The report primarily focuses on nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear terrorism, including a two page blip on how nuclear power cannot contribute to reducing climate change. If the name "Oxford Research Group" sounds familiar to our readers, the reason is that we dissected another of their reports earlier this year, dismissing it as just more recycled nonsense.
Well, surprise, surprise, this report offers even more of the same. What's disappointing is that a number of folks in the press couldn't be bothered to look at this report with a critical eye -- and I'm talking about the Guardian over in the U.K.
So while part of me is tired of this game, we'll do it all over again for the benefit of those who haven't been paying attention.
Nuclear industry critics have claimed multiple times that not enough nuclear plants can be built to mitigate climate change. The study which Oxford references (Council on Foreign Relations’ Balancing Benefits and Risks who in turn reference the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research) is one that we debunked earlier this year. Here’s
If we take 2,250 new reactors, then between now and 2075 nearly three new reactors a month would need to start delivering electricity to their respective grids.
A civil nuclear construction and supply programme on this scale is a pipedream.
Another report the ORG references is Greenpeace’s Economics of Nuclear Power which we slam dunked about two months ago.
And another source ORG uses was Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith’s skewed attempt to assess nuclear power’s lifecycle emissions. This has been debunked so many times by so many authors that I’m amazed it still gets play. Here’s a link to nuclearinfo.net’s debunking on them thanks to another fellow blogger.
P. 9 of the report:
Unless it can be demonstrated with certainty that nuclear power can make a major contribution to global CO2 mitigation, nuclear power should be taken out of the mix.
How about another? Nuclear power accounted for about 71 percent of the U.S.’ emission-free generation of electricity in 2006 (pdf). And how about one more? Worldwide nuclear energy avoids on average the emissions of more than 2 billion metric tons of CO2 per year. There is only one other emission free source of power that avoids just as much emissions as nuclear power and that is hydro. So if nuclear hasn’t been “demonstrated with certainty” that it can make a major contribution to climate change then no sources have according to ORG’s logic.
Garwin argues that, far from being proliferation resistant, GNEP makes it easier for terrorists to acquire nuclear material suitable for fabricating nuclear weapons. He points out that: “To obtain 10 kg of plutonium from ordinary Pressurised Water Reactor spent fuel containing 1% plutonium, a terrorist would need to acquire and reprocess 1000 kg of highly radioactive material.”
It's unfortunate that a lot of activists insist on making us connect those two things as if they're one and the same, nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, but it isn't true. First thing, you don't need a nuclear reactor to make a nuclear weapon. With the new centrifuge technology you just enrich uranium.No doubt we need to make sure our nuclear facilities remain safe and secure. But to dismiss a technology that already provides substantial benefits to the world would be irresponsible -- especially if that decision would do nothing to promote peace and stability in the world.
That's what Iran is suspected of doing. So there's no nuclear reactor involved in that. They aren't even connected in that sense, because it's easier to make a nuclear bomb with centrifuge technology than it is to use the plutonium from used nuclear fuel after you've had to build a nuclear reactor as well for billions of dollars.
Secondly, do you think that if we shut down all the civilian reactors on this planet, there's over 440 of them, that the generals would give up their bomb making reactors? Because the plutonium and uranium that is being made for the military is not coming out of the civilian reactors. That's coming from special reactors and enrichment plants that belong to the military in the various nuclear capable countries.
Be sure to check out the World Nuclear Association’s take on the report as well.