News and Facts: Nuclear Industry and Radioactive Science

Quad Cities Excelon Nuclear Plant Upgrade

June 15, 2009 By: John Category: In The News

There is a lot of talk about the hypothetical “worst case” dangers of nuclear reactors, yet in reality, the proven record of nuclear power shows a much more environment-friendly footprint than burning coal or using fossil fuels. Aaron H., on the Skeptically Speaking website forum, points out a comparison of wind and solar capabilities to that of nuclear power:

Maple Ridge in New York is one of Americas largest windfarms. It has 195 wind turbines, covers an area of more than 12,000 acres while generating a mere 300 megawatts at peak efficiency and on a calm day, it generates nothing.

For one of the “sunbelt” (e.g. Nevada and Arizona) states in the US, a 1000 megawatt solar facility will cover more than 14 square miles. For an “average” US state, this figure jumps to over 18 square miles.

By comparison, the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station on the shores of Lake Huron, which is the largest operating nuclear facility in the world, occupies roughly 2 or 3 square miles (rough estimate) and has a maximum capacity of more than 6,200 megawatts. To match the capacity of the Bruce Station with solar power, you would need to clear 108 square miles of land and devote it all to solar panels. And this doesn’t even include space for batteries or capacitors you’d need for nighttime or cloudy day use. To replace all of Canada’s nuclear reactors with solar you would need almost 300 square miles of solar panels.