Five reasons to oppose nuclear

One of the most read articles on this blog is ” 10 reasons to support nuclear power “, which I wrote in 2009 when the situation was very different. A lot happened since then that has made me reconsider my stance on nuclear, so here is a counter-point.

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Nuclear saves lives, decreases emissions

Nuclear Power Yes PleaseWhile I am not advocating nuclear as much as I was doing a few years ago – the incident in Fukushima have shown how the technology can be dangerous – I am still believing that it is better than coal. (Sidenote : anything IS better than coal…)

According to a study quoted by Cleantechies, ” The use of nuclear power from 1971 to 2009 prevented more than 1.8 million premature deaths related to air pollution and 64 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Of course, there are huge safety concerns over nuclear and having it based on plutonium over thorium wasn’t the best idea Humankind had, but who knows what will happen.

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A year after Fukushima, and the future of nuclear

A year after the catastrophic events in Fukushima, Japan is planning to be nuclear free by May 5. It is I believe a good opportunity to focus on the future of the industry. Opinions diverge on this critical issue.

Some believe nuclear is bound to disappear as it has a negative learning curve and that it is increasingly expensive compared to renewables. It is true the latter are becoming cheaper and cheaper.

However, some believe that nuclear will keep on expanding globally (1,2,3 ) as it stays one of the best solutions to provide gigawatts of electricity without greenhouse gases.

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The Thorium Dream

I was mentioning last week a documentary called The Thorium Dream, produced by Motherboard.tv. Lasting less than half an hour it is an absolute must-watch to grab the potential of this technology.

I know we shouldn’t cringe to just one solution. But I now believe that nuclear risk and waste free is one day possible. Thorium is already being used in India, and I believe it will be used more and more.

While we are waiting for thorium to be ready for commercialization and its mass use, we should work massively on efficiency and renewables.

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Toward risk-free nuclear with Thorium ?

The French magazine Science & Vie [Fr] published this month a lengthy series of articles on thorium-based nuclear, and how it could solve the various issues encountered with uranium-based energy generation.

Much more safer, without the need to be enriched, Thorium is also four times more abundant than Uranium. Molten salt reactors could also recycle the waste of current reactors.

In today’s post we will have a look at the various other advantages of this still not commercially developped technology.

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Worth an article – my April 2011 tweets

I have been committed since January 2007 to bring you each month a selection of the latest headlines and best researches on sustainable development, climate change and the world energy sector.

However, I don’t blog as much as I would like to and generally write around 25 posts per month. But many more news are worth reading. This is why I use Twitter to share more news that are worth your time.

I believe it offers a good complement to this website. So if you are on Twitter and like this selection, don’t hesitate to start following me.

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An overview of future fission nuclear technologies

Nuclear plant in NorwayAfter my articles on the 10 reasons to support nuclear power and the one the past and present of nuclear energy it is time to have a look at the main future technologies.

David JC MacKay on his website mentions two main fission possibilities : fast breeders and thorium and fusion. We will have a look at thesemost promising solutions as well as to other technologies.

The needs for safer, cheaper and cleaner nuclear solutions are important as the IAEA forecasts the demand for nuclear is to increase by 60 percent in the next twenty years.

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10 reasons to support nuclear power

Warning: This is an old post from 2009, before the catastrophe of Fukushima, Japan and before the sharp decrease of prices for both solar and wind. I have since then changed my position on nuclear, cf Five reasons to oppose nuclear. Some points below however, remain valid. 

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