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Coming clean; how clean is nuclear energy?

Nuclear Monitor Issue: 
Booklet: Nuclear Energy a dead end

(November, 2000)

It sounds more and more like an empty advertising slogan 'nuclear energy gives you a cleaner wash'. Can nuclear power help man reduce CO2 emissions and avoid climate change?
Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen explains the facts on behalf of GroenLinks in the European Union. His research reveals that this so-called clean energy source does not, and cannot, live up to the claims made on its behalf.

This brochure examines two indicators -greenhouse gas emissions and energy recovery time -to explode the myth that nuclear energy is a clean energy source.
Nuclear energy has failed. Renewable energy sources and energy-saving programmes are the only solutions to the climate problem, for wealthy nations and developing countries alike.


GroenLinks in the European Union

October 2000



A quarter of a century ago, in 1976, the international atomic energy agency (IAEA) predicted that by the year 2000 about 2300 nuclear power plants would be in operation. Fifteen years later, when the western environmental and anti-nuclear energy movements were at their most influential, the same agency predicted that another 725 reactors would be built worldwide by the magical millennium year of 2000. Fortunately, the IAEA, appointed by the United Nations to ensure both the safety and the advancement of nuclear energy, was well off target.
Today, 433 nuclear power stations are in operation around the world. The predictions did not come true. This was due in part to new insights into the low cost-effectiveness of nuclear power, nuclear accidents, the need for greater flexibility in electricity production and, after the failure of breeder reactor technology, the realisation that nuclear energy is a finite source.
With Europe on the road to abandoning nuclear energy, no new reactors built in the united states for 25 years, and the nuclear programme in the states of the former soviet union plodding on from accident to incident, the nuclear industry is clutching at its one remaining straw - the widespread concern for our changing climate. This brochure dispels the myth of clean nuclear energy.
Nuclear energy? No thanks!!

Peer de Rijk
World Information Service on Energy (WISE)