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Jeremy Rifkin: Five (actually 6) reasons why nuclear is not a good business model or the answer to climate change
At the Wermuth Asset Management 5th Annual Investor Event, Jeremy Rifkin responded to the question: What would be your view on nuclear energy with five, actually six, reasons for why nuclear is not an answer to climate change. The number of active plants in the world may go up or down by a couple, the percentage points of nuclear in the energy mix may vary by a few from time to time, but what he says has been true for a long while and it will be true going forward despite any small changes in the numbers. In terms of the money, the cost will only rise.
And one thing he doesn't say- if nuclear is not a part of the solution to climate change than the enormous amount of money thrown at this dead end technology, and the huge waste of precious time that could be spent on viable solutions make nuclear an active agent in accelerating climate change.
1. Nuclear would have to be 20% to have the minimum minimum impact on climate change. That means we’d have to replace the existing 400 nuclear plants and build 1600 additional plants. Three nuclear plants would have to be built every 30 days for 40 years to get to 20% and by that time climate change would have pretty much run its course with us...
2. We still don’t know how to recycle the nuclear waste and we’re seventy years in. Now, we have good engineers in the US. We spent 18 years & $8 billion building an underground vault in Yucca Mountain to store the wastes for 10,000 years. We can’t use it. We can’t even store them...
3. We run into uranium deficits, according to the Department of Atomic Energy Commission, you may know this, between 2025 and 2035 for just the existing 400 plants. So, that means the price goes up.
4. We could do what the French generation of new plants are doing and recycle the uranium to plutonium. But then we have plutonium all over the world in an age of uncertainty and terrorism.
5. We don’t have the water.
6. Nuclear power is centralized power, like fossil fuels. It doesn’t fit a new generation that’s moving with the kind of technologies that are distributed, collaborative, and laterally scaled. It’s an old technology.
Click to read full transcript
A rousing call from Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace, backed by a crowd of young people, had a few things to say to participants at the 18th U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha: "Nature does not negotiate. Stop playing political poker with the planet. Do not destroy our children and grandchildren’s future.
Naderev Saño of the Phillipines begged summit participants to take stronger action:
"I appeal to the leaders from all over the world to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to ministers. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of earth’s seven billion people. I appeal to all: Please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please, let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around, and let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to do so, to find the courage to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask all of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?"
Indeed, if they do not heed any of the above, are they really planning on doing anything?
Democracy Now l 7 December, 2012
Talks at the 18th U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha are taking place in the shadow of a devastating typhoon that struck the southern Philippines on Tuesday, leaving more than 500 dead, hundreds missing, and at least 250,000 homeless. "We have never had a typhoon like Bopha, which has wreaked havoc in a part of the country that has never seen a storm like this in half a century. And heartbreaking tragedies like this is not unique to the Philippines, because the whole world, especially developing countries struggling to address poverty and achieve social and human development, confront these same realities," said Yeb Saño, member of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, who broke down Thursday while calling on negotiators to do more. "Please ... let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to ... take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?" For more, we are joined by Heherson Alvarez, another climate delegate from the Philippines and fellow member of the Philippines Climate Change Commission. [includes rush transcript]
Although a climate agreement has been signed in Durban. The real question now is- what did they actually agree to and will it be enough. Indian environment minister, Jayanthi Natarajan, demanded :
"I wonder if this is an agenda to shift the blame on to countries who are not responsible [for climate change]. I am told that India will be blamed. Please don't hold us hostage. We will give up the principle of equity."
China's negotiator clearly stated the conference members didn't have the right to tell China what to do. While the fact that they came back from the brink of complete failure to sign an accord is good, the accord they agreed to is not good enough, and reflects in it the same issues reverberating around the US and the world about disparity of wealth and the death of the social contract.
"Martin Khor, director of the intergovernmental South Centre in Geneva, said poor countries would be obliged to cut emissions proportionally more than the rich." Celine Charveriat, director of campaigns and advocacy for Oxfam, said: "Negotiators have sent a clear message to the world's hungry: let them eat carbon."
If emissions target cuts are not raised and met before 2020 we will miss the shrinking opportuniity to prevent climate change disaster.
Yesterday, August 12 2010, the LaSalle Reactor Units 1 & 2 had to shut down due to high temperatures in Illinois.
This illustrates one of the many flaws in the reasoning that nuclear power is any kind of answer to global warming. The reactors cannot operate safely in high temperatures and contribute, at all times, to thermal pollution in the bodies of water used for cooling purposes.
Nuclear power is not the answer to global warming.
Joe Romm/Climate Progress: After the hottest decade on record, it's the hottest year on record, hottest week of all time in satellite record, and we may be at record low Arctic sea ice volume - But how about the world's heaviest hailstone?
Water is the Earth"s most precious resource. Now, it is on the endangered list. The Economist called water "the oil of the 21st century." There's a difference though.
It wouldn't be easy or pleasant if it happened overnight, but we can live without oil. We cannot live without water. It won't happen overnight and there are alternatives to oil in clean, true renewable energy technologies. We WILL live without oil, and the sooner we get there the better for the planet, the more likely we are to stop global warming.
There is no replacement or alternative for water. We need to stop being distracted by the inconveniences of conservation, efficiency, and change. We need to start looking hard at the irreplaceable.
Once the water is gone, or irrevocably contaminated, once the ice caps have melted, once the planet has reached a certain temperature, once nuclear winter has been triggered, once a species becomes extinct- there are no take backs, no second chances. We are responsible for the world that we live in. We are our planet's keeper. Our lives and our health are inextricably intertwined with the Earth.
And, 80 percent of its surface is water.
The tar sands mining project in Alberta, Canada, is possibly the largest industrial project in human history and critics claim it could also be the most destructive. The mining procedure for extracting oil from a region referred to as the "tar sands," located north of Edmonton, releases at least three times the CO2 emissions as regular oil production procedures and will likely become North America's single largest industrial contributor to climate change.