Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Another Opportunity to Correct Bad Data

After reading the post,"“Wind power beats nukes,"it looks like we're on another mission to correct some bad data. The blogger in question cites The Australian's article"Doubts over "‘clean nuke power":

Nuclear power stations using high-grade uranium ores would have to run for seven to 10 years before they created enough power to cancel out the energy required to establish them. Wind power takes just three to six months to do the same.
I knew I had heard this claim before several times. So as I read The Australian'’s article where the blogger got the info, I found that Dr. Diesendorf was behind the claim. Here's a previous post where we dealt with the Doctor's assertions:
Nuclear power plants do not emit criteria pollutants such as SO2 and NOx or greenhouse gases during operations. This is a well known fact, but it hasn't stopped some anti-nuclear groups from making misleading statements regarding nuclear power.

One of the most common claims heard is that nuclear power emits greenhouse gases during its entire life-cycle. This is true, just as it is true of renewable generation. Nuclear energy life-cycle emissions include emissions associated with the construction of the plant, mining and processing of the fuel, routine operation of the plant, the disposal of used fuel and other waste by-products, and the decommissioning of the plant.

The World Nuclear Association's analysis provided in the previous post also gives their take on energy inputs and outputs for each fuel, a point the blogger is trying to nail nuclear on. If you scroll down to Table 2 you will find an energy ratio and input % of lifetime output to compare other fuels. The higher the energy ratio and the lower the % of lifetime output the better.

It may (and I would take that with a grain of salt) take 7 to 10 years for nuclear to pay back its energy debt and only 3-6 months for wind. But it takes three times the capacity, three times the years and three times the generation to match what nuclear provides. And according to the WNA's analysis, nuclear eventually pays off better in the end.

To amazngdrx: wind power is one of the cheapest sources of electricity available. And when it comes to curbing climate change, we're going to need every low-emitting source of electricity that we can build. However, wind power cannot provide the everyday base load electricity that is needed as we go into the future, and it's time to stop pretending that we have to choose either renewables like wind, or nuclear energy, to meet future demand. We're simply going to need them all.

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