Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Nuclear Energy Myth by Chuck Baclagon

This is in response to the front-page article titled “Nuke energy key to stem climate change” (3/2/09), which is about the nuclear industry’s claim that nuclear power has a role in climate change mitigation.

Nuclear power in fact undermines climate protection and can only make a negligible contribution to carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction.

The nuclear industry would like us to believe that nuclear power offers a much better option for generating electricity because it does not release significant amounts of greenhouse gases or toxic pollution. However, nuclear power plants are not much of an improvement over conventional coal-burning power plants despite claims that nuclear is the “clean air energy.”

Uranium mining, milling, leaching, plant construction and decommissioning are all energy-intensive activities which produce substantial amounts of greenhouse gases. Taking into account the carbon-equivalent emissions
associated with the entire nuclear life cycle, nuclear plants contribute significantly to climate change and will contribute even more as stockpiles of high-grade uranium are depleted.

Click on the image for more information as to why Nuclear not the answer to climate change

Click on the image for more information as to why nuclear is not the answer to climate change

Even assuming that the nuclear industry is the largest carbon-free energy source, as proponents claim, even if the industry quadruples its generating capacity, this would only reduce CO2 emissions from the energy sector by a mere six percent by 2050. Yet to achieve that, 1,300 large reactors would have to be built. That means one reactor every two weeks, starting from today to 2050, with investment costs reaching up to $10 trillion.

Add this to the insurmountable problem of radioactive nuclear waste whose toxicity lasts for 12,000 human generations, and nuclear energy is clearly not the right choice and should definitely not be part of any climate change strategy.

Click here to to download our Briefing Paper entitled Why Nuclear is Not an Answer to Climate Change

Beau Baconguis

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