Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power: A Critical Global Assessment of Atomic Energy

Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power: A Critical Global Assessment of Atomic Energy

by Benjamin K Sovacool
     
 

ISBN-10: 981432275X

ISBN-13: 9789814322751

Pub. Date: 04/01/2011

Publisher: World Scientific Publishing Company, Incorporated

This book provides a concise but rigorous appraisal about the future of nuclear power and the presumed nuclear renaissance. It does so by assessing the technical, economic, environmental, political, and social risks related to all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mills and mines to nuclear reactors and spent fuel storage facilities. In each case, the

Overview

This book provides a concise but rigorous appraisal about the future of nuclear power and the presumed nuclear renaissance. It does so by assessing the technical, economic, environmental, political, and social risks related to all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, from uranium mills and mines to nuclear reactors and spent fuel storage facilities. In each case, the book argues that the costs of nuclear power significantly outweigh its benefits. It concludes by calling for investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency as a better path towards an affordable, secure, and socially acceptable future.

The prospect of a global nuclear renaissance could change the way that energy is produced and used the world over. Sovacool takes a hard look at who would benefit - mostly energy companies and manufacturers - and who would suffer - mostly taxpayers, those living near nuclear facilities, and electricity customers. This book is a must-read for anyone even remotely concerned about a sustainable energy future, and also for those with a specific interests in modern nuclear power plants.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9789814322751
Publisher:
World Scientific Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/01/2011
Pages:
292
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

1 Introduction: Exploring the "Faustain Bargain" 1

What Makes This Book Different 3

Preview of Chapters 4

The Stalled Nuclear Renaissance 6

2 The Nuclear Industry: "Smoking Cigarettes to Keep the Weight Off" 15

Current Status of the Nuclear Industry 15

The Basics of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle 26

Drivers of Nuclear Power Expansion 36

Plans for Nuclear Expansion 39

3 Safety and Reliability: Dealing with "Normal Accidents" 47

Safety and Accidents 48

Materials and Labor 83

Fuel Availability and Energy Payback 85

4 Unfavorable Economics: "Too Costly to Matter" 101

Construction and Operating Costs 102

Reprocessing Costs 113

Waste Storage Costs 116

Decommissioning Costs 118

Fuel Costs 122

Security Costs 124

Research Costs 125

5 Environmental Damages: "Cutting Butter with a Chainsaw" 133

Land Use 134

Water Use and Contamination 146

Climate Change 153

Medical and Health Risks 158

6 Political and Social Concerns: "Broken Plowshare" 171

Transmission and Distribution Vulnerability 173

Plant and Reactor Insecurity 174

Weapons Proliferation 181

Military Conflict 192

Maritime and Transport Security 194

Community Marginalization 200

7 Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: "The Fire Extinguisher" 211

Energy Efficiency 212

Renewable Energy 217

8 The "Self-Limiting" Future of Nuclear Power 245

Market Failure and Externalities 250

Subsidies and the Socialization of Risk 253

Hubris and Technological Fantasy 259

Conclusion 268

Postscript: The "Hydra-Headed" Fukushima Nuclear Crisis 275

Index 293

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