Friday Funny: Nuclear Edition

From federal Green Party riding executive Patrick Metzger, via Torontoist:

The Ontario government will spend around $27 billion on nuclear power between now and 2025 in a bid to keep the lights on in the province. If history is any indicator, the nuke plans will be characterized by inefficiencies, unanticipated delays,and massive cost overruns, but will at least ensure that future generations have access to a secure supply of radioactive waste.

3 thoughts on “Friday Funny: Nuclear Edition

  1. I would say your characterization of nuclear energy and power generators is about two generations out of touch with reality. Power plants are now more efficient and the means of disposal As well, the processing of uranium is such that they are able to use what would be once considered ‘spent’ to generate more power.

    Yes they are costly at first, but once operational they are very economical to run. Plus they add no green house gases to the environment.

    We need to sever our dependency on the carbon based economy and nuclear power is one way to do it.

    by the way, I am a member of the Green Party of Canada.

  2. Hi Paul,

    Most of what I have to say about nuclear is outlined in this post, where I think I address at least some of your concerns. If we’re going to have a discussion about it, it’s probably best that it happen in the comments there. Three things I’d like to address, however:

    1. When I first joined the Green Party I thought we’d have to come around to embracing nuclear as well, but I just don’t think it’s realistic anymore.

    2. It’s not true to say that nuclear adds “no green house gases to the environment.” There are no GHGs emitted at the generation site, but the mining and refining of uranium is a dirty and energy-intensive process. As a result, the cost per tonne of GHG removed from the atmosphere (compared to other forms of generation) is very high.

    3. The processing of spent uranium involves increasingly diminishing returns. It’s also an indication that suppliers and miners of uranium recognize that we’re running out of the stuff (as mentioned in the other post, National Geographic once said there was only a 50 year supply left).

  3. Paul, “two generations out of date”? Dude, before you put me in a wheelchair, my grandmother (who’s still very much alive) was about 50 before the first Ontario nuclear plant came on-line. I assure you her generation is not obsolete yet, let alone mine. You might want to revise that timeline a bit.

    Her outdated technology is still up and running, so my question is…What “generation” technology is currently running in Ontario, her generation of nuclear power, my parents’, or mine. And what will we wind up building, the top of line stuff or the bargain basement version? (Do we really have to ask?)

    How many generations will the waste last? And what will be done with it? How many generations will we have a “nuclear debt retirement charge”.

    I can see the theoretical appeal of nuclear as a “quick fix” and I recognize there have been some advancements, but given the potential dangers (no matter how “unlikely”) this isn’t something you sign on to without knowing every detail and every risk ahead of time just because some ad on TV says “Don’t worry. Be Happy.”

    I need a lot more convincing than that. It’s all still too risky for me.

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