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Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming

by : Morton S. Skorodin, M.D.
Thursday July 22, 2010 - 12:27
14 comments

Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming

http://www.okobserver.net/2010/07/2...

July 21, 2010

We need energy to heat our homes and provide electricity for our appliances.

Most commonly in our world, coal, oil, natural gas, and radioactive [nuclear] materials, especially the heavy metal, Uranium, supply our energy.

Radioactive elements that produce nuclear energy do it a certain way – and the same way each time. The basics are easy to understand:

These materials, such as Uranium, change into other materials during which a huge amount of energy is released. Remember Albert Einstein’s famous equation, e=mc2. Well, it is kind of like magic – that c2 is a very large number; e is the energy you get at the end; m is the very tiny amount of mass or “stuff” that changes from stuff you can see into unseen but powerful energy.

But before we go on we need to make sure we know what we are talking about. What is energy? Several kinds come to mind. We have mentioned three already: nuclear, electricity and heat. There is also “mechanical motion”; think about working out at the gym. Notice another thing at the gym – one’s muscles get warm; so heat is produced as well as mechanical motion.

Another thing about energy: once it is released, it never goes away. It can never be destroyed. This is a perfect rule with which everyone agrees. It is actually called a “law” – the first law of thermodynamics.

What happens to the energy, after we use it, such as when I have finished moving my fingers typing this sentence?

It is lost as waste heat out “there” somewhere. It is dispersed and spreads out in all directions and can not be reused. This is called entropy and is the second law of thermodynamics.

Now what does that have to do with nuclear power and global warming?

Once you release all that energy from Uranium, as in a nuclear reactor, it is here forever, except for some fraction that radiates out into outer space as “long-wave radiation.” The rest goes into the air, waterways, glaciers, dirt and rocks as waste heat, also called thermal [heat] pollution, increasing the temperature, thereby bringing about global warming.

Is nuclear the only the only source of energy that releases waste heat?

No. Coal, oil and natural gas [hydrocarbons, so-called “fossil fuels”] also release waste heat when burned.

Why is this fact not included in the title of this article?

Because many people already know that use of hydrocarbons causes global warming. Also, many believe that nuclear power does not cause global warming and that it may actually solve the global warming problem. Nothing could be further from the truth, because it produces heat and, therefore, thermal pollution.

What about greenhouse gases that are discussed on TV and the internet, such as carbon dioxide? What about other greenhouse gases such as water vapor and methane?

This is best approached by admitting that this is an area of great conflict. Well-connected scientists almost universally claim that global warming is occurring, that it is from human activity, that activity that causes the emission of “greenhouse gases” [especially carbon dioxide or CO2]. These are gases that make up a small part of the air we breathe, but they are able to hold in heat.

Millions of people agree with this. Other millions disagree. Leaders [or misleaders] of both factions present plausible evidence of wrongdoing by and conflict of interest on the other side. Both are correct about this and we should not be surprised that this is the case. Though startling claims are made about the need to save the planet, it is really about money and power, meaning here a different kind of power, that of authority and control. Imagine the wealth and personal power to be derived from selling and controlling the flow of energy to billions of people.

Hydrocarbons produce CO2. Businessmen and their agents who back hydrocarbons stand to lose a great deal of money and power if CO2 elimination is made a top priority. The other side has its own investors who stand to profit by promoting nuclear power in competition with coal, oil, and natural gas energy sources, and also by selling CO2 reduction technologies. There are also military and political reasons for nuclear promotion. [Incidentally, this side also erroneously claims that nuclear power does not result in CO2 pollution.]

In fact, it appears that greenhouse gases have a small but definite effect and work together with the direct heat pollution discussed here to make the problem of global warming worse.

Neither side is interested in promoting the facts as presented in this report, because they both stand to lose. They both cause thermal pollution [global warming].

Fortunately solar and wind power do not cause thermal pollution because they use the Sun’s heat, which we will get whether we use it for our energy needs or not. These technologies have matured and their costs have come crashing down and will continue to do so. The best solution for the long-term supply of electrical energy is to institute these renewable sources at the municipal level and as a cooperative effort. This gives everyone energy independence.

Of course, municipally owned, cooperatively run energy sources will be vigorously opposed by hydrocarbon and nuclear barons and those who will want to privatize, for their own profit, renewable energy sources. They will want to centralize renewable energy, and dole it out to large areas through grids under centralized control.

We, the public, must assert and struggle for what is best for us and our Planet. If we do not switch to non-heat adding solar and solar-derived energy sources, we will burn to a crisp.

– Morton S. Skorodin, MD, lives in Stillwater, OK and is an occasional contributor to The Oklahoma Observer



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Commentaires de l'article
 

Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Thursday July 22 - 21:33 - Posted by DirkH - 9aa767fe8582728e...

You, Mr., are a propagandist who tries to delude the masses. You intentionally omit a calculation of the quantities you are talking about because that would show that the waste heat of all our energy sources is dwarfed by the purported harmful effects of CO2’s greenhouse effect (which, IMHO, is counteracted by a negative feedback but that is yet another story).

Whom are you trying to delude here? Biologists?




Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Monday July 26 - 05:11 - Posted by Morton Skorodin - 82f413396958d881...

You have raised an important point that deserves a full explanation. I am preparing an article centered around that.

I would like to know what the CO2 negative feedback effect is about, if you would.



Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Thursday July 22 - 22:23 - Posted by alien - c173c4d95bf20af4...

mr Skorodin, you aren’t a physicist then? It is obvious. Go read Richard P Feynman.




Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Friday July 23 - 00:39 - Posted by 7cb91a7f842be946...

Earth is far from being a closed system. Please get a grip of real science. It’s like saying that we must close the doors in winter so that the heat does not escape to the atmosphere and heat up the planet... please, get real!




Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Friday July 23 - 00:45 - Posted by 7cb91a7f842be946...

And I will add... if you think you understand thermodynamics so well, I will point to you to look at the Zeroth law of thermodynamics.



Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Tuesday July 27 - 04:49 - Posted by Morton Skorodin - 82f413396958d881...

From Wikipedia:

It is important to note that isolated systems are not equivalent to closed systems. Closed systems cannot exchange matter with the surroundings, but can exchange energy. Isolated systems can exchange neither matter nor energy with their surroundings,



Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Friday July 23 - 06:36 - Posted by Rick Maltese - af212c4b5ec4693e...

You don’t have to know a great deal of physics to know that this is a very flawed argument. If you know how nuclear reactors work you would know that a great deal of the heat goes into making electricity. It does not go into the atmosphere. If some makes it to the atmosphere it is insignificant compared to coal or oil and the main reason is that a Nuclear Reactor is very efficient.




Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Tuesday July 27 - 07:11 - Posted by Craig - b4ca410bd116195d...

The efficiency limit of a water boiling steam plant is theoretically determined by the temperature of the primary steam and that of the heat sink —or I should say the temperature of the condensate chambers. What type of fuel is used to boil the water is irrelevant. The best "thermal" plants are 50% efficient and those are usually the ones that can use a river or an ocean for the heat sink.

Since the maximum transfer of energy between two systems generally occurs when the source’s internal impedance equals the load, 50% is a common "full tilt" efficiency limit.

It’s only recently become understood that the shear heat produced by human industry, transportation, recreation —all activities, is becoming a factor in global warming —per:

> http://www.wfs.org/Oct-Nov09/Env1pa...

But I think it will still be some while before it becomes a major factor.

Craig



Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Friday July 23 - 09:01 - Posted by - 0b20cdbfd784f6c0...

It is well known that there is a great deal of waste heat from nuclear electric generation. Nuclear plants are always situated on water bodies because they require huge amounts of cooling water. The heated water released from the plants changes the ecology of the water, making it unsuitable (too hot) for many species, including fish that can no longer spawn.

The question is, of course, whether this effect has been adequately studied, quantified, and what the effect is over time, and what would the cumulative effect be if we continue to add more and more nuclear facilities.

The global warming parameters are extremely small. Only a few degrees may bring on ocean acidification. Why don’t some of you physics geniuses tell us why we shouldn’t be concerned. (I mean specifically, which none of you have done yet.)




Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming (no it doesn’t really)
Friday July 23 - 15:43 - Posted by 08cdde565822ad87...

Because the heat release (even in an uncontained nuclear reaction) is miniscule compared to the total amount of heat that the Earth can radiate into the black body (thermo-dynamics wise) of space.

The issue is whether that heat is trapped, which is where green-house gasses such as Carbon Dioxide and Methane come into play. Water vapour doesn’t even compare.

Nuclear power stations of the current generation are incredibly wasteful, and are mostly designed to provide materials for weapons. But they can (given the right approach) complement wind, solar and tidal power.



Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Friday July 23 - 17:18 - Posted by Dash - ce0c1b8d93586def...

Nice propaganda.

You talk about the waste heat and point to the water that is used to cool it. Then you say that the water is too hot? To hot to what, cool down? Cause you know, that is what happens. Or good North Anna, Lake Anna, have fun, propagandist.



Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Sunday July 25 - 05:23 - Posted by d1d9135cb05076db...

Well Dash, you’re clearly not a physics genius.



Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Wednesday October 27 - 17:14 - Posted by nancy nichols - e8aa0d0fef6047bd...

i have always believed nuclear energy to be the culprit in global warming,way before humanity coined the term ’global warming’.nuclear plants heat up the streams or even sea water itself to hot springs temp after it cools down enough to keep from boiling fish.this has had an effect on the immediate environment of every nuclear plant since the first one got started.
they obviously heat up sea water-why is anyone trying to deny this?when sea water is heated it releases co2,just like pepsi does when heated it comes out of solution.-nancy nichols




Nuclear Energy Causes Global Warming
Wednesday October 27 - 18:49 - Posted by Morton Skorodin - 82f413396958d881...

Well stated, Ms. Nancy.
I agree.

Here is a video showing thermal pollution from a nuke plant:
http://vimeo.com/2604369






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