Aug. 28, 2009
"What a disaster -- billions of dollars pissed away on nothing."
Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Washington-based Nonproliferation Policy Education Centre, said of the Nevada Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository option which has been derailed.
The share of nuclear energy in worldwide energy consumption is marginal and has been declining for several years. This is revealed in a study by independent experts of the energy and nuclear sector which was published by the German Federal Environment Ministry today.
As Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: "The renaissance of nuclear energy, much trumpeted by its supporters, is not taking place. The only thing frequently revived is the announcement. The study shows: the number of old nuclear power plants which are decommissioned worldwide is greater than the number of new ones taking up operation. Available resources, engineering performance and funds are not even enough to stop the downward trend, let alone increase the number of reactors. All the facts are in favour of phasing out this technology while at the same time expanding the use of renewable energies and energy efficiency, as this is a promising option for the future."
Wanted: Friendly, open-minded community in need of jobs and a whack of infrastructure cash. Must be willing to play host to nuclear waste, perhaps until the end of time.
More than six decades after joining the nuclear club, Canada is home to 22 nuclear reactors, 18 of them in operation, producing about 15 per cent of the country's electricity. Canada also has 40,000 metric tonnes of radioactive waste -- and counting.
Now, Canada is preparing to get rid of its nuclear detritus once and for all -- by burying it.
The human race has never successfully disposed of anything. The word "disposal" is undefined in scientific terms and should not be used. The only way we know to truly get rid of dangerous material is to destroy it, or to neutralize it. We do not have the ability to do either with radioactive waste....
Without a nuclear phase-out plan, burying nuclear waste under-ground can NOT make the world safe from the threat of a massive nuclear catastrophe caused by the dispersal of unburied waste. To understand why, see http://ccnr.org/K-9_syndrome.ppt .
Plans to bury irradiated nuclear fuel are really motivated by two desires: (1) to solve the industry's public relations problem so it can continue to produce more and more of the stuff, and (2) to get the irradiated fuel into one centralized location for reprocessing -- which means dissolving the irradiated fuel in nitric acid to allow for the extraction of the small percentage of plutonium contained in the irradiated fuel, leaving millions of gallons of high-level liquid radioactive waste behind to be re-solidified and eventually buried as radioactive waste.
In my view, geologic disposal is not a plan to make the world safer from nuclear wastes, but a pretext to give the nuclear industry a chance to expand for centuries to come, making the world less safe by creating horrific security problems through the "plutonium economy", and making the radioactive waste problem more intractable.
- By Dr. Gordon Edwards.
In the Nevada Desert, the US Federal government has spent the last 22 years hollowing out the inside of a mountain – but the whole project has been a complete waste of time. In a staggeringly expensive about turn, the Yucca Mountain project is about to be canned.
2 min. video
The dirty-energy economy has brought pollution and poverty to too many. But a clean-energy economy can bring opportunity, health, and wealth to struggling communities. Clean-energy jobs such as weatherizing homes, installing solar panels, and manufacturing wind turbines will put people to work in their own communities.
"In every community you find people who are opposed," said Smitherman. "Some will express opposition. But support for green energy is very, very, very high."
Ken Kozlik, chief operating officer of the Independent Electricity System Operator, said power consumption has fallen so dramatically at industrial plants that some power suppliers have had to pay the operator to continue pumping power into the grid.
Ontario's all-time high power use was 27,000 megawatts, but this year it has fallen to as low as 10,700 megawatts, where the province's power consumption was in 1997.
20,000 discarded uranium fuel rods stored in the Arctic Circle are corroding. The possible result? Detonation of a massive radioactive bomb experts say could rival the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
In countries like Greece and Israel, Barber says, solar water heating systems are mandatory. He's encouraged by a pilot project in Markham where some are being installed with the municipality picking up half the cost.
"China is the number one producer and user of these systems. They have enough of these on houses over there to eliminate the need for 40 nuclear reactors."
Barber thinks the $26 billion it will cost to build a new nuclear reactor in Ontario could be better spent on alternatives,
"For $26 billion you could put one of these on almost every house in Canada and you'd be further ahead than nuclear. There are some government incentives but not nearly enough to make them attractive yet. They will definitely save a lot of money and greenhouse emissions.
"It's a pretty simple design, a new design made for colder climates."
Bruce Power, an Ontario company exploring nuclear development in the province, has put up billboards pitching the power source as a clean energy alternative in four Alberta communities.
But one of the company’s ads recently was painted over with a glowing, dead cow with a nuclear symbol branded on its rump and the slogan “A New Brand of AB Beef.” There was also a radioactive symbol painted in the “o” in Bruce Power’s name.