Bruno Comby, Founder and President of Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, has graciously provided commentary on an important shift in thinking taking place within the environmental community. Ecological organizations such as Greenpeace have an anti-nuclear standpoint. Our world is sustaining itself today on the burning of fossil fuels; 85 percent of the. The war in Iraq reminds us how fragile our supply of oil is. But the result might be the same.
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Bruno Comby, Founder and President of Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, has graciously provided commentary on an important shift in thinking taking place within the environmental community. Ecological organizations such as Greenpeace have an anti-nuclear standpoint. Our world is sustaining itself today on the burning of fossil fuels; 85 percent of the. The war in Iraq reminds us how fragile our supply of oil is.
But the result might be the same. In the most optimistic case—supposing the Persian Gulf countries Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and the Arab Emirates continue to let us take the oil from their underground—the oil production will in any case start declining soon and entire portions of the planet will then be simply deprived from oil, whatever price they might be willing to pay for it, as production peaks and the major oil fields become dry.
Burning all this oil we are pumping out of the earth today throws into the atmosphere 23 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year— tons per second—which is significantly altering the chemical composition of our atmosphere and seriously affecting the climate of our planet. If we wanted this to be sustainable, we need 2 million planets like Earth. But we have only one fragile planet to live on.
If we want it to remain livable and ensure not just the comfort of our modern lives but, in the close future, the continuation of our civilization, we must move very rapidly to new lifestyles and other energy sources. It should be understood in this regard, that converting the energy infrastructures takes at least 15 years—if not more—and we already know that great tensions on our supplies of oil and gas will come long before then.
Until now, energy consumption has continuously increased almost everywhere on the planet and most politicians continue to base their current predictions on eternal growth. Energy efficiency and other sources of energy can and should urgently be developed. Efficient light bulbs produce the same amount of lighting with three to eight times less energy.
Heat pumps can produce the same amount of heat with two to five times less energy. Solar heat and geothermal energy can and should be developed to a much greater extent than they are today. And even so, the electricity would be available only when the wind blows i. Oil and natural gas reserves soon to be exhausted, leaving us with coal, which unfortunately is an even greater contributor to global warming, or nuclear energy.
The sequestration of carbon dioxide is nothing but a pleasant dream, quite impossible to put in practice and yet unproven. In all cases, another clean and massively available energy source is needed to avoid or soften a major crash of our civilization in the years to come. Nuclear energy produces almost no carbon dioxide and no sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides. On the contrary, these gases are produced in vast quantities when fossil fuels are burned.
Unlike solar cells, wind turbine farms and growing biomass, all of which cover large areas of land and are intermittent, a nuclear power station is very compact. Well-designed, well-constructed, well-operated and well-maintained nuclear energy is not only clean; it is also safe, reliable, durable and competitive.
Let me discuss these points. France has the cleanest and cheapest electricity in Europe: 80 percent of its electricity is nuclear and 15 percent is waterpower. The CO2 emissions in France are 6.
Energy Statistics. This difference largely results from the nuclear production of electricity in France. If Denmark imitated the example of France, it would do much better than its missed Kyoto target.
Nuclear power is safe, as proven by its half century of commercial operation, with the accumulated experience of more than 12, reactor-years. TMI was the worst accident one can imagine in a western power reactor: The core of the reactor melted and much of it fell to the bottom of the reactor vessel. It was designed for that purpose, and as a result, the amount of radiation that went out into the atmosphere was a million times less than at Chernobyl. No one at TMI was seriously irradiated, nor died.
In fact, TMI was a real success story for nuclear safety: The worst possible accident occurred core meltdown , and yet no one was injured or killed.
Chernobyl was different. Chernobyl was the perfect example of what not to do with a nuclear reactor: a faulty design, an unstable reactor and unsafe operation. The reactors at Chernobyl had no containment structure. The reactor was unstable and conducted in a way known to be dangerous on that day, which required a bypass of all the security systems.
This conduct provoked a surge in power and water vapor explosion. The ton graphite moderator then caught fire and burned for several weeks.
The smoke carried more than half of the radioactive fission products directly into the atmosphere where they were swept hither and yon by the winds. Less than 32 people died within a few months; about more were severely irradiated, but survived.
The inhabitants of the exclusion zone were also victims as they were hurriedly uprooted, evacuated and resettled elsewhere. They lost their jobs and suffered psychological and social trauma in the dissolving Soviet Union.
Their lives were disrupted and shortened; since , some 4, cases of thyroid cancer have been diagnosed in the surrounding regions. Then there are discussions about long-term cancers.
Some organizations and journalists pretend that there might be tens of thousands—sometimes even millions—of victims still to come, but these estimations are either imaginary or the result of theoretical calculations based on an untrue hypothesis involving the linear extrapolation of the effect of high doses of radiation to the low doses. In sum, considerably fewer fatalities have occurred in the civilian nuclear power industry in half a century Chernobyl included than occur in any year in the fossil fuel industry.
Coal mine accidents are common occurrences and often cause tens or hundreds of fatalities, reported one day and forgotten the next; these deaths add up to about 15, per year worldwide, 6, of which are in China.
The same may be said for oil field accidents. Oil tankers go aground or break up, accidents occur in refineries, oil and gas platforms have been lost with all hands, etc. Accidents in high-pressure gas pipelines are neither infrequent nor small.
One example is the gas pipeline accident at Ghislenghien, Belgium, on July 30, , which killed 21 and injured There are those who urge us to conserve energy, and I agree, of course, that conservation is highly commendable, even essential, especially for advanced countries that are highly dependent on massive imports of oil.
Nuclear wastes are accordingly about a million times smaller than fossil fuel wastes. The volume of nuclear waste produced is very small. In his or her whole lifetime, the volume of highly active vitrified waste produced by a typical French citizen is only the volume of a golf ball.
Nuclear waste also spontaneously decays over time, unlike stable chemical waste, such as arsenic or mercury, which lasts forever. In the US and Sweden, spent fuel is simply stored away. Fear of the unknown is the merchandise of the anti-nuclear greens. They preach fear of radiation in general, fear of radioactive waste in particular, fear of another major accident such as Three Mile Island or Chernobyl and fear of nuclear weapons proliferation. Their campaign has been successful only because radiation is quite mysterious to most people, and very few are aware of the fact that radiation is present everywhere in the environment.
The anti-nuclear organizations also take advantage of the widespread, but mistaken, interpretation of the studies on the health of survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings—the interpretation that even a small amount of radiation is deleterious to health the LNT hypothesis and the related concept of collective dose. The fact is that a moderate amount of radiation is natural and beneficial, if not essential, to life.
Radiation has been bathing our environment and is present everywhere in nature since the early history of our planet; in fact our sun and its planets, including the Earth, today are the remnants of the giant explosion of a supernova. Everything around us in nature is radioactive and already was even before radioactivity was discovered; this radiation spontaneously decreases with time. When life first appeared on Earth, the natural radiation levels were about twice as high as today.
Most people are totally unaware of the fact that the human body itself is naturally radioactive. It contains about 8, Becquerel 8, atoms disintegrating every second , about half of which is potassium, as well as carbon Potassium is a chemical element essential to health; many people eat a banana a day to assure an adequate supply.
Nuclear energy is a clean, safe, reliable and competitive energy source. If we want to be serious about climate change and the end of oil, more efficient use of energy and selfsustainable lifestyles should be promoted.
But this will not be enough, so to ensure the survival of our civilization, nuclear power should also be deployed rapidly in all developed countries, especially those who are today burning large amounts of oil and coal. An intelligent combination of energy conservation, together with renewable energies for local, low-intensity applications and nuclear energy for base-load electricity production, is the only viable way for the future.
The opposition of some environmental organizations to civilian applications of nuclear energy will soon be revealed to have been among the greatest mistakes of our times. In , the not-for-profit Association of Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy EFN was created to inform the public in a complete and straightforward way about sources of energy and their environmental impact.
Patrick Moore, one of the initial founders of Greenpeace in and the director of Greenpeace for many years, is the honorary president of EFN-Canada. Other members of EFN are environmentalists and ordinary citizens who feel concerned about the future of our planet and want to do something about it.
I encourage all our friends and readers to join EFN, to become local correspondents and to develop a branch of EFN in their region. Bruno Comby is the founder and president of the international association of Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, which gathers 8,plus members and supporters in more than 50 countries. Yiannis G. Mostrous is editor of Growth Engines. John A. Published on Apr 18, Go explore.
Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy
Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy EFN describes itself as being "in favor of all energies which respect the environment, including the peaceful applications of clean nuclear energy which has the greatest industrial potential , as well as renewable energies hydro, solar, geothermal, and wind, all have appropriate roles to play, but with a much smaller potential. EFN was formed in by Bruno Comby. According to EFN, nuclear produces "clean" energy "confined waste" and "no carbon dioxide". Its says: "environmental opposition to nuclear energy is the greatest misunderstanding and mistake of the century
Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy. For complete and straightforward information on energy and the environment. Download the shorter version of "Benefits of Nuclear energy" by Berol Robinson. Download the longer version of "Benefits of Nuclear energy" by Bruno Comby.
Environmentalists for Nuclear