In my most recent PG&E energy bill, thereâ€™s a little insert labeled â€œPower Content Label.â€ It breaks down PG&Eâ€™s power mix by type, with 22% of the power coming from nuclear sources. On the pie chart, that wedge is green, which, according to the legend, means itâ€™s â€œclimate neutral or renewable.â€
As it turns out, thatâ€™s incorrect. Nuclear power requires refining uranium ore to produce nuclear fuel. According to the Lean Economyâ€™s Guide to Nuclear Energy, â€œEvery stage in the nuclear process, except fission, produces carbon dioxide. As the richest ores are used up, emissions will rise," and:
Uranium enrichment uses large volumes of uranium hexafluoride, a halogenated compound (HC). Other HCs are also used in the nuclear life-cycle. HCs are greenhouse gases with global warming potentials ranging up to 10,000 times that of carbon dioxide.
There are more shortcomings of nuclear power. I encourage you to read the whole Guide.