Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Icon of Environmentalism, Talks About Nuclear Power

Stewart Brand, who founded the Whole Earth Catalog, makes the case for nuclear power being green. The only major counter argument is that current plant designs are a multi-billion dollar gamble for utilities. It's time for the technology folks to create smaller plants that don't require as much upfront investment.

The US may be the Saudi Arabia of coal but coal has very real problems when compared to nuclear:
The waste from coal means gigatons of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. There is also the fly ash, slurry, and all the rest of the stuff. The sheer quantities get to be overwhelming. Eighty rail cars a day of coal, each one weighing a hundred tons goes into a 1-gigawatt coal-fired plant, and that multiplies to 19,000 tons of carbon dioxide, every day. Compare that to one year of a 1-gigawatt nuclear plant, which puts out 20 tons of very dense nuclear waste that goes into dry cask storage. You know exactly where it is and you monitor it, and it's not doing anything bad. That's a pretty strong contrast

1 comment:

James Aach said...

FYI: Stewart Brand has also been kind enough to endorse my book “Rad Decision: A Novel of Nuclear Power.” One thing most pro-nuke and anti-nuke folks share is a lack of understanding of how the technology is used in the real world. I've worked at nuclear plants over 20 years and have written a novel to answer that question for the general reader. “Rad Decision” is free online with no advertising, and it is also in paperback.