Nuclear Energy

Applying the Dharma for the preservation of planet Earth and its inhabitants
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Polar Bear
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Nuclear Energy

Post by Polar Bear » Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:05 pm

Do you think Nuclear power is an aid in halting global warming? Should it be used and expanded or not, and why?







:anjali:

Nicholas
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Nicholas » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:28 pm

Do not know about affecting global warming, but using micro reactors will save a lot of money, birds, ocean and land from ugly, inefficient solar & wind farms:

https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/big- ... o-reactors

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:26 pm

Nicholas wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:28 pm
Do not know about affecting global warming, but using micro reactors will save a lot of money, birds, ocean and land from ugly, inefficient solar & wind farms:

https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/big- ... o-reactors
The author of that piece is
Edward McGinnis serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy
Vested interest? Bias?

Other than that, there's not much to say except that I would rather have solar panels in my neighbour's yard than a nuclear reactor, of any size.
All the downsides of big reactors are still there for little ones, except construction time.

:popcorn:
Kim

Nicholas
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Nicholas » Mon Jul 01, 2019 11:44 pm

The author of that piece is
Edward McGinnis serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy
Vested interest? Bias?

All the downsides of big reactors are still there for little ones, except construction time.
Kim

Blissful ignorance Kim - study the subject of micro-reactors more widely.

Leeuwenhoek
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Tue Jul 02, 2019 12:08 am

Polar Bear wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:05 pm
Do you think Nuclear power is an aid in halting global warming? Should it be used and expanded or not, and why?
Climate scientists who have offered a opinion on the question generally say definitely yes.
They are joined by a growing number of environmentalists and what seems like the majority of persons with electrical power generation expertise.

youtube.com has some hard hitting, short videos.
On youtube search for
  • "James Hansen nuclear"
  • "Michael Shellenberger Nuclear"
If you can only watch one see: James Hansen & Michael Shellenberger: Nuclear Power? Are Renewables Enough?


I''ve written about nuclear several times especially in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=103&hilit=nuclear#p1714

Also:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=206&p=2500&hilit=nuclear#p2500

Nicholas
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Nicholas » Tue Jul 02, 2019 2:26 am

Leeuwenhoek wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 12:08 am
Polar Bear wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:05 pm
Do you think Nuclear power is an aid in halting global warming? Should it be used and expanded or not, and why?
Climate scientists who have offered a opinion on the question generally say definitely yes.
They are joined by a growing number of environmentalists and what seems like the majority of persons with electrical power generation expertise.

youtube.com has some hard hitting, short videos.
On youtube search for
  • "James Hansen nuclear"
  • "Michael Shellenberger Nuclear"
If you can only watch one see: James Hansen & Michael Shellenberger: Nuclear Power? Are Renewables Enough?


I''ve written about nuclear several times especially in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=103&hilit=nuclear#p1714

Also:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=206&p=2500&hilit=nuclear#p2500
Well researched and well done! :thumb:

Leeuwenhoek
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Energy Sources Compared to Nuclear: life-cycle emissions

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:39 am

Average life-cycle Green House Gas emissions per kWh Electricity Produced
for different generation technologies

Image
Emmissions are reported in CO2 equivalents.
Except for coal and gas there are no direct emissions. The total life-cycle emissions for solar, hydropower, nuclear and wind come from the "infrastructure & supply chain emissions" column of the IPCC table A.III.2.


The data is from the last assessment report from the IPCC

Climate Change 2014
Mitigation of Climate Change
Working Group III Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Table A.III.2 | Emissions of selected electricity supply technologies (gCO2eq/kWh)
https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/

------------------------------------------------------
Note: In same annex see also Table A.III.1 | Cost and performance parameters of selected electricity supply technologies
This table shows 4 estimates for the levelized cost of energy (LCOE)
This table shows estimates for the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) without taking into account the costs of variable output.
In other words, in the LCOE calculations reported, the costs of batteries or other energy storage and the costs of backup sources to make up for times and days with less or no wind or sun are not considered -- those costs are not included in the LCOE costs reported.
Even under these conditions -- conditions which seem to give an unrealistic cost advantage to solar and wind -- nuclear's costs comes in between solar and on-shore wind in most estimates.
Last edited by Leeuwenhoek on Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:36 am, edited 3 times in total.

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lyndon taylor
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by lyndon taylor » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:41 am

Dollar for megawatt Nuclear Energy is the most expensive form of power by far.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk.

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

Leeuwenhoek
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MIT Energy Initiative study

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:57 am

Sept 2018: MIT Energy Initiative study reports on the future of nuclear energy
Findings suggest new policy models and cost-cutting technologies could help nuclear play vital role in climate solutions
http://energy.mit.edu/news/mit-energy-i ... ar-energy/

The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World study is the eighth in the MIT Energy Initiative’s Future of series, which aims to shed light on a range of complex and important issues involving energy and the environment.
Excerpts from the press release:
September 3, 2018 (Cambridge, Mass.) – ... The authors of a new MIT study say that unless nuclear energy is meaningfully incorporated into the global mix of low-carbon energy technologies, the challenge of climate change will be much more difficult and costly to solve.

... the authors analyze the reasons for the current global stall of nuclear energy capacity — which currently accounts for only 5 percent of global primary energy production — and discuss measures that could be taken to arrest and reverse that trend.

... “Our analysis demonstrates that realizing nuclear energy’s potential is essential to achieving a deeply decarbonized energy future in many regions of the world,” says study co-chair ...

The study group, led by MIT researchers in collaboration with colleagues from Idaho National Laboratory and University of Madison-Wisconsin, ... MIT graduate and undergraduate students and postdocs, ... faculty from Harvard University and members of various think tanks also contributed to the study as members of the research team.

The study team notes that the electricity sector in particular is a prime candidate for deep decarbonization. Global electricity consumption is on track to grow 45 percent by 2040, and the team’s analysis shows that the exclusion of nuclear from low-carbon scenarios could cause the average cost of electricity to escalate dramatically.

" ... government officials must create new decarbonization policies that put all low-carbon energy technologies (i.e. renewables, nuclear, fossil fuels with carbon capture) on an equal footing, while also exploring options that spur private investment in nuclear advancement.”

... the authors recommend that policymakers should avoid premature closures of existing plants, which undermine efforts to reduce emissions and increase the cost of achieving emission reduction targets. One way to avoid these closures is the implementation of zero-emissions credits — payments made to electricity producers where electricity is generated without greenhouse gas emissions ...

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Energy Sources Compared to Nuclear: life-cycle emissions

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Jul 05, 2019 2:28 am

Leeuwenhoek wrote:
Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:39 am
Average life-cycle Green House Gas emissions per kWh Electricity Produced
for different generation technologies

Image
Emmissions are reported in CO2 equivalents.
Except for coal and gas there are no direct emissions. The total life-cycle emissions for solar, hydropower, nuclear and wind come from the "infrastructure & supply chain emissions" column of the IPCC table A.III.2.


The data is from the last assessment report from the IPCC

Climate Change 2014
Mitigation of Climate Change
Working Group III Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Table A.III.2 | Emissions of selected electricity supply technologies (gCO2eq/kWh)
https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/
That looks to me like fossil fuels on the high end with everything else (including nuclear) at less than 10% of the least-bad fossil fuels. Only biomass sits in that big gap.
Note: In same annex see also Table A.III.1 | Cost and performance parameters of selected electricity supply technologies
This table shows 4 estimates for the levelized cost of energy (LCOE)
This table shows estimates for the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) without taking into account the costs of variable output.
In other words, in the LCOE calculations reported, the costs of batteries or other energy storage and the costs of backup sources to make up for times and days with less or no wind or sun are not considered -- those costs are not included in the LCOE costs reported.
Even under these conditions -- conditions which seem to give an unrealistic cost advantage to solar and wind -- nuclear's costs comes in between solar and on-shore wind in most estimates.
Lazards think differently:
Image

And the gap between nuclear and all the rest is getting steadily wider.
Looks like Lyndon was right. :smile:

:namaste:
Kim

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:21 am

There's also a completely separate argument against the idea that nuclear power will somehow get us out of the emissions trap, and it is that there is simply no practical possibility whatsoever that nuclear power generation can ever be ramped up to the point at which it contributes more than a few percent of global power production.
This pdf - https://www.stormsmith.nl/Media/downloads/partH.pdf - is the summary of one critical section of a very large report on nuclear power - https://www.stormsmith.nl/aboutstudy.html - which was first released in 2005 and was updated several times up to 2012.
It ignores the politics altogether, and the waste disposal problem, to focus on how much recoverable uranium there might be, globally, and the relationship between power plants and fuel for them. It finds that there are no credible projections, even from industry groups, for a significant contribution.

Once again, it's renewables or bust - and we don't want a bust.

:jedi:
Kim

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mikenz66
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:02 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:21 am
It ignores the politics altogether, and the waste disposal problem, to focus on how much recoverable uranium there might be, globally, and the relationship between power plants and fuel for them. It finds that there are no credible projections, even from industry groups, for a significant contribution.
Presumably it's possible to use breeder reactors to create more fuel, but sometimes those are frowned upon due to their potential weapons applications...

:heart:
Mike

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:32 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 12:02 am
Kim O'Hara wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:21 am
It ignores the politics altogether, and the waste disposal problem, to focus on how much recoverable uranium there might be, globally, and the relationship between power plants and fuel for them. It finds that there are no credible projections, even from industry groups, for a significant contribution.
Presumably it's possible to use breeder reactors to create more fuel, but sometimes those are frowned upon due to their potential weapons applications...

:heart:
Mike
Good point, Mike, although when I looked at Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor - to bring myself up to date on them it looked like the problems with breeders were every bit as great as the problems with fusion which, as we have known for at least thirty years, is always ten years away.

However, I came across this long, but fascinating, insider's account of the rise and fall of the Clinch River breeder project. https://thebulletin.org/2019/02/the-ris ... r-reactor/
In brief: it was always going to be uneconomic, and it turned out to be so much slower and more expensive to build than predicted that it was aborted, but the politics was more important to its commencement and termination than any sort of rational planning.

:toilet:
Kim

For completeness :tongue:
Wkipedia fusion power wrote:As a source of power, nuclear fusion is expected to have several theoretical advantages over fission. These include reduced radioactivity in operation and little high-level nuclear waste, ample fuel supplies, and increased safety. However, achieving the necessary temperature/pressure/duration combination has proven to be difficult to produce in a practical and economical manner. Research into fusion reactors began in the 1940s, but to date, no design has produced more fusion power output than the electrical power input, defeating the purpose.[1]

Fusion researchers have investigated various confinement concepts. The early emphasis was on three main systems: z-pinch, stellarator and magnetic mirror. The current leading designs are the tokamak and inertial confinement (ICF) by laser. Both designs are under research at very large scales, most notably the ITER tokamak in France, and the National Ignition Facility laser in the United States. Researchers are also studying other designs that may offer cheaper approaches. Among these alternatives there is increasing interest in magnetized target fusion and inertial electrostatic confinement, stellerator and proton-boron. ... [emphasis added]
...and the first half dozen results of my search for the origin of the "always ten years away" jibe:
Screen Shot 2019-07-06.jpg
Screen Shot 2019-07-06.jpg (196.2 KiB) Viewed 1247 times
:rofl:

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mikenz66
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:53 am

Yes, well technology is a bit unpredictable. Who would have thought, after WWII, the impact that the technology developed there would have? For example, magnetrons developed for Radar being used in microwave ovens, and the development of NMR and eventually MRI, which was possible because of microwave technology. We have the transistor, invented in 1947, leading to the semiconductor technology we rely on today. This made vacuum tubes obsolete, apart from high-power applications (and guitar amplifiers :tongue:). Then there was the laser, proposed in the late 1950s, and first demonstrated in 1960, and low-loss optical fibres, developed in the 60s and 70s. Now the internet runs on optical fibres, with erbium amplifiers, at 1.5 microns. Not to mention numerous other applications of lasers. Arthur Sharlow, co-author of the paper that described "how to make a laser" in 1958, used to like reminding audiences that in the 60s the laser was derided as a "solution looking for a problem".

The point is that the eventual applications of much this technology was not predicted. This may well be the case with future energy technology.

Not that I think we should just sit here and hope that someone invents something... :popcorn:

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Mike

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sat Jul 06, 2019 5:20 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:53 am
Yes, well technology is a bit unpredictable. Who would have thought, after WWII, the impact that the technology developed there would have? For example, magnetrons developed for Radar being used in microwave ovens, and the development of NMR and eventually MRI, which was possible because of microwave technology. We have the transistor, invented in 1947, leading to the semiconductor technology we rely on today. This made vacuum tubes obsolete, apart from high-power applications (and guitar amplifiers :tongue:). Then there was the laser, proposed in the late 1950s, and first demonstrated in 1960, and low-loss optical fibres, developed in the 60s and 70s. Now the internet runs on optical fibres, with erbium amplifiers, at 1.5 microns. Not to mention numerous other applications of lasers. Arthur Sharlow, co-author of the paper that described "how to make a laser" in 1958, used to like reminding audiences that in the 60s the laser was derided as a "solution looking for a problem".

The point is that the eventual applications of much this technology was not predicted. This may well be the case with future energy technology.
All true.
Not that I think we should just sit here and hope that someone invents something... :popcorn:

:heart:
Mike
Even more true. We just don't have time for a new technology to go mainstream.

:namaste:
Kim

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Polar Bear
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Polar Bear » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:13 pm

I think it’s unfortunate if nuclear power can’t be of much help because I imagine it would be easier to get republicans in the US on board with nuclear power as a replacement to coal and natural gas than it would be to get them into solar panels. Not for any logical reasons, but because it seems more ‘MERICAN. And they don’t associate nuclear power with their mortal enemies, the liberals.

Leeuwenhoek
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Nuclear vs. other Renewable Energy: Real Comparisons

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:00 am

With Nuclear Instead of Renewables, California & Germany Would Already Have 100% Clean Electricity

Germany & California are held up as models for action on climate change, but had they invested $680 billion into new nuclear plants instead of renewables, they would already be generating 100% of their electricity from carbon-free energy sources.
Instead they both shut down operating carbon-free plants with proven safety records!
The evidence seems "overwhelming" as some like to say: The political powers in California and Germany do not view climate change as the major threat to the planet.

Had Germany spent $580 billion on nuclear instead of renewables it would have had enough energy to replace all fossil fuels and biomass in its electricity sector AND replace *all* of the petroleum it uses for cars and light trucks.

  • In 2017, Germany generated 37 percent of its electricity from non-carbon sources.
  • Most climate policy experts view decarbonizing transportation as a major technical & economic challenge.
    The electricity consumed by electric cars could grow ~300x between now & 2040 and must come from carbon-free sources if it is to mitigate climate change.
Analysis: http://environmentalprogress.org/big-ne ... nvestments

https://twitter.com/ShellenbergerMD/sta ... 5896349696
Last edited by Leeuwenhoek on Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

Leeuwenhoek
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:22 am

Image
CO2 emmitted per kWh. Germany in Red, France in Green
In 2017, Germany generated 37 percent of its electricity from non-carbon sources.
France generates about %75 of its electricity from nuclear plants.
http://environmentalprogress.org/big-ne ... nvestments

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Kim O'Hara » Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:40 am

and
Leeuwenhoek wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:22 am
...In 2017, Germany generated 37 percent of its electricity from non-carbon sources.
France generates about %75 of its electricity from nuclear plants.
http://environmentalprogress.org/big-ne ... nvestments
Hi,Leeuw,
I'm not saying you're wrong or that's he's wrong but I would like to point out that you are a one-eyed supporter of a one-eyed environmentalist, i.e. Shellenberger, who proudly proclaims himself "one of the world's leading pro-nuclear environmentalists, [who] ... has helped save nuclear reactors around the world, from Illinois and New York to South Korea and Taiwan, thereby preventing an increase in air pollution equivalent to adding over 24 million cars to the road."
Source: http://environmentalprogress.org/founder-president

:thinking:
Kim

Leeuwenhoek
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Re: Nuclear Energy

Post by Leeuwenhoek » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:54 pm

In the USA Democratic party presidential candidates participated in a 7 hour "town hall" on climate change. This produced some interesting reporting about the role of nuclear electric power.

from theverge.com
DEMOCRATS ARE DIVIDED ON USING NUCLEAR ENERGY TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate town hall shows split in candidates’ nuclear policies
  • The elephant in CNN’s climate town hall isn’t a Republican. It’s nuclear energy.
    ... Do you think climate change is a big deal? Check. Should the US recommit itself to the Paris climate agreement? Check. Do we need net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050? Check.
    Should the US turn to nuclear energy as a way to stop burning planet-warming fossil fuels? Now that’s where it gets really juicy.
  • At about 20 percent of the US energy mix, nuclear energy provides the country with more carbon-neutral energy than solar, wind, or any other renewable source.
  • For the candidates who’ve stayed vague about where they stand on nuclear energy in their published plans and at the town hall, there could be a good reason. According to Steven Cohen, director of the research program on sustainability policy and management at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, “Advocating nuclear power as a solution to the climate crisis is not a good tactic for a Democratic primary campaign.” In an email to The Verge, Cohen wrote, “Many anti-nuclear activists are Democrats and you risk mobilizing their opposition.”
  • When you take a look at the bigger picture, nuclear energy isn’t just dividing Democrats. It’s a hot-button topic among environmentalists as well.
  • Candidates Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Andrew Yang worked to sell nuclear as one of the most promising tools at our disposal to avert climate catastrophe. Both have indicated that they’re open to building new power plants.
    People who think that we can get there without nuclear being part of the blend, just aren’t looking at the facts,” Booker said.
    ... CNN commentator Van Jones gave Booker credit for taking on a complicated and uncomfortable position. “It’s not popular in the party. He took that position on, and I thought he sold it.”
    ... Booker ... told the audience that what “really ticks him off” is the US losing ground in the field of research and development. “As Americans, [we] must make the investments so that we lead humanity to the innovations, to the breakthroughs, to the jobs of the future,” he said, which relies heavily on nuclear power. His climate plan allocates $20 billion to developing next-generation advanced nuclear energy.
  • Andrew Yang’s plan proposes spending $50 billion on researching new nuclear technologies, and he wants to see new nuclear reactors online as soon as 2027. “Nuclear, right now, it gets a bad rap in part because the technologies we’re using are antiquated,” Yang said. “We are working on these new-generation nuclear reactors that use thorium instead of uranium, and thorium is not natively fissile or radioactive. So the odds of a catastrophe drop precipitously.”
  • ... the safety record for nuclear in the US is “actually quite good” — something a landmark United Nations report backed up globally.
  • The United Nations report released last year details what needs to happen to keep the Earth from warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the threshold at which most scientists agree we need to stay under to avoid many catastrophic effects of climate change.
    In most of the pathways it outlined to hit that mark, nuclear energy must be ramped up. That report signaled a consensus among leading climate experts across the globe on the role nuclear energy could potentially play in building a more sustainable future.
    When it comes to safety, it says that “comparative risk assessment shows health risks [for nuclear energy] are low per unit of electricity production.”
    -- https://www.theverge.com/2019/9/5/20850 ... -elections
    [bolding mine]

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