Scope, the e-newsletter for the Australian Science Communicators Group (thanks, Atomique!) recently ran an excellent article that debunked a lot of the negative poppycock that the soap-dodgers throw at us to make us turn away from a much cleaner source of energy than coal and oil.
I’m all for saving the whales, having an ozone layer, and clearcut logging pisses me off. I pay for green power, I do my best to recycle and do all the little things like use rechargeable batteries and am replacing my lights with those new whiz-bang fluorescent badboys whenever one of the old evil ones dies (and let me tell you, my rag-tag fleet of audio refugees needs to conserve in any way it can – it’s not easy to just pull over for a supply stop when you’ve got a BMG or EMI-class capital ship following you).
That all being said: smarten up, hippies. I’ll echo the author’s sentiment here – I’m not saying nuclear power is the best thing ever, but stop advancing outright lies about it in order to fulfill your crazy agendas.
I’ll pull some choice quotes from the article here, forwarded by things vegans might say.
“It’s a stop-gap solution!” shouts a skinny old guy selling hemp wristbands at a folk festival.
Some claim there’s only 60 years of uranium left, but this depends on a lot of assumptions about geology and how easy it is to extract. There could be a lot more of it, and its a gross distortion.But, this limited supply is just one isotope of uranium. The other uranium isotope could be converted into plutonium using breeder reactors, or “fourth generation nuclear reactors”. Using breeder reactors would mean we have about 60,000 years of fuel left.
“The waste will contaminate the earth forever!” shouts a group huddled around a drum circle, an aroma of feet and moss emanating from their general direction.
It’s claimed that nuclear waste is radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years, but calculations are that the waste will have greatly decreased radioactivity after 1,000 years, and will be the same as the original uranium in 10,000 years – hardly the picture the propaganda paints, where it seems they like to add zeros for nothing other than dramatic effect.
These calculations have been criticised as “speculative”, but it is everything but. Individual atoms decay at known rates – it is what is behind carbon dating – and we can know how radioactive the waste will be in 10,000 years with as much accuracy as we can radioactively date something 10,000 years old.
Surrounded by cats, a hairy woman who practices rune-casting and makes her own mead shouts: “You’re polluting the air just by building this reactor!”
There’s the claim that nuclear plants generate lots of CO2 during construction. Well, in fact I’d suspect no more than anything else which takes a while to construct. It doesn’t assemble itself. Things have to be moved to the right location, welded, drilled, bolted, sealed, cabled, tested and so on. Just like a regular skyscraper – there’s a certain amount of material involved, but it does not just construct itself – this takes time and effort – but does not generate a particularly large amount of CO2 along the way. Merely taking a long time to construct does not mean something must therefore generate lots of CO2 in the construction process.
It’s also worth noting that wind farms for generating the same power, they need about ten times the metal (and CO2) load as nuclear power plants to generate the same electricity.
I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
You can read the full article here.