May 11, 2021 - 9:00 pm
Letter writer Chip Henry (May 6) expresses concern over nuclear waste. As we rush to green energy solutions with an emphasis on solar and wind energy, there is virtually no discussion about their waste disposal challenges.
By 2050 (the target for net zero carbon), the International Renewable Energy Agency projects that up to 78 million metric tons of solar panels will have reached the end of their life, and that the world will be generating about 6 million metric tons of new solar e-waste annually. Contrast this with the approximate 90,000 tons of nuclear waste currently in the United States.
In addition, solar requires 300 to 400 times more land mass than a nuclear or natural gas facility to generate the same amount of energy. Solar panels also have toxic materials that need to be dealt with when they are retired. Everywhere wind and solar have been implemented on a large scale, dependability has decreased and electricity costs have increased significantly (see California, Texas and Germany).
We need to make sure we evaluate all costs and benefits of energy alternatives.