GRA wrote:Actually, the amount of radioactive material is relatively small. For instance, the amount of steel and concrete in a typical nuke plant is far less than that required for a wind or solar array of the same output, so while it's large in relative terms, its small in absolute terms.
I've been trying to find good info on steel and cement - can you recommend any sources?
The last time I looked for total life-cycle embedded energy info, wind and solar soundly beat current-tech nuclear generation. That and the fact that we've mined the majority of the higher grade uranium on the planet underpins the realization that current nukes are not a solution to our climate problem.
I'm not averse to mass-produced new-tech nukes, especially if they're part of a distributed, modern (TIR style?) grid. And according to Sorensen and others, we've already got plenty of ready- or almost-ready thorium fuel in drums buried in New Mexico. But because wind and solar prices are falling as rapidly as they are, any nuclear project is going to have to get moving - and get the price many times lower - before they have even a remote chance of being a solution.
edit...from earlier threads - this was the best I was able to find (this paper includes cement and steel, but is for 'current tech' reactors, not 4th gen, for which I don't think there's any life-cycle info available.):
Life-cycle energy balance for nukes and renewables: http://www.buildup.eu/publications/21162
Wind power stations and cogeneration of heat and power are 1,5 times more cost-effective in reducing CO2 than nuclear power, energy efficiency measures are 10 times more cost-effective
Crash Course: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRgTUN1zz_ofJoMx1rB6Z0EA1OwAGDRdRhttp://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=195788#p195788http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?p=280335#p280335