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Can nuclear power deliver? April 24, 2006

Posted by Hans De Keulenaer in nuclear, technology.
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'Can Nuclear Power Deliver?' has been based on literature review and expert interviews, and provides an overview of arguments in the nuclear debate:

Nuclear peril
  • Waste: technical solutions exist, but lack of a political agreement
  • Proliferation: can and needs to be managed
  • Nuclear safety: an issue for older nuclear plants, but promising 'passive safety' designs for new reactors
The nuclear promise
  • The power of the atom: a fistful of matter holding enough energy to power a city of a million for a year
  • Climate change mitigation: each major nuclear power station saves 6 million tonne of greenhouse gasses per year compared to fossil-based electricity generation
  • Energy security: abundant energy supply when using advanced reprocessing and fast neutron reactors
From peril to promise
  • Public opinion – taken hostage by extremes
  • Technology: extremely complex scientific & technical challenges need global cooperation and a 'man on the moon' momentum
Conclusion

Nuclear technology needs to address its problems, and holds tremendous promise if it does. The 'nuclear option' does not represent a single option, but offers many choices on building additional reactors, a moratorium ( no new reactors), phaseout (reduce existing reactors), reactor types, waste processing and R&D expenditure.

When excluding all nuclear options, a plan is needed how to build an energy system without it. The fact that we yet have to see such a (transparent) plan may relate to the fact that the numbers simply do not add up without the use of nuclear energy.

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