Australian news, and some related international items

Decommissioning nuclear reactors: the never-ending cost

Turkish nuclear power – an unwarranted venture, Hurriyet Daily News, ERHUN KULA, 12 April 12 “……Studies in France (available from the author), the most nuclear dependent nation, reveal that nuclear energy is more expensive then hydro and fossil fuel powered units, even when the end cost of nuclear power plants – which is decommissioning and storing highly dangerous nuclear wastes in repositories for thousands of years – is ignored. The most expensive and risky problem with nuclear energy is the safe disposal of the radioactive waste. It has to be transported over long distances, stored and monitored over a very long period of time.

A few months ago the Mersin Akkuyu Nuclear Electricity Production Corporation commissioned an “independent” engineering company, DOKAY, to carry out an environmental impact assessment of the proposed nuclear power unit. In its over 100 page report, DOKAY provided a “pleasing” document to its sponsor. As for nuclear wastes – the end product – only a few sentences are reserved, which is quite outrageous.

There are more than 400 nuclear reactors operating in various countries. A nuclear power station has 35-40 years of operating life. After that it must be dismantled and the area must be cleaned up (the decommissioning process). But so far, no nuclear power station has been completely decommissioned in the world. It has been estimated that decommissioning could last about 50 years and it would cost more than the construction cost.

One of the earliest decommissioning efforts is taking place at Dounrey plant, on the northern tip of Scotland. It started more than 15 years ago and we need at least 30 years more to finish the job. After that, waste must be stored in nuclear graves (waste repositories) for thousands of years. United States regulations require the storage period to be at least 10,000 years.

The cost of decommissioning and waste storage will fall upon future generations at huge costs.   My American colleague, Prof. S. Frachette,  argues that large quantities of nuclear waste is likely to endanger the health, safety and civil liberties of generations yet to be born.

Professor Erhun Kula, from Istanbul’s Bahçesehir University, researched economic and moral aspects of nuclear power in the U.K., the United States and Sweden, and has published widely in this field.–an-unwarranted-venture.aspx?pageID=238&nID=18223&NewsCatID=396

April 12, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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