Can nuclear energy be a weapon in the war against climate change? Nuclear energy is arguably fossil fuel free. It generates a huge amount of electricity from a tiny amount of fuel.
Canada’s CANDU nuclear technology has an outstanding record of safety and reliability. Canada has substantial uranium reserves. None-the-less, nuclear energy remains unpopular.
Finding a site for a new nuclear power plant takes, typically, over a decade. Capital costs and on-going security are expensive. Nuclear power plants require large amounts of concrete.
Concrete has a high embedded carbon footprint because concrete manufacturing accounts for five per cent of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions.
Finally, there is no fail-proof solution to the long-term storage of nuclear waste. We can’t be certain that nuclear waste won’t leak and cause some horrible catastrophe during the centuries when it is highly radioactive.
Renewable energy options remain environmentally and economically preferable for powering our post-carbon future.
Robert M. Macrae