This morning, both Reuters and Business Week wrote lengthy features concerning the publication of a report by U.K.-based Oxford Research claiming that nuclear energy can't serve as a solution when it comes to climate change.
From Business Week:
Now, some scientists and other experts are beginning to raise a different question about nuclear power: Is it really as clean as supporters contend? A report, released on Mar. 26 by a British nongovernmental organization called the Oxford Research Group, disputes the popular perception that nuclear is a clean energy source. It argues that while nuclear plants may not generate carbon dioxide while they operate, the other steps necessary to produce nuclear power, including the mining of uranium and the storing of waste, result in substantial amounts of carbon dioxide pollution. "As this report shows, hopes for the climate-protecting potential of nuclear energy are entirely misplaced," says Jürgen Trittin, a former minister of the environment in Germany and a contributor to the report. "Nuclear power cannot be promoted on environmental grounds."As I opened the PDF copy of Secure Energy? Civil Nuclear Power, Security and Global Warming, I couldn't help but be overcome by a sense of deja vu -- after all, the global anti-nuclear community has a habit of recycling old charges and using them over and over again in the hopes that nobody realizes the reports they issue aren't very new at all.
Sure enough, the section on total lifecycle emissions is authored by Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen, a man whose work David Bradish debunked here at NEI Nuclear Notes back in July 2005!
Here's what the World Nuclear Association said about Storm van Leeuwen's work in this area:
"The 2001 Storm van Leeuwen & Smith (SLS) paper dismisses arguments that nuclear energy is sustainable, either physically, environmentally or in terms of its energy costs, and this is repeated in the numerically-depleted May 2002 version. They purport to offer 'evidence' that building, operating and producing fuel for a nuclear plant produces as much carbon dioxide as a similar sized gas-fired plant. The foregoing WNA paper, quoting all the reputable studies we are aware of, shows that this is demonstrably wrong - there is a 20 to 50-fold difference in favour of nuclear. . ."Once again, what really annoys me is that this is an old charge, one that the nuclear industry has answered over and over again. No matter, we'll keep knocking it down as long as they keep floating the same old trial balloon.
"Finally, it should be pointed out that, even on the basis of their erroneous assumptions and using their inaccurate figures, Storm van Leeuwen & Smith still are forced to conclude that nuclear power plants produce less CO2 than fossil-fuelled plants, although in their view "the difference is not large". Others might see a 20 to 50-fold difference (between nuclear and gas or coal) as significant."