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Not all Atomic Energy projects have been benign, in fact quite a few of them have been harvested for weapons-grade fissile material.
Not only that, the economics, and hence the net energy return, on some Nuclear Fission power plants has been highly questionable.
As the industry winds down (yes, it’s winding down, despite the fanfares and accolades and heralds of its reawakening), more and more shambolic problems emerge.
It’s not just safety issues, although safety should always be first. It’s about spent resources, cost-corner-cutting, incompetence, outages, failures, leaks, malfunctionings and the lack of provision for radioactive waste disposal.
It’s about bailouts, bust-ups and bad reputation, meaning skilled staff are not coming in.
It’s about contracts, contractors and contraction. It’s bust, not boom.
It’s a bright, shiny technology ending with not a bang but a messy stain.
The Nuclear Push
One of the striking things is not actually about the technology of using nuclear fission to produce heat to produce electricity.
The Public Relations campaign in favour of a new raft of Nuclear Power stations around the world appears to be coordinated, and at times seems like an exercise in denying reality.
It appears that the major mining companies of the world have the most to gain from New Nuclear, and I suspect that their capital-backed influence is reaching into national policies, recruiting public figures for support, and capturing the media.
Stand back a little and view the overall picture.
We are approaching a peak in production of crude oil, to be followed by an inevitable decline, and so the pro-nuclear people think they can get traction.
There are some problems with this fervour : the supply of good quality fissile Uranium could also peak in the near future. Plus, some studies have shown that the net Energy production of Nuclear Power plants may not be that high.
Some people calculate that Nuclear Energy is just a complicated, risky way to burn Fossil Fuels – used in the mining, transporting, spinning of the Uranium, the building of the reactors, and the disposal of the radioactive waste when it’s all over.
Even though Nuclear Energy seems to be Zero Carbon in production, when it finishes or fails in outage, much Carbon has to be expended.