Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The high price of nukes compared with efficiency and renewables

One of the most excellent websites, Climate Progress, reports today about a nonsense filled pro-nuke Op-Ed.

The claim was made that it would take half the area of Japan to replace nuclear with wind power.  It turns out that claim is wrong in many ways, starting with the erroneous change from millions to billions.  So it's wrong by a factor of something like 1000x.

And that's counting the total area over which wind is captured.  Most of an actual wind farm is empty land space, and farming and ranching can continue as before.  The actual land required for siting the turbines is a mere 19,000 acres, or 30 square miles.  And the cost would be lower than a comparable construction of new nuclear plants.

A fascinating thing about nuclear power is the negative learning curve in cost efficiency.  Most technologies show a positive learning curve, in which the more some product is produced the more cheaply it can be produced.  But very curiously, nuclear has gone in the opposite direction since the very beginning.  And regardless of what you have heard about the nuclear experience in France, it is actually similar to what has gone elsewhere if you look at the numbers: their costs have gone up too.  And operations costs continue to rise.  Why is this so?  Read the linked article.  It's clear that humanity is not ready for nuclear power.  As someone said recently, we should study nuclear power for another 12,000 years or so.

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