Skip to content


The Energy Put Into Mining, Processing, and Shipping Uranium, Plant Construction, Operation, and Decommissioning Is LESS than the Energy a Nuclear Plant Can Produce In Its Lifetime

The Energy Put Into Mining, Processing, and Shipping Uranium, Plant Construction, Operation, and Decommissioning Is LESS than the Energy a Nuclear Plant Can Produce In Its Lifetime

By WashingtonsBlog
washingtonsblog.com

 

By leading anti-war activist David Swanson, author of Day Break and War Is A Lie, who runs the websites DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org (formerly AfterDowningStreet.org)

[Preface from Washington’s Blog: As we’ve previously documented, virtually all of the nuclear reactors in the U.S. are of the same archaic design as those at Fukushima. This design was not chosen for safety reasons. Rather, it was chosen because it worked in Navy submarines, and produced plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

New US plant designs are very near being licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission without any Fukushima modifications. Indeed, given that Obama’s top adviser and top funders are connected with the nuclear power industry, they are being pushed through as quickly as possible. And – believe it or not – the same folks who built and run Fukushima will build and operate the new U.S. facilities.

In addition, governments have been covering up nuclear meltdowns for 50 years.]

The International Forum on Globalization has published the most concise, useful, readable, and damning denunciation of nuclear technology I’ve seen. And it’s available for free as a PDF right here:

Nuclear Roulette cover xxsm The Energy Put Into Mining, Processing, and Shipping Uranium, Plant Construction, Operation, and Decommissioning Is LESS than the Energy a Nuclear Plant Can Produce In Its Lifetime

Nuclear Roulette: The Case Against a “Nuclear Renaissance”

Nuclear energy suffers from the following drawbacks:

The energy put into mining, processing, and shipping uranium, plant construction, operation, and decommissioning is roughly equal to the energy a nuclear plant can produce in its lifetime. In other words, nuclear energy does not add any net energy.

Not counted in that calculation is the energy needed to store nuclear waste for hundreds of thousands of years.

Also not counted is any mitigation of the relatively routine damage done to the environment, including human health, at each stage of the process. We are giving our children cancer at an astonishing pace, through each stage from mining to operation, and through additional steps including the use of depleted uranium weapons.

Also not counted is the cost of attempting to ensure that nuclear energy states do not become nuclear weapon states (or non-state actors). [Moreover, an accident like Fukushima can literally bankrupt an entire nation, which is increasingly likely given that nuclear operators cut corners every chance they get in order to make more money.]

[Because climate is beyond the scope of what I want to focus on in Swanson’s post, I will not comment on this paragraph, other than to say that it will impress those who believe that man-made global warming is a real threat, and won’t impress those who don’t.] Nuclear energy is not an alternative to energies that increase global warming, because nuclear increases global warming. When high-grade uranium runs out, nuclear will be worse for CO2 emissions than burning fossil fuels. And as global warming advances, nuclear becomes even less efficient as reactors must shut down to avoid overheating.

The holy “marketplace” will not create or sustain a single nuclear plant. The good ol’ tax payers are on the tab to eat the financial losses and cover the costs of major disasters. The meltdown of a single reactor in the U.S. (many of them built by GE in the same manner as the Fukushima plant in Japan) could irradiate an area the size of Pennsylvania.

Nuclear disasters are covered up (corporate newspapers still regularly claim nobody died at Three Mile Island) and near misses not discussed, in part because GE owns NBC while until 2000 Westinghouse owned CBS.

Nuclear is far less efficient when all factors are considered than other available energy sources, including wind, solar, wave, hydroelectric, and geothermal. Looking good in comparison with coal is a qualification that can still kill us.

Here in Virginia the government has just reopened a nuclear plant on a fault where it was damaged and shut down by an earthquake in August. Earhquakes have been increasing in frequency dramatically, thereby increasing the danger of nuclear catastrophe.

Also here in Virginia the government is trying to charge people for producing electricity from solar and trying to lift a ban on uranium mining, with catastrophy not just risked but almost guaranteed.

It doesn’t have to go this way. These choices are not driven by necessity, but by greed, corruption, and recklessness.

Share the above linked PDF with everyone you can. It’s laid out like an argument and would make perfect preparation for a debate on nuclear energy. The author, Gar Smith, deserves huge credit. Please put it to good use.

Postscript from Washington’s Blog: As we noted in April, estimates for the”Energy Return on Investment” for nuclear power vary widely, but that nuclear is without doubt highly inefficient:

As Thomas Homer-Dixon, director of the Trudeau Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto, notes:

A better measure of the cost of oil, or any energy source, is the amount of energy required to produce it. Just as we evaluate a financial investment by comparing the size of the return with the size of the original expenditure, we can evaluate any project that generates energy by dividing the amount of energy the project produces by the amount it consumes.

Economists and physicists call this quantity the energy return on investment or E.R.O.I. For a modern coal mine, for instance, we divide the useful energy in the coal that the mine produces by the total of all the energy needed to dig the coal from the ground and prepare it for burning including the energy in the diesel fuel that powers the jackhammers, shovels and off-road dump trucks, the energy in the electricity that runs the machines that crush and sort the coal, as well as all the energy needed to build and maintain these machines.

As the average E.R.O.I. of an economy’s energy sources drops toward 1 to 1, an ever-larger fraction of the economy’s wealth must go to finding and producing energy. This means less wealth is left over for everything else that needs to be done, from building houses to moving around information to educating children.

***

Professor Charles Hall of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry provides the following graphic to illustrate the point:

CH6 The Energy Put Into Mining, Processing, and Shipping Uranium, Plant Construction, Operation, and Decommissioning Is LESS than the Energy a Nuclear Plant Can Produce In Its Lifetime Balloon graph representing quality (y graph) and quantity (x graph) of the United States economy for various fuels at various times. Arrows connect fuels from various times (i.e. domestic oil in 1930, 1970, 2005), and the size of the balloon represents part of the uncertainty associated with EROI estimates.

(Source: US EIA, Cutler Cleveland and C. Hall’s own EROI work in preparation)

(click for larger image.)

****

But what about alternative energies? Professor Hall writes:

The EROI for wind turbines compares favorably with other power generation systems (Figure 3). Baseload coal-fired power generation has an EROI between 5 and 10:1. Nuclear power is probably no greater than 5:1, although there is considerable debate regarding how to calculate its EROI. The EROI for hydropower probably exceed 10, but in most places in the world the most favorable sites have been developed.

Figure 3: EROI of various electric power generators.

 The Energy Put Into Mining, Processing, and Shipping Uranium, Plant Construction, Operation, and Decommissioning Is LESS than the Energy a Nuclear Plant Can Produce In Its Lifetime***

So what does this mean? Comparing Professor Hall’s two graphs, we can see that virtually all forms of alternative energy wind, geothermal, photovoltaic, and hydro have greater or equal EROI than fossil fuels and nuclear. Passive solar might be lower, unless it is incorporated into original building construction.

However, Professor Hall’s figures were generated in 2006. All forms of alternative energy have become more efficient since 2006.

Nate Haggens noted in 2008:

We have found the information about the EROI of nuclear power to be mostly as disparate, widespread, idiosyncratic, prejudiced and poorly documented as information about the nuclear power industry itself. Much, perhaps most, of the information that is available seems to have been prepared by someone who has made up his or her mind one-way or another (i.e. a large or trivial supplier of net energy) before the analysis is given. As is usually the case, the largest issue is often what the appropriate boundaries of analysis should be. The following diagram, which should be considered conceptually if not necessarily quantitatively appropriate, illustrates the main issues. The diagram indicates from left to right the timeline of a power plant, with the initial negative values ( phase 1 ) indicating the initial energy costs of plant construction, the large positive value generated over the reactor’s lifetime (with a correction for the energy to get/refine the fuel) and phase 3 indicating the energy required for dismantling the plant and sequestering the dangerous by products.

EROI Nuclear schematic The Energy Put Into Mining, Processing, and Shipping Uranium, Plant Construction, Operation, and Decommissioning Is LESS than the Energy a Nuclear Plant Can Produce In Its Lifetime
Figure 8 Lifecycle view of energy costs and production (Leeuwen 2005). The above figure is a general outline of the energy costs and gains lifecycle, but does not accurately reflect the operational lifetime (which is more likely to be around 50 years) or the EROI (which depends on the study looked at).
Click to Enlarge.The seemingly most reliable information on EROI is quite old and is summarized in chapter 12 of Hall et al. (1986). Newer information tends to fall into the wildly optimistic camp (high EROI, e.g. 10:1 or more, sometimes wildly more) or the extremely pessimistic (low or even negative EROI) camp (Tyner et al. 1998, Tyner 2002, Fleay 2006 and Caldicamp 2006).

In other words, the International Forum on Globalization’s claim that EROI for nuclear is less than 1:1 is – at least according to the mainstream view – on the pessimistic end of the scale.

But after Fukushima, that may be appropriate.

View the original article at Washingtons Blog

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Posted in Climate Change, Finance & Economics.

Tagged with , .


0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.

Support #altnews & keep Dark Politricks alive

Remember I told you over 5 years ago that they would be trying to shut down sites and YouTube channels that are not promoting the "Official" view. Well it's all happening now big time. Peoples Channels get no money from YouTube any more and Google is being fishy with their AdSense giving money for some clicks but not others. The time is here, it's not "Obama's Internet Cut Off Switch" it's "Trumps Sell Everyones Internet Dirty Laundry Garage Sale". This site must be on some list at GCHQ/NSA as my AdSense revenue which I rely on has gone down by a third. Either people are not helping out by visiting sponsors sanymore or I am being blackballed like many YouTube sites.

It's not just Google/YouTube defunding altenative chanels (mine was shut), but Facebook is also removing content, shutting pages, profiles and groups and removing funds from #altnews that way as well. I was recently kicked off FB and had a page "unpublished" with no reason given. If you don't know already all Facebooks Private Messages and Secret Groups are still analysed and checked for words related to drugs, sex, war etc against their own TOS. Personally I know there are undercover Irish police moving from group to group cloning peoples accounts and getting people booted. Worse than that I know some people in prison now for the content they had on their "secret private group". Use Telegrams secret chat mode to chat on, or if you prefer Wickr. If you really need to, buy a dumb phone with nothing for the NSA/GCHQ to hack into. Ensure it has no GPS tracking on it and that the battery can be removed. These are usually built for old people to get used to technology storing only a set of numbers to call. However they have no games, applications to install or other ways people can exploit the computer tracking device you carry round with you most of the day - your smart phone. If you are paranoid ensure that you can remove the battery when travelling around and do so to prevent GPS tracking or phone mast triangulation. Even with your phone in Flight mode or turned off, it can be turned on remotely and any features like front or back cameras, microphones and keylogging software can be installed to trace you.

So if your not supporting this site already which brings you news from the Left to the Right (really the same war mongering rubbish) then I could REALLY do with some..

Even if it's just £5 or tick the monthly subscription box and throw a few pound my way each month, it will be much appreciated. Read on to find out why.

Why?

Any support to keep this site would be appreciated. You could set up a monthly subscription for £2 like some people do or you could pay a one off donation as a gift.
I am not asking you to pay me for other people's articles, this is a clearing house as well as place to put my own views out into the world. I am asking for help to write more articles like my recent false flag gas attack to get WWIII started in Syria, and Trump away from Putin. Hopefully a few missiles won't mean a WikiLeaks release of that infamous video Trump apparently made in a Russian bedroom with Prostitutes. Also please note that this article was written just an hour after the papers came out, and I always come back and update them.

If you want to read JUST my own articles then use the top menu I have written hundreds of articles for this site and I host numerous amounts of material that has seen me the victim of hacks, DOS plus I have been kicked off multiple hosting companies, free blogging sites, and I have even had threats to cease and desist from the US armed forces. Therefore I have to pay for my own server which is NOT cheap. The more people who read these article on this site the more it costs me so some support would be much appreciated.

I have backups of removed reports shown, then taken down after pressure, that show collusion between nations and the media. I have the full redacted 28/29 pages from the 9.11 commission on the site which seems to have been forgotten about as we help Saudi Arabia bomb Yemeni kids hiding in the rubble with white phosphorus, an illegal weaapon. One that the Israeli's even used when they bombed the UN compound in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. We complain about Syrian troops (US Controlled ISIS) using chemical weapons to kill "beautiful babies". I suppose all those babies we kill in Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just not beautiful enough for Trumps beautiful baby ratio. Plus we kill about 100 times as many as ISIS or the Syrian army have managed by a factor of about 1000 to 1.

I also have a backup of the FOX News series that looked into Israeli connections to 9.11. Obviously FOX removed that as soon as AIPAC, ADL and the rest of the Hasbra brigade protested.

I also have a copy of the the original Liberal Democrats Freedom Bill which was quickly and quietly removed from their site once they enacted and replaced with some watered down rubbish instead once they got into power. No change to police tactics, protesting or our unfair extradition treaty with the USA but we did get a stop to being clamped on private land instead of the mny great ideas in the original.

So ANY support to keep this site running would be much appreciated! I don't have much money after leaving my job and it is a choice between shutting the server or selling the domain or paying a lot of money just so I can show this material.

Material like the FSB Bombings that put Putin in power or the Google no 1 spot when you search for protecting yourself from UK Police with "how to give a no comment interview". If you see any adverts that interest you then please visit them as it helps me without you even needing to give me any money. A few clicks per visit is all it takes to help keep the servers running and tag any tweets with alternative news from the mainstream with the #altnews hashtag I created to keep it alive!

However if you don't want to use the very obvious and cost free ways (to you) to help the site and keep me writing for it then please consider making a small donation. Especially if you have a few quid sitting in your PayPal account doing nothing useful. Why not do a monthly subscription for less money instead. Will you really notice £5 a month?



css.php