Alternative energy futures: Nuclear & Biofuels

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  • Created on: 19-03-13 21:18
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NUCLEAR POWER This provides about 20% of the UK's energy - utilizing 16 operational nuclear
reactors at nine plants. 10 new power plants will be built to contribute to the new `green agenda' to help `decarbonise' our economy.
Controversial due to many opinions by different players ­ environmental pressure groups e.g. Greenpeace, governments, public etc.
Nuclear power is the primary source of electric power in France; 76% of France's electricity comes from nuclear power, the highest percentage in the
world. France's nuclear power industry has been called "a success story" that has put the nation "ahead of the world" in terms of providing cheap,
CO2-free energy.
Japan and Germany are starting to phase all their nuclear power plants.
Minimal CO2 emissions
Isn't vulnerable to fuel price fluctuations of oil and gas.
Large power output per plant (one nuclear station =7,000 wind turbines)
Nearly all countries with Uranium are developed therefore energy secure as there is less risk of disruption ("friendly" geopolitics)
High levels of radioactive waste ­ costs £18 billion to build underground storage systems.
The Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011) incidents raise concern over nuclear disasters ­ the stations are seen as `soft' targets to terrorists.
High costs of building and decommissioning reactors.
Planning and building a power station takes at least 10 years so this will not help meet Kyoto agreements.
In the UK it accounts for 0.6% of energy consumption ­ there are only a few facilities burning Biofuels such as waste wood products and straw that
are already operating.

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They are considered to be carbon neutral because carbon released when crops are burned is balanced by carbon absorbed from the atmosphere during
It uses up a lot of land which could be used for other things such as growing crops ­ there is a link between the spread of biofuels across the world and
rising food prices.
Brazil and other developing countries convert land in undisturbed ecosystems, such as rainforests, savannas, or grasslands to biofuel production. Some
experts call bioethanol "deforestation diesel".…read more


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