All three of the escaping gases are greenhouse gases, but unless the leak carries on for weeks or months, the effect on the climate is likely to be small. "The impact on climate change is not going to worry anyone," says Boxall.
The question is which one is worse? The political consensus indicates that people believe nuclear is worse. So we have this. The choice isn't between nuclear and happy bunny rabbits nibbling under the whirling blades of infinite wind power. For better or worse, the choice is between nuclear (with its Chernobyls and Fukushimas and Yucca Mountains) and fossil fuels (which seanmpuckett so well described the downsides of above).
Fukishima failed b/c it got hit by a huge earthquake followed immediately by a huge tsunami, did it not?
So every nuke plant you don't have means correspondingly more coal, oil, and gas plants, and their associated mines, wells, drill rigs, pipelines, fracking, and so on (plus the occasional enormous explosion, toxic clouds of gas, etc).
Solar: Right now we use very, very toxic chemicals to make solar cells, some of which we have a very finite supply of
You want to build solar farms in Ontario?
By the start of 2012, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, 138 commercial power reactors had been permanently shut down. At least 80 are expected to join the queue for decommissioning in the coming decade - more if other governments join Germany in deciding to phase out nuclear power following the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year.
And yet, so far, only 17 of these have been dismantled and made permanently safe. That's because decommissioning is difficult, time-consuming and expensive. Decommissioning just a single one generally costs up to half a billion dollars. The UK's 26 gas-cooled Magnox reactors will eventually cost up to a billion dollars each to decommission. The UK has put its now largely defunct fleet of Magnox reactors under "care and maintenance" for around 100 years.
The advancements in solar power alone are enough to get excited about. Might take 20 years or more though.
The largest solar power plant currently operating in the world (although it won't be for much longer) is the one I mentioned above in Sarnia, Ontario.
That's photovoltaic solar BTW. Most people don't realize that large commercial scale solar is usually not PV technology, it's too expensive.
Sorry; I guess my information on solar is outdated; Also I probably shouldn't listen to organic chemists pushing how good their non-toxic organic based solar cells are compared to inorganic ones. I'll admit, I find solar a very attractive technology.
People way overestimate the dangers of mild radiation; there is a significant level between 'we can't let people live here' and 'we can't use this land'; Sure, if you live on land, eat food that may be contaminated, etc, you might develop health problems, which means the government can't let you live on that land. However, the same land can easily be made safe to trained workers.
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