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The Carbon Crunch$
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Dieter Helm

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780300186598

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300186598.001.0001

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A new dawn for nuclear?

A new dawn for nuclear?

Chapter:
(p.120) Chapter 6 A new dawn for nuclear?
Source:
The Carbon Crunch
Author(s):

Dieter Helm

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300186598.003.0007

This chapter explains that along with renewables and energy efficiency, nuclear power technology has been suggested as a solution to climate change. Many civil programmes are run by countries with nuclear weapons, and in the United States, Britain, and France, the civil program initially supported the military, in particular through the production of plutonium. Nuclear waste is fundamentally different from other types of waste. Plutonium as a waste product from nuclear power stations has a half-life of around 24,000 years. If it can be used to produce electricity in new reactors, this raises the possibility that the stockpile of nuclear weapons could be rendered beyond use and turned into electricity. New nuclear power stations have all the usual sorts of costs and risks associated with such large-scale construction projects, and there are also lots of safety costs to reduce risk—much more so than with any other electricity-generating technology.

Keywords:   renewables, energy efficiency, nuclear power technology, climate change, civil programme, plutonium, nuclear power stations

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