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Part 3.  Chapter 4:
Nuclear Power: Is it Cheaper this Time?
What is the cost of nuclear waste?
  Nuclear Looks Costly, Risky and Green
March 28, 2009, by Steven Stoft
Nuclear power emits almost no CO2. Emissions from building the plant are saved in two or three months of operation. So, for the climate, it's green. Likely the spent fuel disposal problem can be solved.
But this NYTs article places the cost of a 1000 MW plant at $5 billion, and shows we came fairly close to another Three-Mile Island accident in 2002. This time the nuclear industry was clearly misbehaving. Now a 1000 MW wind farm costs only about $2.2 billion, but it produces only 1/3 the amount of power (the wind is rarely at top speed). Also nuclear power is far more dependable as a replacement for coal. So in fact wind is more capital intensive than nuclear, but it's likely cheaper to operate.
It's a tough call, but there's a pretty easy answer. Price carbon emissions to make coal more expensive and give wind and nuclear a fighting chance. Then see which one wins. Just stop the other subsidies to both of them. If we are not saving enough carbon, increase the price of carbon—that costs us very little if you give back the tax revenues like James Hansen says to.
  Uranium replaces fossil fuel in the production of electricity. This reduces CO2 emmissions and global warming. Stewart Brand, the founder of the Whole Earth catalog has advocated using more nuclear power for this reason. This option should be reconsidered, but the problems of nuclear waste and proliferation have not been solved, and putting all our eggs in this basket makes no sense.
  From Speeches by President Bush
May 24, 2006 Limerick, PA Generating Station;
"Nuclear power will help us deal with the issue of greenhouse gases.
"For the sake of economic security and national security, the United States of America must aggressively move forward with the construction of nuclear power plants."

June 22, 2005, Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant Lusby, Maryland.
After a couple of cute remarks about Hydrogen the President launched into nine paragraphs on nuclear power. Bush said, "The energy bill will also help us expand our use of ... nuclear power."

"Today, there are 103 nuclear plants in America. ... Without these nuclear plants, America would release nearly 700 million metric tons more carbon dioxide into the air each year. That's about the same amount of carbon dioxide that now comes from all our cars and trucks."

That's quite a claim, but it's wrong. Nuclear saves only about 1/3 of what now comes from all cars and trucks (popNote). In nine paragraphs on nuclear power, Bush managed to miss the number one problem ... what do we do with nuclear waste. That has stumped us for decades. But he did mention the $1.1 billion partnership [read subsidy] for the nuclear industry.

More nuclear power may be needed, but first we need an honest discussion and better energy conservation programs.
  PopNote refuting Bush claim  
fossil fuel consumption by transportation = 26,800 TBtu in 2003.
Jet fuel = 9% of tranportation.
Throw in another 3% for buses and trains.

Cars and trucks then used 23,585 TBtu in 2003.

Nuclear power consumption for electricity production = 7937 TBtu in 2003.
So, nuclear saved* 7937 TBtu while cars and trucks used about 23,585 TBtu of fossil fuel. That's only 34%, not 100% as claimed by Bush.

* Nuclear power is actually 2% less efficient than fossil fuel plants, so it saved a bit less.
Links More Nuclear Papers, Stories, Speculation

http://zfacts.com/p/219.html | 01/18/12 07:17 GMT
Modified: Sun, 29 Mar 2009 06:00:22 GMT
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