Why Environmentalists Must Accept Nuclear | Big Think | Summary and Q&A

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April 23, 2012
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Why Environmentalists Must Accept Nuclear | Big Think

TL;DR

Nuclear power is a zero-carbon source of electricity, making it essential for running cities and combating climate change.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why is nuclear power considered a zero-carbon source of electricity?

Nuclear power does not produce carbon dioxide emissions during operation, unlike coal power plants which emit significant amounts of CO2.

Q: What are the potential alternatives for storing nuclear waste?

The waste from nuclear power can be stored in dry cask containers at the reactor sites, buried in designated sites like the waste isolation pilot plant in New Mexico, or potentially reprocessed or burned as fuel in advanced reactors.

Q: Are nuclear power plants vulnerable to terrorist attacks?

Nuclear power plants have stringent security measures in place, making it highly unlikely for terrorists to successfully execute an attack. Other aspects of the infrastructure, such as electrical grids and compressed gas transportation, are more vulnerable to attacks.

Q: What are the main objections to nuclear power?

Some argue that nuclear power is too expensive or that the issue of nuclear waste makes it undesirable. However, a pragmatic analysis reveals that the overall benefits, including its role in combating climate change, outweigh these objections.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Nuclear power is a zero-carbon source of electricity, which is crucial for meeting the increasing energy demands of urban areas.

  • The waste from nuclear power is limited in size and can be effectively stored or potentially reused as fuel in advanced reactors.

  • Concerns about terrorism and the safety of nuclear power are unfounded, as nuclear sites are well-guarded and other parts of the infrastructure are more vulnerable.

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