Uranium Is Not Future Energy Source[Part-3]
April 23, 2010 8 Comments
What will happen when we have no coal, no crude oil and almost no fossil fuel? Would our technological civilization die? Many advocates suggests uranium as a future energy source including Brian Wang of Next Big Future. However I find many implications which opposes the case of advocates. I’m not going to suggest alternative energy source right now as B.W. asks in his article [if nuclear fission is not the energy source of the future then weird science needs to compare and present what the alternative is that he supports], but be sure I will do it later with full analysis. I’ve described some of them in my previous article which are here . B.W. has suggested that extraction of Uranium could be economical if we use seawater as a resource of Uranium but that proved to uneconomical and having very less production. Another issue which can be involved with reactor is that if these could power world for long time[since these are suggested as future source]. Here is a Scientific American report which make it obvious to depict that Uranium is not future energy source.
Most of the 2.8 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity generated worldwide from nuclear power every year is produced in light-water reactors (LWRs) using low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. About 10 metric tons of natural uranium go into producing a metric ton of LEU, which can then be used to generate about 400 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, so present-day reactors require about 70,000 metric tons of natural uranium a year.
According to the NEA, identified uranium resources total 5.5 million metric tons, and an additional 10.5 million metric tons remain undiscovered—a roughly 230-year supply at today’s consumption rate in total. Further exploration and improvements in extraction technology are likely to at least double this estimate over time.
Using more enrichment work could reduce the uranium needs of LWRs by as much as 30 percent per metric ton of LEU. And separating plutonium and uranium from spent LEU and using them to make fresh fuel could reduce requirements by another 30 percent. Taking both steps would cut the uranium requirements of an LWR in half.
The report has considered the current rate of energy consumption whilst it is obvious that we would acquire far more energy than estimated here . The rate o f energy consumption will considerably depend upon following basics:
- Population growth is, of course, a central issue to study how to meet with future energy requirements. Considering the seven hundred years, as I have suggested how much population will inhabit Earth? It is suggested that total population to the end of this century will be over 11 billion. According to wikipedia:
The population of the world reached one billion in 1804, two billion in 1927, three billion in 1960, four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987, and six billion in 1999. The population of the world is projected to reach seven billion in 2011 or 2012, eight billion in 2025, and nine billion in 2040 or 2050. Now, I ask B.W. what will be the estimates for given 700 years of future.[Though population growth is separate problem alone, but significantly affect the energy demand required. Imagine population of one million, whole energy problem would be solved.]
- The energy demand also depends upon urbanization. Go through this research paper.
World marketed energy consumption is projected to increase by 44 percent from 2006 to 2030. Total energy demand in the non-OECD countries increases by 73 percent, compared with an increase of 15 percent in the OECD countries.In the IEO2009 reference case—which reflects a scenario in which current laws and policies remain unchanged throughout the projection period—world marketed energy consumption is projected to grow by 44 percent over the 2006 to 2030 period. Total world energy use rises from 472 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2006 to 552 quadrillion Btu in 2015 and then to 678 quadrillion Btu in 2030 (Figure 1). The current worldwide economic downturn dampens world demand for energy in the near term, as manufacturing and consumer demand for goods and services slows. In the longer term, with economic recovery anticipated after 2010, most nations return to trend growth in income and energy demand.
The most rapid growth in energy demand from 2006 to 2030 is projected for nations outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (non-OECD nations). Total non-OECD energy consumption increases by 73 percent in theIEO2009 reference case projection, as compared with a 15-percent increase in energy use among the OECD countries. Strong long-term GDP growth in the emerging economies of the non-OECD countries drives the fast-paced growth in energy demand. In all the non-OECD regions combined, economic activity—measured by GDP in purchasing power parity terms—increases by 4.9 percent per year on average, as compared with an average of 2.2 percent per year for the OECD countries.[ref]
I will publish more in my next posts. I will also consider other opinion as B.W. suggested in email.
To Be Continued…