Nuclear Power requires huge amounts of fossil fuel power

Within 60 years, the energy needed to get fuel for nuclear power will be the same as the energy it can make.

Nuclear Power Continues World Dependence on Middle East Oil | Green Prophet, 21 Feb 2011, Out of the frying pan…In its haste to free itself from oil-powered electricity, during the Arab oil shocks of the ”70s, France switched to nuclear energy. It had been vulnerable in its dependence on the Middle East, and moved to nuclear to free itself of the risk from more oil shocks. Since then, it has been the poster child nation for nuclear energy, getting almost 80% of its electricity from nuclear power. It must be in good shape to weather the bumpy exit from the oil age, right?Wrong.

It turns out that uranium, the fuel needed to make nuclear power, is completely dependent on oil for the very heavy duty machinery needed for extracting the annual supplies of uranium needed. And it takes a staggering anmount of heavy mining equipment to extract the tiny amount of uranium needed…..
Uranium depletion is one issue. But the amount of fossil energy fuel needed to extract and then refine the uranium is even more reason that nuclear power will prove unsustainable in freeing the world from fossil fuels.

“Seventeen-foot-tall, 11-ton raise-boring machines spear into the rock with as much as 750,000 pounds (340,194 kilograms) of force and then chew out the ore with a 10-foot- (three-meter-) wide reaming head that applies as much as 115,000 pounds (52,163 kilograms) of force for every foot (30.5 centimeters) it turns. They work more than 1,700 feet (520 meters) below the surface, knocking ore into remote-controlled loaders in a tunnel nearly 2,100 feet (640 meters) belowground.”….

Extracting the usable uranium from the slurry is another energy-intensive process, and carried out in gigantic coal power plants with their own environmental problems. The US uranium is refined in 90% coal-powered Kentucky at a gigantic plant covering 74 acres that itself grinds through through megawatts of coal power to make the nuclear fuel that must be replenished each year.

The plant “sucks up at least 300 megawatts of electricity most of the time, peaking at as much as 2,000 megawatts (much of it from a coal-fired power plant nearby), to heat uranium hexafluoride until it gasifies and then force it through 1,760 porous membranes that gradually concentrate the level of the fissile isotope—a method invented during World War II……

By 2070, says Storm van Leeuwen, the amount of energy it takes to mine, mill, enrich and fabricate one metric ton of uranium fuel may be larger than 160 terajoules—the amount of energy one can generate from it.

Within 60 years, the energy needed to get fuel for nuclear power will be the same as the energy it can make.

Nuclear Power Continues World Dependence on Middle East Oil | Green Prophet

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