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Uranium Reserve, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Delusion, CO2 Emission from the Sea, and Electricity Supply: Reflections after the Fuel Meltdown of Fukushima Nuclear Power Units


  • Kozo Mayumi

    (Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokushima)

  • John M. Polimeni

    (Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences)


The Great Tohoku-Kanto earthquake and resulting tsunami has brought considerable attention to the issue of the construction of new power plants. We argue in this paper, nuclear power is not a sustainable solution to energy problems. First, we explore the stock of uranium-235 and the different schemes developed by the nuclear power industry to exploit this resource. Second, we show that these methods, fast breeder and MOX fuel reactors, are not feasible. Third, we show that the argument that nuclear energy can be used to reduce CO2 emissions is false: the emissions from the increased water evaporation from nuclear power generation must be accounted for. In the case of Japan, water from nuclear power plants is drained into the surrounding sea, raising the water temperature which has an adverse affect on the immediate ecosystem, as well as increasing CO2 emissions from increased water evaporation from the sea. Next, a short exercise is used to show that nuclear power is not even needed to meet consumer demand in Japan. Such an exercise should be performed for any country considering the construction of additional nuclear power plants. Lastly, the paper is concluded with a discussion of the implications of our findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Kozo Mayumi & John M. Polimeni, 2011. "Uranium Reserve, Nuclear Fuel Cycle Delusion, CO2 Emission from the Sea, and Electricity Supply: Reflections after the Fuel Meltdown of Fukushima Nuclear Power Units," UHE Working papers 2011_13, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Departament d'Economia i Història Econòmica, Unitat d'Història Econòmica.
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:uhewps:2011_13

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mayumi, Kozo, 1991. "Temporary emancipation from land: from the industrial revolution to the present time," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 35-56, October.
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