Nuclear Power is a Dead End

Over the next week P’n’P will feature posters from the International Nuclear Power Fact File Poster Campaign.  The first is Nuclear Power is a Dead End.

dead end

Nuclear Power is a Dead End
Uranium will only last a few decades – what then?

Nuclear power – like the wasteful consumption of finite reserves of fossil fuels – is at a dead end. This is because the uranium, which is needed to operate nuclear power stations, is a scarce resource. “Fast breeder” reactors, with which it was hoped to stretch out the reserves for some time, have proven to be a failure on technical and commercial grounds. In just a few decades the nuclear power industry’s fuel reserves will run out Since oil and natural gas reserves will be used up in the foreseeable future, as well as uranium reserves, the human race can only meet its long-term energy needs by using forms of renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency.

Shut down nuclear power plants.


4 thoughts on “Nuclear Power is a Dead End

  1. I agree completely, spending billions of taxpayers money on and maintaining nuclear power plants is completely brain dead. As you’ve said, it’s only a finite resource with a maximum global supply of 50 odd years at best. It’s high time our politicians and world leaders put together their collective braincell and invest serious amounts of money on renewable energy.

    Props for the naomi klein link btw, I’ve read her No Logo book.

  2. This should include more geophysical knowledge of the relevant materials.

    First, mining reserves are growing. Rising prices are causing new exploration. However, the oceans have 3.3 ppb of uranium – 4.5 billion tons. (We currently use about 6500 tons per year – less than one day of coal at a large coal plant.)

    U has been recovered from the ocean at only about 10 times current U-mining costs. (U fuel is a small part of total costs, so nuclear energy cost is only slightly affected.) If mining sources dwindle, U can be recovered indefinitley from the oceans. (If we take a billion tons from the oceans over time, the coeas will still have nearly 4.5 billion tons – ocean chemistry will replace it from deep ocean bottom soils, seeps and hydrothermal vents, rivers and continental shelf seeps, etc.)

    Today, less than 0.5% of U is used as nuclear fuel. The rest is wasted if we throw away used fuel instead of recycling it.

    But then, by recycling, we can convert the other 99.3% of U into fuel. This increases nuclear fuel by 100 times. (So 50-100 years of today’s U fuel becomes 500-1000 years of U fuel; and there are enormous ‘depleted uranium’ supplies already mined and above ground – more valuable as energy instead of wasted in being dispersed from DU weapons.)

    But, there is also 4 times more thorium (Th) than U. This can also be converted to U for nuclear fuel. (The first nuclear plant at Shippingport PA, 1957, operated for its last 5 YEARS with thorium, and ended with 2-3% MORE fuel than when it started!)

    This defines ‘renewable.’

    While U remains cheap, this is also, today, “uneconomic,” but will become economic as U costs/supplies increase, which may or may not become more economic than costly solar and wind power to become more than limited ways to reduce fossil fuel supplies, pollution and CO2 emissions.

    If today’s world ran on 100% nuclear fuel, it could last millions of years.

  3. Sorry. Correction: “50-100 years of today’s U fuel becomes 5,000-10,000 years of U fuel.”

    Also, even with the higher costs of solar and wind today, they do not yet include the costs of energy storage and/or backup power essential to be reliable (daily/yearly) sources of power.

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