English Jedrska energija Zgodbice za lažje razumevanje

Nuclear energy-one of the causes of global warming

Consensus of most climate scientists

The increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans from the end of the 19th century and its intended sequels, due to anthropogenic factors, are called “global warming.”” 97 percent of climate scientists agree. The consequences of global warming, however, are climate change. Simplified. However, the question of whether nuclear energy could be one of the causes of global warming is increasingly being raised.

What causes global warming and climate change?

The European Commission states that human-based CO2 is the most contributing to global warming. It is estimated that natural phenomena such as changes in solar radiation or volcanic eruptions between 1890 and 2010 contributed up to 0.1°C to global warming.

Other possible effects on global warming

The industrial activities on which our modern civilization depends have raised carbon dioxide levels from 280 ppm to about 420 ppm in the last 150 years. There is a high probability that greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) produced by humans have caused a huge increase in Earth’s temperature over the last 50 years.

And yet, the very answer to thinking if the Sun is causing global warming has raised new questions. 

NASA states that the amount of solar energy Earth receives has followed the Sun’s natural 11-year cycle of small take-offs and down without a net increase until about 1950. Since then, the global temperature has clearly risen. It is therefore highly unlikely that the Sun would have caused a observed trend of global warming temperatures over the last half century.

What is the cause of extreme warming, which also deviates from the consequences of industrialization over the last 150 years? Is this perhaps a new, nuclear energy that has slowly begun to be asserted since 1945?

Nuclear energy in war and peace

The nuclear age began in the fifties. Global warming began in the fifties. This cannot be a coincidence.

What is remarkable is the correlation of global warming with the emergence of the use of artificially induced nuclear energy. The nuclear explosion was picturesquely depicted by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto, 2,053 nuclear explosions from 1945 to 1998. How is the impact of these nuclear explosions on global warming addressed in the IPCC report?

A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 – by Isao Hashimoto

Around 500 nuclear power plants operate worldwide, which produce about 10 % of total electricity, or about 2% of the total energy consumed. 

The energy efficiency of the conversion of nuclear energy into electricity is 10%, which means that the heat losses are enormous. The thermal emission of nuclear electricity is very high.

Similarly, CANSE reports from France that nuclear power is warming the planet, the climate and France. More specifically, a third of all energy pollution leading to global warming is caused by nuclear energy. Nuclear energy causes heat pollution of the same order as fossil fuel pollution for a part of the planet confined to France. In France nuclear energy accounts for a third of total thermal pollution (the sum of thermal pollution and ‘anthropogenic pollution’ leads to global warming), but provides less than a fifth of the final energy consumed.

What is the impact of nuclear energy on climate change?

All proponents of nuclear energy and the media argue that nuclear energy would be the solution to global warming. How is the thermal impact of nuclear power plants on global warming addressed in the IPCC report?

The nuclear energy axiom states that nuclear energy is low-carbon. Proponents of nuclear energy even argue that the inclusion of nuclear energy in the energy mix allows decarbonisation to take place. This thesis has also been adopted by Slovenian politics, indirectly enshrined in the Energy Law EZ-1. Nevertheless, the carbon emissions of nuclear energy throughout the nuclear fuel cycle must be taken into account.

There are several independent calculations of the carbon footprint of nuclear energy in the world. The article: CO2 emissions of nuclear power: the whole picture, authored by Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen, which takes into account all three phases, preparation, operation and decommissioning, states that nuclear energy has a greater carbon footprint than fossil energy. Benjamin Sovacool cites it similarly. Of course, there are also opposing opinions based on a different interpretation of statistics, such as “CO2 emissions of nuclear power and renewable energies“, which states that nuclear and renewable energy are equivalent in terms of carbon footprint.

Nuclear misrepresentation

Inaccuracies in relation to nuclear power also confuse experts, not just lay people. Quoting uranium for nuclear energy as a domestic energy product, calculating the Croatian half of nuclear electricity as the Slovenian energy cake, ignoring the costs of the HLW landfill in the economics of a nuclear power plant, the equating of nuclear power with sustainable energy and so on are merely the tip of the iceberg of nuclear lies.

However, even if nuclear energy has not contributed to global change and has not contributed to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the possibility of safe disposal of nuclear waste must also be assessed.

Nuclear YES or NO! Who’s going to decide?

So is nuclear energy the savior or gravedigger of civilization? Will the power of arguments prevail over power arguments?

Slovenia is a nuclear state and needs nuclear experts, as the nuclear legacy will have to be managed long after the closure of the NPP. We support the preservation of nuclear science and investment in research and development in this field. However, we are against nuclear gambling and against the creation of new nuclear waste. Until the permanent disposal of nuclear waste is regulated, it is not ethical to generate new nuclear waste.

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