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Nuclear as a means to displace CO2 emissions

 
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Bandidoz
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 12:37 pm    Post subject: Nuclear as a means to displace CO2 emissions Reply with quote

When I heard Blair talking about Nuclear being necessary to allow us to meet our CO2 quotas, with Nuclear being "CO2-Free" it got me thinking.

We all know that the nuclear fuel cycle is not CO2-Free.

However, in terms of accounting for our own CO2 quota, it is.

Therefore I can see nuclear electricity being used as a means to trade (or "transport") CO2; it's being generated in another country for our benefit.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 11:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Nuclear as a means to displace CO2 emissions Reply with quote

Bandidoz wrote:
it's being generated in another country for our benefit.


Another aspect of the 'another country' effect is that we don't see the worst environmental impact of uranium mining. Mark Whittaker has produced this thought provoking piece for the BBC from India. It's not so very much better in Australia though there the locals don't have to wash their veg in the tailings stream. If there was uranium in the hills of Surrey it would never be mined.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
In the paper "Nuclear Power : the energy balance" by J.W. Storm and P. Smith (2005) download here, the authors calculate that with high quality ores, the CO2 produced by the full nuclear life cycle is about one half to one third of an equivalent sized gas-fired power station.

For low quality ores (less than 0.02% of U3O8 per tonne of ore), the CO2 produced by the full nuclear life cycle is EQUAL TO that produced by the equivalent gas-fired power station.
http://home.austarnet.com.au/davekimble/Peakoil/nuclear.CO2.htm


Certainly a large proportion of that CO2 is produced outside the UK but much of the emission that would be allocated to the UK are front end loaded so it would only be after some years of operation that new nuclear would break even from the UK perspective. If we accept that new nuclear wouldn't come on-line until at least 2020 then one could say that new nuclear build means increased CO2 emissions for two decades or so.

When people talk of nuclear being the zero CO2 option they should really be saying it means 20 years of increased CO2 emissions - shouldn't they?
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Andy Hunt



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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the current catchphrase is 'low carbon' rather than 'zero carbon' - as in the 'low carbon buildings programme'.

The thinking is that although nuclear does have CO2 emissions associated with it, it isn't as bad as fossil fuels.

So gas-powered micro CHP is also classed as 'low carbon', because of its efficiencies when compared to grid-generated electricity.

I suppose the politicians are trying to strike a balance between availability, scaleability, affordability, fuel supply and carbon emissions when it comes to energy generating technologies. I'm sure there is an element of lobbying by the respective industries in there, but not necessarily so pronounced as is commonly believed.

In the recent furore surround Tony Blair's recent quote about nuclear power being 'back on the agenda with a vengeance', it is often overlooked that what he actually said was, 'replace our existing nuclear power stations, a big push on renewables, and a step change in energy efficiency'.

I doubt whether most people would argue with the last two - and the emphasis of what was said was not that we should rely solely on nuclear, but that nuclear should be part of the mix.

Personally, I'm not a great fan of nuclear (I've gone for solar and biomass at home), and I think it should be avoided if at all possible. But in the real world, I think that the UK will end up going for whatever energy sources we can get our hands on - whether it be nuclear, wind, wave, or the oil under the Iraqi sands.
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