By: Richard L. Polley II
This long term belief that Nuclear energy is Green, Sustainable or Renewable is a tall tale, from a false narrative.
Uranium is one of the least plentiful minerals on Earth, making up only two parts per million in the crust. However to be mined it must be sufficiently concentrated, cutting of useable uranium in half, said The Union of Concerned Scientists.
The EPA defines green power as “electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources.” Nuclear energy is not renewable, its not sustainable, and it’s definitely not green, unless you count The Incredible Hulk. The EPA even goes as far as to classify it as conventional power, labeling it the same as coal, oil, and natural gas.
Currently there is no technology that allows for nuclear waste to be fully reprocessed leaving us with the only option of storing it. Spent uranium in the U.S. use to be reprocessed into new fuel, until President Jimmy Carter ordered its end, citing security risks. Since the order most radioactive waste has been stored at the nuclear power plants.
The biggest risk associated with “nuclear waste storage is predicted to happen within tens of thousands of years, when waste canisters would degrade from external water exposure, and release radioactive materials into the ground,” cited in a study on nuclear energy conducted by North Carolina State.
“Right now, nuclear waste is stored at 121 sites across 39 states,” wrote South Carolina Congressman, Joe Wilson, in The Washington Times.
The facilities we store waste in other than nuclear plants are under ground and so far the longest lasting storage site is built to last 100,000 years, not including earthquakes and other natural disasters. Uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion year, which is short for 9 billion years. So why are we creating a 9 billion year problem when we only have a solution for 0.001 percent of the problem. The pushers for nuclear plants either thought let it be the next generations problem, find the short solution, or they never had the desire to solve it at all.
The original push for nuclear energy came in the 1970s, when OPEC launched its oil embargo, natural gas storages occurred, and coal labor had problems. It was the short term answer for energy consumption in the area, it would stop us from relying on foreign natural resources to produce energy. Yet it hasn’t achieved that goal.
“As of 2012, over 80% of uranium purchased by civilian nuclear reactors was imported to the U.S., not mined domestically, creating a trade deficit. Main suppliers include Russia, Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, and Namibia,” wrote the Union of Concerned Scientists. With only with 1% of the world’s uranium, that goal was never achievable.
The history of humanity is a landfill littered with problems we create hundreds of year before we begin the feel the impacts of the symptoms, broken satellites, falling failed space launches, Fukushima is still leaking, Chernobyl is still inhabitable, ground water is being ejected with toxicants, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is still floating around in the abyss.
We should stop constructing nuclear power plants and slowly take them offline as we acquire more actual green energy. As the green power plants activate, replace the nuclear plants and other conventional energy sources. Problem is that our only hope in achieving this relatively soon is to not allow The Keystone XL, Dakota Access and other pipelines.
If oil companies are not allowed to expand their oil infrastructure in order to exceed profits, then they would be forced to find alternative avenues to reach their equitable profit level. Such as investing in Solar City, Urban Green Energy, PacWind, US Geothermal, First Solar or other green power operations.