2022-06-20 Nuscale SMR – Engineering With Rosie

Nuscale SMR video from engineering with Rosie

Rosie said, “The amount of land needed for nuclear is small compared to wind and solar…”

This is a false and unfair assertion. In the US the nuclear power plants are surrounded by an exclusion zone where there cannot be any population, and this is a large area. Further, due to cooling requirements the thermal power plants must be located near large bodies of water such as rivers or oceans. And due to the NIMBYs, there cannot be any nuclear power plants located near population centers.

Another issue with nuclear power plants being concentrated in a small area is this makes them a prime target for terrorist destruction. And highly concentrated infrastructure is high on the enemy’s list of targets during a war.

But what really dismays me is that she claimed that solar and wind take up square kilometers of area. Offshore wind takes up *zero* land area. Onshore wind is located where it’s windy which is generally not near where any other human activity is located. This is especially true in Australia – Rosie, are you listening? Also, wind turbines are located in the fields of farms where they take up very little space.

Then the solar farms are being integrated with farming in what’s called agrivoltaics. There are benefits for the crops and solar arrays. Solar arrays are being floated on bodies of water in which both benefit. And there are hundreds of millions of roofs where solar panels can be placed, without taking up any room that is useful. I can go on, but the land comparison is an issue that is an unfair and false assertion.

And one other important thing: thermal power plants use up huge amounts of water for cooling. Wind and solar have zero ongoing costs for fuel and don’t use any water (obviously not the case with agrivoltaics). So please stop bringing up land size comparisons.

Another issue is “Death rates from energy production per TWh.”
It’s a fact that Chernobyl and Fukushima both had very few deaths from the accident itself. But the issue isn’t deadliness; the issue is the extremely huge costs of these two accidents – the Soviets we’re secretive about costs but the ongoing costs for Fukushima are hundreds of billions of dollars. These extreme costs cause the country burdened by them to attempt to avoid the costs by letting some of the cleanup ‘fall through the cracks’ and never be completed. The result is a higher rate of cancer for decades after the accident, and those deaths are not counted in the “deaths per TWh.” So I don’t believe that chart tells the whole story.

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