The recent release of the film, “Pandora’s Promise,” provides a forum for a small group of formerly anti-nuclear environmentalists to affirm their renewed faith in nuclear energy, notwithstanding the opening images of the wreckage of the Fukushima-Daiichi plant which still now continues to spew radioactive contamination into the planet’s air, water, soils, and ultimately into the food chain of all living beings on Earth.
But the underlying premise of this turncoat lineup of talking heads, namely that nuclear energy can provide an urgent solution to the rapid increase of global warming, is contradicted by nuclear energy’s actual carbon cycle, something its proponents often fail to factor in.
Nuclear plant construction requires an up-front period of ten years. It is not a quick solution. From mining, milling, enrichment, actual physical construction on site, including transportation between links in the chain, not to mention the use of fossil fuels in the decommissioning process of a plant, and the necessity, post-decommissioning, to continue circulating water to the cooling pools, and the casking and transportation of nuclear waste, nuclear energy has such a significant carbon footprint that a plant has to operate at least 10 years to be a "wash."
Market forces are such that at present, nuclear energy has ceased to be cost-effective, evidenced by the closing of San Onofre in California, Chrystal River in Florida, and Kewaunee in Wisconsin. Meantime, wind, and sun are there for much more rapid capture by alternative technologies.
June 22, 2013