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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Nuclear Now

Wired Magazine

The theme of this article is that if we are to become a "green" society, nuclear power is the best and cleanest choice of energy sources. Some relevant data:

1. "A Coal-fired plant release 100 times more radioactive material than an equivalent nuclear reactor - right into the air..."
2. Energy demand is expected to triple by 2050.
3.China could build a Three Gorges dam every year and not be able to meet its demand for electricity.
4. Renewable sources are land- and capital-intensive. "Jesse Ausubel, director of the New York Rockefeller University's human environment program calls them 'false gods.'"
5. A 1,000 megawatt photovoltaic plant would require about 60 square miles of panes and the "largest industrial building ever built." The wind equivalent would require 300 square miles of turbines plus a huge infrastructure of transmission lines.
6. The "clean coal" touted by both Bush and Kerry would possibly triple production costs and leave over a million tons of extracted carbon per year.
7. Biomass would require over 1,000 square miles to produce the same amount of energy a nuclear plant could produce in 0.33 square miles.
8. New design with gravity, rather than pump driven, cooling systems are much cheaper and safer and are competitive with coal-fired plants.
9. France gets 77% of its energy from nukes; Belgium 58%, Sweden 46%, Switzerland 37%, Japan 31%.
10. US reactors have been able to increase production from 60% of capacity to 90%, the equivalent of building 40 new reactors without an iota of increased carbon emissions.

Burning hydrocarbons is a luxury the planet cannot afford.
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