And Nuclear Pumps Out a Lot of Carbon Dioxide
It is well-documented that nuclear energy is very expensive and bad for the environment.
Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Peter Bradford notes:
If asked whether we should increase our reliance on caviar to fight world hunger, most people would laugh. Relying on an overly expensive commodity to perform an essential task spends too much money for too little benefit, while foreclosing more-promising approaches.
That is nuclear power’s fundamental flaw in the search for plentiful energy without climate repercussions, though reactors are also more dangerous than caviar unless you’re a sturgeon.
Nuclear power is so much more expensive than alternative ways of providing energy that the world can only increase its nuclear reliance through massive government subsidy—like the $8 billion loan guarantee offered by the federal government to a two-reactor project in Georgia approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earlier this year.
Many more such direct government subsidies will be needed to scale up nuclear power to any great extent.
John Rowe, former chief executive of Exelon Corp., an energy company that relies heavily on nuclear power, recently said, “At today’s [natural] gas prices, a new nuclear power plant is out of the money by a factor of two.” He added, “It’s not something where you can go sharpen the pencil and play. It’s economically wrong.” His successor, Christopher Crane, recently said gas prices would have to increase roughly fivefold for nuclear to be competitive in the U.S.
Countries that choose power supplies through democratic, transparent and market-based methods aren’t building new reactors.
Nuclear may also provide a lower return on energy invested than renewable forms of alternative energy. In other words, it might take more energy to create nuclear energy than other forms of power … which is worse for the environment.
But many environmentalists believe that nuclear is vital to prevent climate change. How could they be so wrong?
Because the nuclear industry has spent massive amounts of money on lobbying and pr efforts, and has been the elephant in the room in lobbying for climate change legislation that backs nuclear as a “clean” energy source.
Remember, Dick Cheney – whose Halliburton company builds nuclear power plants, and which sold nuclear secrets to Iran – has repeatedly, falsely claimed that nuclear power reduces greenhouse gasses, and in a 2004 appearance on C-Span he said that nuclear is “carbon-free”.
Nuclear is also so dangerous – remember Fukushima? – that the former head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that it should be phased out altogether.
Faulty Assumptions Are Leading to Bad Policy
America is not learning from its mistakes. The U.S. is not only subsidizing the construction of new nuclear plants in America – which don’t include the safety fixes which Fukushima showed were needed, but the U.S. is forcing Japan to re-start its nuclear program after the Fukushima disaster because:
Japanese nuclear policy is closely linked also to the nuclear non-proliferation and environmental policies aimed at preventing the global warming under the Obama administration.
For the same reasons, the U.S. has gone to great lengths to help Japan cover up the severity of the Fukushima disaster, including backing Japan’s recent enactment of a state secrecy law which outlaws independent reporting on Fukushima.
In other words, faulty U.S. policy on climate has led our government to back fascism in Japan.
So What’s the Answer?
So what’s the solution? Carbon credits?
No … the leading climate change activists say that carbon credits may increase carbon emissions.
Oil, natural gas, coal?
Decentralizing energy production, increasing efficiency, and increasing energy conservation are the real solutions for the environment.
Watch this must-see talk by energy engineer Amory Lovins, this must-watch-interview of Lovins by former nuclear executive and nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen, and this inspiring talk by Justin Hall Tipping.