What to do if nuclear power plants close NOW?

The nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima, has led to a series of reactions. As I said in a reaction to the previous post: Germany closes 7 of their oldest nuclear plants for at least 3 months. In Belgium the debate whether the nuclear plants should close in Doel and Tihange in 2015 or 2025 is back. Everywhere in the world the nuclear debate is hot again.

Should we close some of our oldest power plants, because of an incident caused by a nature disaster? Do we have enough alternatives for the loss of energy these closings will entail? And how will energy prices rise in Belgium if we close our nuclear plant right now?

These are some questions that are very current today.

Nuclear energy provides 15 to 20 % of the global energy demand. What happens if we close these plants, there will be a huge energy shortage. Especially in countries which are very depending on this type of energy. For example: France produces 75% and Belgium produces 60% of his energy out of nuclear power. If we even just close the oldest plants (let’s say 50% of all the nuclear power plants), this will give rise to a huge decrease in energy supply.

So, in my opinion, it is impossible to close these plants right now. Unless we have a good alternative.

One such an alternative is the import of energy from our neighbor countries. Belgium does this already, which causes a very high energy bill in comparison with our neighbors. I don’t think importing more energy is a good thing.

The other alternative is to create more green energy. It is a sky high cliché, but it is the only alternative we have right now. But we have a problem here. There is not enough alternative energy to compensate the loss of nuclear energy if we close the plants right now. E.g. the wind energy in Belgium has only a share of 2.5% in all the energy production. (source: http://www.hln.be/hln/nl/2764/milieu/article/detail/1236345/2011/03/15/Windenergie-genoeg-voor-627-000-gezinnen.dhtml)

So unless we have good and sufficient alternatives, I suggest we don’t close the nuclear power plants immediately, but keep them open.

I think this disaster in Japan has opened the eyes of the people, so they have to search for new, more efficient and a safer energy source.

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One Response to What to do if nuclear power plants close NOW?

  1. Tim says:

    Thorium is the most energy-dense substance on Earth, and enough exists to power civilization for millennia.

    Thorium is a superior nuclear fuel and has several important advantages over uranium:

    –Thorium powered nuclear reactors are more efficient and produce less than 1% of the waste of today’s uranium nuclear reactors.
    –Thorium reactors are safer, less expensive, smaller and can be configured to eliminate the possibility of melt downs or accidents.
    –Thorium does not produce plutonium and thus, could effectively eliminate further weapons production in volatile regions and reduce proliferation on a global scale, thus ending stalemate arguments over dubious nuclear programs such as exist in Iran and North Korea.
    –Proprietary thorium technology, capable of safely and efficiently dismantling nuclear stockpiles and eliminating spent uranium, now exists.

    The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor:

    The modern concept of the Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) uses uranium and thorium dissolved in fluoride salts of lithium and beryllium. These salts are chemically stable, impervious to radiation damage, and non-corrosive to the vessels that contain them. Because of their ability to tolerate heavy radiation, excellent temperature properties, minimal fuel loading requirements (i.e., ease of continual refueling) and other inherent factors, LFTR cores can be made much smaller than a typical light water reactor (LWR- Lightbridge – LTBR). In fact, liquid salt reactors, and LFTRs specifically, are listed as an unfunded part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Generation-4 Nuclear Solution Plan.



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