Nuclear 2.0: Why a Green Future Needs Nuclear Power
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By making use of the latest in world energy statistics, author Mark Lynas shows that with wind and solar still at only about one percent of global primary energy, looking to renewable energy as a solution to deliver all the world’s power is a dangerously delusional concept. Moreover, with no possibility reducing the world’s energy usage—when the developing world is fast extricating itself from poverty and adding the equivalent of a new Brazil to the global electricity consumption each year—additional solutions are needed. This book then details how the antinuclear movement of the 1970s and 1980s succeeded only in making the world more dependent on fossil fuels. Instead of making the same mistake again, this book shows how all those who want to see a low-carbon future need to join forces by backing an ambitious proposal for a combined investment in wind, solar, and nuclear power.
nuclear plants to be about 140 gigawatts; roughly half the entire current installed coal capacity in the US.7 More than 1,000 nuclear plants were originally proposed; had they all been built, the US would now be running an entirely carbon-free electricity system. In the United States during the heyday of the anti-nuclear movement between 1972 and 1984, coal consumption by US utilities doubled, from 318 million to 602 million tonnes.8 Although it is often claimed by Greens that their anti-nuclear
and nuclear power is no exception. Sceptics might ask whether the stakes are not higher in the case of nuclear: if things do go wrong, are the results not far worse than with other technologies? To try to address this, it is worth looking in detail at the two major civilian nuclear accidents that have released substantial quantities of radiation, at Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011. Fukushima The accident at Fukushima began as a consequence of the colossal magnitude-9.0 earthquake
the US Oak Ridge National Laboratory suggests that full-scale core melt in Unit 1 had likely begun to take place within as little as five hours from the onset of the emergency. Thereafter, molten core materials – about 140 tonnes of uranium oxide, zirconium and stainless steel – probably slumped down to the bottom of the reactor vessel.4 Glowing red-hot like a lava flow, this molten mass then melted through the steel base of the reactor vessel and dropped on to the concrete floor underneath – a
peculiar orange flash, an even bigger hydrogen explosion tore apart Unit 3’s outer building, throwing radioactive material even higher into the air than the Unit 1 detonation. Hoses and fire trucks were damaged or put out of action by falling concrete, and the workers had to start from scratch once again. On 15 March, Unit 4 also blew up, at the same time as a still-unidentified noise took place somewhere inside Unit 2’s containment, releasing the greatest amount of radiation of the whole event.
contribute just over 8,000TWh. Is this realistic? It certainly implies a major effort by the nuclear industry to globally streamline and modularize the supply chain in order to get costs down and produce the necessary number of finished reactors. It also requires a move by the world’s regulators to speed up their work: new, safer reactor designs will need to be brought online quickly, without years or even decades of regulatory delay. We have some historical precedent for this build rate: