When nuclear counts as greentech

Emission-free nuclear power: is it greentech or eviltech? If your only concern is climate change, then perhaps you think large-scale rollout of nuclear technologies is the way to go. But if you're not willing to solve one environmental problem by creating another -- i.e. reducing greenhouse gas emissions but increasing radioactive nuclear waste and associated proliferation risks -- then the suggestion that nuclear is a green or clean technology could be offensive to some.

I'm sympathetic to both sides. My Clean Break column today takes a look at this dilemma, and concludes that some nuclear technologies can count as greentech/cleantech if they aim to minimize the amount of waste that is inevitably going to be created as countries like China rapidly build out their nuclear fleets. I focus my analysis on a technology developed over the years by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., which has a process that allows its Candu heavy-water reactors to directly, after some mechanical reprocessing, use spent uranium fuel from light-water reactors. It's a promising approach, and one can envision Candu reactors built around the world for the purpose of extracting more energy from a spent fuel product typically called "waste." There's also the opportunity for AECL's technology, called DUPIC, to be an integral part of the Bush administration's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

You can read the column for more details. Curious to know your thoughts.

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