Why We Don't Need To Build More Nuclear Power Plants
- Nuclear reactors are pre-deployed weapons of mass destruction and pose an unacceptable risk. We need to eliminate, not proliferate them. An attack could render a city like Manhattan a sacrifice zone and kill hundreds of thousands within weeks.
- There is a misconception that nuclear power produces no carbon dioxide (CO2), when in reality the twenty steps of the fuel and plant cycle require immense amounts of fossil fuel support. However, the misconception is that we would need 300 in the U.S. and 1,500 worldwide just to make a dent in greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions. One reactor takes about ten years to build. So, even if nukes were a good global warming solution, the time to construct a significant number of reactors would put off the solution for many years.
- Devoting scarce resources to shore up nuclear takes away from the real climate change solutions - conservation, energy efficiency and renewables like wind and solar.
- Building enough reactors to offset climate change is cost prohibitive. Reactors cost $4 billion or more each a decade ago and the price hasn't gone down.
- Nuclear reactor proliferation means more waste with no place to put it. A new Yucca Mountain-style dump every four years would be needed if 1,500 new reactors were built.
- Nuclear power is not emissions-free. From uranium mining, milling and enrichment to construction and waste storage, nuclear uses fossil fuels. Studies show that there will be a net energy loss - that is more fossil fuel support than electrical output, once our limited amount of high grade ore is depleted. Just like oil, uranium supplies are dwindling.
- Even nuclear industry executives aren't convinced. One described nuclear expansion as "comatose" and an option that would give his chief financial officer and Standard and Poors "a heart attack."
- More reactors send the wrong message abroad. The peaceful atom is a myth already exposed by the weapons programs of Indian, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea and Iran.
- Reactors at the beginning and the end of their lifespan are at their most dangerous, prone to breakdown and accident. Most of the 103 operating now are nearing the end of their cycles. Adding new ones doubles the risk of accident.
- Electricity is not the biggest problem. It's fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Adding nuclear won't address this or reduce these major ghg emitters. Electricity consists of only 1/6 of our total energy consumption. 83% of our energy consumption is in other areas like auto use, industrial manufacturing, mining, etc.