David Lowry: Jonathan Ford’s latest column on nuclear power compounds several errors he made in an earlier column on radiation risks and decarbonization of power supplies. Mr Ford is entitled to his personal views on nuclear energy, but not to misrepresent facts. Ford describes nuclear power as a “reliable zero-carbon source” in the earlier article, and in his new column as “reliably generating zero-carbon electricity.” But repetition does not make inaccurate statements true, and this assertion is not correct. A comprehensive Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) of greenhouse gas emissions from differing power generation technologies by Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, California – and director of its Atmosphere/Energy Program – indicated that nuclear CO2 emissions are between 10 to 18 times greater than those from renewables.
David Lowry’s Blog 19th Nov 2019 read more »
Letter Paul Dorfman et al. We beg to differ with Jonathan Ford’s view on nuclear waste, that decommissioning and storage should be manageable problems (“Nuclear liabilities need to be put into a clearer perspective”, Inside Business, November 18). As the recent World Nuclear Waste Report 2019, states, no country in the world has a deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel in operation, and there remain significant scientific uncertainties associated with the deep disposal concept. Moreover, with costs of both interim and permanent storage of spent nuclear fuel ramping, no country has either securely estimated costs nor closed the gap between secured funds and cost estimates. The report adds that there is a lack of comprehensive, quantitative and qualitative information on risks associated with nuclear waste, with meta-analyses on the health impacts of nuclear waste notable for their virtual absence. We also take issue with Mr Ford’s claim that “nuclear power remains one of the few technologies the world has for reliably generating zero-carbon electricity”. The evidence base concludes that, taking account of the nuclear fuel cycle (uranium mining, fuel enrichment, construction of power stations and the waste stream), nuclear has CO2 emissions between 10 and 18 times those of renewables. And, in the light of major accidents, incidents, technical failures and outages, it is difficult to comprehend how the world’s ageing nuclear fleet can conceivably be described as reliable.
FT 19th Nov 2019 read more »