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The Nuclear Model

 

Nuclear a costly and inadequate response to climate change

James Hansen, the NASA scientist credited with first bringing the seriousness of rapid climate change to the attention of much of the world, has warned that the highest safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million. Current levels are closer to 385 parts per million — and rising. That means that we need to take aggressive actions to reduce emissions TODAY — not ten or 15 years from now, which is the soonest any new nuclear plant could be built in Ontario.

Today, the single biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario is coal-fired electricity. We can replace the need for coal power much more quickly by taking action to reduce peak demand (see our PeakBusters.ca website), increase efficiency and spark aggressive renewable energy development.

Nuclear is also the costliest option for replacing coal-fired electricity. To dispace a tonne of coal-plant GHGs would cost:

  • $4.11 with a natural gas-fired plant
  • $18.85 with a wind turbine
  • $29.76 with a Candu 6 nuclear unit

Nuclear energy not only relies on a non-renewable and increasingly scarce fuel (uranium), it is also not a greenhouse-gas free energy source. It produces greenhouse gases from uranium mining, ore transport, ore crushing, uranium extraction, uranium enrichment, and fuel preparation as well as nuclear power plant construction. In the paper "Nuclear Power: the energy balance" J.W. Storm and P. Smith calculate that with high-quality ores, the CO2 produced by the full nuclear life cycle is about one-half to one-third of an equivalent sized gas‐fired power station. For low-quality ores (less than 0.02% of U3O8 per tonne of ore), the CO2 produced by the full nuclear life cycle is equal to that produced by the equivalent gas-fired power station.

 

There are better answers to meeting our electricity needs >


We need to take aggressive actions to reduce emissions TODAY — not ten or 15 years from now, which is the soonest any new nuclear plant could be built in Ontario.

Ontario's Green Future

Ontario Clean Air AllianceThe Ontario Clean Air Alliance is a coalition of health and environmental organizations, faith communities, municipalities, utilities, unions, corporations and individuals working for cleaner air through a coal phase-out and a shift to a renewable electricity future.

www.cleanairalliance.org
416-260-2080
contact@cleanairalliance.org