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Context From The Talk

James Ellis On The Energy Density Advantage of Nuclear Power

Benefits of Nuclear Energy

"Why are we talking about nuclear at all? Why is it in the mix from an energy perspective? In a simplistic way the real issue is energy density. Take a fuel pellet that is the size of a pencil eraser. The energy contained in that, even though it's not highly enriched uranium, in fact it's low enriched uranium, equates to three barrels of oil, 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas. That's about six rail cars full of natural gas and one ton of coal ore. So the energy density is huge from that perspective, and that equates not just to efficiency in the plant but also to the area which is required to generate a similar amount of energy.

In order to generate the amount of commercial electricity that is generated in a single thousand-megawatt nuclear power plant, a wind far would need to be 235 square miles large. Now if you ask about solar, it's about 30 square miles for solar farms to create that much power. So, you can see you've got an energy density capability there that is absolutely important and potentially very beneficial. 

Where are we in the global energy mix? Nuclear is 10.6% of world electricity production in 2015. All of the renewable, solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal are about 5%. Coal still dominates, while natural gas is growing and coming on strong. Hydro, where it can physically be able to be generated in certain parts of the world, is also a significant emission free source of electricity as well.”