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Natural Science
NATS 1760
Darrin Durant

NATS 1760 DARRIN DURANT/JAMES ELWICK Monday, February 4, 2013 NUCLEAR POWER 2: IS NUCLEAR ENERGY THE ANSWER?  Allison Macfarlane - Associate Professor of Environment, Science & Policy at George Mason University - Associate of the Belfer Center for Science & international Affairs; Project on “Managing the Atom’ Harvard University - Chair, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (since June 29, 2012)  How does Macfarlane start off the chapter? - Essentially asks ‘are you comfortable with the idea of having nuclear reactors down the road? (pg. 227) ’ not in my backyard’ - Perception of what the hazard is that you are being protected against- environmental hazard (climate change); nuclear reactors can save you from a bad environment  now branded as a green technology that can save you from the hazards in the environment  ‘How can we meet the electricity needs of an evolving world but reduce carbon emission?’ ([2009] pg. 227), Allison Macfarlane - ‘For nuclear power to make a substantial dent in carbon emissions. It would have to reduce emissions by at least a third’ (pg. 230) - ‘Nuclear power would have to increase its share of electricity production by… ten times [by 2100]’ (pg. 230) - ‘An expansion to more than 3,500 nuclear reactors worldwide implies first tackling the major issues of cost, safety, waste, proliferation, and security’ (pg. 239)  ‘At this time, it is not at all clear that these issues will be resolved in the long term’ (pg. 239)  From Technology Review Interview (July/ August 2009): - TR: You are known as a Yucca critic, does this mean you oppose nuclear power? -Macfarlane: Not at all. From the point of view of climate change, we absolutely, definitely need nuclear power  OBSTACLES 1) Cost 2) Safety 3) Waste 4) Proliferation 5) Security 6) Phase-out  needs a ten-fold expansion - nuclear… today NUCLEAR & OTHER ENERGY SOURCES  Over 400 commercial reactors in 30 (or so) nations - as of 2003: approximately 360 gigawatts versus Coal 2,400 gigawatts  Nuclear expansion is mostly in developing countries (pg. 228)  it’s a static technology CURRENT STATUS OF GLOBAL NUCLEAR POWER  Units in Operation: 44, Units Under Construction: 61 - a stored market COUNTRIES CONSIDERING NUCLEAR POWER  Operation: 30, Considering: 43, Expressing Interest: 25 - shows potential growth areas on our globe, first established in North America and Western Europe, but the growth of nuclear reactors are not in these areas STRUCTURE OF GLOBAL ELECTRICTY SUPPLY  Global Electricity generation in 2008: 20 180 TWh - Coal: 41%, Oil: 5.5%, Natural Gas: 21.3%, Nuclear: 13.5%, Hydro: 15.9%, Biomass: 1.3%, Other Ren: 1.5%  does this tell us something good about our world? Or are they not the way to go? o how are you framing the issue? What’s the meaning of these figures? GLOBAL ELECTRICTY GENERATING MIX  Why is each fuel increasing its share over time?  population increases uniformly, but decreasing amount of people with access to electricity 1) Business remains as usual 2) Business might change - to fix global warming? POPULATION, ENERGY & CARBON EMISSIONS  By 2100… (pg. 227) - world’s population increases to about ten billion - electricity generation… quintuples - carbon emissions from electricity generation alone will contribute double that of the current rate [by 2020] - climate warming may produce disastrous results  Will nuclear power alone fix global warming? (pg. 229) - no… 1) Can only reduce greenhouse emissions from electricity production, leaving fossil fuel use in transpiration un-touched 2) Nuclear also produces greenhouse gases (in uranium mining, processing and enrichment, and in the reactor construction phase)  ‘How can we meet the electricity needs of an evolving world but reduce carbon emissions? Nuclear power may provide the answer’ (pg. 227) MAP OF ELECTRICITY DEPRIVATION  Number of people without access to electricity, IAEA Reference Scenario (millions)  world population without access to electricity: - 2008: 1.5 billion people - 2030: 1.3 billion people  1.3 billion people, or 16% of the world’s population, still lack access to electricity in 2030, despite more widespread prosperity & more advanced technology HUMAN WELL-BEING AND ENERGY  Chabris & Simons: is this correlation or cause?  taken HDI (Human Development Index), the number of electricity a person is using per capita o Suggests that the more electricity you use the higher you are on the HDI  a way to increase your HDI ‘consume more electricity’
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