Is nuclear power green?

Zachary Moitoza has been studying energy policy since at least 2005 (when he started at University of Oregon). He is the author of the book “The Nuclear Economy: Why Only Nuclear Power Can Revitalize The Economy And Environment,” a realization he came to after years of careful research on the energy scene.  

Here is an excerpt of Zachary writing for the Eugene Oregon Examiner

When people think of nuclear power, they typically think of something that is somehow unnatural, that is far from “green.” Wind, solar, biofuels, “renewables” are supposed to be green, right? However, upon careful scrutiny, we realize that “renewables” are not only not green—they’re worse for the environment than fossil fuels. And nuclear, in contrast, is not only the one and only “green” energy resource available, it is the one alternative available to fossil fuels, which are peaking and going into inexorable decline. When this gets out later this decade, it will become a scandal.

(…) We need energy sources that can be turned on and off, energy sources that can be used when we want to use them. Wind peaks at night, when demand for power is less, and takes up 500 square miles of land to produce as much (intermittent) power as one 1.5 gigawatt nuclear plant. If you don’t store wind and solar using lead-acid batteries, the power is useless, except for something that is always on, like a hot water heater. If you store it, the EROEI is negative, like biofuels. Wind and solar are like the electricity sector’s equivalent of the corn ethanol scam. Hydro and geothermal can’t be expanded.

(…) A growing number of environmentalists have come to learn the error of their former ways, and have been converted to supporting nuclear power. James Lovelock, Stewart Brand, Patrick Moore, James Hansen, Mark Lynas, and Barry Brook are among the recent converts. Hansen and Brook in particular were convinced by the promise of the Integral Fast Reactor, a passively safe nuclear breeder reactor unlimited by fuel supplies, which a waste product sharply reduced both in radioactive lifetime and amount.

So, we see that appearances can be deceiving. Only nuclear is green, and nuclear is the only alternative to declining fossil fuels. Conservation will be key for decades to come, as the transition is made to breeder reactors. Fast breeder (or simply ‘fast’) reactors require just one ton of uranium fuel per gigawatt-year, whereas light water reactors require as much as 180. The main reason why nuclear wins is density: nuclear fuel is literally ten million times as energy dense as fossil fuels. And nature loves density.

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