Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Nuclear power plants will cost trillions of dollars.   I advocate a completely government funded 10 to 12 trillion dollar plant to displace all of the world's coal capacity with nuclear power.   This is easily technically achievable and would save the earth's atmosphere from immanent destruction.   I note that destruction of the atmosphere will involve considerably more money.   In fact, destruction of the earth's atmosphere will make all amounts of money worthless entirely.

I have noted at DKos, and will post here that the external cost difference between nuclear power - which is very low risk - and coal can be estimated at more than 10's of trillions of dollars just in damage to the environment and totally excluding internal costs.

Question 2:   This depends on whether you consider the burning of biomass in huts - responsible for many millions of deaths in the third and second world from air pollution.

If you simply consider electricity, renewable energy both as primary and secondary energy produces less than one exajoule of electricity and less than 2 exajoules of primary energy - not counting hydroelectricity which is tapped out and dependent on the dubious continuous existence of glaciers.

Question 3:

Nuclear energy produces close to 30 exajoules of primary energy, and 10 exajoules of electrical energy.  It is the largest single greenhouse gas free energy in the world.

If the current proposed/ordered and under construction nuclear plants are all built, the primary energy will increase to 60 exajoules, about half of what coal produces.

In Greenpeace they like to discuss percentages and substitute them for absolute numbers.   This is a form of mathematical illiteracy of the first order.   For instance "world production of solar energy has increased by 100% since 2000!" means nothing if solar electricity is the equivalent of one or two natural gas plants.

Once again Greenpeace is being a force of ignorance here.

Question 4:   Predictions about the energy future are usually nonsensical.  None have been more nonsensical than the Greenpeace prediction, now going on many decades, that nuclear energy would just go away.   A few years ago, five or ten years, no one was talking about new nuclear power.    Now everyone is talking about it.

Ralph Nader - a rather heinous idiot in the United States - ran around during the 1970's saying that solar energy would provide 100% of the world's energy by the year 2000.

Question 5:  The word "lethal" means it had killed or injured someone.    Since the storage of spent nuclear fuel has not killed anyone, the amount of "lethal" nuclear waste is zero.  

This compares very favorably with coal, oil, natural gas and even biomass waste, all of which kill continuously, in numbers measuring in the millions per year.   Greenpeace mentions this usually as an aside; they hardly care at all about air pollution or else they would demand that it be stopped.

Interestingly - familiarity with the Bateman equations would be necessary here - it is readily shown that the accumulation of fission products is governed by equilibrium.   Thus nuclear energy is the only form of energy for which there is both a theoretical and practical maximum amount of so called "nuclear wastes" that can accumulate.   In some ways this is regrettable, since many fission products are extremely valuable material.   It can be shown that it will never be possible to accumulate enough strontium-90, for instance, to make enough radioisotopic generators to displace 3 coal plants.

Question 5:

The nuclear fuel cycle does indeed increase, albeit very slightly, the probability of weapons proliferation.   However the number of nuclear weapons that has been built with commercial nuclear fuel is one - it was tested by the United States - an extremely sophisticated weapons country - in 1962.

It is easy to minimize this risk through fuel management strategies and by the fissioning of weapons grade materials in power reactors.   However whether or not nuclear weapons can be made depends in no way on commercial nuclear power.   Both Isreal and North Korea possess these weapons without commercial nuclear power.   Neither Belgium, nor France, nor Switzerland, nor Finland, nor Japan...despite very sophisticated knowledge of nuclear fuel and the possession and operation of large reactors, possess nuclear weapons.

I note that Greenpeace has not called for the banning of fossil fuels even though one of the worst military killings of all time involved the fire bombing - using the petroleum product napalm - of a number of European and Japanese cities.   In fact the firebombing of Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo... made the nuclear war events something of an unfortunate sideshow.

The incidence of nuclear wars in the last 50 years is zero.   The incidence of fossil fuel wars in the last 50 years is much greater than zero.

Question 6:
Nuclear power has been in practice for 50 years.   There has been exactly one Chernobyl scale disaster.   This "disaster" killed far fewer people than the normal operations of coal facilities in Europe in the last month.   Moreover there is no reasonable way to prevent coal operations from continuing to kill constantly, daily and regularly, since there is no way to treat air pollution comprehensively.  By contrast, the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl was not repeated.

I really can't stomach looking at the Greenpeace site, since ignorance troubles me.   Maybe you can inform me whether Greenpeace is calling for the phase out of aircraft because of the crash of Boeing 737's?

This is experimental evidence for the frequency probability of nuclear accidents.   However the Chernobyl accident was with an RBMK type reactor with a graphite core and a positive void coefficient being operated under unauthorized experimental conditions.   The experimentally observed probability of PWR or BWR fatal accidents is thus far zero.  

Nuclear energy has produced more than 300 exajoules of primary energy since 1980, most of it from light water (and a few heavy water) moderated reactors.   Thus the fatality rate per exajoule is probably the lowest for any form of energy in the nuclear case.

If you think that repeating rhetorical - and frankly illiterate - nonsense from the Greenpeace website constitutes thinking, think again, or don't think -   It makes no difference whatsoever.

I stand 100% all of my remarks about Greenpeace and I thank you for the chance to once again make them more specific and clear.  Greenpeace is a force for ignorance, enormous ignorance.

by NNadir on Mon Jan 8th, 2007 at 08:05:55 PM EST
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