How Fear of Nuclear Power is Hurting the Environment

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  In recent years, awareness of climate change has risen with more frequent extreme climate conditions due to the spike of carbon emissions. It is at this moment, the initiative, “No Nuke action, toward low carbon emission and sustainability” gains the momentum around the country.

  Why are so many people against nuclear power? For our Mother Earth? It doesn’t make sense to me at all.

  Global warming is enhanced because we keep using fossil fuels. The emission which has been made since industry revolution in 18th century retain in the atmosphere mostly. According to TPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) research, it takes hundreds of years for the carbon dioxide to circulate back to the land, and nearly thousands of years back to the ocean. Even if the emission stops right away, it still takes hundreds of thousands of years for the lifecycle to complete. (IPCC AR5 WGI Chapter 6 BOX 6.1)

  If you really care about global warming and the relevant issues around the world, you might find that even Germany, which is considered a model country of using renewable energy is now facing difficulties. The emission of carbon dioxide of the country has increased in a consecutive two years. They now lag behind their greenhouse gas reduction goal. According to the estimate from AG Energiebilanzen, an energy market research team, German emissions from electricity generation has been increasing for two years. On the other hand, The United Kingdom is doing a much better job than Germany in terms of carbon emissions. The key to the results is the change of power generation portfolio. The UK decreases its fossil fuel usage and increase that of renewable energies and nuclear power synchronously, boosting a 12.3% deduction of carbon emissions (Twenty million ton of CO2e).

  In these cases, you can see that these two countries take a whole different strategy when dealing with issues of carbon emissions. Germany increases its use of renewable energies and no longer use nuclear power, while the UK increases both use of renewable energies and nuclear power. It leads to a different result that the emission per unit of power generating differs about 10 times between Germany and the UK, 535g/kw and 44g/kw respectively. (Note 1)

  As a result, IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) proposes to double or triple the use of nuclear power and renewable energies in energy generation portfolio, “it is probably the most effective way to fight against climate change.”

  The environmental groups naively propose to use renewable energies to replace nuclear power. But what they don’t understand is that fossil fuel and nuclear power are the main power generation resources in Taiwan. In Germany, the government fills the gap by purchasing electricity from neighboring countries. The use of renewable energies has grown times undoubtedly, but the problems caused by intermittent energies to feed in tariff, like wind energy, has cause intensions among those neighboring countries. In Taiwan, we don’t have electric grid connected with other countries, it is not feasible to learn from Germany.

  Rumor has it that nuclear power generates more emissions than other energy sources. Well, that’s a myth. The amount of emission caused by nuclear power is pretty much similar to that of renewable energy. It’s actually a low carbon energy resource.

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