Going nuclear?

The Economist has published a very timely special report on the nuclear power industry in its current issue. It's particularly timely for Switzerland as well since the debate about nuclear power has been reïnitiated here very recently.

Obviously the debate is a very important one, particularly given the long lead times of building power plants, and the even longer half life period of those plants' output ... I am not convinced it's a good thing that the nuclear power industry is aiming for a revival, this time even with the uncomfortable support of the environmentalist faction because of nuclear power's alleged zero carbon emission. This allegation is simply not true because mining & refining uranium requires a lot of fossil fuel (would that be grey carbon, I wonder?), so it's a question of degree again. I seem to remember to have read somewhere that the carbon content in a nuclear MW is comparable to conventionally produced power on fossil base. Strangely, the Economist does not talk about this, nor does it take into its economic consideration the very high cost of low probability accidents which are externalised to the public because there is no insurance protection available for that kind of liability. In order to be able to take sides, I would need to have these two issues clarified as well.

No comments: