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Greenpeace is nukin’ the truth

Greenpeace is nukin’ the truth 

Published in National Post: Thursday, May 22, 2008

Re: Greenpeace’s Catch-22, Bruce Cox, May 20.

There is one piece of often-repeated misinformation in Bruce Cox’s letter that mustn’t go unanswered. The executive director of Greenpeace Canada states, “We also disagree when [Patrick Moore] says nuclear energy is emissions-free.” I have made no such claim in this article or elsewhere. But Greenpeace and their anti-nuclear allies regularly imply that nuclear energy emits a lot of CO2 when this is false. Even considering the entire lifecycle, nuclear emits about 2% of the CO2 of a coal plant per unit of power produced.

One of the main reasons the nuclear lifecycle gets charged with even this low level of emissions is because some of the processes used to make nuclear fuel are powered by fossil fuels. For example, the enrichment of uranium requires considerable energy and this may be provided by a coal-fired power plant. The portion of the CO2 emissions used to power the enrichment process is charged to the nuclear life cycle. This is a flawed analysis for two reasons. First, if the coal plant were replaced with a nuclear plant, these emissions would be eliminated. Second, surely the emissions from a coal plant belong with the coal plant’s life cycle, not with the nuclear plant.

As I have said before, Greenpeace began with a lofty vision supported by science and reason. They have lost that vision and now resort to the tactics of misinformation, sensational-ism and fear.

Patrick Moore, Vancouver.

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