Decades of deceit have been thrown overboard with the new nuclear sales pitch, argues JIM GREEN. The new sales pitch openly links nuclear power to weapons and argues that weapons programs will be jeopardised unless greater subsidies are provided for the civil nuclear industry
'Fast breeder' reactors are promoted by nuclear enthusiasts as the clean, green energy technology of the future, writes Jim Green. But all the evidence tells us they are a catastrophic failure: complex, expensive, unreliable and accident-prone. Is Japan's decision to abandon its Monju reactor the latest nail in the coffin of a dead technology? Or the final stake through its rotten heart?
The clean-up after the February 2014 explosion at the world's only deep underground repository for nuclear waste in New Mexico, USA, is massively over budget, writes Jim Green - and full operations won't resume until at least 2021. The fundamental cause of the problems: high level radioactive waste, poor regulation, rigid deadlines and corporate profit make a dangerous mix.
Just as climate change deniers leap from scientific uncertainty over the precise impacts of greenhouse gas emissions to certainty of little or no impact at all, so 'pro-nuclear environmentalists' conflate uncertainty of the mortality arising from Chernobyl and other nuclear disasters to certainty of few if any deaths, writes Jim Green. Their position is equally indefensible.
Despite the endless rhetoric about a 'nuclear renaissance', there are fewer power reactors today than there were a decade ago, writes Jim Green. The one country with a really big nuclear build program is China, but no one expects it to meet its targets. And with over 200 reactor shut-downs due by 2040, the industry will have to run very hard indeed just to stay put.
NASA scientist James Hansen is heading to COP21 in Paris to berate climate campaigners for failing to support 'safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power', writes Jim Green. But they would gladly support nuclear power if only it really was safe and environment friendly. In fact, it's a very dangerous and hugely expensive distraction from the real climate solutions.
This week Finland cancelled its option for a second European Pressurised Reactor as the existing EPR project sinks into a abyss of cost over-runs, delays and litigation, writes Jim Green. It now looks like the EPR is a failed technology and its owner, French nuclear giant Areva, is fast running out of both money and orders as its 'hot prospects' evaporate.
The global rebirth of nuclear power was meant to be well under way by now, writes Jim Green. But in fact, nuclear's share of world power generation is on a steady long term decline, and new reactors are getting ever harder to build, and finance. The only real growth area is decommissioning, but that too has a problem: where's the money to pay for it?
Nuclear energy is essential to preserve the world's biodiversity, according to 69 conservation scientists. But there's a mysterious omission in their analysis, writes Jim Green: nuclear weapons proliferation. And after a major exchange of nuclear bombs, and the 'nuclear winter' that would follow, exactly how much biodiversity would survive?