Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

routerg0d t1_irwuvn6 wrote

What happens to the area around a nuclear plant when it melts down vs what happens to a wind turbine that falls over? The risk/reward is not worth it period. Quit pretending that there’s zero ecological cost to nuclear they also use rare earth elements and carbon intensive construction methods. You also never seem to account for ten thousand years of storage costs of the material.


bmac251 t1_irx0djn wrote

What nuclear reactors are you talking about, exactly? Current generation nuclear reactors are practically impossible to melt down. Heck, even the three mile island and Fukushima reactors couldn’t melt down via a positive feedback loop like Chernobyl did. But even if you don’t buy that, I wouldn’t advocate for building nuclear reactors along a massive fault line or any other area prone to extreme natural disasters. Those seem like perfect places for wind/solar/geothermal/etc.

As for the rare earth metals: sure nuclear uses them too. But the scale is not even comparable. Every single solar panel uses them, whereas every nuclear reactor also uses other REMs. The difference? Nuclear is orders of magnitude more energy dense. The need for as many REMs to produce comparable energy at scale is not even close. Nobody is, or should, claim that any energy source is 100% clean and free of external costs. But each one needs to be compared based on its comparative merits and costs. There isn’t a one size fits all policy to meeting global energy needs. Yet for whatever reason, the solar and wind proponents seem to think that’s all we need.

And finally, for storage. Currently we throw the spent nuclear waste into a mine built kilometers underground below a mountain. There is literally no human health risk related to this storage solution. Each American would require roughly one soda cans worth of nuclear fuel to power their entire lifetimes worth of energy. To put that into perspective that’s a couple fully filled football fields worth of spent fuel we would need for all of America to store which is currently feasible with existing mines we have. We could even take the entire planets waste, store it in this way, and still barely make a dent in our storage potential for this waste. Or we can recycle most of it, using the process the French employ.

I’m not pretending anything. I try to live in reality and not convince myself that a bunch of windmills and solar panels will solve an increasingly electrified worlds problems.