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Did you know-pamphlet - nuclear energy

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7
MYTH: “Nuclear is not really true
9 “green”
energy and not sustainable”
MYTH: “Uranium mining causes
severe environmental effects”
o
The environmental effects of uranium mining are
the same as other metal mining and less harmful as
compared to fossil fuel extraction.
o
Uranium mining projects must have environmental
approvals prior to commencing, and must comply
with all environmental, safety and occupational
health conditions applicable.
o
Nuclear power plants release the lowest
quantity of CO2-emissions as compared to
other energy sources, i.e. even less than
hydroelectric.
o
Used fuel is not waste; 95% of the usable
energy remains. This energy can be recovered.
o International
Uranium has a very low level of radioactivity as
compared to granite. Virtually, all the radioactive
material from the associated minerals in the ore
processed ends up in the tailings. Tailings are
managed and controlled by placing them in
engineered dams or underground.
o
o Uranium
mining and mill sites
rehabilitated at the end of the project.
must
be
MYTH: “Nuclear power plants are not
8 economical
nor reliable compared to
other energy sources”
o
o
Although the upfront capital cost for nuclear
power plants is higher than others forms of
power generation, the reliability and low
operating cost (fuel, maintenance, etc) make
nuclear plants competitive. Coal and gas power
plant operating costs are sensitive to the future
price of the fuel.
The most expensive nuclear plant will be the
first one. As lessons learned are applied and
risk funds reduced, the capital cost drops by
more than 40 % in subsequent plant
constructions.
and regional organisations
develop
standards,
guidelines
and
recommendations under a framework of
cooperation to assist countries in establishing
and maintaining national standards for the
nuclear and waste management. Amongst
others, these standards aim to ensure the
protection of the environment and the public,
both now and into the future.
World Nuclear University
SUMMER INSTITUTE 2009
OXFORD, England
Prepared by Forum Issues Group #10
Alexey Lokhov (France)
(Canada)
Anke Kuehn (Germany)
Ortega Diaz (Chile)
Benjamin Solich (USA)
Erin Robertson
Fernando
J’Tia Taylor
DID
YO U
KNOW?
Dispelling the
Myths
Regarding
Nuclear
Energy
1
MYTH: “Nuclear waste disposal
strategy is left for future generations to
deal with”
MYTH: “Occurrence of major
3 accident
at nuclear power plants (e.g.
MYTH: “Fuel from a nuclear reactor
5 can
be used to make a bomb”
core meltdown and explosion)”
o
o
o
Deep geological repositories are a long-term
solution for radioactive nuclear energy
production waste. Waste is isolated within a
multi barrier system in geological formations
hundreds of meters below the ground. The
repositories are designed to provide a longterm storage, no future maintenance and
negligible doses to the public (dose rate to the
public is 10 times less than the regulatory
limit).
o
o The quality of plutonium from nuclear power
plants is insufficient for military applications
because of its isotopic compositions. The fuel
used in today's nuclear power plants is
proliferation-resistant.
o No accidents that were explosive in nature have
occurred at a nuclear power plant since the
Chernobyl accident in 1986. Also, there have
been no reactor core meltdown accidents since
Three Mile Island in 1979.
The use of a deep geological storage facility for
long-term storage of nuclear waste products is
being successfully pursued by Finland and
Sweden.
MYTH: “Risk of radiation accidents
2 during
transportation”
Making a nuclear bomb is an engineering
challenge. Everything has to be perfectly tuned
for a nuclear bomb to explode (e.g. nature of
the fuel, fission process). Nuclear power plants
are explicitly designed NOT to be a bomb.
Although Chernobyl experienced an explosive
thermal energy release, it did not experience a
nuclear explosion.
The weapon-grade uranium is excluded from
being used in nuclear power plants. Very
limited quantities are used in research facilities
under strict control.
MYTH: “Nuclear power plants
4 contaminate
the environment (ground
o Nuclear materials from the fuel reprocessing
and recycling plants are unsuitable for military
use.
MYTH: “Nuclear power plants are
6 susceptible
to terrorist attacks”
water / air) and local communities”
o
It is estimated that 20 million packages of
radioactive material are shipped worldwide
every year. Of this, 5 % is fuel cycle related
and 95 % is medicine, agriculture, research or
industry related. The transport of radioactive
material represents 1 % of dangerous goods
shipped worldwide.
o Packages used for the transport of the highest
activity materials, such as high level waste,
spent nuclear fuel, and some types of
intermediate level waste, have to be able to
survive rigorous tests that are representative of
the conditions that could be experienced in
severe transport accidents. To date, no
radioactive accidents have occurred during
transportation.
o
o
Background radiation is constantly present in
the environment and is emitted from a variety
of natural and artificial sources (food, water,
cosmic rays, radon). Less than 3 % of
background radiation comes from other manmade sources, of which emissions from nuclear
power plants is one source.
o Analyses show that coal-fired plants release
more radioactivity than a nuclear power plant.
For example, studies have shown that the
typical amount of radioactivity released from a
coal-fired plant over the course of 1 year is 155
times more than the total release from the
Three Mile Island accident.
Modern nuclear power plants are designed to
resist terrorist attacks and unsafe behaviour of
the personnel. The greatest consequence of
such activities would be a reactor shutdown.
o Similar to most chemical plants, nuclear fuel
cycle facilities have several layers of physical
protection, including anti-aircraft defence.
o Force-on-force
exercises
are
regularly
performed to test the security systems of
nuclear power plants and fuel cycle facilities.
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