• High construction costs due to complex radia­tion containment systems and procedures.

• High subsidies needed for construction and operation, as well as loan guarantees.

• Subsidies and investment could be spent on other solutions (such as renewable energy sys­tems).

• High-known risks in an accident.

• Unknown risks.

• Long construction time.

• Target for terrorism (as are all centralized pow­er generation sources).

Example: Nuclear Power (continued)

• Waivers are required to limit liability of com­panies in the event of an accident. (This means that either no one will be responsible for phys­ical, environmental, or health damages in the case of an accident or leakage over time from waste storage, or that the government will ulti­mately have to cover the cost of any damages.)

• Nuclear is a centralized power source requir­ing large infrastructure, investment, and coor­dination where decentralized sources (includ­ing solar and wind) can be more efficient, less costly, and more resilient.

• Uranium sources are just as finite as other fuel sources, such as coal, natural gas, etc., and are expensive to mine, refine, and transport, and produce considerable environmental waste (including greenhouse gasses) during all of these processes.

• The majority of known uranium around the world lies under land controlled by tribes or

Example: Nuclear Power (continued)

indigenous peoples who don’t support it being mined from the earth.

• The legacy of environmental contamination and health costs for miners and mines has been catastrophic.

• Waste lasts 200-500 thousand years.

• There are no operating long-term waste stor­age sites in the U. S. One is in development, but its capacity is already oversubscribed. Yucca Mountain is in danger of contaminating ground water to a large water basin, affecting millions of people. It’s difficult, if not impossi­ble, for the U. S. to impose its will on the state of Nevada (or other places) if they don’t want to host long-term storage of waste.

• 1 here are no operating next generation reac­tors, such as high-temperature breeder reac­tors and particle-beam activated reactors, that are reported to produce less waste and have

Example: Nuclear Power (continued)

reduced safety concerns. Even if these tech­nologies were ready, they wouldn’t be deploy­able commercially for another two decades.

• Shipping nuclear waste internationally poses an increased potential threat to interception to terrorism (though this has not happened yet with any of the waste shipped by other coun­tries). Increasing the amount of waste shipped, particularly in less secure countries, is seen as a significant increase in risk to nuclear ter­rorism.

This is just a taste of the complexity of issues involved with nuclear power. Every issue, from a systems perspective, quickly becomes a complex discussion juxtaposing factors from financial, environmental, social, and political realms.

Updated: September 26, 2015 — 9:33 am