The New Nuclear Craze

There is a new discussion about nuclear energy, prompted by well-founded concerns about carbon emissions and fueled by a pro-nuclear documentary called “Pandora’s Promise.” Add a statement by James E. Hansen — who famously sounded the alarm on climate change — and, of course, industry propaganda, and presto: We Love Nukes.

Before we all become pro-nuclear greens, however, you’ve got to ask three questions: Is nuclear power safe and clean? Is it economical? And are there better alternatives?

No, no and yes. So let’s not swap the pending environmental disaster of climate change for another that may be equally risky.

Read the rest of this column, here.

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2 Comments

  1. Mr. Bittman,
    It is well known by nuclear engineers and physicists engaged in the production of nuclear fuel that it requires more electrical energy to create reactor fuel and bomb material than is released in the exploding bomb or the complete fission of the reactor fuel. That is, it costs more money to burn fossil fuels to create electrical energy to create reactor fuel material, than is recouped by using the created reactor fuel material in a nuclear reactor to create electrical energy. This is energetically and economically wasteful.
    France creates ~80% of their electrical energy from nuclear power. The nuclear fuel is provided by the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran and is considered as foreign aid. To create the nuclear fuel in the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, requires more electrical energy than is recovered by using the created nuclear fuel to create electrical energy in France. Let a word to the wise be sufficient.
    The one drawback of Solar Energy Generating System (SEGS) is that it does not produce electric power at night. What is needed is an energy storage device that can be charged during the day and used as an electric energy source at night. Nuclear plants can be that energy storage device. i.e. Nuclear fuel can be created during the day using the electric energy from half the solar array, and that fuel can be used to create electric energy at night.
    The energy source for SEGS i.e. the sun, is free, while the electrical energy source to create the nuclear fuel for a nuclear reactors costs $660 million dollars per year for one continuously running million-horse power plant. This figure was computed at an electrical energy cost of 10 cents per kilowatt hr.
    Approximately half of SEGS will be used to supply electric power to create nuclear fuel during the day to be used at night to generate nighttime electricity.
    J.M. Kingsley III, Ph.D.

  2. Dear Mark,
    I wrote a rebuttal to your column. I’d love to continue this conversation.

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/mark-bittmans-renewables-delusions/

    Thank You,
    Jessica Lovering
    Policy Analyst | The Breakthrough Institute
    Energy and Climate Program
    http://thebreakthrough.org/
    Twitter: @J_Lovering

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