Nuclear power bugs me terribly – I don’t believe it’s the answer to our global warming woes. I think a lot of my reaction isn’t based on science, but more on the fear of nuclear war while growing up and incidents like Chernobyl which is still a major threat two decades after the disaster; but there’s something that just seems so inherently wrong about it.
Radiation poisoning aside, perhaps nuclear actually isn’t the panacea its proponents would seem to tout from a carbon dioxide reduction point of view either.
It appears that the carbon dioxide emissions from the nuclear power industry are quite substantial and according to some Australian academics from Monash University, high-grade uranium ore, like oil, will become scarce, making the fuel less environmentally friendly and more costly to extract.
Creating sufficient grade uranium for power generation from lower-quality deposits involves increased mining and refining more ore. Even transporting increased levels of ore will mean more diesel-powered vehicles – a major source of greenhouse emissions in uranium mining. In addition to the increased CO2 issue, there will also be more contaminants around to poison and mar the environment.
As always, I maintain that much of the motivation behind these large scale and complex projects has very little to do with preserving the environment and more to do with control of the masses by government and big business, to whom the term “self sufficiency” equates to less profits. So many of us can capture the water we need, grow food and generate the power we require – but there’s simply not enough money in that to sustain the machine of hyperconsumption.