Nuclear power plants have far less environmental impacts than any other energy source, according to top International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials.
IAEA officials also said nuclear power is more sustainable than wind or solar because waste is fully accounted for and plans to decommission plants exist before reactors are even built.
“As for the future, [nuclear power plants] NPPs and nuclear sites are the most sustainable energy sources in terms of environmental impact — of course, if there are no nuclear disasters,” Mikhail Chudakov, deputy director of the IAEA, said at the conference in Moscow.
“But even with disasters, if we divide them by years of operation (making allowance for Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters), then the environmental and human health impact will be minimal for such an energy source as NPP, in contrast to coal and other power plants,” Chudakov said.
Chudakov stated that 7 million people die annually of diseases connected to the coal power industry, whereas nuclear power is statistically by far the safest form of power. He also stated that nuclear power has environmental benefits as it reduces carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Environmental groups have always heavily lobbied against nuclear power, but it seems doubtful they’ll be able to continue increasing the cost of nuclear plants and creating artificial delays in construction. Organizations like The Sierra Club, still oppose nuclear energy as they believe it leads to “energy over-use and unnecessary economic growth,” but new pro-nuclear environmental groups, like the Breakthrough Institute, are growing in stature.