you think. See page 161 of the book I recommended for a thorough evaluation (there is much uranium to be found in sea water with not such a bad cost of extraction).

But I wanted to save this point for last, because it is at the very core of my thoughts on this subject. At this point, we should accept any and all emissions reductions we can get. Halting the deployment of nuclear plants is only prolonging our dependence on oil and gas.

So if you have a better idea, lets hear it. And remember not every country is Sweden. What do you think we should do? Maybe you should be in charge of telling all those people that they should have wind turbines on their beautiful countryside or offshore shipping lanes. Maybe you should tell house owners that they should pay for solar panels and heat pumps. This is what I object to the most about my anti-nuclear environmentalist comrades. They seem to envision the future as some kind of eco-topia where all problems are solved with a little hard work and co-operation. Please build an opinion based in reality. It doesn't matter what is fastest, cheapest or best. We need them all.

Please, please read this.

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Simon, I'd be really interested in how Sweden gets its energy too, & how come you have a surplus..

& what are the planned % of renewables..

Myotis, I consider what I wrote constructive conversation. I was just wondering what your position is on incinerators, as the nuke industry itself wrote on a Slovenian site that they 'must learn lobbying & marketing themselves as 'green' from the incinerator industry!'

So I think my question is valid - no?

I see both of them as similar: offering 'solutions' that bring more problems than real solutions - but as there is money in these 'solutions' that is what they are marketing!

Personally, I'm trying to cut down my internet use, as I'm also aware how ungreen it is!

Also my eyes & general wellbeing will thank me!

You will be surprised to hear there are people who don't go online or go very rarely.. There are even people heavily allergic to electromagnetic fields... (!!) who have severe health problems from being around electric stuff..

I think limiting internet use will become a must... parents try to limit net use of kids already, & I think when more people become aware how unhealthy it can be, more people will start to limit themselves too..

You pointed out yourself what unhealthy practices were used by nuclear companies - what makes you think such unscrupoulus practices won't continue?

Oh, & we do have solar water heating panels on the roof - several of our neighbours too! We've had them for years - a decade even! & we have double or even triple glazing on some windows, & quite a lot of insulation!

What are the measures you have taken yourself to reduce energy consumption?

hmm.. maybe we need a new thread for this? :)

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>>This is a fair point, I concede that energy use will decrease.<<

While individual use may decrease, global consumption is likely to continue to increase - exactly as it has in every other year. The Population Problem. People really don't realize the magnitude of the problems that this planet is facing. From the post to which I linked:

When you actually think about the effects of the population increase, the realities of the situation start to hit home. The population is growing at a rate of 1.5 million per week. To put that number in perspective, in order to house all those people in a single place you'd need to build a city the size of Phoenix each and every week, or a city the size of New York every 5 weeks. Before the end of next month, the world's population will have increased by more than the current population of Sweden. Before the end of the year, it will have increased by more than the current population of the UK. Before the end of 2013, it will have increased by more than the current population of the US.

To think that we can meet the needs (electricity, transportation, food, clothing, etc.) of all these extra people while decreasing global energy consumption is crazy. It's simply not going to happen. And renewable energy is a recipe for disaster. Also from the post to which I linked:

We are already seeing an extinction crisis (from Wikipedia: The 2008 Red List was released on 6 October, 2008, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, and "has confirmed an extinction crisis, with almost one in four mammals at risk of disappearing forever." The study shows at least 1,141 of the 5,487 mammals on Earth are known to be threatened with extinction, and 836 are listed as Data Deficient). How much worse will that crisis become as we start erecting more solar panels, more wind turbines and diverting more waterways? And how much worse will it become as our cities and agricultural areas expand by 50% during the course of the next 5 decades? How long can our already depleted oceans supply fish for a population that is increasing by 1.5 million per week?

Sorry, but covering country-sized tracts of delicate ecosystems with solar panels and wind turbines is not an environmentally-responsible course of action!

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Jesus Christ, this illustrates perfectly just how much emotion comes into play when talking about environmentalism. Do you consider yourself well informed? Do you view all sides of an argument before making a decision? Have you read anything I've written or just cherry picked a few points to counter?

It was a joke. Calm down! Alright? :rolleyes:

And to answer your question. Yes, I do consider myself well informed when it comes to topics like this one. I've actually written a lot about the dirty nuclear industry and it's old and dangerous technologies.

Because if we were to ignore the waste problems, the potential terrorist threats, the extreme costs and the nuclear weapons we still have one major problem. And that is the fact that it takes years to build a nuclear reactor. And especially now when the nuclear industry luckily haven't been much active in building new plants.

It takes years to build anything. An equivalent area of wind turbines to a nuclear power plant is 100km2. You think that can be done in a few years?

And what exactly is anything?

It takes several years to build a nuclear reactor. And the cost for constructing it, running it and de-constructing the plant is astronomical.

But let's take the Finnish Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) reactor (the only nuclear reactor being built in the West since many years back) as an example here. The Olkiluoto reactor is already over 3 years behind schedule (estimated time before the construction started was 5-6 years), has had several severe security incidents and mailfunctions during construction and the construction is massively over-budget. That ill-fated project accounts for 85 per cent of Finland's energy investment for 2006-2010. The opportunities lost in that time for building a renewable energy future are unimaginable.

And don't forget that it takes years to decommission and close down a nuclear plant. Let's take the UK as an example here.

Nuclear plants don't last very long compared to other energy sources and the decommission of the plant takes years and costs a lot. Take the UK and their +40 year-old nuclear plant Oldbury as an example of this. The Oldbury plant will cost more than one billion pounds (£) and take 110 years to decommission (thats almost three times the period it has been active and working!). And if the UK were to decomission all of their old nuclear plants it would cost, according to the "Nuclear Decommissioning Authority", over 70 billion pounds (£)!!

But the true cost of nuclear is much higher if you don't count in the mad subsidies the governments give to these energy companies and their nuclear reactors (as well as paying for their insurance as no insurance company in the world wants to deal with nuclear reactors.. hmm I wonder why..?).

And we wont be able to reduce GHG emissions with nuclear energy. If we are to do that we need to build around 1000 new nuclear reactors around the world. And frankly, we don't have the money or the time for that.

Meanwhile China builds a wind turbine every two hours.

Oh yes, my bad. I ment to say really, really big. Whats the difference? The costs and political considerations are still astronomical.

Of course the difference is both huge and important!

You can't honestly say that there is no difference between "a few country sized" and "the size of a (one) small country".

And I will quote that Guardian article once more as it seems you missed some important parts of it:

"Government investment worth £50bn would convince private companies that power from the Sahara solar scheme is feasible and attractive option, expert says"

That is nothing compared to the costs of old and dangerous nuke-tech.

Yes, we can do all that, but there are limits. See what I wrote above about embedded energy use above. Also don't forget that us frugal, tree-loving eco-warriors are still a minority. Most of my friends are highly educated and morally conscious people, but they remain uninformed and apathetic about the environment. I'm the only person I know that has bought carbon offsets for flights. Don't be fooled by the internet, it creates an illusion by bringing like-minded people together.

Nothing is impossible to accomplish if you just have the will for it. If there is something that proves that it's history!

And what kind of limits are you taking about? It's not hard to insulate every home in the UK. It will create jobs, contribute to the economy, reduce GHG emissions and reduce your energy dependence on natural gas and other energy sources.

This is a fair point, I concede that energy use will decrease, but not to the extent that countries with a high population density can cope with just renewable energy. It's great if Sweden can get by and even export energy (though methods for storing it during wind lulls and night time will be needed for a truly carbon neutral country). So, you guys are sorted, as are several other European nations with a good resource to population ratio. What about the rest? Don't you find it at all disturbing that the UK, with such an abundance of renewable options and efficiency measures accounted for, won't be able to power it's own needs? I've said this several times, but seem to have been ignored.

Invest in an European supergrid?

"Scientists from the EU are planning for a new supergrid between the different EU member states. This new supergrid will be built using new DC (HVDC) lines which are perfect for transmissions of energy over long distances.

The supergrid could allow Denmark and the UK to export wind energy and Iceland to export geothermal energy at times when production exceeds demand to other EU member states.

But the supergrids main purpose would be to transmit renewable solar energy from the Saharan desert to Europe. The scientists want to build a series of huge solar farms in the Saharan desert and connect them to the supergrid."

Do you have a source for this? A renewable energy surplus is good, a fossil fuel surplus is bad. How will the field change once we go green, can you still predict the majority of EU will have a surplus?

Yes. You can find the sources here: http://www.green-blog.org/2009/02/17/madne...clear-reactors/ Although some of them are written in Swedish.

In terms of sustainability, uranium won't last forever, but it will last a lot longer than you think. See page 161 of the book I recommended for a thorough evaluation (there is much uranium to be found in sea water with not such a bad cost of extraction).

Yes and we can go to the moon and get uranium from there too! And that is not a joke according to the nuclear industry.

Halting the deployment of nuclear plants is only prolonging our dependence on oil and gas.

Now that must be a joke. Right?

No. Instead it is nuclear energy that is blocking necessary actions against man-made climate change and "prolonging our dependence on oil and gas". A perfect example of this is the mess in Finland and their new reactor I wrote about earlier in this post.

Nuclear energy is Expensive, Dangerous, Not Cost-Effective and Will Worsen Climate Change. Simply put: nuclear power is not the answer to our energy and climate crisis.

So if you have a better idea, lets hear it. And remember not every country is Sweden.

No, not every country is Sweden. But every country has the possibility to enforce strict environmental standards, invest in energy efficiency and promote the renewable energy sector. Something the UK unfortunately is not even trying to do at the moment...

What do you think we should do? Maybe you should be in charge of telling all those people that they should have wind turbines on their beautiful countryside or offshore shipping lanes.

Aha! There we have the answer for your love for nukes: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/vide...-cpre-wind-coal

Maybe you should tell house owners that they should pay for solar panels and heat pumps.

No, because that is what your government is for. Just like the governments are doing in Sweden and Germany.

It doesn't matter what is fastest, cheapest or best. We need them all.

When the time and money is limited we can't afford to waste it all on something as dangerous, expensive and stupid as nuclear energy.

But let me ask you a question for a change. How do you think we should store and save the highly deadly and toxic nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years?

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I'm not supporting nuclear power per say and I hope my posts have conveyed that. I just think that saying no to nuclear should be tempered by the hard facts about renewable energy schemes. Perhaps we don't really have much choice in the matter - every solution to our energy problem has it's own mix of advantages and disadvantages, we will most likely have to settle for a compromise.

If anything should be taken away from this discussion, it's that we should push governments to adopt stronger nuclear legislation for accountancy and safety. Nuclear can be successful if well managed - look at France (the positive public opinion is astounding).

Among all the energy-supply technologies, the three with the biggest potential are wind power, nuclear power, and solar power.

Now let's imagine that technology switches and lifestyle changes manage to halve British energy consumption to 60kWh per day per person. How big would the wind, nuclear, and solar facilities need to be to supply this halved consumption?

If we wanted to get one-third of our energy from each of these sources we would have to build wind farms with an area equal to the area of Wales, 50 Sizewells of nuclear power and solar power stations in deserts covering an area twice the size of greater London.

I'm not recommending this particular mix of options – there are many mixes that add up. What about tidal power, wave, geothermal, biofuels and hydroelectricity? In such a short article, I can't discuss all the technology options. But the sober message about wind and solar applies to all renewables: much as I love them, they only deliver a small amounts of power. So if we want renewable facilities to supply power on a scale comparable to our consumption, those facilities – whether centralised or decentralised – must be big.

Whatever mix you choose, if it adds up, we have a very large building task. The simple wind/nuclear/solar mix I just mentioned would involve roughly a one-hundred-fold increase in wind power, and a five-fold increase in nuclear power; the solar power in deserts would require new long-distance cables connecting the Sahara to Surrey, with a capacity 25 times greater than the existing England-France interconnector.

It's not going to be easy to make a energy plan that adds up; but it is possible. We need to get building.

So the problems associated with nuclear that Simon mentioned must be weighed up against the problems of not using nuclear. I don't think I'm really qualified for that decision.

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