Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower, Solar, Wind Power

Is Nuclear Energy Renewable Energy?

I just read that President Bush at a renewable energy conference, said, ” Nuclear power is renewable.” He also said coal could be clean. Is nuclear energy renewable and can coal ever be clean? — Donna R., Keene, NH

Donna, You are probably referring to the President’s remarks at USDA and USDOE’s conference in St. Louis this week. I will attach the link below to the full text of his speech. Now, to your question. While The President should be lauded for his recent State of the Union speech supporting solar, wind, biofuels, and plug-in hybrids — others in The Administration have been making a concerted effort to integrate nuclear and clean coal into renewable programs — specifically hydrogen RD&D, but others as well. The nuclear industry has been on an aggressive campaign to paint itself as the answer to climate change emissions mitigation. But as we all know, uranium is not renewable, is imported, and the waste from the process has thousands of years of storage requirements — and as the National Academy of Sciences reported, pooled nuclear storage sites are subject to terrorism. Coal, as well, has its challenges, as a new rule approved by The Administration allows companies to ‘blow off’ mountaintops in West Virginia harming farmland and waterways. Coal wastes and slag are still a major problem, and our taxpayer dollars still pay for black and brown lung benefits to coal miners. Attempts to capture carbon are still in its infancy and the costs surpass renewables. Many environmental and health experts are questioning the unregulated emissions, such as mercury, regarding the negative impact on immune systems of people and animals. Neither coal nor nuclear can be considered renewable or clean, when compared to the emissions or wastes from energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. — Scott Scott Sklar is President of The Stella Group in Washington, DC, a distributed energy marketing and policy firm. Scott, co-author of “A Consumer Guide to Solar Energy,” uses solar technologies for heating and power at his home in Virginia.