Her conclusion? Every day spent burning coal for power translates into damaged lungs and ecosystem destruction. The only realistic — and safe — alternative is nuclear. I agree. Solar, geothermal and wind will help but currently nuclear fission is the best solution for high volume clean power.
A family in four in France, where they reprocess nuclear fuel, would produce only enough waste to fit in a coffee cup over a whole lifetime. A lifetime of getting all your electricity from coal-fired plants would make a single person’s share of solid waste (in the United States) 68 tons, which would require six 12-ton railroad cars to haul away. Your share of CO2 would be 77 tons.
WN: What about clean coal plants, and carbon-sequestration technologies? Aren’t they a practical alternative?
Cravens: At this point, no. There’s one prototype in Colorado that the government is trying to sponsor. From a practical point of view, I think nuclear plants could be up and running and replacing fossil-fuel plants sooner than we get clean coal.