Nuclear power can’t take the heat

21st May 2007
News web pic 2_201.jpg
Future nuclear power plants, which are to be given the green light in the Government’s Energy White Paper later this week, will be forced to reduce their output as temperatures rise as a result of climate change, the International Herald Tribune has reported.
 

Because nuclear power stations require vast quantities of fresh water to cool the reactors, water shortages or droughts that occur because of the warmer air temperatures caused by global warming could mean that the plants have to be shut down at the very time when electricity is in highest demand.

‘We're going to have to solve the climate-change problem if we're going to have nuclear power, not the other way around,’ David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer from the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the International Herald Tribune.

‘As the climate warms up, nuclear power plants are less able to deliver,’ he added.

Nuclear power plants are being touted as a solution to climate change because of their supposedly low carbon emissions, although many environmentalists dispute this.

‘Nuclear power actually is worsening the effects of climate change already under way,’ Stephane L’homme, a spokesman for the French nuclear campaign group Sortie de Nucleaire, told the IHT.

To read the Ecologist's comprehensive report on nuclear power, click here.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist May 2007

Donate

The Ecologist has a formidable reputation built on fifty years of investigative journalism and compelling commentary from writers across the world. Now, as we face the compound crises of climate breakdown, biodiversity collapse and social injustice, the need for rigorous, trusted and ethical journalism has never been greater. This is the moment to consolidate, connect and rise to meet the challenges of our changing world. The Ecologist is owned and published by the Resurgence Trust. Support The Resurgence Trust from as little as £1. Thank you. Donate here