The GeoChristian

The Earth. Christianity. They go together.

Nuclear challenges

Here are two challenges for using nuclear energy as part of our world’s energy future:

  1. Uranium, like fossil fuels, is a limited, non-renewable resource. It is mined from the Earth, and consumed by nuclear fission. Breeder reactors can make some additional fuel, but that too is of a limited quantity. In Arizona, uranium could be declared to be a renewable resource by legislative action. That is sort of like making a law that says cows can fly or that people can breathe on the moon. A law doesn’t make it so. (Arizona Geology: Is Nuclear Energy Renewable?)
  2. The waste problem isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Not for a few hundreds of thousands of years anyways. The Yucca Mountain Repository in Nevada is over a decade behind schedule, so waste is still mostly being stored at the nuclear power plants where it was used. (Earth Magazine: Wanted: Interim nuclear waste storage site.

I’m not totally opposed to the building of new nuclear power plants (and I find the technology to be fascinating), but it is only a piece of the energy pie. I am in favor of it being a smaller piece rather than larger.

See also Time magazine’s Nuclear’s Comeback: Still No Energy Panacea.

Grace and Peace

February 17, 2009 - Posted by | Energy, Geology |

3 Comments »

  1. “I’m not totally opposed to the building of new nuclear power plants (and I find the technology to be fascinating), but it is only a piece of the energy pie. I am in favor of it being a smaller piece rather than larger.”

    That surprises me.

    The earth is only going to be habitable (by advanced life forms) for another ~25,000 years. It seems to me we can safely contain the waste that long. (After which time any leakage from nuclear waste will be background noise compared to the influx of interstellar radiation when our solar system orbits back into a galactic spiral arm.)

    I guess I could be short-sighted, though.

    And, “renewable energy” is a term, not a definition. It’s a legal term that means you can get tax benefits. Diesel is classified as “renewable energy.” Gotta pay attention to those law makers, they’re sneaky that way.

    Like

    Comment by havoc | February 17, 2009

  2. Havoc:

    Thanks for your comment. Why do you say that Earth will be habitable for another 25,000 years?

    I do believe that nuclear waste can be stored in the long term. I just don’t think we humans are wise enough, or moral enough, to do so.

    Kevin

    Like

    Comment by geochristian | February 17, 2009

  3. Really we just need to publish the findings of researchers at CERN – I heard they had found a way to harness anti-matter….or was that just a bad Dan Brown novel? Yeah, it was.

    And bio-diesel is made from yummy grease trap gleanings. So it is sort of renewable…if you hold your mouth right.

    Like

    Comment by Matt Strid | February 19, 2009


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