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Is nuclear power safe, affordable or clean?

Posted: May 6, 2014 |   Comments

( The nuclear industry lobby goes hand in hand with mainstream media to disseminate propaganda extolling the virtues of nuclear energy, and downplaying its dangers.

One example of this is an article by The Economist which reported that animals around Chernobyl have a higher survival rate than animals around Fukushima, supposedly indicating that the animals "seem to have evolved, just as Darwin would have predicted."

Timothy Mousseau and a team of scientists went to Chernobyl's exclusion zone to investigate wildlife, and what they found was that birds there tended to have a higher amount of antioxidants in their blood and feathers, allowing them to "mop up radiation," The Economist said.

A major evolutionary change occurring in just 28 years is pushing it, but the report nonetheless implies that radiation is essentially harmless, since life can adapt to it so quickly. So have no fear about Fukushima or radiation contaminating the food supply! Without that fear, what's to stop the nuclear industry from continuing to profit from environmental degradation?

Well, there's the economic factor. 21st Century Wire reported:

The most nuclear-intensive country in the world for power production, France, from 2013, has set a yearly rise of power prices of 10% for at least the next 3 years, probably continued after 2017, in an attempt to start paying the economic damage from its nuclear binge. France's official CPI is about 1.5% annual, meaning that power prices will rise at 7 times the official inflation rate.

As many as 25 of its 60-strong reactor fleet, simply due to age, will have to start being decommissioned through 2025-2040. The cost estimates for this are unsure, but the French General Accounting Office (Cour des Comptes) in Jan 2012 estimated about 3.8 billion euros for each
[nuclear power plant] -- and the French government is now trying to amass a decommissioning and dismantling fund. Inevitably this will mean further decline of power-intensive industries and fuel poverty.

The Fukushima disaster of 2011 in Japan has had a wide number of estimates for its total costs through the next 15 -- 20 years, running to a consensus average around $150 -- $175 billion, and that cost will surely increase as every year of inaction passes by.

Total accumulated costs from the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, to date, for the governments of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are placed in the region of at least $350 billion by sources including the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE).

The fantasy claim that nuclear power is "cheap" cannot resist these real world facts.

Furthermore, the claim that nuclear energy is a "clean" alternative to fossil fuels doesn't hold up when you factor in "the total dependence on fossil fuels for uranium mining, transport, fuel fabrication, nuclear waste transport and disposal, as well as the building and servicing of" nuclear power plants, which all contribute to CO2 emissions.

Click here to read the full report from 21st Century Wire.

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