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May 26, 2010

Union of Concerned Scientists Claim to not be Anti-Nuclear Energy But Their Bias is Obvious

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The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) sends out emails that claim that they are not anti-nuclear. On the Union of concerned Scientists website they have a large section on nuclear power that discusses costs and risks. I think their analysis is flawed but I think it is good to discuss energy costs and risks.
However, if they are not anti-nuclear then why don't they provide any critical analysis of each of the other energy sources ? Where is the critical analysis of the pros and cons and issues with wind, solar, natural gas, oil, coal, biomass, hydro, geothermal ?

The UCS has occasional articles about coal,like the one on the homepage today but their nuclear criticism is a permanent part of their top level site navigation.

If there was balance then there would be a section for each one. And discuss the risks of each one.

Nuclear proliferation has killed no one but there is nothing on wars fought for oil resources.

How about wars over water resources and the connection to water problems from oil and coal usage ?

UCS covers nuclear leaks but they have nothing on the oil spills, oil fires, coal fires, coal pollution, natural gas pollution, accidents etc... How about hydroelectric dam failures ? How about the engineer reports of 2000 dams that are high risk and in need of repair that put cities at risk in the United States.

I laugh at their balance and claims of not being anti-nuclear.



Actually Using Neutral Metrics

Deaths per TWH from all energy sources

A comprehensive look at all types of Energy subsidies across all energy sources

The UCS does not focus on a comprehensive and equal set of analysis metrics for energy sources.

For energy the UCS have their Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy.

On their nuclear section: Urge your senator not to funnel billions of taxpayer's dollars to the nuclear power industry at the expense of investments in clean, affordable renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. NOTE: there is no look at the $ per KWH and how a plan might be to get more from wind and solar.

UCS on their website:
That analysis shows that by significantly expanding the use of energy efficiency and low-cost and declining-cost renewable energy sources, consumers and businesses could reduce carbon emissions from power plants as much as 84 percent by 2030 while saving $1.6 trillion on their energy bills. And, under the Blueprint scenario, because of their high cost, the nation would not build more than four new nuclear reactors already spurred by existing loan guarantees from the Department of Energy (DOE) and other incentives


Implied: 4 nuclear reactors costs a big chunk of $1.6 trillion. The statements are misleading.

They do not compare cost per kwh for nuclear versus solar.

They do not look at uprating technology (increase the power of existing nuclear plants) or operational efficiency for faster and cheaper increase of nuclear power.

They could claim to not be Anti-New York Yankees and just have a section criticizing Steinbrenner but not discussing the pros and cons of the other baseball teams. They could have leading statements about how money for the New York Yankees chokes off funds for the other teams.

A simple review of the UCS material shows the obvious bias.

The UCS should use neutral energy metrics and apply them equally to come to their conclusions.

risks : deaths per TWH
subsidies : $ per TWH
Life cycle costs : $ per TWH
Include supply chain analysis.
For solar look at construction of factories, equipment, energy storage and grid and not just the solar cells.
Tons of material used for energy sources (not just fuel) but tons of cement and steel per MWh.
Safety record for all aspects of each energy source.
Land usage by each power source, acres or square meters or square miles per MWh
Have a neutral metric on water usage


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