Nuclear Nonsense: Why Nuclear Power is No Answer to Climate Change and the Worlds Post-Kyoto Energy Challenges

Benjamin K. Sovacool and Christopher Cooper - November 2008

William & Mary Environmental Law & Policy Review 33(1) (2008), pp. 1-119.


Nuclear power plants are a poor choice for addressing energy challenges in a carbon-constrained, post-Kyoto world. Nuclear generators are prone to insolvable infrastructural, economic, social, and environmental problems. They face immense capital costs, rising uranium fuel prices, significant lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, and irresolvable problems with reactor safety, waste storage, weapons proliferation, and vulnerability to attack.

Renewable power generators, in contrast, reduce dependence on foreign sources of uranium and decentralize electricity supply so that an accidental or intentional outage would have a more limited impact than the outage of larger nuclear facilities. Most significantly, renewable power technologies have environmental benefits because they create power without relying on the extraction of uranium and its associated digging, drilling, mining, transporting, enrichment, and storage. As a result, renewable energy technologies provide a much greater potential for substantial carbon emissions reductions than significant investments in new nuclear power generation.

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