If, like many, you believe nuclear power to be the solution to global warming, you need to read this. If you think France has solved the problem of what to do with nuclear waste, you need to read this.
[ed. note. My first link to this article went bad. I’m now putting links to the same article from three different sites. Reading any one of them will be good enough, no need to click all three. The third is a PDF if you want high quality printing. Thanks – M.S.]
And, remember, all of this is still really only dealing with the issue of what to do with the waste that comes out of the plant. It completely ignores the fact that 93% of the uranium mined is not enriched uranium. So, it never gets into the plant in the first place. However, this huge mass of depleted uranium is still radioactive and has a half-life on the order of hundreds of millions of years. And, we don’t even try to bury it.
What do we do with it? Well, it happens to be a very dense metal, making it excellent for use as armor piercing bullets. So, we put it in weapons, fire it at tanks and the like, let it vaporize on impact, thus releasing its radioactive material into our environment. This can’t be good. Check this part of the same wikipedia page for the health considerations of depleted uranium. Some consider it a possible cause of Gulf War Syndrome. It is currently littering Iraq, causing unknown additional health issues.
Lastly, there are huge health problems associated with uranium mining. The minors have a huge host of health problems associated with their contact with the radioactive yellow cake. Here are a few articles on the subject:
Even this last one claiming that safety standards are stringent sounds scary to me. I wouldn’t want to work around this stuff even with these stringent standards.
Still not convinced? What about cost? Will straight comparison of the costs of nuclear power and how much more expensive it is be the final nail in the coffin of nuclear power? It certainly should be. Unfortunately, the politics make that unlikely. Still though, for your own information, please read this article on the true costs of nuclear power.
Cost of Nuclear Power – Includes construction and decommissioning of plants. The latter are often not considered.