Visualizing the amount of CO2 averted by nuclear reactors
Great post! For us American readers, I would add that those fuel rod bundles measured in meters are only 4”x20” cylinders. CDs or DVDs are 5” across, and 20” is about knee high to a 6’ tall man. So even if the airspace in those rods assemblies are left when storing, all that is in a space significantly smaller than a stack of cds that reaches the knee of an adult male.
Is it really that hard to visualize? A ton of coal produces 1,716,000 lb CO2, at 8.566 cu ft/lb. That's 14,699,256 cu ft at standard pressure and temperature. That's a cube 244.96 feet on a side, roughly 81 2/3 yards. With 77,500 cu ft hot air per balloon, that 14.7M cu ft works out to only 190 balloons, the last one only 2/3 inflated (189.65). All of this is for a single ton of coal. Those 2 fuel rods have 37 rods each and each rod is equivalent to 300 tons of coal. So that's equivalent to 22,200 tons of coal, which equates to 4,210,230 balloons. At 600 balloons per festival, that's 7017.05 festivals. Quite a few more than your numbers, but my math could be wrong.
On the other hand, 22,200 tons of coal generates 326.3 billion cu ft CO2, which is a little over 2.2 cubic miles worth. One of these Climate Change sites calculates that humanity puts 4,400 cubic kilometers of CO2 to the atmosphere every year, which is 1055 cubic miles. This is equivalent to 500 pairs of your control rods.
Clearly, nuclear power is the only way to go.
Also check out LIquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (molten salt) for less waste.
1) The western United States is dotted with radioactive waste piles left over from mining and refining uranium. They are surrounded with fences and warning signs.
2) Problem with both CO2 and nuclear power is the potential hazard is invisible.
3) Dealing with the CO2 issue is best dealt with using math, but that means it is inscrutable to like 90% of the population. You balloon example is nice, but it doesn't really tell us anything useful.
4) The CO2 issue has morphed into a religious belief. Nothing you can say will change the opinion of the true believers.
Maybe I’m just slow today, but burning 2000 lbs of coal releases 5720 lbs of CO? That doesn’t seem right.
If I understand correctly, the reason we don't recycle spent fuel rods is because we aren't allowed to buy the SALT treaty. Which, yes, should be renegotiated and then we should build lots of nuclear power plants. Anyone who is even vaguely serious about the problem of global warming will agree. Anyone who doesn't is just posturing for grant money.