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Factoring Fuel generation is nuclear energy still a viable solution

  1. Feb 27, 2012 #1
    Hi all

    I saw the posting below in regards to nuclear not being all that its cracked up to be. This is from a scientist in europe. I am intersted in rebuttals. I am pro nuke and just entering the industry but I do not have the experience to shoot this down. Fishing for comments

    Post starts here
    Nuclear power is not CO2 free, the plant itself is not the main source of CO2 production from Nuclear power. But the production of nuclear fuel does produce a growing amount of CO2.

    In a fossile power plant the CO2 production is lineair with the amount of kWh, between 500 and 1000 gr CO2 per kWh
    In a nuclear power plant the CO2 production depends on the amount of Uranium 236 in the ore. That amount is falling, so U236 in the ore means more CO2
    In fact it is estimated that somewhere between 2040 to 80, the amount of CO23 from nuclear power will explode, because easy uranium ores will be used up.

    By then, there is more energy needed to produce nuclear fuel that the nuclear power plant will produce with that fuel

    Just study the energy balance for nuclear power

    His full argument is in the note below
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 27, 2012 #2
  4. Feb 28, 2012 #3
    Well... where to begin.
    first, the carbon: http://www.science.org.au/nova/002/002key.htm [Broken]
    120,000 tons of coal is saved per ton of uranium used. That's 440,000 tons of CO2.
    At typical burndown, "Every tonne of mined uranium used for fuel in place of coal saves the emission of 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide."

    Second: the "falling amount of U[235] in the ore" is falling at the rates on the order of megayears, not years. For easily the next millenium, there will be ~0.77% U235 in Uranium ore.

    Third: if the cost of ore increases, then reprocessing spent fuel becomes more attractive, and we start working through a 60 year inventory of burnt down fuel, typically used only 5%. This fuel is far and away the easiest way to get high grade feedstock for enrichment.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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