Jon Boone, environmentalist, naturalist, bird and nature artist, wind energy expert: “The release of energy from splitting a uranium atom turns out to be 2 million times greater than breaking the carbon-hydrogen bond in coal, oil or wood. Compared to all the forms of energy ever employed by humanity, nuclear power is off the scale. Wind has less than 1/10th the energy density of wood, wood half the density of coal, and coal half the density of octane. Altogether they differ by a factor of about 50. Nuclear has 2 million times the energy density of gasoline. It is hard to fathom this in light of our previous experience. Yet our energy future largely depends on grasping the significance of this differential. “ William Tucker, lecture Understanding E=MC2
Friedrich Wagner: Germany decided to go nuclear-free by 2022. A CO2-emission-free electricity supply system based on intermittent sources, such as wind and solar - or photovoltaic (PV) - power could replace nuclear power. Intermittent sources are, by definition, unsteady. Therefore, a back-up system capable of providing power at a level of 89% of peak load would be needed. This requires creating an oversised power system to produce large amounts of surplus energy. A day storage to handle surplus is ineffective because of the day-night correlation of surplus power in the winter.
Fritz Vahrenholt, PhD Chemistry: In 2012, Germany decided to close its nuclear plants, which were concentrated in the south. It reshaped the grid, building huge DC cables from north to south. The wind is more abundant in the north. A total of 6100 km of cable will have to be built by the time the last nuclear power stations shut in 2022. 400 km have been given the go-ahead and 80 km have been built, just 1.3% of the total. Due to opposition to these cables, plans have been torn up. The government now plans to build them underground, increasing the cost eight fold.
Craig Rucker, CFACT: Wind turbine installations impact vast amounts of habitat and crop land. Offshore wind turbines impact vast stretches of lake or ocean and like ships will not the worst ocean storms. Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear plant generates 3,750 megawatts of electricity from a 4,000-acre site. The 600-MW John Turk ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant in Arkansas covers 2,900 acres; gas-fired units like Calpine’s 560-MW Fox Energy Center require several hundred acres. All generate reliable power 90-95% of the year.