Last week, April 9, 2017, four municipal election candidates from the traditionally anti-nuclear Green Party in Finland published an opinion piece where they clearly stated that humanity no longer has the luxury of opposing nuclear power.
As discussed by J. M. Korhonen, this is significant. Well over a hundred election candidates from all the major parties – these Greens included – signed a petition calling for feasibility studies for nuclear district heating to provide heat for Finnish cities.
The Green Party was a major winner in these Finnish elections, taking over 12% of the total vote, the largest share in the Party’s history. The Green Party is now the largest party in Jyväskylä, a medium-sized university city, is almost tied for second in Helsinki and Turku, and is third in Tampere – four of the seven largest cities in Finland.
But the country has vowed to end the use of coal by 2030 and their wide use of biomass is controversial as it causes significant health effects in some indoor air situations. Finland is receiving the brunt of global warming, as temperatures across Finland are climbing faster than anywhere else in the world. And global warming is impossible to address in the next 20 years without expanding nuclear power.
The gains in the Green Party may cause other parties to reassess nuclear power particularly since strong pro-nuclear candidates were elected. The Pirate Party member, Dr. Petrus Pennanen who is pro-nuclear and favors strong climate policies, made the news by proposing the use of nuclear-generated heat to replace coal and biomass in Helsinki’s building heating. Petrus became one of the two first elected Pirate Party members in Finland, probably because of this pro-nuclear stance.
Compare this to the United States program. At Yucca Mountain, the cost is estimated to be at least $98 billion for a total waste inventory of 75,000 cubic meters, or about $1.3 million per cubic meter of waste. This is about 0.5% of our annual GDP spread out over 100 years. However, The United States’ program has more weapons waste than spent commercial fuel, so the comparison is not perfectly analogous.
However, if our repository site is instead emplaced in the massive Permian salts of the Delaware Basin, the cost drops to a third of this. This formation presently hosts our operating deep geologic nuclear waste repository for transuranic nuclear bomb waste (the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant or WIPP) and was originally chosen by the National Academy of Sciences and designed for all nuclear waste of any type.
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy is the agency responsible for radioactive waste management in Finland, and the regulator is the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. The nuclear utilities make payments into an external National Nuclear Waste Management Fund, managed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Contributions to the fund are made over the first 25 years of plant operation.
Read more at Finland’s Green Party And Nuclear Power – Really?