[Marxism] RE: Nuclear power rebuttal from Muna Lakani
paul_illich at hotmail.com
Tue Oct 18 03:22:50 MDT 2005
David Fleming, on Nuclear Power
The first of two presentations by David Fleming was on Uranium depletion. He
made a good case for nuclear power being a seriously bad idea on a technical
Whilst Uranium is abundant in nature, it is rare in high enough
concentrations to mine without using as much or more energy to get at it as
can be extracted from it in a power plant. This negative energy balance
makes it financially non-viable to build many more nuclear power stations.
They take 10 years to build and Uranium reserves are already dwindling.
Current energy from nuclear plants equates to 2.5% of global energy supply,
and it is David's contention that even at this low rate, we have enough ore
for another 40 years power generation from this source.
Also, the 'costs' of nuclear power have been 'subsidised' by industry
through the expedient of simply not dealing with nuclear waste. This puts
off till tomorrow some extremely high costs (not just financial, as the
wastes are dangerous - generation wastes will kill you if you stand
unprotected next to a chunk for 2 minutes). If you factor in the costs of
building a plant (I gather the first 20 years of energy produced merely
covers the input from the build) and of decommissioning, then there is no
way that the industry can pay for it at all.
As the Uranium supplies dwindle, it becomes a sellers market, so costs
spiral. Much ore is available only from politically unstable areas, so that
military solutions are likely to be adopted by certain nations in order to
safeguard access. And the cheap and quick nuclear plant building plan that
the US is expressing an interest in is likely to lead to more accidents,
less skilled staff, and dodgy security - the latter making nuclear terrorism
even more likely. To avert these outcomes would make the costs of building,
running, and decommissioning new plants even more prohibitive. Yet still the
US government talks up nuclear.
David also appreciates the problems of large-scale energy production for
communities, both from the perspective of stripping financial assets from
the masses to the top of the capital pyramid and from the perspective of
denying local control over energy provision. Local control is increasingly
important as the national grid becomes less reliable.
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