False Environmentalism and Renewable Energy Scam

Leftist “eco activists” want to protect the planet. They also want to ban nuclear energy.

Those two things simply do not go together.

Left wants to introduce mandatory emission curbs, carbon taxes, fuel efficiency standards, green tech investments and also Green New Deal. At the same time, however, Left is fighting against the nuclear power.

Mass media and environmentalist groups – both a vehicle of leftist propaganda – have spread the idea that nuclear power is something inherently dangerous. And because people do not understand nuclear power, that propaganda has gained widespread acceptance. As a result, Germany had decided to shut down nuclear power plants – while digging coal, importing gas from Russia and also nuclear power from France. And it has stubbornly refused to grow a brain and reverse its idiotic policy. Germany has only three nuclear power plants which produce 6% of country’s electricity requirements. Currently, fossil fuels make up 63% of global electric power production and 84% of total energy production. Hydropower is 16%, other renewables 10% and nuclear power also 10%. And hydroelectricity has almost reached its limit in terms of power production, while other renewables are simply not efficient enough.

And Left wants to reduce or stop nuclear power.

Thing is, left’s stance against the nuclear power makes no sense at all.

Fact is that nuclear energy is one of, if not the, most environment-friendly sources of energy. Sure, wind, solar and water power may appear cleaner at the first glance. And water power may indeed be cleaner. But much like with electric cars, there are hidden environmental costs to “green” sources of energy.

But first about the nuclear power itself. Nuclear power is based around radioactive materials. These are naturally found materials that really, really want to decay due to their inherent instability. As they decay, they produce various forms of radiation.

These materials however are not some sci-fi green goo that murders people. They are in fact naturally occuring – and are all around us. Food we eat, air we breathe, ground we walk on, buildings we live in, trees that give us oxygen – they are all naturally radioactive. Ceramics and glass also have higher radioactivity compared to general environment.

Nuclear reactors use refined radioactive materials to produce heat, much like a microwave would. This heat is used to produce steam, which then turns the steam turbines that produce power. Same principle is used by coal-fired thermal power plants. There are however two key differences which make nuclear power far more environmentally friendly. First is that nuclear fuel is far more energy dense. One kilogram of Uranium-235 will produce 20 terajoules of energy – as much energy as 1,5 million kilograms of coal. Second is that all produce of nuclear power is easily contained. Nuclear power plant produces a lot of steam, but nuclear waste itself can be safely disposed of. Not so with coal. Burning 1 kg of anthracite coal will produce 3,3 kg of CO2, while 1 kg of bituminous coal will produce 2,42 kg of CO2. A 1000 kg or 2200 lbs of coal will produce an average of 6292 lbs of carbon dioxide, 8,25 lbs of sulfur dioxide, 4,59 lbs of nitrogen oxides, 336 lbs of coal ash, 0,11 lbs of uranium and thorium, and 0,042 drops of mercury.

In order to equalize energy produced by 1 kg / 2,2 lbs of Uranium-235, as noted, one would need to burn 1,5 million kg or 3 300 000 lbs of coal. This will produce 6 930 000 lbs of carbon dioxide, 503 250 lbs of coal ash, 12 375 lbs of sulfur dioxide, 6 889 lbs of nitrogen oxides, 165 lbs of uranium and thorium, and 1,5 oz of mercury. In short, even in terms of purely radioactive waste, coal-powered thermal powerplants are far worse than nuclear powerplants. This is made even more pronounced by the fact that most of the radioactive produce of a coal plant is released into the atmosphere, whereas most of the produce of a nuclear plant ends up safely buried in the ground. Indeed, radioactivity levels near a coal plant are typically higher than near a nuclear plant. And all the other pollution is far worse than radioactive emissions – coal plants are the single biggest cause of the mercury pollution on Earth. And neurotoxic metals such as mercury are a far greater danger than uranium.

And this pollution has a very real effect in terms of lives lost. Data comparing deaths caused by various power sources shows that, for 1 000 TWh, number of deaths is:

  • 100 000 deaths by coal
  • 36 000 deaths by oil
  • 4 000 deaths by natural gas
  • 1 400 deaths by hydropower
  • 440 deaths by solar power
  • 150 deaths by wind power
  • 90 deaths by nuclear power

In 2018. alone, some 8 700 000 premature deaths had been caused by the fossil fuels.

It is thus quite clear that nuclear power is not only the most environmentally friendly, but also the safest form of power generation currently available. And while nuclear powerplants have suffered terrible accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukishima, these are rare. In fact, the main reason why such accidents are so publicized is precisely because they are such an unusual occurence. Some 4 000 people have died or will die as a result of the Chernobyl disaster, and this is for human lifespan of some 75 years – or in other words, around 50 deaths per year. And while there were other reactor accidents, none were as bad as that in Chernobyl, so a figure above 100 deaths per year is unlikely. By comparison, coal mining accidents alone kill some 12 000 people each year. This does not include people who die as a direct result of coal-produced pollution, or while working in coal transport and other associated industries. But accidents and deaths by coal mining are so usual that only major disasters get any attention.

In fact, air pollution caused by the fossil fuels in general kills at least 5 million people per year. In China alone, 4 000 people die due to air pollution each day. It would thus not be wrong to call usage of fossil fuels a form of genocide. In other words, calling for shutdown of nuclear reactors is essentially a form of genocide advocacy.

And unlike all other types of air pollution, nuclear fallout is easy to measure. This means that it is also easy to avoid. By contrast, pollution caused by the chemical industry is not.

Even in terms of just CO2 – the least dangerous and problematic byproduct of various forms of electricity generation – nuclear power is in the lead. Looking at the lifecycle costs – including the costs of building and maintaining the infrastructure – nuclear power still fares extremely well. Median lifecycle emissions in terms of grams of CO2 per kWh are as follows:

  • Coal: 820
  • Biomass (cofiring): 740
  • Gas: 490
  • Biomass (dedicated): 230
  • Solar PV (utility): 48
  • Solar PV (rooftop): 41
  • Geothermal: 38
  • Solar: 27
  • Hydropower: 24
  • Nuclear: 12
  • Wind: 11

As can be seen, wind is the only type of energy which stands shoulder to shoulder with nuclear power in terms of CO2 generation. All other types of power generation produce far more CO2, and none of these can be used in lieu of nuclear power until we hit gas and coal – which respectively produce 40 and 70 times as much CO2 as the nuclear power does.

Effects can be clearly seen by comparing Germany – which had been decomissioning its nuclear power plants – with France. In 2019., Germany produced CO2 emissions at a rate of 8,51 tons per capita – for France, this number was 4,94 tons. And where French pay 0,17 EUR per kWh, Germans pay some 0,3 EUR – which has only increased as Germany kept shutting down nuclear power plants.

Worse, the alleged alternative to both fossil and nuclear energy – the renewable energy – is really a scam. Firstly, it has just about reached its limits: it simply cannot satisfy all the electricity requirements of a modern society. We know this, because there are governments – Germany and state government of California – that had tried to get rid of both fossil and nuclear power, and replace it with “green” sources of energy. In both cases, that bid failed. Germany has to import electricity from nuclear-happy France. California, amidst its boasting of having hit 100% “green” power production, has to import a full third of its electricity from neighbouring states – and despite this, is still hit with frequent power outages, with blackouts being on the rise. California imports twice as much power as Ohio, the next highest importer.

Secondly, even ignoring CO2, renewable energy still pollutes the environment as much or more than nuclear energy does. With nuclear power plants, nuclear waste and powerplant maintenance are the only real concerns. But both are relatively simple to manage, as they can be concentrated in one place – the power plant itself. And nuclear reactors are extremely reliable. Wind turbines by contrast require constant servicing, and wind farms can stretch across massive areas of land. This then requires manufacture and transport of components, all of which produces pollution. Steel production requires burning large amounts of coal, and components have to be transported; rare minerals also need to be dug up. When a wind turbine’s life ends, after about 20 years, its blades – about 10-15% of the weight – are not recycled but rather buried, though it is also possible to utilize them in cement. This results in about 10 tons of waste per megawatt of turbine’s capacity, if not recycled, and there is also another 5 tons of waste per MW during manufacturing, testing and other activities related to turbine usage. But even if waste is recycled, this is hardly an advantage to the turbine – some 94% of nuclear waste from nuclear power plants can in fact be recycled and reused, and there is far less of it to begin with. Average wind turbine produces 1 MW of power, around 61 000 MWh of electricity and 500 kg of waste material per year or 160 g per MWh of energy; an average nuclear power plant produces 1 000 MW of power, 8 760 000 MWh of electricity, and 3 m3 of waste per year. Coal by comparison would produce 32 kg of waste per MWh of energy, some 200 times as much as a wind turbine. And unlike the value cited for the nuclear power plant, this number does not include equipment, clothing and other miscellaneous waste not directly produced by the power plant itself. Wind farms produce only 2,5 W per square metre of land utilized – for comparison, a nuclear power plant produces over 1 000 W per square metre.

All and all, wind turbines are in fact an unsustainable environmental disaster – over 720 000 tons of wind turbine blades alone will end up in landfills over next 20 years. And it gets worse when one looks at their direct impact on the environment. Wind turbines in operation kill hundreds of thousands of birds and millions of bats each year, and in some areas have threatened bat populations with extinction. Forget Dog Hitler, wind turbines are a massive threat to biodiversity of the planet. There is constant noise pollution from wind farms, and windmills themselves come in plastic containers – which are oftentimes burned after being opened.

Solar panels are even worse than windmills. Production requires quarz, which has to be mined and then refined – and both processes produce CO2. Its refinement into polysilicon produces tetrachloride – an extremely toxic chemical. Toxic chemicals are a byproduct of literally every step of production of a solar panel. And not only production, but operation as well. Solar panels produce waste that is not only polluting, but outright toxic – and they produce that waste at rate that is 300 times the rate of production of nuclear waste. And where nuclear waste is usually safely stored, solar panel waste is left to sit in the open. This allows the heavy metals (such as lead, cadmium and chromium) and other toxic chemicals contained within to seep out into the environment, endangering people who may move near the landfills and also potentially contaminating the groundwater supply. Since solar panels are fragile and break easily, this is certain to happen when they are disposed of, and is likely to happen even during the panel’s service life. And even this maximum service life is no longer than 25 years for well-made solar panels, and cheap Chinese panels may break down in as little as five years.

Further, because solar panels are so cheap, recycling them is simply not economical, especially since normal practices for recycling electronic waste do not work on solar panels. Recycling a solar panel costs about 60 USD, yet recycler will get around 3 USD for the materials gained. And since profits from solar panel production are marginal, producers will avoid bearing costs of recycling the panels if at all possible. This means that about 100% of produced solar panels will end up in waste heaps upon their end of life. Low price combined with rapid technological development also means that people are incentivized to replace solar panels even long before their lifespan has run out, further intensifying the production of waste. By 2050., some 78 million metric tons of solar panel waste will have been generated with 6 million tons of new waste being generated annually – and this is likely a significant underestimation. Solar panels always have to be employed en mass, due to solar power being so diffuse. And since solar panels are so dependent on weather conditions, massive battery stacks are required to store the power so that it may be utilized during times or increased cloud cover – same issue that is faced by the wind farms. Problem is, such batteries simply do not exist, requiring other sources of power – such as hydraulic and nuclear, or fossil fuel – to be utilized instead.

Solar farms also may take up otherwise valuable space that could have been utilized for agricultural or mining operations. While it is technically possible to grow crops in the shade of solar panels, such a decision is of questionable sanity, considering the toxic content of solar panels and their propensity for breaking. And in cases where solar farms are built onto previously untouched landscape, their construction is nothing short of an ecological disaster, completely destroying the habitat for many species in the area. A solar farm will take up 450 times more area than a nuclear plant in order to produce same amount of energy. To power United Kingdom, for example, solar and wind farms would require 25% of land to be completely cleared for their construction. This would mean an ecological disaster worse than even fossil fuels, let alone nuclear power plants.

And while nuclear power plants have to be built locally, many solar panel producers based their operations in China where regulations are far less strident. This makes the environmental impact of solar panel production far worse than it otherwise will have been. Production of solar panels also requires significant energy input – and much of this energy comes from coal-fired power plants.

Hydroplants may not have such widespread impact as wind and solar power plants, but their localized impact is extreme. Dams required for the hydropower plants to work create artificial lakes, destroying potentially thousands of square miles of environment in the process. They are about as “green” and “friendly to environment” as a nuclear bomb is. And just like most other plants, they too pollute more than nuclear power plants do.

From everything above, it can be clearly seen that leftist so-called “green” groups and options are not interested in preserving the environment. Rather, they are only interested in looking good, using lies and misinformation to fool the populace. Radioactive waste, which is often cited as an issue, is actually not one: nuclear waste disposal sites are safe, and so little of nuclear waste is produced in the first place that it is not a major problem. Nuclear waste is not some radioactive green goo just waiting for an opportunity to leak out into the environment. In reality, it is reconstituted as molten glass and encased in concrete barrels. Even if a container cracks open, there is nothing to leak out. And this waste can then be placed in underground storage where it can sit perfectly safe. Deep deposits could in fact be safe for millions of years.

One actual problem with nuclear power is that it is not renewable. Current uranium-235 resources are good for only about 90 years. However, this uranium accounts for only 0,7% of all the uranium found on the Earth. Remaining 99,3% of uranium – uranium-238 – remains unused. Utilizing breeder reactors which can use said 99,3% of uranium by transforming it into plutonium-239, as well as alternative nuclear fuel sources would extend this timeline to four billion years, by which point we will have slightly more important problems than power production. Specifically, all multicellular life on the planet will be extinct in some 800 million years due to Sun’s expansion and consequent increase in planetary temperature.

Some of the said alternative reactors – specifically molten salt reactors – are even safer than currently utilized conventional nuclear reactors. Reaction in such reactors operates on negative temperature coefficient, meaning that runaway reaction such as in Chernobyl cannot happen. Thorium is four times as abundant as Uranium, and entirety of thorium can be used, meaning that fuel reserves would be sufficient for thousands of years. It also does not need to be enriched, and produces thousands of times less nuclear waste than uranium reactors. For now however thorium reactors are still expensive. Small modular reactors could be mass-produced, significantly bringing down the cost, as each would only produce some tens of megawatts. Whether this will really happen however is still unclear.

Thus the only real problem is the expense. Nuclear power is by far the most expensive type of power, about five times more expensive than the solar or the wind. Yet the main issue for nuclear power is bad publicity: despite being far safer and less lethal than fossil fuels, nuclear power’s fatalities had been killed in large, publicized accidents while fossil fuels kill silently. Thus, perception is that nuclear power is more dangerous than other types of power, despite the opposite being true.

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