nuclear energy the answer to what exactly?

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-08-15 09:54

Is the nuclear industry exploiting our concern over global warming by representing nuclear power as a carbon-free electricity source and global climate saviour? Let’s not forget that the nuclear fuel cycle releases carbon dioxide during mining, fuel production, transport, plant construction and decommissioning, and that there is no responsible way to ‘dispose’ of radioactive waste anywhere in the world.

These statistics supplied by Earthlife Africa on nuclear technology made me sit up and take note recently:

• there are only 22 nuclear reactors under construction in the world
• 5 of these began construction over 20 years ago
• of the remaining 20, construction of 14 has been suspended
• in India, the country with the most recent and current construction experience, completion costs of the last 10 reactors have averaged at least 300% over budget...

The average construction time for nuclear plants has increased from 66 months in the mid 1970's to 116 months (nearly 10 years) for completions between 1995 and 2000.

The costs of South Africa’s PBMR (pebble bed modular reactor) have hiked from R2 billion in 1999 to R16 billion at last count, and construction hasn’t yet begun. Forecast date: was 2007, is now a hopeful 2015.

We’ve blogged about nuclear energy, what’s happening and whether or not it is the answer to South Africa’s energy crisis before:

The PBMR explained
Is nuclear the answer
10 reasons why the PBMR project is not a solution for SA
Nuclear reactor on your doorstep register as an interested party in the the Environmental Impact Assessment for the nuclear power station, and more interesting reading

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