Anthony Jared is a 30-year Navy veteran and who has operated nuclear reactors on both nuclear submarines & aircraft carriers. In this interview, we discuss the truth about nuclear energy, the safety concerns and why there has been such a prolific anti-nuclear movement.
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Nuclear energy is a contentious issue. And yet…
In terms of death rates per unit of electricity production, accounting for accidents and conservative pollution assessments, nuclear energy is the second safest source of energy: solar has 0.02 deaths per TWh, nuclear 0.03, Oil 18.43, coal 24.62, and brown coal 32.72. This equates to someone dying prematurely as a result of nuclear every 33 years in a town of 150,000, whilst in the same town as a result of coal 25 people per year would die prematurely.
Nuclear is the cleanest energy source. Per GWh, nuclear produces 3 tonnes of greenhouse gases, solar 5 tonnes, natural gas 490 tonnes, oil 720 tonnes, and coal 820 tonnes.
Little nuclear waste is generated, particularly where waste is reprocessed: in France, less than 0.2 of the waste is high level. US Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimates coal-powered plants carry 100 times more radiation than nuclear power plants into the surrounding environment.
Further, nuclear has the potential to be the cheapest energy source. A cost comparison is complex: for every analysis stating nuclear is the most economical energy source, there’s a report stating the opposite. However, nuclear investment has dropped considerably. In 1979 234 reactors were under construction around the world. In 2022 there were 59. Innovation and economies of scale haven’t benefited nuclear. Rather, it’s been beset by increasing regulatory costs.
Why is nuclear energy a contentious issue and what is the truth?