In 2019, nuclear power produced 10% of the global electricity used worldwide. Natural gas provided 24% of the global electricity consumption in 2019. Both are very expensive, non-renewable fossil fuels.
The difference is that nuclear power can only produce electricity, whereas natural gas can also be used to heat buildings, and serve as a combustion to cook, and for cars, ships, and aeroplanes.
There is much concern about nuclear power and natural gas because the European Union plans to accept these as green energy sources to combat climate change. From whatever perspective we judge nuclear power and natural gas, they are all but green.
Moreover, these two non-renewable fossil fuels will speed up atmosphere temperatures, intensifying climate change.
Both nuclear power and natural gas, as well as all other non-renewable energy sources, such as coal (which produces more than 40% of our electricity) and oil, should be banned as soon as possible. Moreover, there are enough very cheap sustainable alternatives.
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Table of contents
- 1 What’s wrong with nuclear power?
- 2 Nuclear power is too expensive
- 3 Nuclear power frustrates alternative energy sources
- 4 Natural gas is no alternative energy source
- 5 Alternative energy sources
- 6 What’s wrong with nuclear power? We can do better
What’s wrong with nuclear power?
Everything is wrong with nuclear power. Actually, with every non-renewable fossil fuel. All fossil fuels should be banned as soon as possible. Moreover, because there are enough sustainable alternatives everybody can use.
Nuclear power is too expensive
There are many decisive reasons to immediately stop producing electricity with nuclear power. It is way too expensive. Moreover, the costs are passed on to all tax-paying citizens, predominantly to those who do not profit from nuclear-powered energy.
Nuclear waste is also a big, very expensive, and very persistent problem. To prevent problems with nuclear waste it must be cooped up for more than 200 millennia (= more than 200.000 years). There exists no place on earth to store it that long.
Nuclear power frustrates alternative energy sources
Nuclear power cannibalizes the investment market for alternative and truly climate and environmentally friendly energy sources. Every euro or dollar that is invested in the production of nuclear power, stops investments in the development of alternative energy sources.
Moreover, nuclear power is not in the interest of the citizens. The production of nuclear power can only be stopped at extremely high costs. Because the costs of nuclear power are already that exceptionally high, this is never done.
This means that when there is an overproduction of electricity, all other cheaper and more flexible, climate, and environmentally friendly alternatives, are disrupted. Driving up the prices of these alternatives.
Natural gas is no alternative energy source
CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions dominate the impact of natural gas on climate change. Such emissions stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
During the production and distribution of natural gas, deliberately or not, methane is released into the air. The effect of the warming up of the atmosphere from methane is much greater than from CO2.
However, methane decomposes naturally within a couple of decades. Provided, of course, the amounts of methane do not rise. Besides, we must consider that mega-pig, cattle, and chicken farms also produce enormous amounts of methane.
CO2 and methane emissions of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are double those of non-liquefied natural gas. Any, present or future, investment in liquified or non-liquified gas infrastructure will increase a further warming up of the planets’ atmosphere. Moreover, such investments frustrate investments in alternative, more climate, and environmentally friendly energy sources.
Alternative energy sources
Solar, wind, and geothermal are excellent alternative energy sources. These alternative energy sources can meet all future energy demands.
The biggest challenge with renewable energy sources is that when a surplus is produced, a storage capacity is required. Such storage facilities, of course, also require substantial investments.
However, because these facilities improve supply security, the prices of alternative energy sources can remain at the current very low levels, which is about half of any fossil, non-renewable energy source.
Moreover, all renewable energy sources make citizens less dependent on uncontrollable, multinational companies and politically unreliable countries.
When I was young we used to burn shoelaces with a magnifier. This only worked, of course, when the sun was shining. It is a significant example of the power of solar energy.
Another example to enjoy solar energy is when you go for a walk and the sun is shining. This is the energy that can easily be transmitted into electricity for any type of facility. Homes, offices, and factories can be heated, and, if need be, powered with solar energy.
The photovoltaic panels, such as we have on our roof, are the most eye-catching examples of the transformation of solar energy into electricity. Where we live, there are also a lot of solar panels on deserted and uninhabitable places, for example, stretches of deserted farmland along highways.
One of the most spectacular and promising technologies to capture solar energy is the ‘concentrated solar power’ technique. One of the world’s finest examples of this technique is to be found in the village of Fuentes de Andalucia, near Seville in Spain, the Gemasolar Thermosolar Plant of the company Torresol Energy.
The advantage of this plant is that it can store the energy produced by melting salt. The plant is able to provide energy for 27.500 homes.
The Molinos de Viento de Consuegra in Spain (The windmills of Consuegra) is one of the most magnificent places to visit in Spain. High up on a hilltop there are 12 well-preserved windmills going back to the 16th century.
However, no matter how beautiful and ingenious these specific windmills are, the biggest disadvantage of modern windmills is that they disturb the landscape. Another disadvantage is that without wind, there is no energy.
For the millers of Consuegra, this was no problem because they could wait for the wind to power their mills. Nevertheless, their position, high on a hilltop, often guaranteed the wind they needed.
Modern windmills always need a system to be able to store excess energy. Moreover, such a storage facility needs to be as close to the windmills as possible. This requires additional investments in thermal storage systems. The advantage of these storage systems is, however, that they keep the price of windmill energy at an acceptably low rate.
Isla Plana is a very small village on the Murcian coast in Spain. There is a small square with a church. At the bottom of the rocky coastline of the square, you can walk to a small stone building. The bottom of the building rests in the seawater.
This building is the Roman Baños termales (Thermal Baths) de Isla Plana or Baño de la Marrana. The naturally warm water supply to the building has been closed a long time ago due to the nearby development of dwellings.
Driving along the coastal road E22 for some 500 meters, from Isla Plana in the direction of Puerto de Mazarron, in a sharp bend, is the Cueva del Agua. It is a cave, partially filled with seawater, from which a little bit more than 6 km now have been explored and mapped.
The average water temperature in the cave is a bit more than 29 degrees Celsius. Which is very comfortable. Perhaps even a bit too hot to swim. Both the baños and the cave are proof of geothermal activity in the vicinity. As far as I am aware, the thermal heat of the water in the cave is not used to heat up buildings or for any other practical purpose.
Geothermal heat is easy to be used but requires substantial technical design and construction. This makes it at the moment more profitable for largescale projects.
Reduction of energy consumption
Isolation is the best-known way to reduce the consumption of energy at home. It makes no difference whether the isolation is used to keep the warmth or cold outside. The advantages are similar.
Using public transport, as an alternative for our car is also a viable way to reduce energy consumption. Walking and cycling are proper alternatives. Moreover, they keep your body fit and healthy.
What’s wrong with nuclear power? We can do better
We often think that the reduction of the use of fossil fuels is the responsibility of companies and the government. Of course, they have a large responsibility. If only to set the example, and to stop investing taxpayers’ and consumers’ money in unsustainable energy sources.
However, as citizens and consumers, we also have a substantial responsibility if it comes to the reduction of the use of fossil fuels. We can isolate our homes. Although we have to beware that the house can keep on breathing.
The use of public transport, walking and cycling, I’ve already mentioned as alternatives. But you can do more. You can install solar panels. When you live in an apartment building, convince the other occupants it is a way to reduce the energy bill and invest collectively.
You can also buy a windmill. There are many affordable types of windmills you can install on your roof or in your garden. And the advantage of a windmill is, when the wind blows at night, it will also produce energy when your solar panels can’t. Just take the effort, it will make you happy and you will pay less for your energy bill.
How do you reduce your fossil fuel consumption? Please let us know in the comment box below.