Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Global Warming

OK, Tom, I'll take the bait. Kyoto would have done nothing to stop this. What would work is tradable carbon quotas, but Kyoto wasn't into that. If you want people to use less energy, put the price up. It worked for us in California.
Moving electricity generation baseload to nuclear from coal is the biggest, cleanest thing we could do about this. Strangely, this is never high on the list of pro-Kyoto activists either. Here's what I said in April:

US nuclear generation creates about 2,000 tons of high-level waste per year.
This worries people, and it is thus treated with lots of care, and its storage is the subject of much debate.

Coal generation, creates about 100 million tons. And it's exempt from being treated as hazardous waste!

Coal waste has approximately 20-30 parts per million of Uranium.

Lets do the maths then:

100 million tons x 25 parts per million = 2,500 tons of uranium from the coal industry per year.

So, the coal industry is generating more nuclear waste per year as the nuclear one, but they are just chucking it in landfills and the atmosphere.

And that's just counting Uranium, not other radionuclides - never mind greenhouse gases, Mercury and other toxins that last forever, unlike radioactive waste that has a half-life.

According to the DoE, there are 2-3 billion tons of coal finings already lying around near coal mines - enough that its worth them researching a way to turn them back into coal.

Getting us weaned from coal generation onto nuclear and other alternatives should be the focus of energy policy.

Now what we really need is a massive class action suit against coal companies for poisoning us, creating greenhouse gases and dumping radioacive waste into the atmosphere.

For a Gonzo approach to this whole subject, go visit Bruce Sterling's Viridian group

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