Power On - Nuclear Power
Jon Hughes and Mark Anslow
1st November, 2007
Even among green campaigners, nuclear energy is quietly gaining ground as a potential solution to the impending energy crisis. However several issues – particularly those of raw materials, cost and waste – remain unaddressed within the mainstream of opinion.
In 2001, Dutch chemist and energy systems expert Jan Willem Storm Van Leeuwen and nuclear physicist Dr. Phillip Smith published a paper based on peer reviewed methodology which showed that when the concentration of uranium ore in mined rock drops below a level of 0.02 per cent, nuclear power uses more energy in the form of fossil fuels than it generates as electricity.
Their work demonstrates that nuclear power faces an identical situation to fossil fuels – there will come a point at which more energy is expended in extracting the fuel from the ground than is eventually available at the plug. The question is, how long will rich uranium ores last?
The most widely accepted estimate suggests that the world’s known uranium deposits could fuel the current fleet of reactors for around 42 years. However, this is based on an assumption that the world’s nuclear fleet will expand no further. Contrary to this, India has announced plans to build a further 24 reactors, China another 40, Japan 13, Russia 40, and the United States expects private sector applications for another 29.
If these projects go ahead, the demand for uranium will soar. Attempting to supply just 16 per cent of world electricity...
To view the rest of this article - you must be a paying subscriber and Login
Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.