Mr Evil wrote:
...nuclear is not renewable energy (in fact it's the ultimate non-renewable energy) and there is a surprisingly big anti-nuclear movement in France. no nuke plant has ever been delivered on time and on budget in W. Europe,the capital costs are enormous, and the waste problem looms over the whole thing like the elephant in the room no-one wants to talk about.
The problem of the finite quantity of fuel available could be effectively solved with the use of breeder reactors, which would push the time until we run out forward by millenia. The waste problem could be almost eliminated by the use of... breeder reactors. We even had one here in the UK once, but it was shut down due to short-sightedness.
There is really no way (yet) for renewable energy sources to supply all
our power, and the most sensible source to make up the difference is nuclear.
Well said. It might take 30 or 40 years to figure out how to use the waste as fuel, but hey, thats what Yucca mountain is for.
I look at it this way: coal or nuclear? Even with IGCC/CCS coal, I'll still take nuclear. The mining is environmentally detrimental, but it can't be nearly as bad as blowing the top of a mountain off to get coal.
In France, so what if they stay on budget? The electric company is owned by the government. They have the cheapest electricity in Europe anyways.
On the other hand, nuclear needs to be cost-effective in the US and other countries, where de-regulated, or at least private energy markets exist. In this case, nuclear is very compatitive with coal, and the load factor of the plants has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, to around 90% now.
If a governmental carbon tax, or emission caps are put on the industry, then it becomes even more cost effective. There are plans for 28 reactors in the US now, we need plans for about 280, energy efficiency, renewables, and THEN we could have a zero emission grid.
I think that the government should regulate greenhouse gas emissions differently in different sectors. In electricity generation, the utilities have a silver bullet solution (nuclear), wheras steelmaking needs high carbon coke to make steel, and cars are somewhat inbetween, as they will hopefully move to plug-in hybrid electrics that use biofuels.