Are nuclear energy and applications contributing to environment preservation and climate change monitoring?


Climate change is disrupting seasonal weather and rain patterns, accelerating glacial ice loss, exacerbating storm frequency and ferocity, contributing to longer droughts and flooding disasters, degrading soil fertility, and speeding the migration of pest insects, invasive plant species and infectious animal diseases. Through nuclear applications, temperature and drought-resistant crops strains can be introduced, fresh water reserves located and mapped, water pollution tracked and soil conservation tools developed. In addition, nuclear applications are powerful tools in understanding the drivers of climate change. For example, natural and artificial radionuclides are used to quantify processes such as ocean circulation, transport of pollutants in coastal ecosystems, sedimentation and submarine discharge of underground waters. MALINA is an example of an international co-operative Arctic program aimed at studying the consequences of global warming and subsequent melting of the ice cover and the permafrost on the ecosystem of the Arctic Sea and namely of the Beaufort Sea. Nuclear energy is contributing to the decrease of CO2emissions since it produces virtually no greenhouse gases. The complete nuclear power chain, from uranium mining to waste disposal, including reactor and facilities construction, emits only 2-6 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour.