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Eco-Nuclear Solutions
Advocates for ecological, safe carbon-free energy


 

Join us for Movie nights

7:00 on this Zoom link

April 15: Juice:  Power, Politics & The Grid (Episode 1) – Texas Blackout

May 13: Juice:  Power, Politics & The Grid (episode 2) – Undermined by Enron

Atomic Artistry winners have been chosen.  Come see their art at the Fitchburg Art Museum through March 30

See 1 minute tour here

 

Nuclear energy is an ecological, safe, cost-effective, grid-ready solution to eliminate carbon emissions and provide for increasing global energy needs.

It’s clear that we must dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels to address the Climate Crisis.   After studying the options available, we’ve found that wind and solar cannot meet our energy needs alone, even with backup from hydro-electric and/or batteries.  

 

We have come to realize that nuclear energy is an essential component of any realistic solution.  We are here as a website and a group of activists to share what we have learned.

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We invite you to explore our site, watch a few videos, and read some of the sources listed here.  Take a little time to get beyond the myths and unfounded fears about modern nuclear power and to learn the limitations of wind and solar power.  With a deeper understanding of the facts, we are all in a better place to deal with the environmental crisis we must face together.

  Why We Support Nuclear Energy

It provides a steady ,
strong supply of
energy

Nuclear energy supplies power when it is needed.  Unlike solar and wind which are available only when the sun shines or the wind blows, power from nuclear energy is constant and available whenever it is needed without requiring batteries or fossil fuel backup.

Nuclear power is clean , producing no CO2 as it generates electricity.

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When it comes to waste, nuclear is superior to other technologies.  It is the only producer which sequesters all of its waste, and the volume is small. An even smaller fraction is highly radioactive and we have robust ways of dealing with it.

Waste is small
 

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Burying turbines
Decommissioned Solar Panels
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Note the size of the bulldozer in this picture. These wind turbine blades cannot be recycled to be used as turbine blades again.

Solar panels produce energy for 25 – 30 years. Glass and metal photovoltaic modules will start adding up to millions of tons of waste. Solar panels are made of many materials, some hazardous, and assembled with adhesives and sealants that make breaking them apart challenging.

Nuclear power
plants use less
land and less material than
Wind or Solar

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Nuclear energy is SAFE

What about the nuclear accidents?
of the three major accidents:

  1. Three Mile Island in 1979 resulted in 0 deaths and no detectable health problems.

  2. Chernobyl in 1986 caused 51 immediate deaths of the firefighters and workers

  3. Fukushima plant failure after the tsunami caused no deaths from radiation and few health risks after exposure.

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Nuclear power  reduces Grid Complexity

The grid is a complex, finely tuned machine which must provide high quality power with moment to moment stability. This stability requires constant maintenance of voltage, frequency and phase. None of these is constant coming from a wind turbine or solar panels, both requiring DC-to-AC inverters, as the wind speed varies and sun goes in and out of clouds. Complex, expensive “power-conditioning” is required.

 

Nuclear  power, by comparison, produces energy in a very consistent manner.

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A Grid dependent on wind and solar is a fragile grid

Since wind and solar are intermittent, they need fast-acting backup.  This backup is generally supplied by natural gas, which emits CO2 and methane.  Gas storage is limited and the priority of pipeline gas is for homes and businesses, not power plants.  When no gas is available, energy is purchased from neighbors who are having the same problems with weather and gas supply.  “The outcome of this process is a fragile, unreliable grid,subject to rolling blackouts.” Meredith Angwin, author of Shorting the Grid: the Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid.

Since nuclear power plants are always running except for times of planned maintenance, backup is not required in times of high demand. 

Wind and solar are often not where the energy is needed

Much of the country’s wind resources come from the middle of the country and solar from the southwest while the population centers are on the east and west coasts.  Massive high voltage transmission lines will be required to move this energy. Imagine the people who would be out of power if tornadoes, such as the ones that occurred in Kentucky in December 2021, destroyed the transmission lines, wind turbines, and/or solar panels..

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Wind turbine destroyed by hurricane.

Nuclear power plants are not dependent on weather patterns for their location and their buildings protect them from extreme weather.  Currently the U.S. has 95 power reactors supplying one fifth of our electricity and over half of our non-carbon energy.

Nuclear Can Do
Even More

Nuclear power generation is superior to Renewables as a source of electricity because of its energy density, low environmental footprint, and the capability to supply consistent always-on baseload power.

 

But wait, there’s more!  Nuclear has the unique ability to solve other difficult problems that are beyond the capability of current sources of energy.  Accompanying the unrivaled compactness of nuclear reactors, is the wide-open potential afforded by the high temperatures that can be achieved, especially using modern Generation-IV reactors.  Incidentally, the higher temperatures also mean greater efficiency and economy in the generation of electric power.

 

Here are a few other potential game changers:

 

1. Efficient Desalination of Water

2. Cost-effective Production of Hydrogen.

3. The Possibility of Carbon Capture and Storage.

4. High Quality Industrial Heat.

5. Synthetic Fuels

1. Desalination

We can and do desalinate seawater today, but it is not terribly efficient with respect to electrical input or attainable temperature.  Abundant nuclear energy could make desalination widespread and economical.

 

2. Hydrogen is a much-hyped potential contributor to future energy systems.  However, currently available processes are still too costly and energy inefficient.  The commonest system today also emits large volumes of CO2. See the Q&A on Hydrogen on FAQs page for more detail.

 

3. There is also a lot of excitement about another difficult technology, namely Carbon Capture and Storage.  This is an extremely difficult problem that, by its nature, will require a lot of energy.  Nuclear energy is the only source with a reasonable possibility of meeting this challenge.  See the Q&A on Carbon Capture and Storage on the FAQs page for more detail.

 

4. Industrial Heat

The potential here is enormous.  Today certain big-sector industrial activities require either (1) a large amount of electrical current, as in the extraction and refining of aluminum, or (2) the burning of fossil fuels to produce large amounts of high temperature heat that are impossible to produce from electricity. Notable examples are cement production and steel production.  Many chemical refinement and synthesis processes can also benefit from the economical high temperature heat that can be supplied by modern nuclear power plants.  Ammonia-based fertilizer is one significant sector. There is an exciting opportunity to co-locate Small Modular Reactors with large specific consumers or special industrial parks where the heat can be employed directly without significant thermal loss.

 

5. Synthetic Fuels

This is an area where high quality heat at a high temperature can open new possibilities.  Nuclear-produced hydrogen, discussed above, is just one part of this story.  Economical high-temperature heat can even allow us to incorporate extracted carbon from the CO2 in the atmosphere into synthetic liquid fuels.  If we can create synthetic liquid fuels in this manner, there are two highlights. (1) The CO2 we produce from burning the fuel does not add to the atmospheric burden.  It is simply recycled.  (2) Since liquid fuels have great utility, large infrastructures can be converted to green energy without being completely overhauled.  Principle examples include shipping and trucking.  There are reasonable proposals to produce ammonia as shipping fuel, and products like dimethyl ether for trucking.

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