Atomic energy. Myths about nuclear power

Modern human civilization is inconceivable without the use of electricity. In the second half of the 20th century, a “peaceful” atom came to serve humanity. However, as it turned out later, it is not so peaceful. Chernobyl accident thundered more than 20 years ago, and we reap its rewards to this day.

And how many were accidents, which are not so widely known, but which also caused deaths, illnesses … Nevertheless, more and more countries are interested in the possibilities of nuclear energy, because such stations are relatively environmentally friendly and cheap.

Especially they are in demand in countries where there are no rich natural resources. In France, Belgium, Sweden, from 20 to 50% of all energy is generated at nuclear power plants, in the US – about 12%, but this accounts for almost 20% of the world production, in Ukraine – 50%.

Nuclear power is associated primarily with the Chernobyl tragedy, while forgetting the positive aspects of the industry. Around the nuclear power plant there are many myths, some of which will be considered.

Uranium reserves on the planet are rapidly drying up.

Soon nuclear power plants will remain without fuel. To maintain this myth, Greenpeace uses information about the relative limitations of uranium reserves. However, the formulation is very evasive, the uranium reserves on the planet are about as much as tin. The volume of natural reserves exceeds gold reserves 600 times. Preliminary calculations of scientists give impressive results – uranium is enough for another 500 years. And what’s next? Today, reactors can use thorium as fuel and turn it into uranium. And the reserves of thorium on Earth are more than 3 times the uranium reserves!

Atomic energy is high-carbon.

Anti-nuclear companies, like environmentalists, say that nuclear energy contains some secret emissions of gases that adversely affect the environment. In fact, all modern calculations and information say that atomic energy, even in comparison with hydropower and solar, contains a low level of carbon.

Atomic energy is still expensive.

Of the cost of nuclear energy, a tenth is in uranium, and it should be borne in mind that this energy is not so dependent on strong fluctuations in oil or gas prices. The British Ministry of Trade and Industry estimated that the cost of electricity produced by nuclear power plants is more than the price of gas stations, and 10-20 times less than the price of wind farms.

The reactors have too much radioactive waste.

However, despite this myth, countries with nuclear power are not at all overwhelmed with radioactive waste. After all, they are not really that many. And in the next 20-40 years, this problem will not arise sharply, although, naturally, one should not think about it right now.

The decommissioning of a nuclear power plant is quite an expensive exercise.

Those reactors that were built long ago were not calculated for subsequent decommissioning. But in new reactors this function is already included. Today, often the cost of withdrawal from the use of nuclear power plants is laid in the price of electricity produced by the station. Taking into account the fact that the work of the reactors is designed for 40 years, the whole amount is stretched for a rather long period, being as a result insignificant.

Reactor construction is a long-term project.

This myth is destroyed by the Canadian company AECL, which since 1991 has built 6 new nuclear reactors. At the same time, the shortest construction project cost 4 years, and the longest construction project – by as much as 6.5 years. As you can see, with proper financing and design, professionalism of builders, the timing is not so frightening.

The level of leukemia is higher in nuclear reactors.

Studies have shown that among children the level of leukemia in the vicinity of nuclear power plants is no different from natural farms. The territory of the spread of this disease does not choose a place – it can be an atomic station, maybe a national park, the degrees of danger are everywhere the same.

The proliferation of nuclear reactors is directly related to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Quite the opposite, an increase in the number of such stations will be able to limit the proliferation of weapons. For nuclear warheads, only high-quality reactor fuel is needed, such warheads account for about 15% of the world’s nuclear potential. The increase in the number of stations will lead to increased demand for fuel, “distracting” it from being used for unsafe purposes by terrorists.

Wave energy and wind power are more natural, environmentally friendly.

It should be understood that the construction of such facilities in itself is already a significant factor in environmental pollution. The construction of wave stations is, moreover, in many ways an experimental direction, so it is difficult to call wind and wave stations more environmentally sustainable than atomic ones.

Nuclear power plants are a tantalizing target for terrorists.

The tragedy of September 11, 2001 led to an increase in the safety levels of nuclear power plants in the first place, exploring the possibility of attacking them and confronting terrorists. However, the British gave evidence that nuclear reactors are able to withstand the ingress of Boeing 767. The newest generations of reactors are manufactured with even greater protection against potential attacks of all types of aircraft, security functions are also provided that can be used without human or computer interference.

Nuclear power plants are dangerous primarily for radioactive contamination.

The operation of the NPP raises not only the issue of possible radiation pollution, but also other types of impact on nature. The main one is the thermal impact, which is 1.5-2 times higher for nuclear power plants than for thermal power plants. The point is that the water vapor used must be cooled. The simplest way is to use nearby water bodies. But the return of much heated water can lead to a deterioration of the ecological situation, violations in the ecosystem. Yes, and a huge amount of water vapor and droplets are emitted into the atmosphere. The advanced technology of air-cooling water vapor, although harmless, but much more expensive.

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