[Marxism] Nuclear power

paul illich paul_illich at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 17 03:00:16 MDT 2005

As someone else has noted, biofuels create a huge amount of CO2. The
argument in their favor has always been that they fix as much as they
release, over a period - that is you grow (fixing CO2) to cut and burn
(releasing CO2).

In the current globally warming climate this zero sum game (if it is such,
and I am not convinced) does nothing to help CO2 reduction, which is
what we need!

'Renewables' is a catch-all - the devil is in the details, and many include
dubious energy sources such as biofuels and, yes, nuclear as green. The
much vaunted 'hydrogen economy' also seems allowed under this bar.
Berating renewables as a whole on the basis of these is like berating
all leftists because of the odd authoritarian, or all anarchists because of
Joseph Conrad. But those that have high hopes for renewables must
gird their loins.

As to CO2 and nuclear, I read somewhere a while back (sorry, can't
recall the source) of the excessive cement use in building large
nuclear facilities which take an unfathomably long time to construct,
so the emissions costing of (this and other) externalities adds considerably
to their footprint. I know this is true of traditional power stations as 
and to largescale wind farms, though less so for local small scale rooftop
installations (which is the way I'd go).

Although arguing against nuclear on CO2 grounds alone is not going
to get us anywhere, it is I think a legitimate factor in costing these

Other externalities are usually not factored into the economics either.
By most figures I've see, factoring in CO2; transport; mining; de-com
costs; etc massively increases the real costs of nuclear. This is true
for many other projects too, as our corporate economics models
specialise in ignoring many costs (especially environmental costs) most
of which are picked up by the ordinary workers one way or another.

The thing about global warming (or the China Syndrome for that
matter) is that they are not class conscious in the long run - although
the poor get the brunt of it now, no-one can escape the longterm
effects unless the issue is addressed at the corporate level now if not
two decades back, and it appears that it is up to us to push the
corporates or dissolve them, ditto the 'give me convenience or death


>Well, we do have a problem here. Patrick Bond tells us that nuclear power 
>*does* produce CO2. Then he forwards, from a book author he evidently 
>believes, the news that "large amounts of CO2 are generated through mining, 
>transport and especially uranium enrichment. Nuclear power generation thus 
>creates over 8 tons / GWh of power that is delivered - much more than 
>renewable energy sources."
>Patrick Bond wrote:
> > Yikes comrade, that's definitely not true, when you take into account > 
>a variety of ancilliary processes.

> > "large amounts of CO2 are generated through mining, transport and > 
>especially uranium enrichment. Nuclear power generation thus creates > over 
>8 tons / GWh of power that is delivered - much more than > renewable energy 
> >        [from Muna Lakhani]

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