If you zoom in on any exponential graph near the origin area, you might think the curve reflects a linear trend. Add to that a little wishful thinking, and you just summarised the crux of the global warming issue.
We have known for a long time that global warming as defined as the increase of the global mean temperature on the seas and on the lands as a result of adding (insanely) high quantities of energy trapping molecules, cannot be a linear phenomenon. The reason for this is that the negative rebound effects (think social awareness, vapid declarations of betterment) are dwarfed by the positive rebound effects (think melting polar bears and basic physics).
Whether you personally or professionally dislike the idea of global warming even as a linear trend, the phenomenon as a function is not going to be perceived as something that will just gradually and steadily increase temperatures around the globe, while smoking a cigar, enjoying one’s retirement at lake Como.
We know with certainty that this is not going to happen; passed a certain threshold, all there is left is just the sensation of hopelessness as we stand in trepidation at what we have unleashed.
And as we think of our own lives, our kid’s, our species as a whole, and maybe life itself, the sea slowly, but surely -and dare I say it- exponentially, rises. The coasts around the world won’t look the same anymore as they will suffer a prolonged tsunami as time goes on.
You may wonder what that has got to do with nuclear powered power plants. Well, where did we build the majority of these lovely, fission powered, clean energy stations that have been an economic joke for the last two decades? Oh, that’s right.. on our shores.
And how many of these Fukashimas did we build?
The answer would be: a little less than 500; discounting the other 500 that are either not operable or smaller in size as to not to count as a station.
Now what would happen to these facilities when a high tide would flood the place…
Nuclear decommissioning is defined by Wikipedia as:
..the process whereby a nuclear facility is dismantled to the point that it no longer requires measures for radiation protection. The presence of radioactive material necessitates processes that are potentially occupationally hazardous, expensive, time-intensive, and present environmental risks that must be addressed to ensure radioactive materials are either transported elsewhere for storage or stored on-site in a safe manner. The challenge in nuclear decommissioning is not just technical, but also economical and social.
Stanford University writes in 2015:
While the international experience on decommissioning is growing, the development of a proper long-term strategy for nuclear waste disposal remains a missing key point. It is disconcerting to learn that there are so many nuclear facilities established when there is no solution yet for the waste they will produce, suggesting the attitude that the problem is left for future scientists and engineers to solve.
..and that is why we need to decommission all nuclear power plants, find a way to store the spent fuel rods, and do it fast..