More recently, the nuclear and there is currently no feasible solution for industry has been working hard to sell us nuclear power plants as a green method of energy production and the solution to the climate crisis. Their main argument: nuclear power plants do not produce CO2. This argument has been proven wrong many times.
During the mining and processing of Uranium where Uranium oxide needs to be burned to get the pure uranium, CO2 emissions are produced. The huge amounts of concrete required to build nuclear power plants, operating them, and decommissioning them produces emissions, and so does the cooling of uranium waste.
Not only is this climate friendly label untrue but when looking at the steps before and after the energy production process, no ‘green’ claims can be made about nuclear.
The mining of uranium, the raw material for the power plants, is a very dirty business in a number of ways, similar to the mining of coal – only that radioactivity is added to the hazards. During the processing of converting uranium to a nuclear fuel and during the energy production, a lot of nuclear waste is produced. The highly hazardous waste has to be stored safely for thousands of years and there is currently no feasible solution for storage anywhere in the world. Even worse, in several places, including in Europe, the nuclear waste has already caused health and environmental problems. Furthermore, the mining is done to the cost of local communities’ rights, and who suffer the impacts.
And let’s remember the big accidents of nuclear power plants like Fukushima in 2011 and Chernobyl in 1986. In both cases entire areas areas became – and continue to be – inhabitable. Nuclear energy production is neither ‘green’ nor ‘sustainable’ – nuclear power is destructive.
While some countries in Europe (like Belgium or Germany) have adopted nuclear phase-out policies, once in place these are often diluted. Similar to coal phase-outs, governments can hide behind ridiculously long phase-out plans, while the public attention shifts to new topics. We must not be fooled by the nuclear industry. We have to fight all nuclear facilities and uranium mining as much as we fight all fossil fuels.
For more information on nuclear energy and resistances worldwide, see: https://dont-nuke-the-climate.org/