I promised to prepare a brief response guide on this topic for Jenny Game, the Greens candidate in my electorate for the looming Australian federal elections, then thought, it may be useful for other people. So, here you go:
These three links for those who want reading matter:
Dot points for some of the reasons:
- Lag time: the construction of a nuclear power station takes of the order of 10 years, if there are no construction overruns (as is often the case). We don’t have 10 years.
- With the amount of concrete and steel needed, the embodied energy and carbon footprint of a nuclear power station are enormous, and take many years to pay off.
- After 70 years, there is still no solution for the long term safe disposal of nuclear waste.
- Nuclear power is very expensive. All existing nuclear plants operate only because of large state subsidies.
- The problem of decommissioning nuclear power plants has never been solved, and is now acute in countries like the UK with plants approaching the end of their productive life. This is a piece of real estate that is forever removed from human use.
- Nuclear power plants are natural targets for terrorists.
- Raw material for nuclear weapons is made in nuclear power stations. This alone is a reason for getting rid of them.
- They have a very slow response to changes in demand.
- Anything human-made is at risk of malfunction. The relevant figure is probability of occurrence of a disaster, multiplied by its effects. The effects are so horrendous that any non-zero probability makes them unacceptable.
- Renewables are far cheaper, safer and more flexible in use.
The pic shows an aftermath of Fukushima.