environment & politics

Nuclear Unclear

The government wants to go nuclear to go green.

Nuclear power. It’s low carbon, right, and we’re up against the clock to reduce our emissions. You can’t see the smoke billowing into the sky, so it must be clean. And it’s one of the most efficient forms of energy generation, so the theory goes.

But there’s a little bit that needs to be done before the theory can begin. First you need your uranium ore, which at current capabilities of mining and milling is “uneconomic and uses more energy to recover than it will ultimately produce”.

You have to inefficiently hack it out of the ground – foreign ground, in fact. And that’s all right, because the Western world is used to exploiting foreign lands in this way, so once we’ve ruined some communities we’re good to go. We’ve taken nimbyism to a whole new level. This is the future.

Here are the World’s biggest uranium producers, if you’re interested. Notice that none of them are local, which means you have to ship the ore across half the globe and back to Blighty, also generating an environmental impact. And if you free marketeers are worrying about oil price fluctuations, then once the world converts to nuclear, you better start thinking about leaning so heavily on uranium prices, which is – gosh! – a finite resource, too.

Once all that is over, once we’ve done the high carbon bits, the cultural and environmental destruction, we can preach how marvellous and clean it all is. Apart from when we need to dispose of the waste, but that’s all right – we’ll put it in a hole and let the next few thousand generations of children deal with that. Simples.

Nuclear power: all you’re doing is moving pollution elsewhere.

(So what is the solution to all our energy problems? I hear you cry. Why not read this thorough document for a start, which makes some stunning conclusions based on very conservative predictions.)

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

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