Nukes kill more birds than wind?

By Paul Lorenzini

In the yin and yang of energy policy debates, we know some can get carried away. Normally we ignore the radical fringe, but sometimes their claims take on a life of their own and need to be addressed. One such charge has found its way as an authoritative reference on Wipikedia, alleging that nuclear power causes more bird kills than wind. There we find a table alleging 0.269 avian deaths per GWh for wind turbines as compared to 0.416 for nuclear power plants. Given all the heat being taken by wind advocates over this issue, one can understand the desire to hit back, but this seemed a bit much. On close checking, it was.

The source is a study by one Benjamin Sovacool. Sovacool first published a report with these claims in 2009 while on the faculty at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Free downloads can be found here and here. In 2012 he published a second version, now being identified as a Visiting Associate Professor at the Vermont Law School and Senior Researcher for Energy Security and Justice at the Institute for Energy and the Environment.

So, how does one arrive at these counter-intuitive conclusions? There are two halves of the analysis, the impacts from nuclear power and the impacts from wind. Take nuclear power first.
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Romance of Radium – How did our relationship with radioactive material sour?

Radium glow finale

My lovely wife, knowing my atomic energy obsession, thought that I might enjoy watching Romance of Radium a 1937 movie short (10 minutes) from MGM Studios that TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is occasionally running to fill time between full length movies. It was utterly fascinating to me to watch how the filmmaker portrayed Henry Becquerel’s […]

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What can Chatham, VA learn from Mt Airy, NC?

The leaders of Virginia Uranium need to talk with the leaders of the North Carolina Granite Corporation. VA Uranium is seeking to obtain permission to mine its granite formation while NC Granite is the current operator of a granite quarry that has been in continuous operation since 1889. If you will forgive the obvious pun, […]

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France does not need Mali’s uranium despite all conspiracy stories to the contrary

There is a meme circulating on web claiming that France’s intervention in Mali can be traced to a desire to capture the country’s uranium resources. That idea is complete and utter rubbish that can only be believed by people who have done no math and no research to recognize whether such a theory can be […]

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Overcoming “steep hurdles” for uranium mining one step at a time

When the National Academy of Sciences issued its report on uranium mining in Virginia, it included a phrase about “steep hurdles” that has been seized by the people opposed to the enterprise and repeated as almost a mantra. It has made an appearance in almost every article I have read on the topic. Here is […]

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Front lines report – Virginia uranium mining meeting Nov 27, 2012

Another Environmentalist for Nuclear Energy

The Virginia Uranium Working Group held its final public meeting before turning their report in to the Governor on November 27, 2012. The meeting was held in a modest sized room at the Virginia Science Museum in a room where the photos on the wall celebrated Virginia’s railway heritage. One of the two large photos […]

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Virginia Uranium Working Group – Final Public Meeting Tonight, Nov 27, 2012

The Virginia Uranium Working Group, the body chartered by the governor to provide a scientific policy analysis to determine if the current moratorium on mining uranium in Virginia should be lifted, is holding its final public meetin tonight. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm at the Virginia Science Museum, 2500 West Broad […]

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More bloggers for nuclear energy – I Dig U Mining and Nuke Roadie

One of the features of Atomic Insights that needs to be revived is the series titled “Another blogger for nuclear energy.” In that series, I happily announced and linked to a new (to me) blog written by someone who either focuses on positive aspects of nuclear technology or who covers nuclear energy from a positive […]

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Voices of uranium mining protesters at Chatham meeting June 18

After work on Monday June 18, 2012, I drove the short distance from Lynchburg to Chatham, VA to attend a public information meeting held by the governor appointed task force on uranium mining. As I arrived in Chatham, I was treated to a fairly common event in the southeastern United States, a drenching thunderstorm that […]

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Virginia Uranium – Waiting Patiently to Create 325 Family Wage Jobs In Southside

My wife has known for many years that I have rather eclectic tastes in tourist destinations, but even with that history, she gave me a rather odd look when I suggested that we spend my day off by driving to Chatham to visit Virginia Uranium. When I pointed out how close Chatham is to our […]

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The Atomic Show #058 – Uranium on NYMEX, Water use by reactors

Shane and Rod discuss uranium futures markets new to the New York Mercantile Exchange, water consumption by thermal power plants, scaling reactors to fit various markets and locations Shane found some good follow on information relating to our uranium availability story a few weeks ago and listener John asked some questions that provided some good […]

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