Good Book Review About What Will Work: Fighting Climate Change With Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power
Oxford University Press, (2014; 2011)
The book is available on www.Questia.com
Kristin-Schrader Frechette, director, Center for Environmental Justice and Children’s Health, University of Notre Dame
Where she is a senior professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Philosophy and Department of Philosophy.
A major in physics & an undergraduate in mathematical science
She recently completed a study on worker exposure to ionizing radiation.
Schrader-Frechette on the Global Linkages of Biology, Environment, and Society team
What will Work - why nuclear energy is not a practical, sustainable or renewable energy
The large amount of radioactive waste generated cannot be treated so it is inert.
Fission cannot compete with sources like wind turbines, about 47 percent “of baseload electricity can be supplied by wind” (196)
in area size of “New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas” (196).
Environmental justice needs to be considered in decision making.
Nuclear energy only survives because government monetary support
Uranium source will be finished by 2050 if fission is used (35).
Chapter 1: Why Climate-Change (CC) Skeptics are Wrong
The two biggest threats to humanity are nuclear war and climate change, but nuclear energy is being supported for use to solve climate change problems.
4 problems cause the crisis: addiction to fossil fuel; human fatalities from clean coal; production of nuclear weapons; the greenhouse gasses from using fossil fuels use leading to catastrophic climate change.
Chapter 2: Trimming the Data on Nuclear Greenhouse Emissions and Chapter 3: Trimming the Data on Nuclear Costs and Chapter
People who support using nuclear energy do not provide honest scientific data. They say using nuclear is the only way because it is a ‘climate necessity; that CC is causing the need to use nuclear energy.
The costs are inaccurate because supporters “trim the data” (79). Reactor lifetimes are not as long as reported and the reactor load factors are exaggerated.
Circular arguments are used by the nuclear sector in order to avoid taking responsibility for accidents and the impacts of radiation leaks.
4: Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three Mile Island: Flawed Science and Accident Cover-Up
The nuclear power energy industry is the source of most of the cost estimates about nuclear fission costs; taxpayer subsidies are not added into the calculations.
The costs for nuclear fission are higher than for any other renewable resources
The devastation of human life in Fukushima was impossible to imagine.
“No safe, non-zero dose of ionizing radiation” (71) do not exist. Cancer occurs more often around nuclear plants operation even when they are meeting pollution standards.
Chapter 5: Nuclear Energy and Environmental Justice and Chapter 6: The solution: Using renewable energy, efficiency, and conservation and to address climate change
Environmental injustice too indigenous and ‘minorities’ because mining is done in the communities
The reactors in the US are located in regions where income levels are below the poverty line.
The national standards for radiation do not protect children, blue-collar workers, and future generations.
Process inefficiencies of producing nuclear energy make nuclear energy dangerous to use.
Chapter 7: Answering Questions and Chapter 8: Conclusions
MIT and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change support using nuclear energy based on emissions, but do not measure the total fuel cycle.
France’s nuclear industry does not use reliable reactors, so not good role model.
Nuclear plants are not treated carefully by regulators and do not have to carry out cost impact studies by third independent parties.
The processes are carbon free but the end products of waste radiation shows that the input may be carbon free, but the output must be included in the calculations.
‘Why should taxpayers have to subsidize the nuclear industry?’(93 & 241) Why do China, Denmark and Germany create large profits from renewable energy, but the USA does not? (246)
The book is an argument against using nuclear power as an energy source using solid scientific data and business cost analysis reasons. Schrader-Frechette chose the subject because she thinks it is connected to the two largest threats to the human race: climate change and nuclear war. The main point was that radiation is dangerous. People become sick and day from radiation. The main point is that ionizing radiation is only safe if it is at zero concentration; therefore it is not safe. The book was deducted to explaining how nuclear energy is negatively impacting climate change. The author uses different ways of arguing the topic to prove her conclusion about the danger and the environmental injustice of nuclear power.
Schrader-Frechette describes the horrors that people went through and saw. Elderly and sick people were trapped in their homes with no food or medicine because delivery truck drivers refused to go into the area. Bodies of the dead were piled next to the plant; they could not be buried because they contained so much radiation. She mentions in the book that she has friends in Japan, so the nuclear reactor accident has emotional as well as science interests in the subject.
Schrader-Frechette writes in a way that is respectful to the reader. I think that means that she does respect the reader. She has an excellent education and she is very smart. Most people cannot understand how the world works as well as she does. Therefore, the author is offering very important information to readers who do not necessarily understand science or they do not understand business well. But the way she writes is very interesting so a huge population of readers can learn important factors about nuclear energy that they cannot learn anywhere else.
Ethical behavior, like taking responsibility for ones actions applies to individuals, groups, energy producers and the government according to Schrader-Frechette. Ethical behavior includes taking sustainability seriously and applying it to energy sources and the environmental risks (such as health and pollution) associated with energy production systems.
Nuclear energy is considered a primary energy resource and it is produced with the similar system inputs and outputs of other systems. Schrader-Frechette reports the scientific data and measurements of what goes in and comes out in turn of pollution and thermal energy. Assumptions that nuclear energy is clean is not correct based on two reasons: the radiation emitted causes illnesses at standard running conditions and energy is lost and wasted during the process of producing nuclear energy.
During the course nuclear energy was listed with other renewable sources for a reasonable alternative to fossil fuel energy. Schrader-Frechette offers detailed arguments about nuclear energy and the nuclear industry that proves that nuclear energy is not a good choice. In terms of McKelvey’s Box, the author notes that if the available uranium was used to produce energy, the energy would only be available to 2050. Therefore, paying the costs of mining and transporting the uranium to a nuclear plant is a bad investment. She demonstrates that the resource for nuclear energy is measurably a subeconomic resource. The petroleum industry uses a theoretical measure for fossil fuel resources that is only inferred by known conditions. Schrader-Frechette uses calculations based on the measurable (identified) amount of uranium available to use in, for example, a fission reactor.
Wind turbines are designed to produce electric energy from the kinetic energy produced when wind hits the turbine blades. It is called renewable because wind velocity is the force that produces the energy. Schrader-Frechette lists three of the inaccurate claims that the nuclear proponents make about wind energy. Fission receives approximately 25 times more taxpayer subsidies than wind and solar combined. Generating nuclear energy alone is not expensive but mining, transportation, storing the wastes, fuel enrichment, constructing reactors, and other processes are expensive. The full cycle of the nuclear process needs to be reported, but it is not. The three issues misrepresented are cost-effectiveness, nuclear-generation costs, and full fuel-cycle costs (196),
Schrader-Frechette, K. What Will Work: Fighting Climate Change with Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear Power. New York: Oxford University Press. (2014; 2011).